Located on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea, the area known as Dalmatia, part of modern-day Croatia and Montenegro, was part of the Austrian Empire during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Dalmatia was a multicultural region that had traditionally been politically and economically dominated by its Italian minority. In The Italians of Dalmatia, Luciano Monzali argues that the vast majority of local Italians were loyal to and supportive of Habsburg rule, desiring only a larger degree of local autonomy. An Italian national consciousness developed only in response to pressure from Slavic national movements and was facilitated by the emergence of a large, unified, and independent Italian state.
Using little-known Italian, Austrian, and Dalmatian sources, Monzali explores the political history of Dalmatia between 1848 and 1915, with a focus on the Italian minority, on Austrian-Italian relations and on the foreign policy of the Italian state towards the region and its peoples.