the italian economy during the 1870s 1910s l.
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The Italian Economy during the 1870s-1910s. Economic Problems. Government debt Poor had high tax rates Industrialisation between the rising North and the decreasing South Major revolutions throughout the 1860s, 1893-94

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economic problems
Economic Problems
  • Government debt
  • Poor had high tax rates
  • Industrialisation between the rising North and the decreasing South
  • Major revolutions throughout the 1860s, 1893-94
  • 1880s – USA and Far-east had cheaper produce than the Italians – Government responded by introducing Tariffs – resulted in war – further damaged the Italian exports
  • Due to Tariff war – banks in crisis & financial scandals within the government
problems with establishing a unity
Problems with establishing a unity.

The political system was unstable as parliament was based on the elite and wealthy rather than the middle class which were the mass of the population.

  • Spreading wealth did not seem to be a priority then.
  • Political parties did not reflect the popular wishes of the people.
  • Villagers were simply forced to pay taxes and perform military service.
  • Especially in the South, Italians were illiterate, backward, conservative and poor. By 1900 Italians were estimated to be the most highly taxed people in the whole of Europe.
  • Many Italians did not have any knowledge of what was actually going on with their country, split between the ‘legal Italy’ and the ‘real Italy’.
economic comparisons
Economic Comparisons

The graphs shows the slow economic growth of Italy as oppose to the other European countries such as: Germany, Britain and France.

Although there wasn’t much growth in the economy during 1890 in steel production and 1860 for value of foreign trade there was a noticeable rise in both areas in 1910s as you can see.

As you can see from the previous graphs, anything that was positive achieve were limited resources.
  • In 1871, 60% of Italy’s working population were involved in only farming.
  • However in 1911 things started to gradually get better in northern Italy, the amount of illiteracy went from 42% in 1871 to 11% in 1911, while in the South it dropped from 88% to 65%.
  • Although unification did eventually happened by abolishing internal TARIFFS and establishing a single Italian market which was basically an internal free trade. On the other hand this newly united Italian economy harmed the little industries existed in the South because it could not compete with the more advanced North.

The South [Mezzogiorno]

  • Little industry
  • Once the ‘grain basket’ of Europe, by the 20th century the soil was exhausted
  • Large, inefficient noble owned estates
  • 1914 0.01.5 of the population owned 50% of the land
  • Frequent social unrest

- Powerful clans and mafia

The North

  • Industrial, especially engineering centers of Milan, Turin and Genoa
  • 1880s wide scale of migration to growing towns
  • Po Valley, area of advanced agriculture based only around major rivers
  • Medium sized farms, commercial farming.


  • Majority of population was rural, in 1913 57% compared to Britain's 15%.
  • There were a few enterprising, large landowners but most were small agricultural labourers. There were also tenant farmers.

Dialect variations

Thursday Boy/Child

Italian Giovedi Bambino

Lombardy Giuedi Bagai

Tuscany Zovedi Bimbo

Lazio Giovedi Regazzino

Sicily Loviri Picciottu

These are only a sample of the different types of language spoken in Italy

during the 1870.