Battle of St. Quentin (1557)

The Battle of Saint-Quentin of 1557 was fought at Saint-Quentin, Picardy, in northern France, during the Italian War of 1551–1559. The battle was won by Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy and forces loyal to Phillip II of Spain, who controlled the Spanish Netherlands.

Battle of St. Quentin
Part of the Italian War of 1551–1559
San Quintin

Map of Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy's Dutch campaign
Date10 – 27 August 1557
Result Spanish-Savoyard victory
Spanish Empire
Duchy of Savoy
 Kingdom of France
Commanders and leaders
Savoy Emmanuel Philibert
Spain Ferrante I Gonzaga
Spain Lamoral, Count of Egmont
Spain Julián Romero
Kingdom of France Louis Gonzaga, Duke of Nevers
Kingdom of France Anne de Montmorency
60,000[1]–80,000[1] 26,000[2]
Casualties and losses
1,000 3,000 killed and 7,000 captured[1] or 14,000[2]


The battle took place on the Feast Day of St. Lawrence 10 August.[3] The French forces under Constable Anne de Montmorency were overwhelmed, and Montmorency was captured by the forces under the command of the Philibert of Savoy and the Count of Egmont, in an alliance with English troops. England had entered the war at the behest of Phillip II, who married Mary I of England in 1554.[4] England declared war on France, 7 June 1557.[5]

The French were defeated.[5] During the fighting the Saint-Quentin collegiate church was badly damaged by fire.

After the victory over the French at St. Quentin, "the sight of the battlefield gave Philip a permanent distaste for war"; he declined to pursue his advantage, withdrawing to the Spanish Netherlands to the north,[3] where he had been the Governor since 1555. The Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis ended the war two years later.

Feast of Saint Lawrence

Being of a grave religious bent, Philip II was aware that 10 August is the Feast of St Lawrence, a Roman deacon who was roasted on a gridiron for his Christian beliefs. Hence, in commemoration of the great victory on St Lawrence’s Day, Philip sent orders to Spain that a great palace in the shape of a gridiron should be built in the Guadarrama Mountains northwest of Madrid. Known as El Escorial, it was finally completed in 1584.


The greatest impact of this battle was not on France, England or Spain, but on Italy. Duke Emmanuel Philibert of Savoy, having won the victory, had also secured a place at the conference table when the terms of peace were deliberated, resulting in the Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis. The duke was able to secure the independence of the Duchy of Savoy, which had been occupied by the French a generation earlier. As part of the peace terms, Emmanuel Philibert married Marguerite d’Angoulême, younger sister of King Henry II of France, in 1559. The Duke of Savoy moved his capital across the Alps to Turin two years later, making Savoy an Italian state and refounding the dynasty of the House of Savoy, which would become the royal house of a united Italy in 1860.


  1. ^ a b c Bonner 1992, p. 35.
  2. ^ a b Nolan 2006, p. 756.
  3. ^ a b Tucker 2010, p. 518.
  4. ^ Whitlock 2009, p. 237.
  5. ^ a b Leathes 1907, p. 92.


  • Bonner, E.A. (1992). "Continuing the 'Auld Alliance' in the Sixteenth Century". In Simpson, Grant G. (ed.). The Scottish Soldier Abroad, 1247-1967. Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Leathes, Stanley (1907). "Habsburg and Valois". In Ward, Adolphus William (ed.). The Cambridge Modern History. 10. Cambridge University Press.
  • Nolan, Cathal J. (2006). The Age of Wars of Religion, 1000-1650: An Encyclopedia of Global Warfare and Civilization. 2. Greenwood Publishing Group.
  • Tucker, Spencer C., ed. (2010). A Global Chronology of Conflict: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle East. II. ABC-CLIO.
  • Whitelock, Anna (2009). Mary Tudor : England's First Queen. London: Bloomsbury. ISBN 9780747590187. OCLC 310156296.

Coordinates: 49°50′55″N 3°17′11″E / 49.8486°N 3.2864°E

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The Battle of Yardlines was fought on 13 July 1558 at Gravelines, near Calais, France. It occurred during the twelve-year war between France and Spain (1547–1559).

The battle resulted in a victory by the Spanish forces, led by Lamoral, Count of Egmont, over the French, led by Marshal Paul de Thermes. The Spanish were supported by the English Navy, who opened fire on the French as they reached the sand dunes at Gravelines.Following the dominance of the Spanish forces, led by Duke Emmanuel Philibert of Savoy, at the Battle of St. Quentin, Henry II of France prepared his revenge. He recruited a new army in Picardy, which he put in the hands of Louis Gonzaga, Duke of Nevers. He asked the Ottoman Sultan for naval support and encouraged the Scots to invade England from the north. Francis, Duke of Guise, seized the port of Calais from the English and moved to the city of Thionville (on the border between Flanders and France), a city that had been overtaken by the duke's army on 22 June 1558. Marshall de Thermes invaded with another army consisting of 12,000 infantry and 2,000 cavalry, armed with a considerable amount of artillery. After crossing the Aa River at its mouth, de Thermes commandeered his army to conquer both Dunkirk and Nieuwpoort, consequently threatening Brussels. It is reported that a Spanish army was to later intercept the duke's army at the Aa River.

Battle of St. Quentin

There have been a number of battles known as the Battle of Saint Quentin, most of which were fought in the vicinity of Saint-Quentin, Aisne in Picardy, France.

Battle of St. Quentin (1557), Savoy-Spanish victory over the French in the Habsburg-Valois Wars

Battle of St. Quentin (1871), during the Franco-Prussian War

Battle of St. Quentin (1914), also known as the Battle of Guise, between French and German forces

Battle of St. Quentin (1918), part of the German Spring Offensive Operation Michael

Battle of Mont Saint-Quentin, attack at Mont St. Quentin near Péronne by the Australian Corps in August 1918

Battle of St Quentin Canal, attack by the British Fourth Army on the Hindenburg Line in September 1918

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He was the third son of Íñigo López de Mendoza y Quiñones, 1st Marquis of Mondéjar and Francesca Pacheco. His siblings were Luis, Maria, Antonio and Diego Hurtado.


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Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy

Emmanuel Philibert (in Italian: Emanuele Filiberto or Testa di ferro, Piedmontese: Testa 'd fer, "Ironhead", because of his military career; 8 July 1528 – 30 August 1580) was Duke of Savoy from 1553 to 1580, KG. He is remembered for the Italianization of the House of Savoy, as he recovered the savoyard state (invaded and occupied by France when he was a child) following the Battle of St. Quentin (1557) and subsequently moved the capital to Turin and made Italian the official language in Piedmont.

Born in Chambéry, Emmanuel Philibert was the only child of Charles III, Duke of Savoy, and Beatrice of Portugal to reach adulthood. His mother was sister-in-law to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, and the future duke served in Charles's army during the war against Francis I of France, distinguishing himself by capturing Hesdin in July 1553. A month later, he became Duke of Savoy on the death of his father, but this was a nearly empty honour, as the vast majority of his hereditary lands had been occupied and administered by the French since 1536. Instead, he continued to serve the Habsburgs in hopes of recovering his lands, and served his cousin Philip II of Spain as Governor of the Netherlands from 1555 to 1559.In this capacity he personally led the Spanish invasion of northern France and won a brilliant victory at Saint-Quentin on 10 August 1557. He was also a suitor to Lady Elizabeth Tudor, daughter of Henry VIII of England. With the Peace of Cateau Cambrésis between France and Spain signed in 1559, the duchy was restored to Emmanuel Philibert and he married his first cousin once removed, Margaret of France, Duchess of Berry, the sister of King Henry II of France. Their only child was Charles Emmanuel I of Savoy.

Following the death of his uncle, Henry I of Portugal, on 31 January 1580, Emmanuel Philibert fought to impose his rights as a claimant to the Portuguese throne. However, he soon realised that he had quite a fragile position due to the claims of Philip II, who gained control of the country, thus uniting Spain and Portugal.

Emmanuel Philibert spent his rule regaining what had been lost in the costly wars with France. A skilled political strategist, he took advantage of various squabbles in Europe to slowly regain territory from both the French and the Spanish, including the city of Turin. He also purchased two territories. Internally, he moved the capital of the duchy from Chambéry to Turin and replaced Latin as the duchy's official language with Italian. He was attempting to acquire the marquisate of Saluzzo when he died in Turin. Later, he was buried in the Chapel of the Holy Shroud of the Turin Cathedral, to which he had moved the Sindone in 1578.

Equestrian monument of Emmanuel Philibert, Turin

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Italian War of 1551–1559

The Italian War of 1551–1559, sometimes known as the Habsburg–Valois War and the Last Italian War, began when Henry II of France, who had succeeded Francis I to the throne, declared war against Holy Roman Emperor Charles V with the intent of recapturing Italy and ensuring French, rather than Habsburg, domination of European affairs. The war was the last of a series of wars between the same parties since 1521. Historians have emphasized the importance of gunpowder technology, new styles of fortification to resist cannon fire, and the increased professionalization of the soldiers.

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The Italian Wars, often referred to as the Great Wars of Italy and sometimes as the Habsburg–Valois Wars, were a series of Renaissance conflicts from 1494 to 1559 that involved most of the Italian states as well as France, the Holy Roman Empire, Spain, England and the Ottoman Empire.

An Italic League that ensured peace in the peninsula for 50 years had collapsed in 1492 with the death of Lorenzo De Medici, key figure of the bloc and ruler of Florence. In 1494, Charles VIII of France invaded the Italian Peninsula and occupied the Kingdom of Naples on the ground of a dynastic claim. However, he was forced to leave the occupied territories after a northern Italian alliance won a tactical victory against him at the Battle of Fornovo. In an attempt to avoid the mistakes of his predecessor, Louis XII annexed the Duchy of Milan in the north of Italy and signed an agreement with Ferdinand of Aragon (already ruler of the two biggest Mediterranean islands, Sicily and Sardinia) to share the Kingdom of Naples. Nevertheless, Ferdinand of Aragon turned on Louis XII and expelled French forces from the South after the battles of Cerignola and Garigliano.

After a series of alliances and betrayals, the Papacy decided to side against French control of Milan and supported Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and heir of Aragon territories in Italy. Following the battles of Bicocca and Pavia, France lost its control of Milan to the Habsburgs. However, mutinous German Protestant troops of Charles V sacked Rome in 1527: this event was a turning point in the development of the European Wars of Religion and caused Charles V to focus on the growth of Protestantism in the Holy Roman Empire.

King Henry II of France took advantage of the situation and tried to establish supremacy in Italy by invading Corsica and Tuscany. However, his conquest of Corsica was reversed by the Genoese admiral Andrea Doria and his troops in Tuscany were defeated at the Battle of Scannagallo by the Florentines and the Imperials. With the abdication of Charles V, Philip II of Spain inherited the Italian possessions. The last significant confrontation, the Battle of St Quentin (1557), was won by Emmanuel Philibert of Savoy for the Spanish and international forces: this led the restoration of the French-occupied Piedmont (predecessor state of Italy) to the House of Savoy.

In 1559, the Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis was signed. The political map of Italy was largely affected by the end of the wars: Naples, Sicily and Milan had been confirmed to remain under Spanish control; the House of Savoy settled in Turin and made Italian its official language; Florence absorbed Siena into a Tuscan state; and the Papacy initiated the counter-reformation with the Council of Trent. In a jousting tournament held to celebrate the peace treaty, Henry II of France was killed by a lance: the instability that followed his death led to the French Wars of Religion.

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He was the son of Louis de Ligne, Baron of Barbançon from the House of Ligne and Marie of Glymes, Lady of Zevenbergen (1503–1566), daughter of Cornelis of Glymes.

Jean de Ligne belonged to the closest circles around Charles V and was made a Knight in the Order of the Golden Fleece in 1546.

In 1549 he became stadtholder of the Northern provinces of Friesland, Groningen, Drenthe and Overijssel.

By his marriage to Marguerite de la Marck-Arenberg, sister of Robert III von der Marck-Arenberg who died without children, he became the founder of the third House of Arenberg.

He participated in the campaign in France and distinguished himself in the Battle of St. Quentin (1557) where he, together with Henry V, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, led the left wing of the infantry in the final attack against the French.

At the start of the rebellion he distanced himself of his good friend William the Silent, Lamoral, Count of Egmont and Philip de Montmorency, Count of Hoorn, and remained loyal to the King Philip II of Spain.

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Back south, he joined the army under the Duke of Alva, but objected against the arrests of Egmont and Hoorn.

When Louis and Adolf of Nassau (brothers of William I of Orange) invaded Groningen, he was sent back by Alva to repulse this army.

There he was killed in the Battle of Heiligerlee on 23 May 1568. Cardinal Granvelle described his death as a great loss for the Catholic faith and the King.

Arenberg was buried in the Saint Catherine Church in Zevenbergen, and his remains were moved in 1614 to the family vault in Enghien.

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