Giovanni Nicotera - Encyclopedia

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GIOVANNI NICOTERA (1828-1894), Italian patriot and politician, was born at San Biagio on the 9th of September 1828. Joining the party of young Italy he was among the combatants at Naples in May 1848, and was at San Pancrazio with Garibaldi during the defence of Rome. After the fall of Rome he fled to Piedmont, where he organized the expedition to Sapri in 1857, but shortly after his arrival there he was defeated and severely wounded by the Bourbon troops. Condemned to death, but reprieved through the intervention of the British minister, he remained a prisoner at Naples and at Favignana until 1860, when he joined Garibaldi at Palermo. Sent by Garibaldi to Tuscany, he attempted to invade the Papal States with a volunteer brigade, but his followers were disarmed and disbanded by Ricasoli and Cavour. In 1862 he was with Garibaldi at Aspromonte; in 1866 he commanded a volunteer brigade against Austria; in 1867 he invaded the Papal States from the south, but the defeat of Garibaldi at Mentana put an end to his enterprise. His parliamentary career dates from 1860. During the first ten years he engaged in violent opposition, but from 1870 onwards he joined in supporting the m ilitary reforms of Ricotti. Upon the advent of the Left in 1876, Nicotera became minister of the interior, and governed with remarkable firmness. He was obliged to resign in December 1877, when he joined Crispi, Cairoli, Zanardelli and Baccarini in forming the "pentarchy" in opposition to Depretis, but he only returned to power thirteen years later as minister of the interior in the Rudini cabinet of 1891. On this occasion he restored the system of uninominal constituencies, resisted the socialist agitation, and pressed, though in vain, for the adoption of drastic measures against the false bank-notes put in circulation by the Roman bank. He fell with the Rudini cabinet in May 18 9 2, and died at Vico Equense, near Naples, on the 13th of June 1894.

See V. Giordano, La Vita ed i discorsi di Giovanni Nicotera (Salermo, 1878); Mauro, Biografia di Giovanni Nicotera (Rome, 1886; German trans., Leipzig, 1886); and Mario, In memoria di Giovanni Nicotera (Florence, 1894).

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