Social Struggles and the Anti-Spanish Movement in Southern Italy 4

Social Struggles and the Anti-Spanish Movement in Southern Italy Part 4

In Sicily these discontent against Spain continue to spread even after the repression. For a couple of years, rumors, conspiracies, various attempts, soon discovered and repressed than attempted. And now no more plebs: but other elements, those who had followed the plebs in ’48 and had really been defeated, that is craftsmanship, bourgeoisie, even people of baronry and nobility, detached from their class for higher ideals, or just ambitious to head something. Thus, after the arrival of Card. Trivulzio, sent to govern and pacify the island. And there was the conspiracy of the Calabrian Vairo, an ancient soldier. It was a question of moving the people against nobles and card. Trivulzio, unite with Naples which was still on the move, also seek the solidarity of the Turks, create a popular regiment with a doge, Francesco da Monreale, prisoner of the Holy Office, former secretary of Alessi. Here too, therefore, there was talk and thought of a republic, in the sense of a popular and Sicilian regime, indeed properly Palermo. Still at the end of 1649, bourgeois and noblemen plotted, headed by Antonino Lo Iudice, a lawyer of great name, by the lawyer Giuseppe Pesce, by the count of Mazzarino, by the duke of Montaldo, former viceroy of Sardinia then detached from Spain, by the marquis of Geraci etc., someone already in solidarity with Alessi. Everything was discovered, and there were arrests, escapes, the arrival of the fleet from Naples with John of Austria, the new viceroy. Accomplices were also arrested in Messina, which in 1947 had refused to join a revolt initiated and led by Palermo, but which was by no means calm either. Here too, the usual discontent of people against nobility, with widespread anti-Spanish ferments. In addition, secret French incitements, which are nowhere lacking anywhere on the peninsula, to prepare for coups or war offensives.

According to THREERGROUP.COM, Spain also overcame this crisis, the most serious it has dominated in Italy and due, moreover, essentially to local forces. She overcame the crisis, although she came out even more shaken and worn out. The viceroys were able to play on the lack of coherence or discord of others, on the solidarity that these discords created between them and certain elements of southern life, especially nobility and plebs, and, from time to time, of this or that city. There was still an essay of it in Messina a couple of decades later. Messina was, unlike Palermo, a city of commerce. Here it is not a barony but a mercantile patriciate, as it could have been in the maritime republics and in the common survivors. And this mercantile patriciate dominated and represented the city, so much defended its dominance over the small bourgeoisie and the people, as much as the prerogatives of the city vis-à-vis the government, which then resolved into a privileged position of the city of Messina vis-à-vis the other cities of the Kingdom, as it was in the matter of taxes, in certain commercial monopolies (export of Sicilian silk), etc. . Therefore, when in 1670-72 the bourgeoisie and the small people, on the occasion of a famine, took it out on the hoarders and administrators and invaded the senatorial palace, forced the senators to flee, threw away the scriptures, obtaining a number of their representatives equal to that of the nobles and rich, they had the favor of the government, which, perhaps also emboldened by the successes of ’47-8, tried to prune the too many prerogatives of the major cities. And when the contrast between the viceroy and the Messina senate became more pronounced, Spain was able to count on the favor of a large part of the people and on the favor of many cities, especially Palermo: perhaps, also out of profound aversion to the French, who had become allies and almost lords of Messina. So, when the French fleet appeared in the harbor in Palermo and fought with the Spanish fleet, the city armed itself, the workers took possession of the artillery that had been taken from them in ’47, and pushed them with their arms on the ramparts of the city. which they considered their own: but to shell the French. Peace made, and Messina returned to the Spaniards, the whole body of privileges of that patriciate and that nobility collapsed: in place of the suppressed senate, a restricted magistracy; the university of the studies was abolished, while that of Catania had the title of university of Sicily; Messina equated to other cities in taxes; built a citadel, burned the scrolls with the old privileges. An equal reduction in municipal rights was made to the detriment of Catania, Syracuse, Augusta, etc. It was another blow to the municipal regime, based on the privileges of classes and cities, and another opening open or prepared for the rise of middle class bourgeois an industrious and rich city.

Social Struggles and the Anti-Spanish Movement in Southern Italy 4