Genoa

Genoa

[jen-oh-uh]
Genoa, Ital. Genova, city (1991 pop. 678,771), capital of Genoa prov. and of Liguria, NW Italy, on the Ligurian Sea. Beautifully situated on the Italian Riviera, it is the chief seaport of Italy and rivals Marseilles, France, as the leading Mediterranean port. It is an outlet for the Po Valley and for central Europe and handles extensive passenger and freight traffic. Genoa's harbor facilities, badly damaged in World War II and by storms in 1954-55, have been rebuilt and greatly modernized. The city is also a commercial and industrial center. Such manufactures as iron and steel, chemicals, petroleum, airplanes, ships, locomotives, motor vehicles, and textiles long led the economy, but the service sector is increasingly important while industry has slowly and steadily declined.

Points of Interest

Among Genoa's notable buildings are the Cathedral of San Lorenzo (rebuilt in 1100 and frequently restored), the palace of the doges, the richly decorated churches of the Annunciation and of St. Ambrose (both 16th cent.), the medieval Church of San Donato, many Renaissance palaces, and the Carlo Felice opera house (19th cent.). The city is surrounded by old walls and forts, and the steep and narrow streets of the harbor section are very picturesque. The 16th-century Lanterna [lighthouse] is an emblem of Genoa. The Old Port was redesigned in 1992 by Renzo Piano; a modern aquarium and tropical greenhouse (the Bolla) are there. Genoa has several museums and a university (founded 1243).

History

An ancient town of the Ligures, Genoa flourished under Roman rule. Around the 10th cent. it became a free commune governed by consuls. Its maritime power increased steadily. Helped by Pisa, Genoa drove (11th cent.) the Arabs from Corsica and Sardinia. Rivalry over control of Sardinia resulted in long wars with Pisa; Genoa finally triumphed in the naval battle of Meloria (1284).

The Crusades brought Genoa great wealth, and the republic acquired possessions and trading privileges in areas from Spain to the Crimea. Genoa's expansion and its military defense were largely financed by a group of merchants who in 1408 organized a powerful bank, the Banco San Giorgio. Genoese policy in the eastern Mediterranean clashed with the ambitions of Venice, and long wars resulted, ending with the Peace of Turin (1381), which slightly favored Venice. Meanwhile, the Genoese republic was weakened by factional strife between Guelphs and Ghibellines, between nobles and the popular party. In 1339 the first doge (chief magistrate) for life was elected.

As Genoa gradually gained control of the cities of Liguria, it lost its outlying possessions. Rival factions in the city resorted to foreign aid. From the late 14th to the 16th cent., France and Milan in turn controlled the city, although nominal independence was preserved.

The power of Genoa was revived by the seaman and statesman Andrea Doria, who wrote a new constitution in 1528; the conspiracy (1547) of the Fieschi family against his dictatorship failed. Later the city came under Spanish, French, and Austrian control. The Austrians were expelled by a popular uprising in 1746, but in 1768 Genoa had to cede Corsica, its last outlying possession, to France. In 1797, French military pressure resulted in the end of aristocratic rule and the formation of the Ligurian Republic, which Napoleon I formally annexed to France in 1805. The Congress of Vienna united (1814) Genoa and Liguria with the kingdom of Sardinia. In 1922 a major European economic conference (see Genoa, Conference of) was held in the city.

Genoa, Conference of, 1922, at Genoa, Italy. Representatives of 34 nations convened on Apr. 10 to attempt the reconstruction of European finance and commerce. It was the first conference after World War I in which Germany and the Soviet Union were accepted on a par with other nations. The USSR, despite its repudiation of the czarist national debt, had offered to discuss the question at an international assembly. This offer marked the first Soviet attempt to enter the European diplomatic circle after the Russian Revolution. At Genoa the creditor nations—all represented except the United States—demanded recognition of the czarist debt, compensation for confiscated property, and guarantees for future contracts. The Russians, headed by Georgi Chicherin, offered to recognize the debt in return for cancellation of the Russian war debt, compensation for damages inflicted by Allied forces in their intervention after the revolution, and extensive credit for the Soviet government. The divergent purposes of the former Allies and the distrust caused by the announcement of the Treaty of Rapallo (see Rapallo, Treaty of, 1922) between Germany and the USSR made agreement impossible, and the conference adjourned on May 19.

(1922) Post–World War I meeting at Genoa, Italy, to discuss the economic reconstruction of Central and Eastern Europe and to improve relations between Soviet Russia and Western Europe. Representatives of 30 European countries sought ways to enlist foreign capital for the “restoration of Russia.” Negotiations broke down when France and Belgium, Russia's main creditors, insisted on repayment of prewar loans and restitution of confiscated foreign-owned property in Russia. Announcement of the German-Soviet Treaty of Rapallo further strained relations.

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Italian Genova ancient Genua

City (pop., 2001 prelim.: 603,560) and seaport, northwestern Italy. Capital of Liguria region, it is the centre of the Italian Riviera. Flourishing under the Romans, it went on to become a chief Mediterranean commercial city (12th–13th centuries), rivaled only by Venice. Its fortunes declined in the 14th and 15th centuries, after it lost a century-long struggle with Venice for control of the Levant. Taken by Napoleon in the early 19th century, it later regained its independence and prospered, especially after Italian unification. Although the city was badly damaged in World War II, a number of historic buildings survive. The birthplace of Christopher Columbus, Genoa is still noted for its maritime tradition, with shipbuilding its major industry; its university (founded 1471) is known for its economic and maritime studies.

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(1922) Post–World War I meeting at Genoa, Italy, to discuss the economic reconstruction of Central and Eastern Europe and to improve relations between Soviet Russia and Western Europe. Representatives of 30 European countries sought ways to enlist foreign capital for the “restoration of Russia.” Negotiations broke down when France and Belgium, Russia's main creditors, insisted on repayment of prewar loans and restitution of confiscated foreign-owned property in Russia. Announcement of the German-Soviet Treaty of Rapallo further strained relations.

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