The Centre of Mainland Great Britain - geograph.org.uk - 95500



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  • Borders are not exact but in a lot of cases approximations.


Italy 1796

1796 saw two great empires in the Balkans: To the north was the Austrian Empire and to the south the Ottoman Empire. Italy was fractured peninsula of city states including a few of which are shown on the map:

  • The Republic of Venice - The Most Serene Republic of Venice ((Serenìssima) Repùblica Vèneta or Repùblica de Venesia, Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia), was an Italian state originating from the city of Venice (today in Northeastern Italy). It existed for over a millennium, from the late 7th century until the late 18th century (1797).
  • The Kingdom of Sicily (Regnum Siciliae or Sicilie; Regno di Sicilia, commonly abbreviated Regno}}) was a state that existed in the south of Italy from its founding by Roger II in 1130 until 1816. The Kingdom of Sicily covered not only the island of en:Sicily itself, but also the whole Mezzogiorno region of southern Italy and, until 1530, the islands of Malta and en:Gozo. It was sometimes called the regnum Apuliae et Siciliae until 1282, when the mainland separated from the island being known as Kingdom of Naples from then on. After 1302 it 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. In 1816 the Kingdom of Sicily merged with Kingdom of Naples into the newly created en:Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
  • The Papal States, State(s) of the Church or Pontifical States (in Italian Stato Ecclesiastico, Stato della Chiesa, Stati della Chiesa or Stati Pontificii) were one of the major en:historical states of Italy before the Italian peninsula was unified in 1861 by the en:kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia (after which the Papal States, in less territorially extensive form, continued to exist until 1870). The Papal States comprised those territories over which the Pope was the ruler in a civil as well as a spiritual sense before 1870. This governing power is commonly called the temporal power of the Pope, as opposed to his ecclesiastical primacy.
  • The Grand Duchy of Tuscany (Granducato di Toscana, Magnus Ducatus Tusciae) was a state in central Italy that existed from 1569 to 1859, replacing the en:Duchy of Florence, which had been created out of the old en:Republic of Florence in 1532, and which annexed the en:Republic of Siena in 1557. The Grand Duchy consisted of most of the territory of the current Italian region of Tuscany, with the exception of the northernmost portions, which formed the en:Duchy of Massa, the Principality of Carrara, and the Republic and then the Duchy of Lucca (up to 1847). The Grand Duchy's capital was in Florence.

Also in existence were the states:


Napoleon conquered much of Italy and parts of the Republic of Venice. The Septinsular Republic (Greek: ????????? ????????, Italian: Repubblica Settinsulare) was an island republic that existed from 1800 to 1807 under nominal Ottoman sovereignty in the Ionian Islands. It was the first time Greeks had been granted even limited self-government since the fall of the last remnants of the Byzantine Empire to the Ottomans in the mid-15th century.


In secret articles of the 1807 Treaty of Tilsit, the Septinsular Republic was ceded by Russia to Napoleon's French Empire, and incorporated in the Illyrian provinces.


Italy c 1810.png

Napoleon conquered much of Italy and parts of the Republic of Venice. In 1806, the Republic of Ragusa surrendered to forces of the Empire of France to end a months-long siege by the Russian fleets (during which 3,000 cannonballs fell on the city). The French lifted the siege and saved Ragusa. The French army, led by Napoleon, entered Dubrovnik in 1806. In 1808, Marshal Marmont abolished the Republic of Ragusa and amalgamated its territory into the French en:Illyrian Provinces, himself becoming the Rector of Ragusa.


The United States of the Ionian Islands (Template:Lang-el, Template:Lang-it) was a former state and amical protectorate of the United Kingdom between 1815 and 1864. It is located in modern Greece, to whom it was ceded as a gift at the end of the protectorate.


In 1816 at the Battle of Waterloo, fought on 18 June 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated and his Empire over. France's empire was parceled up between the victors with Austria adding France's Italian provinces to its sphere of influence. The French Illyrian Provinces were changed into the Austrian controlled Kingdom of Illyria.


The Second Serbian Uprising resulted in Serbian semi-independence from the Ottoman Empire.


The Greeks finally gained independence in 1829, when the newly formed Greek state was created and internationally recognised under the London Protocol.


In the Spring of Nations in 1848, Slovenians advanced a proposal to include Lower Styria in the Kingdom of Illyria, so most of the Slovene Lands would be united in a single administrative entity and the idea of an United Slovenia would thus be achieved. Peter Kozler designed a map of such an enlarged Kingdom of Illyria, which would later become an important national symbol in the Slovenian national awakening. The proposal was however rejected. In 1849 the KIngdom of Illyria ceased to exist as a separate administrative entity and the old crown territories of Carinthia, Carniola and the Austrian Littoral were again re-established. This division lasted until 1918.


The electors in both Moldavia and Wallachia chose in 1859 the same person – Alexandru Ioan Cuza. The union of both states followed.


1862 Formal union of Moldavia and Wallachia to form principality of Romania.

1866 Third Independence War (1866)

Main gallery: en:Third Italian Independence War.
Map with dates of Italian Unification

In the en:Austro-Prussian War of 1866, Austria contested with Prussia the position of leadership among the German states. The Kingdom of Italy seized the opportunity to capture Venetia from Austrian rule and allied itself with Prussia. Austria tried to convince the Italian government to accept Venetia in exchange for non-intervention. However, on April 8, Italy and Prussia signed an agreement that supported Italy's acquisition of Venetia, and on June 20, Italy declared war on Austria. Within the context of Italian unification, the Austro-Prussian war is called Third Independence War, after the First (1848) and the Second (1859–61).

In the peace treaty of Vienna, it was written that the annexation of Venetia would have become effective only after a referendum — taken on October 21 and October 22 — to let the Venetian people express their will about being annexed or not to the Kingdom of Italy. Some historians suggest that the referendum in Venetia was held under military pressure, as a mere 0.01% of voters (69 out of more than 642,000 ballots) voted against the annexation. Many Venetian independence movements (see Venetism) refer to this deceit to claim for independence of Veneto.


Main gallery: en:Capture of Rome.

The Capture of Rome (September 20, 1870) was the final event of the long process known as unification of Italy, which led to the unification of the Italian peninsula under the House of Savoy arms in the 19th century.


Ending the Russo-Turkish War, 1877-78 the Treaty of Berlin was the final Act of the en:Congress of Berlin (June 13-July 13, 1878), by which the en:United Kingdom, en:Austria-Hungary, en:France, en:Germany, en:Italy, en:Russia and the en:Ottoman Empire under Sultan Hamid revised the Treaty of San Stefano signed on March 3 of the same year.

The treaty recognized the complete independence of the principalities of en:Romania, en:Serbia and en:Montenegro and the autonomy of en:Bulgaria, though the latter remained under formal Ottoman overlordship and was divided between the Principality of Bulgaria and the autonomous province of Eastern Rumelia. The Western Great Powers immediately rejected the Treaty of San Stefano: they feared that a large Slavic country in the en:Balkans would serve Russian interests. Most of en:Thrace was included in the autonomous region of Eastern Rumelia, whereas the rest of Thrace and all of Macedonia was returned under the sovereignty of the Ottomans.


In 1881 the Ottoman Empire ceded most of Thessaly to Greece


Balkan War

The 1913 Balkan Wars were two wars in Southeastern Europe in 1912–1913 in the course of which the Balkan League (Bulgaria, Montenegro, Greece, and Serbia) first conquered Ottoman-held Macedonia, Albania and most of Thrace and then fell out over the division of the spoils.

After the Second Balkan War, the Ottomans were removed from Albania and there was a possibility of some of the lands being absorbed by Serbia and the southern tip by Greece. This decision angered the Italians, who did not want Serbia to have an extended coastline, and it also angered the Austro-Hungarians, who did not want a powerful Serbia on their southern border. Despite Serbian, Montenegrin, and Greek occupation forces on the ground, and under immense pressure from Austria-Hungary, it was decided that the country should not be divided but instead consolidated into the Principality of Albania.


In World War I the Central Powers invaded and conquered most of the Balkans until being forced out with the end of the war in 1918.


In the aftermath of World War I a number of new states were created including:


  • Together with Trento, Trieste was the main seat of the irredendist movement, which aimed for the annexion to Italy of all the lands they claimed were historically inhabited by culturally Italian people. After World War I ended and Austria-Hungary disintegrated, Trieste was transferred to Italy (1920) along with the whole Julian March (Venezia Giulia). The annexation, however, brought a loss of importance for the city, with the new border depriving it of a true hinterland. The Slovenian ethnic group ( at the time about the 25% of the population) was also suppressed by the Fascist Regime. This led to a period of inner strain which culminated on April 13, 1920, when a group of Italian nationalists burnt the Narodni dom (National House), the cultural centre of Trieste's Slovenians.
  • The Treaty of Sèvres (10 August 1920) was the peace treaty of World War I between the Ottoman Empire and Allies.


Treaty of Lausanne

The Treaty of Lausanne (July 24, 1923) was a peace treaty signed in Lausanne that settled the Anatolian part of the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire by annulment of the Treaty of Sèvres signed by the Ottoman Empire as the consequences of the Turkish Independence War between Allies of World War I and Grand National Assembly of Turkey (Turkish national movement).



Austria was annexed or subject to The Anschluss by legislative act on 13 March, subject to ratification by a plebiscite. Austria became the province of Ostmark, and Seyss-Inquart was appointed Governor. The plebiscite was held on 10 April and officially recorded a support of 99.73% of the voters.


Hungary map.png

On 2 November 1938, the First Vienna Award transferred parts of Southern Slovakia and Carpathian Ruthenia to Hungary with a size of 11,927 km² and a population of 869,299 (86.5%) of them Hungarians according to a 1941 census. Hitler later promised to transfer all territories of Slovakia to Hungary in exchange for a military alliance, but his offer was rejected. Instead, Horthy chose to pursue a territorial revision to be decided along ethnic lines.



At 5:15 a.m. on April 6, 1941, German, Italian, Hungarian, and Bulgarian forces attacked Yugoslavia. The Luftwaffe bombed Belgrade and other major Yugoslav cities. On April 17, representatives of Yugoslavia's various regions signed an armistice with Germany at Belgrade, ending eleven days of resistance against the invading German Wehrmacht. More than three hundred thousand Yugoslav officers and soldiers were taken prisoners.

The Axis Powers occupied Yugoslavia and split it up. The Independent State of Croatia was established as a Nazi puppet-state, ruled by the fascist militia known as the Ustaše that came into existence in 1929, but was relatively limited in its activities until 1941. German troops occupied Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as part of Serbia and Slovenia, while other parts of the country were occupied by Bulgaria, Hungary and Italy.

Serbia was put under a local puppet regime of "Government of National Salvation" with local strong man Milan Nedi?. Kosovo was given to Italia or so-called Greater Albania (look map of 1941 in this article). Montenegro was declared Independent State of Montenegro (protectorate of Italy) and Macedonia was given to Bulgaria.



On November 23, 1940, Romania joined the Axis Powers. On June 22, 1941, Germany launched Operation Barbarossa, attacking the Soviet Union on a wide front. Romania joined in the offensive, with Romanian troops crossing the River Prut. After recovering Bessarabia and Bukovina, Romanian units fought side by side with the Germans onward to Odessa, Sevastopol, and Stalingrad. The Romanian contribution of troops was enormous. The total number of troops involved in the Romanian Third Army and the Romanian Fourth Army was second only to Nazi Germany itself. The number of Romanian troops sent to fight in Russia exceeded that of all of Germany's other allies combined. A Country Study by the U.S. Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress attributes this to "morbid competition with Hungary to curry Hitler's favor... [in hope of]... regaining northern Transylvania."

Romania annexed Soviet lands immediately east of the Dnister. After the Battle of Odessa, this included the city of Odessa. The Romanian armies advanced far into the Soviet Union during 1941 and 1942 before being involved in the disaster at the Battle of Stalingrad in the winter of 1942-1943.


Triple Occupation of Greece.png

Bulgaria was forced to join the Axis Powers in 1941, when German troops prepared to invade Greece from Romania reached the Bulgarian borders and demanded permission to pass through Bulgarian territory. Threatened by direct military confrontation, Tsar Boris III had no choice but to join the fascist bloc, which officially happened on 1 March 1941.

On 20 April, the period of Bulgarian passivity ended. The Bulgarian Army entered the Aegean region. The goal was to gain an Aegean Sea outlet in Thrace and Eastern Macedonia. The Bulgarians occupied territory between the Struma River and a line of demarcation running through Alexandroupoli and Svilengrad west of Maritsa. Included in the area occupied were the cities of Alexandroupoli (????????, Dedeagach), Komotini (??????????, Gyumyurdzhina), Serres (???, Syar), Xanthi (??????), Drama (?????) and Kavala (??????) and the islands of Thasos and Samothrace, as well as almost all of what is today the Former Yugoslavic Republic of Macedonia and much of eastern Serbia. During the spring of 1943, the Bulgarian government, after protests led by the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and the Member of Parliament Dimitar Peshev, succeeded in saving the Jews from its own territory from Nazi concentration camps. However, the Bulgarian troops rounded up all Jews in Greek Macedonia and Vardar Macedonia and forwarded them to Auschwitz.


The end of World War II saw the creation of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia with a large piece taken from Italy and some land seized from Romania by the Russians.


Free Territory of Trieste

In 1947, Trieste was declared an independent state as the Free Territory of Trieste split in two zones: A and B. Zone A was governed for several years by the Allied Military Government, comprising American and (mainly) British forces headed by Sir Terence Airey; the southern part of the territory, Zone B comprised what was not yet annexed by Jugoslavia of Istria, roughly the coastline from Muggia to Capodistria/Koper. This state was de facto dissolved in 1954: the city of Trieste, dubbed Zone A, went to Italy, while the southern part of the territory (Zone B) went to Yugoslavia with some villages around Muggia formerly included in Zone A. The annexation to Italy was officially proclaimed on October 26 of that year.

The border questions with Yugoslavia and the status of the ethnic minorities were settled definitively in 1975 with the Treaty of Osimo.


Yugoslav Wars

The Yugoslav Wars were a series of violent conflicts in the territory of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) that took place between 1991 and 2001. They comprised two sets of successive wars affecting all of the six former Yugoslav republics. Alternative terms in use include the "War in the Balkans", or "War in (the former) Yugoslavia", "Wars of Yugoslav Secession", and the "Third Balkan War" (a short-lived term coined by British journalist Misha Glenny, alluding to the Balkan Wars of 1912–1913). A number of republics were formed some of which wouldn't last more than a few years:

Slovenia Flag of Slovenia.svg
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