1535-1563 1618-1648

The Duchy of Milan, 1564-1618

In 1563 Carlo Borromeo was consecrated archbishop of Milan (-1584); he strongly promoted the Counterreformation, having impact on regions beyond the Duchy of Milan (for instance Graubünden, Switzerland). Lutherans in the Duchy of Milan were arrested and dealt with by the Inquisition (1569, 1575, 1587, 1612, 1621). In 1569, an attempt to assassinate Carlo Borromeo failed. From 1571 on, Archbishop Borromeo attempted to suppress Carnival; in 1582 he prohibited the wearing of masks.
In 1576, a black plague epidemic struck the Duchy of Milan. In 1580, the city of Milan counted 108,000 inhabitants. In 1590 all of Italy suffered from severe famine. 1591-1603 the Canale di Paderno was dug. The revenue of the Duchy of Milan in 1593 amounted to c. 900,000 Ducats.
As France was neutralized by civil war (French Wars of Religion 1562-1598), the series of French-Habsburg Wars was ended. Still, the Duchy of Milan continued to suffer from Spanish maladministration, mainly characterized by heavy (over-)taxation. In 1586, in Milan, the Swiss Catholic Cantons founded the Golden League, the purpose of which was to defend (promote) the cause of Catholicism in Switzerland.
In 1607 the Biblioteca Ambrosiana was founded, with a stock of 12,000 manuscripts and 30,000 printed books. In 1610, Carlo Borromeo (died in 1584) was canonized.
From 1613 to 1617 the Monferrato War of Succession was fought.

Cronologia di Milano dal 1551 al 1575, 1576-1600, 1601-1625, from Storia di Milano
Storia di Milano : I governatori della Milano spagnola (The Spanish Governors of Milan), in Italian
History of Milan, from Milanoweb, from Ciao Milano
Biography of Carlo Borromeo, from EB 1911, from Catholic Encyclopedia
Biography of Ferrante Gonzaga, from Memoria delle cose di Cento, in Italian; image : F.G., from MATEO (Desbillons)
REFERENCE Alessandro Visconti, Storia di Milano, Milano : Ceschina 1937
Thomas J. Dandelet, Politics and the state system after the Habsburg-Valois Wars, pp.11-30 in : John A. Marino (ed.), Early Modern Italy (Short Oxford History of Italy), Oxford : UP 2002

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on February 4th 2004, last revised on March 24th 2006

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