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History >> Geography >> Europe >> Italy

Italy

Timeline and History Overview

Italy Timeline

BCE CE Brief Overview of the History of Italy

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 1400s Italy became the home of the Italian Renaissance. During this period the arts flourished with artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.

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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