Kingdom of Sicily

Kingdom of Sicily

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The Kingdom of Sicily was a state that existed in the south of Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 from its founding by Roger II
Roger II of Sicily
Roger II was King of Sicily, son of Roger I of Sicily and successor to his brother Simon. He began his rule as Count of Sicily in 1105, later became Duke of Apulia and Calabria , then King of Sicily...

 in 1130 until 1816. It was a successor state of the County of Sicily
County of Sicily
The County of Sicily was a Norman state comprising the islands of Sicily and Malta from 1071 until 1130. The county began to form during the Christian reconquest of Sicily from the Muslim Emirate, established by conquest in 965. The county is thus a transitionary period in the history of Sicily...

, which had been founded in 1071 during the Norman conquest of southern Italy
Norman conquest of southern Italy
The Norman conquest of southern Italy spanned the late eleventh and much of the twelfth centuries, involving many battles and many independent players conquering territories of their own...

. Until 1282 the Kingdom (sometimes called the regnum Apuliae et Siciliae) covered not only the island of Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

, but also the whole Mezzogiorno
Mezzogiorno
The Midday is a wide definition, without any administrative usage, used to indicate the southern half of the Italian state, encompassing the southern section of the continental Italian Peninsula and the two major islands of Sicily and Sardinia, in addition to a large number of minor islands...

 region of southern Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 and the Maltese
Malta
Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

 archipelago. The island was divided into three regions: Val di Mazara, Val Demone and Val di Noto.

In 1282 a revolt against the Angevin rule, known as the Sicilian Vespers
Sicilian Vespers
The Sicilian Vespers is the name given to the successful rebellion on the island of Sicily that broke out on the Easter of 1282 against the rule of the French/Angevin king Charles I, who had ruled the Kingdom of Sicily since 1266. Within six weeks three thousand French men and women were slain by...

, threw off Charles of Anjou's rule of the island of Sicily. The Angevins managed to maintain control in the mainland part of the kingdom, which became a separate entity also styled Kingdom of Sicily, although it is commonly referred to as the Kingdom of Naples
Kingdom of Naples
The Kingdom of Naples, comprising the southern part of the Italian peninsula, was the remainder of the old Kingdom of Sicily after secession of the island of Sicily as a result of the Sicilian Vespers rebellion of 1282. Known to contemporaries as the Kingdom of Sicily, it is dubbed Kingdom of...

, after its capital. The island became a separate kingdom, under the rule of a Catalan-Aragonese dynasty that ruled over the Crown of Aragon
Crown of Aragon
The Crown of Aragon Corona d'Aragón Corona d'Aragó Corona Aragonum controlling a large portion of the present-day eastern Spain and southeastern France, as well as some of the major islands and mainland possessions stretching across the Mediterranean as far as Greece...

. After 1302 the island kingdom was sometimes called the Kingdom of Trinacria. Often the kingship was vested in another monarch such as the King of Aragon, the King of Spain or the Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

. In 1816 the island Kingdom of Sicily merged with the Kingdom of Naples to form the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, commonly known as the Two Sicilies even before formally coming into being, was the largest and wealthiest of the Italian states before Italian unification...

. In 1861 its areas were united with the Kingdom of Italy
Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946)
The Kingdom of Italy was a state forged in 1861 by the unification of Italy under the influence of the Kingdom of Sardinia, which was its legal predecessor state...

.

Norman conquest


By the 11th century mainland southern Italian powers were hiring Norman mercenaries, who were descendants of the Vikings; it was the Normans under Roger I
Roger I of Sicily
Roger I , called Bosso and the Great Count, was the Norman Count of Sicily from 1071 to 1101. He was the last great leader of the Norman conquest of southern Italy.-Conquest of Calabria and Sicily:...

 who conquered Sicily, taking it away from the Arab Muslims. After taking Apulia
Apulia
Apulia is a region in Southern Italy bordering the Adriatic Sea in the east, the Ionian Sea to the southeast, and the Strait of Òtranto and Gulf of Taranto in the south. Its most southern portion, known as Salento peninsula, forms a high heel on the "boot" of Italy. The region comprises , and...

 and Calabria
Calabria
Calabria , in antiquity known as Bruttium, is a region in southern Italy, south of Naples, located at the "toe" of the Italian Peninsula. The capital city of Calabria is Catanzaro....

, he occupied Messina with an army of 700 knights. In 1068, Roger Guiscard and his men defeated the Muslims at Misilmeri
Misilmeri
Misilmeri is a town and comune in the province of Palermo, Sicily, Italy. It is located approximately from Palermo and its name means "the resting place or the messuage of the Emir", and dates from when the Saracens ruled Sicily and named it Manzil-Al-Emir.The population is approximately 24,000...

 but the most crucial battle was the siege of Palermo, which led to Sicily being completely under Norman control by 1091.

Norman kingdom


The Norman
Normans
The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Norse Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock...

 Kingdom was created in 1130 by Roger II of Sicily
Roger II of Sicily
Roger II was King of Sicily, son of Roger I of Sicily and successor to his brother Simon. He began his rule as Count of Sicily in 1105, later became Duke of Apulia and Calabria , then King of Sicily...

. Roger united the lands he inherited from his father Roger I of Sicily
Roger I of Sicily
Roger I , called Bosso and the Great Count, was the Norman Count of Sicily from 1071 to 1101. He was the last great leader of the Norman conquest of southern Italy.-Conquest of Calabria and Sicily:...

. These areas included the Duchy of Apulia and the County of Sicily
County of Sicily
The County of Sicily was a Norman state comprising the islands of Sicily and Malta from 1071 until 1130. The county began to form during the Christian reconquest of Sicily from the Muslim Emirate, established by conquest in 965. The county is thus a transitionary period in the history of Sicily...

, which belonged to his cousin William II, Duke of Apulia
William II, Duke of Apulia
William II was the duke of Apulia and Calabria from 1111 to 1127. He was the son and successor of Roger Borsa. His mother, Adela of Flanders, had previously been queen of Denmark, and he was a half-brother of Charles the Good....

, until his death in 1127, and the other Norman vassals. Roger threw his support behind the Antipope Anacletus II
Antipope Anacletus II
Anacletus II , born Pietro Pierleoni, was an Antipope who ruled from 1130 to his death, in a schism against the contested, hasty election of Pope Innocent II....

, who enthroned him King of Sicily on Christmas Day 1130.

In 1136, the rival of Anacletus, Pope Innocent II
Pope Innocent II
Pope Innocent II , born Gregorio Papareschi, was pope from 1130 to 1143, and was probably one of the clergy in personal attendance on the antipope Clement III .-Early years:...

, convinced Lothair III, Holy Roman Emperor
Lothair III, Holy Roman Emperor
Lothair III of Supplinburg , was Duke of Saxony , King of Germany , and Holy Roman Emperor from 1133 to 1137. The son of Count Gebhard of Supplinburg, his reign was troubled by the constant intriguing of Frederick I, Duke of Swabia and Duke Conrad of Franconia...

 to attack the Kingdom of Sicily with help from the Byzantine Emperor John II Comnenus. Two main armies, one led by Lothair, the other by Duke of Bavaria Henry the Proud, invaded Sicily. On the river Tronto
Tronto
The Tronto is a 115 km-long Italian river that arises at Monte della Laghetta and ends in the Adriatic Sea at Porto d'Ascoli, San Benedetto del Tronto. Anciently the Truentus, it traverses the Lazio, Marche, and Abruzzo regions....

, William of Loritello
William of Loritello
William was an Italo-Norman nobleman, the son and successor of Count Robert II of Loritello in 1137.He reigned only briefly, because, immediately after his succession, the Emperor Lothair II descended the peninsula to fight the royal pretensions of Roger II of Sicily in the Mezzogiorno. On the...

 surrendered to Lothair and opened the gates of Termoli to him. This was followed by Count Hugh II of Molise. The two armies were united at Bari
Bari
Bari is the capital city of the province of Bari and of the Apulia region, on the Adriatic Sea, in Italy. It is the second most important economic centre of mainland Southern Italy after Naples, and is well known as a port and university city, as well as the city of Saint Nicholas...

, from where in 1137 they continued their campaign. Roger offered to give Apulia as a fief to the Empire, which Lothair refused after being pressured by Innocent. At the same period the army of Lothair revolted.

Then Lothair, who had hoped for the complete conquest of Sicily, gave Capua
Capua
Capua is a city and comune in the province of Caserta, Campania, southern Italy, situated 25 km north of Naples, on the northeastern edge of the Campanian plain. Ancient Capua was situated where Santa Maria Capua Vetere is now...

 and Apulia from the Kingdom of Sicily to Roger's enemies. Innocent protested, claiming that Apulia fell under papal claims. Lothair turned north, but died while crossing the Alps on December 4, 1137. At the Second Council of the Lateran
Second Council of the Lateran
The Second Council of the Lateran is believed to have been the Tenth Ecumenical Council by Roman Catholics. It was held by Pope Innocent II in April 1139, and was attended by close to a thousand clerics...

 in April 1139, Innocent excommunicated Roger for maintaining a schismatic
Schism (religion)
A schism , from Greek σχίσμα, skhísma , is a division between people, usually belonging to an organization or movement religious denomination. The word is most frequently applied to a break of communion between two sections of Christianity that were previously a single body, or to a division within...

 attitude. On March 22, 1139, at Galluccio, Roger's son Roger III, Duke of Apulia
Roger III, Duke of Apulia
Roger III was the Norman duke of Apulia from 1135. He was the eldest son of King Roger II of Sicily and Elvira of Castile....

 ambushed the papal troops with a thousand knights and captured the pope. On March 25, 1139, Innocent was forced to acknowledge the kingship and possessions of Roger with the Treaty of Mignano
Treaty of Mignano
The Treaty of Mignano of 1139 was the treaty which ended more than a decade of constant war in the Italian Mezzogiorno following the union of the mainland duchy of Apulia and Calabria with the County of Sicily in 1127...

.

Roger spent most of the decade, beginning with his coronation and ending with the Assizes of Ariano
Assizes of Ariano
The Assizes of Ariano were a series of laws promulgated in the summer of 1140 at Ariano, near Benevento in the Mezzogiorno, by Roger II of Sicily. Having recently pacified the peninsula, constantly in revolt, he had decided to make a move to more centralised government...

, enacting a series of laws with which Roger intended to centralise the government, fending off multiple invasions and quelling rebellions by his premier vassals: Grimoald of Bari, Robert II of Capua
Robert II of Capua
Robert II was the count of Aversa and the prince of Capua from 1127 until his death .He was the only son and successor of Jordan II of Capua...

, Ranulf of Alife, Sergius VII of Naples
Sergius VII of Naples
Sergius VII was the thirty-ninth and last duke of Naples. He succeeded his father John VI on the Neapolitan throne in 1120 or 1123 at a time when Roger II of Sicily was rising rapidly in power...

 and others. It was through his admiral George of Antioch
George of Antioch
George of Antioch was the first true ammiratus ammiratorum, successor of the great Christodulus. George was a Greek Melchite, born in Antioch, whence he moved with his father, Michael, and mother to Tunisia. His parents found employment under the Zirid Sultan, Tamim ibn Muizz...

 that Roger then proceeded to conquer the Mahdia
Mahdia
Mahdia is a provincial centre north of Sfax. It is important for the associated fish-processing industry, as well as weaving. It is the capital of Mahdia Governorate.- History :...

 in Africa (Ifriqiya
Ifriqiya
In medieval history, Ifriqiya or Ifriqiyah was the area comprising the coastal regions of what are today western Libya, Tunisia, and eastern Algeria. This area included what had been the Roman province of Africa, whose name it inherited....

), taking the unofficial title "King of Africa". At the same time Roger's fleet attacked the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

, making Sicily the leading maritime power in the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

 for almost a century.

Roger's son and successor was William I of Sicily
William I of Sicily
William I , called the Bad or the Wicked, was the second king of Sicily, ruling from his father's death in 1154 to his own...

, known as "William the Bad", though his nickname derived primarily from his lack of popularity with the chroniclers, who supported the baronial revolts which William suppressed. His reign ended in peace (1166), but his son, William II
William II of Sicily
William II , called the Good, was king of Sicily from 1166 to 1189. William's character is very indistinct. Lacking in military enterprise, secluded and pleasure-loving, he seldom emerged from his palace life at Palermo. Yet his reign is marked by an ambitious foreign policy and a vigorous diplomacy...

, was a minor. Until the end of the boy's regency
Regent
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

 in 1172, the kingdom saw turmoil which almost brought the ruling family down. The reign of William II is remembered as two decades of almost continual peace and prosperity. For this more than anything, he is nicknamed "the Good". He died in 1189 without having heirs, which led the kingdom to decline.

Tancred of Lecce seized the throne but had to contend with the revolt of his distant cousin Roger of Andria
Roger of Andria
Roger, count of Andria and Great Chamberlain of Sicily, was a claimant for the Sicilian throne after the death of William II in 1189. He is claimed by some to have been a great-grandson of Drogo of Hauteville, but this cannot be proven....

 and the invasion of Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor
Henry VI was King of Germany from 1190 to 1197, Holy Roman Emperor from 1191 to 1197 and King of Sicily from 1194 to 1197.-Early years:Born in Nijmegen,...

 on behalf of his wife, Constance
Constance of Sicily
Constance of Hauteville was the heiress of the Norman kings of Sicily and the wife of Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor...

, the daughter of Roger II. Constance and Henry eventually prevailed and the kingdom fell in 1194 to the House of Hohenstaufen. Through Constance, the Hauteville
Hauteville family
The family of the Hauteville was a petty baronial Norman family from the Cotentin which rose to prominence in Europe, Asia, and Africa through its conquests in the Mediterranean, especially Southern Italy and Sicily...

 blood was passed to Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor.

Hohenstaufen kingdom


The accession of Frederick, a child who would then become also the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II in 1197, greatly affected the immediate future of Sicily. For a land so used to centralised royal authority, the king's young age caused a serious power vacuum. His uncle Philip of Swabia
Philip of Swabia
Philip of Swabia was king of Germany and duke of Swabia, the rival of the emperor Otto IV.-Biography:Philip was the fifth and youngest son of Emperor Frederick I and Beatrice I, Countess of Burgundy, daughter of Renaud III, count of Burgundy, and brother of the emperor Henry VI...

 moved to secure Frederick's inheritance by appointing Markward von Anweiler, margrave
Margrave
A margrave or margravine was a medieval hereditary nobleman with military responsibilities in a border province of a kingdom. Border provinces usually had more exposure to military incursions from the outside, compared to interior provinces, and thus a margrave usually had larger and more active...

 of Ancona
Ancona
Ancona is a city and a seaport in the Marche region, in central Italy, with a population of 101,909 . Ancona is the capital of the province of Ancona and of the region....

, regent in 1198. Meanwhile, Pope Innocent III
Pope Innocent III
Pope Innocent III was Pope from 8 January 1198 until his death. His birth name was Lotario dei Conti di Segni, sometimes anglicised to Lothar of Segni....

 had reasserted papal authority in Sicily, but recognised Frederick's rights. The pope was to see papal power decrease steadily over the next decade and was unsure about which side to back at many junctures.
The Hohenstaufen's grip on power, however, was not secure. Walter III of Brienne
Walter III of Brienne
Walter III of Brienne was the Count of Brienne 1191–1205, Prince of Taranto, Duke of Apulia, and Count of Lecce, and titular King of Sicily 1201–1205....

 had married the daughter of Tancred of Sicily
Tancred of Sicily
Tancred was King of Sicily from 1189 to 1194. He was an illegitimate son of Roger III, Duke of Apulia, the eldest son of King Roger II, and of Emma, daughter of Achard II, Count of Lecce...

. She was sister and heiress of the deposed King William III of Sicily. In 1201 William decided to claim the kingdom. In 1202, an army led by the chancellor Walter of Palearia
Walter of Palearia
Walter of Palear was chancellor of Sicily and the bishop of Troia and then bishop of Catania ....

 and Dipold of Vohburg was defeated by Walter III of Brienne. Markward was killed, and Frederick fell under the control of William of Capparone
William of Capparone
William of Capparone was a German captain of Palermo who came to power as the regent of Sicily and guardian of future emperor Frederick II in 1202 after the death of Markward von Anweiler. He held the post for the next four years until 1206. He was called the Great Captain.William was probably...

, an ally of the Pisa
Pisa
Pisa is a city in Tuscany, Central Italy, on the right bank of the mouth of the River Arno on the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Pisa...

ns. Dipold continued the war against Walter on the mainland until the claimant's death in 1205. Dipold finally wrested Frederick from Capparone in 1206 and gave him over to the guardianship of the chancellor, Walter of Palearia. Walter and Dipold then had a falling out, and the latter captured the royal palace, where he was besieged and captured by Walter in 1207. After a decade, the wars over the regency and the throne itself had ceased.

The reform of the laws began with the Assizes of Ariano
Assizes of Ariano
The Assizes of Ariano were a series of laws promulgated in the summer of 1140 at Ariano, near Benevento in the Mezzogiorno, by Roger II of Sicily. Having recently pacified the peninsula, constantly in revolt, he had decided to make a move to more centralised government...

 in 1140 by Roger II
Roger II of Sicily
Roger II was King of Sicily, son of Roger I of Sicily and successor to his brother Simon. He began his rule as Count of Sicily in 1105, later became Duke of Apulia and Calabria , then King of Sicily...

. Frederick continued the reformation with the Assizes of Capua
Assizes of Capua
The Assizes of Capua were the first of two great legislative acts of the reign of Frederick II of Sicily, Holy Roman Emperor. They were the first, promulgated at Capua in 1220, before the Constitutions of Melfi of 1231....

 (1220) and the promulgation of the Constitutions of Melfi
Constitutions of Melfi
The Constitutions of Melfi, or Liber Augustalis, were a new legal code for the Kingdom of Sicily promulgated on 1 September 1231 by Emperor Frederick II. It was given at Melfi, the town from which Frederick's Norman ancestors had first set out to conquer the Mezzogiorno two centuries earlier...

 (1231, also known as Liber Augustalis), a collection of laws for his realm that was remarkable for its time. The Constitutions of Melfi were created in order to establish a centralized state. For example, citizens were not allowed to carry weapons or wear armour in public unless they were under royal command. As a result, rebellions were reduced. The Constitutions made the Kingdom of Sicily an absolute monarchy
Absolute monarchy
Absolute monarchy is a monarchical form of government in which the monarch exercises ultimate governing authority as head of state and head of government, his or her power not being limited by a constitution or by the law. An absolute monarch thus wields unrestricted political power over the...

, the first centralized state
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

 in Europe to emerge from feudalism
Feudalism
Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for ordering society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour.Although derived from the...

; it also set a precedent for the primacy of written law. With relatively small modifications, the Liber Augustalis remained the basis of Sicilian law until 1819. During this period, he also built the Castel del Monte, and in 1224, he founded the University of Naples, now called Università Federico II. It remained the sole athenaeum of Southern Italy for centuries.

After the death of Frederick, the Kingdom was ruled by Henry VII of Germany and Conrad IV of Germany
Conrad IV of Germany
Conrad IV was king of Jerusalem , of Germany , and of Sicily .-Biography:...

. The next legitimate heir was Conrad II
Conradin
Conrad , called the Younger or the Boy, but usually known by the diminutive Conradin , was the Duke of Swabia , King of Jerusalem , and King of Sicily .-Early childhood:Conradin was born in Wolfstein, Bavaria, to Conrad...

, who was too young at the period to rule. Manfred of Sicily, the illegitimate son of Frederick, took the power and ruled the kingdom for fifteen years while other Hohenstaufen heirs were ruling various areas in Germany. After long wars against the Papal States
Papal States
The Papal State, State of the Church, or Pontifical States were among the major historical states of Italy from roughly the 6th century until the Italian peninsula was unified in 1861 by the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia .The Papal States comprised territories under...

, the Kingdom managed to defend its possessions, but the Papacy declared the Kingdom escheated because of disloyalty of the Hohenstaufen. Under this pretext he came to an agreement with Louis IX
Louis IX
Louis IX may refer to:* Louis IX of France .* Louis IX, Duke of Bavaria "the Rich" * Louis IX, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt ....

, King of France. Louis's brother, Charles of Anjou, would become king of Sicily. In exchange, Charles recognized the overlordship of the Pope in the Kingdom, paid a portion of the papal debt, and agreed to pay annual tribute to the Papal States. The Hohenstaufen rule in Sicily ended after the 1266 Angevin
Capetian House of Anjou
The Capetian House of Anjou, also known as the House of Anjou-Sicily and House of Anjou-Naples, was a royal house and cadet branch of the direct House of Capet. Founded by Charles I of Sicily, a son of Louis VIII of France, the Capetian king first ruled the Kingdom of Sicily during the 13th century...

 invasion and the death of Conradin
Conradin
Conrad , called the Younger or the Boy, but usually known by the diminutive Conradin , was the Duke of Swabia , King of Jerusalem , and King of Sicily .-Early childhood:Conradin was born in Wolfstein, Bavaria, to Conrad...

, the last male heir of Hohenstaufen, in 1268.

Angevin and Catalan-Aragonese kingdoms


In 1266, conflict between the Hohenstaufen house and the Papacy led to Sicily's conquest by Charles I
Charles I of Sicily
Charles I , known also as Charles of Anjou, was the King of Sicily by conquest from 1266, though he had received it as a papal grant in 1262 and was expelled from the island in the aftermath of the Sicilian Vespers of 1282...

, Duke of Anjou
Anjou
Anjou is a former county , duchy and province centred on the city of Angers in the lower Loire Valley of western France. It corresponds largely to the present-day département of Maine-et-Loire...

. Opposition to French officialdom and taxation combined with inciment of rebellion by agents from the Crown of Aragon
Crown of Aragon
The Crown of Aragon Corona d'Aragón Corona d'Aragó Corona Aragonum controlling a large portion of the present-day eastern Spain and southeastern France, as well as some of the major islands and mainland possessions stretching across the Mediterranean as far as Greece...

 and the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 led to the Sicilian Vespers
Sicilian Vespers
The Sicilian Vespers is the name given to the successful rebellion on the island of Sicily that broke out on the Easter of 1282 against the rule of the French/Angevin king Charles I, who had ruled the Kingdom of Sicily since 1266. Within six weeks three thousand French men and women were slain by...

 insurrection and successful invasion by king Peter III of Aragon
Peter III of Aragon
Peter the Great was the King of Aragon of Valencia , and Count of Barcelona from 1276 to his death. He conquered Sicily and became its king in 1282. He was one of the greatest of medieval Aragonese monarchs.-Youth and succession:Peter was the eldest son of James I of Aragon and his second wife...

 in 1282. The resulting War of the Sicilian Vespers
War of the Sicilian Vespers
The War of the ' Vespers started with the insurrection of the Sicilian Vespers against Charles of Anjou in 1282 and finally ended with the peace of Caltabellotta in 1302...

 lasted until the Peace of Caltabellotta
Peace of Caltabellotta
The Peace of Caltabellotta, signed on 31 August, 1302, was the last of a series of treaties, including those of Tarascon and Anagni, designed to end the conflict between the Houses of Anjou and Barcelona for ascendancy in the Mediterranean and especially Sicily and the Mezzogiorno.The peace divided...

 in 1302, dividing the old Kingdom of Sicily in two. The island of Sicily, called the "Kingdom of Sicily beyond the Lighthouse" or the Kingdom of Trinacria, went to Frederick III
Frederick III of Sicily
Frederick II was the regent and subsequently King of Sicily from 1295 until his death. He was the third son of Peter III of Aragon and served in the War of the Sicilian Vespers on behalf of his father and brothers, Alfonso and James...

 of the house of Aragon
House of Aragon
The House of Aragon is the name given several royal houses that ruled the County, the Kingdom or the Crown of Aragon.Some historiansGuillermo Fatás y Guillermo Redondo, Alberto Montaner Frutos, Faustino Menéndez Pidal de Navascués...

, who had been ruling it. The peninsular territories (the Mezzogiorno
Mezzogiorno
The Midday is a wide definition, without any administrative usage, used to indicate the southern half of the Italian state, encompassing the southern section of the continental Italian Peninsula and the two major islands of Sicily and Sardinia, in addition to a large number of minor islands...

), contemporaneously called Kingdom of Sicily but called Kingdom of Naples
Kingdom of Naples
The Kingdom of Naples, comprising the southern part of the Italian peninsula, was the remainder of the old Kingdom of Sicily after secession of the island of Sicily as a result of the Sicilian Vespers rebellion of 1282. Known to contemporaries as the Kingdom of Sicily, it is dubbed Kingdom of...

 by modern scholarship, went to Charles II
Charles II of Naples
Charles II, known as "the Lame" was King of Naples, King of Albania, Prince of Salerno, Prince of Achaea and Count of Anjou.-Biography:...

 of the house of Anjou
Capetian House of Anjou
The Capetian House of Anjou, also known as the House of Anjou-Sicily and House of Anjou-Naples, was a royal house and cadet branch of the direct House of Capet. Founded by Charles I of Sicily, a son of Louis VIII of France, the Capetian king first ruled the Kingdom of Sicily during the 13th century...

, who had likewise been ruling it. Thus, the peace was formal recognition of an uneasy status quo. Despite the king of Spain were able to seize both the two crowns starting from the XVI century, the administrations of the two halves of the Kingdom of Sicily remained separated until 1816, when they were reunited in the Kingdom of Two Sicilies (for the history regarding the continental half of the kingdom, see: Kingdom of Naples
Kingdom of Naples
The Kingdom of Naples, comprising the southern part of the Italian peninsula, was the remainder of the old Kingdom of Sicily after secession of the island of Sicily as a result of the Sicilian Vespers rebellion of 1282. Known to contemporaries as the Kingdom of Sicily, it is dubbed Kingdom of...

).

The insular kingdom of Sicily under the Crown of Aragon and Spain



Sicily was ruled as an independent kingdom by relatives or cadet branch of the house of Aragon until 1409 and thence as part of the Crown of Aragon
Crown of Aragon
The Crown of Aragon Corona d'Aragón Corona d'Aragó Corona Aragonum controlling a large portion of the present-day eastern Spain and southeastern France, as well as some of the major islands and mainland possessions stretching across the Mediterranean as far as Greece...

. The Kingdom of Naples was ruled by the Angevin ruler René of Anjou until the two thrones were reunited by Alfonso V of Aragon
Alfonso V of Aragon
Alfonso the Magnanimous KG was the King of Aragon , Valencia , Majorca, Sardinia and Corsica , and Sicily and Count of Barcelona from 1416 and King of Naples from 1442 until his death...

, after the successful siege of Naples and the defeat of René on June 6, 1443. Eventually, Alfonso of Aragon divided the two kingdoms during his rule. He gave the rule of Naples to his illegitimate son Ferdinand I of Naples
Ferdinand I of Naples
Ferdinand I , also called Don Ferrante, was the King of Naples from 1458 to 1494. He was the natural son of Alfonso V of Aragon by Giraldona Carlino.-Biography:...

, who ruled from 1458 to 1494, and the rest of the Crown of Aragon and Sicily to Alfonso's brother John II of Aragon
John II of Aragon
John II the Faithless, also known as the Great was the King of Aragon from 1458 until 1479, and jure uxoris King of Navarre from 1425 until his death. He was the son of Ferdinand I and his wife Eleanor of Alburquerque...

. From 1494 to 1503 successive kings of France Charles VIII
Charles VIII of France
Charles VIII, called the Affable, , was King of France from 1483 to his death in 1498. Charles was a member of the House of Valois...

 and Louis XII, who were heirs of Angevins, tried to conquer Naples (see Italian Wars
Italian Wars
The Italian Wars, often referred to as the Great Italian Wars or the Great Wars of Italy and sometimes as the Habsburg–Valois Wars, were a series of conflicts from 1494 to 1559 that involved, at various times, most of the city-states of Italy, the Papal States, most of the major states of Western...

) but failed. Eventually the Kingdom of Naples was reunited with the Crown of Aragon. The titles were held by the Aragonese kings of the Catalan-Aragonese Crown until 1516, followed by the Kings of Spain until the end of the Spanish branch of the House of Habsburg in 1700.

The War of the Spanish Succession



From 1713 until 1720 the Kingdom of Sicily was ruled briefly by the House of Savoy
House of Savoy
The House of Savoy was formed in the early 11th century in the historical Savoy region. Through gradual expansion, it grew from ruling a small county in that region to eventually rule the Kingdom of Italy from 1861 until the end of World War II, king of Croatia and King of Armenia...

, which had received it by the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht
Treaty of Utrecht
The Treaty of Utrecht, which established the Peace of Utrecht, comprises a series of individual peace treaties, rather than a single document, signed by the belligerents in the War of Spanish Succession, in the Dutch city of Utrecht in March and April 1713...

, which brought an end to the War of the Spanish Succession
War of the Spanish Succession
The War of the Spanish Succession was fought among several European powers, including a divided Spain, over the possible unification of the Kingdoms of Spain and France under one Bourbon monarch. As France and Spain were among the most powerful states of Europe, such a unification would have...

. The kingdom was a reward to the Savoyards, who were thus elevated to royal rank. The new king, Victor Amadeus II, travelled to Sicily in 1713 and remained a year before returning to his mainland capital, Turin
Turin
Turin is a city and major business and cultural centre in northern Italy, capital of the Piedmont region, located mainly on the left bank of the Po River and surrounded by the Alpine arch. The population of the city proper is 909,193 while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat...

, where his son the Prince of Piedmont
Victor Amadeus, Prince of Piedmont
Victor Amadeus of Savoy was the eldest son of Victor Amadeus II, Duke of Savoy and his French wife Anne Marie d'Orléans. He was the Heir apparent of Savoy from his birth and as such was styled as the Prince of Piedmont. He acted as Regent of Savoy from September 1713 till September 1714 in the...

 had been acting as regent. In Spain the results of the war had not been truly accepted, and the War of the Quadruple Alliance
War of the Quadruple Alliance
The War of the Quadruple Alliance was a result of the ambitions of King Philip V of Spain, his wife, Elisabeth Farnese, and his chief minister Giulio Alberoni to retake territories in Italy and to claim the French throne. It saw the defeat of Spain by an alliance of Britain, France, Austria , and...

 was the result. Sicily was occupied by Spain in 1718. When it became evident that Savoy had not the strength to defend as remote a country as Sicily, Austria
Archduchy of Austria
The Archduchy of Austria , one of the most important states within the Holy Roman Empire, was the nucleus of the Habsburg Monarchy and the predecessor of the Austrian Empire...

 stepped in and exchanged its Kingdom of Sardinia
Kingdom of Sardinia and Corsica
The Kingdom of Sardinia and Corsica was a constituent country of several States through six centuries...

 for Sicily. Victor Amadeus protested this exchange, Sicily being a rich country of over one million inhabitants and Sardinia a poor country of a few hundred thousand, but he was unable to resist his "allies". Spain was finally defeated in 1720, and the Treaty of the Hague
Treaty of The Hague (1720)
The Treaty of The Hague was signed on February 17, 1720. The treaty ended the War of the Quadruple Alliance, a conflict that arose between King Philip V of Spain and an alliance of Great Britain, France, Austria and the Dutch Republic.Philip was confirmed king of Spain by the Treaty of Utrecht in...

 ratified the changeover. Sicily belonged to the Austrian Habsburgs, who already ruled Naples. Victor Amadeus, for his part, continued to protest for three years, and only in 1723 decided to recognize the exchange and desist from using the Sicilian royal title and its subsidiary titles (such as King of Cyprus and Jerusalem).

The two kingdoms under the house of Bourbon


In 1735, Naples and Sicily were attacked by King Philip V of Spain
Philip V of Spain
Philip V was King of Spain from 15 November 1700 to 15 January 1724, when he abdicated in favor of his son Louis, and from 6 September 1724, when he assumed the throne again upon his son's death, to his death.Before his reign, Philip occupied an exalted place in the royal family of France as a...

, a Bourbon, who installed his younger son, Duke Charles of Parma, as King Charles VII of Naples and Sicily
Charles III of Spain
Charles III was the King of Spain and the Spanish Indies from 1759 to 1788. He was the eldest son of Philip V of Spain and his second wife, the Princess Elisabeth Farnese...

, starting a cadet branch of the house of Bourbon
House of Bourbon
The House of Bourbon is a European royal house, a branch of the Capetian dynasty . Bourbon kings first ruled Navarre and France in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Bourbon dynasty also held thrones in Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Parma...

. In 1799 Napoleon conquered Naples, governed by Ferdinand IV of Naples
Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies
Ferdinand I reigned variously over Naples, Sicily, and the Two Sicilies from 1759 until his death. He was the third son of King Charles III of Spain by his wife Maria Amalia of Saxony. On 10 August 1759, Charles succeeded his elder brother, Ferdinand VI, as King Charles III of Spain...

 (later Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies) at the time. It was formed into the Parthenopaean Republic
Parthenopaean Republic
The Parthenopean Republic was a French-supported republic in the territory of the Kingdom of Naples, formed during the French Revolutionary Wars after King Ferdinand IV fled before advancing French troops...

 with French support. Under British
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 pressure, especially from Lord William Bentinck
Lord William Bentinck
Lieutenant-General Lord William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck GCB, GCH, PC , known as Lord William Bentinck, was a British soldier and statesman...

, who was commander of British troops in Sicily, Naples was then handed back to Ferdinand, being forced to create a constitution for the Kingdom of Sicily.

A two-chamber parliament in Palermo and in Naples was formed. The formation of the parliament brought the end of feudalism
Feudalism
Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for ordering society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour.Although derived from the...

 in the Kingdom. After the defeat of Napoleon in 1815 Ferdinand repealed all reforms. The people of Sicily rebelled but were defeated by Spanish and Austrian forces. In 1848 another Sicilian revolution of independence
Sicilian revolution of independence of 1848
The Sicilian revolution of independence of 1848 occurred in a year replete with revolutions and popular revolts. It commenced on 12 January 1848, and therefore was one of the first of the numerous revolutions to occur that year...

 occurred, which was put down by Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies
Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies
Ferdinand II was King of the Two Sicilies from 1830 until his death.-Family:Ferdinand was born in Palermo, the son of King Francis I of the Two Sicilies and his wife and first cousin Maria Isabella of Spain.His paternal grandparents were King Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies and Queen Marie...

, who was surnamed Re Bomba after his 5-day bombardment of Messina. From 1816 to 1861 the kingdoms were united under the name Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.

Malta under the Knights


In 1530, in an effort to protect Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 from Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 invasion from the south, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

, as Charles I of Spain, gave the Islands of Malta
Malta
Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

 and Gozo
Gozo
Gozo is a small island of the Maltese archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. The island is part of the Southern European country of Malta; after the island of Malta itself, it is the second-largest island in the archipelago...

 to the Knights Hospitaller
Knights Hospitaller
The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta , also known as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta , Order of Malta or Knights of Malta, is a Roman Catholic lay religious order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature. It is the world's...

 in perpetual fiefdom, in exchange for an annual fee of two (one for the emperor and one for the viceroy
Viceroy
A viceroy is a royal official who runs a country, colony, or province in the name of and as representative of the monarch. The term derives from the Latin prefix vice-, meaning "in the place of" and the French word roi, meaning king. A viceroy's province or larger territory is called a viceroyalty...

 of Sicily) Maltese falcon
Peregrine Falcon
The Peregrine Falcon , also known as the Peregrine, and historically as the Duck Hawk in North America, is a widespread bird of prey in the family Falconidae. A large, crow-sized falcon, it has a blue-gray back, barred white underparts, and a black head and "moustache"...

s, which they were to send on All Souls' Day to the Viceroy
Viceroy
A viceroy is a royal official who runs a country, colony, or province in the name of and as representative of the monarch. The term derives from the Latin prefix vice-, meaning "in the place of" and the French word roi, meaning king. A viceroy's province or larger territory is called a viceroyalty...

 of Sicily. The Maltese Islands had formed part of the Duchy, and later the Kingdom of Sicily, since 1127. The feudal relationship between Malta and the Kingdom of Sicily was continued throughout the rule of the Knights, until Malta was seized by Napoleon, in 1798.

Unification with the Kingdom of Italy



On April 4, 1860 a revolt against the Bourbon
House of Bourbon
The House of Bourbon is a European royal house, a branch of the Capetian dynasty . Bourbon kings first ruled Navarre and France in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Bourbon dynasty also held thrones in Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Parma...

 regime broke out. Giuseppe Garibaldi
Giuseppe Garibaldi
Giuseppe Garibaldi was an Italian military and political figure. In his twenties, he joined the Carbonari Italian patriot revolutionaries, and fled Italy after a failed insurrection. Garibaldi took part in the War of the Farrapos and the Uruguayan Civil War leading the Italian Legion, and...

 assisted the revolt with his forces. He arrived at Marsala
Marsala
Marsala is a seaport city located in the Province of Trapani on the island of Sicily in Italy. The low coast on which it is situated is the westernmost point of the island...

 on May 11, 1860 with 1,000 Redshirts. The arrival of the Redshirts is known as the Expedition of the Thousand
Expedition of the Thousand
The Expedition of the Thousand was a military campaign led by the revolutionary general Giuseppe Garibaldi in 1860. A force of volunteers defeated the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, leading to its dissolution and annexation by the Kingdom of Sardinia, an important step in the creation of a newly...

  On May 15, the Italian forces defeated the Spanish army, consisting of 15,000 troops, two weeks later Palermo was freed. Francis II of the Two Sicilies
Francis II of the Two Sicilies
Francis II , was King of the Two Sicilies from 1859 to 1861. He was the last King of the Two Sicilies, as successive invasions by Giuseppe Garibaldi and Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia ultimately brought an end to his rule, and marked the first major event of Italian unification...

 tried to regain control of the Kingdom. On June 25, 1860 he restored the constitution of the Kingdom, adopted the Italian tricolour
Flag of Italy
The flag of Italy is a tricolour featuring three equally sized vertical pales of green, white, and red, with the green at the hoist side...

 as the national flag, and promised special institutions for the Kingdom.

On October 21, 1860 a referendum regarding the unification with Italy was conducted. The majority of the Kingdom's population (99%) voted for the unification: most Sicilians viewed the unification as acceptance of the House of Savoy, in which belonged Victor Emmanuel II
Victor Emmanuel II of Italy
Victor Emanuel II was king of Sardinia from 1849 and, on 17 March 1861, he assumed the title King of Italy to become the first king of a united Italy since the 6th century, a title he held until his death in 1878...

, the first king of Italy.

Society


During the Norman Kingdom of Sicily, the local communities maintained their privileges. The rulers of the Hohenstaufen Kingdom replaced the local nobility with lords from northern Italy, leading to clashes and rebellions against the new nobility in many cities and rural communities. These revolts resulted in the destruction of many agrarian areas and the rise of middle class nationalism, which eventually led to urban dwellers becoming allies of the Catalan-Aragonese
Crown of Aragon
The Crown of Aragon Corona d'Aragón Corona d'Aragó Corona Aragonum controlling a large portion of the present-day eastern Spain and southeastern France, as well as some of the major islands and mainland possessions stretching across the Mediterranean as far as Greece...

. This situation was continued during the short rule of the Angevin until their overthrowing during the Sicilian Vespers. The Angevin began feudalising the country, increasing the power of the nobility by granting them jurisdiction over high justice. During the 15th century due to the isolation of the Kingdom, the Renaissance had no impact on it.

At the same period the feudalisation of the Kingdom of Sicily was intensified, through the enforcement of feudal bonds and relations among its subjects. In 1669 the eruption of Mount Etna
Mount Etna
Mount Etna is an active stratovolcano on the east coast of Sicily, close to Messina and Catania. It is the tallest active volcano in Europe, currently standing high, though this varies with summit eruptions; the mountain is 21 m higher than it was in 1981.. It is the highest mountain in...

 destroyed Catania
Catania
Catania is an Italian city on the east coast of Sicily facing the Ionian Sea, between Messina and Syracuse. It is the capital of the homonymous province, and with 298,957 inhabitants it is the second-largest city in Sicily and the tenth in Italy.Catania is known to have a seismic history and...

. In 1693, 5% of the Kingdom's population was killed because of earthquakes
1693 Sicily earthquake
The 1693 Sicily earthquake refers to a powerful earthquake that struck parts of southern Italy, notably Sicily, Calabria and Malta on January 11, 1693 around 9 pm local time. This earthquake was preceded by a damaging foreshock on January 9th...

. In that period there were also plague outbreaks. The 17th and 18th century were an era of decline of the Kingdom. Corruption was prevalent among the upper and middle classes of the society. Widespread corruption and maltreatment of the lower classes by the feudal lords led to the creation of groups of brigands, attacking the nobility and destroying their fiefs. These groups which were self-named "Mafia", were the foundation of the modern Mafia
Mafia
The Mafia is a criminal syndicate that emerged in the mid-nineteenth century in Sicily, Italy. It is a loose association of criminal groups that share a common organizational structure and code of conduct, and whose common enterprise is protection racketeering...

. The escalation of revolts against the monarchy eventually led to the unification with Italy.

Demographics


During the reign of Frederick II
Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick II , was one of the most powerful Holy Roman Emperors of the Middle Ages and head of the House of Hohenstaufen. His political and cultural ambitions, based in Sicily and stretching through Italy to Germany, and even to Jerusalem, were enormous...

 the kingdom had a population of about 2.5 million. During the Hohenstaufen era, the Kingdom had 3 towns with a population of over 20,000 each. After the loss of the northern provinces in 1282 during the Sicilian Vespers
Sicilian Vespers
The Sicilian Vespers is the name given to the successful rebellion on the island of Sicily that broke out on the Easter of 1282 against the rule of the French/Angevin king Charles I, who had ruled the Kingdom of Sicily since 1266. Within six weeks three thousand French men and women were slain by...

 and several natural disasters like the eruption of Mount Etna in 1669, the population of the Kingdom of Sicily was reduced. In 1803 the population of the Kingdom was 1,656,000. The main cities of the Kingdom at that period were Palermo
Palermo
Palermo is a city in Southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Province of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old...

, Catania
Catania
Catania is an Italian city on the east coast of Sicily facing the Ionian Sea, between Messina and Syracuse. It is the capital of the homonymous province, and with 298,957 inhabitants it is the second-largest city in Sicily and the tenth in Italy.Catania is known to have a seismic history and...

, Messina, Modica
Modica
-External links:*...

, Syracuse.
Population of the Kingdom of Sicily in 1803
Division Population
Val di Mazzara 643,000
Val di Demona 521,000
Val di Noto
Val di Noto
Val di Noto is a geographical area of south east Sicily; it is dominated by the limestone Iblean plateau.-The Val di Noto in the Arts:...

 
459,000
Lipari Islands  18,000
Aegadian Islands
Aegadian Islands
The Aegadian Islands , are a group of small mountainous islands in the Mediterranean Sea off the northwest coast of Sicily, Italy, near the city of Trapani, with a total area of ....

 
12,000
Pantelleria Island
Pantelleria
Pantelleria , the ancient Cossyra, is an Italian island in the Strait of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea, southwest of Sicily and just east of the Tunisian coast. Administratively Pantelleria is a comune belonging to the Sicilian province of Trapani...

 
3,000
Total Population 1,656,000

Population of the main cities of the Kingdom of Sicily in 1803
City Population
Palermo
Palermo
Palermo is a city in Southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Province of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old...

 
120,000
Catania
Catania
Catania is an Italian city on the east coast of Sicily facing the Ionian Sea, between Messina and Syracuse. It is the capital of the homonymous province, and with 298,957 inhabitants it is the second-largest city in Sicily and the tenth in Italy.Catania is known to have a seismic history and...

 
40,000
Messina  36,000
Modica
Modica
-External links:*...

 
23,500
Syracuse  17,000


Economy



The high fertility of the land led the Norman kings to bring settlers from neighbouring regions or to resettle farmers to areas where cultivation of land was needed. This led to increase of agrarian production. The main sources of wealth for the Kingdom of Sicily at that period were its maritime cities, most important of which were Naples
Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

 and Amalfi
Amalfi
Amalfi is a town and comune in the province of Salerno, in the region of Campania, Italy, on the Gulf of Salerno, c. 35 km southeast of Naples. It lies at the mouth of a deep ravine, at the foot of Monte Cerreto , surrounded by dramatic cliffs and coastal scenery...

, from which local products were exported. The main export was hard grain
GRAIN
GRAIN is a small international non-profit organisation that works to support small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems. Our support takes the form of independent research and analysis, networking at local, regional and...

, with other products exported including nut
Nut (fruit)
A nut is a hard-shelled fruit of some plants having an indehiscent seed. While a wide variety of dried seeds and fruits are called nuts in English, only a certain number of them are considered by biologists to be true nuts...

s, timber
Timber
Timber may refer to:* Timber, a term common in the United Kingdom and Australia for wood materials * Timber, Oregon, an unincorporated community in the U.S...

, oil
Oil
An oil is any substance that is liquid at ambient temperatures and does not mix with water but may mix with other oils and organic solvents. This general definition includes vegetable oils, volatile essential oils, petrochemical oils, and synthetic oils....

, bacon, cheese
Cheese
Cheese is a generic term for a diverse group of milk-based food products. Cheese is produced throughout the world in wide-ranging flavors, textures, and forms....

, skins, hides, hemp
Hemp
Hemp is mostly used as a name for low tetrahydrocannabinol strains of the plant Cannabis sativa, of fiber and/or oilseed varieties. In modern times, hemp has been used for industrial purposes including paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, construction, health food and fuel with modest...

 and cloth. Grain and other dry products were measured in salme, which was equivalent to 275.08 litres in the western part of the Kingdom, and 3.3 litres in the eastern part. The salma was divided in 16 tumoli. One tumolo was equivalent to 17,193 litre
Litre
pic|200px|right|thumb|One litre is equivalent to this cubeEach side is 10 cm1 litre water = 1 kilogram water The litre is a metric system unit of volume equal to 1 cubic decimetre , to 1,000 cubic centimetres , and to 1/1,000 cubic metre...

s. Weight was measured in cantari. One cantaro was equivalent to 79.35 kilograms (174.9 lb) and was divided in one hundred rottoli. Cloth was measured in canne. One canna was 2.06 meters long. By the end of the 12th century Messina had become one of the leading commercial cities of the kingdom.

Under the Kingdom, Sicily's products went to many different lands. Among these were Genoa
Republic of Genoa
The Most Serene Republic of Genoa |Ligurian]]: Repúbrica de Zêna) was an independent state from 1005 to 1797 in Liguria on the northwestern Italian coast, as well as Corsica from 1347 to 1768, and numerous other territories throughout the Mediterranean....

, Pisa
Republic of Pisa
The Republic of Pisa was a de facto independent state centered on the Tuscan city of Pisa during the late tenth and eleventh centuries. It rose to become an economic powerhouse, a commercial center whose merchants dominated Mediterranean and Italian trade for a century before being surpassed and...

, the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

, and Egypt. Over the course of the twelfth century, Sicily became an important source of raw materials for north Italian cities such as Genoa. As the centuries went on, however, this economic relationship seems to have become less advantageous to Sicily, and some modern scholars see the relationship as frankly exploitative. Furthermore, many scholars believe that Sicily went into decline in the late Middle Ages, though they are not agreed on when this decline occurred. Clifford Backman argues that it is a mistake to see the economic history of Sicily in terms of victimization, and contends that the decline really began in the second part of the reign of Frederick III, in contrast to earlier scholars who believed that Sicilian decline had set in earlier. Where earlier scholars saw late medieval Sicily in continuous decline, Stephen Epstein argued that Sicilian society experienced something of a revival in the fifteenth century.

Various treaties with Genoa secured and strengthened the commercial power of Sicily.

The feudalising of the society during the Angevin rule reduced royal wealth and treasury. The dependence of the Angevin on north Italian commerce and financing by Florentine bankers were the main factors which led to the decline of the Kingdom's economy. The continuation of the economic decline combined with the increased population and urbanization
Urbanization
Urbanization, urbanisation or urban drift is the physical growth of urban areas as a result of global change. The United Nations projected that half of the world's population would live in urban areas at the end of 2008....

 led to decrease of agrarian production.

In 1800 one-third of the available crops was cultivated, with obsolete cultivation methods escalating the problem. In the later period of Spanish rule the trading system was also inefficient in comparison with previous periods because of high taxes on exports and monopolising corporations which had total control of prices.

Coinage



The Norman kings in the 12th century used the tari
Tarì
A tarì was the Christian designation of a type of gold coin of Islamic origin minted in Sicily, Malta and South Italy from about 913 to 1859.-History:...

, which had been used in Sicily from 913 as the basic coin. One tari weighed about one gram and was of gold. The Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 dinar
Dinar
The dinar is the official currency of several countries.The history of the dinar dates to the gold dinar, an early Islamic coin corresponding to the Byzantine denarius auri...

 was worth four tari, and the Byzantine
Byzantine
Byzantine usually refers to the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages.Byzantine may also refer to:* A citizen of the Byzantine Empire, or native Greek during the Middle Ages...

 solidus
Solidus (coin)
The solidus was originally a gold coin issued by the Romans, and a weight measure for gold more generally, corresponding to 4.5 grams.-Roman and Byzantine coinage:...

 six tari. In the kingdom one onza was equivalent to thirty tari or five florins. One tari was worth twenty grani. One grana was equivalent to six denari. After 1140 the circulation of the copper coin romesina stopped and it was replaced by the follaris. Twenty four follari were equivalent to one Byzantine miliaresion
Miliaresion
The miliaresion , was a name used for a number of Byzantine silver coins. In its most specific sense, it refers to a type of silver coin struck in the 8th–11th centuries....

.

After defeating the Tunisians
History of medieval Tunisia
The medieval era opens with the commencement of a process that would return Ifriqiya, i.e., Tunisia, and the entire Maghrib to local Berber rule. The precipitating cause was the departure of the Shia Fatimid Caliphate to their newly conquered territories in Egypt. To govern Ifriqiya in their stead,...

 in 1231 Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick II , was one of the most powerful Holy Roman Emperors of the Middle Ages and head of the House of Hohenstaufen. His political and cultural ambitions, based in Sicily and stretching through Italy to Germany, and even to Jerusalem, were enormous...

 minted the augustalis
Augustalis
An augustalis or augustale was a gold coin minted in the Kingdom of Sicily beginning around 1231. It was the first gold issue of Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Sicily , and was minted until his death. It bore a Latin inscription and was widely circulated in Italy. It was patterned...

. It was minted in carats and weighed 5.28 grams. In 1490 the triumphi were minted in Sicily. They were equivalent to the Venetian
Republic of Venice
The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic was a state originating from the city of Venice in Northeastern Italy. It existed for over a millennium, from the late 7th century until 1797. It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in...

 ducat
Ducat
The ducat is a gold coin that was used as a trade coin throughout Europe before World War I. Its weight is 3.4909 grams of .986 gold, which is 0.1107 troy ounce, actual gold weight...

. One triumpho was worth aquilae. One aquila was worth twenty grani. In transactions tari and pichuli were mainly used.

Religion


During the Norman reign, several different religious communities coexisted in the Kingdom of Sicily. They were: Latin Christians (Roman Catholics), Greek-speaking Christians (Eastern Orthodox), and Muslims
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. Although local religious practices were not interrupted, the fact that Latin Christians were in power tended to favor Latin Christianity (Roman Catholicism). Bishops of the Eastern Orthodox rite were obliged to recognize the claims of the Latin Church in Sicily, while Muslim communities were no longer ruled by local emir
Emir
Emir , meaning "commander", "general", or "prince"; also transliterated as Amir, Aamir or Ameer) is a title of high office, used throughout the Muslim world...

s. Greek-speaking Christians, Latin Christians, and Muslims interacted on a regular basis, and were involved in each other's lives, economically, linguistically, and culturally. Some intermarried. Christians living in an Arabic-speaking area might adopt Arabic or even Muslim names. In many cities, each religious community had its own administrative and judicial order. In Palermo
Palermo
Palermo is a city in Southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Province of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old...

, Muslims were allowed to publicly call for prayer in mosques, and their legal issues were settled by qadi
Qadi
Qadi is a judge ruling in accordance with Islamic religious law appointed by the ruler of a Muslim country. Because Islam makes no distinction between religious and secular domains, qadis traditionally have jurisdiction over all legal matters involving Muslims...

s, judges who ruled in accordance with Islamic law.

After the establishment of Hohenstaufen authority Latin- and Greek-speaking Christians maintained their privileges, but the Muslim population was increasingly oppressed. The settlements of Italians brought from northern Italy (who wanted Muslim property for their own) led many Muslim communities to revolt or resettle in mountainous areas of Sicily. These revolts resulted in some acts of violence, and the eventual deportation of Muslims, which began under Frederick II
Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick II , was one of the most powerful Holy Roman Emperors of the Middle Ages and head of the House of Hohenstaufen. His political and cultural ambitions, based in Sicily and stretching through Italy to Germany, and even to Jerusalem, were enormous...

. Eventually, the government removed the entire Muslim population to Lucera
Lucera
Lucera is a town and comune in the Province of Foggia, in the Apulia region of southern Italy.-Ancient era and early Middle Ages :Lucera is an ancient city founded in Daunia, the centre of Dauni territory . Archeological excavations show the presence of a bronze age village inside the city boundaries...

 in Apulia
Apulia
Apulia is a region in Southern Italy bordering the Adriatic Sea in the east, the Ionian Sea to the southeast, and the Strait of Òtranto and Gulf of Taranto in the south. Its most southern portion, known as Salento peninsula, forms a high heel on the "boot" of Italy. The region comprises , and...

 and Girifalco
Girifalco
Girifalco is a comune and town in the province of Catanzaro in the Calabria region of Italy....

 in Calabria
Calabria
Calabria , in antiquity known as Bruttium, is a region in southern Italy, south of Naples, located at the "toe" of the Italian Peninsula. The capital city of Calabria is Catanzaro....

, where they paid taxes and served as agricultural laborers, craftsmen, and crossbowmen for the benefit of the king. The colony at Lucera was finally disbanded in 1300 under Charles II of Naples
Charles II of Naples
Charles II, known as "the Lame" was King of Naples, King of Albania, Prince of Salerno, Prince of Achaea and Count of Anjou.-Biography:...

, and many of its inhabitants sold into slavery. The Jewish community was expelled
Expulsion of the Jews from Sicily
The expulsion of the Jews from Sicily began in 1493 when the Spanish Inquisition reached the island of Sicily and its Jewish population of more than 30,000 Jews.-History of the Sicilian Jews:...

 after the establishment of the Spanish Inquisition from 1493 to 1513 in Sicily. The remaining Jews were gradually assimilated, and most of them converted to Roman Catholicism.

See also


  • Emirate of Sicily
    Emirate of Sicily
    The Emirate of Sicily was an Islamic state on the island of Sicily , which existed from 965 to 1072.-First Arab invasions of Sicily:...

  • Norman conquest of southern Italy
    Norman conquest of southern Italy
    The Norman conquest of southern Italy spanned the late eleventh and much of the twelfth centuries, involving many battles and many independent players conquering territories of their own...

  • Kingdom of Naples
    Kingdom of Naples
    The Kingdom of Naples, comprising the southern part of the Italian peninsula, was the remainder of the old Kingdom of Sicily after secession of the island of Sicily as a result of the Sicilian Vespers rebellion of 1282. Known to contemporaries as the Kingdom of Sicily, it is dubbed Kingdom of...

  • War of the Sicilian Vespers
    War of the Sicilian Vespers
    The War of the ' Vespers started with the insurrection of the Sicilian Vespers against Charles of Anjou in 1282 and finally ended with the peace of Caltabellotta in 1302...

  • List of monarchs of Sicily
  • County palatine of Cephalonia and Zakynthos
    County palatine of Cephalonia and Zakynthos
    The County palatine of Cephalonia and Zakynthos existed from 1185 until 1479, as part of the Kingdom of Sicily.The title and the right to rule the Ionian islands of Cephalonia and Zakynthos was originally given to Margaritus of Brindisi for his services to William II, king of Sicily, in...


  • Ottoman-Habsburg wars
    Ottoman-Habsburg wars
    The Ottoman–Habsburg wars refers to the military conflicts between the Ottoman Empire and the Habsburg dynasties of the Austrian Empire, Habsburg Spain and in certain times, the Holy Roman Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary. The war would be dominated by land campaigns in Hungary and present day...

  • Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
    Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
    The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, commonly known as the Two Sicilies even before formally coming into being, was the largest and wealthiest of the Italian states before Italian unification...

  • Arab-Norman culture
    Arab-Norman culture
    The term Norman-Arab-Byzantine culture, Norman-Sicilian culture or, less inclusive, Arab-Norman culture respectively Norman-Arab culture, refers to the interaction of the Norman, Arab and Byzantine culture following the Norman conquest of Sicily from 1061, to around 1250...

  • Expedition of the Thousand
    Expedition of the Thousand
    The Expedition of the Thousand was a military campaign led by the revolutionary general Giuseppe Garibaldi in 1860. A force of volunteers defeated the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, leading to its dissolution and annexation by the Kingdom of Sardinia, an important step in the creation of a newly...

  • Redshirts
  • Expulsion of the Jews from Sicily
    Expulsion of the Jews from Sicily
    The expulsion of the Jews from Sicily began in 1493 when the Spanish Inquisition reached the island of Sicily and its Jewish population of more than 30,000 Jews.-History of the Sicilian Jews:...



Further Reading

  • Abulafia, David. Frederick II: A Medieval Emperor, 1988.
  • Abulafia, David. The Two Italies: Economic Relations between the Kingdom of Sicily and the Northern Communes, Cambridge University Press, 1977.
  • Abulafia, David. The Western Mediterranean Kingdoms 1200-1500: The Struggle for Dominion, Longman, 1997. (a political history)
  • Johns, Jeremy. Arabic administration in Norman Sicily : the royal dīwān, Cambridge University Press, 2002.
  • Metcalfe, Alex. Muslims and Christians in Norman Sicily: Arabic Speakers and the End of Islam, Routledge, 2002.
  • Metcalfe, Alex. The Muslims of Medieval Italy, 2009.