Europe 1848: Year of Revolution Begins
By 1848 Europe was already experiencing considerable social tension, in good part due to the rise of industrialization but also because of the European potato famine, both of which led to a migration of the poor to the cities. At the same time, the continent was becoming ideologically divided between the conservative order, which was rigidly maintaining the borders and regimes set up in 1815, and the various proponents of change—nationalists, republicans, liberals and socialists. In January, Sicily revolted against rule by Naples, triggering a wave of unrest among the Italian states. The next month, an uprising in Paris overthrew King Louis Philippe and proclaimed the second French Republic. The Year of Revolution had begun.
12 Jan 1848 Sicilian Revolution▲
A popular uprising broke out in Palermo, Sicily against the ruling Bourbon monarchy of Ferdinand II in Naples. By the end of the month, the citadel in Messina was the only royalist bastion on the island.
10 Feb–14 Mar 1848 Constitutions in the Italian states▲
The January 1848 Sicilian Revolution triggered urban unrest across the Italian peninsula. Between February and March, despite initial conservative resistance, the Kingdom of Naples, followed by the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, the Kingdom of Sardinia, and finally the Papal States, bowed to popular pressure and promulgated a constitution.
22–24 Feb 1848 French Revolution of 1848▲
During the 1840s the ‘July Monarchy’—established in France in 1830 under King Louis Philippe as a moderately liberal state—became increasingly reactionary in the face of economic problems and political dissent. In February 1848 the government extended its ban on political gatherings to include banquets, provoking crowds of Parisians to flood the streets, erect barricades, and demand reform. The protests soon turned violent and two days later the frightened Louis Philippe abdicated in favor of his nine-year-old grandson Philippe, Comte de Paris, before fleeing to Britain. However, the revolutionaries rejected any continuation of the monarchy and instead proclaimed a second French Republic.