Italico Valore - A more successful 1848 revolution in Italy - a TL


The Italian colonial empire at the dawn of the twentieth century was one of the largest in the world: from Tunis Xiamen, passing through Mogadisco, Aceh, Saigon and Xiamen it was second only to the British one in size and wealth. Wealth that flowed regularly from the extremes to the center of the empire, the metropolis, Italy, that used these resources to power its industrial machine: rubber, oil and rare metals were thrown into the jaws of industrial conglomerates that transformed them into consumer goods, weapons and ships that were then shipped to the four corners of the globe generating a flow of wealth and a condition of prosperity never seen in Italy for a thousand years.

The empire was as vast as it was varied and within it the Ministry of Colonies had created a double division of the territories into colonies of populations and colonies of economic exploitation. The former were regions with optimal characteristics such as location and climate, for large-scale colonization by Italians from all over the nation and recruited either through government programs or through private initiatives; the latter were colonies mainly dedicated to the economic exploitation of the resources present on their territory which were extracted or cultivated and then shipped directly to Italy or alternatively pre-processed on site as a proto industry managed by natives was developing in the coastal cities.

The main populating colonies were Tunisia, Libya and Eritrea. With no natural resources except their population, since the creation of a protectorate over Tunisia the Italian government had encouraged the colonization of the "Fourth Shore" of the Mediterranean, financing the brave settlers who decided to settle in North Africa, offering generous subsidies for farmers and for those who wished to settle in the cities. At the beginning of the 1900s about 35% of the Tunisian and Eritrean population was of Italian origin while in Libya the percentage dropped to 20%. The Italians granted citizenship to the Jewish communities present on condition that they assimilated and encouraged the cultural assimilation of the natives with the creation of schools and social programs to encourage aggregation but a part of the local population had always opposed the arrival of Europeans and it reacted to this perceived invasion with violence and attacks by fleeing into the Sahara, leading the army stationed in the colonies to develop innovative methods to hunt down the insurgents. The appearance of the airplane in 1903 and its adaptation for reconnaissance purposes in 1905 greatly facilitated the task of the colonial troops.

The best known colonies of exploitation were Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda, equipped with numerous resources useful for Italian industries. Kenya and Uganda were administered by the Italian colonial authority which maintained its control over the territory through hordes of bureaucrats, soldiers and infrastructures that connected the production centers to the ports along the coast, the most important of which was that of Mombasa on the Indian Ocean. . Ethiopia was instead a protectorate, ie the negus had sworn allegiance to the president of the Italian Confederation and was a loyal vassal; in exchange for the military and political protection provided by the Italians, the Ethiopians allowed them to exploit the natural resources present in their territory that they did not have the means to use: the Italian mining conglomerates, thanks to their superior technology, were able to begin the extraction of numerous minerals within the borders of the empire with the blessing of the negus.

Aceh was a protectorate like Ethiopia but, given the presence of resources such as rubber, it was more carefully administered by the colonial authorities, restricting the sultan to a mere popular figure while political and economic decisions were made in the central offices in Rome.

The Indochinese colony was a totally different type of colony: it was of a mixed type, that is, it encouraged both the settlement of Italians and adopted an economic structure based on the collection of resources such as rubber, in great demand at home with the increasing complexity of processes and industrial products. The colony of Xiamen was a separate subdivision administered directly by the ministry of colonies in order to keep an open door for the entry of Italian products into China and their exchange for precious local products, the city developed, like all Chinese concessions, a Sino-European hybrid culture.

Relations between Italy and the only independent state in Southeast Asia, the kingdom of Siam, were biased in favor of European power. The Siam was found itself as a buffer between British Burma and Italian-French Vietnam and therefore was under constant European pressure to comply with their demands, imposing border adjustments or outright cessions as happened for Laos and Cambodia. Of the great powers, Italy was the one that had managed to impose itself more on the court of Rama V, compensating for the transfers with aid for modernization: the sending of specialists and professors, officers to train the army, bureaucrats to modernize the 'state apparatus and engineers to begin the modernization of the country's infrastructure, in order to cement Siam in the Italian sphere of influence in the early 1900s
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55. THE WORLD IN 1900
55. THE WORLD IN 1900

Finally...we have a MAP! I made it with paint so feel free to ask if you don't understand it

I'm pretty sure the Russian Empire is larger than Italy's. Unless you aren't counting contiguous territory.

Are there protectorates within Chad and Sudan - e.g. Wadai, Darfur, Kanem Bornu etc.?
Looks like something out of Victoria II. Nice.
I used a Victoria II blank map to create it!
I'm pretty sure the Russian Empire is larger than Italy's. Unless you aren't counting contiguous territory.

Are there protectorates within Chad and Sudan - e.g. Wadai, Darfur, Kanem Bornu etc.?
The Russian Empire is the world's second largest, but Russia has no colonial empire to speak of and thus Italy has the second largest colonial empire, followed closely by France.

Most of the colonial land is administered by alliances with local chiefs and kings much like the Roman "Divide et Impera" strategy, offering Italian protection in exchange for loyalty.
So Italy got also most of Chad in the final deal, very interesting because I never realized the Confederation arrived till the Chad Lake. This would make control of Sudan and Fezzan more necessary to access what would be the last frontier of the African colonial empire. Out of curiousity, I wonder what would be the ATL name of Fort-Lamy...
How'd the British end up with Zambia and Malawi? The British not backing the Portuguese Pink Map is surprising when you consider that the Cape to Cairo railway isn't feasible with the ATL Italian colonies int the way. As well as the borders for Congo colony being identical to OTL without King Leopold to push for it. I'd have thought the Portuguese would have ended up with Eastern Zambia, Malawi, and parts or even all of Katanga, helped by British support.
How'd the British end up with Zambia and Malawi? The British not backing the Portuguese Pink Map is surprising when you consider that the Cape to Cairo railway isn't feasible with the ATL Italian colonies int the way. As well as the borders for Congo colony being identical to OTL without King Leopold to push for it. I'd have thought the Portuguese would have ended up with Eastern Zambia, Malawi, and parts or even all of Katanga, helped by British support.
The Swedes pushed for those borders ITTL. The Cape to Cairo has never been feasible due to the British never possessing overwhelming influence in Egypt and thus less feeling the need of connecting their colonies, preferring to concentrate on other issues such as internal matters.

Portugal is irrelevant politically and internationally speaking: poor and backwards, Britain would rather pump itself or a reliable ally (Italy) rather than wasting resources on a neutral nation that is of no use for Britain. OTL there was a discussion about the partition of Portuguese colonies that would have occurred ITTL with Britain claiming both Angola and Mozambique due to proximity. Also, Zambia and Malawi were being exploited by British corporations before the London Conference and thus their integration was a necessity for Britain
Gerna, could I suggest that Italy invests in the construction of the Panama Canal, in order to obtain full or partial ownership?


The forbidden city was the residence of the Chinese emperor, but the real power was in regent Cixi's hands

China had suffered greatly in the last decades of the 19th century, repeatedly humiliated by the European powers and Japan, a nation that had been considered a vassal by Beijing until recently. Armed with their weapons, their technology and their industrialization, Westerners and their Eastern allies had won more and more concessions from the Qing Empire, so much so that the entire coast of the China Sea was dotted with settlements that foreigners used as trading centers, penetrating more and more into the Chinese hinterland and having easy access to the products that Europe had desired since ancient times.


Wushun societies were kung fu clubs crowded with angry people who were suffering economic hardship in China, blamed on the Western presence

Western penetration combined with the spread of Christianity, industrialization and a new way of life had created resentment among the Chinese population who, faced with the humiliation suffered by modernity, withdrew more and more into their past: between the years 1890 and 1901 Thousands of associations were founded devoted to revere the Qing dynasty and expel foreigners, driven by a desire for revenge against the Europeans, called “Wushu” due to the type of martial arts that they practiced. The killing of four Chinese merchants in the Shanghai international settlement in 1902 sparked the ire of the population who began to attack the Europeans found outside the settlement in retaliation.


The Pearl of the Orient, Shanghai, was the seat of the large "International China Authority", an international business board dedicated to the regulation and expansion of commerce with China under the guise of the "Open Door Policy" and was also a large international settlement, a true cosmopolitan city

When the news spread through China, tens of thousands of people saw it as the beginning of revenge against Westerners and the "Wushu" associations deployed all their personnel to the concessions and the diplomatic district of Beijing, putting Western presence in danger. Thus it was that forced by necessity the 7 powers that had legations in China (United Kingdom, France, Russia, Italy, NGF, Japan, Spain) assembled an international expeditionary force consisting of more than 300,000 men, most of them Russians. and Japanese. The Seven Nation Alliance saw the Qing Empire as an accomplice of the rioters and were intent on punishing Chinese insolence.


Soldiers belonging to the Seven Nation Alliance pose for a photo before the opening of hostilities

The Russian army began an invasion of Manchuria using the railway lines that Russia had built to connect Valdivostok and Chita to Port Arthur, known in Chinese as Lushun. The recently defeated and poorly armed Beiyang army was unable to oppose the new Russian army, giving confidence to the generals in the effectiveness of their reforms, and descended from the north towards Beijing. Meanwhile, the remaining nations and the Japanese had sent small contingents to secure their concessions, using the bulk of their forces to land in Tientsin which esd the largest and closest port to Beijing, where. the assault on the legation quarter had been going on for two months now.


British and Japanese troops storm the Forbidden City. The Japanese once again impressed the Europeans with their tenacity and strategy

The Japanese and French armies challenged each other in the race in Beijing, covered on the flank by Italians, Germans, Spaniards and English. Eventually the Foreign Legion was the first unit to reach the imperial capital and enter it, giving some well-deserved rest to the defenders of the legation quarter who, along with their families and Chinese refugees, were exhausted. When the Japanese stormed the Forbidden City they found no members of the imperial family but only secondary ministers: Cixi, the Guangxu Emperor and their ministers had fled before the western assault and were on their way to Shaanxi and would have been able to escape had they not been intercepted by a battalion of Bersaglieri about 40 km from the capital.


The platoon of Italian Bersaglieri who captured Cixi's imperial convoy pose for a photo in Peking. The unit was led by a young Carlo La Marmora, a descendeant of the unit's legendary founder Alessandro

The capture of Cixi put an end to the organized resistance led by the imperial armies who, under the terms of the preliminary agreement that the 7 nations signed with the empress immediately after her capture, were redirected to suppress the insurgents. It took a whole year to restore China to a state of relative internal calm, during which violent repercussions hit hard those who had joined or only favored the anti-Western revolt; while the interior was being pacified the 7 powers gathered in Beijing for the signing of the homonymous treaty in which China would pay large reparations in gold and silver to the participating nations, it would open itself completely to foreign trade guaranteeing freedom of navigation and trade, would have protected Christian missionaries and Chinese converts, placed all of Manchuria under Russian influence, allowing them to station troops in the region as well as grant a series of further port concessions, extending the size of the existing ones or creating new ones under the administration of the “International China Authority ”located in Shanghai. The suppression of the Wushun revolt was a real breaking point for China, a national shock that would have had very important repercussions in its history. Teng Fei Hong, leader of the Chinese republican movement in exile said prophetically, “The Qing dynasty has lost the Mandate of Heaven. It is time for a new beginning ”.

Teng Fei Hong.jpg

Teng Fei Hong was the leading figure in the international Chinese republican movement

The death of the Guangxu emperor in 1906, according to some killed by Cixi in an attempt to give a new beginning to the Qing dynasty with the appointment of the young Chungsan as successor, did nothing but exacerbate the uncertainties of the various factions which, aware of the continuous decline of the health of the empress, they began to make plans for a succession to power. The sudden death of Cixi in 1908 was the match that started the fire: as soon as death was known Manchu nobles, Beiyang generals, reactionaries and liberal westernizers agreed that the Qing had to go and thus disbanded the monarchy before prince Chungsan could be crowned emperor, sending him and his trusted serveant Zhang Li in exile (with a conspicious sum of gold). As soon as they left the plotters started bickering among themselves and the southern provinces formally separated from the north while nationalist rebels established independent Hui, Tibetan, Mongol and Uighyur states, starting the "chaos" period during which no faction was able to impose it's power and there was widespread fighting in the country. Seein the Qing Empire disgregate in front of their own eyes the Russians decided to intervene to secure their borders by invading Manchuria, denying the region to the Japanese.

FE1908 (2).png

The Far East in 1908
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The election of a sizeable minority of socialist deputies to the Confederate parliament profoundly shook the Italian political landscape by waking the old liberal parties from their lethargy and forcing them to realize that the Italy over which they had ruled for the past 52 years was now radically different from what they believed, making an examination of conscience on the part of the parties necessary if not obligatory in order to establish a political map for the future. The main parties that emerged from the reshuffle were:

ITALIAN FEDERAL PARTY: Heir to Cavour's Liberal-Federal party, the Italian Federal Party (PFI) was born in Turin on May 14, 1899 with the intention of renewing the ideas that allowed Italy to be united. Although it has two main currents within it, both agree on a series of common points such as federalism, the free market, strong national defense and the preservation of the social and hierarchical order of the nation. The two currents within it are the liberal one, led by Michele Barraco, who represents a vocal minority that rivals the liberals in influencing large national industries; the other current is the more conservative one, led by Andrea Riva and his deputy Francesco Levi, the majority wing of the party stands as a bulwark of order and tradition, resisting the rapid change proposed by the other parties. In foreign policy, both parties push for a Mediterranean sphere of influence, the development of colonies in North Africa with the dispatch of Italian colonists and an alliance with the NGC seen as a counterweight to Austria and France.

ITALIAN LIBERAL PARTY: Heir to the historical left inaugurated by Depretis, the Italian Liberal Party (PLI) was born in Rome on September 16, 1898 as a reorganization of the deputies of the liberal center belonging to the parliament. It is the most united party of those present in parliament under the leadership of Luigi Morelli, the liberal gray eminence, who manages to maintain an iron grip over the party by marginalizing the currents of thought deviating from the classical liberalism represented by the PLI. In favor of the abolition of all customs barriers, liberals enjoy the support of big business, intellectuals and most of the upper middle classes of the population, attracted by the ideas of personal and economic freedom, equality and personal improvement. Liberals aim not to upset the social order of things but are in favor of changes in the social fabric. In foreign policy they are the main proponents of colonial adventures and an anti-French alliance with Great Britain, seen as Italy's main rival at this time.

ITALIAN SOCIALIST PARTY: Born in 1892 from a union of intellectuals and trade unions, the Italian Socialist Party (PSI) is the main interpreter of the will of the Italian workers and peasants who demand greater rights and greater recognition for the sacrifices they make every day to make work the country. Antireligious, the PSI suffers from its anticlericalism in a country where the vast majority of the population is religious, often coming into conflict with the clerical authorities who never miss an opportunity to portray them in apocalyptic terms. The socialists have two currents within them: the reformists led by Filippo Barbera, the more moderate part of the party willing to cooperate with the establishment to progressively improve the living conditions of the population; and the maximalists led by the anarchist Vittorio De Santis who oppose any collaboration with the established order and aim at controlling the country to implement their own radical policies. Italian socialists are part of the socialist international and tend to prefer an isolationist policy preferring to focus on internal affairs.

Now let us look at the smaller parties that manage to enter parliament.

ITALIAN NATIONALIST ASSOCIATION: Born following Italy's failure to archieve it's golas after the Tripartite War, the Italian Nationalist Association (ANI) is headed by its founder Marco Oriani and is herald of all the irredentist and nationalist instances present in the confederation. In short, the political objective of the ANI is the annexation of the Italian-speaking territories still outside the Confederate borders, the acquisition of the Dalmatian coast and a series of Greek islands that belonged to the Republic of Venice in the past and finally the capture of Corsica. . They propose the application of protectionist economic measures against enemy or rival nations to favor Italian internal development, but they also have a social current that has begun to make its way among workers in "brown unions" demanding higher wages and better working conditions as the party believes that collaboration between working and upper class is necessary to archieve Italian unity, as well as a stronger role of women in society. Among it's ranks are the avant-garde artists of Italy, attracted by it's militarism, fururism, modernism and break from traditional values, the most famous of his supporters, however, is the famous Vate Salvatore De Angelis, famous throughout Italy for his adventurous and theoretical life of a new vaguely defined ideology, Legionarism.

ITALIAN REPUBLICAN PARTY: The Italian Republican Party (PRI) is the heir to the oldest Mazzinian republican tradition aiming to transform Italy from a Confederal Monarchy to a Republic. Founded by anti-monarchical liberals such as Gastone Mondelli, they share numerous ideas with their colleagues from the PLI, including freedom of trade and economic initiative, as well as private and personal. They are the most tending to an alliance with France seen as the beacon of all European republics.

The twentieth century came after a politically tumultuous period for the Italian Confederation: the continuous growth of the socialist seats in parliement had increased their value exponentially, increasingly reducing the majority held by conservatives and liberals who had to seek more and more compromises with the reds in order to carry on. their legislation, compromises that the socialists did not consider satisfactory, demolishing the numerous bills and condemning the parliament to inactivity.


A strike in 1903 when the workers and their families occupied the Bergamo Steelworks for a month before returning to work. The labour question was becoming the main issue of the early XX century as Italy looked inwards for the first time after looking outwards, finding troublesome situations thought resolved.

Highly dissatisfied with these developments and opposed to the socialists was Umberto I; the monarch was frustrated by the lack of progress made in parliament due to the red obstructionism and the incompetent prime ministers picked by political plays, longing for the arrival of a new Cavour who could save the country from stagnation. When the liberal government fell in 1903 on the question of the nationalization of the railways, the king decided that he had had enough of the liberals and appointed Andrea Riva, leader of the Federal Party, Prime Minister with the task to untie the gordian knot that was parliement

Riva rose to government in mid-1903 just a few months before the next elections with a seemingly impossible task, but the king had unwittingly found his new Cavour. The prime minister's first goal was to permanently resolve the workers' question, of which the socialists were spokesmen. Deciding to ignore the reds, Riva sent his deputy, Francesco Levi, to negotiate with the captains of industry and all the workers' associations that had shown themselves in favor of dealing with the government, reaching an integral agreement that defined working hours, safety , minimum wage, pensions and benefits for the disabled which was submitted to parliament a few weeks before the election.


Socialist senators protested the Levi Proposal when it was first presented

The Socialists denounced the agreement as reactionary and, along with dissatisfied Liberals and Federalists, defeated the bill. Levi then leaked the proposal to the press blaming the socialists for it's failure to pass. The population, especially the workers, were infuriated with the socialists for rejecting Riva's proposal. Thus it was that the Italian Federal Party triumphed in the elections of 1904 obtaining a clear majority and no longer having to rely on the liberals, it was able to start its legislative program.

The first reform that was implemented was that of labor, realizing Levi's proposal with a comfortable majority thus giving life to the "Labor Law of 1904" which guaranteed pensions, reduced working hours, a decent minimum wage and more safety standards at work, the all controlled by the newly created Ministry of Labor. The law pacified the workers by further reducing the consensus for socialists who had previously rejected the proposal, channeling support for the federal party which began to gain a foothold among the lower strata of the population.


Automatic rifles were invented by Italian colonel Amedeo Cei-Rigotti in 1890 with the development of the omonimous rifle: thei first version failed tests but was later upgraded and started mass production as the government spended on modernization

To stimulate the growing economy, Riva initiated a program of modernization and expansion of the armed forces, pumping funds into the creation and expansion of military industries as well as modernization and expansion. The main interest was placed on promising experimental projects: an automatic rifle designed by Amerigo Cei-Rigotti and purchased by Beretta, invented at the end of the 19th century and seen as a potential new service rifle for the army, utilizing this previous experience to get ahead of other European nations such as North Germany and France in the development of a semi-automatic rifle that could also fire in automatic mode. For the Navy, Vittorio Cuniberti's idea of a single-caliber battleship was the one that attracted the most interest and with a budget suprlus, funds were allocated for the construction of the ship in the Palermo Shipyards, the largest in the Central Mediterranean. The ship was called Italia and as the first dreadnought made all warships in the world obsolete at the time of its launch, being better armed, more armored and faster than all other battleships in existence. The effectiveness of the model prompted the government to commission 5 more and study new ships, while major European powers raced to field similar warships, sparking a naval arms race between European powers.


Italia class dreadnought Dante Alighieri was the second Italian dreadnought, which entred service in 1907, a year after the original Italia. Assigned to the Thyrrenian Fleet the dreadnought made the French hasten up their shipbuilding program in order to counter Italian naval supremacy.

The industrialization of the peninsula proceeded without stopping for a moment: the Po valley had become the main industrial center, dotted with factories from Turin to Udine, with a level of development and production concentration comparable to the German Ruhr. New plants opened every day, each one different from the other: textile, chemical, steel, military and the first automotive, aeronautical and electronic industries. Industry was the main Italian export, fueled by the resources found in the colonies which fueled the continued growth. The industrial north was also a stronghold of the Federal party, as well as the place of origin of Riva; it was only natural that the government ended up favoring the industrial conglomerates of the north with tax cuts, orders and moderate protectionism in strategic sectors. Big corporations like Beretta, Colombo and Martinelli were joined by the newly created Lombard Automotive Society, a union of three car manufacturers located in Milan, specialized in the automotive industry, the first one in Italy and the plains of Emilia saw the creation of the first aeronautical industry in the peninsula, the Italian Aircraft Factory, a semi private enterpirse owned by both the state and private investors interested in aeronautics that since 1903 had charmed the world ans stimulated the mind of many artists such as the Futurists


The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan the most fashionable and culturally active place in the city, serving as a passage between La Scala and Duomo Square. It's restaurants and coffes were gathering place for the city's cultural elite as Furutism, one of the most Avant-Garde styles, was created in it's halls.

In Italy, as in the rest of the Western world, the international feminist movement that demanded the expansion of civil rights was becoming more and more popular.The traditional parties had a lukewarm reception on the subject, without committing to a real national reform and preferring to leave it to the member states, the socialists showed great support for the idea, but those who fully embraced the movement were the ANI, pushed by their poet Salvatore De Angelis who in his 1907 publication "The Legionary State" defined the contribution of women as "Fundamental and non-negotiable" in the struggle for the liberation of Italy and their important role in society.

In 1906 the redevelopment of Rome ended: the eternal city had now become the ideal place to be the seat of the Italian government, therefore Riva began the "migration", as it was defined by the Italian newspapers, from Milan to Rome in the buildings built especially for the government and to house the king who would have taken up residence in the eternal city permanently by now. Milan remained the economic capital of Italy while Rome, in a more centered position being the historical capital of the peninsula since the Romans, became the seat of political power, shared with the church that was confined to the Vatican City.
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Very interesting read so far. Europe sure is going to end up funky in this timeline, especially with nerfed Prussia and Austria, Russia not humiliated by the Crimean War or Russo-Japanese, and a much more powerful Italy. GeoPolitics should be doubly interesting now.
Has Austria-Hungary been shook out of its lethargy by an state rising to nearly France levels next to its border.
Austria is...not that well. A later chapter will cover the dual monarchy but for now let's just say that despite Maximillian's best efforts democracy still has a long way to go along with modernization and industrialization. Italian military expansion has drawn the continent's attention and now everyone is scrambling to militarize themselves in order to not lag behind.

I see the Italian government basically pulled a Lloyd George-Bismarck combo.
The alliance between ruling class and proletarian will definitely be beneficial to the government as the workers see the Federal Party as the true guarantor of their rights while the socialists start losing traction and fight amongst themselves with the more radical (communist) wing openly clashing with the reformists and threatening a split