Italian Wars

Italian Wars
Battle of Pavia, oil on panel.jpg
The Battle of Pavia by unknown Flemish artist (16th century)
Date1494–1498; 1499–1504; 1508–1516; 1521–1530; 1536–1538; 1542–1546; 1551–1559
Location
Result
Belligerents
Commanders and leaders
Part of a series on the
Italy
Old map of Italian peninsula

Timeline

Flag of Italy.svg Italy portal

The Italian Wars, often referred to as the Great Wars of Italy and sometimes as the Habsburg–Valois Wars, were a series of Renaissance conflicts from 1494 to 1559 that involved most of the Italian states as well as France, the Holy Roman Empire, Spain, England and the Ottoman Empire.

An Italic League that ensured peace in the peninsula for 50 years had collapsed in 1492 with the death of Lorenzo De Medici, key figure of the bloc and ruler of Florence. In 1494, Charles VIII of France invaded the Italian Peninsula and occupied the Kingdom of Naples on the ground of a dynastic claim. However, he was forced to leave the occupied territories after a northern Italian alliance won a tactical victory against him at the Battle of Fornovo. In an attempt to avoid the mistakes of his predecessor, Louis XII annexed the Duchy of Milan in the north of Italy and signed an agreement with Ferdinand of Aragon (already ruler of the two biggest Mediterranean islands, Sicily and Sardinia) to share the Kingdom of Naples. Nevertheless, Ferdinand of Aragon turned on Louis XII and expelled French forces from the South after the battles of Cerignola and Garigliano.

After a series of alliances and betrayals, the Papacy decided to side against French control of Milan and supported Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and heir of Aragon territories in Italy. Following the battles of Bicocca and Pavia, France lost its control of Milan to the Habsburgs. However, mutinous German Protestant troops of Charles V sacked Rome in 1527: this event was a turning point in the development of the European Wars of Religion and caused Charles V to focus on the growth of Protestantism in the Holy Roman Empire.

King Henry II of France took advantage of the situation and tried to establish supremacy in Italy by invading Corsica and Tuscany. However, his conquest of Corsica was reversed by the Genoese admiral Andrea Doria and his troops in Tuscany were defeated at the Battle of Scannagallo by the Florentines and the Imperials. With the abdication of Charles V, Philip II of Spain inherited the Italian possessions. The last significant confrontation, the Battle of St Quentin (1557), was won by Emmanuel Philibert of Savoy for the Spanish and international forces: this led the restoration of the French-occupied Piedmont (predecessor state of Italy) to the House of Savoy.

In 1559, the Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis was signed. The political map of Italy was largely affected by the end of the wars: Naples, Sicily and Milan had been confirmed to remain under Spanish control; the House of Savoy settled in Turin and made Italian its official language; Florence absorbed Siena into a Tuscan state; and the Papacy initiated the counter-reformation with the Council of Trent. In a jousting tournament held to celebrate the peace treaty, Henry II of France was killed by a lance: the instability that followed his death led to the French Wars of Religion.

Italy after the Peace of Lodi in 1454.

Prelude

Following the Wars in Lombardy between Venice and Milan, which ended in 1454, Northern Italy had been largely at peace during the reigns of Cosimo de' Medici and Lorenzo de' Medici in Florence, with the notable exception of the War of Ferrara in 1482–1484.

Charles VIII of France improved relations with other European rulers in the run up to the First Italian War by negotiating a series of treaties: in 1493, France negotiated the Treaty of Senlis with the Holy Roman Empire; on 19 January 1493, France and the Crown of Aragon signed the Treaty of Barcelona; and later in 1493, France and England signed the Treaty of Étaples.[1][2]

Other Languages
беларуская: Італьянскія войны
čeština: Italské války
français: Guerres d'Italie
Bahasa Indonesia: Peperangan Italia
Lëtzebuergesch: Italienesch Kricher
македонски: Италијански војни
português: Guerras Italianas
slovenščina: Italijanske vojne
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Italijanski ratovi
українська: Італійські війни