Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Carte de l'Europe


Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally divided from Asia to its east by the water divide of the Ural Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian Sea, and by the Caucasus Mountains, the Kuma-Manych Depression, and the Black Sea to the southeast. Europe is washed upon to the north by the Arctic Ocean and other bodies of water, to the west by the Atlantic Ocean, to the south by the Mediterranean Sea, and to the southeast by the Black Sea and the waterways connecting it to the Mediterranean. Yet the borders for Europe—a concept dating back to classical antiquity—are somewhat arbitrary, as the term continent can refer to a cultural and political distinction or a physiographic one.
Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering about 10,180,000 square kilometres (3,930,000 sq mi) or 2% of the Earth's surface and about 6.8% of its land area. Of Europe's approximately 50 states, Russia is the largest by both area and population, while the Vatican City is the smallest. Europe is the third most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of 731 million or about 11% of the world's population; however, according to the United Nations (medium estimate), Europe's share may fall to about 7% in 2050.
Europe, in particular Ancient Greece, is often considered to be the birthplace of Western culture. It played a predominant role in global affairs from the 16th century onwards, especially after the beginning of colonialism. Between the 17th and 20th centuries, European nations controlled at various times the Americas, most of Africa, Oceania, and large portions of Asia. Both World Wars were ignited in Central Europe, greatly contributing to a decline in European dominance in world affairs by the mid-20th century as the United States and Soviet Union took prominence. During the Cold War Europe was divided along the Iron Curtain between NATO in the West and the Warsaw Pact in the East. European integration led to the formation of the Council of Europe and the European Union in Western Europe, both of which have been expanding eastward since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The use of the term "Europe" has developed gradually throughout history. In antiquity, the Greeks divided the world into three continents, Europe, Asia and Libya , with the River Nile and the complex system of waterways between the Aegean Sea and the Sea of Azov providing the boundaries. Flavius Josephus and the Book of Jubilees described the continents as the lands given by Noah to his three sons; Europe was defined as between the Pillars of Hercules at Cadiz, separating it from Africa, and the River Don, separating it from Asia. This division – as much cultural as geographical – was used until the Late Middle Ages, when it was challenged by the Age of Discovery. The problem of redefining Europe was finally resolved in 1730 when, instead of waterways, the Swedish geographer and cartographer von Strahlenberg proposed the Ural Mountains as the most significant eastern boundary, a suggestion that found favour in Russia and throughout Europe.
Europe is now generally defined by geographers as the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, with its boundaries marked by large bodies of water to the north, west and south; Europe's limits to the far east are usually taken to be the Urals, the Ural River, and the Caspian Sea; to the southeast, the Caucasus Mountains, the Black Sea and the waterways connecting the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. Sometimes, the word 'Europe' is used in a geopolitically-limiting way to refer only to the European Union or, even more exclusively, a culturally-defined core. On the other hand, the Council of Europe has 47 member countries, and only 27 member states are in the EU. In addition, people living in insular areas such as Ireland, the United Kingdom, the North Atlantic and Mediterranean islands and also in Scandinavia may routinely refer to "continental" or "mainland" Europe simply as Europe or "the Continent".

In ancient Greek mythology, Europa was a Phoenician princess whom Zeus abducted after assuming the form of a dazzling white bull. He took her to the island of Crete where she gave birth to Minos, Rhadamanthus and Sarpedon. For Homer, Europe was a mythological queen of Crete, not a geographical designation. Later, Europa stood for central-north Greece, and by 500 BC its meaning had been extended to the lands to the north.
The name "Europe" is of uncertain etymology. One theory suggests that it is derived from the Greek roots meaning broad and eye (op-, opt-), hence Eurṓpē, "wide-gazing", "broad of aspect" Athena or boōpis . Broad has been an epithet of Earth itself in the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European religion. Another theory suggests that it is actually based on a Semitic word such as the Akkadian erebu meaning "to go down, set" , cognate to Phoenician 'ereb "evening; west" and Arabic Maghreb, Hebrew ma'ariv . However, M. L. West states that "phonologically, the match between Europa's name and any form of the Semitic word is very poor".
Most major world languages use words derived from "Europa" to refer to the continent. Chinese, for example, uses the word Ōuzhōu (歐洲), which is an abbreviation of the transliterated name Ōuluóbā zhōu (歐羅巴洲); however, in some Turkic languages the name Frengistan (land of the Franks) is used casually in referring to much of Europe, besides official names such as Avrupa or Evropa.

Carte de la Mer Mediterranee

The Mediterranean Sea

The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by Africa, and on the east by the Levant. The sea is technically a part of the Atlantic Ocean, although it is usually identified as a completely separate body of water. The name Mediterranean is derived from the Latin mediterraneanus, meaning "inland" or "in the middle of the earth" (from medius, "middle" and terra, "earth"). It covers an approximate area of 2.5 million km² (965,000 sq mi), but its connection to the Atlantic (the Strait of Gibraltar) is only 14 km (9 mi) wide. In oceanography, it is sometimes called the Eurafrican Mediterranean Sea or the European Mediterranean Sea to distinguish it from mediterranean seas elsewhere.
The Mediterranean Sea has an average depth of 1,500 metres (4,920 ft) and the deepest recorded point is 5,267 meters (about 3.27 miles) in the Calypso Deep in the Ionian Sea.
It was an important route for merchants and travelers of ancient times that allowed for trade and cultural exchange between emergent peoples of the region — the Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Phoenician, Carthaginian, Greek, Illyrian, Levantine, Roman, Moorish, Slavic and Turkish cultures. The history of the Mediterranean region is crucial to understanding the origins and development of many modern societies. "For the three quarters of the globe, the Mediterranean Sea is similarly the uniting element and the center of World History."

The term Mediterranean derives from the Latin word mediterraneus, meaning "in the middle of earth" (medius, "middle" + terra, "land, earth"). This is either due to the sea being surrounded by land or that it was at the center of the known world.
The Mediterranean Sea has been known by a number of alternative names throughout human history. For example the Romans commonly called it Mare Nostrum (Latin, "Our Sea"). Occasionally it was known as Mare Internum by . Other examples of alternative names include Mesogeios (Μεσόγειος), meaning "inland, interior" (from μεσο, "middle" + γαιος, "land, earth") in Greek.
Biblically, it has been called the "Hinder Sea", due to its location on the west coast of the Holy Land, and therefore behind a person facing the east, as referenced in the Old Testament, and sometimes translated as "Western Sea", (Deut. 11:24; Joel 2:20), and also the "Sea of the Philistines" , due to the peoples occupying a large portion of its shores near the Israelites. However, primarily it was known as the "Great Sea" , or simply "The Sea" .

As a sea around which some of the most ancient human civilizations were arranged, it has had a major influence on the history and ways of life of these cultures. It provided a way of trade, colonization and war, and was the basis of life for numerous communities throughout the ages.
The combination of similarly-shared climate, geology and access to a common sea has led to numerous historical and cultural connections between the ancient and modern societies around the Mediterranean.

The Mediterranean Sea is connected to the Atlantic Ocean by the Strait of Gibraltar on the west and to the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea, by the Dardanelles and the Bosporus respectively, on the east. The Sea of Marmara is often considered a part of the Mediterranean Sea, whereas the Black Sea is generally not. The 163 km (101 mi) long man-made Suez Canal in the southeast connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea.
Large islands in the Mediterranean include Cyprus, Crete, Euboea, Rhodes, Lesbos, Chios, Kefalonia, Corfu, Naxos and Andros in the eastern Mediterranean; Sardinia, Corsica, Sicily, Cres, Krk, Brač, Hvar, Pag, Korčula and Malta in the central Mediterranean; and Ibiza, Majorca and Minorca (the Balearic Islands) in the western Mediterranean.
The climate is a typical Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. Crops of the region include olives, grapes, oranges, tangerines, and cork.

Plan de Trieste dans l'Istrie


Trieste is a city and seaport in north eastern Italy. It is situated towards the end of a narrow strip of land lying between the Adriatic Sea and Italy's border with Slovenia, which lies almost immediately south, east and north of the city. Trieste is located at the head of the Gulf of Trieste and throughout history it has been influenced by its location at the crossroads of Germanic, Latin and Slavic cultures. In 2007 it had a population of 208,614 and it is the capital of the autonomous region Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Trieste province.
Trieste was part of the Habsburg Monarchy from 1382 until 1918. In the 19th century it was the most important port of one of the Great Powers of Europe. As a prosperous seaport in the Mediterranean region Trieste became the fourth largest city of the Austro-Hungarian Empire . In the fin-de-siecle period, it emerged as an important hub for literature and music. However, the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Trieste's annexation to Italy after World War I led to a decline of its economic and cultural importance.
Today, Trieste is a border town. The population is an ethnic mix of the neighbouring regions. The dominant local Venetian dialect of Trieste is called Triestine . This dialect and the official Italian language are spoken in the city centre, while Slovene is spoken in several of the immediate suburbs. The Venetian and the Slovene languages are considered autochthonous of the area. There are also small numbers of Serbian, Croatian, German, Hungarian speakers.
The economy depends on the port and on trade with its neighbouring regions. Throughout the Cold War Trieste was a peripheral city, but it is rebuilding some of its former influence.

After two centuries of war against the nearby major power, the Republic of Venice (which occupied it briefly from 1369 to 1372), the burghers of Trieste petitioned Leopold III of Habsburg, Duke of Austria to become part of his domains. The agreement of cessation was signed in October 1382, in St. Bartholomew's church in the village of Šiška , today one of the city quarters of Ljubljana. The citizens, however, maintained a certain degree of autonomy up until the 17th century.
Trieste became an important port and trade hub. In 1719, it was made a free port within the Habsburg Empire by Emperor Charles VI, and remained a free port until 1 July 1891. The reign of his successor, Maria Theresa of Austria, marked the beginning of a flourishing era for the city.
Trieste was occupied by French troops three times during the Napoleonic Wars, in 1797, 1805 and in 1809. Between 1809 and 1813, it was annexed to the Illyrian Provinces, interrupting its status of free port and losing its autonomy. The municipal autonomy was not restored after the return of the city to the Austrian Empire in 1813. Following the Napoleonic Wars, Trieste continued to prosper as the Imperial Free City of Trieste , a status that granted economic freedom, but limited its political self-government. The city's role as main Austrian trading port and shipbuilding centre was later emphasized with the foundation of the merchant shipping line Austrian Lloyd in 1836, whose headquarters stood at the corner of the Piazza Grande and Sanità. By 1913 Austrian Lloyd had a fleet of 62 ships comprising a total of 236,000 tons. With the introduction of the constitutionalism in the Austrian Empire in 1860, the municipal autonomy of the city was restored, with Trieste became capital of the Austrian Littoral region.

The particular Friulian dialect, called Tergestino, spoken until the beginning of the 19th century, was gradually overcome by the Triestine and other languages, including standard Italian, Slovene, and German. While Triestine was spoken by the largest part of the population, German was the language of the Austrian bureaucracy and Slovene was predominant in the surrounding villages. From the last decades of the 19th century, Slovene language speakers grew steadily, reaching 25% of the overall population of Trieste in 1911 . A small number of the population spoke Croatian , and the city also counted several other smaller ethnic communities, namely Czechs, Serbs and Greeks, which mostly assimilated either to the Italian or Slovene-speaking community. The city also had a relatively large and prosperous Jewish community, numbering around 6,000 people at the eve of World War One.
The modern Austro-Hungarian Navy used Trieste's shipbuilding facilities for construction and as a base. The construction of the first major trunk railway in the Empire, the Vienna-Trieste Austrian Southern Railway, was completed in 1857, a valuable asset for trade and the supply of coal.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Trieste was a buzzing cosmopolitan city frequented by artists such as James Joyce, Italo Svevo, Sigmund Freud, Dragotin Kette, Ivan Cankar and Umberto Saba. The city was part of the so-called Austrian Riviera and a very real part of Mitteleuropa.

Together with Trento, Trieste was a main focus of the irredentist movement, which aimed for the annexation to Italy of all the lands they claimed were inhabited by an Italian speaking population. After the end of World War I, the Austro-Hungarian Empire dissolved, and many of its border areas, including the Austrian Littoral, were disputed among its successor states. On November 3, 1918, Trieste was occupied by the Italian Army, but was officially annexed to the Kingdom of Italy only with the Treaty of Rapallo in 1920. The region was reorganized under a new administrative unit, known as the Julian March .
The annexation, however, brought a loss of importance for the city, with the new state border depriving it of its former hinterland. The Slovene ethnic group suffered persecution by rising Italian Fascism. The period of violent persecution of Slovenes began on April 13, 1920, when a group of Italian Fascists burnt the Narodni dom , the community hall of Trieste's Slovenes. After the emergence of the Fascist regime in 1922, a policy of Italianization began: public use of Slovene language was prohibited, all Slovene associations were dissolved, names and surnames of Slavic and German origin were Italianized. Several thousand Slovenes from Trieste, especially intellectuals, emigrated to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and to South America, where many became prominent in their field. Among the notable Slovene emigés from Trieste were the writers Vladimir Bartol and Josip Ribičič, the legal theorist Boris Furlan, and the architect Viktor Sulčič.
In the late 1920s, Yugoslav irredentism started to appear, and the Slovene militant anti-fascist organization TIGR carried out several bomb attacks in the city centre. In 1930 and 1941, two trials against hundreds of Slovene activists were held in Trieste by the Special Tribunal for the Security of the State.
Despite the decline of the city's economic importance, the demise of its traditional multicultural and pluri-linguistic character, and emigration of many Slovene and German speakers, the overall population continued to grow. The Fascist Regime built several new infrastructures and public buildings, including the almost 70 m high Victory Lighthouse , which became one of the city's landmarks. The University of Trieste was also established in this period.
A further blow for the city came with the promulgation of the Fascist racial laws in 1938, when the city's well-integrated Jewish population was banned from all public activity.

Carte des Ville et Citadelle d'Ancone

Plan de la Baye de Gayette

Plan de la Ville et Port de Brindisi dans le Golphe de Venise

Carte de la Partie Septentrionale du Golphe de Venise

Carte des Environs de Venise


Venice is a city in northern Italy, the capital of the region Veneto, a population of 271,367 . Together with Padua, the city is included in the Padua-Venice Metropolitan Area (population 1,600,000). The city historically was an independent nation. Venice has been known as the "La Dominante", "Serenissima", "Queen of the Adriatic", "City of Water", "City of Bridges", and "The City of Light". Luigi Barzini, writing in The New York Times, described it as "undoubtedly the most beautiful city built by man".
The city stretches across 118 small islands in the marshy Venetian Lagoon along the Adriatic Sea in northeast Italy. The saltwater lagoon stretches along the shoreline between the mouths of the Po (south) and the Piave (north) Rivers. The population estimate of 272,000 inhabitants includes the population of the whole Comune of Venezia; around 62,000 in the historic city of Venice (Centro storico); 176,000 in Terraferma (the Mainland), mostly in the large frazione of Mestre and Marghera; and 31,000 live on other islands in the lagoon.
The Republic of Venice was a major maritime power during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and a staging area for the Crusades and the Battle of Lepanto, as well as a very important center of commerce (especially silk, grain and spice trade) and art in the 13th century up to the end of the 17th century. Venice is also famous for its musical, particularly operatic, history, and its most famous son in this field is Antonio Vivaldi

From the ninth to the twelfth century Venice developed into a city state (an Italian thalassocracy or Repubblica Marinara, the other three being Genoa, Pisa, and Amalfi). Its strategic position at the head of the Adriatic made Venetian naval and commercial power almost invulnerable. The city became a flourishing trade center between Western Europe and the rest of the world .
In the 12th century the foundations of Venice's power were laid: the Venetian Arsenal was under construction in 1104; the last autocratic doge, Vitale Michiele, died in 1172.
The Republic of Venice seized a number of locations on the eastern shores of the Adriatic before 1200, mostly for commercial reasons, because pirates based there were a menace to trade. The Doge already carried the titles of Duke of Dalmatia and Duke of Istria. Later mainland possessions, which extended across Lake Garda as far west as the Adda River, were known as the "Terraferma", and were acquired partly as a buffer against belligerent neighbours, partly to guarantee Alpine trade routes, and partly to ensure the supply of mainland wheat, on which the city depended. In building its maritime commercial empire, the Republic dominated the trade in salt, acquired control of most of the islands in the Aegean, including Cyprus and Crete, and became a major power-broker in the Near East. By the standards of the time, Venice's stewardship of its mainland territories was relatively enlightened and the citizens of such towns as Bergamo, Brescia and Verona rallied to the defence of Venetian sovereignty when it was threatened by invaders.
Venice remained closely associated with Byzantium, being twice granted trading privileges in the Empire, through the so-called Golden Bulls or 'chrysobulls' in return for aiding the Eastern Empire to resist Norman and Turkish incursions. In the first chrysobull Venice acknowledged its homage to the Empire but not in the second, reflecting the decline of Byzantium and the rise of Venice's power.
Venice became an imperial power following the Fourth Crusade, which seized Constantinople in 1204 and established the Latin Empire; Venice itself carved out a sphere of influence known as the Duchy of the Archipelago. This seizure of Constantinople would ultimately prove as decisive a factor in ending the Byzantine Empire as the loss of the Anatolian themes after Manzikert. Though the Byzantines recovered control of the ravaged city a half century later, the Byzantine Empire was greatly weakened, and existed as a ghost of its old self, struggling on with the help, among other things, of loans from Venice (never repaid) until Sultan Mehmet The Conqueror took the city in 1453. Considerable Byzantine plunder was brought back to Venice, including the gilt bronze horses which were placed above the entrance to St Mark's cathedral.

Situated on the Adriatic Sea, Venice traded with the Byzantine Empire and the Muslim world extensively. By the late thirteenth century, Venice was the most prosperous city in all of Europe. At the peak of its power and wealth, it had 36,000 sailors operating 3,300 ships, dominating Mediterranean commerce. During this time, Venice's leading families vied with each other to build the grandest palaces and support the work of the greatest and most talented artists. The city was governed by the Great Council, which was made up of members of the most influential families in Venice. The Great Council appointed all public officials and elected a Senate of 200 to 300 individuals. Since this group was too large for efficient administration, a Council of Ten , controlled much of the administration of the city. One member of the great council was elected "Doge", or duke, the ceremonial head of the city, who normally held the title until his death.
The Venetian governmental structure was similar in some ways to the republican system of ancient Rome, with an elected chief executive (the Doge), a senate-like assembly of nobles, and a mass of citizens with limited political power, who originally had the power to grant or withhold their approval of each newly elected Doge. Church and various private properties were tied to military service, though there was no knight tenure within the city itself. The Cavalieri di San Marco was the only order of chivalry ever instituted in Venice, and no citizen could accept or join a foreign order without the government's consent. Venice remained a republic throughout its independent period and politics and the military were kept separate, except when on occasion the Doge personally headed the military. War was regarded as a continuation of commerce by other means .

The chief executive was the Doge, who theoretically held his elective office for life. In practice, several Doges were forced by pressure from their oligarchical peers to resign the office and retire into monastic seclusion when they were felt to have been discredited by perceived political failure.
Though the people of Venice generally remained orthodox Roman Catholics, the state of Venice was notable for its freedom from religious fanaticism and it enacted not a single execution for religious heresy during the Counter-Reformation. This apparent lack of zeal contributed to Venice's frequent conflicts with the Papacy. Venice was threatened with the interdict on a number of occasions and twice suffered its imposition. The second, most famous, occasion was on April 27, 1509, by order of Pope Julius II .
Venetian ambassadors sent home still-extant secret reports of the politics and rumours of European courts, providing fascinating information to modern historians.
The newly-invented German printing press spread rapidly throughout Europe in the fifteenth century, and Venice was quick to adopt it. By 1482 Venice was the printing capital of the world, and the leading printer was Aldus Manutius, who invented the concept of paperback books that could be carried in a saddlebag. His Aldine Editions included translations of nearly all the known Greek manuscripts of the era.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Plan du Golphe Ville et Environs de Naples

Plan de Bayes et Poussole

Carte du Royaume de Naples


Naples in Italy, is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples. The city is known for its rich history, art, culture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,800 years old. Naples is located halfway between two volcanic areas, the volcano Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, sitting on the coast by the Gulf of Naples.
Founded by the Ancient Greeks as "Νεάπολις", Neápolis , it held an important role in Magna Graecia and then as part of the Roman Republic in the central province of the Empire. The city has seen a multitude of civilizations come and go, each leaving their mark and now the historic city centre is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Naples was the capital city of a kingdom which bore its name from 1282 until 1816 in the form of the Kingdom of Naples, then in union with Sicily it was the capital of the Two Sicilies until the Italian unification.
The city proper has a population of around 1 million people, while the population of urban area is estimated by Eurostat to be 2.25 million. The Naples metropolitan area, according to different sources, is the second after the Milan metropolitan area or the third most populated metropolitan area in Italy.
The city is synonymous with pizza, which originated in the city. A strong part of Neapolitan culture which has had wide reaching effects is music, including the invention of the romantic guitar and the mandolin as well as strong contributions to opera and folk standards. There are popular characters and figures who have come to symbolise Naples; these include the patron saint of the city Januarius, Pulcinella, and the Sirens from the epic Greek poem the Odyssey.

After a period as a Norman kingdom, the Kingdom of Sicily was passed on to the Hohenstaufens who were a highly powerful Germanic royal house of Swabian origins. The University of Naples Federico II was founded by Frederick II in the city, the oldest state university in the world, making Naples the intellectual centre of the kingdom. Conflict between the Hohenstaufen house and the Papacy, led in 1266 to Pope Innocent IV crowning Angevin Dynasty duke Charles I as the king of the kingdom: Charles officially moved the capital from Palermo to Naples where he resided at the Castel Nuovo. During this period much Gothic architecture sprang up around Naples, including the Naples Cathedral, which is the main church of the city.
In 1282, after the Sicilian Vespers, the kingdom split in half. The Angevin Kingdom of Naples included the southern part of the Italian peninsula, while the island of Sicily became the Aragonese Kingdom of Sicily. The wars continued until the peace of Caltabellotta in 1302, which saw Frederick III recognised as king of the Isle of Sicily, while Charles II was recognised as the king of Naples by Pope Boniface VIII. Despite the split, Naples grew in importance, attracting Pisan and Genoese merchants, Tuscan bankers, and with them some of the most championed Renaissance artists of the time, such as Boccaccio, Petrarch and Giotto. In the midst of the 14. century, The Hungarian Angevin king , Louis the Great captured the city several times. Alfonso I conquered Naples after his victory against the last Angevin king, René, Naples was unified for a brief period with Sicily again.

Sicily and Naples were separated in 1458 but remained as dependencies of Aragon under Ferrante. The new dynasty enhanced Naples' commerce by establishing relations with the Iberian peninsula. Naples also became a centre of the Renaissance, with artists such as Laurana, da Messina, Sannazzaro and Poliziano arriving in the city. During 1501 Naples became under direct rule from France at the time of Louis XII, as Neapolitan king Frederick was taken as a prisoner to France; this lasted only four years. Spain won Naples at the Battle of Garigliano and, as a result, Naples became under direct rule as part of the Spanish Empire throughout the entire Habsburg Spain period. The Spanish sent viceroys to Naples to directly deal with local issues: the most important of which was Pedro Álvarez de Toledo, who was responsible for considerable social, economic and urban progress in the city; he also supported the Inquisition.

During this period Naples became Europe's second largest city after only Paris. It was a cultural powerhouse during the Baroque era as home to artists including Caravaggio, Rosa and Bernini, philosophers such as Telesio, Bruno, Campanella and Vico, and writers such as Battista Marino. A revolution led by local fisherman Masaniello saw the creation of a brief independent Neapolitan Republic, though this last only a few months before Spanish rule was regained. In 1656 the plague killed about half of Naples' 300,000 inhabitants. Finally, by 1714, the Spanish ceased to rule Naples as a result of the War of the Spanish Succession; it was the Austrian Charles VI who ruled from Vienna, similarly with viceroys.[30] However, the War of the Polish Succession saw the Spanish regain Sicily and Naples as part of a personal union, which in the Treaty of Vienna were recognised as independent under a cadet branch of the Spanish Bourbons in 1738 under Charles VII.
During the time of Ferdinand IV, the French Revolution made its way to Naples: Horatio Nelson, an ally of the Bourbons, even arrived in the city in 1798 to warn against it. However, Ferdinand was forced to retreat and fled to Palermo, where he was protected by a British fleet. Naples' lower classes the lazzaroni were strongly pious and Royalist, favouring the Bourbons; in the mêlée that followed, they fought the Neapolitan pro-Republican aristocracy, causing a civil war. The Republicans conquered Castel Sant'Elmo and proclaimed a Parthenopaean Republic, secured by the French Army. A counter-revolutionary religious army of lazzaroni known as the sanfedisti under Fabrizio Ruffo was raised; they had great success and the French surrendered the Neapolitan castles and were allowed to sail back to Toulon.
Ferdinand IV was restored as king; however, after only seven years Napoleon conquered the kingdom and instated Bonapartist kings including his brother Joseph Bonaparte. With the help of the Austrian Empire and allies, the Bonapartists were defeated in the Neapolitan War and Bourbon Ferdinand IV once again regained the throne and the kingdom. The Congress of Vienna in 1815 saw the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily combined to form the Two Sicilies, with Naples as the capital city. Naples became the first city on the Italian peninsula to have a railway in 1839 with the construction of the Naples–Portici line, there were many factories throughout the kingdom making it a highly important trade centre.

After the Expedition of the Thousand led by Giuseppe Garibaldi, culminating in the controversial Siege of Gaeta, Naples became part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861 as part of the Italian unification, ending Bourbon rule. The kingdom of the Two Sicilies had been wealthy and 80 million ducats were taken from the banks as a contribution to the new Italian treasury, while other former states in the Italian unification were forced to pay far less. The economy of the area formerly known as Two Sicilies collapsed, leading to an unprecedented wave of emigration, with estimates claiming at least 4 million of those who left from 1876–1913 were from Naples or near Naples.

Plan du Port et Ville de Civita Vecchia


Civitavecchia is a town and comune of the province of Rome in the central Italian region of Latium. A sea port on the Tyrrhenian Sea, it is located 80 kilometers west-north-west of Rome, across the Mignone river. The harbor is formed by two moles and a breakwater, on which is a lighthouse.
Civitavecchia means "ancient town".

The modern city was built over a pre-existing Etruscan settlement.
The harbor was constructed by the Emperor Trajan at the beginning of the 2nd century. The first occurrence of the name Centum Cellae is from a letter by Pliny the Younger (AD 107). The origin of the name is disputed: it has been suggested that it could refer to the centum ("hundred") halls of the villa of the emperor.
In the high Middle Ages, Centumcellae was a Byzantine stronghold. Captured by the Saracens in 828, it was later acquired by the Papal States.
The place became a free port under Pope Innocent XII in 1696. The main port of Rome in modern era, it was occupied by the French in 1849. On April 16, 1859 the Rome and Civitavecchia Rail Road was opened for service. The Papal troops opened the gates of the fortress to the Italian general Nino Bixio in 1870.
During World War II, Civitavecchia was severely damaged by Allied bombings, which caused several civilian casualties.

Plan de la Ville de Livourne

Carte de la Baye de Tarante

Plan de Porto Venere

Carte du Golphe de l'Espercy


Genoa's history goes back to ancient times. The first historically known inhabitants of the area are the Ligures, an Italic tribe. The attribution of its foundation to Celts in 2500–2000 BC has been recently recognized as wrong.
A city cemetery, dating from the 6th and 5th centuries BC, testifies to the occupation of the site by the Greeks, but the fine harbor probably was in use much earlier, perhaps by the Etruscans. It is also probable that the Phoenicians had bases in Genoa, or in the nearby area, since an inscription with an alphabet similar to that used in Tyre has been found[citation needed].
In the Roman era, Genoa was overshadowed by the powerful Marseille and Vada Sabatia, near modern Savona. Different from other Ligures and Celt settlements of the area, it was allied to Rome through a foedus aequum in the course of the Second Punic War. It was therefore destroyed by the Carthaginians in 209 BC. The town was rebuilt and, after the end of the Carthaginian Wars, received municipal rights. The original castrum thenceforth expanded towards the current areas of Santa Maria di Castello and the San Lorenzo promontory. Genoese trades included skins, wood, and honey. Goods were shipped in the mainland up to important cities like Tortona and Piacenza.

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Genoa was occupied by the Ostrogoths. After the Gothic War, the Byzantines made it the seat of their vicar. When the Lombards invaded Italy in 568, the Bishop of Milan fled and held his seat in Genoa. Pope Gregory the Great was closely connected to these bishops in exile, for example involving himself the election of Deusdedit. The Lombards, under King Rothari, finally captured Genoa and other Ligurian cities in about 643. In 773 the Lombard Kingdom was annexed by the Frank empire; the first Carolingian count of Genoa was Ademarus, who was given the title praefectus civitatis Genuensis. Ademarus died in Corsica while fighting against the Saracens. In this period the Roman walls, destroyed by the Lombards, were rebuilt and extended.
For the following several centuries, Genoa was little more than a small, obscure fishing center, slowly building its merchant fleet which was to become the leading commercial carrier of the Mediterranean Sea. The town was sacked and burned in 934 by Arab pirates but it was quickly rebuilt.
In the 10th century the city, now part of the Marca Januensis was under the Obertenghi family, whose first member was Obertus I. Genoa was one of the first cities in Italy to have some citizenship rights granted by local feudataries.

Before 1100, Genoa emerged as an independent city-state, one of a number of Italian city-states during this period. Nominally, the Holy Roman Emperor was overlord and the Bishop of Genoa was president of the city; however, actual power was wielded by a number of "consuls" annually elected by popular assembly. Genoa was one of the so-called "Maritime Republics" and trade, shipbuilding and banking helped support one of the largest and most powerful navies in the Mediterranean. The Adorno, Campofregoso, and other smaller merchant families all fought for power in this Republic, as the power of the consuls allowed each family faction to gain wealth and power in the city. The Republic of Genoa extended over modern Liguria and Piedmont, Sardinia, Corsica and had practically complete control of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Through Genoese participation on the Crusades, colonies were established in the Middle East, in the Aegean, in Sicily and Northern Africa. Genoese Crusaders brought home a green glass goblet from the Levant, which Genoese long regarded as the Holy Grail.

The collapse of the Crusader States was offset by Genoa’s alliance with the Byzantine Empire, which opened opportunities of expansion into the Black Sea and Crimea. Internal feuds between the powerful families, the Grimaldi and Fieschi, the Doria, Spinola, and others caused much disruption, but in general the republic was run much as a business affair. In 1218–1220 Genoa was served by the Guelph podestà Rambertino Buvalelli, who probably introduced Occitan literature to the city, which was soon to boast such troubadours as Jacme Grils, Lanfranc Cigala, and Bonifaci Calvo. Genoa's political zenith came with its victory over the Republic of Pisa at the naval Battle of Meloria in 1284, and over its persistent rival, Venice, at the naval Battle of Curzola in 1298.
However, this prosperity did not last. The Black Death was imported into Europe in 1347 from the Genoese trading post at Caffa in Crimea, on the Black Sea. Following the economic and population collapse, Genoa adopted the Venetian model of government, and was presided over by a doge . The wars with Venice continued, and the War of Chioggia (1378–1381), ended with a victory for Venice. In 1390 Genoa initiated a crusade against the Barbary pirates with help of the French and laid siege to Mahdia. After a period of French domination from 1394–1409, Genoa came under rule by the Visconti of Milan. Genoa lost Sardinia to Aragon, Corsica to internal revolt and its Middle Eastern colonies to the Ottoman Empire and the Arabs.
Christopher Columbus, a native of Genoa, donated one-tenth of his income from the discovery of the Americas for Spain to the Bank of Saint George in Genoa for the relief of taxation on foods. The Spanish connection was reinforced by Andrea Doria, who established a new constitution in 1528, making Genoa a satellite of the Spanish Empire. Under the ensuing economic recovery, many aristocratic Genoese families, such as the Balbi, Doria, Grimaldi, Pallavicini, and Serra, amassed tremendous fortunes. At the time of Genoa’s peak in the 16th century, the city attracted many artists, including Rubens, Caravaggio and Van Dyck. The famed architect Galeazzo Alessi (1512–1572) designed many of the city’s splendid palazzi, as did in the decades that followed by fifty years Bartolomeo Bianco (1590-1657), designer of centerpieces of University of Genoa. A number of Genoese Baroque and Rococo artists settled elsewhere and a number of local artists became prominent. The plague killed as much as half of the inhabitants of Genoa in 1656–57.[5]
In May 1684, as a punishment for Genoese support for Spain, the city was subjected to a French naval bombardment, with some 13,000 cannonballs aimed at the city.[6] It was occupied by Austria in 1746 during the War of the Austrian Succession. In 1768, Genoa was forced to also cede Corsica to France.

With the shift in world economy and trade routes to the New World and away from the Mediterranean, Genoa's political and economic power went into steady decline. In 1797, under pressure from Napoleon, Genoa became a French protectorate called the Ligurian Republic, which was annexed by France in 1805. This affair is commemorated in the famous first sentence of Tolstoy's War and Peace:
"Well, Prince, so Genoa and Lucca are now just family estates of the Buonapartes. And what do you think of this latest comedy, the coronation at Milan, the comedy of the people of Genoa and Lucca laying their petitions [to be annexed to France] before Monsieur Buonaparte, and Monsieur Buonaparte sitting on a throne and granting the petitions of the nations?".
Although the Genoese revolted against France in 1814 and liberated the city on their own, delegates at the Congress of Vienna sanctioned its incorporation into Piedmont , thus ending the three century old struggle by the House of Savoy to acquire the city.

The city soon gained a reputation as a hotbed of anti-Savoy republican agitation, although the union with Savoy was economically very beneficial. With the growth of the Risorgimento movement, the Genoese turned their struggles from Giuseppe Mazzini's vision of a local republic into a struggle for a unified Italy under a liberalized Savoy monarchy. In 1860, Giuseppe Garibaldi set out from Genoa with over a thousand volunteers to begin the campaign. Today a monument is set on the rock where the group departed from.

Famous Genoese include Sinibaldo and Ottobuono Fieschi (Popes Innocent IV and Adrian V) and Pope Benedict XV, navigators Christopher Columbus, Enrico Alberto d'Albertis, Enrico de Candia (Henry, Count of Malta) and Andrea Doria, composers Niccolò Paganini and Michele Novaro, Italian patriots Giuseppe Mazzini, Goffredo Mameli and Nino Bixio, writer and translator Fernanda Pivano, poet Edoardo Sanguineti, Communist politician Palmiro Togliatti, architect Renzo Piano, Physics 2002 Nobel Prize winner Riccardo Giacconi, Literature 1975 Nobel Prize winner Eugenio Montale, the court painter Giovanni Maria delle Piane (Il Mulinaretto) from the Delle Piane family, the artist Vanessa Beecroft, comedians Gilberto Govi, Paolo Villaggio, Beppe Grillo, Luca Bizzarri, Paolo Kessisoglu and Maurizio Crozza; singer-songwriters Fabrizio de André and Ivano Fossati, actor Vittorio Gassman, and actress Moana Pozzi, Giorgio Parodi who conceived the motorcycle company Moto Guzzi with Carlo Guzzi and Giovanni Ravelli. Some reports say the navigator & explorer Giovanni Caboto (John Cabot) is also from Genoa, others say he was from Savona. Saints from Genoa include Romulus, Catherine, and Paula Frassinetti, 80's singer, songwriter and actress Sabrina Salerno.

Plan de la Ville de Genes

Plan de la Ville de Savone


Liguria knew the presence of man in very remote times. Traces of Neanderthal Man were discovered in the region of Loano, whereas in Ventimiglia, in the grotto of "Balzi Rossi", numerous remains were found which recall those of Cro-Magnon Man. According to the written sources we have about the settlements of the Ligurians, the presence of this people of Mediterranean origin dates back to the first millennium B.C. on a vast territory including most of north-western Italy. This people, were divided into several tribes, numbering less than two hundred thousand.

During the first Punic War the ancient Ligurians were divided into mostly Carthage’s allies, with a minority becoming Rome’s allies, including the future Genoese. After the Roman conquest of the region, the so-called X regio, named Liguria, was created in the reign of Emperor Augustus, when Liguria was expanded from the coast to the banks of Po River. The great Roman roads (Aurelia and Julia Augusta on the coast, Postumia and Aemilia Scauri towards the inland) helped strengthen the territorial unity and increase exchanges and trade. Important towns developed on the coast, of which evidences are left in the ruins of Albenga, Ventimiglia and Luni. Between the IV and the X centuries Liguria was dominated by the Byzantine, the Lombards of King Rothari (about 641) and the Franks (about 774) and it was invaded by the Saracens and the Normans. In the X century, once decreased the danger of pirates, the Ligurian territory was divided into three marches: Obertenga (east), Arduinica (west) and Aleramica (centre). In the XI and XII centuries the marches were split into feuds, however, with the strengthening of the bishops’ power, the feudal structure of feuds weakened. The main Ligurian towns, especially on the coast, became city-states, over which Genoa soon extended its rule, whereas for a very long time the inland remained split up into feuds belonging to noble families.
Between the XI century (when the Genoese ships played a major role in the first crusade) and the XV century the Republic of Genoa experienced an extraordinary political and commercial ascent (mainly spice trades with the Orient) and it was the most powerful maritime republic in the Mediterranean from the XII to the XIV century, as is proven by its victorious resistance against Emperor Frederick Redbeard and by the Genoese presence in the nerve centres of power during the last phase of the Byzantine empire. After the introduction of the title of doge for life (1339) and the election of Simone Boccanegra, Genoa resumed its struggles against the Marquis of Finale and the Earls of Laigueglia and it conquered again the territories of Finale, Oneglia and Porto Maurizio. In spite of its military and commercial successes, Genoa fell prey to the internal factions.

In this state of weakness the rule of the republic was given to the Visconti family of Milan. After their expulsion by the popular forces under Boccanegra’s lead, the republic remained in Genoese hands until 1396, when the internal instability led the doge Antoniotto Adorno to surrender the title of Seignior of Genoa to the king of France. Also the French were driven away in 1409 and Liguria went back under Milan’s control in 1421, thus remaining until 1435. The alternation of French and Milanese dominions over Liguria went on until the first half of the XVI century. The French influence ceased in 1528, when Andrea Doria became the prestigious ally of the powerful king of Spain and imposed an aristocratic government which gave the republic a relative stability during about 250 years.
The impoverishment of the commercial lines with the Orient forced the Ligurian notables to engage, since then, in financial speculation. The international crises of the XVII century, which ended for Genoa with the bombing (1684) by King Louis XIV’s fleet, restored the French influence over the republic. Right because of this influence, the Ligurian territory was traversed by the Piedmontese and Austrian armies when these two states came into conflict with Versailles. The limit was reached with the Austrian occupation of Genoa in 1746. The Habsburgic troops were driven away by a popular insurrection in the same year. Napoleon’s first Italy campaign marked the end of the secular republic which, by the Emperor’s will, was transformed into Ligurian Republic , according to the model of the French Republic. After the union of Oneglia and Loano (1801), Liguria was annexed to the French Empire (1805) and divided by Napoleon into three departments: Montenotte, with capital Savona, Genoa and the department of the Apennines, with capital Chiavari.
After a short period of independence in 1814, the Congress of Vienna (1815) decided that Liguria should be annexed to the kingdom of Sardinia. The Genoese upraising against the House of Savoy in 1821, which was put down with great bloodshed, aroused the population’s national sentiments. Some of the most prestigious figures of the Risorgimento were born in Liguria (Mazzini, Garibaldi, Mameli, Bixio). In the first years of the century the region’s economic growth was remarkable: a lot of industries flourished from Imperia to La Spezia. During the tragic period of World War Two Liguria experienced hunger and two years of occupation by the German troops, against whom a liberation struggle was led among the most effective in Italy, when allied troops finally reached it they were welcomed by partisans which, in a successful insurrection, had freed the city and accepted the surrender of the local German command. For this feat the city has been awarded the gold medal for military valour.

Plan de Porto Longon

Plan de Port Ferrare dans l'Isle d'Elbe

Plan de l'Isle d'Elbe

Elba Ialand

The island of Elba is the largest remaining stretch of land from the ancient tract that connected the Italian peninsula to Corsica, after the other islands of the Tuscan Archipelago. The northern coasts are bathed by the Ligurian Sea, the eastern coast skirts the Piombino Channel, the southern coast embraces the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Corsica channel divides the western tip of the Island from neighboring Corsica.
The terrain is quite varied, and divided into several parts depending on its conformation and geology in which it was formed. The mountainous and more recent part of the Island can be found to the west, the center of which is dominated by Mount Capanne (1018 m asl), also called the "roof of the Tuscan Archipelago." The mountain is home to many animal species including the mouflon and wild boar that flourish despite the continuous influx of tourists who visit the mountain. The central part of the island is a mostly flat section with the width being reduced to just four kilometers. It is where the major centers can be found: Portoferraio, Campo nell'Elba. To the east, is the oldest part of the island, formed over 400 million years ago. In the hilly area, dominated by Monte Calamita, are deposits of iron that made Elba famous.

Following the Treaty of Fontainebleau, French emperor Napoleon I was exiled to Elba after his forced abdication in 1814 and arrived at Portoferraio on May 3, 1814 to begin his exile there. He was allowed to keep a personal guard of six hundred men. Although he was nominally sovereign of Elba, the island was watched (more or less) by British naval patrols.
During these months, partly to pass the time and partly out of a genuine concern for the well-being of the people, he carried out a series of economic and social reforms to improve the quality of life on Elba. Napoleon stayed on Elba for 300 days. He returned to France on February 26 for the Hundred Days. After his defeat at Waterloo he was subsequently exiled again, this time to the barren and isolated South Atlantic island of Saint Helena. Napoleon's stay on Elba is the basis for the famous English language palindrome: "Able was I ere I saw Elba." It is for the connection with Napoleon that Elba is best known internationally.
In the Congress of Vienna the island was given to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. In 1860 it became part of the new unified Kingdom of Italy.
French troops landed on Elba on June 17, 1944, liberating the island from the Germans. Faulty intelligence and strong defences made the battle more difficult than expected.
More recently, the island has become famed for its wine. It is today a renowned tourist resort.

Carte des Bouches de Boniface entre la Corse et la Sardaigne

Isle de Sardaigne


Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicily). The ara of Sardinia is 24,090 square kilometres (9,301 sq mi). The nearest land masses to the island are (clockwise from north) the French island of Corsica, the Italian Peninsula, Tunisia, and the Balearic Islands. Sardinia is part of Italy, with a special statute of regional autonomy under the Italian Constitution. The name is of unknown origin, though it may have to do with a tribe called the Sardi.

Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, with a surface of 23,821 km². It is situated between 38° 51' and 41° 15' latitude north and 8° 8' and 9° 50' east longitude.
The coasts of Sardinia (1,849 km long) are generally high and rocky, rectilinear for kilometres, they are often articulated in promontories, with ample and deep bays and inlets surrounded by smaller isles.
The island, being an ancient territory with rocks that go back through the Palaeozoic Era (up to 500 million years old), does not possess any high mountains because of its long erosion processes. The granite, schist, tranchite, basalt (called "jars" or "gollei"), sandstone, and dolomite limestone (called tonneri or "heels") rocky highlands predominate at a height of between 300 and 1,000 meters. The entire territory of the island is non-seismic.
The Gennargentu is a large mountain massif in the center of the island; its highest peaks are Punta La Marmora (1,834 m.), Monte Limbara (1,362 m.) in the north, and Mount Rasu (1,259 m.), culminating in the Marghine chain, that runs crosswise for 40 km towards the north. The island's massifs and plateaus are separated by large alluvial valleys and flatlands; the main plains are the Campidano, located in the southwest between Oristano and Cagliari, and the Nurra, in the northwest.
Sardinia has few major rivers; the largest is the Tirso, which has a length of 94 miles (151 km) and flows into the Sardinian Sea. There are about fifty artificial lakes, of which Lake Omodeo and Lake Coghinas are the main ones. The only natural freshwater lake is Baratz Lake. A high number of large, salty lakes and lagoons are located along the 1.850 km of its coasts.
The climate is typical of the Mediterranean. The weather is clear. During the year approximately 300 days are sunny and the few others are rainy, with a major concentration of rainfall in the winter and autumn, some heavy showers in the spring, and snowfalls on the highest massifs and highlands. The mistral is the dominant wind, fresh, strong, and usually dry and cold, blowing from the northwest throughout the year, but most frequently in winter and spring.

Carte de l'Entree du Phare de Messine

Monday, September 7, 2009


Syracuse is a historic city in southern Italy, the capital of the province of Syracuse. The city is famous for its rich Greek history, culture, amphitheatres, architecture and association to Archimedes, playing an important role in ancient times as one of the top powers of the Mediterranean world; it is over 2,700 years old. Syracuse is located in the south-east corner of the island of Sicily, right by the Gulf of Syracuse next to the Ionian Sea.
The city was founded by Ancient Greek Corinthians and became a very powerful city-state. Syracuse was allied with Sparta and Corinth, exerting influence over the entire Magna Grecia area of which it was the most important city. Once described by Cicero as "the greatest Greek city and the most beautiful of them all", it later became part of the Roman Republic and Byzantine Empire. After this Palermo overtook it in importance, as the capital of the Kingdom of Sicily. Eventually the kingdom would be united with the Kingdom of Naples to form the Two Sicilies until the Italian unification of 1860.
In the modern day, the city is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site along with the Necropolis of Pantalica. In the central area, the city itself has a population of around 125,000 people. The inhabitants are known as Siracusans, and the local language spoken by its inhabitants is the Sicilian language. Syracuse is mentioned in the Bible in the Acts of the Apostles book at 28:12 as Paul stayed there. The patron saint of the city is Saint Lucy; she was born in Syracuse and her feast day, Saint Lucy's Day, is celebrated on 13 December.

Plan de Siracuse

Plan de la Ville de Trapano


Palermo is a historic city in Southern Italy, the capital of the autonomous region Sicily and the Province of Palermo. The city is noted for its rich history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old. Palermo is located in the north west of the island of Sicily, right by the Gulf of Palermo in the Tyrrhenian Sea.
The city was founded by the Phoenicians, but named by the Ancient Greeks as Panormus meaning all port. Palermo became part of the Roman Republic and eventually part of the Byzantine Empire, for over a thousand years. For a brief period it was under Arab rule where it first became a capital. Following the Norman reconquest, Palermo would become capital of a new kingdom from 1130 to 1816 the Kingdom of Sicily. Eventually it would be united with the Kingdom of Naples to form the Two Sicilies until the Italian unification of 1860.
The population of the Palermo urban area is estimated by Eurostat to be 855,285, while its metropolitan area is the fifth most populated in Italy with around 1.2 million people. In the central area, the city itself has a population of around 670 thousand people, the inhabitants are known as Palermitans or poetically panormiti, the languages spoken by its inhabitants are the Italian language and the Sicilian language.
The religion of Roman Catholicism is highly important in Palermitan culture, the patron saint of the city is Saint Rosalia, her feast day on July 15 is perhaps the biggest social event in the city. The area attracts significant amounts of tourists each year and is widely known for its colourful fruit, vegetable and fish market at the heart of Palermo known as the Vucciria.[1]

Plan de la Ville de Messine dans l'Isle de Sicile

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Plan de la Ville de Palerme dans l'Isle de Sicile

Plan de Milazzo dans l'Isle de Sicile

Isle de Sicile


Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Several much smaller islands surrounding it are considered to be part of Sicily.
Throughout much of its history, Sicily has been considered a crucial strategic location due in large part to its importance for Mediterranean trade routes. The area was highly regarded as part of Magna Graecia, with Cicero describing Siracusa as the greatest and most beautiful city of all Ancient Greece.
The island was once a city-state in its own right, and as the Kingdom of Sicily ruled from Palermo over southern Italy, Sicily, and Malta. It later became a part of the Two Sicilies under the Bourbons, a kingdom governed from Naples that comprised both the island itself and most of Southern Italy. The Italian unification of 1860 led to the dissolution of this kingdom, and Sicily became an autonomous part of the Kingdom of Italy. Sicily is today an autonomous region of Italy. Of all the regions of Italy, Sicily is the one that covers the largest land area at 25,708 square kilometres (9,926 sq mi) and currently has just over five million inhabitants.
Sicily has its own unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, cuisine, architecture and language. The Sicilian economy is largely based on agriculture (mainly orange and lemon orchards); this same rural countryside has attracted significant tourism in the modern age as its natural beauty is highly regarded. Sicily also holds importance for archeological and ancient sites such as the Necropolis of Pantalica and the Valley of the Temples.
Sicily is well known as a center of organized Crime. The major Italian mafia centers of Naples and Palermo have given rise to mob families far beyond the shores- in the US and Other parts of Europe. The reputed income of Italian mobs, of which Sicilian families Cosa Nostra are preeminent, was estimated to be 63 billion Euros or 7 percent of Italian Economy according to estimates by the Confesercenti, Italy's leading retail associationReport

Sicily is directly adjacent to the Italian region of Calabria, via the Strait of Messina to the east. The early Roman name for Sicily was Trinacria, alluding to its triangular shape. Sicily has been noted for two millennia as a grain-producing territory. Citrons, oranges, lemons, olives, olive oil, almonds, and wine are among its other agricultural products. The mines of the Enna and Caltanissetta district became a leading sulfur-producing area in the 19th century but have declined since the 1950s.

Sicily and its small surrounding islands are highly significant in the area of volcanology. Mount Etna, located in the east, is the only volcano on mainland Sicily; with a height of 3,320 m (10,900 ft) it is the tallest active volcano in Europe and one of the most active in the world. As well as Etna, there are several non-volcanic mountain ranges in Sicily: Sicani to the west, Eeri in the central area and Hyblaean in the south-east. Across the north of Sicily there are three others: Madonie, Nebrodi and Peloritani.
The Aeolian Islands to the north-east are volcanically significant with Stromboli currently active, also in the Tyrrhenian Sea are the three dormant volcanos of Vulcano, Vulcanello and Lipari. Off the Southern coast of Sicily, the underwater volcano of Ferdinandea, which is part of the larger Empedocles last erupted in 1831. It is located between the coast of Agrigento and the island of Pantelleria, on the Phlegraean Fields of the Strait of Sicily.

The island of Sicily is drained by several rivers, most of which flow through the central area and enter the sea at the south of the island. The Salso River flows through parts of Enna and Caltanissetta before entering the Mediterranean Sea at the port of Licata. To the east the Alcantara in the province of Messina, it exits at Giardini Naxos and the Simeto. Other important rivers on the island are to the south-west with Belice and Platani.

The family is at the heart of Sicilian culture as it has always been for generations. Family members often live close together, sometimes in the same housing complex, and sons and daughters usually remain at home with their parents until they marry, which tends to occur later than in previous decades. Couples today have fewer children than before, yet babies and children are much revered in Sicilian culture and almost always accompany their parents to social events.[84]
Sicilian weddings are lavish, expensive, and traditional. They are normally held in church. The Catholic church is an important feature in Sicilian life. Almost all public places are adorned with crucifixes upon their walls, and most Sicilian homes contain pictures of saints, statues, and other relics. Each town and city has its own patron saint, and the feast days are marked by gaudy processions through the streets with marching bands and displays of fireworks.

A carnival float in Acireale.
Sicilian religious festivals also include the presepe vivente , which takes place at Christmas time. Deftly combining religion and folklore, it is a constructed mock 19th century Sicilian village, complete with a nativity scene, and has people of all ages dressed in the costumes of the period, some impersonating the Holy Family, and others working as artisans of their particular assigned trade. It is normally concluded on Ephiphany, often highlighted by the arrival of the magi on horseback.
Sicilians also enjoy outdoor festivals, held in the local square or piazza where live music and dancing are performed on stage, and food fairs or sagras are set up in booths lining the square. These offer various local specialties, as well as typical Sicilian food. Normally these events are concluded with fireworks. The most important laic event in Sicily is the carnival. Famous carnivals are in Misterbianco, Regalbuto, Paternò, Sciacca, Acireale, Termini Imerese.

Isle de Sicile

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Plan de Gilbratar


Gibraltar is a self-governing British overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula and Europe at the entrance of the Mediterranean overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar. The territory covers 6.843 square kilometres (2.642 sq mi) and shares a land border with Spain to the north. Gibraltar has historically been an important base for the British Armed Forces and is the site of a Royal Navy base.
A one-year investigation and analysis of 235 countries and territories by Jane’s Country Risk listed Gibraltar as 5th most prosperous and stable worldwide, and the highest ranked British territory.
The sovereignty of Gibraltar has been a major point of contention in Anglo-Spanish relations. Gibraltar was ceded by Spain to the Crown of Great Britain in perpetuity, under the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht, though Spain asserts a claim to the territory and seeks its return.[5] The overwhelming majority of Gibraltarians strongly oppose this, along with any proposal of shared sovereignty. The British government has stated that it is committed to respecting the Gibraltarians' wishes.

The territory covers 6.843 square kilometres (2.642 sq mi). It shares a 1.2 km (0.75 mi) land border with Spain. On the Spanish side is the town La Línea de la Concepción, a municipality of Cádiz province. The part of Cádiz province next to Gibraltar is called Campo de Gibraltar, literally Gibraltar Countryside. The shoreline measures 12 km (7.5 mi) in length. There are two coasts of Gibraltar – the East Side, which contains the settlements of Sandy Bay and Catalan Bay, and the Westside, where the vast majority of the population lives.
Having negligible natural resources and few natural freshwater resources, limited to natural wells in the north, until recently Gibraltar used large concrete or natural rock water catchments to collect water. Fresh water from the boreholes is supplemented by two desalination plants: a reverse osmosis plant, constructed in a tunnel within the rock, and a multi-stage flash distillation plant at North Mole.
Gibraltar is one of the most densely populated territories in the world, with approximately 4,290 inhabitants per square kilometre (11,100 /sq mi). The growing demand for space is being increasingly met by land reclamation; reclaimed land currently comprises approximately one tenth of the territory's total area.
The Rock itself is made of limestone and is 426 metres (1,396 ft) high. It contains many tunnelled roads, most of which are operated by the military and closed to the public.

Over 500 different species of flowering plants grow on The Rock. One of them, the Gibraltar candytuft (Iberis gibraltarica), is endemic to Gibraltar, being the only place in Europe where it is found growing in the wild. It is the symbol of the Upper Rock nature reserve. Among the wild trees that grow all around The Rock, olive and pine trees are some of the most common.
Most of its upper area is covered by a nature reserve, which is home to around 230 Barbary Macaques, commonly known as apes, the only wild monkeys found in Europe.[36] They sometimes visit the town area. Recent genetic studies and historical documents point to their presence on the Rock before its capture by the British. A superstition analogous to that of the ravens at the Tower of London states that if the monkeys ever leave, so will the British. In 1944 British leader Winston Churchill was so concerned about the dwindling ape population that he sent a message to the Colonial Secretary requesting that something be done about the situation.[37] Other mammals found in Gibraltar include rabbits, foxes and bats. Dolphins and whales are frequently seen in the Bay of Gibraltar. Migrating birds are very common and Gibraltar is home to the only specimens of Barbary Partridges found on the European continent.

The climate is Mediterranean / Subtropical with mild winters and warm summers. There are two main prevailing winds, an easterly one known as the Levante coming from the Sahara in Africa which brings humid weather and warmer sea and the other as Poniente which is westerly and brings fresher air in and colder sea. Its terrain consists of the 430 metre[38] (1,400 ft) high Rock of Gibraltar and the narrow coastal lowland surrounding it. Rain occurs mainly in winter, the summers are generally dry.
Its average annual temperature is 18°C (64 °F): 21°C (70 °F) during the day and 15°C (59 °F) at night. In the coldest month - January, the typically temperature ranges from 10-17°C (52-64°F) during the day, 5-12°C (41-54°F) at night, the average sea temperature is 15-16°C (59-61°F). In the warmest month - August, the typically temperature ranges from 25-31°C (77-88°F) during the day, above 20°C (68°F) at night, the average sea temperature is 22°C (73°F). Average number of days above 21°C (70°F) is 181, average number of days above 32°C (90°F) is 5-6 (2 in July, 3 in August). Average morning relative humidity: 82%, evening relative humidity: 64%. Sunshine hours is till 2,778 per year, from 150 in November (5 hours of sunshine every day) to 341 in July .

Carte de la Baye de Gibraltar

Plan de Port et Ville de Cartagene

Isle de Majorque, Isle de Minorque et Carte de l'Isle de Yvice

Balearic Islands

The Balearic Islands are an archipelago in the western Mediterranean Sea, near the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula.
The four largest islands are (from largest to smallest): Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza, and Formentera. The archipelago forms an autonomous community and a province of Spain, of which the capital city is Palma. The co-official languages in the Balearic Islands are Spanish and Catalan .

Carte de la Baye de Corcubion

Plan de la Baye et Port de La Corogne

Plan du Port de Ferrol

Plan de St Sebastien


The city was originally founded as Gadir by the Phoenicians, who used it in their trade with Tartessos, a city-state believed by archaeologists to be somewhere near the mouth of the Guadalquivir River, about thirty kilometres northwest of Cádiz.

Cádiz is the most ancient city still standing in Western Europe. Traditionally, its founding is dated to 1104 BC although no archaeological strata on the site can be dated earlier than the ninth century. One resolution for this discrepancy has been to assume that Gadir was merely a small seasonal trading post in its earliest days.
Later, the Greeks knew the city as Gadira or Gadeira. According to Greek legend, Gadir was founded by Hercules after performing his fabled tenth labor, the slaying of Geryon, a monstrous warrior-titan with three heads and three torsos joined to a single pair of legs. As late as the early third century, a tumulus (a large earthen mound) near Cádiz was associated with Geryon's final resting-place.

One of the city's notable features during antiquity was the temple dedicated to the Phoenician god Melqart. According to the Life of Apollonius of Tyana, the temple was still standing during the first century AD. Some historians, based in part on this source, believe that the columns of this temple were the origin of the myth of the pillars of Hercules.
Around 500 BC, the city fell under the sway of Carthage. Cádiz became a base of operations for Hannibal's conquest of southern Iberia. However, in 206 BC, the city fell to Roman forces under Scipio Africanus. The people of Cádiz welcomed the victors. Under the Romans, the city's Greek name was modified to Gades; it flourished as a Roman naval base. By the time of Augustus, Cádiz was home to more than five hundred equites, a concentration of notable citizens rivaled only by Padua and Rome itself. It was the principal city of a Roman colony, Augusta Urbs Julia Gaditana. However, with the decline of the Roman Empire, Gades's commercial importance began to fade.
The fifth century overthrow of Roman power in Hispania Baetica by the Visigoths saw the destruction of the original city, of which there remain few remnants today. Under Moorish rule between 711 and 1262, the city was called Qādis , from which the modern Spanish name, Cádiz, was derived. The Moors were finally ousted by Alphonso X of Castile in 1262.

During the Age of Exploration, the city experienced a renaissance. Christopher Columbus sailed from Cádiz on his second and fourth voyages, and the city later became the home port of the Spanish treasure fleet. Consequently, the city became a major target of Spain's enemies. The sixteenth century also saw a series of failed raids by Barbary corsairs. The greater part of the old town was consumed in the conflagration of 1569. In April 1587 a raid by the Englishman Sir Francis Drake occupied the harbour for three days, capturing six ships and destroying 31 others as well as a large quantity of stores . The attack delayed the sailing of the Spanish Armada by a year.
The city suffered another raid in 1596 by the Earl of Essex and Lord Charles Howard, who sacked part of the town but were unable to hold the city and port. Yet another unsuccessful English raid was launched by the Duke of Buckingham in 1625 against the city, commanded by Sir Edward Cecil. In the Anglo-Spanish War Admiral Robert Blake blockaded Cádiz from 1655 to 1657. In the Battle of Cádiz (1702), the English attacked again under Sir George Rooke and James, Duke of Ormonde, but they were repelled after a costly siege.
In the eighteenth century, the sand bars of the river Guadalquivir forced the Spanish government to transfer the port monopolizing trade with Spanish America from upriver Seville to Cádiz with better access to the Atlantic. During this time, the city experienced a golden age during which three-quarters of all Spanish trade was with the Americas. It became one of Spain's greatest and most cosmopolitan cities and home to trading communities from many countries, among whom the richest was the Irish community. Many of today's historic buildings in the Old City date from this era.
By the end of the century, however, the city suffered another series of attacks. The British blockade and siege of Cádiz between February 1797 and April 1798 was, by most standards, a costly failure. Nelson, returning from his defeat at Santa Cruz, bombarded the city in 1800. During Napoleon's conquest of Europe, Cádiz was one of the few cities in Spain that was able to resist the French invasion.
The success of the Irish merchant community in late eighteenth-century Cádiz was due mainly to their engagement in the colonial trade. Small in number compared to other immigrant groups, they played a disproportionately prominent role in civic and ecclesiastical life, and as patrons of the arts in their adopted city. Their success stories in Cádiz contrast starkly with the lack of opportunity available to them in Ireland. Nevertheless, they did maintain vigorous mercantile and dynastic connections with their homeland. Their accomplishments were all the more remarkable in that they were achieved against a background of fierce competition in Europe's most dynamic entrepôt of the day.It is a connection that continutes to this day.
Cádiz was also the seat of the liberal Cortes that fought against Joseph Bonaparte in the Peninsular War; at Cadiz the liberal Spanish Constitution of 1812 was proclaimed. The citizens revolted in 1820 to secure a renewal of this constitution; the revolution spread across Spain, leading to the imprisonment of King Ferdinand VII in the city of Cádiz. French forces secured the release of Ferdinand in the Battle of Trocadero (1823) and suppressed liberalism. In 1868, Cádiz was once again the seat of a revolution, resulting in the eventual abdication and exile of Queen Isabella II. The same Cádiz Cortes decided to reinstate the monarchy under King Amadeo I just two years later. In recent years, the city has undergone much reconstruction. Many monuments, cathedrals, and landmarks have been cleaned and restored, adding to the considerable charm of this ancient city.

Plan de la Ville de Cadix

Plan de la Baye de Cadix

Carte de la Baye de Vigo


After a long and hard conquest, the Iberian Peninsula became a region of the Roman Empire known as Hispania. During the early Middle Ages it came under Germanic rule but later was conquered by Muslim invaders. Through a very long and fitful process, the Christian kingdoms in the north gradually rolled back Muslim rule, finally extinguishing its last remnant in Granada in 1492, the same year Columbus reached the Americas. A global empire began which saw Spain become the strongest kingdom in Europe and the leading world power in the 16th century and first half of the 17th century. Continued wars and other problems however, eventually led to a diminished status. The French invasion of Spain in the early 19th century led to chaos, triggering independence movements that tore apart most of the empire and left the country politically unstable. In the 20th century it suffered a devastating civil war and came under the rule of an authoritarian government, leading to years of stagnation, but finishing in an impressive economic surge. Democracy was restored in 1978 in the form of a parliamentary constitutional monarchy. In 1986, Spain joined the European Union; experiencing a cultural renaissance and steady economic growth.

Archaeological research at Atapuerca indicates the Iberian Peninsula was peopled 1.2 million years ago. Modern humans in the form of Cro-Magnons began arriving in the Iberian Peninsula through the Pyrenees some 35,000 years ago. The best known artifacts of these prehistoric human settlements are the famous paintings in the Altamira cave of Cantabria in northern Spain, which were created about 15,000 BCE.
Archaeological and genetic evidence strongly suggests that the Iberian Peninsula acted as one of three major refugia from which northern Europe was repopulated following the end of the last ice age.
The two main historical peoples of the peninsula were the Iberians and the Celts, the former inhabiting the Mediterranean side from the northeast to the southwest, the latter inhabiting the Atlantic side, in the north and northwest part of the peninsula. In the inner part of the peninsula, where both groups were in contact, a mixed, distinctive culture—known as Celtiberian—was present. In addition, Basques occupied the western area of the Pyrenees mountains. Other ethnic groups existed along the southern coastal areas of present day Andalusia. Among these southern groups there grew the earliest urban culture in the Iberian Peninsula, that of the semi-mythical southern city of Tartessos (perhaps pre-1100 BC) near the location of present-day Cádiz. The flourishing trade in gold and silver between the people of Tartessos and Phoenicians and Greeks is documented in the history of Strabo and in the biblical book of king Solomon. Between about 500 BC and 300 BC, the seafaring Phoenicians and Greeks founded trading colonies all along the Spanish Mediterranean coast. Carthaginians briefly took control of much of the Mediterranean coast in the course of the Punic Wars, until they were eventually defeated and replaced by the Romans.

During the Second Punic War, an expanding Roman Empire captured Carthaginian trading colonies along the Mediterranean coast from roughly 210 BC to 205 BC, leading to eventual Roman control of nearly the entire Iberian Peninsula; this lasted over 500 years, bound together by law, language, and the Roman road.
The base Celt and Iberian population remained in various stages of Romanisation, and local leaders were admitted into the Roman aristocratic class. Hispania served as a granary for the Roman market, and its harbors exported gold, wool, olive oil, and wine. Agricultural production increased with the introduction of irrigation projects, some of which remain in use. Emperors Trajan, Theodosius I, and the philosopher Seneca were born in Hispania. Christianity was introduced into Hispania in the 1st century CE and it became popular in the cities in the 2nd century CE. Most of Spain's present languages and religion, and the basis of its laws, originate from this period. Rome's loss of jurisdiction in Hispania began in 409, when the Germanic Suevi and Vandals, together with the Sarmatian Alans crossed the Rhine and ravaged Gaul until the Visigoths drove them into Iberia that same year. The Suevi established a kingdom in what is today modern Galicia and northern Portugal. The Alans' allies, the Hasdingi Vandals, established a kingdom in Gallaecia, too, occupying largely the same region but extending farther south to the Duero river. The Silingi Vandals occupied the region that still bears a form of their name - Vandalusia, modern Andalusia, in Spain. The Byzantines established an enclave, Spania, in the south, with the intention of reviving the Roman empire throughout Iberia. Eventually, however, Hispania was reunited under Visigothic rule.

In the 8th century, nearly all of the Iberian Peninsula was conquered (711-718) by Muslim armies from North Africa. These conquests were part of the expansion of the Umayyad Islamic Empire. Only a number of areas in the mountainous north of the Iberian Peninsula managed to resist the initial invasion and they were the starters of the Reconquista. These areas roughly corresponding to modern Asturias, Cantabria, Navarre and northern Aragon.
Under Islam, Christians and Jews were recognised as "peoples of the book", and were free to practice their religion, but faced a number of mandatory discriminations and penalties as dhimmis. Conversion to Islam proceeded at a steadily increasing pace. The muladies are believed to have comprised the majority of the population of Al-Andalus by the end of the 10th century.
The Muslim community in the Iberian peninsula was itself diverse and beset by social tensions. The Berber people of North Africa, who had provided the bulk of the invading armies, clashed with the Arab leadership from the Middle East.[note 10] Over time, large Moorish populations became established, especially in the Guadalquivir River valley, the coastal plain of Valencia, the Ebro River valley and in the mountainous region of Granada.
Córdoba, the capital of the caliphate, was the largest, richest and most sophisticated city of medieval western Europe. Mediterranean trade and cultural exchange flourished. Muslims imported a rich intellectual tradition from the Middle East and North Africa. Muslim and Jewish scholars played an important part in reviving and expanding classical Greek learning in Western Europe. The Romanized cultures of the Iberian peninsula interacted with Muslim and Jewish cultures in complex ways, thus giving the region a distinctive culture. Outside the cities, where the vast majority lived, the land ownership system from Roman times remained largely intact as Muslim leaders rarely dispossessed landowners, and the introduction of new crops and techniques led to a remarkable expansion of agriculture.
However, by the 11th century, Muslim holdings had fractured into rival Taifa kingdoms, allowing the small Christian states the opportunity to greatly enlarge their territories and consolidate their positions. The arrival of the North African Muslim ruling sects of the Almoravids and the Almohads restored unity upon Muslim holdings, with a stricter, less tolerant application of Islam, but ultimately, after some successes in invading the north, proved unable to resist the increasing military strength of the Christian states.

The Reconquista is the centuries-long period of expansion of Spain's Christian kingdoms; Reconquista is viewed as beginning with the battle of Covadonga in 722 and being concurrent with the period of Muslim rule on the Iberian peninsula. The Christian army's victory over the Muslim forces led to the creation of the Christian Kingdom of Asturias along the northern coastal mountains. Muslim armies had also moved north of the Pyrenees, but they were defeated at the Battle of Poitiers in France. Subsequently, they retreated to more secure positions south of the Pyrenees with a frontier marked by the Ebro and Duero valleys in Spain. As early as 739 Muslim forces were driven from Galicia, which was to host one of medieval Europe's holiest sites, Santiago de Compostela. A little later Frankish forces established Christian counties south of the Pyrenees; these areas were to grow into kingdoms, in the north-east and the western part of the Pyrenees. These territories included Navarre, Aragon and Catalonia.

The breakup of Al-Andalus into the competing Taifa kingdoms helped the expanding Christian kingdoms. The capture of Toledo in 1085 was soon followed by the completion of the Christian powers reconquest of Spain's northern half. After a Muslim resurgence in the 12th century, the great Moorish strongholds in the south fell to Christian Spain in the 13th century—Córdoba in 1236 and Seville in 1248—leaving only the Muslim enclave of Granada as a tributary state in the south. Marinid invasions from north Africa in the 13th and 14th centuries failed to re-establish Muslim rule. Also in the 13th century, the kingdom of Aragon, formed by Aragon, Catalonia and Valencia expanded its reach across the Mediterranean to Sicily. Around this time the universities of Palencia (1212/1263) and Salamanca (1218/1254) were established; among the earliest in Europe. The Black Death of 1348 and 1349 devastated Spain.
In 1469, the crowns of the Christian kingdoms of Castile and Aragon were united by the marriage of Isabella and Ferdinand. In 1478 began the final stage of the conquest of Canary Islands and in 1492, these united kingdoms captured Granada, ending the last remnant of a 781-year presence of Islamic rule in Iberia. The Treaty of Granada guaranteed religious tolerance toward Muslims. The year 1492 also marked the arrival in the New World of Christopher Columbus, during a voyage funded by Isabella. That same year, Spain's Jews were ordered to convert to Catholicism or face expulsion from Spanish territories during the Spanish Inquisition. Not long after, Muslims were also expelled under the same conditions.
As Renaissance New Monarchs, Isabella and Ferdinand centralized royal power at the expense of local nobility, and the word España - whose root is the ancient name Hispania - began to be commonly used to designate the whole of the two kingdoms. With their wide-ranging political, legal, religious and military reforms, Spain emerged as the first world power.

The unification of the kingdoms of Aragon and Castile laid the basis for modern Spain and the Spanish Empire.
Spain was Europe's leading power throughout the 16th century and most of the 17th century, a position reinforced by trade and wealth from colonial possessions. Spain reached its apogee during the reigns of the first two Spanish Habsburgs - Charles I (1516–1556) and Philip II (1556–1598). This period also saw the Italian Wars, the revolt of the comuneros, the Dutch revolt, the Morisco revolt, clashes with the Ottomans, the Anglo-Spanish war and wars with France.
The Spanish Empire expanded to include most parts of South and Central America, Mexico, southern and western portions of today's United States, the Philippines, Guam and the Mariana Islands in Eastern Asia, parts of northern Italy, southern Italy, Sicily, cities in Northern Africa, as well as parts of France, modern Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.

It was the first empire about which it was said that the sun never set. This was an age of discovery, with daring explorations by sea and by land, the opening-up of new trade routes across oceans, conquests and the beginnings of European colonialism. Along with the arrival of precious metals, spices, luxuries, and new agricultural plants, Spanish and other explorers brought back knowledge from the New World, playing a leading part in transforming European understanding of the globe. The cultural efflorescence witnessed is now referred to as the Spanish Golden Age. The rise of humanism, the Protestant Reformation and new geographical discoveries raised issues addressed by the influential intellectual movement now known as the School of Salamanca.
In the late 16th century and first half of the 17th century, Spain was confronted by unrelenting challenges from all sides. Barbary pirates under the aegis of the rapidly growing Ottoman empire, disrupted life in many coastal areas through their slave raids and renewed the threat of an Islamic invasion. This at a time when Spain was often at war with France in Italy and elsewhere. Later the Protestant Reformation schism from the Catholic Church dragged the kingdom ever more deeply into the mire of religiously charged wars. The result was a country forced into ever expanding military efforts across Europe and in the Mediterranean.

By the middle decades of a war and plague ridden 17th century Europe, the effects of the strain began to show. The Spanish Habsburgs had enmeshed the country in the continent wide religious-political conflicts. These conflicts drained it of resources and undermined the European economy generally. Spain managed to hold on to most of the scattered Habsburg empire, and help the imperial forces of the Holy Roman Empire reverse a large part of the advances made by Protestant forces, but it was finally forced to recognise the separation of Portugal and the Netherlands, and eventually suffered some serious military reverses to France in the latter stages of the immensely destructive, Europe-wide Thirty Years War.
In the latter half of the 17th century, Spain went into a gradual relative decline, during which it surrendered a number of small territories to France. However Spain maintained and enlarged its vast overseas empire, which remained intact until the beginning of the 19th century.
The decline culminated in a controversy over succession to the throne which consumed the first years of the 18th century. The War of Spanish Succession, a wide ranging international conflict combined with a civil war, cost Spain its European possessions and its position as one of the leading powers on the Continent.
During this war, a new dynasty—the French Bourbons—was installed. Long united only by the Crown, a true Spanish state was established when the first Bourbon king Philip V of Spain united Castile and Aragon into a single state, abolishing many of the regional privileges.
The 18th century saw a gradual recovery and an increase in prosperity through much of the empire. The new Bourbon monarchy drew on the French system of modernising the administration and the economy. Enlightenment ideas began to gain ground among some of the kingdom's elite and monarchy. Towards the end of the century trade finally began growing strongly. Military assistance for the rebellious British colonies in the American War of Independence improved Spain's international standing.

In 1793, Spain went to war against the new French Republic, which had overthrown and executed its Bourbon king, Louis XVI. The war polarised the country in an apparent reaction against the gallicised elites. Defeated in the field, Spain made peace with France in 1795 and effectively became a client state of that country; the following year, it declared war against Britain and Portugal. A disastrous economic situation, along with other factors, led to the abdication of the Spanish king in favour of Napoleon's brother, Joseph Bonaparte.
This foreign puppet monarch was widely regarded with scorn. On 2 May 1808, the people of Madrid began a nationalist uprising against the French army, one of many across the country, marking the beginning of what is known to the Spanish as the War of Independence, and to the English as the Peninsular War. Napoleon was forced to intervene personally, defeating several badly coordinated Spanish armies and forcing a British army to retreat to Corunna. However, further military action by Spanish guerrillas and Wellington's Anglo-Portuguese army, combined with Napoleon's disastrous invasion of Russia, led to the ousting of the French from Spain in 1814, and the return of King Ferdinand VII.
The French invasion proved disastrous for Spain's economy, and left a deeply divided country that was prone to political instability for more than a century. The power struggles of the early 19th century led to the loss of all of Spain's colonies in Latin America, with the exception of Cuba and Puerto Rico.

Amid the instability and economic crisis that afflicted Spain in the 19th century there arose nationalist movements in the Philippines and Cuba. Wars of independence ensued in those colonies and eventually the United States became involved. Despite the commitment and ability shown by some military units, they were so mismanaged by the highest levels of command that the Spanish–American War, fought in the Spring of 1898, did not last long. "El Desastre" (The Disaster), as the war became known in Spain, helped give impetus to the Generation of 98 who were already conducting much critical analysis concerning the country. It also weakened the stability that had been established during Alfonso XII's reign.