Southern Italy and Sicily in the XII-XV. “Sicilian Vespers”

In 1130 the Norman Duke Roger II, ruler of the south of Italy and Sicily, received from the pope the title of king. So there was a Sicilian kingdom. Formally, Roger II and his heirs were considered vassals of the pope, but in fact the Sicilian kingdom was a completely independent state.

The Sicilian kingdom became a strong and centralized state of Italy under Friedrich II Staufen. He introduced a single administrative system in the kingdom, deprived feudal lords and the city of political independence, forbade the nobility to carry weapons and conduct internecine wars.

Brother of the French King Charles of Anjou in the middle of the 13th century. began the struggle for the Sicilian throne. In 1268, he proclaimed himself the ruler of the Sicilian kingdom. The excesses and permissiveness of the French, the tax increase led in 1282 to a popular uprising under the name “Sicilian Vespers”.

As the legend tells, in Palermo during the festivities in honor of the

big spring holiday one of the French soldiers approached the girl whose face was veiled. He shouted that Palermo women were hiding weapons in their wide gowns, and rudely tore off the veil from the girl.

The indignation of the gathered and was the occasion for an armed uprising against the hated strangers. The bell of the church bell, calling believers to vespers, was a conditional signal, that’s why it was called “Sicilian Vespers”.

For one night the insurgents cut out the entire French garrison in Palermo; the uprising swept through other cities of Sicily. Powerful action against the French led to the separation of the country, but it was not independent for long. In 1302 Sicily became part of the Aragonese Kingdom on the Iberian Peninsula. On the territory of Southern Italy a new state arose – the Neapolitan kingdom, which belonged to the Anjou dynasty. In 1442 the Neapolitan kingdom also passed to Aragon. Thus Sicily and the Neapolitan kingdom united, but this time under the rule of the Spanish rulers.

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Southern Italy and Sicily in the XII-XV. “Sicilian Vespers”