Saturday, February 4, 2017

Quotes on the Italianity of Istria

Here we have several impartial observations on the Italianity of Istria, taken from English and other non-Italian sources:
“Istria, a country of Italy, joyning to Illyricum.”
—E. P., The New World of English Words: A General Dictionary, 1663
“Istria, a peninsula of Italy, lying on the N. part of the Adriatic, long divided between Austria and the republic of Venice.”
—R. Brookes, The General Gozeiteer, 1791
“Istria, a peninsula of Italy, in the territory of Venice, lying in the north part of the Adriatic sea.”
—Encyclopaedia Britannica, Volume 11, 1810
“Thus much is certain—that the Italian element, in the days of ancient Rome, was far stronger, for the names of many Slav villages and families in the interior are clearly of Latin origin. The Chiches and other Slav tribes first occupied the plateaux between the ninth and the seventeenth centuries, having been introduced by feudal landowners, Venetians, and Austrians to cultivate the land or to defend military positions. Some of these tribes were admitted as guests, and settled in cultivated districts, a proceeding against which the Italian Istrians complained as early as 804. ...the lower basin of the Isonzo, Gorizia, Trieste, Parenzo, Pola, and all the towns of maritime Istria are Italian, and the Italianissimi of Trieste are consequently justified in aspiring to a union with Italy.”
—Élisée Reclus, The Earth and Its Inhabitants: The Universal Geography, Volume 3, 1878
“Under Augustus the whole of Istria was annexed to the tenth region of Italy; the south-eastern limits being the Flumen Arsae, the modern Arsa, that great gash in the Eastern flank beyond which began Liburnia. ... Ethnologically, again, Istria declares herself Italian, not Austrian. Her 290,000 souls (round number) consist of 166,000 Latins to 109,000 Slavs, the latter a mongrel breed that emigrated between A.D. 800 and 1657; and a small residue of foreigners, especially Austro-German officials. The Italians are, it is true, confined to the inner towns and to the cities of the seaboard; still, these scattered centres cannot forget that to their noble blood Istria has owed all her civilization, all her progress, and all her glories in arts and arms. Lastly, 'sentiment,' as a factor of unknown power in the great sum of what constitutes 'politics,' is undervalued only by the ignorant vulgus. The Istrians are more Italian than the Italians.”
—Lady Isabel Burton, The Life of Captain Sir Richard F. Burton, 1883
“Istria suffered less than Dalmatia from the immigrant hordes of Avars and Slavs in the seventh and succeeding centuries, and though ravaged occasionally by barbarians it was not conquered and colonized by them. ... The history of Istria during the middle ages has certain points of resemblance to that of Dalmatia. We find along the coast a series of Roman municipalities living by maritime and commercial industries, jealously guarding their ancient privileges... The Istrian historians boast that their country has preserved its ancient name, its ancient cities, and its ancient Latin culture uninterruptedly through the middle ages to the present day. ... The Roman province of Istria was considered part of Italy; its western boundary was the Timavus which divided it from the Veneti,—Aquileia however being reckoned as part of Istria,—and its eastern boundary was the river Arsia, which in Pliny's time was considered the boundary also of Italy, and which was still so regarded even in the time of Dante. ... At the partition of the empire Istria remained part of Italy.”
—T. G. Jackson, Dalmatia, the Quarnero and Istria, Volume 3, 1887
“Cassiodorus describes Istria as rich and nourishing in his time, and the disasters of the province did not begin till the seventh century, when inroads of Slavs and Avars occurred in 610 and 613, and the cities of Fianona, Albona, Pedena and others were destroyed. The barbarians, however, seem to have made no permanent settlement in the [Istrian] peninsula; and when the Croats, a fresh Slavonic people, came at the invitation of Heraclius and settled round the head of the Quarnero and in northern Dalmatia, the territory conceded to them was bounded by the river Arsia, which as of old formed the frontier of the Latins in Istria.”
—T. G. Jackson, Dalmatia, the Quarnero and Istria, Volume 3, 1887
“In 799 Duke John introduced a number of Vend or Slavonic colonists, whom he wished to establish within the province as vassals under the new system; but the remonstrances which the Roman Istrians addressed to Charlemagne prevailed so far that the duke was restricted by the Placitum of 804 to settling his colonists only in unoccupied districts, and subject to the consent of the neighbouring inhabitants. From the terms of the remonstrance it would seem that this was the first settlement of Slavs within the province.”
—T. G. Jackson, Dalmatia, the Quarnero and Istria, Volume 3, 1887
“The Turkish conquests of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Greece sent a great many colonists, both Morlacchi and Greeks, from those provinces to Istria...but the older inhabitants made them anything but welcome, and did what they could to discourage others from following.”
—T. G. Jackson, Dalmatia, the Quarnero and Istria, Volume 3, 1887
“The population of Istria is composed of two elements, Latin and Slavonic, like that of Dalmatia; but they are mixed in very different proportions, and the Slavs in Istria by no means hold the predominant position they have lately assumed in Dalmatia. The Slavs did not come into Istria as conquerors but as settlers, arriving in groups of families which either squatted on deserted lands, or were invited by the German barons or the Venetian Republic to re-people districts and villages which had been depopulated by war and pestilence.”
—T. G. Jackson, Dalmatia, the Quarnero and Istria, Volume 3, 1887
“...Pola—the Pietas Julia of the Romans—near the southern end of the peninsula...it looks to us now as we enter the harbor just as it did centuries ago to the Roman bearing in with his galley, and this, together with the old bastioned walls and other visible evidences of the past, irresistibly transports us back to the spell of Rome. But on entering the town, everything reminds us of Italy—streets, architecture, and people are all Italian in character. The population here is indeed much more Italian than Slavic—the latter element being mostly composed of refugees... Indeed, the Triestines boast themselves to be "più italiani degli italiani," [more Italian than the Italians] and Pola and the other cities of the Istrian peninsula could say the same.”
—Walter Woodburn Hyde, Dalmatian Approach to Greece, Records of the Past, Volume 7, 1908
“Trieste...is as Italian as is Genoa: nine-tenths of its inhabitants are Italians. Of the inhabitants of Fiume...one-half are Italians; and of the inhabitants of Pola...more than half are Italians. Italy has ancient historical claims to the possession of the whole of the eastern shore of the Adriatic... The names of the greatest Austrian coast towns on the Adriatic, such as Trieste, Capo d'Istria, Parenzo, Rovigno, Pola, Alona, Fiume, Veglia, Zara, Sebenico, Spalato, Ragusa, etc., proclaim their Italian origin. They are Italian in appearance and in civilisation, and in most of them the emblem of the Venetian Lion will still be found prominently displayed on the old public buildings and on the gates and walls. The Adriatic used to be a purely Italian sea.”
—J. Ellis Barker, Italy's Policy and Her Position in Europe, The Fortnightly, Volume 91, 1915
“Elsewhere in the Italian provinces of Austria the Italians are persecuted as they are in Trieste. ... Pola, like Trieste, is pre-eminently an Italian town. But in Pola also the Slavs are increasing far more rapidly than the Italians. In ten years the number of Slavs and Germans at Pola has doubled... In Pola, as in Trieste, the Government endeavours to denationalise the Italians... the methods employed for terrorising the Italians and for depriving them of their work are far more ruthless than at Trieste. The sea towns along the Austrian Adriatic, such as Capodistria, Isola, Pirano, Salvore, Umago, San Lorenzo, Cittanova, Parenzo, Orsera, Rovigno, Fasan, are absolutely Italian. ... The Italian farmers in Istria are experiencing hard times... Their place is taken by Slavs... Austria endeavours to drive the Italians from the sea. ... Austria evidently endeavours to make it impossible for Italians to exist and to make a living on the Adriatic coast.”
—Politicus, Italy's Policy and Her Position in Europe, The Fortnightly, Volume 97, 1915
“Istria is the most notable part of Julian Venetia. Administratively it includes the islands of the Quarnero (Veglia, Cherso, and Lussino) and excludes Trieste and Fiume. The islands of the Quarnero can be considered as belonging physically to the archipelago of Dalmatia, while Istria finds its physical unity mainly in its peninsular character. Istria resembles a typically Italian region both in its physical features and in the human occupation of its soil, especially its arboriculture. An even stronger impression of being in Italy is made upon the visitor by its cities, both by their monuments and the general appearance of their buildings. Art and culture are everywhere entirely Italian.”
—Geographical Review, Volume 7, 1919
“There lies to the east of the Venetian plain a region which since Roman times was considered the tenth region or district of Italy proper, and as such known by the name of Venetia Julia. It is nothing but an actual and organic part of the former Italian borderland of Friuli, and how in mischief anybody but an Austro-German coalition could draw a line through that region (and call it a boundary and the western part of it Italy and the eastern part of it Austria) beats the unfairness of the Alsatian boundary by the mile. ...the province of Istria, a peninsular appendage of the Italian mainland on the west... in Istria and Dalmatia the same Latin element kept on, and the following monuments are Italian,—Italian and Venetian they remain throughout the Renaissance... At the same time the citizens of a small Istrian town, Isola, killed their "podesta," believing him to be a traitor when he announced their coming subjection to Austria. If you happen to be in any of the small cities of Istria you will see an Italian church and an Italian campanile... The city halls of Capodistria, Curzola, Pola (you see I am quoting at random) could grace any Italian city.”
—Amy. A. Bernardy, The Journal of American History, First Quarter, Number 1, January-February-March 1919
“The people of the Trentino and of Trieste are largely Italian by origin, they speak Italian and they want to join their lot with that of Italy. They regard themselves as under foreign domination. ... The only cogent fact is, that they feel Italian, and wish to unite with their brother Italians. ... There is no doubt that the Istrians and Trentines are in great part Italian. Slavic and Teutonic strains are sprinkled among them, but the racial basis is Italic, and it remains Italic, despite all the Austrian efforts to exterminate it...Austria adopted toward them the savage methods of oppression... Accordingly, when Austria found that the Italians of the unredeemed sections, were cherishing hopes of freeing themselves, she endeavored to purge them of their Italianism. She tried to stop the use of the Italian language, not only in the schools, academies, and business, but in the homes, and she gradually introduced many Slavic settlers into Istria... The Austrian police, very naturally treated with severity any persons who were suspected of having Italian propensities. There was constant friction, which sometimes ended in bloodshed, and, of course, any Italians who were unlucky enough to be brought into court suffered the severest penalties. ... By the planting of German and Slavic colonists in Trieste and its neighborhood the number of Italians has proportionately decreased. We must remember also that in many cases the Italians who were able quitted Istria rather than live under Austrian oppression. ... Austria's claim that the majority of opinion there is German and Slavic is based on falsehood, as any foreigner who has visited those towns and districts can affirm. If the racial and lingual preponderance were German and Slavic, why were the manifestoes ordering the mobilization of the people in the valley of the Trent printed in Italian, as were probably those placarded on the walls of Trieste? ... The Italian claim to Istria is based on historic grounds, on the alleged preponderance of the wishes of a majority of the population...”
—William Roscoe Thayer, Peace Terms For Italy, The World's Work, Volume 37, 1918-1919