Papal State, 1503-1534

War of the Holy League, 1510-1516

A.) Causes for the War

The war is a continuation of the War of the League of Cambrai in a new constellation; while the former saw a powerful alliance opposing and defeating Venice, the Holy Alliance, formed on the initiative of Pope Julius II. by the Papal State, Venice, Switzerland, Aragon-Castile, England and the Emperor to expel France from Italian soil.

B.) The War

Major military events were the French victory in the Battle of Ravenna 1512, the French defeat in the Battle of Novara 1513 at the hands of the Swiss, and the French victory, again over a Swiss force, in the Battle of Marignano 1515.
In 1516, the Emperor conceded the continued French occupation of Milan (1500-1512, again since 1515).
During the war, Switzerland acquired the Welsh Territories (Ticino), Graubünden (Grisons) acquired the Valtellino.
In 1512 an Imperial army reestablished the (hitherto exiled) Medici in Florence, toppling the republic (Florence continued to be a republic in name, though).
The war had an often overlooked side theatre - Navarra, a traditional French ally. In 1512 a Castilian force occupied most of Upper Navarra; the Navarrese capital of Pamplona fell in 1515. Upper Navarra was annexed into Castile, but retained a certain degree of autonomy.

C.) The Legacy

The French would lose control of Milan in 1521, and in 1525, upon the extinction of the Sforza Dynasty, enter into another military contest over Milan with the Habsburg Dynasty. Swiss mercenaries would continue to play a major role in these wars. While Pope Julius II successfully had outmanoeuvred France as the dominant force in Italy, another one arose - the Habsburg Dynasty, soon uniting Spain, the Austrian and Burgundian Lands and the Imperial Crown. As the Battle of Agnadello showed her political limitations to the Republic of Venice, so did the Sacco di Roma 1527 to the Popes.

Holy League, article from Columbia Encyclopedia
Louis de la Tremoille, article from Columbia Encyclopedia
Louis XII of France, from History Learning Site
Florence and Venice in Renaissance, from Univ. of Warwick, has detailed bibliography
Biography of Julius II., from Catholic Encyclopedia
Die Zweite Periode der Italienkriege (1509-1515); die Schlacht von Agnadello (The second Phase of the Italian Wars, 1509-1515, the Battle of A.), from Die Entwicklung der Kriegskunst in den Italienkriegen (The Development of the Art of War in the Italian Wars), in German
Slag vid Marignano, 1515, from Historiske Slag, in Danish
Slag vid Guinegate 1513, from Historiske Slag, in Danish
Biography Matthäus Schiner, from BBKL, in German (he was a Swiss clergyman who organized Swiss mercenary units for the Italian wars)
Biography Matthaeus Schinner, from Catholic Encyclopedia
Prodromi della battaglia di Marignano, from, in Italian
Giulio II - Lega Cambrai - Lega Santa, from Cronologia, in Italian
Francia e Venezia contra Lombardia, 1512-1517, from Cronologia, in Italian
Florence in the 16th century, anonymously posted file
DOCUMENTS Bruder Klaus, on the Battle of Marignano 1515, from Bruder Klaus im Internet, in German
Ravenna 1512, print by Hans Burkmaier, posted by Mappe de Citta ed altre Mappe Antiche Diverse

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on June 2nd 2003, last revised on November 17th 2004

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