Italy Under Prime Minister Francesco Crispi (1887-1896)

1887: Francesco Crispi, ex Mazzinian, succeeds Depretis following his death.

1888: Crispi reinforces the executive power and obtains the approval for reform of the administrative system. He widens the right to vote, makes sure that the mayors of the main municipalities elected and not appointed and reinforces the prefects’ control on local administrations.

1888: Approval of the health code and first adjustment of public health care.

1888: Trade war with France on the issue of duties for farm products.

1890: Reform of the charities policy: the anticlericalism of the State becomes stronger and the purchase and seizure of church property is encouraged. A New Criminal Code abolishes the death penalty and grants the right to strike, while preserving public safety and public order comes into force.

1892: The Crispi years correspond to the rising of the labour movement and of socialism. The Italian Workers Party is founded at the Congress of Genoa in August and in 1895, it is renamed the Italian Socialist Party.

1891-1894: Social conflicts increase. In 1893, the uprisings of Lunigiana break out and between 1891-1894 the Fasci Siciliani request the division of usurped state properties and of large landed estates. Crispi unmercifully suppresses these insurgences.

1895: The government of Francesco Crispi falls for reasons related to foreign policy. Italian colonialism begins in 1882. The government obtains the Assab Bay on the Red Sea from the Rubattino shipping company and in 1885 Italy occupies Massawa in Eritrea. In 1887, a contingent of 500 Italian soldiers is exterminated by the Ethiopians of Menelik in Dogali. In the Treaty of Ucciale, Italy is granted possession of the Eritrean colony.

1895: Italy enters Ethiopia and annexes the Tigre. In the Adwa basin, Ethiopians defeat the Italians on March 1.

1896: The fallout of the defeat forces Crispi, an old man by then, to resign on March 5, 1896.

1898: The cost of bread increases. Riots break out in several areas of the country, especially in Milan (May 6 to 9). Upon the order of the Prime Minister Antonio Rudini, General Fiorenzo Bava Beccaris brutally suppresses the riots that cause one hundred deaths. Socialist and catholic organizations are dissolved and many leaders are arrested (Socialist leader Filippo Turati and the priest Davide Albertario).

1900-1901: The liberal moderate Giuseppe Saracco succeeds the conservative Luigi Pelloux (1898-1900) and takes a more conciliatory attitude towards the right of political activities and extends the freedom of the press.

1900: On July 29, King Umberto I is assassinated in Monza by the anarchist Gaetano Bresci. His son Vittorio Emanuele III (1900-1946) succeeds him.

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