Nino Bixio

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General
Nino Bixio
Genova-statua a Nino Bixio-DSCF9321.JPG
Monument to Nino Bixio, Genoa
Member of the Senate of the Kingdom of Italy
In office
6 February 1870 – 16 December 1873
Personal details
Born (1821-10-02)2 October 1821
Genoa, Italy
Died 16 December 1873(1873-12-16) (aged 52)
Banda Aceh, Indonesia
Nationality Italian
Political party Independent
Military service
Allegiance  Kingdom of Sardinia
 Kingdom of Italy
Service/branch  Sardinia Army
 Royal Italian Army
Years of service active: 1837–1870
Rank General
Unit Red Shirts
Battles/wars Italian Wars of Independence (1848-1866)

Nino Bixio (Italian: [ˈniːno ˈbiksjo]; 2 October 1821 – 16 December 1873) was an Italian general, patriot and politician, one of the most prominent figures in the Italian unification.

Life and career[edit]

He was born Gerolamo Bixio in Genoa. While still a boy, Bixio was compelled by his parents to embrace a career in the navy of the Kingdom of Sardinia. After numerous adventures in various places of the world, he returned to Italy in 1846, joining the Giovine Italia. On 4 November 1847, he made himself conspicuous at Genoa by seizing the bridle of Charles Albert's horse and crying, "Pass the Ticino, Sire, and we are all with you."[1]

He fought through the campaign of 1848, became captain under Giuseppe Garibaldi at Rome in 1849, taking prisoners an entire French battalion, and gaining the gold medal for military valour. In 1859 he commanded a Hunters of the Alps battalion, fought in the Battle of Varese, and gained the Military Cross of Savoy.[1]

One of the organizers of Garibaldi's 1860 Expedition of the Thousand against the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, he turned the day in favor of the Thousand at the Battle of Calatafimi.[1]

Meanwhile, the Sicilian peasants had hoped for – and did not get from Garibaldi – reforms from the restrictive conditions imposed by noble landowners. This hope had been reinforced by Garibaldi's decree of 2 June 1860 that land would be redistributed. At the little village of Bronte, Sicily in Catania province, a revolt took place, mainly led by local criminals and bandits, which caused the massacre of 16 people including peasants, officers, nobles (including two kids) and a priest; during the revolt, the town theater and municipal archives were set on fire. On 4 August 1860, Garibaldi decided to send Bixio to suppress the revolt and punishing the responsible. Once arrived with two battalions of Red Shirts, Bixio besieged and successfully secured the village. Unfortunately, most of the bandits and criminals who caused the revolts had already run away. Bixio organised a military court who found guilty 150 people, and sentenced 5 of them to death.[1] The consequences of this violent revolt deeply conditioned the idea of Bixio about Sicily, bringing him to even write to his wife: "In these regions it is not enough to kill the enemy, it is necessary to torment them, to burn them alive in a slow flame... they are regions that need to be destroyed or at least depopulated, their people sent to Africa to become civilized."[2]

By August 21, Bixio and the Garibaldines entered in Reggio Calabria, in the Neapolitan mainland. He took part in the Battle of the Volturno, where his leg was broken.[1]

Elected deputy in 1861, he endeavored to reconcile Cavour and Garibaldi. In 1866, at the head of the seventh division, he covered the Italian retreat from the Battle of Custoza, ignoring the Austrian summons to surrender. Appointed senator in February 1870, he was in the following September given command of a division during the movement against Rome, took Civitavecchia, and on 20 September 1870, he participated in the capture of Rome, which completed the unification of Italy.[1]

On 16 December 1873, he died of cholera at Aceh Bay in Sumatra en route for Batavia (modern-day Jakarta), where he was slated to take command of a commercial expedition.[1]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Chisholm 1911.
  2. ^ Granzotto, Paolo (27 August 2005). "Pontelandolfo, i briganti e l'unità d'Italia". IlGiornale.it. Retrieved 28 July 2015. In queste regioni non basta uccidere il nemico, bisogna straziarlo, bruciarlo vivo a fuoco lento... son regioni che bisognerebbe distruggere o almeno spopolare e mandare i caffoni in Africa a farsi civili. 

References[edit]

  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bixio, Nino". Encyclopædia Britannica. 4 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 
  • Staglieno, Marcello (1973). Nino Bixio. Milan: Rizzoli.