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Republic of Venice

Sovereign state in Italy (697–1797) / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Republic of Venice (Italian: Repubblica di Venezia; Venetian: Repùblega de Venèsia) or Venetian Republic,[lower-alpha 1] traditionally known as La Serenissima,[lower-alpha 2] was a sovereign state and maritime republic in parts of the present-day Italian Republic that existed for 1,100 years from 697 until 1797.[2] Centered on the lagoon communities of the prosperous city of Venice, it incorporated numerous overseas possessions in modern Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Greece, Albania and Cyprus.[4] The republic grew into a trading power during the Middle Ages and strengthened this position during the Renaissance. Most citizens spoke the Venetian language, although publishing in Italian became the norm during the Renaissance, alongside Latin and Medieval Greek.

Quick facts: Most Serene Republic of
Most Serene Republic of Venice
  • Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia (Italian)
  • Serenìsima Repùblega de Venèsia (Venetian)
Flag of Venice
Top: Standard and flag (1659)
Bottom: War flag
Coat of arms(16–18th cent.) of Venice
Coat of arms
(16–18th cent.)
Motto: Pax tibi Marce, evangelista meus
"Peace be to you Mark, my evangelist"
Anthem: National anthem of the Republic of Venice[citation needed]
Greater coat of arms (1706)
The Republic of Venice in 1789
The Republic of Venice in 1789
Official languages
Minority languages
Roman Catholicism[3]
GovernmentUnitary mixed parliamentary classical republic under a mercantile oligarchy
 697–717 (first)
Paolo Lucio Anafestoa
 1789–1797 (last)
Ludovico Manin
LegislatureGreat Council (since 1172)
 Upper chamber
 Lower chamber
Council of Ten (since 1310)
Historical era
CurrencyVenetian ducat
Venetian lira
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Byzantine_Calvary_cross_potent_%28transparent%29.png Byzantine Empire under the Heraclian dynasty
Venetian Province Coat_of_arms_of_the_Venetian_Province.svg
Austrian Empire Flag_of_the_Habsburg_Monarchy.svg
Cisalpine Republic Flag_of_the_Repubblica_Cisalpina.svg
French departments of Greece Flag_of_France.svg
a. ^ Paolo Lucio Anafesto is traditionally the first Doge of Venice, but John Julius Norwich suggests that this may be a mistake for Paul, Exarch of Ravenna, and that the traditional second doge Marcello Tegalliano may have been the similarly named magister militum to Paul. Their existence as doges is uncorroborated by any source before the 11th century, but as Norwich suggests, is probably not entirely legendary. Traditionally, the establishment of the Republic is, thus, dated to 697 AD.

In its early years, it prospered on the salt trade. In subsequent centuries, the city-state established a thalassocracy. It dominated trade on the Mediterranean Sea, including commerce between Europe and North Africa, as well as Asia. The Venetian navy was used in the Crusades, most notably in the Fourth Crusade. However, Venice perceived Rome as an enemy and maintained high levels of religious and ideological independence personified by the patriarch of Venice[5] and a highly developed independent publishing industry that served as a haven from Catholic censorship for many centuries. Venice achieved territorial conquests along the Adriatic Sea. It became home to an extremely wealthy merchant class, who patronised renowned art and architecture along the city's lagoons. Venetian merchants were influential financiers in Europe. The city was also the birthplace of great European explorers, such as Marco Polo, as well as Baroque composers such as Antonio Vivaldi and Benedetto Marcello and famous painters such as the Renaissance master Titian.

The republic was ruled by the doge, who was elected by members of the Great Council of Venice, the city-state's parliament, and ruled for life. The ruling class was an oligarchy of merchants and Venetian aristocrats. Venice and other Italian maritime republics played a key role in fostering capitalism. Venetian citizens generally supported the system of governance. The city-state enforced strict laws and employed ruthless tactics in its prisons.

The opening of new trade routes to the Americas and the East Indies via the Atlantic Ocean marked the beginning of Venice's decline as a powerful maritime republic. The city-state also suffered defeats at the hands of the navy of the Ottoman Empire. In 1797, the republic was plundered by retreating Austrian and then French forces, following an invasion by Napoleon Bonaparte. Subsequently, the Republic of Venice was divided into the Austrian Venetian Province, the Cisalpine Republic (a French client state), and the Ionian French departments of Greece. Venice, along with the whole of Veneto, became part of a unified Italy in the 19th century following the Kingdom of Italy's victory against Austria in the Third War of Italian Independence.

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