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Country: ITALY

Condition: LOMBARDY UNDER AUSTRIA 1707-1796

Item Id #: 529

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64 pages – beautifully illustrated throughout LARGE FORMAT 8 inches x 11 inches – in English – fantastic INDEX, Huge Bibliography, MANY MAPS Limited Edition of 100 copies, most copies have been placed to subscribers!!! already
FROM Dr. McCann’s FOREWORD ****

This book fills a major gap in the published literature on the postal history of Northern Italy during the 1700s. Drawing on research published in the early 1980s in Italy, Switzerland, England and USA, Giorgio Migliavacca offers here a more comprehensive look at the postal history of Lombardy under Austrian rule. The main body of this research, was published by the Postal History Journal in 1983-1984, and was favourably reviewed in The London Philatelist two years later. It has now been augmented here by the first-ever Chronology of the Posts in Lombardy from 200 BC to 1800 AD, as well as a very informative Timeline of major historical developments affecting Milan and its territory from 1700 to 1800. New illustrations have been added and the reader can now benefit from a more complete picture of a very important but little known chapter of Italian postal history. Since the days of Charles V, Milan had been deemed the key to the Italian peninsula and the richest city in all of Italy, which was itself then the richest country in Europe. During the 172 years of Spanish rule that followed the economy witnessed a steady deterioration, but the strategic and postal pre-eminence of Milan had not lost its lustre. In 1706 Milan entered Vienna’s orbit and, apart from the traumatizing Napoleonic interlude, was to remain in it until 1859. What the author tells is the result of a thorough investigation based on documentation in the Italian and other European Archives, and on a wide range of unusual literary references. Although this book focuses on postal communications it also provides the reader vivid insights into socio-economic and political aspects of the day-to-day life of the people of the Lombardy region during the 1700s. The introduction of postmarks, the postal and administrative reforms, the postal relations and agreements with nearby states are discussed with a wealth of details disclosing much information never published before. A large section is devoted to postal communications in times of epidemics and public health precautions and measures affecting communications in general. Special emphasis is placed on health passports. Previously unpublished and hitherto unavailable data on the subject is divulged here for the first time. The narrative, which is lively but historically verified, is full of stories which should interest even the general reader. For example, a nobleman living on a tiny island in Lake Maggiore wanted the courier to pick up his mail. Having his request refused, Count Federico Borromeo recruited a rogue Captain to threaten the courier. In another incident, Marquis Antonio Maria Melzi interfered with and actually censored the mails for almost twenty years. In fact, he was an undercover spy for Vienna, even reporting on the private correspondence of the Governors of Milan. From the newly added Postal Chronology the reader will learn about many significant postal developments. In compiling this specific section the author has revised, updated, incorporated and expanded research published by himself and leading Italian scholars in recent years, most notably Clemente Fedele, Franco Filanci, Vito Salierno and Bruno Caizzi. The Chronology further benefits from original research carried out by the Author some twenty-five years ago at the State Archive of Milan where he studied documents of the Postal Archive of Lombardy. These, together with similar documentation retrieved from Spanish archives will form the basis of a new book in Italian by Migliavacca. The appendixes focus on postal rates; coins used in Lombardy in the 1700s; and the 1785 postal agreement with the Republic of Venice (transcribed in its entirety, in its first-ever English translation). A very useful index, a list of additional sources, and a select bibliography complete this book. Famous historians such as James West Davidson and Mark Hamilton Lytle wrote that “being courier to the past is not enough; for better or worse, historians inescapably leave an imprint as they go about their business: asking interesting questions about apparently dull facts, seeing connections between subjects that had not seemed related before, shifting and rearranging evidence until it assumes a coherent pattern. The past is not history: only the raw material of it.”
Peter P. McCann, PhD, FRPSL Vice President, FIP


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