A Guide to the United States’ History of Recognition, Diplomatic, and Consular Relations, by Country, since 1776: The Republic of Genoa


The Republic of Genoa was an independent and sovereign state in 1776 when the United States declared its independence from Great Britain. Genoa recognized the United States in 1791 when it appointed Joseph Ravara to act as Consul General for the Doge and Governors of the Republic of Genoa at Philadelphia. The U.S. sent its first consular official to Genoa in 1799; however, the relationship was short-lived as Genoa was annexed by France in 1805. Although it was briefly reconstituted in 1814 with the first defeat of Napoleon, the Congress of Vienna awarded Genoa to the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia in 1815.


Republic of Genoa’s Recognition of the United States, 1791.

The Republic of Genoa recognized the United States when it sent its first consular agent to the United States. Joseph Ravara was accredited by U.S. President George Washington on October 25, 1791, as Consul General of the Doge and Governors of the Republic of Genoa at Philadelphia.

Consular Presence

The first Genovese consulate in the United States was established at Philadelphia in October 1791.

Although the U.S. appointed its first Consul at Genoa on February 27, 1797, U.S. Department of State archival evidence suggests that the appointee never reached Genoa. The first U.S. consulate was established in Genoa in 1799.

Diplomatic Relations

No diplomatic relations established.

The Republic of Genoa and the United States never established diplomatic relations.

Treaties and Agreements

No treaty or agreement signed.

No bilateral treaty or agreement between the United States and the Republic of Genoa was ever signed prior to the republic’s incorporation into the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia in 1815.

Key Diplomatic Events

Incorporation of the Republic of Genoa into the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia, 1815.

Although the Republic of Genoa was under the rule of France during the Napoleonic Wars, in the post-Napoleonic peace settlement, Genoa was given to the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia in 1815.

Proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy, 1861.

The aftermath of the Franco-Austrian War brought about a series of plebiscites in the northern Italian states. By going to the ballot box, the states voted to join Piedmont-Sardinia, with the ultimate goal of unifying the entire peninsula. It should be noted that Piedmont-Sardinia was one of the more powerful states in the peninsula, as well as having one of the most liberal political systems. Garibaldi’s march to “liberate” the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in 1860 brought the southern peninsula into the fold, and the new Kingdom of Italy was proclaimed on March 17, 1861, with the royal family of Piedmont-Sardinia as the new ruling monarchs of Italy.

U.S. Recognition of Italian Independence, 1861.

The United States officially recognized the Kingdom of Italy when it accepted the credentials of Chevalier Joseph Bertinatti as Minister Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Italy on April 11, 1861.

Issues Relevant to U.S. Foreign Diplomacy

Trade and Commerce.

During the early years of the republic, the United States sought to promote trade abroad and to ensure that American vessels, both public and private, would be welcomed in ports around the world. As Genoa was one of the larger Mediterranean ports on the Italian peninsula in the late eighteenth century, Genovese recognition of the United States early-on was beneficial to U.S. trade and commerce.


  • Howard R. Marraro, Diplomatic Relations Between the United States and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Volume I: 1816-1850, (New York: S.F. Vanni (Ragusa), 1951.
  • History of U.S. Recognition and Relations: Italy
  • A Century of Lawmaking: U.S. Congressional Documents, 1775-1874