Charles Albert (Carlo Alberto Amadeo), king of Sardinia,born Oct. 2,1798, died at Oporto, July 28, 1849. The son of Charles Emanuel of Savoy-Carignan, of a younger branch of the royal family, and having consequently no hope of ever obtaining the crown except by the extinction of the direct line, he early adopted liberal principles, and was even affiliated with the carbonari. Being appointed regent, March 13, 1821, on the abdication of King Victor Emanuel, he proclaimed in Sardinia the constitution adopted by the cortes of Spain and appointed a provisional junta; but his plans were baffled by the marching of an Austrian army into Piedmont, and the rejection by King Charles Felix of all his measures. He then withdrew from Turin, resigned his office, and left the kingdom. In 1823 he served as a volunteer in the French army which under the duke of Angouleme invaded Spain, to crush its restored liberty; he was consequently charged with perfidy by his old associates. In 1824 he was allowed to return to Turin, and for a while in 1829 held the post of viceroy of the island of Sardinia. On the death of Charles Felix, the last of the elder branch, April 27, 1831, Charles Albert succeeded to the throne, and adopted a policy which was far from realizing the anticipations of the partisans of freedom.
Some reforms took place; the feudal system was abolished; encouragement was given to agriculture, industry, and science; civil and criminal laws were reduced to a code; and the army received an entirely new organization, which greatly increased its efficiency; but these measures were mingled with many others hostile to national liberty. On the accession of Pope Pius IX. in 1840 Charles Albert seemed to return to his former inclinations, granted a constitution to Sardinia, created a civic guard, amnestied the exiles of 1821, and granted more liberty to the press. On the outbreak of the revolution of 1848 he presented himself as the champion of Italian independence, and at once aided with his arms the insurgents in Lombardy and the duchies of Parma, Piacenza, and Mo-dena, refusing French offers of aid with the words, L'Italia fara da se (" Italy will help herself"). He fought successfully at first, defeating the Austrians at Pastrengo, April 30, 1848; Goito, May 29; and reducing Pizzigliet-tone and Peschiera. But, ill supported by the Lombard troops, he was in his turn worsted at Custozza, July 25, by Marshal Radetzky, who had taken Vicenza, Treviso, and Padua, obliged to hastily retreat to and from Milan, and had to sue for an armistice, through which he lost all his former advantages.
On the expiration of the truce, relying on the simultaneous operations of the Hungarians against the Austrians, he resumed hostilities; but his army, under Gen. Chrzanowski, was completely destroyed at Novara, March 23, 1849, and the hopes which Italy had placed in him were entirely lost. He then resigned the crown to his elder son, Victor Emanuel II., and retired to Oporto, where he died four months later.