The New International Encyclopædia/Irredentism
IRREDENTISM (from irredentist, It. irredentista, from Italia irredenta (unredeemed Italy), irredenta being from Lat. in-, not + redemptus, p.p. of redimere, to redeem, from red-, back again + emere, to buy, take). A popular movement which originated in Italy after 1878, having for its object the recovery of what its adherents call ‘unredeemed Italy,’ Italia Irredenta, meaning all that territory at present belonging to Austria, Switzerland, France, and England having an Italian-speaking population, but no longer forming part of Italy. Under this description would come Southern Tyrol, Trieste, Görz, Istria, and Dalmatia, the Swiss Canton of Ticino, Corsica, Nice, and Malta. To all but the most exalted patriots the chimerical nature of the Irredentist programme is apparent, inasmuch as its execution would involve the surrender by Switzerland of territory it has held for more than three hundred years, by Austria of its only seaport, Trieste, and by England of its great base in the Central Mediterranean, Malta. Irredentism has ceased to be an influential factor save with the younger element in Italian politics. It received a severe setback in the formation of the Triple Alliance embracing Austria, the special foe against whom the Irredentist movement was aimed. See Political Parties, paragraph on Italy.