History of Italy Savoy 1610-1660

The Duchy of Savoy-Piemont 1504-1559

The reign of Duke Charles III. le Bon (1504-1553) were tumultuous for Savoy-Piemont. While France tried to impose her hegemony over Italy, first battling the Swiss, than the Emperor, Savoy-Piemont was regularly traversed by French troops and exposed to Swiss invasions. In 1506 the Swiss, from Wallis (Valais) first invaded the Chablais. In 1519 the city of Geneva refused to accept ducal sovereignty any longer; in 1526 she associated herself with the Swiss Confederation. The city, supported by Bern, the mightiest of the Swiss cantons, at the latter's suggestion, accepted protestant faith; a protestant priest employed by the city, Jean Calvin, was to give her world fame.
In 1531, Emperor Charles V. ceded Asti to the Duke of Savoy.
His territories being part of the theatre in which the French and Swiss fought their wars, the duke was incapable of enforcing his authority. In 1536 Bourg, Bresse and Savoy proper were occupied by the French, while the Vaud, Gex, the Chablais and Monthey were occupied and annexed by the Swiss Confederation. Duke Charles III. himself fled. The French penetrated into Piemont, garrisoned Turin (1536); Emperor Charles V. and François I. of France came to an agreement, which, for the time being, left Milan in the Emperor's, Savoy-Piemont in French possession. Duke Charles III. was ignored. The city of Nizza (Nice) in 1544 was plundered by a mariners of an Ottoman fleet, supposedly French allies.
The French established a parliament at the dukes' traditional residence, Chambery. This parliament took upon itself to combat the reformation; a Dominican inquisitor was charged with fighting heresy, i.e. protestantism disseminating from Bern and Geneva, as well as the Dauphine religious and the montain valley Waldensians (Vaudois, Valdesi) long established in the country. In 1555, five young Genevans who had carried letters addressed to the Savoyard Waldensians were burnt at the stake at Chambery.
The Battle of St. Quentin (1558) and the subsequent Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis (1559) set the stage for the withdrawal of the French troops. Meanwhile, Duke Charles III. had died in 1553; he was succeeded by his son Emmanuel Philibert, who could reassume rule over Savoy proper, Bourg and Bresse in 1559.

Article Piedmont, from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1911 edition
Storia di Torino, dal Regno di Sardegna, all'Unita d'Italia, from a-torino.com, in Italian
Donne nella Storia (Women in History), from Italia Donna, scroll down for Stato Sabaudo; has six clickable Italian-language biographies
I Savoia, illustrated biographies of Dukes / Kings of the house of Savoy, in Italian
Lo Stato Sabaudo, from Olevano, tra realta e leggenda, in Italian
History of the Waldensians : Chapter 6, Synod in the Waldensian valleys, from J.A. Wylie, History of Protestantism (1878) (on period 1526-1535)
E. Armstrong, Tuscany and Savoy, (in the later half of the 16th century), posted by MATEO
DOCUMENTS Coat of Arms, from International Civic Heraldry
World Statesmen : Italian States 1760-1860, by Ben Cahoon, scroll down for Sardinia; Regnal Chronologies : Northern Italy, scroll down for Piedmont, Savoy
REFERENCE Book Reviews : Savoy-Piemont, from History Book Reviews

Henri Menabrea, Histoire de la Savoie (History of Savoy), Les Marches : Curandera 1990. 399 pp. (in French)
M. le Gallais, Histoire de la Savoie et du Piemont (History of Savoy and Piemont), new edition, Tours : Alfred Mame 1879, 237 pp.; in French

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on March 27th 2006

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