Tag Archives: Maria Carolina

Notions of Nationalism

The formation of nations is not a concept which is too far from public consciousness in the West today; we are certainly aware of the challenges and opportunities associated with ‘nation building’, both in the immediate post-war situation in the 20th century and in the current century. In addition, the question of colonial powers creating nations – all too often portrayed as simply drawing lines on the map in the final rapid dash towards decolonisation – is something that cannot be avoided. Continue reading

Lord William Bentinck and Sicily: Building a Nation or an Empire?

In the beginning of the nineteenth century, Europe was aflame, rent in two by the Napoleonic Wars which had effectively redrawn the map of an entire continent. Kingdoms had fallen; nations had been conquered, vanishing into the great mass of Napoleon’s burgeoning dominion; the old order seemed on the run, and a succession of Coalitions drew up to face the French threat. The location of some of Napoleon’s first campaigns, Italy, remained pivotal throughout the ensuing decades. With its cultural heritage, material wealth and long coastline, Italy represented a valuable prize for both sides. British domination of the Mediterranean, long established, had to be maintained. It was that sea which bore the trading vessels that Nelson devoted so much time to defending; it was both the lifeblood of British trade in Europe and the means by which much British aid made the journey to other Coalition partners. In this calculation, the island of Sicily was a valuable asset. It, like Malta and Gibraltar, could be a valuable base and it could provide several essential ports. To that end Lord William Bentinck, a former governor of Madras, was dispatched as Commander in Chief of British forces in the Mediterranean with a special responsibility for Sicily. Continue reading