Giuseppe Garibaldi is considered to be the principal figure in the unification of Italy. A gifted leader, he knew how to stir the masses, and he repeatedly hastened the pace of events. For his part in an abortive republican uprising in Piedmont in 1834, Garibaldi was sentenced to death. Able to escape his captors, he fled to South America and lived there between 1836 and 1848. There he took part in struggles in Brazil and helped Uruguay wage its war against Argentina.
Garibaldi returned to Italy in 1848 to fight in its war of independence. His actions, against the Austrians in Milan and the French, supporting Rome and the Papal States made him a national hero. Forced to retreat the following year, he again fled Italy, only to return in 1854. Five years later, he helped Piedmont in a new war against Austria. In 1860 he set out to conquer Sicily and Naples. He reached Naples in September, and on October 26 handed over Sicily and Naples to King Victor Emmanuel. He continued his struggles to within 10 years of his death in 1882.