Class 10 History

Unification of Italy

Visualizing the Nation

Artists used female figures to personify a nation. During French Revolution, artists used the female allegory to portray the ideas such as Liberty, Justice and the Republic.


In France, the nation was christened as Marianne, which is a popular Christian name for a woman. Her characteristics were drawn from those of Liberty and Republic; the red cap, the tricolor, the cockade. Her statues were erected in public squares and her images were marked on coins and stamps; to persuade the people to identify with it.


Germania became the allegory of the German nation. Germania wears a crown of oak leaves. The German oak stands for heroism.

Nationalism and Imperialism

By the last quarter of the nineteenth century, nationalism could not retain its idealistic liberal-democratic sentiment. It became a narrow creed with limited ends. The major European powers manipulated the nationalist aspirations of the subject peoples to further their own imperialist aims.

Conflict in the Balkans

Balkans was a region of geographical and ethnic variation comprising modern-day Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Greece, Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovenia, Serbia and Montenegro. The inhabitants of this region were broadly known as the Slavs.

A large part of the Balkans was under the control of the Ottoman Empire. This was the period of disintegration of the Ottoman Empire and the spread of the ideas of romantic nationalism in the Balkans. These developments made this region very explosive.

All through the nineteenth century, the Ottoman Empire tried to strengthen itself through modernization and internal reforms. But it could not achieve much success. Its European subject nationalities broke away from its control one by one and declared independence. The Balkans used history and national identity to claim their right of independence. While the Slavic nationalities struggled to define their identity and independence, the Balkan area became an area of intense conflict. In the process, the Balkans also became the scene of big power rivalry.

During this period, there was intense rivalry among the European powers over trade and colonies as well as naval and military might. Each power; Russia, Germany, England, Austro-Hungary; was keen on countering the hold of other powers over the Balkans, and extending its own control over the area. This led to a series of wars in the region and finally culminated in the First World War.

Meanwhile, many countries in the world which had been colonized by the European powers in the nineteenth century began to oppose imperial domination. People of different colonies developed their own variation of nationalism. The idea of ‘nation-states’ thus became a universal phenomenon.