Duchy of Milan
Ducato di Milano(in Italian)
Ducatus Mediolani(in Latin)
Duchy of Milan in 1494
|Status|| Fiefdom of the Holy Roman Empire |
(1395–1499; 1512–1515; 1521–1540)
Crown land of France
Holy Roman Empire territory of Habsburg Spain
Crown land of the Austrian Branch of the Habsburg Monarchy
|Common languages||Lombard, Italian|
|Government||Princely hereditary monarchy|
|Gian Galeazzo Visconti (first)|
|Francis II (last)|
|Historical era||Early Modern|
|May 1 1395|
• French Occupation
|1499–1512, 1515–1522 and 1524–1525|
• Habsburg rule
• Spanish rule
• Austrian rule
• Annexation to the Transpadane Republic
|November 15 1796|
|Currency||Milanese scudo, lira and soldo|
|Today part of|
The Duchy of Milan was a state of the Holy Roman Empire in northern Italy. It was created in 1395 by Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Lord of Milan, who obtained from Wenceslaus, King of the Romans, the founding diploma.At that time, it included twenty-six towns and the wide rural area of the middle Padan Plain east of the hills of Montferrat. During much of its existence, it was wedged between Savoy to the west, Venice to the east, the Swiss Confederacy to the north, and separated from the Mediterranean by Genoa to the south. The Duchy eventually fell to Habsburg Austria with the Treaty of Baden (1714), concluding the War of the Spanish Succession. The Duchy remained an Austrian possession until 1796, when a French army under Napoleon Bonaparte conquered it, and it ceased to exist a year later as a result of the Treaty of Campo Formio, when Austria ceded it to the new Cisalpine Republic.
After the defeat of Napoleon, the Congress of Vienna of 1815 restored many other states which he had destroyed, but not the Duchy of Milan. Instead, its former territory became part of the Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia, with the Emperor of Austria as its king. In 1859, Lombardy was ceded to the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia, which would become the Kingdom of Italy in 1861.
The House of Visconti had ruled Milan since 1277, in which year Ottone Visconti defeated Napoleone della Torre. The Duchy of Milan (Ducatus Mediolani) as a state of the Holy Roman Empire was created on 1 May 1395, when Gian Galeazzo Visconti, purchased a diploma for 100,000 Florins from King Wenceslaus.It was this diploma that installed Visconti as Duke of Milan and Count of Pavia.
The Duchy, as defined in the diploma of 1395, included the territory surrounding Milan, between the Adda and Ticino rivers,but the dominions of Gian Galeazzo Visconti extended beyond, including 26 towns and spanned from Piedmont to Veneto and from present-day Canton of Ticino to Umbria. Milan thus became one of the five major states of the Italian peninsula in the 15th century. The House of Visconti had been expanding their dominions for nearly a century, under the reigns of Azzone Visconti, Luchino Visconti, Giovanni Visconti, Bernabò Visconti and Gian Galeazzo Visconti: during the rule of Azzone Visconti, the Ossola in Piedmont had been conquered in 1331, followed by Bergamo and Pavia (Lombardy) and Novara (Piedmont) in 1332, Pontremoli (Tuscany) in 1333, Vercelli (Piedmont) and Cremona (Lombardy) in 1334, the Lombard cities of Como, Crema, Lodi and the Valtellina in 1335, Bormio (Lombardy) and Piacenza (Emilia) in 1336, and Brescia and the Val Camonica in 1337.
The brothers Luchino and Giovanni Visconti added Bellinzona (present-day Switzerland in 1342, Parma (Emilia) in 1346 and several territories in southwestern Piedmont in 1347: Tortona, Alessandria, Asti, and Mondovì. Bernabò conquered Reggio Emilia in 1371 and Riva del Garda in 1380, and Gian Galeazzo greatly expanded Milan's dominions, first estwards, with the conquest of the Venetian cities of Verona (1387), Vicenza (1387), Feltre (1388), Belluno (1388) and Padova (briefly, from 1388 to 1390), and later southwards, conquering Lucca, Pisa and Siena in Tuscany in 1399, Bologna in Emilia in 1402, and Perugia and Assisi in Umbria also in 1402.
When the last Visconti Duke, Filippo Maria, died in 1447 without a male heir, the Milanese declared the so-called Golden Ambrosian Republic, which soon faced revolts and attacks from its neighbors.In 1450 mercenary captain Francesco Sforza, having previously married Filippo Maria Visconti's illegitimate daughter Bianca Maria, conquered the city and restored the Duchy, founding the House of Sforza.
During the rule of the Visconti and Sforza, the duchy had to defend its territory against the Swiss, the French and the Venetians, until the Betrayal of Novara in 1500 when the duchy passed to the French-claim of Louis XII.
In 1498, the Duke of Orleans became King of France as Louis XII, and immediately sought to make good his father's claim to Milan. He invaded in 1499 and soon ousted Lodovico Sforza. The French ruled the duchy until 1512, when they were ousted by the Swiss, who put Lodovico's son Massimiliano on the throne. Massimiliano's reign did not last very long. The French, now under Francis I, invaded the area in 1515 and reasserted their control at the Battle of Marignano. The French took Massimiliano as their prisoner. The French were again driven out in 1521, this time by the Austrians, who installed Massimiliano's younger brother, Francesco II Sforza.
Following the French defeat at Pavia in 1525, which left the Spanish imperial forces of Charles V dominant in Italy, Francesco joined the League of Cognac against the emperor along with Venice, Florence, the Pope, and the French. This resulted quickly in his own expulsion from Milan by imperial forces, but he managed to remain in control of various other cities in the duchy, and was again restored to Milan itself by the peace concluded at Cambrai in 1529.
In 1535, Francesco died without heirs, the question of succession again arose, with both the emperor and the King of France claiming the duchy, leading to more wars. The Duchy of Parma was created in 1545 from a part of the Duchy of Milan south of the Po River, as a fief for Pope Paul III's illegitimate son, Pier Luigi Farnese, centered on the city of Parma.
The emperor Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor held the duchy from 1535, eventually investing it on his son Philip II of Spain. The possession of the duchy by Habsburg Spain was finally recognized by the French in the Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis in 1559.
The Duchy of Milan remained in Habsburg Spain hands until the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714), when the Austrians invaded it (1701). The Treaty of Baden, which ended the war in 1714, ceded Milan to Austria.
The duchy remained in Austrian hands until it was overrun by the French army of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1796. The duchy was ceded by Austria in the Treaty of Campo Formio in 1797, and formed the central part of the new Cisalpine Republic.
After the defeat of Napoleon, based on the decisions of the Congress of Vienna on 9 June 1815, the Duchy of Milan was not restored. The Duchy instead became part of the Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia, a constituent of the Austrian Empire and with the Emperor of Austria as its king. This kingdom ceased to exist when the remaining portion of it was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy in 1866.
Francesco I Sforza was an Italian condottiero who founded the Sforza dynasty in the duchy of Milan, ruling as its (fourth) duke from 1450 until his death. He was the brother of Alessandro, whom he often fought alongside.
The House of Sforza was a ruling family of Renaissance Italy, based in Milan. They acquired the Duchy of Milan following the extinction of the Visconti family in the mid-15th century, Sforza rule ending in Milan with the death of the last member of the family's main branch in 1535.
Gian Galeazzo Visconti, son of Galeazzo II Visconti and Bianca of Savoy, was the first Duke of Milan (1395) and ruled the late-medieval city just before the dawn of the Renaissance. He was the founding patron of the Certosa di Pavia, completing the Visconti Castle at Pavia begun by his father and furthering work on the Duomo of Milan.
Galeazzo II Visconti was a member of the Visconti dynasty and a ruler of Milan, Italy.
Ludovico Maria Sforza, also known as Ludovico il Moro, was an Italian Renaissance prince who ruled as Duke of Milan from 1494, following the death of his nephew Gian Galeazzo Sforza, until 1499. A member of the Sforza family, he was the fourth son of Francesco I Sforza. He was famed as a patron of Leonardo da Vinci and other artists, and presided over the final and most productive stage of the Milanese Renaissance. He is probably best known as the man who commissioned The Last Supper.
Visconti is the family name of several Italian noble dynasties of the Middle Ages. One of them, the Visconti of Milan, rose to power in Milan. They ruled there from 1277 to 1447, initially as lords then as dukes, and several collateral branches still exist. The effective founder of the Visconti lordship of Milan was the archbishop Ottone, who wrested control of the city from the rival Della Torre family in 1277.
Filippo Maria Visconti was the duke of Milan from 1412 to 1447.
Bernabò or Barnabò Visconti was an Italian soldier and statesman who was Lord of Milan.
Bianca Maria Visconti was Duchess of Milan from 1450 to 1468.
The Certosa di Pavia is a monastery and complex in Lombardy, northern Italy, situated near a small town of the same name in the Province of Pavia, 8 km north of Pavia. Built in 1396-1495, it was once located on the border of a large hunting park belonging to the Visconti family of Milan, of which today only scattered parts remain. It is one of the largest monasteries in Italy.
The Wars in Lombardy were a series of conflicts between the Republic of Venice and the Duchy of Milan and their respective allies, fought in four campaigns in a struggle for hegemony in Northern Italy that ravaged the economy of Lombardy and weakened the power of Venice. They lasted from 1423 until the signing of the Treaty of Lodi in 1454. During their course, the political structure of Italy was transformed: out of a competitive congeries of communes and city-states emerged the five major Italian territorial powers that would make up the map of Italy for the remainder of the 15th century and the beginning of the Italian Wars at the turn of the 16th century. They were Venice, Milan, Florence, the Papal States and Naples. Important cultural centers of Tuscany and Northern Italy—Siena, Pisa, Urbino, Mantua, Ferrara—became politically marginalized.
The Kingdom of Italy, also commonly Imperial Italy or Kingdom of Lombardy, was one of the constituent kingdoms of the Holy Roman Empire, along with the kingdoms of Germany, Bohemia, and Burgundy. It comprised northern and central Italy, but excluded the Republic of Venice and the Papal States. Its original capital was Pavia until the 11th century.
Azzone Visconti was lord of Milan from 1329 until his death. He is considered the founder of the state of Milan, which later became a duchy.
Galeazzo Visconti may refer to a number of members of the Italian Visconti dynasty:
Andrea Malatesta was an Italian condottiero, a member of the Malatesta family of Romagna. He is also known as Malatesta da Cesena, a city he had inherited in 1385 from his father, Galeotto, together with Cervia and Bertinoro. In 1388 he was also recognized lord of Fossombrone.
Agnese del Maino was a Milanese noblewoman and the mistress of Filippo Maria Visconti, the last legitimate Duke of Milan of the Visconti dynasty. Agnese was the mother of Bianca Maria Visconti, who succeeded to the title of Duchess of Milan in 1450, despite her illegitimacy.
Caterina Visconti was Duchess of Milan as the second spouse of Gian Galeazzo Visconti, the first Duke of Milan, and was the mother of two succeeding Dukes of Milan, Gian Maria and Filippo Maria Visconti. Caterina served as Regent of Milan from 1402 to 1404, during her elder son's minority, but due to Gian Maria's suspicion of her alleged treason, he had his mother arrested and imprisoned in the castle of Monza, where she was presumably poisoned in 1404.
Bianca of Savoy was Lady of Milan by marriage to Galeazzo II Visconti. She was the only surviving daughter of Aimone, Count of Savoy and Yolande Palaeologina of Montferrat.
The Milanese War of Succession was a war of succession over the Duchy of Milan from the death of duke Filippo Maria Visconti on 13 August 1447 to the Treaty of Lodi on 9 April 1454.