War of the League of Cognac

The War of the League of Cognac (1526–30) was fought between the Habsburg dominions of Charles V—primarily the Holy Roman Empire and Habsburg Spain—and the League of Cognac, an alliance including the Kingdom of France, Pope Clement VII, the Republic of Venice, the Kingdom of England, the Duchy of Milan and the Republic of Florence.

War of the League of Cognac
Part of the Italian Wars
Siege of Florence

Siege of Florence, 1530, fought during the War of the League of Cognac
Result Imperial–Spanish victory
 Holy Roman Empire
Coat of arms of the House of Este (1471).svg Duchy of Ferrara

 Kingdom of France

 Papal States

 Republic of Venice
FlorenceCoA.svg Republic of Florence
 Kingdom of England
Bandera de Reino de Navarra.svg Kingdom of Navarre
 Republic of Genoa

Flag of the Duchy of Milan (1450).svg Duchy of Milan
 Holy Roman Empire
 Republic of Genoa
Coat of arms of the House of Este (1471).svg Duchy of Ferrara
Mantua Flag 1575-1707 (new).svg Duchy of Mantua

 Kingdom of France

 Papal States
 Republic of Venice
FlorenceCoA.svg Republic of Florence
Flag of the Duchy of Milan (1450).svg Duchy of Milan

Bandera de Reino de Navarra.svg Kingdom of Navarre
Commanders and leaders
Charles V
Charles de Bourbon 
Antonio de Leyva
Philibert of Châlon 
Ferrante I Gonzaga
Henry of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Georg Frundsberg
Francis I of France
Comte de St. Pol
Vicomte de Lautrec 
Francesco Maria I
FlorenceCoA.svg Francesco Ferrucci 
FlorenceCoA.svg Giovanni de' Medici 
FlorenceCoA.svg Malatesta Baglioni


Shocked by the defeat of the French in the Italian War of 1521, Pope Clement VII, together with the Republic of Venice, began to organize an alliance to drive Charles V from Italy. Francis, having signed the Treaty of Madrid, was released from his captivity in Madrid and returned to France, where he quickly announced his intention to assist Clement. Thus, in 1526, the League of Cognac was signed by Francis, Clement, Venice, Florence, and the Sforza of Milan, who desired to throw off the Imperial hegemony over them. Henry VIII of England, thwarted in his desire to have the treaty signed in England, refused to join.[1]

Initial moves

The League quickly seized Lodi, but Imperial troops marched into Lombardy and soon forced Sforza to abandon Milan.[2] The Colonna, meanwhile, organized an attack on Rome, defeating the Papal forces and briefly seizing control of the city in September 1526; they were soon paid off and departed, however.[3]


Charles V now gathered a force of landsknechts under Georg Frundsberg and a Spanish army under Charles of Bourbon; the two forces combined at Piacenza and advanced on Rome. Francesco Guicciardini, now in command of the Papal armies, proved unable to resist them;[4] and when the Duke of Bourbon was killed, his underpaid army sacked the city, forcing the Pope to flee. His escape was made possible by the Swiss Guards' last stand.


The looting of Rome, and the consequent removal of Clement from any real role in the war, prompted frantic action on the part of the French. On 30 April 1527, Henry VIII and Francis signed the Treaty of Westminster, pledging to combine their forces against Charles. Francis, having finally drawn Henry VIII into the League, sent an army under Odet de Foix and Pedro Navarro, Count of Oliveto through Genoa—where Andrea Doria had quickly joined the French and seized much of the Genoese fleet—to Naples, where it proceeded to dig itself in for an extended siege.[5]


Doria, however, soon deserted the French for Charles. The siege collapsed as plague broke out in the French camp, killing most of the army along with Foix and Navarro. Andrea Doria's offensive in Genoa (where he soon broke the blockade of the city and forced the surrender of the French at Savona), together with the decisive defeat of a French relief force under Francis de Bourbon, Comte de St. Pol at the Battle of Landriano, ended Francis's hopes of regaining his hold on Italy.[6]

Barcelona, Cambrai, and Bologna

Pope Clement VII
Pope Clement VII
Bemberg fondation Toulouse - Portrait de Louise de Savoie, mère de François Ier - École De Jean Clouet (1475;1485-1540) 22x17 Inv.1013
Louise of Savoy

Following the defeat of his armies, Francis sought peace with Charles. The negotiations began in July 1529 in the border city of Cambrai; they were conducted primarily between Francis's mother Louise of Savoy for the French and her sister-in-law Margaret of Austria for her nephew the Emperor (leading to its being known as the Paix des Dames, Peace of the Ladies), Charles himself having sailed from Barcelona to Italy shortly before. The final terms largely mirrored those of the Treaty of Madrid three years earlier; Francis surrendered his rights to Artois, Flanders, and Tournai, and was obliged to pay a ransom of two million golden écus before his sons were to be released.[7] Removed, however, were both the humiliating surrender of Burgundy itself and the various points dealing with Charles de Bourbon, who, having been killed two years prior, was no longer a candidate for leading an independent Kingdom of Provence.[8] The final Treaty of Cambrai, signed on 5 August, removed France from the war, leaving Venice, Florence, and the Pope alone against Charles.

Charles, having arrived in Genoa, proceeded to Bologna to meet with the Pope. Clement absolved the participants of the sack of Rome and promised to crown Charles. In return, he received Ravenna and Cervia; cities which the Republic of Venice was forced to surrender—along with her remaining possessions in Apulia—to Charles in exchange for being permitted to retain the holdings she had won at Marignano.[9] Finally, Francesco was permitted to return to Milan—Charles having abandoned his earlier plan to place Alessandro de' Medici on the throne, in part due to Venetian objections—for the sum of 900,000 scudi.[10]


Jacopo Pontormo 056
Alessandro de' Medici was installed as ruler of Florence by the victorious Imperial troops.

The Republic of Florence alone continued to resist the Imperial forces, which were led by the Prince of Orange. A Florentine army under Francesco Ferruccio engaged the armies of the Emperor at the Battle of Gavinana in 1530, and, although the Prince of Orange himself was killed, the Imperial army won a decisive victory and the Republic of Florence surrendered ten days later. Alessandro de' Medici was then installed as Duke of Florence.


  1. ^ Guicciardini, History of Italy, 369.
  2. ^ Blockmans, Emperor Charles V, 60.
  3. ^ Guicciardini, History of Italy, 372–375.
  4. ^ Guicciardini, History of Italy, 376.
  5. ^ Blockmans, Emperor Charles V, 61.
  6. ^ Blockmans, Emperor Charles V, 63.
  7. ^ Blockmans, Emperor Charles V, 68; Hackett, Francis the First, 356.
  8. ^ Blockmans, Emperor Charles V, 67.
  9. ^ Norwich, History of Venice, 443–444.
  10. ^ Blockmans, Emperor Charles V, 64.


  • Arfaioli, Maurizio. The Black Bands of Giovanni: Infantry and Diplomacy During the Italian Wars (1526–1528). Pisa: Pisa University Press, Edizioni Plus, 2005. ISBN 88-8492-231-3.
  • Baumgartner, Frederic J. Louis XII. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994. ISBN 0-312-12072-9.
  • Black, Jeremy. "Dynasty Forged by Fire." MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History 18, no. 3 (Spring 2006): 34–43. ISSN 1040-5992.
  • Blockmans, Wim. Emperor Charles V, 1500–1558. Translated by Isola van den Hoven-Vardon. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. ISBN 0-340-73110-9.
  • Guicciardini, Francesco. The History of Italy. Translated by Sydney Alexander. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984. ISBN 0-691-00800-0.
  • Hackett, Francis. Francis the First. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, Doran & Co., 1937.
  • Hall, Bert. Weapons and Warfare in Renaissance Europe: Gunpowder, Technology, and Tactics. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997. ISBN 0-8018-5531-4.
  • Hibbert, Christopher. Florence: The Biography of a City. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1993. ISBN 0-393-03563-8.
  • Konstam, Angus. Pavia 1525: The Climax of the Italian Wars. Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 1996. ISBN 1-85532-504-7.
  • Norwich, John Julius. A History of Venice. New York: Vintage Books, 1989. ISBN 0-679-72197-5.
  • Oman, Charles. A History of the Art of War in the Sixteenth Century. London: Methuen & Co., 1937.
  • Phillips, Charles and Alan Axelrod. Encyclopedia of Wars. 3 vols. New York: Facts on File, 2005. ISBN 0-8160-2851-6.
  • Taylor, Frederick Lewis. The Art of War in Italy, 1494–1529. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1973. ISBN 0-8371-5025-6.

The 1520s decade ran from January 1, 1520, to December 31, 1529.


Year 1529 (MDXXIX) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.

Alamanni (surname)

Alamanni is the name of a noble family of Florence.

Originally of German origin, as mentioned in a 1478 poem on the glories of Florence by Ugolino Verino:

Nobile e antica fu la schiatta deli Alamanni. Gente venuta da lontano, originata da sangue germanico

"Noble and ancient was the lineage of the Alamanni. People from afar, originating from Germanic blood."They owned a number of medieval castles, incorporated into Florence in the 14th century as part of Oltrarno.

They became one of the most prominent and economically successful families, dealing in wool and other products as well as in banking and money exchange.

Luigi Alamanni (1495–1556) was involved in the intrigue against cardinal Giulio de' Medici, then the de facto ruler of Florence.

He had to escape to France and the family property was confiscated. Two of Luigi's sons distinguished themselves in France, Giovan Battista, bishop of Bazas and Mâcon, and Niccolò, a commander in the French army deployed alongside Piero Strozzi in the defense of Siena against Cosimo I.

Jacopo Alamanni was publicly executed for trying to organise a militia in opposition to Charles V in the War of the League of Cognac.

In the 18th century, a branch of the family established themselves in Naples, with two palaces in Tiriolo and Catanzaro. Known as Alemanni di Napoli, their coat of arms is or, two bends gules.

Antonio de Leyva, Duke of Terranova

Antonio de Leyva, Duke of Terranova, Prince of Ascoli (1480–1536) was a Spanish general during the Italian Wars. During the Italian War of 1521, he commanded Pavia during the siege of the city by Francis I of France, and took part in the Battle of Pavia in 1525. After the death of Fernando d'Ávalos, Marquis of Pescara, he held further commands in Italy during the War of the League of Cognac and afterwards, finally dying shortly after attempting an invasion of Provence.

Battle of Gavinana

The Battle of Gavinana was a battle in the War of the League of Cognac. It was fought on 3 August 1530 between the city of Florence and the army of the Holy Roman Empire.

The Imperial forces were led by Philibert of Châlon, Prince of Orange, with reinforcements under Fabrizio Maramaldo arriving later in the battle. The Florentine forces were led by the florentine commissary Francesco Ferruccio.

At first the Florentines drove back the Imperial army, despite being outnumbered. In the process, the Prince of Orange was fatally shot in the chest by two arquebus balls.

However, when Maramaldo arrived with 2,000 troops the tide was reversed. After being wounded and captured, Ferruccio was executed personally by Maramaldo. Ferrucci's last response to his murderer, tu uccidi un uomo morto (you are killing a dead man) led him to long lasting fame and to become one of the major icons of the Italian risorgimento. In contrast, Maramaldo's behavior, echoed by several historical reports, gave his name a shameful reputation, and in modern Italian maramaldo means cowardly murderer.

Battle of Landriano

The Battle of Landriano took place on 21 June 1529, between the French army under Francis de Bourbon, Comte de St. Pol and the Imperial–Spanish army commanded by Don Antonio de Leyva, Duke of Terranova in the context of the War of the League of Cognac. The French army was destroyed and marked the temporary end of the ambitions of Francis I of France to vie for control of northern Italy with Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.

Black Bands

The Black Bands (Italian: Bande Nere), sometimes referred to as the Black Bands of Giovanni, was a company of Italian mercenaries formed and commanded by Giovanni de' Medici during the Italian Wars; their name came from their black mourning colors for the death of Pope Leo X. Composed primarily of arquebusiers—including Europe's first mounted arquebusiers—the company was, by the Italian War of 1521, considered to be the finest Italian troops available. Initially in the service of Charles de Lannoy and the Pope, the company fought at Bicocca in 1522 and the Sesia in 1523. A pay dispute led to it transferring its allegiance to Francis I of France; it took part in the Pavia campaign, but did not participate in the Battle of Pavia itself.

At the start of the War of the League of Cognac, the Bands attempted to resist the advance of Georg Frundsberg's Imperial landsknechts into Lombardy. Giovanni was killed by a cannonball near Mantua early in 1526. The company continued to fight in French and Papal pay, taking part in the expedition to Naples under Odet de Foix, Vicomte de Lautrec. It retreated from the siege with the remainder of the French army—crippled by the plague—and surrendered to the Imperial forces in late 1528, disbanding shortly afterwards.

Florentine Histories

Florentine Histories (Italian: Istorie fiorentine) is a historical account by Italian Renaissance political philosopher and writer Niccolò Machiavelli, first published posthumously in 1532.

Francesco Ferruccio

Francesco Ferruccio (or Ferrucci) (1489 – August 3, 1530) was an Italian captain from Florence who fought in the Italian Wars.

Italian War of 1521–1526

The Italian War of 1521–26, sometimes known as the Four Years' War, was a part of the Italian Wars. The war pitted Francis I of France and the Republic of Venice against the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, Henry VIII of England, and the Papal States. The conflict arose from animosity over the election of Charles as Emperor in 1519–20 and from Pope Leo X's need to ally with Charles against Martin Luther.

The war broke out across Western Europe late in 1521, when a French–Navarrese expedition attempted to reconquer Navarre while a French army invaded the Low Countries. A Spanish army drove the Navarrese forces back into the Pyrenees, and other Imperial forces attacked northern France, where they were stopped in turn.

The Pope, the Emperor, and Henry VIII then signed a formal alliance against France, and hostilities resumed on the Italian Peninsula; but, with the attention of both Francis and Charles focused on the battleground in northeast France, the conflict in Italy became something of a sideshow. At the Battle of Bicocca on 27 April 1522, Imperial and Papal forces defeated the French, driving them from Lombardy. Following the battle, fighting again spilled onto French soil, while Venice made a separate peace. The English invaded France in 1523, while Charles de Bourbon, alienated by Francis's attempts to seize his inheritance, betrayed Francis and allied himself with the Emperor. A French attempt to regain Lombardy in 1524 failed and provided Bourbon with an opportunity to invade Provence at the head of a Spanish army.

Francis himself led a second attack on Milan in 1525; his disastrous defeat at the Battle of Pavia, where he was captured and many of his chief nobles were killed, led to the end of the war. With Francis imprisoned in Spain, a series of diplomatic maneuvers centered on his release ensued, including a special French mission sent by Francis' mother Louise of Savoy to the court of Suleiman the Magnificent that would result in an Ottoman ultimatum to Charles—an unprecedented alignment between Christian and Muslim monarchs that would cause a scandal in the Christian world and lay the foundation for the Franco-Ottoman alliance. Suleiman used the opportunity to invade Hungary in the summer of 1526, defeating Charles' allies at the Battle of Mohács; but, despite these efforts, Francis would sign the Treaty of Madrid, surrendering his claims to Italy, Flanders, and Burgundy. Only a few weeks after his release, however, he repudiated the terms of the treaty, starting the War of the League of Cognac. Although the Italian Wars would continue for another three decades, they would end with France having failed to regain any substantial territories in Italy.

Italian Wars

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.

Louis, Count of Vaudémont

Louis de Lorraine (27 April 1500 – 23 August 1528) was a nobleman of Lorraine who attempted to claim the Kingdom of Naples. He was styled as the Count of Vaudémont.

A younger son of René II, Duke of Lorraine, he was born in Bar-le-Duc in 1500. His family possessed a hereditary claim to the throne of Naples, and his father had accepted the throne of Naples in 1493. However, the ambitions of Charles VIII towards the same object prevented René from taking up rule in Italy. Upon his death in 1508, Louis' older brother Antoine reverted to the style of Duke of Calabria to indicate his family's claims on Naples.

Originally destined for the Church and styled Prince de l'Eglise, he became Bishop of Verdun in 1508 and Abbot of Saint-Mihiel in 1512. He was present at the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520. He abandoned his ecclesiastical career in 1522, taking the title of Count of Vaudémont.

Louis was present with the army led by Francis I into Italy in 1524, and fought at the Battle of Pavia. With the outbreak of the War of the League of Cognac, Louis was sent into Italy with an army under the command of Lautrec, and was invested by Pope Clement VII as King of Naples and Sicily. Salerno fell to the invaders on 17 March 1527, but the siege of Naples by the French army was prolonged and unsuccessful. When plague broke out in the encampment, both Lautrec and Vaudémont succumbed.

Military history of the Republic of Venice

The military history of the Republic of Venice covers a period from the 8th century to the 18th century and includes a variety of conflicts.

The Republic of Venice first rose as a major military power through participation in the Fourth Crusade, where Venetian troops were among those effecting the conquest of Constantinople. Venice then fought a protracted series of wars with Genoa and Pisa for domination of the Mediterranean trading routes With the rise of the Ottoman Empire, the Republic lost its territories in the east as Cyprus and Venetian strongholds in Morea were occupied; at the same time, the rise of the Visconti in Milan drew Venice into the condottiere warfare of Italy.

Bereft of her Mediterranean possessions, Venice turned to conquest on the Italian mainland, which brought it into conflict with Milan and the Papacy. Venetian participation in the Italian Wars eventually resulted in the War of the League of Cambrai, where Venice was nearly reduced. Following the War of the League of Cognac, Venice played little further role in mainland warfare. She continued to fight naval wars against the Ottomans, however, culminating in the victory at the Battle of Lepanto.

In the latter half of the 17th century further Ottoman designs on Crete caused another protracted period of warfare. The twenty-year Siege of Candia was followed by her involvement in the Great Turkish War, where the Republic briefly regained the Morea, only to return it some years later. The Republic of Venice was finally drawn into European warfare with Napoleon's invasion of Italy; unable to resist his armies, she was forced to surrender and become a French tributary state.

Republic of Florence

The Republic of Florence, also known as the Florentine Republic (Italian: Repubblica Fiorentina, pronounced [reˈpubblika fjorenˈtiːna], or Repubblica di Firenze), was a medieval and early modern state that was centered on the Italian city of Florence in Tuscany. The republic originated in 1115, when the Florentine people rebelled against the Margraviate of Tuscany upon the death of Matilda of Tuscany, a woman who controlled vast territories that included Florence. The Florentines formed a commune in her successors' place. The republic was ruled by a council known as the Signoria of Florence. The signoria was chosen by the gonfaloniere (titular ruler of the city), who was elected every two months by Florentine guild members.

The republic had a checkered history of coups and counter-coups against various factions. The Medici faction gained governance of the city in 1434 under Cosimo de' Medici. The Medici kept control of Florence until 1494. Giovanni de' Medici (later Pope Leo X) re-conquered the republic in 1512.

Florence repudiated Medici authority for a second time in 1527, during the War of the League of Cognac. The Medici re-assumed their rule in 1531 after an 11-month siege of the city. The republican government was disestablished in 1532, when Pope Clement VII appointed Alessandro de' Medici "Duke of the Florentine Republic", making the "republic" a hereditary monarchy.

Sack of Rome (1527)

The Sack of Rome on 6 May 1527 was a military event carried out in Rome (then part of the Papal States) by the mutinous troops of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. It marked a crucial imperial victory in the conflict between Charles and the League of Cognac (1526–1529)—the alliance of France, Milan, Venice, Florence and the Papacy.

Siege of Florence (1529–30)

The Siege of Florence took place from 24 October 1529 to 10 August 1530, at the end of the War of the League of Cognac. A large Imperial and Spanish army under Philibert of Châlon, Prince of Orange and Pier Maria III de' Rossi surrounded the city, and, after a siege of nearly ten months, captured it, overthrowing the Republic of Florence and installing Alessandro de' Medici as the ruler of the city.

The Florentines had thrown off Medici rule and established a republic after the Sack of Rome in 1527; the Florentine Republic had continued to participate in the war on the side of the French. The French defeats at Naples in 1528 and Landriano in 1529, however, led to Francis I of France concluding the Treaty of Cambrai with the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. When Pope Clement VII and the Republic of Venice also concluded treaties with the Emperor, Florence was left to fight alone. Charles, attempting to gain Clement's favor, ordered his armies to seize Florence and return the Medici to power.

The Republic resisted this incursion; but, left without allies and betrayed by many of the mercenaries in her employ, Florence was unable to keep fighting indefinitely. After the capture of Volterra by the Imperial forces and the death of Francesco Ferruccio at the Battle of Gavinana, further resistance became impractical, and the city surrendered in August 1530.

Siege of Naples (1528)

The Siege of Naples was a siege of the Italian city of Naples in 1528 during the War of the League of Cognac.

Treaty of Westminster

Treaty of Westminster may refer to:

Treaty of Westminster (1153), also known as the Treaty of Wallingford

Treaty of Westminster (1462), also known as the Treaty of Westminster-Ardtornish

Treaty of Westminster (1511), an alliance during the War of the League of Cambrai

Treaty of Westminster (1527), an alliance during the War of the League of Cognac

Treaty of Westminster (1654), ending the First Anglo-Dutch War

Triple Alliance (1668), concluded in Westminster between Sweden, the General States and Great Britain

Treaty of Westminster (1674), ending the Third Anglo-Dutch War

Treaty of Westminster (1756), establishing neutrality between Great Britain and Prussia

The Statute of Westminster 1931, which transformed the British Empire into the British Commonwealth of Nations, is sometimes referred to (particularly in the former dominions) as a "Treaty" of Westminster

War of the League of Cognac

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