Constance de Cezelli (d. 1617)

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Constance de Cezelli (d. 1617)

French noble and military leader. Name variations: Constance of Leucates. Birth date unknown; died in 1617 in Leucates, France; married the lord of Leucates; children: at least one.

Constance was a woman of the lower nobility who married the lord of Leucates. Leucates was a small region located in Languedoc, what is now southern France. During the invasion of France by the Spanish in 1590, Constance's husband was taken prisoner. He had left her in charge of defending Leucates when he went to join the French armies, and she acquitted herself well. Constance led the defense of the town personally, and tried to arrange for her husband's release by negotiating with the Spanish. However, they refused to free him unless she relinquished Leucates. Constance refused, and her husband was killed by his captors when they realized she would not yield the town. This served only to increase her resolve, and several months later the Spanish armies gave up the siege. For her bravery and loyalty, the French king Henry IV awarded Constance the position of governor of Leucates, which she held until her death in 1617.

Laura York , Riverside, California

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Constance de Cezelli (d. 1617)

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