War over Parma, 1641-1644 also referred to as the War of Castro




A.) Prehistory

The Duchy of Parma was a fief of the Papal State. In 1639, Duke Odoardo Farnese (since 1622) was induced to ban the export of grain from Parma territory (from the city of Castro) to the Papal State.


B.) The War

Pope Urban requested Spanish aid; Spain, involved in the 30 Years War (against the Dutch Republic and France) and facing rebellions in Portugal and Catalonia, could do little to support the pope. The pope raised a force and occupied the Duchy in 1641. Odoardo Farnese was supported by the Republic of Venice, Modena and Tuscany. In 1642, Urban VIII. excommunicated Farnese and cancelled his fiefs; now Duke Odoardo invaded the Papal State. Attempts to negotiate a peace at Orvieto (1642) failed; in 1643 hostilities were resumed, without any side achieving a victory. In 1644 the peace of Ferrara was concluded, a diplomatic victory for Duke Odoardo and humiliating for Pope Urban VIII., who had to lift the ban on Duke Odoardo and restore to him the Duchy of Parma.


C.) The Legacy

Pope Urban VIII. died in 1644, Duke Odoardo in 1646. In 1649, Pope Innocent had Castro occupied and razed to the ground. His successors were to realize that the papacy was no longer able to pursue an active military policy. The Duchy of Parma, nominally a fief of the pope, was treated in international policy as an independent state.


DOCUMENTS History Facts and Persons, scroll down for Wars of Castro
Anno 1641, Anno 1644, from Cronologia, in Italian
Urban VIII., from Catholic Encyclopedia, from Web Gallery of Art, from Wikipedia, by Albert van Helden
REFERENCE Rulers of Parma, from Genealogy Euweb



This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on February 11th 2004, last revised on November 19th 2004

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