The name Italy (Italia) is an ancient name for the country and people of Southern Italy. The word “Italy, " in Greek, stands for the “Land of Cattle Calves or Veal. "
Etruscan was the first major civilization in Italy. Today, the Etruscan civilization is the name given to the culture and way of life of a community of ancient Italy, whom ancient Romans called “Etrusci". The Etruscans are believed to have spoken a non-Indo-European language. History records state that the Etruscans were a sophisticated community who traded throughout the Mediterranean, from their base in Central Italy. The Etruscans were excellent architects, and this is reflected in their creations. The Etruscans occupied the north of Italy while the Greeks occupied the southern tip. This entire area later came to be known as Magna Grecia. After Magna Grecia, the Etruscan Civilization, especially the Roman Empire, dominated Italy.
Much of Rome’s empire crumbled under attack from invaders as it resulted in a substantial destruction of their cities. The Medieval struggles between the Popes, Emperors and Kings were followed by rivalry amongst the city-states. The Italian Renaissance referred as Rinascimento followed, resulting in some of the world’s most treasured works of art. Italy had a deep influensce on European science and art during the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
The advent of modern Italy is of recent origin. It began in the 19th century with Napolean Bonaparte as the ruler. Following this, there was a nationalist uprising led by Garibaldi that finally led to the creation of a united Italy, and Vittorio Emmanuele II was declared King of Italy. Monarchy thrived until the Second World War, when Mussolini and his Fascist party took sides with Germany and formed the “Axis “powers. With the downfall of Mussolini and the end of the world- war II, Italy set about a path of reformation and in 1948, the Republic of Italy was established. Italy today, is a charter member of NATO and the European Union. It joined the growing political and economic unification of Western Europe, including the introduction of the Euro currency in 1999.
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