Mantuan Succession, War of the (1627–1631)

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MANTUAN SUCCESSION, WAR OF THE (16271631). The death in 1627 of Duke Vincenzo II without immediate heirs plunged the Gonzaga duchies of Mantua and Monferrato into crisis. Vincenzo's closest relative was Charles, duke of Nevers, from a branch of the Gonzaga who had established themselves at the French court. Despite his earlier involvement in revolt against the crown, contemporaries assumed that Nevers's succession would increase French influence in northern Italy. However Nevers's title was challenged by Charles Emmanuel I, duke of Savoy, whose family had long sought the second Gonzaga duchy of Monferrato. In Mantua itself, Nevers was opposed by another Gonzaga cadet, Ferrante, duke of Guastalla. Charles Emmanuel appealed to Spain and agreed to a partition treaty with the Spanish governor of Milan for the occupation of Monferrato, which would place the key fortress of Casale in Spanish hands. In Vienna, Guastalla raised doubts about the legitimacy of Nevers's inheritance, and in March 1628 the Gonzaga territories, as imperial fiefs, were sequestrated pending the emperor's adjudication. Although committed to suppressing Protestant revolt at home, France provided military support for Nevers, and in early 1629 French forces broke a Spanish siege of Casale. In 1630 the war swung in favor of Spain and the emperor, with the siege and sack of the city of Mantua, but the Swedish invasion of Germany weakened imperial commitment to Italy, and in late 1630 the Spanish were obliged to concede terms. The Treaty of Cherasco (April 1631) ratified Nevers's inheritance, though providing territorial compensation for both Savoy and Guastalla. French success, and Spanish resentment at the outcome, paved the way for the resumption of open war between the two powers in 1635.

See also Louis XIII (France) ; Military ; Olivares, Gaspar de Guzmán y Pimental, Count of ; Richelieu, Armand-Jean Du Plessis, cardinal .


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. Richelieu and Olivares. Cambridge, U.K., 1984.

Parrott, David. "The Mantuan Succession: A Sovereignty Dispute in Early Modern Europe." English Historical Review 112 (1997): 2065.

. "A Prince Souverain and the French Crown: Charles de Nevers, 15801637." In Royal and Republican Sovereignty in Early Modern Europe. Essays in Memory of Ragnhild Hatton. Edited by Robert Oresko, G. C. Gibbs, and H. M. Scott, pp. 149187. Cambridge, U.K., 1997.

Quazza, Romolo. Mantova e Monferrato, nella politica europea alla vigilia della guerra per la successione (16241627). Mantua, 1922.

Stradling, Robert. "Olivares and the Origins of the Franco-Spanish War of 16351659." English Historical Review 101 (1986): 6894. Reprinted in R. A. Stradling, Spain's Struggle for Europe, 15981668. London, 1994.

. "Prelude to Disaster: The Precipitation of the War of the Mantuan Succession, 16271629." Historical Journal 33 (1990): 769785. Reprinted in R. A. Stradling, Spain's Struggle for Europe, 15981668. London, 1994.

David Parrott