Timeline and History Overview
- 2000 - Bronze Age begins in Italy.
- 800 - The Etruscans settle in central Italy. The Iron Age begins.
- 753 - According to legend, Romulus founds the city of Rome.
- 700s - The Greeks settle much of southern Italy and Sicily.
- 509 - The Roman Republic is established.
- 334 - The Romans begin to colonize and take over much of Italy.
- 218 - Italy is invaded when Hannibal, leader of Carthage, crosses the Alps during the Second Punic War.
- 146 - Rome conquers Greece.
- 73 - A gladiator named Spartacus leads a slave rebellion.
- 45 - Julius Caesar is dictator of Rome.
- 44 - Julius Caesar is killed.
- 31 - Marc Antony is defeated by Octavian's forces at the Battle of Actium.
- 27 - The Roman Empire is established. Augustus becomes the first Emperor of Rome.
The Roman Senate
- 64 - Much of the city of Rome burns in the Great Fire of Rome.
- 79 - The city of Pompeii is destroyed when the volcano at Mount Vesuvius erupts.
- 80 - The Colosseum in Rome is completed.
- 98 - Trajan becomes emperor. He will build many public works and greatly expand the Roman Empire.
- 100s - The Roman Empire expands to include most of the Mediterranean.
- 126 - Emperor Hadrian rebuilds the Pantheon in Rome.
- 306 - Constantine the Great becomes Emperor of Rome.
- 395 - The Roman Empire is split into two empires. The Western Roman Empire is ruled from Rome.
- 410 - Rome is sacked by the Visigoths.
- 476 - The fall of the Roman Empire.
- 488 - The Ostrogoths led by Theodoric take over Italy.
- 751 - The Lombards conquer Italy. The pope requests help from the Franks.
- 773 - The Franks, led by Charlemagne, invade Italy and defeat the Lombards.
- 800 - The pope crowns Charlemagne leader of the Holy Roman Empire.
- 1200s - Powerful city-states begin to develop throughout Italy including Florence, Milan, Venice, and Naples.
- 1300s - The Renaissance begins in Florence, Italy in the 1300s.
- 1308 - The Divine Comedy is written by Dante.
- 1348 - The Black Death plague strikes Italy and kills around one third of the population.
- 1377 - The papacy returns to Rome from France.
- 1434 - The Medici family takes control of the city-state of Florence.
- 1494 - France invades northern Italy.
- 1503 - Leonardo da Vinci paints the Mona Lisa.
- 1508 - Michelangelo begins painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
- 1527 - Charles V sacks Rome.
- 1626 - St. Peter's Basilica in Rome is consecrated.
- 1633 - Galileo is condemned as a heretic and sentenced to life in prison.
- 1796 - Northern Italy is conquered by Napoleon and made part of the French Empire.
- 1805 - Napoleon declares the Kingdom of Italy.
- 1814 - Napoleon is defeated and Italy is divided up into small states.
- 1815 - The reunification of Italy begins.
- 1861 - The Kingdom of Italy is established. Rome and Venice are still separate states.
- 1866 - Venice becomes part of Italy.
- 1871 - Most of Italy including Rome is now united as one kingdom. Rome is made the capital of the Kingdom of Italy.
- 1895 - The telegraph is invented by Marconi.
- 1915 - Italy joins World War I on the side of the Allies.
- 1919 - World War I comes to an end with the Treaty of Versailles. Italy gains some territories.
- 1922 - Benito Mussolini and the fascist government takes control.
- 1925 - Mussolini is named dictator.
- 1929 - Vatican City becomes an independent territory called the Holy See within the city of Rome.
- 1935 - Italy invades Ethiopia.
- 1936 - Italy joins the Axis alliance with Germany.
- 1938 - Italian scientist Enrico Fermi wins the Nobel Prize in Physics.
- 1940 - Italy joins World War II on the side of Germany. Italy invades Greece.
- 1943 - Mussolini loses power and Italy surrenders to the Allies. The new government declares war on Germany.
- 1944 - Allied forces liberate Rome.
- 1945 - Mussolini is executed.
- 1946 - The Italian Republic is formed along with a new constitution. Women gain the right to vote.
- 1955 - Italy joins the United Nations.
- 1960 - The summer Olympics are held in Rome.
- 2002 - The Euro becomes the official currency of Italy.
The Mona Lisa
Mussolini and Hitler
The first advanced civilization to settle in the land of Italy was the Greeks in the 8th century BCE. They set up colonies along the coast of southern Italy and on the island of Sicily. Later, the Phoenicians would do the same.
About the same time in the 8th century BCE, a small agricultural community was forming on the west coast of Italy. It founded the city of Rome which would grow to become one of the world's great civilizations, Ancient Rome. For more on Ancient Rome see Ancient Rome for Kids. Rome would first form the Roman Republic and later the Roman Empire. Its rule would span much of Europe and the Mediterranean. Rome, together with Greek culture, would become influential in forming much of today's western civilization including philosophy, art, and law. In 395 CE, the Roman Empire was divided into the Western Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire. Italy was part of the Western Empire which collapsed around 476 CE. For the next several hundreds of years Italy would be made up of a number of small city-states.
The Roman Forum
In the 1800s much of Italy wanted to unify into a single country. In 1871 Italy became a constitutional monarchy and an independent unified country.
In 1922 Benito Mussolini came to power in Italy. He turned Italy into a fascist state where he was dictator. He sided with the Axis Powers of Germany and Japan in World War II. When they lost the war, Mussolini was removed from power. In 1946 Italy became a republic.
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