Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What is the Padanian-American League?

On our main page has been a page entitled "What is the PAL?" We would just like to move it here, because much of what we will do is evolving and expanding, and we would like to continue a process of reinventing ourselves as we need to. This is actually pretty up-to-date. One issue, which probably needs clarification, is that da Vinci or Columbus were not "Padanians." Leonardo da Vinci was of the "Tuscan Nation, Christopher Columbus was of the "City-State of Genoa, and the same for any Venetian, Lombardian, etc. Padania refers to the Po River Valley, and to us is simply a modern name for "Langbard." Langbard should not be confused with Lombardia, even though Lombardia was the main hub of the Lombard ruling class of that time.

[Above Right: A symbol of Genoa (Genova) with two Genoese griffins. A great percentage of Padanian-Americans are of Genoese (Ligurian) descent.]



The Padanian-American League is indeed the one and only association for Americans of Northern Italian descent. It means exactly what it says. It is a social, heritage, and cultural society of American-Northern Italians based in San Mateo County, California. Few Americans seem to know that about 90% of Italian-Americans cannot trace their ancestral roots north of Campania. This fact is not anything that is positive or negative, and certainly nobody's fault, but it just IS. Consequently, we have very little identity in America. This paradigm has created a bizarre type of defamation against us. So many of the Italian stereotypes, jokes, and references have little or nothing to do with us! Even light hearted jokes, like the "Italians can't do anything right" concept, doesn't even make any sense. We have a centuries long reputation of being the very best in the world at EVERYTHING we do!

The Padanian-American League gets it's name from "Padania," the "land of the Po." Padanians are the "people of the Po," referring to the Po river valley. It is not a new term, and has been around for many centuries. "League" refers to the historic "Lombard League." Derived from Etruscan, Celtic, and Lombard stocks, we represent the very best that mankind has to offer. However, if you are an American with Padanian ancestry mixed with any other European root stock, you may consider yourself a "Padanian-American." The PAL should be nothing less than our culture reborn in America.

History has stated time and time again that "a nation exists in the mind, not on a map." Northern Italy was a "nation" during the time of the Etruscans for all intents and purposes. It also was a "nation" under the Lombards, in a much more official capacity. It also formed a single national unit when the Lombard League was formed to oppose Germanic rule on several occasions. The most complex linguistic and genetic studies also bear this out. "Italy" was only considered a whole unit since 1860, when numerous nations were merged into one for the first time since the fall of the Roman Empire. Generally, the lands which made up the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies made up one region, the Roman State was north of it, and north of that were an endless series of competing small regions and city-states.

The Americas were discovered, at least in an official capacity, by a Padanian named Cristoforo Columbo. The very word "America" is named after explorer Amerigo Vespucci. It could just as easily have been named "Columbia" or "Vespuccia" as well. Two of America's Founding Fathers were of Padanian ancestry, and a third was Tuscan Filippo Mazzei, a radical revolutionary for the American cause. Upon his eulogy, Thomas Jefferson called him "one of America's founders." Despite having such comparatively small numbers, most of the important Italian-Americans throughout the past four hundred years, from Paolo Busti to Enrico Fermi, have been Padanian.

Padanians, mainly from Tuscany and Piedmont, had settled in Jamestown and other large settlements as early as the seventeenth century. Another small migration occurred from 1850-1880 to some of the larger eastern cities, like New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and New Orleans. A "Little Lombardy" sprang up at this time in St. Louis, called "The Hill." It was possibly the first Italian-speaking district in America. Eventually, later Sicilian immigrants became the dominant population in the district. Other noteworthy areas of settlement seem to have been in Colorado, northern Michigan, western Pennsylvania, and Valdese, North Carolina.

The third, and by far the largest, migration of our people was in California. Specifically Northern California. I place this as a separate migration because of it's size and separate geography, but also due to the migration's longevity. From the early 1850s to the 1930s, large numbers of immigrants from mainly northwest Italy arrived in San Francisco and the surrounding area, and up through the Napa Valley. Many of them were from Liguria, Tuscany, and Piedmont, and from Genoa and Lucca in particular.

By the mid-twentieth century, there were well over 100,000 people of Italian descent in San Francisco alone. Most were of Northern Italian descent. Large populations lived in San Mateo County and San Jose as well. Needless to say, Northern Italian families played an enormous role in the development of the Napa wine country from it's beginnings. Gallo, Mondavi, Sebastiani, Parducci, Martinelli, Martini and Prati, Monticello, and Sattui are just a few of the many families that go back even to the nineteenth century. Also noteworthy were the traditional Swiss of California, who were from the Swiss Canton of Ticino. Ticino is a very small Italian-speaking region and the only one south of the Alps, and whose root stock are of Northern Italian descent. The relationship doesn't just end because some long ago German King decided that this would be a nice place to put a fence.

When the Northern League Party formed in the mid-1990s, they claimed all of the regions north of Lazio and Abruzzo as "Padania." Abruzzo was the northernmost region of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and certainly part of Southern Italy. Traditionally Rome and northern Lazio has been "northern" in character. It was discluded mostly due to the Northern League's dislike for the central government in Rome. Well, that's the government, not the people. We consider anything between Rome and Ticino to be "Padanian." The politics of Rome is not our affair, and we will do things here as we see fit.


[ADDITION 12-11-08]

These are parts from two e-mails which we responded to, and we wanted to include them here as a sort of FAQ addition:

1) Hello. We support Padanian independence, and Padanian cultural awareness on the five continents where we live, including a plan for a type of unifying institution. Something more substantial than the existing "Padani nel Mondo." The two emergency areas are 1) Padanian Independence, and 2) Aid to tens of thousands of Padanian-Afrikaners and Padanian-Rhodesians.

Join with us. We don't have an official membership at this time, but we can still operate. Although it's only natural that we are headquartered in Northern California, where most of us live, we need various state councils and involvement. We need media. People who can write articles, make videos, music, graphics, as well as historical revisionists, artists, etc.

2) (We) "...previously had a yahoo group, initially called the "Padanian-American Association", but didn't consider it anything more than a small endeavor. A small show of pride. Well, all that's changed..."

There are those who would say that "Padania" was never a nation. That's clearly is not the case. "Padania" is not a new term. It simply meant the area of the Po River Valley. The "Kingdom of the Lombards" (Langbard) was a nation, specifically of Northern Italy, as I have proven already. The black eagle flag was the flag of that nation. It's a perfect flag, in that it's red Odal Rune was originally of the Etruscan people, and meant something like "our land." The rune stones migrated to Northern Europe via the trade routes, and served as an alphabet. The Romans, while stemming from the Etruscans, soon very deliberately destroyed anything Etruscan, but the runic alphabet continued on in Northern Europe after the Etruscans cultural demise.

Queen Theodelinda was the Queen of the Lombards. Literally the supreme ruler of Northern Italy at one point. A poorly produced, less-than-flattering image of her was created eight or nine hundred years after her death. She had become a religious icon, and a Catholic icon is not supposed to be beautiful. In fact, according to the historical record, as the Lombard ruling class desired to intermarry with other ruling classes, King Authari traveled to Bavaria so he could see this German princess he had heard about, who was available for marriage, and the record clearly reflected that he wanted to see her first before agreeing to marriage. When he cast his eyes upon a tall beautiful young woman, he very quickly agreed.

Since she was the one who brought the Roman church to the Lombards (i.e. Saint Patrick), and she also reflects a sort of pagan-rooted image, she is the perfect icon I believe. Like a patron saint. In other words, she was a Roman Catholic, but she also represents the genome, the blood, which symbolically places a limitation on the universalist church. Like the Japanese flag is a red drop of blood, such as our blood red Odal Rune. For all we know, she may be the 50-great grandmother of you, me, or any of us; further adding to that concept. I always admired, for example, the Greek Orthodox church. Not a universalist Orthodox church, but a GREEK Orthodox church. Also, they honor their mythology, while remaining staunch Christians. The perfect blend.

Currently there is no official membership. Naturally we will establish that at some point. We also will need people in the various states. A simple blog would be a good start (ex. "PAL - Nevada"). It wouldn't have to be much of a commitment, just updated every couple of months at least. In Northern California, where most of us live, it would only be logical as the base. However we don't want to ignore other states with a sizable representation (Nevada, Arizona, Missouri, Pennsylvania, etc.). I will be hitting the streets with this program. It will involve, among other things, social, cultural, and commercial activities. It should also be a mostly youthful organization, where merit is predominantly judged on an individual's dedication to the program; and not an over-60 men's club, as so many Italian-American organizations have become.

The Langobardi (title to remain invisible)
The immense and fighting spirit, still,
Shall quicken and control.
Living they were the land, and dead,
Their soul shall be her soul.

The immense and fighting spirit (of the warlike Langobardi), still (currently a dormant spirit),
Shall quicken (the spirit coming back to life) and control (to lead their descendants).
Living they were the land (rulers of the land of Etruscan civilization), and dead (now literally [and allegorically: "the land"] merged with the refined daughters of Etruria and no longer the distinct pagan culture of the "Langobardi" in the ancient sense),
Their soul shall be her (the land's) soul (Lombard and Etruscan as "one" forever [allegoric: "male and female"]; their soul shall quicken inside of our hearts).

The immense and fighting spirit, still,
Shall quicken and control.
Living they were the land, and dead,
Their soul shall be her soul.


California Pete said...

Given the polemical political weight today carried by the term "Padania" within Italy (grazie alla Lega Nord), why would you all choose that term??

Frankly, as the husband of a 4th-generation Genovese-American, and a dear friend to her/our cousins in Liguria, I'm a little offended to see the symbol of Genova so prominently displayed alongside the Padanian name. I would begrudgingly accept a politically neutral use of the name--as you seem to intend--if it truly was limited to "the People(s) of the Po Valley", but that obviously does not include Liguria. Ligurians may share a modern state and related local languages with the Lombardians, et al., and I've certainly enjoyed my visits to Milano immensely, but Liguria has equally profound historical ties to Corsica, Sardinia, Provence, and even Iberia, as to the lands of the Po. So please leave them/us out of your "Padania". Why not just keep it simple: the League of American Northern Italians?

I think it is worth noting that the Lega Nord enjoys the support of only about 4-8% of the Ligurian electorate, in contrast to the 20-25% that support it in Lombardia and Veneto.

Brixia Fidelis said...


First of all, we're not a political organization, and aren't really binded to perceptions in other countries. We're many thousands of miles, and many decades removed. The term "Padania" is an old one, which long predates the Northern League. The ancient Ligurians were part of Northern Italy, and we consider them "us." The ties to Sardinia and Corsica were much more national than cultural. Some people people could be offended by your new term as well, with equal validity to your own objection.

We don't use the flag of the Northern League. However, yes, "Padania" is an old term. Look at the larger picture. We hear about the Italians-Sicilians in New York, the Poles in Chicago, the Irish in Boston, etc., etc., and this is our only hub in... probably the whole continent.

We already stated that, for example, if someone was 3/4 Sicilian, and 1/4 Northern Italian, they may consider themselves a "Padanian-American."

Joe R.