Giusesppi Garibaldi was an Italian sailor and merchant marine who became a national hero and a legend throughout Europe. He sailed out on his first boat at age fifteen and spent twelve years living the salty life of a sea dog before joining up with the Italian Unification Movement - a step that would change his life forever.
See, back in the early 19th century, Italy was just a giant clusterfuck of independent states, each of which pretty much did their own thing and didn't give a crap about anyone else. Well a lot of Italian people thought that this was fucking gay, and so they were determined to unify the Italian peninsula and establish their country as a dominant power in Europe. Garibaldi joined up with this group, and in 1834 he sailed to the Italian kingdom of Piedmont attempting to incite a revolution which would sweep across the Italian countryside and bring Italy to it's rightful place of power in the European world.
It didn't really work out. You see, Italy shares a border with Austria, and Austria really wasn't all that keen on having to deal with a unified, powerful Italy. When the Austrians heard about Garibaldi's uprising, they sent their battle-hardened pound-you-in-the-ass troops to Piedmont and crushed the peasant army. Garibaldi barely escaped with his life, and was sentenced to death in absentia by the Austrian crown.
Well Garibaldi didn't like the idea of being hung for treason, so he bailed out to South America. He shipwrecked on the Brazilian coast, and was promptly shot through the neck by some stupid asshole. This wasn't enough to stop him though, it only served to make him super fucking angry. He joined up with the Rio Grande do Sul Separatists in Brazil in their struggle for freedom against the oppressive Brazilian government. After that he traveled to Uraguay, where he would meet his wife Anita. She was a tough broad, who followed him throughout his travels fighting alongside him. Together they aided the Uruguayan gauchos in their fight for freedom against Argentine Imperialism, leading lightning raids through the Uruguayan jungle and riding around on alpacas. He mastered guerilla war and created the Italian Legion, a rebel force of Italian exiles and republicans aiding the Uruguayans. His sweeping victories at the Battles of Cerro and Sant'Antonio in 1846 secured the Uruguayans' freedom and made Garibaldi a legendary hero throughout Italy and Europe.
After 14 years in South America, Garibaldi returned to Italy in 1848 with 80 men dedicated to unify the peninsula. His first goal was to take Rome from the Pope and his army of Popers. Garibaldi landed on the Italian coast, recruiting along the way as he marched on the Vatican. He triumphantly entered the city as a hero, while the Pope fled for safer pastures. However, Garibaldi's army was simply too small to defend the city, and a vicious counterattack by French and Papal forces forced him out. The Pope was reinstated, and Garibaldi barely managed to escape the country by way of the Alps as he was being chased after by Austrians, Spaniards, Portuguese, dogs, foxes, and the French. His wife Anita died during the flight, refusing to leave Garibaldi's side.
Garibaldi headed to New York, where he worked as a candlemaker for a while, which I guess is pretty sweet. He returned to Italy in 1854 to lead his guerilla force, The Hunters of the Alps, in the Austro-Piedmontese War against Austria. His dedicated men won several battles, but the main Italian army was ultimately defeated.
However, this wasn't enough to discourage Garibaldi, and he mobilized once again in 1859 with one thousand men determined to unite the Italian kingdoms. The One Thousand (i mille) landed on the west coast of Sicily and promptly marched towards the Sicilian capital of Palermo. Despite being outnumbered twenty to one and being severely outgunned, Garibaldi was able to get the best of the Sicilians in several battles, and ultimately managed to set siege to Palermo. When the Palermo townsfolk heard that Garibaldi was outside the gates, they rose up against the garrison in town, kicked their asses, and welcomed him into town as a hero.
With Sicily captured, Garibaldi used his immense popularity to raise many more troops before heading off to the mainland to deal with the army of Naples. His forces marched through Southern Italy being hailed as heroes and bringing more men into their ranks and winning battle after battle. The King of Naples fled the capital, and Garibaldi marched in to a crowd waiting for him with open arms. He went after the deposed king and won his final victory in 1860, accomplishing his goal of unifying Italy under the rule of King Victor Emmanuel II. Garibaldi would go on to fight against the Austrians a few more times, and would even lead a volunteer force against the Prussians in the Franco-Prussian War.
Giuseppe Garibaldi was a dedicated freedom fighter and revolutionary, who battled injustice and inequality throughout the globe. He fought for the rights of the individual, battled reactonary jackasses wherever he could find them, and won unbelievable success on the battlefield. He's also got at least two cities and a mountain named after him, which is more than a lot of badasses can say.
"Garibaldi went to sea at fifteen and sailed the Mediterrenean for twelve years... sentenced to death in 1834 for his part in a revolutionary uprising in Genoa he barely escaped to South America and for twelve years led a guerilla band in Uruguay's struggle for independence from Argentina, "Shipwrecked, ambushed, shot through the neck" he found a tough young woman, Anna da Silva, a mate and companion in arms. Their first children nearly starved in the jungle while Garibaldi, clad in his long red shirt, fashioned a legend as a Freedom Fighter.
Returning to Italy in 1848 his patriotic volunteer army mobilized nationalists against Austria in 1848 and 1859." He invaded Sicily with a thousand men in 1859 and managed to completely outwit the 20,000 man strong Sicilian army, taking Palermo. "He never drew any personal profit from his exploits, continuing to milk his goats and rarely possessing more than one change of clothing." When Victor Emanuel offered him lands and titles after the unification in 1861, even as his left-leaning volunteers were disbanded and humiliated, Garibaldi declined, saying he would not be bought off... welcoming Runaway slaves in Latin America, advocating the emancipation of women, introducing social reforms in the south and pressing for free education and a broader suffrage in the new Italy, Garibaldi the national hero fought for freedom and human dignity."