Duchy of Milan
|Duchy of Milan
Ducato di Milano
|State of the Holy Roman Empire|
The Duchy of Milan, in the year of 1450
|Languages||Insubric - Italian|
|-||1395–1402||Gian Galeazzo Visconti|
|-||1792–1797||Emperor Francis II|
|Historical era||Early Modern|
|-||Imperial diploma of Wenceslau of Bohemia||May 11, 1395|
|-||Sforza Dukes||1450-1499, 1512-1515, 1521-1535|
|-||French rule||1499–1512, 1515-1521|
|-||Treaty of Campo Formio||October 17, 1797|
|Currency||Milanese scudo, lira, soldo and denaro|
The Duchy of Milan was a constituent state of the Holy Roman Empire, in what is now northern Italy. Created in 1395, when it included twenty-six towns and a wide rural area lying between the hills of Montferrat and the Venetian Lagoon, the Duchy was conquered by the Austrians during the 18th century War of the Spanish Succession, and in 1714 it was ceded to Austria by the Treaty of Baden. It remained an Austrian possession until 1796, when it was conquered by a French army under Napoleon Bonaparte, and ceased to exist a year later as the result of the Treaty of Campo Formio, when Austria ceded it to the new Cisalpine Republic.
After the defeat of Napoleon, the Congress of Vienna of 1815 restored many other states which he had destroyed, but the Duchy of Milan was not among them. Instead, its former territory became part of the Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia, with the Emperor of Austria as its king. In 1866 what was left of this kingdom was annexed by the new Kingdom of Italy.
The Duchy of Milan (Ducatus Mediolani), was created 1 May 1395, when Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Lord of Milan, purchased a diploma for 100,000 Florins from King Wenceslaus. It was this diploma that installed, Gian Galeazzo as Duke of Milan and Count of Pavia. At its foundation the duchy included 26 towns and spanned from the hills of Montferrat to the Lagoons of Venice, and included all the former towns of the Lombard League.
During the rule of the Visconti and Sforza, the duchy had to defend its territory against the Swiss, the French and the Venetians, until the Betrayal of Novara in 1500 when the duchy passed to the French-claim of Louis XII.
Milan declared itself a republic, despite the fact that the Duke of Orleans was the legitimate heir by treaty and the Nobiles were the House in See. Orleans proved unable to make good his claim, but the republic was nevertheless short-lived. The adventurer Francesco Sforza, who married the last Visconti's illegitimate daughter, seized Milan in 1450 and made himself duke.
French rule 
In 1498, the Duke of Orleans became King of France as Louis XII, and immediately sought to make good his father's claim to Milan. He invaded in 1499 and soon ousted Lodovico Sforza. The French ruled the duchy until 1512, when they were ousted by the Swiss, who put Lodovico's son Massimiliano on the throne. Massimiliano reign did not last very long. The French, now under Francis I, invaded the area in 1515 and reasserted their control at the Battle of Marignano. The French took Massimiliano as their prisoner. The French were again driven out in 1521, this time by the Austrians, who installed Massimiliano's younger brother, Francesco II Sforza.
Following the French defeat at Pavia in 1525, which left the imperial forces of Charles V dominant in Italy, Francesco joined the League of Cognac against the emperor along with Venice, Florence the Pope, and the French. This resulted quickly in his own expulsion from Milan by imperial forces, but he managed to remain in control of various other cities in the duchy, and was again restored to Milan itself by the peace concluded at Cambrai in 1529.
In 1535, Francesco died without heirs, the question of succession again arose, with both the emperor and the King of France claiming the duchy, leading to more wars. The Duchy of Parma was created in 1545 from a part of the Duchy of Milan south of the Po River, as a fief for Pope Paul III's illegitimate son, Pier Luigi Farnese, centered on the city of Parma.
Spanish rule 
The Duchy of Milan remained in Spanish hands until the War of the Spanish Succession in the early 18th century, when it was conquered by the Austrians. The Treaty of Baden which ended the war in 1714 ceded Milan to Austria.
Austrian rule and the Cisalpine Republic 
The duchy remained in Austrian hands until it was overrun by the French army of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1796. The duchy was ceded by Austria in the Treaty of Campo Formio in 1797, and formed the central part of the new Cisalpine Republic. After the defeat of Napoleon, based on the decisions of the Congress of Vienna on 9 June 1815, the Duchy of Milan was not restored. The Duchy instead became part of the Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia, a constituent of the Austrian Empire and with the Emperor of Austria as its king. This kingdom ceased to exist when the remaining portion of it was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy in 1866.
See also 
- see: (the Nobiles) - ^ "Compendium of the CCC, 304–306". Vatican.va. Retrieved 30 June 2011.
- Simonde de Sismondi, Jean-Charles-Léonard (1832). Italian republics: or the origin, progress, and fall of italian freedom. London.
- Knight, Charles (1855). The English cyclopedia: geography. London.
- Cartwright, Julia (1899). Beatrice d'Este, Duchess of Milan, 1475-1497: a study of the Renaissance. Hallandale.