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Umberto I
King of Italy
(1844–1900)


Other names: Umberto Rainerio Carlo Emanuele Giovanni Maria Ferdinando Eugenio, the Good King

Biographical

King of Italy 1878–1900†
Titular King of Cyprus 1878–1900†
Titular King of Jerusalem 1878–1900†
Titular King of Armenia 1878–1900†
23rd Duca di Savoia 1878–1900†
9th Principe di Carignano 1878–1900†
Principe di Piemonte, substantive 1849–78; 1878–1900†
Principe di Oneglia 1878–1900†
Principe di Poirino 1878–1900†
Principe di Trino 1878–1900†
Prince de Montmélian 1878–1900†
Principe di Chieri 1878–1900†
Principe di Carmagnola 1878–1900†
Principe di Busca 1878–1900†
Principe di Bene 1878–1900†
Principe di Brà 1878–1900†
Principe di Crescentino 1878–1900†
Principe di Dronero 1878–1900†
Principe di Riva 1878–1900†
Principe di Banna 1878–1900†
Duca del Monferrato 1878–1900†
Duc de Genevois 1878–1900†
Duca di Piacenza 1878–1900†
Duca di Carignano Ivoy 1878–1900†
Duc de Chablais 1878–1900†
Marchese di Saluzzo 1878–1900†
Marchese di Ivrea 1878–1900†
Marchese di Susa 1878–1900†
Marchese di Oristano 1878–1900†
Marchese di Cesena 1849–78†
Marchese in Italia 1878–1900†
Marquis de Tarentaise 1878–1900†
Marchese di Borgomanero 1878–1900†
Marchese di Cureggio 1878–1900†
Marchese di Caselle 1878–1900†
Marchese di Govone 1878–1900†
Marchese di Salussola 1878–1900†
Marchese di Racconigi 1878–1900†
Marchese di Savona 1849–78†
Marchese di Modane 1878–1900†
Marquis de Lanslebourg 1878–1900†
Marquis of Pianezza 1849–78†
Marquis of Rivoli 1878–1900†
Marchese di Cavallermaggiore 1878–1900†
Marchese di Marene 1878–1900†
Marchese di Centallo 1878–1900†
Marchese di Demonte 1878–1900†
Marchese di Desana 1878–1900†
Marchese di Livorno Ferraris 1878–1900†
Marchese di Santhià 1878–1900†
Marchese d'Aglié 1878–1900†
Marchese di Ceva 1878–1900†
Marchese di Maro 1849–78†
Marchese di Ghemme 1878–1900†
Marchese di Villafranca 1878–1900†
Marchese di Vigone 1878–1900†
Comte de Nice 1878–1900†
Comte de Romont 1878–1900†
Comte de Maurienne 1878–1900†
Conte di Asti 1878–1900†
Comte de Tende 1878–1900†
Conte di Goceano 1878–1900†
Conte di Alessandria 1849–78†
Conte di Novara 1878–1900†
Conte di Tortona 1878–1900†
Conte di Bobbio 1878–1900†
Comte de Soissons 1878–1900†
Conte di Sant'Antioco 1878–1900†
Conte di Pollenzo 1878–1900†
Conte di Roccabruna 1878–1900†
Conte di Tricerro 1878–1900†
Conte di Bairo 1878–1900†
Conte di Ozegna 1878–1900†
Conte delle Apertole 11878–1900†
Conte di Villafranca 1849–78†
Conte de Barge 1878–1900†
Conte di Sarre 1878–1900
Baron de Vaud 1878–1900†
Baron de Faucigny 1878–1900†
Grand Seigneur de Monaco 1878–1900†
Signore di Pinerolo 1878–1900†
Seigneur de Arbin 1878–1900†
Seigneur de Francin 1878–1900†
Conseigneur de Menton 1878–1900†
Seigneur de Roquebrune 1878–1900†
Signore di Vercelli 1878–1900†
Signore di Lomellina 1878–1900†
Signore di Valsesia 1878–1900†
Signore di Tegerone 1878–1900†
Signore di Migliabruna 1878–1900†
Signore di Motturone 1878–1900†
Knight of the Order of the Garter 1878 [England]
Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece 1869 [Austria]
Knight of the Order of St Hubert [Bavaria]
Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold 1869 [Belgium]
Knight of the Order of the Seraphim [Sweden]
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Charles III 1871 [Spain]

Knight of the Order of St Andrew [Russia]
Medal for Military Valour, gold, 1866 [Italy]

Umberto's education was entrusted to the most eminent men of his time, amongst others to Massimo d’Azeglio and Pasquale Stanislao Mancini. Entering the army in 1858, he was present at the battle of Solferino in 1859, and in 1866 commanded a division at Custozza. Attacked by the Austrian cavalry near Villafranca, he formed his troops into squares and drove the assailants towards Sommacampagna, remaining himself throughout the action in the square most exposed to attack. With Bixio he covered the retreat of the Italian army, receiving the gold medal for valour. On ascending the throne he adopted the style 'Humbert I of Italy; instead of 'Humbert IV,' and consented that the remains of his father should be interred at Rome in the Pantheon, and not in the royal mausoleum of Superga. Accompanied by the premier, Cairoli, he began a tour of the provinces of his kingdom, but on entering Naples in 1878, amid the acclamations of an immense crowd, he was attacked by a fanatic named Passanante. The king warded off the blow with his sabre, but Cairoli, in attempting to defend him, was severely wounded in the thigh. The would-be assassin was condemned to death, but the sentence was by the king commuted to one of penal servitude for life. The occurrence upset for several years the health of Queen Margherita. In 1881 King Humbert, again accompanied by Cairoli, resumed his interrupted tour, and visited Sicily and the southern Italian provinces. In 1882, he took a prominent part in the national mourning for Garibaldi, whose tomb at Caprera he repeatedly visited. When, in the autumn of 1882, Verona and Venetia were inundated, he hastened to the spot, directed salvage operations, and provided large sums of money for the destitute. Similarly, in 1883, he hurried to Ischia, where an earthquake had engulfed some 5000 persons. Countermanding the order of the minister of public works to cover the ruins with quicklime, the king prosecuted salvage operations for five days longer, and personally saved many victims at the risk of his own life. In 1884, he visited Busca and Naples, where cholera was raging, helping with money and advice the numerous sufferers, and raising the spirit of the population. Compared with the reigns of his grandfather, Charles Albert, and of his father, Victor Emmanuel, the reign of Humbert was tranquil. Scrupulously observant of constitutional principles, he followed, as far as practicable, parliamentary indications in his choice of premiers, only one of whom, Rudini, was drawn from the Conservative ranks. In foreign policy he approved of the conclusion of the Triple Alliance, and, in repeated visits to Vienna and Berlin, established and consolidated the pact. Towards Great Britain his attitude was invariably cordial, and he considered the Triple Alliance imperfect unless supplemented by an Anglo-Italian naval entente. Favourably disposed towards the policy of colonial expansion inaugurated in 1885 by the occupation of Massawa, he was suspected of aspiring to a vast empire in north-east Africa, a suspicion which tended somewhat to diminish his popularity after the disaster of Adowa in 1896. On the other hand, his popularity was enhanced by the firmness of his attitude towards the Vatican, as exemplified in his telegram declaring Rome 'intangible' in 1886, and affirming the permanence of the Italian possession of the Eternal City. Above all, King Humbert was a soldier, jealous of the honour and prestige of the army to such a degree that he promoted a duel between his nephew, the count of Turin, and Prince Henry of Orleans in 1897 on account of the aspersions cast by the latter upon Italian arms. The claims of King Humbert upon popular gratitude and affection were enhanced by his extraordinary munificence, which was not merely displayed on public occasions, but directed to the relief of innumerable private wants into which he had made personal inquiry. The regard in which he was universally held was abundantly demonstrated on the occasion of the unsuccessful attempt upon his life made by the anarchist Acciarito near Rome in 1897, and still more after his tragic assassination at Monza by the anarchist Bresci in 1900. Good-humoured, active, tender-hearted, somewhat fatalistic, but, above all, generous, he was spontaneously called 'Humbert the Good'.

Place of birth: Turin
Place of marriage: Turin
Place of death: Monza
Place of burial: Pantheon, Rome

Son of King Vittorio Emanuele II of Italy and Maria Adelheid, Archduchess of Austria (Habsburg). He married Principessa Margherita di Savoia-Genova, in 1868, and had issue.







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