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The English Woman who Helped Unite Italy

Jessie White's house in Lendinara (Rovigo).

A lovely story appeared on the 22 May edition of the Guardian.co.uk web site. Apparently, an English woman, called Jessie White, was instrumental helping Italy become a united nation 150 years ago.

Jessie White, who was a journalist and a nurse, chronicled Garibaldi’s unification attempts and told the world about all that was going on, at the same time she kept the unification movement leaders from squabbling (Italy has not changed a huge amount in this respect in the last 150 years – its leaders are always arguing even now!) and was at Garibaldi’s bedside when he was injured.

Now Italians are calling for streets to be named after the English lady from Gosport in Hampshire.

Jessie White's house in Lendinara (Rovigo).
Jessie White's house in Lendinara (Rovigo).

Her other claim to fame, aside from calming down bickering Italians and helping unite Italy, is that she may well have been the first female English journalist. Oh, and she also wrote Garibaldi’s biography. She was quite a woman was Jessie White!

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I’ve long suspected that the only way to bring about positive change in Italy is for non-Italians to be involved, and the tale of Jessie White seems to indicate that this has more or less always been the case, hints he mischievously.

Sadly, Jessie White died in poverty.

The Guardian Article is here: Englishwoman is hailed as a heroine of Italy’s unification struggle

Read more about Jessie White Mario on Wikipedia.

Photograph of Jessie White’s house by Threecharlie

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