Before the barbaric invasion, the islands
in the north Adriatic lagoon were inhabited by very few people who lived off
fishing, hunting and salt production.
Invasion of the Huns.
Many inhabitants from the mainland temporarily took refuge on the lagoon
islands from the devastation and destruction caused by Attila.
Invasion of the Longobards (Alboino).
The settlements become permanent. First environmental changes take place.
A true province of Byzantine Italy under the local government of the tribune
The main centres are Torcello, Grado with Eraclea as the seat of the
Election of the first Doge.
In an attempt to keep up with the development of the colony and to put an end
to the constant fighting amongst the islands, Byzantium decides to unify the
powers. Paoluccio Anafesto is thus elected by the population during a general
The government is moved to Malamocco and another Doge is elected after having
returned to the local government of the tribunes for five years.
The Franks, who had already defeated the Longobards and conquered northern
Italy, invade the lagoon with Pepin, son of Charlemagne. They conquer Grado,
Jesolo and Eraclea but are defeated by the Venetians before reaching Malamocco.
The government headquarters are moved to Rialto, which is easier to defend.
Start of the economic development and political growth of Venice.
Byzantium grants them trading privileges in exchange for military help against
Venice also reaches agreements with the Western Empire, Egypt and Syria, thus
proving herself increasingly independent politically from Byzantium.
The body of St. Mark is brought to Venice from Egypt.
The beginning of expansion on the seas.
Venice conquers all of Dalmatia while eliminating the pirates who threatened
her trade routes.
In memory of this event Venice creates the celebration of the Sensa, the
symbolic Marriage of the Sea.
Byzantium is forced to recognise the Doge’s right to the title "Duke of
Byzantium asks Venice for help in its fight against the Norman advances around
the southern Adriatic.
In exchange Venice accepts important trading concessions and titles of honour.
Venice defeats the Normans and increases its trading power in the East.
The emperor of Constantinople, Manuele Comneno, orders military action against
the Venetian residents in Byzantium.
The Assembly of Venice.
Thanks to her political shrewdness, Venice does not intervene in the fight
between the Empire, papacy and Communes of northern Italy; she is therefore
chosen as mediator to solve the conflict.
This leads to a meeting between Pope Alexander III and the Emperor Federico
Barbarossa at St. Mark’s.
Jerusalem is conquered by the great Saladino, Lord of Egypt and of Syria.
The IV Crusade leaves Venice to reconquer Jerusalem.
Venice agrees to participate and makes a considerable contribution in exchange
for many advantages: a large sum of money, half of the booty and the help of
the Crusaders to win back the island of Zara.
Thanks to secret agreements with the other generals, Venice is also able to
divert the Crusade towards Constantinople – obviously to her great advantage.
Constantinople is conquered and re-lost shortly afterwards after a revolt
during which Emperor Alessio Angelo, who had just been re-instated, was killed.
Constantinople is conquered for the last time.
The Eastern Empire falls and is replaced by the Latin Empire of Constantinople
and divided up between the various winners.
Venice receives not only an enormous part of the booty, but also three eighths
of the dominion.
Start of the first war against Genoa.
Venice is victorious at San.Giovanni d'Acri against the Genoese.
End of the first war against the Genoese.
The Byzantine Empire is reinstated with Michele Paleologo II, with the aid of
the Republic of Genoa in exchange for important trading concessions that greatly
"Assembly of the Greater Council”:
the aristocrats exclude the rest of the population from political power.
Venice is defeated by Genoa at Curzola.
Doge Pietro Gradenigo begins his expansion policy on the mainland.
Venice is struck by an epidemic of the plague.
Venice defeats Genoa at Alghero.
Doge Marin Faliero is found guilty of organising a political plot to obtain
absolute power over Venice and is beheaded.
The King of Hungary declares war on Venice and conquers Dalmatia.
Start of the "war of Chioggia against the Genoese" with the Venetian
attack at Porto d'Anzio.
Genoa is victorious at Zara and conquers Chioggia, thus arriving just outside
Venice also has to fight Genoa’s allies on the mainland: the Carraresi, the
Signori of Padua and the Duke of Austria.
Venice is able to end the siege by enclosing the Genoese fleet in at Chioggia.
The war against Genoa ends with the peace treaty of Turin.
Venice conquers the island of Corfu.
Venice conquers Treviso.
Venice conquers the territories of Vicenza, Verona and Padua.
Venice conquers Friuli.
Venice conquers the provinces of Brescia and Bergamo.
The Ottoman Turks conquer Constantinople under the leadership of Mohammed II.
The Turks continue to advance and Venice loses all her Greek territory.
The Treaty of Lodi.
Venetian conquests on the mainland are at their height. The Italian borders are
the river Adda in the west, the Alps in the north, the river Po in the south
and the river Isonzo in the east.
Venice signs a treaty with the Ottomans who have now reached Friuli.
Loses the island of Negroponte and most of the islands of the Cyclades.
Venice takes Rovigo.
Venice is able to make Queen Cornaro yield the island of Cyprus. The Queen is
then welcomed in Venice with full honour and declared figlia prediletta di
Venezia (favourite daughter of Venice).
Christopher Colombo discovers America.
The Portuguese Vasco De Gama reaches the Indian coast while sailing around
Africa. A more direct new trading route is therefore opened for the Indias.
Being closed in the Mediterranean, Venice is not able to keep up with her
The League of Cambrai.
The Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, Maximilian I, the King of France, Louis
XII, the King of Aragon, Ferdinando the Catholic, Pope Giulio II and many
Italian princes form a coalition against Venice.
Venice is defeated by the League at Agnadello. They almost reach the lagoon.
Venice is able to resist and begins a period of skilled political diplomacy.
Venice makes peace with Pope Giulio II, returning the lands he desired in
Romagna. He leaves the league when faced with the advancement of the French.
Venice’s diplomatic successes continue: she forms an alliance with the Papacy
and the Spanish against the French in the “Holy League”.
Congress of Bologna between the Pope and Charles of Habsburg V .
Thanks to her skill and audacious political activities, Venice manages to have
her claim recognised to all the territory under her dominion prior to 1508.
Despite this political success, Venice is now financially in dire straits.
Battle of Prevesa: Venice takes part in a League of States promoted by Pope
Paolo III against the Turks. Political interests lead to the League’s defeat
and Venice, after being betrayed by her ally Charles V, has to give up Morea
The Turks conquer Cyprus.
7th October 1571
Battle of Lepanto. Venice, together with Genoa, Spain and the Papacy are
victorious against the Turks. The battle is one of the bloodiest in naval
history: the Turks lose 167 ships and 18,000 men against 12 ships and 7,500 men
of the Christian soldiers. However, no practical advantage was drawn from this
victory because old quarrels were revived amongst the allies.
50, 000 victims die in Venice in the plague.
The start of the dispute between Venice and Pope Paolo V.
The Republic could not allow the religious authorities to interfere in the
affairs of the government.
The Pope threatens to excommunicate the Senate of the Republic and prohibits
any religious celebrations on Venetian territory.
Venice, with the aid of Fra’ Paolo Sarpi, does not give in and refuses to
publish the excommunication. The clergy is told to continue all religious
After approximately one year, Venice’s rights as a lay state are confirmed.
The Uscocchi, inhabitants of Dalmatia, were armed by Austria who no longer wanted
to see the Venetian supremacy on the Adriatic, thus avoiding declaring open war
on the Republic. Austria then intervenes directly with fighting in Friuli – a
war that is to end in 1617 with the Peace treaty Paris.
The great European powers ratify the Peace treaty of MonÎon, followed by the
treaty of Ratisbon without taking Venice’s requests into consideration even
though she participated in the conflict. Venice can do nothing against this
sign of her political weakening.
Venice is struck by a new outbreak of the plague with more than 46,000 victims.
The Turks attack Candia (Crete)
After being under siege for 25 years, Venice has no choice but to give up the
island of Candia. The length of this last war against the Turks and the loss of
such an important colony seriously aggravate Venice’s already weakened
When the Turks have advanced into the very heart of Europe and are threatening
Vienna, Venice takes part in the war against them and has soon reconquered
Morea under the leadership of Francesco Morosini.
Fighting recommences against the Turks who have taken back Morea and are trying
to conquer Corfu.
The Peace of Passarowitz between Austria and Turkey not only marks the end of
the fighting between Venice and the Turks but also the end of the political
role of Venice in Europe.
The decline of Venice can no longer be
Her colonies in the seas were reduced to
the Damatian coast and the Ionian Islands and were to remain as such until the
fall of the Republic.
Due to an economic crisis and her military weakened position Venice is forced
to follow neutrally passive policies, thus suffering the damage and
consequences of the wars of succession of Spain, Poland and Austria on her
Peace of Aix-le-Chapelle.
Austrian controls all territory surrounding that of Venice.
The Venetian state starts to disintegrate.
Ludovico Manin is elected. He is to be the last Doge.
The Venetian government now lies in the hands of the "Residenti di Francia",
sort of French council that has been created in Venice.
Napoleon Bonaparte carries out his Italian Campaigns.
1st May 1797
Bonaparte asks for the ancient constitution to be changed. This only leads to
the final elimination of the government of the Republic.
12th May 1797
Ludovico Manin lays down his powers and the Maggior Consiglio proclaims
the end of the Republic of S.Marco.
Treaty of Campoformido: Napoleon gives Venice to Austria.
18th January 1798
The Austrians enter Venice.
Venice is returned to Napoleon with the Treaty of Presburg.
After the Congress of Vienna Venice once again becomes an Austrian province.
21st March 1848
The people rebel, they free themselves and proclaim themselves to be a new
Republic under the leadership of Daniele Manin.
23th August 1849
Venice is forced to suffer Austrian leadership once again.
Thanks to the outcome of the Third War of Independence, Venice is given to
Napoleon III of France who consequently gives it to the Kingdom of Italy.
This annexation is confirmed unanimously by the Venetians in a plebiscite.
translated by C.Cawthra