Calabria's History

A lot of people do not Know that Calabria's origins date back to prehistory so to be prefigured as the first border of our country on which numerous Mediterranean civilizations and cultures have successively alternated.
The first human settlemens date back to the palaeolithic age as witness the remains of Talao tower cave (Scalea) and the Papasidero graffito (Cosenza).
So far the supremacy of the most ancien human presence in the region goes to the layer of Casella di Maida (Catanzaro), with is archaic instruments dating back to the glaciation of Mindel (over half million of years ago).
During the Copper Age, in Calabria man has left marks in the cave of Praia a Mare (Cosenza) and in that of Donna Marsilia at Morano calabro (Cosenza); the Age of Bronze is documented in the necropolis of Roccella Jonica (Reggio Calabria), S. Stefano di Grotteria and Castellace.
At Girifalco, important tombs witness the settlement of the Iron Age, just other findings at Francavilla Marina, Cassano allo Ionio and Cerchiara.
An important element for the knowledge of the Calabrian Prehistory is the sattlement of Galli Tower (Vibo Valentia) dating back to the late Bronze Age.
Early Iron Age is also the period of the Ausoni who then will go to the Aeolian isles; between the XIII and X century b.c. , and they were a Calabrian margin culturally and ethnically.
At the same time, the excavations at Locri will throw a new light on the Knowledge of the Iron Age in the period before the Greek Colonization.
All the finds of Galli Tower, Ianchina and Patariti (Locri) are shown ad the museum of Reggio Calabria.
It is formally reknown that here in the VIII century b.c. the Greek Settlers appointed the bottom of the peninsula with name of ITALIA till Taranto on the Ionian sea and Lao on the Tyrrhenian sea.

Calabria's prehistory ends with the first Hellenic settlements between the VIII and VII centuries b.c.The Calcidesi will found Reggio (Reghion) their first colony. They will be succeeded by the Achei whoi will found Sibari, Crotone and Locri. The following century draws a new social, economical and culturtal reality that will mark the future history of the calabrian people and of their land.
At first, it is Sibari to acquire the economical, commercial and also military power.
The Greek developpement reaches its climax at the guide of men as Pitagora, Milone, Ibico, Zaleuco and it is just with Pitagora's arrival from Samo to Crotone that Sibari's supremacy ends.
He will transform his new residence into a different town. Infact he will introduce new behaviour rules and new cultural trends thus forming a new leading class able to defeat and destroy Sibari also on a military viewpoint in 510 b.c.
After a period of prosperity, followed a period of decay also for Crotone due to the expulsion of the aristocrats and the Pythagoreans.
The new Greek rising star will be Locri (Epizephyri), the city where Zaleuco sets up new forms of social life.
Locri and Gerace are still to day the witnesses of a civilization that from south Italy has spread all over Europe.
Locri's powerful protectors were the Syracusae's tyrants who destroy Reggio in order to affirm their power, cutting out the Ionian sea from the sea trade.
In the meanwhile, something new happens:
the Bruzi spread out in the north surrounding and conquer the perimeter of Cosenza, replacing Greek costumes with theirs.
This is the very beginning of the Roman period.
The Bruzi, allied to Pirro, are defeated by the Romans in 275 b.c., and afterwards beaten as Annibals allied during the Punic Wars. Rome is victorious and expands from the Sila's mountains that undergo the first serious enviromental depauperation through the cut of big extensions of wood.
The Roman Age marks a period of stilness in Calabria's social and economica development.
When the first Barbarian invasions begin, the splendors of Graecia Magna are very far, in fact the Goths and Visigoths sack towns and countries.
It is tha age of Cassiodoro, monk at Squillace and also Theodoric's minister, who founded the extremely active cultural school Vivarium.
During the Bizantine period, Calabria undergoes a territorial division. In fact the Longobards conquer Cosenza and are persecuted by the Basilian monks.
The Greek - Catholic communities join together as concerns the religions and the traditional point of view and the large estate is now under the Church's control.
From the coast the Saracenic incursions begin and the inhabitants move inlands. Defence of the Bizantine forces in Italy and extreme western fortifications against the Moors, Calabria flourish again economically but above all spiritually.
Saint Elia, Saint Bartholomew from Simeri, Saint Nilus untiringly found a great number of monasteries, pushing as far as Grottaferrata, near Rome.
They bild chapels and churches; teach thousands of monks who are their disciples in the art of the codes transcription.
This way Calabria becames a great lab where to study, to catalogue, and keep all the great ancient culture.
In less than a century a huge cultural and artistic inheritance of great value has been created and stored up and only in the slightest part has been kept in Calabria.
The most beautiful and important codes that survived to earthquakes, to saks and to wreck of a ship that in 1810 was carrying a great deal of them to Naples, are now spread all over Europe.
Some codes are at the National Librery of Vienna, others at the Ambrosian's and in Vatican, others at the Escorial in Madrid. Yet, the most beautiful code inherited from ancient times, the famous CODEX PURPUREUS ROSSANENSIS has arrived from Syria to Rossano where it can be admired, after its findig happened at the second half of tle last century.
The Byzantine rule was succeeded by the Norman's that gives hops of territorial unity under the influence of monachism (Gioacchino da Fiore - Saint John's Abbey in Fiore - and Brunone from Caulonia - Serra Saint Bruno's Charterhouse).
During the Swabian period, the ancient Hipponion's role (Vibo Valentia) was revalued. It became an important way of trade communications on the Tyrrhenian sea.
But Feudalism won again with the arrival of the Angevins, Aragoneses and Spaniards.
This was a period of dynastic struggles, revolts, repressions and the Waldenses's massacre.
Tommaso Campanella was one of those intellectuals who fought against the Spaniards. In 1559 he was the leader of a riot and just for this reason he was imprisoned for 27 yars. But Bernardino Telesio and Tommaso Campanella's ideas had little influence on Calabria.
With the Borbons' arrival, Calabria lived a new deal.
Unfortunately the famine of 1774 and earthquake of 1783 were a terrible shock both for the society and also for the weak regional economy.
Anyway, the Borbons were the first who tried to exploit Calabria's great internal resources, as for example a careful exploitation of woods.
Weapon factories were bilt at Mongiana and Ferdinandea (Catanzaro), while the first spinning-mills were bilt in Villa San Giovanni e Cannitello (Reggio Calabria).
At the end of the XVIII century and the end of Risorgimento, Calabrian culture was in the limelight. A lot of people took part to the Parthenopaen Repubblic in 1799 while the Restauration by Cardinal Ruffo (a committed Borbonic) was really fierce.
Murat was hanget at Pizzo Calabro wile Calabrian peoble took part to the secret societies for the unity of Italy.
The Carbonarist movement was very active. Cosenza was the setting of the riots of 1837 and 1844 when Bandiera's Brothers were caught and shot.
In 1860 all liberal Calabria was with Garibaldi, hoping for a change thanks to the unity of Italy.
But a new plague begame: the brigandage and also the First World Wor to wich Calabria will give an enormous contribution in blood and destruction.

What follows to this short synthesis is recent history and we avoid retaking it.
We invite those who would like to deepen the argument to use other internet U.R.L. reviewd in this same site in the section Calabrian Links or to avail themselves of the authoritative reading already existing and mostly produced from Calabrian Region by important Calabrian Pubblishers such us Abramo and Laruffa Editors whom we thank.

..................... see you in fifteen days and you will find ready the other sections.