State of the Presidi

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The State of Presidi and the Principality of Piombino in orange.
Proclamation issued during the Austrian period
The Palazzo dei Governanti, seat of the Spanish governors in Porto Ercole.

The State of the Presidi (Italian Stato dei Presidi or Stato degli Presidii,[a] meaning "state of the garrisons"[1]) was a small state (300 km2) in Italy between 1557 and 1801. It consisted of five cities on the Tuscan coast—Porto Ercole and Porto Santo Stefano on the promontory of Monte Argentario, as well as Orbetello, Talamone and Ansedonia—and their hinterland, along with the islet of Giannutri and the fortress of Porto Longone on the island of Elba.[2][3] The Presidi went through three distinct historical periods during which they existed as a separate entity attached to the Kingdom of Naples. They were, from 1557 to 1707, a possession of the Crown of Spain administered by the Spanish Habsburg viceroy of Naples; from 1708 to 1733, a possession of the Austrian Habsburgs administered by their viceroy in Naples; and from 1733 to 1801, a dependency of the Spanish Bourbon kings of Naples. By the Treaty of Florence of 28 March 1801, the king of Naples ceded the Presidi to the French Republic.[2]

The Presidi were originally certain strategic coastal territories of the Republic of Siena that were retained by Spain after the conquest of the Republic. Duke Cosimo I de' Medici of Tuscany overran Siena in 1555 during the last Italian War. Cosimo received military support from the Emperor Charles V, also King of Spain, and his son, Philip II, who was king of Naples as well as England.[4] Since 1548, Cosimo had also been in occupation of the Lordship of Piombino (including Elba). On 29 May 1557, Philip signed a treaty in London with Lord Jacopo VI Appiani of Piombino. The lordship was restored to Giacomo, with Cosimo retaining the fortress of Portoferraio and Philip reserving the right to garrison the cities of Piombino and Scarlino and fortifiy the island of Elba.[5] The conflict over Piombino resolved, on 3 July 1557 Siena and its contado, less the coastal fortresses, were granted in fief[b] to Cosimo, in return for which the duke cancelled all debts owed by Philip II or Charles.[4] According to the act of infeudation, "not included, but absolutely excluded, and expressly excluded [are] the Sienese fortresses, castles, ports, places and farmland of, namely, Porto Ercole, Orbetello, Talamone, Monte Argentario and Porto Santo Stefano", a territory of about 287 km2.[6][c] In April 1558, the French, who still held Talamone, made an unsuccessful assault on Orbetello and in September of the same year, the Spaniards took Talamone by force.[4]

Control of the Presidi allowed the Spanish to monitor maritime traffic between Genoa and Naples, since in the 16th century ships kept close to the coast.[7] During the Eighty Years' War, the Presidi served as a stopover on the so-called Cammino di Fiandra ("path of Flanders"). Italian soldiers were massed in Naples and then moved in stages to the Spanish Netherlands, to fight rebels or the French. If they took ship in Naples, they usually stopped to revictual in the Presidi before moving on to Genoa; otherwise they marched overland from Naples to the Presidi and took ship there.[1] In 1587 Cosimo's successor, Francesco, was offering Philip II a million gold pieces for just one of the Presidi, but the king of Spain refused on the grounds that he had no other ports between Catalonia and Naples.[7]

In the 16th century, the Presidi also provided pasture for Tuscan shepherds, who brought their flocks of sheep to the warm coastal grazing lands during the winter. The Tuscan authorities even taxed the head of sheep as their shepherds brought them to the coast, an act which provoked some complaints to the Spanish authorities.[8] In 1603 King Philip III decided to make use of the clause of the treaty of 1557 that allowed Spain to fortify any part of the Island of Elba and on 22 October of the following year he ordered his viceroy, Juan Alonso Pimentel de Herrera, to build a fortress on the island. Construction of Fort San Giacomo at Porto Longone began in March 1605. The Prince of Piombino, who shared sovereignty over Elba with the Duke of Tuscany, ceded his authority over the thirteen square kilometres of Porto Longone to the Spanish. This was the only case of territorial expansion in the history of the Presidi.[6]

The State of the Presidi, Elba and Piombino in the late 18th century

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the Presidi were claimed by the Emperor Charles VI, who conquered all of them save Porto Longone between 1708 and 1712. In Article 30 of the Treaty of Rastatt of 7 March 1714, France recognised Charles' claim, but no peace with Spain was forthcoming. The chief opponent of that peace was Elisabeth Farnese, queen of Philip V of Spain, who hoped to create an Italian principality for her son. Finally, by the Treaty of Vienna of 30 April 1725, Charles agreed to enfeoff Elisabeth's eldest son, Don Carlos, with the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza when he came of age.[d] In exchange, the Emperor Charles would retain the Presidi and Spain its rights in Piombino and Elba.[2] This situation was revised in 1733 by the Treaty of Turin (26 September), in which France and Sardinia allied themselves against the Holy Roman Empire and so agreed that Don Carlos should receive the Presidi together with the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily. Spain agreed to the same stipulations and joined the alliance against the emperor in the Treaty of El Escorial on 7 November.[9] During the subsequent War of the Polish Succession, Carlos conquered the Presidi and the south Italian realms. A preliminary peace signed in Vienna in October 1735 confirmed these conquests to him; this was finalised in the definitive Peace of Vienna of 18 November 1738,[2] ratified by Spain at Versailles in 1739.[3] In 1736, Carlos commissioned a work to demonstrate that the kings of Naples had sovereignty over the princes[e] of Piombino. The result, the 120-page Dritto della Corona di Napoli sopra Piombino,[f] was published around 1760.[10]

On 21 March 1801, by the Convention of Aranjuez, France and Spain agreed to establish the Kingdom of Etruria out of the old Grand Duchy of Tuscany and to award it the Principality of Piombino, while allowing France to annex the Tuscan part of Elba (Portoferraio). This fulfillment of these terms depended on the agreement of Naples.[11] On 28 March, following the defeat of his armies by the French during the War of the Second Coalition, King Ferdinand IV of Naples agreed, as part of the general settlement of the war, to cede the State of the Presidi, his rights on Elba (Porto Longone) and his claimed sovereignty over the Principality of Piombino to France on the understanding that they would be annexed to Tuscany to form the new Kingdom of Etruria. The formal cession of the Presidi took place on 10 October 1801.[3] Thereafter, its fate follows that of the rest of Tuscany.[2] Piombino, however, remained under the French.[3]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In Spanish it was the Estado de los Reales Presidios, in French État des Présides.
  2. ^ In Latin, in feudum nobile, ligium, et honorificum.
  3. ^ In Latin, Nec compraehensa videantur, sed omnino exclusa, et expresse excluduntur, Oppida, Castra, Portus, loca ac terrae agri senensis, videlicet et Portus herculis, Orbitellum, Thelamonium, mons Orizentalius, et Portus Sancti Stefani. . .
  4. ^ This was based on the assumption that his aged grand-uncle, Duke Antonio Farnese, would soon died; which he did in 1731.
  5. ^ They acquired this title in 1594.
  6. ^ In English, "Right of the Crown of Naples over Piombino".
  1. ^ a b Paoletti 2012, p. 69.
  2. ^ a b c d e Menning 1995, pp. 421–22.
  3. ^ a b c d Angiolini 2006, p. 171.
  4. ^ a b c Mallett & Shaw 2012, p. 280.
  5. ^ Tratado de Londres (1557)
  6. ^ a b Angiolini 2006, p. 172.
  7. ^ a b Braudel 1995, p. 105 and n. 14.
  8. ^ Braudel 1995, p. 85 n. 290. See transhumance.
  9. ^ Armstrong 1909, p. 152.
  10. ^ Abulafia 2010, pp. 154–55.
  11. ^ Berte-Langereau 1955, pp. 375–77.

References[edit]

  • Abulafia, David (2010). "The Mouse and the Elephant: Relations between the Kings of Naples and the Lordship of Piombino in the Fifteenth Century". In Paton, Bernadette; Law, John Easton. Communes and Despots in Medieval and Renaissance Italy. Ashgate. pp. 145–60. 
  • Angiolini, Franco (2006). "I presidios di Toscana: cadena de oro e llave y freno de Italia". In García Hernán, Enrique; Maffi, Davide. Guerra y sociedad en la monarquía hispánica: política, estrategia y cultura en la Europa moderna (1500–1700) 1. pp. 171–88. 
  • Armstrong, Edward (1909). "The Bourbon Governments in France and Spain II (1727–46)". In Ward, A. W.; Prothero, G. W.; Leathes, Stanley. The Cambridge Modern History, Volume VI: The Eighteenth Century. Cambridge University Press. pp. 145–67. 
  • Berte-Langereau, Jack (1955). "L'Espagne et le royaume d'Etrurie". Hispania 15 (60): 353–460. 
  • Braudel, Fernand (1995) [1966]. The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II, Volume 1. University of California Press. 
  • Caciagli, Giuseppe (1992). Lo Stato dei Presidi. Pontedera: Arnera. 
  • Mallett, Michael; Shaw, Christine (2012). The Italian Wars, 1494–1559. Pearson Education. 
  • Martin, Miguel A. (1976). "The Secret Clause: Britain and Spanish Ambitions in Italy 1712–31". European History Quarterly 6: 407–25. 
  • Menning, Ralph (1995). "Stato dei Presidi". In Frey, Linda; Frey, Marsha. The Treaties of the War of the Spanish Succession: An Historical and Critical Dictionary. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 421–22. ISBN 978-0-313-27884-6. 
  • Paoletti, Ciro (2012). "Italy, Piedmont and French Anti-Habsburg Strategy, 1690–1748". In Schneid, Frederick C. The Projection and Limitations of Imperial Powers, 1618–1850. Leiden: Brill. pp. 68–82. 
  • Romero García, Eladi (1986). "El señorío de Piombino: Un ejemplo de influencia institucional hispánica en la Italia del siglo XVI". Hispania 46 (164): 503–18.