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

Summary

The Grand Duchy of Tuscany was an independent and sovereign state in 1776 when the United States declared independence from Great Britain. Although the U.S. Continental Congress appointed a Commissioner to the Court of the Grand Duke of Tuscany on July 1, 1777, the U.S. representative, Ralph Izard, was never officially received in Florence. He was recalled on June 8, 1779. The U.S. established a consular office in the Tuscan port of Leghorn (Livorno) as early as 1794, thus obtaining official recognition from the Grand Duchy; yet, full diplomatic relations were never established prior to Tuscany’s incorporation into the Kingdom of Italy in 1860.

Recognition

Grand Duchy of Tuscany’s Recognition of the United States, 1794.

The Grand Duchy of Tuscany recognized the United States when it received the first U.S. consular agent to serve within the grand duchy, Philip Felicchi (sometimes spelled as Feliechy), who was stationed at Leghorn (Livorno) from May 29, 1794 through on December 7, 1796.

Consular Presence

The first U.S. consulate was established in the Tuscan port city of Leghorn (Livorno).

U.S. Consular agent Philip Felicchi was appointed on May 29, 1794. The Government of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany refused to recognize U.S. consular agents posted in Florence; thus the first U.S. consular agent to serve Florence was Vice Consular Agent James Ombrosi, who was under mandate from the U.S. consulate at Leghorn (Livorno). Ombrosi was accredited on May 15, 1819.

The first representative of Tuscany in the United States was John F. Mansony, whose exequatur as Consul for the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Connecticut (with residence at Boston) was signed by President James Monroe on November 6, 1817. The representatives of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany in the United States continued to be consular officers. The last representative of Tuscany in the United States was G.B. Tagliaferri, whose exequatur as Consul at New York was signed by President Franklin Pierce on November 1, 1854.

Diplomatic Relations

No Diplomatic Relations Established.

The Grand Duchy of Tuscany and the United States never established diplomatic relations.

Treaties and Agreements

No bilateral treaties or agreements between the United States and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.

There were no bilateral treaties or agreements between the United States and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany signed prior to the Grand Duchy’s incorporation into the Kingdom of Italy in 1860. There were, however, several attempts to sign a treaty of commerce with the Grand Duchy. The earliest of such attempts was in 1784 when U.S. Ministers Plenipotentiary Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson tried to negotiate a treaty of amity and commerce between the two states. By January 1785, the process of negotiating such an agreement ground to a halt, for reasons unknown.

Key Diplomatic Events

Appointment of First U.S. Representative to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, 1777.

In the early years of the American Revolution, the Continental Congress appointed senator and diplomat Ralph Izard as Commissioner to the Court of the Grand Duke of Tuscany on July 1, 1777. Izard was charged on February 4, 1778, with trying to secure a loan from the Grand Duke of $1,000,000 to help finance the war. Learning in advance of the high probability that the Grand Duke would refuse to receive him in Florence for fear of upsetting the British, Izard never proceeded to Tuscany. For Tuscany, good ties with the British Navy in the Mediterranean were a necessity in order to maintain trade and commercial ties. Once it became clear that the Grand Duke would not recognize the United States, Izard’s mission was terminated on June 8, 1779.

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.

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. Therefore, Tuscan recognition of the United States early-on was beneficial to U.S. trade and commerce.

Resources

  • 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.