Catalogue description Secretaries of State: State Papers Foreign, Sicily and Naples

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Details of SP 93
Reference: SP 93
Title: Secretaries of State: State Papers Foreign, Sicily and Naples

Correspondence and papers of the Secretary of State relating to the kingdom of Naples and Sicily (the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies).

The records are mainly original in-letters to the Secretary of State from the English (later British) consuls in Naples and Messina (in Sicily), and in addition, from 1753, the envoy extraordinary at Naples. A number of draft replies from the Secretary of State are included, though there are few before about 1753. Some reports from the British vice-consul at Malta from 1770 are also in the series.

Date: 1584-1779
Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Physical description: 32 bundles and volumes
Access conditions: Available in digital format
Administrative / biographical background:

Naples and Sicily were under Spanish rule from 1501, governed by viceroys. In 1707 (during the War of the Spanish Succession) Austrian troops occupied Naples, and the King of Spain, under pressure from the English, ceded Sicily to Victor Amadeus II of Savoy at the Peace of Utrecht (1713). In July 1718 a Spanish army invaded Sicily and Victor Amadeus was unable to defend his kingdom without Austrian help. The British admiral George Byng destroyed the Spanish fleet off Cape Passero and the Austrians crossed the straits into Sicily. By the Treaty of The Hague (1720), Sicily passed to Austria. The Austrian Habsburgs remained in control of Sicily (and also of Naples since their invasion in 1707) until 1734.

In 1734 the Spanish Bourbon prince Don Carlos conquered Naples and Sicily. When he became King Charles III of Spain in 1759, his third son, Ferdinand, became ruler. Ferdinand's rule remained uninterrupted until 1799 when Naples was invaded by a French revolutionary army. Ultimately, Naples and Sicily (termed the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies since the constitution of 1816) was united with the new kingdom of Italy in 1860.

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