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Word Count: 1,381
Among the numerous and complex problems of the new State emerged the need to bring uniformity to a territory that was so politically and economically diverse The indiscriminate application of the administrative judicial and fiscal structures of the old Piedmont was to create a further divide between Italys more economically developed Northern and Central regions and the structurally weaker Southern region the Mezzogiorno A mass emigration of peasants and the poorest classes to the two Americas occurred in the decades spanning the 19-20th centuries the number reached several million and the so-called southern question took root At the same time in order to compete with the other European powers Italy followed a policy of colonial expansion in Africa She occupied Eritrea 1885-96 Somalia 1889-1905 Libya and the islands of the Aegean 1911-12 A commercial concession 500 sq miles centred on Tien-Tsin was obtained from China in 1902 In the economic and social areas the period from the taking of Rome to Italy entering the First World War 1870-1915 was characterized by general growth in the whole country At the same time attempts were made to strengthen international political relations by joining in the Triple Alliance with the Germany of Bismark and the Austria of Franz Joseph and commercial links The Problem of Southern Italy The countrys social conditions were marked by a strong contrast between rural and urban environments The south saw frequent protests by the peasants over the burden of taxation such as the notorious milling tax while the industrial proletariat gradually organized itself into political associations and trade unions From the latter there arose in 1892 the foundation of the Partito Socialista partly drawn from anarchic and equalitarian movements and then in 1896 the Democrazia Cristiana party was established inspired by the principles in the Rerum novarum of Leo XIII published in 1891 The First World War The direct participation of the masses in national political life occurred in 1913 with the introduction
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