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Duchy of Savoy: Wikis


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Herzogtum Savoyen (de)
Duché de Savoie (fr)
Ducato di Savouè (frp)
Ducato di Savoia (it)
Ducà 'd Savòja (pms)
Duchy of Savoy
State of the Holy Roman Empire

1416 – 1718
Flag of Savoy Coat of arms of Savoy
Duchy of Savoy (green) in 1600.
Capital Chiamberì (1416-1562)
Turin (1562-1714)
Language(s) Piedmontese, Latin, French, Italian
Religion Roman Catholicism
Government Duchy
 - 1416-1440 Amadeus VIII
 - 1675-1718 Victor Amadeus II
Historical era Middle Ages
 - County of Savoy raised
    to a duchy
1416 1416
 - Occupied by France 153659, 1630,
169096, 170313
 - Acquired Sicily and parts
    of the Duchy of Milan
April 11, 1713
 - Acquired the kingdom
    of Sardinia
in exchange
    for Sicily
 - Occupied by
    Revolutionary France
 - Savoy to France,
    as price for
    Italian unification
1860 1718
 - Duke becomes king of
March 17, 1861
* The Duchy of Savoy became the Piedmont-Sardinia Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia in 1720; the territory of Savoy remained a part of Piedmont-Sardinia until 1860, when it was given to the France Second French Empire in exchange for their support of the Risorgimento.
For the early history of Savoy, before it was raised to a duchy, see County of Savoy and March of Turin.

From 1416 to 1714, the territories of the House of Savoy were known as the Duchy of Savoy (French: Savoie, Italian: Savoia). The Duchy was a state in the northern part of the Italian Peninsula, with some territories that are now in France. It was a continuation of the County of Savoy and a predecessor of the Kingdom of Sardinia and the Kingdom of Italy.




15th Century

The Duchy was created in 1416 following Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor, awarding the title Duke to Count Amadeus VIII. The territory of the Duchy then included Moriana, the Valle d'Aosta, and Piedmont.

Being landlocked earlier, in 1388 the then County had conquered a few kilometres of coastline around Nice. Other than that the 14th century had been a time of stagnation. The pressure of the neighboring powers, particularly France, prevented development which characterize the rest of the renaissance.

The reign of Amadeus VIII was a turning point for the economy and the policy of the state, and deeply marked the history of the nation. His long reign was marked by wars (expanded its territory by defeating the Duchy of Monferrato and Lordship of Saluzzo), reforms and edicts, but also some controversial incidents: first of all when he in 1434 chose to withdraw to live in Riparia. Here he founded the Order of St. Maurice, and in 1439 received the appointment as antipope which he accepted (under the name of Felix V) and subsequently declined a decade later, fearful of undermining the religious unity of Christians.

Also an important action of the Government of Amadeo VIII, was the creation of the Principality of Piedmont in August 1424, whose management was entrusted to the firstborn of the family, as a title of honor: the duke left the lands, therefore, largely formed from the old domain of the Savoy-Achaia, adjacent to the Savoy in 1418, his son Amedeo, however, died prematurely in 1431. The area and the sequence was assigned the second son Ludwig.

As a cultured and refined man, Duke Amadeus gave great importance to art (he worked with among others, the famous Giacomo Jaquerio), literature and architecture, encouraging the entry of art to the Italian Piedmont.

From the reign of Amadeus VIII the power was left to his son Louis. Louis was then succeeded by the weak Amadeus IX who was extremely religious (he was declared blessed), but of little practical power to the point that he allowed his wife, Violante of Vaois, sister of Louis XI, to take very important decisions. So in this period, France was more or less free to control the affairs of Savoy, which bound the Piedmont to the crown in Paris.

The Duchy came out in very bad economic conditions, not only because of war, but also because of the poor administration by Violante and the continued donations by Amadeus IX to the poor of Vercelli. The future of the nation was entrusted to the hands of a boy, Philibert I, who died just at the age of seventeen, after ten years of reign. He was succeeded by Charles I, whose ascent to the throne seemed to promise a rebirth of the country.

16th Century

When Philibert II died in 1504, he was succeeded by Charles III the Good, a rather weak duke. Since 1515, Piedmont was occupied by foreign armies, and Francis I of France was just waiting for the opportunity to permanently annex the duchy of Savoy and its possessions. In 1536 Francis I ordered the occupation of the Duchy, which was invaded by a strong military contingent: Charles III realized too late the weakness of the state, and tried to defend the city of Turin, however the city was lost on April 3 of the same year. Charles III retired in Vercelli, trying to continue the fight, but never saw the state free from occupation.

Emmanuel Philibert was the Duke who more than any influenced the future policy Savoy, managing to put an end to the more than twenty-year long occupation. The Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis which was signed in 1559, restored full autonomy for the duchy.

Realizing that it could not longer trust France as a land of conquest, the center of gravity, and the capital, was moved to Turin, which yielded better defense by promoting the construction of a complex system of fortifications, the Cittadella (which still can be observed, although it is largely destroyed by the subsequent expansion of the city). From his military experience in Flanders, Emmanuel Philibert was the winner of the famous Battle of St. Quentin as he had learned how to run an army. He was therefore the first Duke of Savoy to establish a stable military apparatus that was not formed by mercenaries, but by Piedmont specially trained soldiers.

His son, Charles Emmanuel I, extended the duchy to the detriment of the lordships of Monferrato and the territory of Saluzzo, previously ceded to France, in 1601 with the Treaty of Lyon. Unfortunately, the wars of Charles Emmanuel ended mostly in defeats, but he is however often remembered as "the Great", as he was a versatile and cultured man, poet and skillful reformer. He was able to manage the Duchy at a time of severe crisis with the European powers, finding support at the court of the Habsburgs. The policy of Charles Emmanuel was in fact more based on actions of international warfare, such as the possession of the Marquis of Saluzzo, and the wars of succession to the duchies of Mantua and Monferrato. Generally, Savoy sided, on these occasions, alongside Spain, but also on occasions fell back to follow the French (as, for example, the Treaty of Susa required).

17th Century

During the seventeenth century the influence of the court of Versailles came to press on the Piedmont. The proximity of the Duchy of Milan, where troops were stationed in France, and the disposal of Pinerolo (one of the most important strongholds of Savoy), close to Turin. The court, which had been under Spanish influence with Charles Emmanuel I, became French under his three successors. The marriage of Vittorio Amedeo I with Maria Christina of Bourbon-France, the future Madame Royal. Cristina held the real power in Savoy during the short period of Francis Hyacinth and the young age of Charles Emmanuel II.

The strong French influence, plus various misfortunes repeatedly hit the Piedmont following the death of Charles Emmanuel II. First of all, the plague developed in 1630, contributed significantly to the already widespread poverty.

The Wars of Succession of Monferrato had been very bloody in the countryside and forced the Monferrato Castle to a long siege. These facts of arms and politics was hard to the economy and future history, exacerbating the already difficult situation after the death of Victor Amadeus I. He was succeeded for a short period of time, by the firstborn male Francis Hyacinth. The regency was then entrusted, to Carlo Emanuele II, from their mother Christina of Bourbon, whose followers took the name of Madame. Because of this, Savoy was turned into a satellite state of Louis XIII. The principles of Maurizio of Savoy and Prince Thomas of Savoy, together with their followers, took the name of Principles.

The city of Turin was soon besieged by both factions. The principles won, making Turin subject to great looting on July 27, 1639. Only in 1642 it reached an agreement between the two factions, but now the widow of Victor Amadeus I had placed his son Charles Emmanuel II on the throne, and thus ruled in his place, even past his the age of the child.

During the regency, there was a resurgence of religious wars. In 1655, the troops attacked the Duke of a Protestant population of the Waldensian valleys, known as Pasque Piedmont, but were eventually stopped by international pressure. A final agreement with the Waldensians was carried out in 1664.

The government of Charles Emmanuel II was a first step towards major reforms by his successor and the next century. In particular, the creation of militias in Savoy and the first public school system in 1661. A cultured man, but also a great statesman, he was able to learn the lessons given to Europe by Louis XIV. He wanted to limit this to the court in the sumptuous palace of Venaria Reale, a masterpiece of Baroque architecture, and a recreation in Italy of the magnificence of the Palace of Versailles. It was the time of the great urban expansion, and Charles Emmanuel II promoted expansion of Turin and its reconstruction in the baroque style. At his death, he was followed by a period of regency held by the new Madama Reale Maria Giovanna Battista of Savoy-Nemours.

The end of the duchy

The son of Charles Emmanuel II, Victor Amadeus II, was under the regency of his mother Maria Giovanna Battista in the early years of the reign, in which the energetic mother tried to unite the crown of Savoy with the Portuguese, and thus in the risk of compromising the very survival of the duchy (the Piedmont would be reduced like the other Italian states to a foreign power). With determination by the hand of the regent Victor Amadeus II, Savoy went into bad relations with the crown in Paris, which led to the invasion of the duchy by French forces. Savoy defeated the army of Louis XIV in the Siege of Cuneo, but was dramatically defeated in the battles of Staffarda and Marsaglia.

After the War of the Great Alliance, Savoy sided in the first phase of the War of Spanish Succession alongside Louis XIV. By changing alliances a new French invasion of Savoy came, the troops of the Marquis of Fouillade was able to defeat troops of Savoy into Turin. The event, which succeeded only thanks to the arrival on the battlefield of the duke's cousin, Eugene of Savoy, resolved a conflict that spread destruction in Savoy.

At the end of the war in 1714, Savoy received Sicily, and Victor Amadeus II awarded the title of King, effectively ending the Duchy of Savoy, as from that moment its name was changed into the Kingdom of Sicily. This region was in 1720, in observance of the Treaty of London of 1718, changed to Sardinia, and from that moment, the newly formed state was called the Kingdom of Sardinia.

List of Dukes of Savoy

External links



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