The History of Naples (Napoli)

The Greco-Roman Era
9th Century BC:
Settlers from the Greek island of Rhodes  establish the first settlement on
File:Napoli castel dell ovo 020106 01.jpg the small island of "Megaride" off the coast of  today's Naples.  With the support from the Greek colonies of nearby Cuma,  the settlers establish a settlement and name it after "Parthenope" (in the Greek mythology Parthenope is  one of the three Sirens who threw herself into the sea and drowned because her love for Ulysses was not returned; her body was washed ashore at Naples, which was called Parthenope after her name).  

600 BC:
The city of
Neapolis  (Greek for "new city") is formed  . The original settlement is subsequently named  Palepolis (old city).

328 BC:
Rome defeats Naples in a war.  However a treaty allows Naples to continue as an independent city.
90-89 BC:
Rome grants the citizens of the Campania region roman citizenship.
79 AD:
Mount Vesuvius erupts and destroys Pompei, Ercolano and Stabia.
Romulus Augustus, the last Western emperor is deposed and incarcerated in the  Castrum Lucullianum (today known as Castel dell'Ovo) a castle/fortress on the small isle of Megaride.
The Duchies of Naples
Belisarius, sent by the Eastern Emperor Justinian, conquers Naples and establishes a Byzantine Duchy.
Under Byzantine domination, Naples rebuffs several attacks from the uncivilized Longobards.
Naples becomes an independent Duchy.  Stephen II is appointed to Duke of Naples by Constans II, he later switches his allegiance to the pope and is subsequently nominated Bishop.
After numerous attacks, the Napolitans defeat Saracen forces at the Garigliano river.
The Norman and Swabian Naples
The Napolitans hand their city to Roger II, King of Palermo who becomes the first monarch of the kingdom of Naples.
William I, son of Roger II of Sicily, commissions the construction of the first castle in Naples:
Castel Capuano.
Power over the city is handed to Henry IV of Swabia (Bavaria), Son in Law of  Roger the Norman.
Frederick II Hohenstaufen, King of Sicily and Head of the Roman Empire commissions the first university: Università degli Studi.
The Angevin Dynasty
Charles of Anjou, son of Louis VIII of France, conquers the city.   He becomes King under the name Charles I.
Charles of Anjou I commissions his architects
Pierre de Chaulnes and Pierre d'Angincourt, to build the magnificent castle Maschio Angioino.
Robert of Anjou is proclaimed King of Naples.  He was the third (living) son of King Charles II of Naples.
René of Anjou becomes King of Naples (
René I of Naples).
The Aragonese Period
Alfonso of Aragon, son of Ferdinand I of Aragon, enters the city.  The Aragonese control also marked the beginning of a humanistic era and Southern culture.
The reign passes from Alfonso of Aragon to Ferdinand I who is only 35 years old.  His kingdom is challenged repetedly by the Angevins.
Ferdinand I crushes a revolt of the Barons.
The Spanish Vice-Regency
Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, an emissary of the Spanish Throne, also known as "The Great Captain", arrives in Naples
to command the Spanish part of a French/Spanish coalition formed between Ferdinand of Spain and Louis XII of France.
A violent eruption of mount Vesuvius threatens the population of Naples. In appreciation for having spared the city and its people, the citizens errect a monumental obelisq and dedicate it to the city's patron San Gennaro.

Tommaso Aniello (abbreviated also called Masaniello) instigates and leads a revolt of the "malcontenti" (discontent i.e. unhappy people) against the Kingdom.   

A severe epidemic of Pest breaks out in the city and eradicates one third of the population.
A devastating earthquake cause vast destruction of land marks and buildings.
The Austrian Vice-Regency
Beginning of the short Austrian Vice Regency
The Bourbon Era

Carlos IV of Bourbon defeats the Austrians and ascends to King of Naples and Sicilies.

Carlos IV of Bourbon ascends to the Spanish Throne as Charles III of Spain and passes the throne of Naples to his eight years old son Ferdinand IV under the regency of Bernardo Tanucci. 
A group of patriots and intellectuals proclaim the Parthenope Republic (Repubblica Partenopea).  King Ferdinand IV flees the City to avoid captivity by the French.  The Republic only lasts six month and Ferdinand IV regains his throne.
The French Decade
Napoleon Bonaparte 
appoints his brother Giuseppe to King of Naples.
Murat, brother-in-law of Napoleon Bonaparte through marriage to Caroline Bonaparte, succeeds Giuseppe Bonaparte as King of Naples.
The Re-Instatement of the Bourbons
After the fall of Napoleon,
Joachim Murat first joins Napoleon in Corsican exile and later attempts regaining Naples through an insurrection in Calabria.  Ferdinand IV re-gains the throne of Naples, defeats the insurrection and orders Murat's execution. 
Following Ferdinand's death, his only son
Francis II is proclaimed Kind of the two Sicilies.  He is to be the last of the Bourbons of Naples.
Naples After Italian Unification
Garibaldi seizes the opportunity of a Kingdom weakened by internal uprisings,  and assembles  a group of thousand volunteers ("I Mille") known as the Redshirts.  He takes control of the city and later of the remaining region.  He declares himself dictator of Sicily under Victor Emmanuel II.
The city suffers a severe cholera epidemic
After overcoming the epidemic, entire city blocks are demolished under a program called "Risanimento", a name given to the large scale re-planning and re-building of cities following Italy's Unification.  Examples are the Corso Umberto and the  Galleria Umberto I.
Contemporary Naples
After a  four-day rebellion (le Quattro Giornate di Napoli), Napolitans push the Germans out of the city and open the way to the Allied Forces. 
Last eruption of Mount Vesuvio
The master piece Napoli Milionaria, marks the beginning of a long list of  successful Works by Eduardo De Filippo, an actor, playwright, author and poet, who was appointed Life Senator of the Italian Republic (1981).
Commendatore Achille Lauro, the Italian Onassis and shipping magnate becomes Mayor of Naples.  He was re-elected in 1956 and 1960. He was one of the most vocal defenders of the monarchie until the mid seventies, even though Italians by referendum in 1946, decided to send the monarchie into exile and become a Republic.
A strong earthquake with the epicenter in Irpinia,
devastates large parts of Naples.
Naples hosts the G7
and gains prestige on the word stage.
Wars between crime syndicats, an unresolved waste disposal crisis, and the uncontrollable petty crime surgeance
reflect on Naples with a negative immage among  Italians and the World.


Created: November 1996
Updated: 06/20/09
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