When it comes to appraising Italy’s colonial experience one characteristic stands out: the Italian colonial traditions are defined probably more than any other by concerns about emigration. From the Risorgimento to the early Republican period, Italian colonialisms are primarily informed by concerns over an excess of labour. The colonial situation, however, is typically defined by a demand for labour—no wonder that Italian colonial traditions were and saw themselves as an outlier. In its imagination, this colonialism required no Indigenous labour (in practice, however, to make the colonial enterprise viable, it often did). The primary demand was for an outlet for Italian labour. In a sense, all Italian colonialisms are settler colonialisms.


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