Italy's location on the Mediterranean linked it with the trade routes of the ancient civilizations that developed in the region. With the city of Rome's rise to power, the Italian peninsula became the center of a huge empire that lasted for centuries.
Italy's first societies emerged around 1200 B.C. Around 800 B.C. Greeks settled in the south and Etruscans arose in central Italy. By the sixth century B.C., the Etruscans had created a group of states called Etruria. Meanwhile, Latin and Sabine people south of Etruria merged to form a strong city-state called Rome.
Etruscan kings ruled Rome for nearly a hundred years. But Romans tossed out the Etruscans in 510 B.C. and went on to conquer the whole peninsula. They then set out to build a vast empire. At its greatest extent, in A.D. 117, the Roman Empire stretched from Portugal to Syria to Britain to North Africa.
The first sole emperor of Rome, Octavian, took power in 27 B.C. and took the name Augustus Caesar. For more than 400 years, the empire flourished. But by the fourth century A.D., it was in decline. In 395, the empire was split in two, and in 476, Germanic tribes from the north toppled the last emperor.
In the 12th century, Italian city-states began to rise again and grow rich on trade. But Italy remained a patchwork of territories, some of which were controlled by foreign dynasties. Beginning in 1859, an uprising forced the foreigners out, and in 1861, the Kingdom of Italy was proclaimed.
In 1914, Italy took the side of the United Kingdom and the U.S. in World War I, but was left in poverty at war's end. Benito Mussolini and his Fascist Party rose to power promising to restore the Roman Empire. He ruled as a dictator and entered World War II on the side of Germany and Japan. He was later captured and executed.
As well as being a compulsory national curriculum subject, Geography is a really important and exciting area of learning and your child will cover a variety of different topics throughout primary school. A new national curriculum for geography was introduced in September 2014.
From studying the local area to learning about other places in the world and comparing the lives of people who live there, as well as examining different natural habitats, your child will be encouraged to do their own research and use a variety of different resources.
At some stage, you'll need to support your child with their geography homework, perhaps helping them research a topic, create a poster or presentation, look at maps together or even visit areas of local interest or museums.
Whatever topic your child is learning about in KS1 geography or KS2 geography, Homework Gnome is a great place to start! You'll find pages on many of the geography topics commonly taught in primary school, all covered in an age-appropriate style, with information, images and videos suitable for primary school children*.
To get started, just look through the list below to find the geography topic your child is studying at school now.