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Trieste History, Italy

Since the original settlement dates back to 3,000 B.C., Trieste, Italy can be called one of the most ancient cities in modern-day Italy. Several different tribal peoples inhabited the city during early Trieste history, but the known history begins in 177 B.C. By this year, the Roman Empire had gained control of Trieste. The city remained with the Byzantine Empire after the decline and fall of the Western Roman Empire; but, in 788 A.D., Trieste came under the rule of the Franks, then the city of Aquileia in 1081 A.D., and by the end of that century Trieste was a sovereign city-state.

Trieste History – Austrian Rule

This somewhat vulnerable position opened the city up to invasion by the Republic of Venice, which was a powerful nation at the time. Two hundred years of battle with and a short occupation by Venice changed Trieste history and prompted the nobles of the city to seek help from the Duke of Austria. Trieste came under his rule in October of 1382. Under Austrian rule, the city flourished and became an important trade center with a free port.

Trieste remained a growing and prosperous city under Austrian rule for over 400 years and despite three occupations during the Napoleonic Wars by French troops the city continued to flourish under Austria and the Holy Roman Emperor after the war. By 1900, Trieste was a cultural center. The city was visited by many artists and the influence of several different European countries can still be found in the dialect, art, and architecture of the city.

Trieste History – The World Wars and After

In the early 20th century, a movement called irredentism had arisen in Trieste and other cities which are now part of modern-day Italy. This movement called for the unification of all cities with Italian culture into one country. This movement was realized in 1920 after the First World War weakened Austria. As an Italian city, Trieste lost some of its importance due to the fact that not all parts of the city were annexed.

Another problem in Trieste history began to rise at this time. Italy was under the rule of a Fascist regime and this led to the persecution of certain minority ethnic groups who remained in Trieste after its annexation. This culminated in a riot in which a group of Slovene citizens burnt down the National House in Trieste. During World War II, Italy joined with Germany. The Third Reich made Trieste the capital of a German zone which included Italy, Slovenia, and Croatia. The only Nazi concentration camp in Italy could be found in a suburb near Trieste. During the war, the city was also the target of several Allied bombings.

In April of 1945, shortly before the end of the war, a group of Italian anti-Fascists started a riot targeted at the Nazis and a month later Socialist Yugoslavian armies helped to free a large part of the city from Germany. However, the Yugoslavian armies remained in control of the city and, during this time, many of the city’s citizens who did not side with the Socialists were killed by being thrown alive into large sinkholes.

New Zealand armies freed captive Trieste from Yugoslavia and in 1947 the city was named the Free Territory of Trieste by the Allied Powers. At this time Trieste was split into two zones. Zone A was governed by the United States military and given back to Italy in 1954. Zone B was given to Yugoslavia in that same year. At this time, a new chapter of Trieste history began.

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