Historical and Biographical Note

MEDICI FAMILY PAPERS
MS 93-7

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Historical Note
Henry VIII first occupied the throne of England in 1509, the same year in which he married Catherine of Aragon. In 1510 he allied himself with the Pope and Venice and joined the Holy League against Louis XII of France. In 1512 Henry was joined by his father-in-law, Ferdinand of Aragon, in invading Gascony. But his father-in-law deceived him and brought his army back to England.

In June 1513, Henry collaborated with Emperor Maxmillian I in an invasion of France. They captured two towns, Therouanne and Tournai for the benefit of Maxmillian. At approximately the same time, James IV of Scotland, husband of Henry's sister Margaret, invaded England. He was defeated and killed in the Battle of Flodden Field on September 9.

Louis XII of France married Mary Tudor, sister of Henry, and allied with him in 1514. Louis died in January 1515, and Frances I took the throne of France. The following September he defeated the Duke of Milan and the Swiss at the Battle of Marigana.

In May 1515 John Stewart, who was Duke of Albany, sailed to Scotland, apparently from France where he was born and reared. He became joint regent in Scotland with Margaret Tudor, sister of Henry VIII, during the minority of James V. Albany returned to France in 1517. He was detained here by a secret agreement between Henry VIII and Frances I and was not released until 1522 when war between England and Scotland broke out.

In 1516 Charles I of Spain became its king, also the Master of Naples and the Netherlands. When his grandfather, Maxmillian I died in 1519, Charles became Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire as Charles V. He went to England, where he was entertained at Canterbury by Henry VIII. Frances I attempted, by means of an extraordinarily lavish meeting near Guiness known as the Field of the Cloth of Gold, to retain Henry's friendship. Enroute home from the meeting, Henry had another interview with Charles I, and a secret confederacy between them ensued. Charles was to marry Henry's daughter, Mary Tudor.

War broke out between France and Spain in 1525. The Pope, Charles and Henry met at Calais and formed a secret league. Francis lost Milan and was personally captured at the battle of Pavia. Charles broke his engagement to marry Mary Tudor and made an armistice with Francis.

During this period the Popes were:


Biographical Note

Historians credit the son of Averardo, Giovanni di Bicci dei Medici, 1360-1429, as being the founder of the fame of this family. They were rulers, warriors, bankers, merchants, and patrons of the arts. They were responsible for building or enlarging some magnificane villas and palaces. The main line of rulers descended from Giovanni's two sons.

Cosimo the Elder (1389-1464), was a merchant banker of Florence, a famous patron of the arts and letters, immensely rich, and the virtual head of the republic of Florence although his power was relayed through his supporters. His son, Piero the Couty (1416-1469), was the father of Lorenzo the Magnificent (1449-1492), who became the head of state, a very capable poet and writer.

Lorenzo's children were:

Pietro was deposed after ruling two years. A republican government remained in power until 1512.

Lorenzo the Magnificent had one daughter, Lucrezia, who married Jacopa Salviati. Their daughter Marie (1499-1543) married Giovanni delle Bande Nere, the father of Cosimo I.

The Spanish army entered Florence after the battle of Ravenna on April 11, 1512, between the French and the Spanish and Papal armies, and restored the power of the Medicis. Pietro's son, Lorenzo (1492-1519), Uncle Giovanni, became Pope Leo X in 1513 and went to Rome, leaving Florence to be governed by Lorenzo and his cousin, Giulio, who eventually became Pope Clement VII. Lorenzo's daughter Catherine (1519-1537), married Henry II of France; their son Francis II married Mary Stuart; their daughter Elizabeth married Philip II of Spain, and their youngest daughter married Henry IV, also known as Henry of Navarre.

When Cardinal Giulio was elected Pope in 1523, he placed the government of Florence in the hands of Cardinal Silvio Passerini conjointly with his illegitimate son Allesandra (1511-1537), and Ippolito (1509-1535), the illegitimate son of Giuliano. The republic was restored when the Medici were expelled from Florence in 1527. The Pope signed a treaty with the emperor in 1529, and the Emperor sent an army to which Florence surrendered in 1530. Allesandro was nominated as head of the republic in 1531 and became the first Duke of Tuscany as Allesandro I. A distant relative assassinated him January 5, 1537. With this, the elder branch of the Medici became extinct.

The younger branch descended from the brother of Cosimo the Elder (1395-1440). He promoted the family banking interests. He had two grandsons, i.e. Lorenzo the Younger (i463-1507), and Giovanni (1467-1498). Giovanni married Catherine Sfarzo. Their son Giovanni (1498-1526) assumed the name of Giovanni delle Bande Nere and married a granddaughter of Lorenzo the Magnificent (Maria Salviati (1498-1543). Their son, Cosimo (1519-1574), was later known as Cosimo the Great, also Cosimo I, Duke of Tuscany, after the assassination of Alessandro I.

Cosimo the Great added German and Spanish infantry to his own troops, attacked and defeated Siena in 1557. He then captured Mantalcina and formed the grand-duchy of Tuscany in 1559. He became the first grand duke of it in 1569. He had two legitimate sons by his first wife, Eleanor of Toledo. Cosimo relinquished the government in 1564 to the older son, Francesco (1541-1587), who married the arch duchess Giovanna of Austria in 1565. Their only child was a daughter, Maria, who became the second wife of Henry IV of France.

Francesco I was succeeded by his brother, Ferdinand I (1549-1609). He founded the Navy of Tuscany, which captured Bona on the Barbary Coast in 1607 and then defeated the Turkish fleet in 1608. Ferdinand I was followed by his son, Cosimo II (1590-1621), who in turn was followed by his ten-year-old son, Ferdinand II (1611-1670). His son, Cosimo III (1642-1717), was next in the lineage. At the death of Cosimo III's older son in 1713, the second one, Giovas Gastone (1671-1737), became his successor. He was the last of the Medici grand-dukes. His sister, Anna Maria Ludovica (1667-1743) eventually became known as "the last of the Medici".

The Medici were traders of cloth, aluminum, and iron. Some of them became bankers in the thirteenth century. Eventually they were bankers to the papacy in the Kingdom of Naples with branches in the main cities of Italy, also London, Bruges, Avignon, and Geneva. Cosimo the Elder, Lorenza the Magnificent, Cosimo the Great, his son Francesco, and others were noteworthy patrons of the arts.



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