Custoza, Battles of


Custoza, Battles of
(1849, 1866)
   Two engagements in the Italian Wars of Independence that occurred at Custoza in eastern Lombardy, southwest of Verona and south of the Lake Garda (Lago di Garda). During the Revolution of 1848, Italian nationalists, striving to establish an Italian nation state, tried to get rid of Austrian rule over most of northern Italy. The kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia took the lead in those efforts in 1849. In the First Battle of Custoza on July 24, 1849, the troops of Piedmont-Sardinia were defeated by the Austrians under Field Marshall Count Radetzky. As a result of this victory, the Habsburg Empire was able to reestablish control over Lombardy and northeastern Italy, but nationalist leanings and resentment against Austrian rule were common in northern Italy throughout the 1850s.
   With French support, Sardinia defeated Austria in 1859 and formed an Italian nation-state at Austria’s expense. In 1866, an alliance with Prussia was formed to complete the expulsion of Austria from Italy. On June 24, 1866, the Italian army under King Victor Emmanuel II was beaten by Austrian forces under Archduke Albrecht of Austria despite Italian superiority in numbers. Like the naval Battle of Lissa, the second Austrian victory at Custoza was of political insignificance because Austria had already agreed to hand over Venetia to Italy and had no choice but to honor this obligation after the crushing defeat against Italy’s ally Prussia at the Battle of Königgrätz.
   See also <>.
   FURTHER READING:
    Holmes, George, ed. The Oxford History of Italy. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.
   GUENTHER KRONENBITTER

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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