As a nation state, Italy has emerged only in 1871. Until then the country was politically divided into a large number of independant cities, provinces and islands. The currently available evidences point out to a dominant Etruscan, Greek and Roman cultural influence on today's Italians.
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In researching ancestors from the 1600's and 1700's in Southern Italy, I was surprised to learn that feudalism still existed there until 1806. In my own family's case, I learned that in the 1700's they lived in Santeramo, in Puglia, but that in the 1600's there were people with the same surname in Palagianello, a very small village at the time near Taranto. In researching the history of this small town, it was interesting to learn that the family that owned Santeramo in the 1600's through the end of feudalism in 1806 - the Cariocciolos, specifically, Giovanni Caracciolo, the Marquis of Santeramo, actually purchased the village of Palagianello in 1669. It would not be coincidental then for my ancestors to migrate from Palagianello to Santeramo in the 1700's. Is that common? As a peasant, would my ancestor have been "transferred" to work there, or gone on his own? Can you please provide some background surrounding feudal life in Southern Italy at this time? Many thanks, as always.
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