The Kingdom of Two Sicilies and the Italian unification – Primates

In the Kingdom of Two Sicilies there was a quite strong tendence to innovation, that gave origin to the so called “primati”, that could be translated as areas of excellence and relevant records: although activities or areas of excellence may exist in depressed areas, a record still has an important meaning.

In economics, what really matters is not so much the records or the excellence, but the mean values ​​and variances. However, the presence of activities of excellence, especially if many, is an indicator that should be examined and evaluated critically since it is an indicator, if not of a developed economy, at least of an innovative economy that can lead to real development.

The list of such records can be found at the site of the Royal House of Bourbon, here we just comment on a few.

• The first European university chair of Economics, whose lecturer was A. Genovesi (1754), was founded  at the University of Naples: along with other similar excellences, this is indicative of the care for higher education and university

• The establishment, first in the world, of the legal obligation to declare the reasons that were behind the Court’s writs and judgments (Gaetano Filangieri, 1774) demonstrates the presence of a developed legal system, attentive to the rights of the parties.

• At the International Exhibition in Paris, 1856, the award for the third country in the world for industrial development (first in Italy) was assigned to the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies; also the “devil’s advocate” would agree that an award of this nature certainly can not be assigned to a country that is conspicuous by its backwardness.

• The records in the naval activity, either military or commercial, show that this activity could cope with the technological developments in Europe and, furthermore, could do with national manpower.

• The regulatory plan for the City of Naples, first in Italy, together with the technical and legal studies made for land reclamation, show an interest in the area really ahead of time for the XIX Century, while the excavation of Pompeii and Herculaneum, started in XVIII Century, demonstrate the historical and cultural interest.

• The high number of doctors per capita, and the fact that the Kingdom was the first in Italy for anti-tuberculosis prophylaxis demonstrate attention to the health of the population.

A quite unknown fact is that in the Kingdom, for militaries as well as for the employees of the state, was established the first pension plan in Italy that, with 2% deductions on salaries, guaranteed a pension starting from the year of service, equal to ‘full pay after 40 years of service.


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