Victor Emmanuel II of Italy

Victor Emmanuel II (Italian: Vittorio Emanuele II; full name: Vittorio Emanuele Maria Alberto Eugenio Ferdinando Tommaso di Savoia; 14 March 1820 – 9 January 1878) was King of Sardinia from 1849 until 17 March 1861. At that point, he assumed the title of King of Italy and became the first king of a united Italy since the 6th century, a title he held until his death in 1878. The Italians gave him the epithet of Father of the Fatherland (Italian: Padre della Patria). The monument Altare della Patria (or Vittoriano) in Rome was built in his honor.

Vittorio Emanuele II
Victor Emmanuel II
King of Italy
Reign17 March 1861 – 9 January 1878
PredecessorNapoleon (1814)
SuccessorUmberto I
Prime Ministers
King of Sardinia; Duke of Savoy
Reign23 March 1849 – 17 March 1861
PredecessorCharles Albert
Prime Ministers
Born14 March 1820
Palazzo Carignano, Turin, Piedmont-Sardinia
Died9 January 1878 (aged 57)
Quirinal Palace, Rome, Italy
see details...
Full name
Italian: Vittorio Emanuele Maria Alberto Eugenio Ferdinando Tommaso Victor Emmanuel Mario Albert Eugene Ferdinand Thomas
FatherCharles Albert of Sardinia
MotherMaria Theresa of Austria
ReligionRoman Catholicism
Vittorio Emanuele II's signature


Vittorio Emanuele II ritratto
Victor Emmanuel II in 1849

Victor Emmanuel was born as the eldest son of Charles Albert, Prince of Carignano, and Maria Theresa of Austria. His father succeeded a distant cousin as King of Sardinia-Piedmont in 1831. He lived for some years of his youth in Florence and showed an early interest in politics, the military, and sports. In 1842, he married his cousin, Adelaide of Austria. He was styled as the Duke of Savoy prior to becoming King of Sardinia-Piedmont.

He took part in the First Italian War of Independence (1848–1849) under his father, King Charles Albert, fighting in the front line at the battles of Pastrengo, Santa Lucia, Goito and Custoza.[1]

He became King of Sardinia-Piedmont in 1849 when his father abdicated the throne, after a humiliating military defeat by the Austrians at the Battle of Novara. Victor Emmanuel was immediately able to obtain a rather favorable armistice at Vignale by the Austrian imperial army commander, Radetzky. The treaty, however, was not ratified by the Piedmontese lower parliamentary house, the Chamber of Deputies, and Victor Emmanuel retaliated by firing his Prime Minister, Claudio Gabriele de Launay, replacing him with Massimo D'Azeglio. After new elections, the peace with Austria was accepted by the new Chamber of Deputies. In 1849, Victor Emmanuel also fiercely suppressed a revolt in Genoa, defining the rebels as a "vile and infected race of canailles."

In 1852, he appointed Count Camillo Benso of Cavour ("Count Cavour") as Prime Minister of Piedmont-Sardinia. This turned out to be a wise choice, since Cavour was a political mastermind and a major player in the Italian unification in his own right. Victor Emmanuel II soon became the symbol of the "Risorgimento", the Italian unification movement of the 1850s and early 60s. [1] He was especially popular in the Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont because of his respect for the new constitution and his liberal reforms.

Dipinto di Re Vittorio Emanuele II
Portrait of Victor Emmanuel II by Giuseppe Ugolini

Crimean War

Victor Emmanuel reviews the troops for the Crimean War
Victor Emmanuel reviews the troops for the Crimean War

Following Victor Emmanuel's advice, Cavour joined Britain and France in the Crimean War against Russia. Cavour was reluctant to go to war due to the power of Russia at the time and the expense of doing so. Victor Emmanuel, however, was convinced of the rewards to be gained from the alliance created with Britain and, more importantly, France.

After successfully seeking British support and ingratiating himself with France and Napoleon III at the Congress of Paris in 1856 at the end of the war, Count Cavour arranged a secret meeting with the French emperor. In 1858, they met at Plombières-les-Bains (in Lorraine), where they agreed that if the French were to help Piedmont combat Austria, which still occupied the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia in northern Italy, France would be awarded Nice and Savoy.

Wars of Italian Unification

With Victor Emmanuel
Victor Emmanuel meets Giuseppe Garibaldi in Teano

The Italo-French campaign against Austria in 1859 started successfully. However, sickened by the casualties of the war and worried about the mobilisation of Prussian troops, Napoleon III secretly made a treaty with Franz Joseph of Austria at Villafranca whereby Piedmont would only gain Lombardy. France did not as a result receive the promised Nice and Savoy, but Austria did keep Venetia, a major setback for the Piedmontese, in no small part because the treaty had been prepared without their knowledge. After several quarrels about the outcome of the war, Cavour resigned, and the king had to find other advisors. France indeed only gained Nice and Savoy after the Treaty of Turin was signed in March 1860, after Cavour had been reinstalled as Prime Minister, and a deal with the French was struck for plebiscites to take place in the Central Italian Duchies.

Later that same year, Victor Emmanuel II sent his forces to fight the papal army at Castelfidardo and drove the Pope into Vatican City. His success at these goals led him to be excommunicated from the Catholic Church. Then, Giuseppe Garibaldi conquered Sicily and Naples, and Sardinia-Piedmont grew even larger. On 17 March 1861 the Kingdom of Italy was officially established and Victor Emmanuel II became its king.

Victor Emmanuel supported Giuseppe Garibaldi's Expedition of the Thousand (1860–1861), which resulted in the rapid fall of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in southern Italy. However, the king halted Garibaldi when he appeared ready to attack Rome, still under the Papal States, as it was under French protection. In 1860, through local plebiscites, Tuscany, Modena, Parma and Romagna decided to side with Sardinia-Piedmont. Victor Emmanuel then marched victoriously in the Marche and Umbria after the victorious battle of Castelfidardo (1860) over the Papal forces.

The king subsequently met with Garibaldi at Teano, receiving from him the control of southern Italy. Another series of plebiscites in the occupied lands resulted in the proclamation of Victor Emmanuel as the first King of Italy by the new Parliament of unified Italy, on 17 March 1861. He did not renumber himself after assuming the new royal title, however. Turin became the capital of the new state. Only Rome, Veneto, and Trentino remained to be conquered.

Completion of the unification

Tomb of Victor Emmanuel II at the Pantheon

In 1866 Victor Emmanuel allied himself with Prussia in the Third Italian War of Independence. Although not victorious in the Italian theater, he managed anyway to receive Veneto after the Austrian defeat in Germany. The British Foreign Secretary, Lord Clarendon, visited Florence in December 1867 and reported to London after talking to various Italian politicians: "There is universal agreement that Victor Emmanuel is an imbecile; he is a dishonest man who tells lies to everyone; at this rate he will end up losing his crown and ruining both Italy and his dynasty."[2] In 1870, after two failed attempts by Garibaldi, he also took advantage of the Prussian victory over France in the Franco-Prussian War to capture Rome after the French withdrew. He entered Rome on 20 September 1870 and set up the new capital there on 2 July 1871, after a temporary move to Florence in 1864. The new Royal residence was the Quirinal Palace.

The rest of Victor Emmanuel II's reign was much quieter. After the Kingdom of Italy was established he decided to continue on as King Victor Emmanuel II instead of Victor Emmanuel I of Italy. This was a terrible move as far as public relations went as it was not indicative of the fresh start that the Italian people wanted and suggested that Sardinia-Piedmont had taken over the Italian Peninsula, rather than unifying it. Despite this mishap, the remainder of Victor Emmanuel II's reign was consumed by wrapping up loose ends and dealing with economic and cultural issues. His role in day-to-day governing gradually dwindled, as it became increasingly apparent that a king could no longer keep a government in office against the will of Parliament. As a result, while the wording of the Statuto Albertino stipulating that ministers were solely responsible to the crown remained unchanged, in practice they were now responsible to Parliament.

Victor Emmanuel died in Rome in 1878, after meeting with Pope Pius IX's envoys, who had reversed the excommunication, and received last rites. He was buried in the Pantheon. His successor was his son Umberto I.[3]

Family and children

In 1842 he married his first cousin once removed Adelaide of Austria (1822–1855). By her he had eight children:[4]

Monument to Victor Emmanuel II (Venice)
Victor Emmanuel II in Venice

In 1869 he married morganatically his principal mistress Rosa Vercellana (3 June 1833 – 26 December 1885). Popularly known in Piedmontese as "Bela Rosin", she was born a commoner but made Countess of Mirafiori and Fontanafredda in 1858. Their offspring were:

  • Vittoria Guerrieri (2 December 1848 – 29 December 1905), married three times and had issue.
  • Emanuele Alberto Guerrieri (16 March 1851 – 24 December 1894), Count of Mirafiori and Fontanafredda, married and had issue.
Brooklyn Museum - Caricature of King Victor Emmanuel II - Thomas Nast - overall
Brooklyn Museum – Caricature of King Victor Emmanuel II – Thomas Nast – overall

In addition to his morganatic second wife, Victor Emmanuel II had several other mistresses:

Virginia Oldoini, Countess of Castiglione, who, as the mistress of Napoleon III, pleaded the case for Italian unification.

—Laura Bon at Stupinigi, who bore him two children:

  • Stillborn son (1852).
  • Emanuela Maria Alberta Vittoria di Roverbella (6 September 1853 – 1880/1890).

—Virginia Rho at Turin, mother of two children:

  • Vittorio di Rho (1861 – Turin, 10 October 1913). He became a notable photographer.
  • Maria Pia di Rho (25 February 1866 – Vienna, 19 April 1947).

—Unknown mistress at Mondovì, mother of:

  • Donato Etna (15 June 1858 – Turin, 11 December 1938). He became a much-decorated soldier.

—Baroness Vittoria Duplessis, who bore him:

  • A daughter, perhaps named Savoiarda. She died as an infant.

Titles, styles and honours

Styles of
King Victor Emmanuel II
Royal Monogram of King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy
Reference styleHis Majesty
Spoken styleYour Majesty
Alternative styleSir
Coat of Arms of Victor Emmanuel II and Umberto I of Italy (Order of the Golden Fleece)
Arms of Victor Emmanuel II as knight of the Golden Fleece

Titles and styles

  • 14 March 1820 – 27 April 1831: His Royal Highness Prince Victor Emmanuel of Savoy (Vittorio Emanuele di Savoia)
  • 27 April 1831 – 23 March 1849: His Royal Highness The Prince of Piedmont
  • 23 March 1849 – 17 March 1861: His Majesty The King of Sardinia
  • 17 March 1861 – 9 January 1878: His Majesty The King of Italy




See also


  1. ^ a b Chisholm 1911.
  2. ^ Mack Smith, Denis Italy and its Monarchy, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989 p. 42
  3. ^ "Excommunicating Politicians". 27 September 2004.
  4. ^ Genealogical data from the Savoia page of the Genealogie delle famiglie nobili italiane website.
  5. ^ "Toison Autrichienne (Austrian Fleece) - 19th century" (in French), Chevaliers de la Toison D'or. Retrieved 2018-08-09.
  6. ^ "A Szent István Rend tagjai" Archived 22 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Le livre d'or de l'ordre de Léopold et de la croix de fer, Volume 1 /Ferdinand Veldekens
  8. ^ Jørgen Pedersen (2009). Riddere af Elefantordenen, 1559–2009 (in Danish). Syddansk Universitetsforlag. p. 466. ISBN 978-87-7674-434-2.
  9. ^ Wm. A. Shaw, The Knights of England, Volume I (London, 1906) page 59


In Italian

  • Del Boca, Lorenzo (1998). Maledetti Savoia. Casale Monferrato: Piemme.
  • Gasparetto, Pier Francesco (1984). Vittorio Emanuele II. Milan: Rusconi.
  • Mack Smith, Denis (1995). Vittorio Emanuele II. Milan: Mondadori.
  • Pinto, Paolo (1997). Vittorio Emanuele II: il re avventuriero. Milan: Mondadori.
  • Rocca, Gianni (1993). Avanti, Savoia!: miti e disfatte che fecero l'Italia, 1848–1866. Milan: Mondadori.

External links

Victor Emmanuel II of Italy
Born: 14 March 1820 Died: 9 January 1878
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Charles Albert
King of Sardinia; Duke of Savoy
23 March 1849 – 17 March 1861
Italian Unification under the House of Savoy
Title last held by
Napoleon I
King of Italy
17 March 1861 – 9 January 1878
Succeeded by
Umberto I
1859 Perugia uprising

The 1859 Perugia uprising occurred on 20 June 1859, in Perugia, central Italy. The inhabitants rebelled against the temporal authority of the Pope (under the Papal States) and established a provisional government, but the insurrection was bloodily quashed by Pius IX's troops.When Perugia later became free of papal control, due to Italian unification, King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy sent some of his troops to protect the retreating Swiss guards from the vengeful citizens.

Adelaide of Austria

Adelaide of Austria (Adelheid Franziska Marie Rainera Elisabeth Clotilde; 3 June 1822 – 20 January 1855) was the Queen of Sardinia by marriage to Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia, future King of Italy, from 1849 until 1855 when she died as a result of childbirth. She was the mother of Umberto I of Italy.

Altare della Patria

The Vittorio Emanuele II Monument (Italian: "Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II"), also known as the (Mole del) Vittoriano, Il Vittoriano, or Altare della Patria (English: "Altar of the Fatherland"), is a monument built in honor of Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of a unified Italy, located in Rome, Italy. It occupies a site between the Piazza Venezia and the Capitoline Hill. It's currently managed by the Polo Museale del Lazio, the Italian Ministry of Defense and the Museo Centrale del Risorgimento Italiano (Museo centrale del Risorgimento al Vittoriano).

The eclectic structure was designed by Giuseppe Sacconi in 1885. Established Italian sculptors, such as Leonardo Bistolfi and Angelo Zanelli, made its sculptures nationwide. It was inaugurated on June 4th, 1911 and completed in 1935.Its design is a neoclassical interpretation of the Roman Forum. It features stairways, Corinthian columns, fountains, an equestrian sculpture of Victor Emmanuel II, and two statues of the goddess Victoria riding on quadrigas. The base houses the museum of Italian Unification and in 2007 a panoramic lift was added to the structure, allowing visitors to ride up to the roof for 360-degree views of Rome. The structure is 135 m (443 ft) wide and 70 m (230 ft) high. If the quadrigae and winged victories are included, the height reaches 81 m (266 ft). It has a total area of 17,550 square metres.The monument holds great national significance. It is an architectonic and artistic tribute to the Italian Risorgimento: the complex process of unification undertaken by Victor Emmanuel II throughout the second half of the 19th Century. It is regarded as a national symbol of Italy and every year it hosts important national celebrations. The largest annual celebrations are Liberation Day (April 25th), Republic Day (Italian: "Festa della Repubblica Italiana") (June 2nd), and Armed Forces Day (Italian: "Giornata dell'Unità Nazionale e delle Forze Armate") (November 4th). During these celebrations, the Italian President and the highest government officials pay tribute to the Unknown Soldier and those who died in the line of duty by laying a laurel wreath.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (Italian: [ɡalleˈriːa vitˈtɔːrjo emanuˈɛːle seˈkondo]) is Italy's oldest active shopping mall and a major landmark of Milan, Italy. Housed within a four-story double arcade in the center of town, the Galleria is named after Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of the Kingdom of Italy. It was designed in 1861 and built by architect Giuseppe Mengoni between 1865 and 1867.

Gustavo Ponza di San Martino

Gustavo Ponza, conte di San Martino (1 June 1810 – 6 September 1876) was an Italian politician, who was administrator and senator of the Kingdom of Italy.He was born in Cuneo, the son of conte Cesare. He was appointed Intendente generale of Genoa, (4 August 1848) and made a councillor of state of Victor Emmanuel II of Italy, 27 February 1852. President of the provincial council of Cuneo, his birthplace, he served as communal councillor for Turin in 1857-64 and 1866-76. As the king's lieutenant governor at Naples, it was his duty to wait upon Pope Pius IX with suggestions for papal role in the Capture of Rome, which Pius adamantly refused.

He died at Dronero, near Cuneo, in 1876.

His son, Coriolano Ponza di San Martino (1842–1926), briefly served as Italian Minister of War in April 1900 – April 1902.

Italian battleship Vittorio Emanuele

Vittorio Emanuele was an Italian pre-dreadnought battleship, laid down in 1901, launched in 1904 and completed in 1908. She was the second member of the Regina Elena class, which included three other vessels: Regina Elena, Napoli, and Roma. Vittorio Emmanuele was armed with a main battery of two 12 in (300 mm) guns and twelve 8 in (200 mm) guns. She was quite fast for the period, with a top speed of nearly 21 knots (39 km/h; 24 mph).

Vittorio Emmaneule saw action in the Italo-Turkish War as the flagship of the 1st Division. During the war, she participated in operations in Cyrenaica and the eastern Mediterranean Sea, including the seizure of the islands of Rhodes and the Dodecanese. She served during the First World War, but saw no combat during the war due to the hesitance of both the Italian and Austro-Hungarian navies to risk their capital ships in pitched battle. She remained in service as a training ship until 1923, when she was stricken from the naval register and broken up for scrap.

Jean-Baptiste Bailly

Jean-Baptiste Bailly (August 23, 1822, Chambéry – December 20, 1880 Chambéry) was a French ornithologist.

Bailly was one of the founders of the Société d’histoire naturelle de Savoie in 1844 and of the Museum of Natural History in Chambéry where he was the Conservator. In 1848 he was given permission by Charles Albert of Sardinia (1798–1849) to collect bird specimens in Savoy (then part of Italy) an authorization later renewed by Victor Emmanuel II of Italy (1820–1878). In 1853-1854 he published Ornithology of Savoy (Ornithologie de la Savoie ou histoire des oiseaux qui vivent en Savoie à l’état sauvage- four volumes published in Paris). This was supplemented in 1855-1856 by an atlas of 110 plates (published in Chambéry).

Maria Angela Caterina d'Este

Maria Angela Caterina d'Este (1 March 1656 – 16 July 1722) was an Italian born Princess of Modena who was later the Princess of Carignano by marriage. She was the wife of Emmanuel Philibert of Savoy, Prince of Carignano. In France she was known as Angélique Catherine d'Este and in Modena and Savoy she was known as Maria Caterina d'Este. She is an ancestor of Victor Emmanuel II of Italy and thus the whole present pretending Italian Royal Family. She is also an ancestor of the pretender of France.

Maria Vittoria dal Pozzo

Maria Vittoria dal Pozzo (Maria Vittoria Carlotta Enrichetta; 9 August 1847 – 8 November 1876) was an Italian noblewoman and became the Princess della Cisterna in her own right. Married to Prince Amadeo of Savoy, Duke of Aosta, second son of King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy, she was the Queen consort of Spain from 1870 until her husband's abdication in 1873. She is an ancestress of the current Duke of Aosta, a claimant to the erstwhile throne of Italy.

Middy Morgan

Maria Morgan (November 22, 1828 - June 1, 1892), generally known as Middy Morgan, was an Irish-born agricultural journalist who became one of America's top livestock experts. At one time, she supervised the stables for King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy.


Moncalieri (Italian: [moŋkaˈljɛːri]; Piedmontese: Moncalé [mʊŋkaˈle] (listen)) is a town and comune of 57,518 inhabitants (31 March 2018) about 8 kilometres (5 mi) directly south of downtown Turin (to whose Metropolitan City it belongs), in Piedmont, Italy. It is notable for its castle, built in the 12th century and enlarged in the 15th century, which later became the favorite residence of Maria Clotilde and Victor Emmanuel II of Italy. It is part of the World Heritage Site Residences of the Royal House of Savoy.

Prince Oddone, Duke of Montferrat

Oddone of Savoy (Oddone Eugenio Maria; 11 July 1846 – 22 January 1866) was an Italian humanist and philanthropist. He was the fourth child and third eldest son of King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy and his wife Adelaide of Austria. He was a Prince of Savoy.

Prince Umberto, Count of Salemi

Prince Umberto of Savoy (22 June 1889 – 19 October 1918) was a member of the Aosta branch of the House of Savoy and was styled the Count of Salemi.

Rifugio Vittorio Emanuele II

Rifugio Vittorio Emanuele II (also quoted as Refuge Victor-Emmanuel II in French sources) is a mountain hut in the Alps in Aosta Valley, Italy.

Rosa Vercellana

Rosa Vercellana, 1st Countess of Mirafiori and Fontanafredda (3 June 1833 – 26 December 1885), commonly known as ‘Rosina’ and, in Piedmontese, as La Bela Rosin, was the mistress and later wife of Victor Emmanuel II, King of Italy, but never Queen of Italy.

Scipione Tadolini

Scipione Tadolini (1822–1893) was an Italian sculptor in the Tadolini family, son of sculptor Adamo Tadolino (1788-1868), one of Antonio Canova's main assistants, brother of the sculptor Tito Tadolini (1828-1910), and in turn father of sculptor Giulio Tadolini (1849–1918). His works were in a romantic form of the Neo-classical tradition.

Tadolini was trained in his father's studio. His first major work was Ninfa Pescatrice (Nymph Fishing) in 1846. During his career, he created a statue of Santa Lucia for the Santa Lucia del Gonfalone Church in Rome, a bust of Victor Emmanuel II of Italy, an equestrian portrait of Simon Bolivar for Lima, Peru, and St Michael Overcoming Satan, commissioned by merchant Gardner Brewer and now in Boston College. His family's studio, at 150a-b Via del Babuino, Rome, has now been restored as the Museo Atelier Canova Tadolini, which preserves the works of Canova and the Tadolini family.

September Convention

The September Convention was a treaty, signed on 15 September 1864, between the Kingdom of Italy and the French Empire, under which:

French Emperor Napoleon III would withdraw all French troops from Rome within two years.

King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy guaranteed the frontiers of the Papal States, which at the time consisted of Rome and Latium.Additionally, in a protocol at first kept secret, the Italian government pledged to move its capital from Turin to another city (later selected by a commission to be Florence) within six months, to prove its good faith in giving up all claims on Rome.

Victor Emmanuel

Victor Emmanuel may refer to:

Victor Emmanuel I of Sardinia (1759–1824), Duke of Savoy and King of Sardinia

Victor Emmanuel II of Italy (1820–1878), King of Sardinia

Victor Emmanuel III of Italy (1869–1947), King of Italy

Virginia Oldoini, Countess of Castiglione

Virginia Oldoini, Countess of Castiglione (22 March 1837 – 28 November 1899), better known as La Castiglione, was born to an aristocratic family from La Spezia. She was a 19th-century Italian aristocrat who achieved notoriety as a mistress of Emperor Napoleon III of France. She was also a significant figure in the early history of photography.

Ancestors of Victor Emmanuel II of Italy
16. Louis Victor, Prince of Carignano
8. Victor Amadeus II, Prince of Carignano
17. Christine of Hesse-Rotenburg
4. Charles Emmanuel, Prince of Carignano
18. Louis, Prince of Brionne
9. Joséphine of Lorraine
19. Louise de Rohan
2. Charles Albert of Sardinia
20. Augustus III of Poland
10. Charles, Duke of Courland
21. Maria Josepha of Austria
5. Maria Christina of Saxony
22. Stanisław Krasiński
11. Franciszka Krasińska
23. Aniela Humięcka
1. Victor Emmanuel II of Italy
24. Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor
12. Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor
25. Maria Theresa of Austria
6. Ferdinand III, Grand Duke of Tuscany
26. Charles III of Spain
13. Maria Louisa of Spain
27. Maria Amalia of Saxony
3. Maria Theresa of Austria
28. Charles III of Spain (= 26)
14. Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies
29. Maria Amalia of Saxony (= 27)
7. Luisa of Naples and Sicily
30. Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor (= 24)
15. Maria Carolina of Austria
31. Maria Theresa of Austria (= 25)
1st Generation
2nd Generation
3rd Generation
4th Generation
5th Generation
6th Generation
7th Generation
8th Generation
9th Generation
10th Generation
11th Generation
12th Generation
13th Generation
14th Generation
15th Generation
16th Generation
17th Generation
18th Generation
19th generation
Kings of Italy between 1861 and 1946
Wars and revolts
Main leaders

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