Treaty of Utrecht Leads to New Kingdom of Two Sicilies

The long debilitating War of Spanish Succession ended with the Peace of Utrecht in 1713. Despite all the fighting, it was difficult at the end to distinguish winners from losers. The resulting treaty of Utrecht addressed the balance-of-power issues that had precipitated the war, but it also provided for a variety of territorial realignments--a sort of zero-sum game with principalities exchanged like poker chips.

Sicily found that she had become the property of a new player, Duke Victor Amadeus II of Savoy. Yet one must hope that the Duke did not print too much stationery with his new title, because he had to return the island to King Philip V of Spain just five years later.

In 1720 Spain passed it along to Austria, though not for long. Location mapSpain declared war on Austria in 1733, and King Philip V sent his son Charles to recapture Naples and Sicily. Young Charles (who was later to rule Spain as King Charles III following the death of his father in 1746) carried out his assignment efficiently and in 1738 he was crowned King of a new and independent nation that he welded together, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.

Charles III's descendants remained on the throne of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in a continuous line--interrupted only temporarily by Napoleon's period of occupation and the republican uprisings of 1848--until their overthrow by Garibaldi on behalf of the Kingdom of Savoy in 1860.


2000 C. I. Gable