The fabulous city of Venice began in the year 421, although many will argue with that and, but agree it’s not good to start chronology of one of the greatest cities in the world with the words “about” and “approximately”. Thus let’s take this year as a birthday of the amazing city of Venice.
Historians still say that the first information about the settlement of little use for a meaningful existence swampy islands of the lagoon (Rivo Alto, Malomokko, Chioggia et al.) Dated to 452 a year.
Just at this time exhausted Roman Empire was attacked by bloodthirsty and ruthless barbarian Huns and every other evil spirits, led by fierce warrior Attila. That had to residents of Northern Italy seek refuge in the wild islands of the Adriatic. It turned out here, too, can live and, as we will see later on, very well.
New settlers began to fish, build houses and by the 466 year agreed to establish first Venetian government – a council of representatives of each of the twelve villages. And after two centuries, insecurity in the lagoon forced residents to elect the supreme ruler, Venetian – Doge (Doge from the Latin Dux (King), Italian Duca).
At the same time, on paper Venice is still dependent on the Roman Empire, not the West, devastated at the end of the V century, but Eastern, that is Byzantium.
Byzantic influence in Italy began to decrease, and when in 810 Venice unsuccessfully attacked the army of Franks, the islanders morally rallied and began to actively distance themselves from Byzantium.
The administrative center of the lagoon has been moved to the safest island of Rivo Alto (where now is the area of ​​Rialto). In 829 two Venetian merchants went to Alexandria, where stolen relics of St. Mark, brought them to the island, and the locals gladly changed Byzantine patron St. Theodore on the freshly-stolen, but his, Mark. In addition, began to build the Palazzo Ducale and its own coinage.
Their economic prosperity of the Republic of St. Mark built on maritime trade. Geographically, the city in the lagoon was the meeting place of East and West, and the islanders, being talented traders, knew how to profit from it. Venetian ships went to sea and back filled with a hot commodity, and if there were problems with the local pirates, interfere with normal shipping in the Adriatic, the Venetians just ransomed from their obsessive attention.
When in the year 991, was elected Doge Pietro II Orseolo famous, inhabitants of the lagoon began to successfully apply force methods. After nine years of his reign, the feast of the Assumption of the great Doge went to sea with the most powerful fleet ever seen by the Adriatic and fully cleared the sea from Dalmatian pirates capturing cities that came across. Thus began the territorial expansion of Venice. The city has expanded its influence in the sea and has established itself as a center of maritime trade.
This brought exotic goods from the East, fruit from the Caucasus, here sold perfumes, cosmetics, carpets, gold, slaves, resourceful Venetian merchants brought treasures and relics from around the world. Venice turned into a wonderful world: a motley crowd in the streets spoke hundreds of languages ​​and dialects,
and in the palazzo (palace) reigned luxury. Affluent city needed the artists and creators. Venice was giving orders greatest painters and architects. In the city were built churches and cathedrals, was the development of printing, and in the early 12th century, was built the largest shipyard of the time – Arsenal.
Blooming republic ruled by a limited number of oligarchs whose names were written in the so-called “Golden Book” – only members of their families have the right to sit in the Grand Council of the legislature. At the head of the Grand Council was the Doge. His position was for life, though, all the centuries of the republic remained elective. True … Doge Marino Faliero in 1355 tried to make his power hereditary, as a royal, but for that he was beheaded by his subjects.
Relations with the Catholic Church in the city were cool. Oddly popes tried to influence its policies have failed to achieve it. Venice had very high self-esteem, and always resisted the Vatican. The city is not just excommunicated, tried to impose a list of banned books, threatened with excommunication all the Venetian Senate, but every time these decisions were ignored, and the city continued to live and thrive.
All these years, the Venetian government lead a successful political game, capturing more and more lucrative territories and taking advantage of the most intractable situations and international conflicts. In the XV century Republic have dominion from the Alps to the Po River and to the west of Bergamo. Under the rule of Venice was even Cyprus.
But in the XV century on the Mediterranean began to … Turks conquered a lot of land, the Ottoman Empire started to conquer one after another mainland territory of Venice. Republic resisted, but bloody battles brought nothing but devastation and once profitable lands proceeded to the Turks.
And then there was, unfortunately, more active travelers – in 1499 Vasco da Gama found the way to India via the Cape of Good Hope, bypassing trade routes traditionally formed the basis of the well-being of the country. Opening the Portuguese dealt a severe blow to the whole of the Venetian economy. Began a slow decline of the years …
In 1575, then in 1630 the city was laid down by plague, a third of the population (including the great painter Titian) died, and all the remaining human and financial resources continued to pump out the ongoing conflict with the Turks. By 1720 the republic was practically bankrupt. Characteristically, it was at this time she experienced another heyday of the arts – in the city lived and worked Tiepollo, Canaletto, Guardi, on the stage of staged plays of Goldoni and Gozzi, and the Piazza San Marco opened a cafe “Florian”.
Thus came to an end the age of 18, and with it the history of Venice’s independence. Bloodless city fell easy prey to Napoleon. The invasion of the French troops marked the end of the republic. Last Doge Ludovico Manin, removing the cap worn under the crown, said to his servant, “Take this to me is no longer needed.”
Napoleon saw San Marco, said: “But this area – the most elegant drawing room in Europe” – and then plundered the city and destroyed about forty ancient palazzo. When his empire fell, Venice moved to Austria.
In 1826, Venice was declared a free harbor, and now replace the merchants were tourists. After the visit of Lord Byron, the main European tourist, sorry, romance, poetry Venetian decay came into vogue. Bohemia came to Venetian canals and bridges for inspiration, wealthy Europeans spent the summer on the fashionable beaches of Lido. The city became a place of pilgrimage for every self-respecting esthete.
And the Venetians, meanwhile, grieved their dependence on Austria and with the rest of Italy rebelled against the Austrian invaders, and in 1866 the city became the province of the Italian kingdom.
During World War II, Venice narrowly escaped serious damage from Allied bombs. Actor Marcello Mastroianni hit the German labor camp, escaped and hid until the end of the war in Venice.
Now a beautiful and poetic Venetian fairy tale turned into a sort of Disneyland for the endless stream of tourists and the number of citizens over the past half-century has decreased three times. Each year, 1,500 people leave the city, because the young hosts of the city, it becomes increasingly difficult to find a place among the countless guests.
Venice History does not end, and it will last for a while, but pessimists scientists severely limit the time and say that, in connection with the raising of the water level in the lagoon, Venice could become “Atlantis of the new millennium”

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