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is the capital of Campania and the third-largest city in Italy, after Rome and Milan. As of 2012, around 960,000 people live within the city`s administrative limits. The wider Naples urban area, covering 777 km2 (300 sq mi), has a population of over 3 million,and is the 9th-most populous urban area in the European Union. Between 4.1 and 4.4 million people live in the overall Naples metropolitan area, one of the largest European metropolises on the Mediterranean Sea.
Naples is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Greek settlements were established on the island of Megaride in the Gulf of Naples as early as the 9th century BC. A larger mainland colony initially known as Parthenope developed around the 8th century BC, and was refounded as Neápolis in the 6th century BC. Naples became a lynchpin of Magna Graecia and played a key role in the merging of Greek culture into Roman society, eventually becoming a cultural centre of the Roman Republic. Naples remained influential after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, serving as the capital city of the Kingdom of Naples between 1282 and 1816. Thereafter, in union with Sicily, it became the capital of the Two Sicilies until the unification of Italy in 1861. During the Neapolitan War of 1815, Naples strongly promoted Italian unification.
Sailors from the Greek island of Rhodes established a small commercial port on the island of Megaride in the Gulf of Naples in the 9th century BC.
Sicily and Naples were separated in 1458, but remained dependencies of Aragon under Ferrante. The new dynasty enhanced Naples` commercial standing by establishing relations with the Iberian peninsula. Naples also became a centre of the Renaissance, with artists such as Laurana, da Messina, Sannazzaro and Poliziano arriving in the city. In 1501, Naples came under direct rule from France under Louis XII, with the Neapolitan king Frederick being taken as a prisoner to France; however, this state of affairs did not last long, as Spain won Naples from the French at the Battle of Garigliano in 1503.
After the Expedition of the Thousand led by Giuseppe Garibaldi, which culminated in the controversial Siege of Gaeta, Naples became part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861 as part of the Italian unification, ending the era of Bourbon rule.
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