Medici, Cosimo I de'

Medici, Cosimo I de',

1519–74, duke of Florence (1537–69), grand duke of Tuscany (1569–74); son of Giovanni de' MediciMedici, Giovanni de',
or Giovanni delle Bande Nere
[Ital.,=of the black bands], 1498–1526, Italian condottiere; great-grandson of Lorenzo de' Medici (d. 1440, brother of Cosimo de' Medici, 1389–1464).
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 (Giovanni delle Bande Nere). In 1537, Lorenzino de' MediciMedici, Lorenzino de'
, 1515–47, member of the cadet branch of the Medici family. A boon companion of Alessandro de' Medici, he secretly plotted the duke's murder—possibly out of republican convictions.
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 murdered Cosimo's predecessor, Alessandro de' MediciMedici, Alessandro de'
, 1510?–37, duke of Florence (1532–37); probably an illegitimate son of Lorenzo de' Medici, duke of Urbino. His prominence began when Pope Clement VII, then head of the Medici family succeeded (1530) in restoring the Medici to power in Florence
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, and fled from Florence, leaving the succession to Cosimo. Cosimo, despite promises to the contrary, assumed absolute authority as soon as he was installed. A group of exiles who tried to restore the republic were defeated and were either imprisoned or beheaded. In 1539, Cosimo married a Spanish noblewoman, Eleonora de Toledo, whose enormous dowry replenished his empty coffers. Under Cosimo's able, though ruthless, rule Florence reached its highest political importance and material prosperity and almost doubled its territories—notably by the acquisition (1555) of the republic of SienaSiena
, city (1991 pop. 56,956), capital of Siena prov., Tuscany, central Italy. Rich in art treasures and historic architecture, it is one of the most popular tourist centers in Italy.
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. In 1569, Pope Pius V bestowed the title grand duke of Tuscany on Cosimo. Cosimo centralized his state. His son, Francesco de' MediciMedici, Francesco de'
, 1541–87, grand duke of Tuscany (1574–87); son and successor of Cosimo I de' Medici. In his reign the decline of the Medici family began.
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, succeeded him.
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