Magenta, Battle of

Magenta, Battle of
   A critical engagement of the Austro-Piedmontese War. In 1858, France and Piedmont-Sardinia formed an alliance against Austria. Sardinian war preparations provoked the Habsburg monarchy to give an ultimatum to Piedmont-Sardinia and finally to wage war. Austrian forces failed to take the offensive and were pushed back near Palestro at the end of May 1859. In the first of two major battles, 54,000 French-Sardinian troops under the French Emperor Napoleon III defeated 58,000 Austrian troops under General Count Ferenc Gyulai on June 4, 1859. The battle took place near the town of Magenta, west of Milan and east of the Ticino River in northern Italy and resulted in heavy losses on both sides. In the aftermath of their victory, the Franco-Sardinian forces were able to take control of Lombardy, but it was the Battle of Solferino on June 24, 1859, that decided the war.
   See also <>; <>.
    Berkeley, G. F.-H. Italy in the Making. Cambridge: University Press, 1932;
    Hearder, Harry. Italy in the Age of the Risorgimento, 1790–1870. New York: Longman, 1983.

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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