Federico II Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua
- Not to be confused with his son Cardinal Federico Gonzaga (1540–65).
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|Federico II of Gonzaga|
|Noble family||House of Gonzaga|
|Father||Francesco II Gonzaga, Marquess of Mantua|
17 May 1500|
|Died||28 August 1540
Federico II of Gonzaga (May 17, 1500 – August 28, 1540) was the ruler of the Italian city of Mantua (first as Marquis, later as Duke) from 1519 until his death. He was also Marquis of Montferrat from 1536.
He was a son of his predecessor Francesco II Gonzaga, Marquess of Mantua and Isabella d'Este. Educated at the French and Papal courts, he inherited the Marquisate from his father in 1519, initially under the regency of his mother and his uncles Sigismondo and Giovanni Gonzaga. He received the imperial investiture from emperor Charles V on April 7, 1521.
Despite his poor military experience, Pope Leo X named him Gonfalonier and Captain General of the Church (commander in chief of the Papal Army), though a clause allowed Frederick to avoid fighting against the Empire, to which Mantua has been always traditional ally. Frederick therefore did not intervene when the Imperial troops passed through his lands in 1527, indirectly causing the subsequent Sack of Rome.
Frederick had signed a marriage contract with the heir to the Marquisate of Monteferrat, Maria Palaeologina, with the aim of acquiring that land; its marquess Boniface IV of Montferrat was in poor health. But when Boniface seemed to recover, he set up an alleged plot on the part of Maria against Frederick's mistress, Isabella Boschetti: this was sufficient to have the Pope cancel the nuptial contract. Frederick then signed another marriage contract with Charles V's third cousin, Julia of Aragon. In lieu of this move, in 1530 he was granted the ducal title, whereby their dynasty became Dukes of Mantua. However, when Boniface died by a fall from horse on March 25 of that year, Frederick paid 50,000 ducats to Charles in exchange of the annulment of the contract, and pushed the pope to return him to former marriage promise. When Maria also died, he was able to marry her sister Margaret on November 16, 1531. At the death of the last legitimate male heir of the Palaiologos family, Giovanni Giorgio (1533), the marquisate of Montferrat passed to the Gonzaga, who held it until the 18th century.
Having suffered long from syphilis, which he had inherited from his father, he died in 1540 at his villa at Marmirolo. His son Francesco briefly held the title of 2nd Duke of Mantua before dying in his teens; the second son, Gugliemo, became 3rd Duke of Mantua as well as Duke of Montferrat and carried on the line.
Family and issue
Frederick and Margaret were parents to seven children:
- Eleonora Gonzaga.
- Anna Gonzaga.
- Francesco III Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua (March 10, 1533 - February 22, 1550).
- Isabella Gonzaga. Married Francesco Ferdinando d'Ávalos.
- Guglielmo I of Gonzaga (April 24, 1538 - August 14, 1587). Married Archduchess Eleanor of Austria
- Louis Gonzaga, Duke of Nevers (October 22, 1539 - October 23, 1595). Father of Charles I, Duke of Mantua.
- Federico, Cardinal Gonzaga (1540 - February 21, 1565).
- Coniglio, Giuseppe (1967). I Gonzaga. Varese: Dall'Oglio.
- Bignotti, Lorenzo (1984). La Zecca di Mantova e Casale (Gonzaga). Mantua: Grigoli.
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- Biography (Italian)
Federico II Gonzaga, Duke of MantuaBorn: 17 May 1500 28 August
|Marquis of Mantua
|Elevated to Duke|
|New title||Duke of Mantua
Title last held byJohn George Palaeologus
|Marquess of Montferrat