Milan one of the large cities of Italy, capital of Lombardy, situated on the River Olona, contains a population of 295,543. It is a very ancient city, and is noted in ecclesiastical history as the seat of several important Church councils. Milan (Lat. Mediolanum) was originally a town or village of the Insubrian Gauls. It was conquered by the Romans 222 B.C., received the Latin franchise about 89 B.C., and the full Roman franchise 49 B.C. Under the Romans it became a conspicuous centre of wealth and civic influence; its inhabitants were noted for their refined manners and literary taste and the public buildings for their beauty and elegance. In the beginning of the 4th century it was selected as the residence of the imperial court by Maximian. Milan was sacked by the Huns (under Attila) in 452; by the Goths (under the brother of Vitiges) in 539; and passed to the Longobards and Franks previous to its subjection by the German Empire. After 961, it was long governed by dukes in the name of the emperors. The feuds of the Guelphs and Ghibellines distracted Milan, like all the other Italian cities. Supreme power became eventually vested in the Ghibelline Visconti, by whom the ascendency of Milan was extended over the whole of Lombardy. From 1545 to 1714, Milan submitted to the successive predominance of France and Austria. Under Bonaparte, it was declared the capital of the Cisalpine republic, of the Italian republic, and, finally, of the kingdom of Italy. In 1815, Milan was restored to Austria, and continued the capital of the Austro-Italian kingdom until the annexation of Lombardy to Piedmont, in 1859, by the peace of Villafranca.

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