The story

Louis XII Conquers Northern Italy - History

1501- Loius XII conquers Northern Italy and is declared by Pope Alexander VI King of Naples. Under the terms of the Peace of Trent the German king Maximilian I recognizes the French conquest of Northern Italy.

The Ottonian conquest of Italy and the imperial crown

Otto first entered Italy in 951 and, according to some accounts, was already interested in securing the imperial crown. He campaigned in Italy at the request of Adelaide (Adelheid), the daughter of Rudolph II of Burgundy and widow of the king of Italy, who had been jailed by Berengar II, the king of Italy. Otto defeated Berengar, secured Adelaide’s release, and then married her. His first Italian campaign was also motivated by political developments in Germany, including the competing ambitions in Italy of his son Liudolf, duke of Swabia, and Otto’s brother Henry I, duke of Bavaria. Although he would be called back to Germany by a revolt in 953, Otto accomplished his primary goals during his first trip to Italy. He gained legitimate rights to govern in Italy as a result of his marriage, and securing his southern flanks guaranteed access to the pope. Moreover, after 951, expeditions into Italy were a matter for the whole Reich under the leadership of its ruler and no longer just expansion efforts by the southern German tribes. For the Saxon military class, too, the south was more tempting than the forests and swamps beyond the Elbe. With superior forces at their back, the German kings gained possession of the Lombard kingdom in Italy. There, too, their overlordship in the 10th and the 11th centuries came to rest on the bishoprics and a handful of great abbeys.

After Otto I’s victory over the Magyars in 955, his hegemony in the West was indisputable. Indeed, he was hailed in traditional fashion as emperor (imperator) by his troops after the victory, which was seen as divine sanction for Otto’s ascendant position by his contemporaries. Furthermore, according to one chronicler, the Saxon Widukind, he had already become emperor because he had subjected other peoples and enjoyed authority in more than one kingdom. But the right to confer the imperial crown, to raise a king to the higher rank of emperor, belonged to the papacy, which had crowned Charlemagne and most of his successors. The Carolingian order was still the model and something like a political ideal for all Western ruling families in the 10th century. Otto had measured himself against the political tasks that had faced his East Frankish predecessors and more or less mastered them. To be like Charlemagne, therefore, and to clothe his newly won position in a traditional and time-honoured dignity, he accepted the imperial crown and anointment from Pope John XII in Rome in 962. The substance of his empire was military power and success in war but Christian and Roman ideas were woven round the Saxon’s throne by the writers of his own and the next generation. Although the German kings as emperors did not legislate matters of doctrine and ritual, they became the political masters of the Roman church for nearly a century. The imperial crown enhanced their standing even among the nobles and knights who followed them to Italy and can hardly have understood or wanted all its outlandish associations. Not only the king but also the German bishops and lay lords thus entered into a permanent connection with an empire won on the way to Rome and bestowed by the papacy.

Italian Wars

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Italian Wars, (1494–1559) series of violent wars for control of Italy. Fought largely by France and Spain but involving much of Europe, they resulted in the Spanish Habsburgs dominating Italy and shifted power from Italy to northwestern Europe. The wars began with the invasion of Italy by the French king Charles VIII in 1494. He took Naples, but an alliance between Maximilian I, Spain, and the pope drove him out of Italy. In 1499 Louis XII invaded Italy and took Milan, Genoa, and Naples, but he was driven out of Naples in 1503 by Spain under Ferdinand V. Pope Julius II organized the League of Cambrai (1508) to attack Venice, then organized the Holy League (1511) to drive Louis out of Milan. In 1515 Francis I was victorious at the Battle of Marignano, and in 1516 a peace was concluded by which France held onto Milan and Spain kept Naples. Fighting began in 1521 between Emperor Charles V and Francis I. Francis was captured and forced to sign the Treaty of Madrid (1526), by which he renounced all claims in Italy, but, once freed, he repudiated the treaty and formed a new alliance with Henry VIII of England, Pope Clement VII, Venice, and Florence. Charles sacked Rome in 1527 and forced the pope to come to terms, and Francis gave up all claims to Italy in the Treaty of Cambrai (1529). By the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis (1559), the wars finally ended.

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica This article was most recently revised and updated by Adam Augustyn, Managing Editor, Reference Content.

Louis XIV Assumes Control of France

After Mazarin’s death in 1661, Louis XIV broke with tradition and astonished his court by declaring that he would rule without a chief minister. He viewed himself as the direct representative of God, endowed with a divine right to wield the absolute power of the monarchy. To illustrate his status, he chose the sun as his emblem and cultivated the image of an omniscient and infallible “Roi-Soleil” (“Sun King”) around whom the entire realm orbited. While some historians question the attribution, Louis is often remembered for the bold and infamous statement “L’État, c𠆞st moi” (“I am the State”).

Immediately after assuming control of the government, Louis worked tirelessly to centralize and tighten control of France and its overseas colonies. His finance minister, Jean-Baptiste Colbert (1619-1683), implemented reforms that sharply reduced the deficit and fostered the growth of industry, while his war minister, the Marquis de Louvois (1641-1691), expanded and reorganized the French army. Louis also managed to pacify and disempower the historically rebellious nobles, who had fomented no less than 11 civil wars in four decades, by luring them to his court and habituating them to the opulent lifestyle there.

A 1701 portrait of Louis XIV of France, known as Louis the Great or the Sun King (1638-1715), painting by Hyacinthe Rigaud.

Louis XII Conquers Northern Italy - History

Chronology History of Naples

The Seven Offices of the
Kingdom of Naples

(Click here)
Viceroy of Naples
Portrait Duke of Alba
Chronology of Viceroy of Naples
(Click here)

Essential Chronology of the History of Naples

Mainland southern Italy and Sicily were conquered independently by various Norman knights, the former from the Byzantines and Lombards, the latter from the Saracens, in the course of the eleventh and early twelfth centuries.
They were formed into the Kingdom of Sicily, with its capital at Palermo, under Count Roger II of Sicily (1130).
This kingdom was conquered successively by the Hohenstaufens (Swabia) and the Angevins (Anjou and Provence ) Charles I of Anjou moved the capital to Naples.
Under the Angevins, and thereafter, the mainland is known as 'Sicilia citra Farum' (i.e., Sicily on this side of the lighthouse marking the straits of Messina), but comes often to be called the Kingdom of Naples the island of Sicily is known as 'Sicilia ultra Farum' (beyond the lighthouse).
The revolt known as the Sicilian Vespers (1282) separated the island from the mainland and placed it under Aragonese rule after the conquest of Naples by Alfonso of Aragon (1435-42) the island and the mainland came again under a single ruler, but on Alfonso's death (1458) they were again separated the conquest of Naples by Ferdinand of Aragon (1501-04) once more placed them under a single ruler, but administrative union in the form of the 'Kingdom of the Two Sicilies' was not carried through until 1816.

G.van Wittel La Darsena of Naples

Treaty of Melfi Pope Gregory VII legitimizes conquests by Robert Guiscard and his Norman associates under papal suzerainty

Roger II, previously count of Sicily, claims kingship of Sicily, Apulia, and Capua (1130) overcomes opposition of Pope Innocent II by defeating and capturing the pope. His successors are William I, the Bad (1154-1166) and William II, the Good (1166-1189)

Constance, aunt of William II, marries Henry, heir of Frederick Barbarossa on William's death she is his heiress (1189)

Emperor Henry VI claims the Sicilian throne in the right of his wife he is opposed by Tancred of Lecce (d. 1194)

Frederick of Hohenstaufen (b.1194 later Emperor Frederick II)

Queen Constance before her death places Frederick under the guardianship of Pope Innocent III rivalry among German-Sicilian administrators

Emperor Otto of Brunswick makes a claim to Sicily, opposed by the pope Frederick of Hohenstaufen takes over government (but leaves for Germany, 1212)

Frederick returns to Sicily having become Emperor Frederick II (he pretends to leave for Jerusalem, 1227, and actually leaves, 1228)

Pope Gregory IX claims Sicily in Frederick's absence, but he returns and re-establishes his authority

Frederick II proclaims the Constitutions of Melfi (the Liber Augustalis), organizing the government of the Kingdom of Sicily under an apparatus of royal control (he leaves again for Germany, 1235)

Frederick II begins a series of campaigns in northern Italy that drain the resources of Sicily (he returns to Apulia, 1249, and dies there)

Emperor Conrad IV he names his illegitimate half-brother Manfred as vicar in Sicily and Italy

Manfred assumes power in his own right after Conrad IV's death (he is crowned at Palermo, 1258, and extends his influence to northern Italy)

Charles of Anjou accepts Pope Urban IV's offer of Sicilian kingship

Battle of Benevento Manfred defeated and killed by Charles

Conradin (son of Conrad IV) leads an expedition to reclaim Sicily at the battle of Tagliacozzo he is defeated by Charles and executed at Naples


Battle of Tagliacozzo defeat and execution of Conradin Charles secures his control over the kingdom

The Sicilian Vespers Peter III of Aragon takes control of Sicily

Charles II, the Lame

Peace of Caltabellotta Aragonese control of Sicily is accepted

Robert, the Wise, hostage of Aragon ( married Jolanda of Aragon ), supports the Guelf faction against the Papacy ,patron of Literature and Art

Joanna I she marries her cousin Andrew of Hungary (younger brother of Louis the Great of Hungary)

Andrew of Hungary murdered with the connivance of Joanna I

Invasion of Louis of Hungary Joanna flees to Avignon she obtains permission (1348) to marry Louis of Taranto (d.1362) Louis of Hungary meets resistance, withdraws

Second invasion of Louis of Hungary fails(peace treaty, 1351)

Joanna marries James of Majorca (d.1375)

Peace with Frederick IV of Sicily he is recognized as 'King of Trinacria' (terms accepted by Pope Gregory XI only after modification, 1374)

Joanna marries Otto of Brunswick

Joanna disinherits Charles of Durazzo, names Louis of Anjou as her heir

Revolt by Charles of Durazzo Joanna imprisoned and strangled

The Angevins of Durazzo

Charles III of Durazzo he is opposed by Louis of Anjou (d.1384)

Charles III returns to Hungary, where he is killed (1386)

Regency of Queen Mother Marguerite conflicts with Louis II of Anjou (1386-1400) who holds the city of Naples

Ladislas successfully occupies the city of Naples

Ladislas occupies Rome which Pope Gregory XII cannot hold

Renewed conflict with Louis II of Anjou Ladislas forced to withdraw from Rome but then reoccupies it

Sudden death of Ladislas in Rome ends Neapolitan bid for hegemony in Italy

In first months of Joanna's reign power is exercised by the Queen's favourite, Pandolfo Alopo, as chamberlain

Joanna marries James de la Marche he executes Alopo (1415) but soon rouses opposition from the Barons and is confined (1416) on his release he leaves the country (1419)

Sergianni Caracciolo becomes the Queen's favourite Pope Martin V is at first favourable

Caracciolo alienates the condottiere Muzio Attendolo Sforza and Pope Martin V

Joanna is attacked by Louis III of Anjou, Martin V, Sforza defended by Caracciolo with the assistance of Alfonso of Aragon and the condottiere Braccio da Montone

Joanna adopts Alfonso of Aragon as her heir

Alfonso and Braccio quarrel with Caracciolo Caracciolo has Joanna adopt Louis III of Anjou as her heir, make peace with Martin V

Caracciolo, having made enemies among the nobility, is assassinated. Alfonso of Aragon gains influence

Joanna again adopts Alfonso of Aragon as her heir

Louis III campaigns to take over the kingdom, but dies (Nov. 1434)

Joanna on her death (Feb.) bequeaths the kingdom to René of Anjou (brother of Louis III)

Alfonso I of Aragon, the Magnanimous

Conflict with the forces of René of Anjou

Alfonso occupies the city of Naples arranges for his illegitimate son Ferrante to succeed him there (while his brother John succeeds in Aragon and Sicily) Pope Eugenius IV comes to terms (1443)

Ferrante (Ferdinand I)

Conflict with the forces of René, then John of Anjou

Turkish occupation of Otranto

The Great Barons Conspiracy (Francesco Coppola Count of Sarno,Antonello Sanseverino Prince of Salerno, Pietro Guevara Marchese del Vasto , Pirro del Balzo Prince of Altamura , in the Angevin interest, with support from the Pope Ferrante (1486) makes terms with some of the barons, arrests and later executes the ringleaders , makes terms with the Pope

Confronted with French invasion, Alfonso abdicates, retires to Messina (Jan.), dies (Dec.)

Ferrandino (Ferdinand II)

Ferrandino retreats to Sicily before the French (Feb.)

Charles VIII of France occupies Naples (Feb.-May)

Ferrandino returns to the mainland (July) and regains control of the kingdom but dies (Oct. 1496)

Frederick of Altamura (uncle of Ferrandino)

Secret Treaty of Granada between Ferdinand of Aragon and Louis XII of France for the conquest and partition of Naples (Nov.)

Joint Franco-Spanish invasion Frederick of Altamura is forced into exile (Aug. he dies in France, 1504 but his son the Duke of Calabria takes up residence in Spain)

Ferdinand the Catholic, of Aragon

Following disagreements between the French and Spanish conquerors of the kingdom, hostilities break out and the French are driven out (they abandon their claim by treaty, 1505)

Gonsalvo da Cordova acts as the king's lieutenant in Naples < Viceroy >(his most important successor under Ferdinand is Raymond of Cardona, 1509-22)

On the death of Ferdinand, Naples, with Spain, is inherited by his grandson Charles of Hapsburg (Charles I of Spain, after 1519 Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire)


Angevin conquest, revolt, Aragonese intervention

Charles of Anjou becomes king as a result of his victories on the mainland makes Naples his capital rather than Palermo

The 'Sicilian Vespers', a popular uprising against the French in which many are massacred Peter III of Aragon, inheritor of the Hohenstaufen claims in Sicily and South Italy as the husband of Manfred's daughter, lands on the island with an armed force

Peter III is crowned as Peter I of Sicily, refuses homage to the pope

James I (second son of Peter) becomes King of Sicily while his elder brother Alfonso III inherits the Crown of Aragon

On the death of Alfonso III James I of Sicily becomes also James II of Aragon (to 1327) returning to Aragon, he places his younger brother Frederick in charge of Sicily

The Independent Monarchy

Frederick II (younger brother of James I), on James coming to terms with Pope Boniface VIII and abdicating the kingship of Sicily (1295), with the backing of the Sicilian Estates declares himself an independent king he is excommunicated by the Pope and war against Naples follows

Treaty of Caltabellotta, with Charles II of Naples Frederick's position is reluctantly acknowledged, but the Angevins will continue to make attempts to dislodge the Aragonese from Sicily

Louis, inheriting the throne at the age of four, is unable to establish a strong government and accepts a tributary relationship to the papacy. Baronial clans (especially the Chiaramonte and the Ventimiglia) quarrel for power

Frederick III, the Simple. Intermittent war against Naples continues

Naples and the papacy come to terms with Frederick as a tributary King of 'Trinacria'

Mary of Aragon (daughter and heiress of Frederick III) government is effectively taken over by the heads of four baronial families who style themselves 'vicars'

Mary is taken to Aragon and married to Martin 'the Younger' (grandson of John II of Aragon) they return with a military force (1392), defeat the opposing barons, and rule jointly until Mary's death (1402). Martin repudiates the treaty of 1372 and rules as King of Sicily

Martin I, the Younger (widower of Mary of Aragon) rules alone

Martin II, the Elder (Martin I of Aragon, father of Martin the Younger) inherits Sicily after his son's death

On the death of Martin the Elder, Sicily though subject to disorder remains in union with Aragon, and is ruled by the kings of the House of Trastamara (1412-1516) and then by the Hapsburgs mainland Naples is also in union with Aragon under Alfonso the Magnanimous (1435-1458) and again under Ferdinand the Catholic (from 1501 on), but the island will be governed separately from the mainland until 1816


No one can say where the bones of Machiavelli rest, but modern Florence has decreed him a stately cenotaph in Santa Croce, by the side of her most famous sons recognizing that, whatever other nations may have found in his works, Italy found in them the idea of her unity and the germs of her renaissance among the nations of Europe. Whilst it is idle to protest against the world-wide and evil signification of his name, it may be pointed out that the harsh construction of his doctrine which this sinister reputation implies was unknown to his own day, and that the researches of recent times have enabled us to interpret him more reasonably. It is due to these inquiries that the shape of an &ldquounholy necromancer,&rdquo which so long haunted men&rsquos vision, has begun to fade.

Machiavelli was undoubtedly a man of great observation, acuteness, and industry noting with appreciative eye whatever passed before him, and with his supreme literary gift turning it to account in his enforced retirement from affairs. He does not present himself, nor is he depicted by his contemporaries, as a type of that rare combination, the successful statesman and author, for he appears to have been only moderately prosperous in his several embassies and political employments. He was misled by Catherina Sforza, ignored by Louis XII, overawed by Cesare Borgia several of his embassies were quite barren of results his attempts to fortify Florence failed, and the soldiery that he raised astonished everybody by their cowardice. In the conduct of his own affairs he was timid and time-serving he dared not appear by the side of Soderini, to whom he owed so much, for fear of compromising himself his connection with the Medici was open to suspicion, and Giuliano appears to have recognized his real forte when he set him to write the &ldquoHistory of Florence,&rdquo rather than employ him in the state. And it is on the literary side of his character, and there alone, that we find no weakness and no failure.

Although the light of almost four centuries has been focused on The Prince, its problems are still debatable and interesting, because they are the eternal problems between the ruled and their rulers. Such as they are, its ethics are those of Machiavelli&rsquos contemporaries yet they cannot be said to be out of date so long as the governments of Europe rely on material rather than on moral forces. Its historical incidents and personages become interesting by reason of the uses which Machiavelli makes of them to illustrate his theories of government and conduct.

Leaving out of consideration those maxims of state which still furnish some European and eastern statesmen with principles of action, The Prince is bestrewn with truths that can be proved at every turn. Men are still the dupes of their simplicity and greed, as they were in the days of Alexander VI. The cloak of religion still conceals the vices which Machiavelli laid bare in the character of Ferdinand of Aragon. Men will not look at things as they really are, but as they wish them to be&mdashand are ruined. In politics there are no perfectly safe courses prudence consists in choosing the least dangerous ones. Then&mdashto pass to a higher plane&mdashMachiavelli reiterates that, although crimes may win an empire, they do not win glory. Necessary wars are just wars, and the arms of a nation are hallowed when it has no other resource but to fight.

It is the cry of a far later day than Machiavelli&rsquos that government should be elevated into a living moral force, capable of inspiring the people with a just recognition of the fundamental principles of society to this &ldquohigh argument&rdquo The Prince contributes but little. Machiavelli always refused to write either of men or of governments otherwise than as he found them, and he writes with such skill and insight that his work is of abiding value. But what invests The Prince with more than a merely artistic or historical interest is the incontrovertible truth that it deals with the great principles which still guide nations and rulers in their relationship with each other and their neighbours.

In translating The Prince my aim has been to achieve at all costs an exact literal rendering of the original, rather than a fluent paraphrase adapted to the modern notions of style and expression. Machiavelli was no facile phrasemonger the conditions under which he wrote obliged him to weigh every word his themes were lofty, his substance grave, his manner nobly plain and serious. Quis eo fuit unquam in partiundis rebus, in definiendis, in explanandis pressior? In The Prince, it may be truly said, there is reason assignable, not only for every word, but for the position of every word. To an Englishman of Shakespeare&rsquos time the translation of such a treatise was in some ways a comparatively easy task, for in those times the genius of the English more nearly resembled that of the Italian language to the Englishman of to-day it is not so simple. To take a single example: the word intrattenere, employed by Machiavelli to indicate the policy adopted by the Roman Senate towards the weaker states of Greece, would by an Elizabethan be correctly rendered &ldquoentertain,&rdquo and every contemporary reader would understand what was meant by saying that &ldquoRome entertained the Ætolians and the Achaeans without augmenting their power.&rdquo But to-day such a phrase would seem obsolete and ambiguous, if not unmeaning: we are compelled to say that &ldquoRome maintained friendly relations with the Ætolians,&rdquo etc., using four words to do the work of one. I have tried to preserve the pithy brevity of the Italian so far as was consistent with an absolute fidelity to the sense. If the result be an occasional asperity I can only hope that the reader, in his eagerness to reach the author&rsquos meaning, may overlook the roughness of the road that leads him to it.

The following is a list of the works of Machiavelli:

Principal works. Discorso sopra le cose di Pisa, 1499 Del modo di trattare i popoli della Valdichiana ribellati, 1502 Del modo tenuto dal duca Valentino nell&rsquo ammazzare Vitellozzo Vitelli, Oliverotto da Fermo, etc., 1502 Discorso sopra la provisione del danaro, 1502 Decennale primo (poem in terza rima), 1506 Ritratti delle cose dell&rsquo Alemagna, 1508-12 Decennale secondo, 1509 Ritratti delle cose di Francia, 1510 Discorsi sopra la prima deca di T. Livio, 3 vols., 1512-17 Il Principe, 1513 Andria, comedy translated from Terence, 1513 (?) Mandragola, prose comedy in five acts, with prologue in verse, 1513 Della lingua (dialogue), 1514 Clizia, comedy in prose, 1515 (?) Belfagor arcidiavolo (novel), 1515 Asino d&rsquooro (poem in terza rima), 1517 Dell&rsquo arte della guerra, 1519-20 Discorso sopra il riformare lo stato di Firenze, 1520 Sommario delle cose della citta di Lucca, 1520 Vita di Castruccio Castracani da Lucca, 1520 Istorie fiorentine, 8 books, 1521-5 Frammenti storici, 1525.

Other poems include Sonetti, Canzoni, Ottave, and Canti carnascialeschi.

Editions. Aldo, Venice, 1546 della Tertina, 1550 Cambiagi, Florence, 6 vols., 1782-5 dei Classici, Milan, 10 1813 Silvestri, 9 vols., 1820-2 Passerini, Fanfani, Milanesi, 6 vols. only published, 1873-7.

Minor works. Ed. F. L. Polidori, 1852 Lettere familiari, ed. E. Alvisi, 1883, 2 editions, one with excisions Credited Writings, ed. G. Canestrini, 1857 Letters to F. Vettori, see A. Ridolfi, Pensieri intorno allo scopo di N. Machiavelli nel libro Il Principe, etc. D. Ferrara, The Private Correspondence of Nicolo Machiavelli, 1929.

Louis XIII

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Louis XIII, byname Louis the Just, French Louis le Juste, (born September 27, 1601, Fontainebleau, France—died May 14, 1643, Saint-Germain-en-Laye), king of France from 1610 to 1643, who cooperated closely with his chief minister, the Cardinal de Richelieu, to make France a leading European power.

The eldest son of King Henry IV and Marie de Médicis, Louis succeeded to the throne upon the assassination of his father in May 1610. The queen mother was regent until Louis came of age in 1614, but she continued to govern for three years thereafter. As part of her policy of allying France with Spain, she arranged the marriage (November 1615) between Louis and Anne of Austria, daughter of the Spanish king Philip III. By 1617 the king, resentful at being excluded from power, had taken as his favourite the ambitious Charles d’Albert de Luynes, who soon became the dominant figure in the government. Louis exiled his mother to Blois, and in 1619–20 she raised two unsuccessful rebellions. Although Richelieu (not yet a cardinal), her principal adviser, reconciled her to Louis in August 1620, the relationship between the king and his mother remained one of thinly disguised hostility.

At the time of Luynes’s death (December 1621) Louis was faced with a Huguenot rebellion in southern France. He took to the field in the spring of 1622 and captured several Huguenot strongholds before concluding a truce with the insurgents in October. Meanwhile, in September Richelieu had become a cardinal. Louis still distrusted Richelieu for his past association with Marie de Médicis, but he began to rely on the cardinal’s political judgment. In 1624 he made Richelieu his principal minister.

Although Louis had displayed courage on the battlefield, his mental instability and chronic ill health undermined his capacity for sustained concentration on affairs of state. Hence Richelieu quickly became the dominant influence in the government, seeking to consolidate royal authority in France and break the hegemony of the Spanish and Austrian Habsburgs. Immediately after the capture of the Huguenot rebel stronghold of La Rochelle in October 1628, Richelieu convinced the king to lead an army into Italy (1629) but his campaign increased tensions between France and the Habsburgs, who were fighting the Protestant powers in the Thirty Years’ War. Soon the pro-Spanish Catholic zealots led by Marie de Médicis began appealing to Louis to reject Richelieu’s policy of supporting the Protestant states. During the dramatic episode known as the Day of the Dupes (November 10–12, 1630), the queen mother demanded that Louis dismiss Richelieu. After some hesitation, the king decided to stand by his minister Marie de Médicis and Gaston, duc d’Orléans, Louis’s rebellious brother, withdrew into exile. Thereafter Louis adopted the cardinal’s merciless methods in dealing with dissident nobles.

In May 1635 France declared war on Spain and by August 1636 Spanish forces were advancing on Paris. Richelieu recommended evacuation of the city but Louis, in a surprising display of boldness, overruled him. The king rallied his troops and drove back the invaders. Late in 1638 he suffered a crisis of conscience over his alliances with the Protestant powers, but Richelieu managed to overcome his doubts. Meanwhile, Anne of Austria, who had long been treated with disdain by her husband, had given birth (September 1638) to their first child, the dauphin Louis (the future Louis XIV).

In 1642 Louis’s young favourite, the marquis de Cinq-Mars, instigated the last major conspiracy of the reign by plotting with the Spanish court to overthrow Richelieu revelation of Cinq-Mars’s treason made Louis more dependent than ever on the cardinal. By the time Richelieu died in December 1642, substantial victories had been won in the war against the Spaniards, and Louis was respected as one of the most powerful monarchs in Europe. The king succumbed to tuberculosis five months later. He was succeeded by his son Louis XIV.


We are left to conclude that Napoleon was entirely serious when he proposed Joseph, following Italian wishes (after all, Marescalchi was one of Joseph’s ‘party’), as king of Italy. This not only would have deflected Austrian ire but removed Joseph from Paris (and the imperial succession). Joseph refused not only because accepting the Italian crown would not only cut out of the imperial succession but also because he would be left with no room to manoeuvre his new kingdom. But Napoleon had suspected that Joseph would refuse the humiliating conditions. So he had three fall back positions, Louis, Eugène or himself. But as we have seen in the interview with Roederer, Napoleon did not want to give Eugène that crown. He was never particularly convinced by the Louis solution (as Napoleon noted to Marescalchi in the summer of 1804). Paul Schroeder is however wrong to describe the offer to Joseph as a ‘little comedy’. ( Paul W. Schroeder, The transformation of European politics 1763-1848, Oxford (UK): Clarendon Press, 2003, p. 266. ) The proposal was entirely serious, but it was merely one of many possible solutions. And perhaps in the end, the ultimate solution was the best. For regardless of Austrian displeasure, it had the advantage of re-affirming on the European stage Napoleon’s identity as the new Charlemagne.

Columbus reaches the "New World"

After sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus sights a Bahamian island, believing he has reached East Asia. His expedition went ashore the same day and claimed the land for Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain, who sponsored his attempt to find a western ocean route to China, India, and the fabled gold and spice islands of Asia.

WATCH: Columbus: The Lost Voyage on HISTORY Vault

Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy, in 1451. Little is known of his early life, but he worked as a seaman and then a maritime entrepreneur. He became obsessed with the possibility of pioneering a western sea route to Cathay (China), India, and the gold and spice islands of Asia. At the time, Europeans knew no direct sea route to southern Asia, and the route via Egypt and the Red Sea was closed to Europeans by the Ottoman Empire, as were many land routes. 

Contrary to popular legend, educated Europeans of Columbus’ day did believe that the world was round, as argued by St. Isidore in the seventh century. However, Columbus, and most others, underestimated the world’s size, calculating that East Asia must lie approximately where North America sits on the globe (they did not yet know that the Pacific Ocean existed).

With only the Atlantic Ocean, he thought, lying between Europe and the riches of the East Indies, Columbus met with King John II of Portugal and tried to persuade him to back his 𠇎nterprise of the Indies,” as he called his plan. He was rebuffed and went to Spain, where he was also rejected at least twice by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. However, after the Spanish conquest of the Moorish kingdom of Granada in January 1492, the Spanish monarchs, flush with victory, agreed to support his voyage.

On August 3, 1492, Columbus set sail from Palos, Spain, with three small ships, the Santa Maria, the Pintaਊnd the Nina. On October 12, the expedition reached land, probably Watling Island in the Bahamas. Later that month, Columbus sighted Cuba, which he thought was mainland China, and in December the expedition landed on Hispaniola, which Columbus thought might be Japan. He established a small colony there with 39 of his men. The explorer returned to Spain with gold, spices, and “Indian” captives in March 1493 and was received with the highest honors by the Spanish court. He was the first European to explore the Americas since the Vikings set up colonies in Greenland and Newfoundland in the 10th century.

During his lifetime, Columbus led a total of four expeditions to the "New World," exploring various Caribbean islands, the Gulf of Mexico, and the South and Central American mainlands, but he never accomplished his original goal𠅊 western ocean route to the great cities of Asia. Columbus died in Spain in 1506 without realizing the great scope of what he did achieve: He had discovered for Europe the New World, whose riches over the next century would help make Spain the wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth.

After the unification of Italy

On 19 April 1893, the City Council of Venice and the mayor Riccardo Selvatico passed a resolution to create a national art exhibition in the Lagoon. The first Venice Biennale was inaugurated on 30 April 1895. Today, it is one of the most renowned art exhibitions in the world.

The Serenissima suffered great urban and territorial changes at the beginning of the twentieth century. In 1917, a part of Mestre was added to Venice. The Italian government decided to develop a residential area on Porto Marghera.

In 1933, the Ponte della Libertà was built and hence, the road connecting Venice to Padua. The Corso del Popolo was constructed to connect it to Mestre and part of the Canal Salso was interrupted.

After World War II, an important urban expansion took place in the city’s surroundings. During the same period, many inhabitants that lived in the heart of Venice moved to Mestre, especially in the seventies and after the floodings of 1966.

A tornado registered as F5 on the Fujita scale struck Venice on 11 September 1970 killing 21 people and destroying much of the city centre.

Today, the biggest economy in Venice is based on tourism. The city is also an important cultural hub thanks to La Biennale, the Film Festival and one of the most prominent universities in Italy, Ca’ Foscari. Nevertheless, the Serenissima suffers from a high percentage of its population leaving the city due to the negative impact of a mass tourism and the high prices of the city.

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