Savoy, house of

Savoy, house of,

dynasty of Western Europe that ruled Savoy and Piedmont from the 11th cent., the kingdom of Sicily from 1714 to 1718, the kingdom of Sardinia from 1720 to 1861, and the kingdom of Italy from 1861 to 1946. Collateral branches of the house of Savoy include that of Nemours.

Savoy and Piedmont

Its first important member was Count Humbert the Whitehanded, a powerful feudal lord of the kingdom of Arles (in SE France) in the 11th cent. He held possessions in SavoySavoy
, Fr. Savoie, Alpine region of E France. The boundaries of old Savoy have changed with time, but presently the region comprises the departments of Savoie and Haute-Savoie.
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 and acquired, through marriage, several fiefs in PiedmontPiedmont
, Ital. Piemonte, region (1991 pop. 4,302,565), 9,807 sq mi (25,400 sq km), NW Italy, bordering on France in the west and on Switzerland in the north. Turin is the capital of the region, which is one of the richest in Italy.
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, including TurinTurin
, Ital. Torino, city (1991 pop. 962,507), capital of Piedmont and of Turin prov., NW Italy, at the confluence of the Po and Dora Riparia rivers. It is a major transportation hub and Italy's most important industrial center.
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. Through marriage, diplomacy, and conquest his successors expanded their holdings in France, Switzerland, and Italy, acquiring BresseBresse
, region, in Burgundy, E France, between the Ain and Saône rivers. Bourg-en-Bresse is the historic capital. A fertile farm area, it is famous for its chickens and wines.
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 and Bugey, Chablais (on the south shore of the Lake of Geneva), Lower ValaisValais
, Ger. Wallis, canton (1993 pop. 262,400), 2,021 sq mi (5,234 sq km), S Switzerland. Sion is the capital. Bordering on France and Italy, the Valais extends from the Bernese Alps in the north to the Pennine Alps in the south, with the fertile upper Rhône
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, Gex, IvreaIvrea
, city (1991 pop. 24,704), Piedmont, NW Italy, on the Dora Baltea River. It is a commercial and industrial center, and it is the headquarters of Olivetti, an important Italian company. Manufactures include typewriters, computers, and textiles.
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, PineroloPinerolo
, Fr. Pignerol, city (1991 pop. 35,331), Piedmont, NW Italy, at the foot of the Alps. It is an agricultural and industrial center. Manufactures include paper, textiles, machinery, chemicals, and processed food. First mentioned in the 10th cent.
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, NiceNice
, city (1990 pop. 345,674), capital of Alpes-Maritimes dept., SE France, on the Mediterranean Sea. Nice is the most famous resort on the French Riviera. Although the economy depends mainly on the tourist trade, the electronics industry as well as other manufactures are
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, parts of VaudVaud
, Ger. Waadt, canton (1993 pop. 593,000), 1,239 sq mi (3,209 sq km), W Switzerland. Lausanne is the capital. Bordering on France in the west, it lies roughly between the Lake of Geneva, the Lake of Neuchâtel, the Jura Mts., and the Bernese Alps.
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 and of GenevaGeneva
, Fr. Genève, canton (1990 pop. 373,019), 109 sq mi (282 sq km), SW Switzerland, surrounding the southwest tip of the Lake of Geneva. One of the smallest cantons, Geneva is in the plain between the Jura and the Alps. It borders on Vaud canton for 3.5 mi (5.
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, and other seigniories and towns. ChambéryChambéry
, town (1990 pop. 55,603), capital of Savoie dept., E France, in the Alpine trough. It is a communications and commerce center as well as a railway and air transport hub. Manufactures include metals and construction materials.
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, acquired in 1232, became the seat of the counts, whose scattered possessions were gradually consolidated. Amadeus VIIIAmadeus VIII
, 1383–1451, count (1391–1416) and duke (from 1416) of Savoy, antipope (1439–49) with the name Felix V. In 1434 he appointed his son regent of Savoy and retired to the hermitage of Ripaille, on Lake Geneva, which he had founded.
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 acquired the ducal title in 1416. His son Louis (d. 1465) married Anne de Lusignan, titular heiress to the kingdoms of Jerusalem, Cyprus, and Armenia; these titles were later borne by ruling members of the house.

The expansion of Switzerland and the Italian WarsItalian Wars,
1494–1559, series of regional wars brought on by the efforts of the great European powers to control the small independent states of Italy. Renaissance Italy was split into numerous rival states, most of which sought foreign alliances to increase their
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 resulted in the temporary disintegration of the duchy. The Swiss took the lower Valais (1475) and Vaud (1536); Geneva became independent (1533); and the rest of the duchy was occupied (1536) by Francis I of France. In 1559, however, Duke Emmanuel PhilibertEmmanuel Philibert
, 1528–80, duke of Savoy (1553–80), called Ironhead. He succeeded his father, Charles III, who had been dispossessed of his duchy by Francis I of France and the Swiss in 1536.
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, called Ironhead, obtained the restoration of his duchy—except the larger part of the Swiss conquests—under the Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis. Emmanuel Philibert made Turin his capital, thus shifting the center of his duchy from France to Italy. The language and tone of the court, however, remained French until the late 18th cent. Emmanuel Philibert's son and successor, Charles Emmanuel ICharles Emmanuel I,
1562–1630, duke of Savoy (1580–1630), son and successor of Emmanuel Philibert. He continued his father's efforts to recover territories lost to the duchy, but his reckless, although cunning, diplomacy undermined many of the sound economic and
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, unsuccessfully sought to reconquer Geneva. He gained (1601) the marquisate of Saluzzo in Piedmont from France in exchange for Bresse, Bugey, and Gex.

The Kingdom of Sicily

Charles Emmanuel I's successor, Victor Amadeus IIVictor Amadeus II
, 1666–1732, duke of Savoy (1675–1713), king of Sicily (1713–20), king of Sardinia (1720–30). Succeeding his father, Charles Emmanuel II, as duke of Savoy, he overthrew the regency of his mother in 1683.
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, expanded his territories by advantageous alliances. In the War of the Spanish Succession he sided first with France, then with the forces of the Holy Roman emperor; by the peace of Utrecht (1713–14) he became king of Sicily and enlarged his Piedmontese territories. His cousin, Eugene of SavoyEugene of Savoy,
1663–1736, prince of the house of Savoy, general in the service of the Holy Roman Empire. Born in Paris, he was the son of Eugène, comte de Soissons of the line of Savoy-Carignano, and Olympe Mancini, niece of Cardinal Mazarin.
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, headed the imperial forces in the war. Spain reconquered Sicily in 1718 but was forced by the Quadruple AllianceQuadruple Alliance,
any of several European alliances. The Quadruple Alliance of 1718 was formed by Great Britain, France, the Holy Roman emperor, and the Netherlands when Philip V of Spain, guided by Cardinal Alberoni, sought by force to nullify the peace settlements reached
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 to cede Sardinia to Victor Amadeus in exchange for Sicily.

The Kingdom of Sardinia

After the acquisition of Sardinia, the political history of the dynasty became that of the kingdom of Sardinia (see Sardinia, kingdom ofSardinia, kingdom of,
name given to the possessions of the house of Savoy (see Savoy, house of) in 1720, when the island of Sardinia was awarded (by the Treaty of London) to Duke Victor Amadeus II of Savoy to compensate him for the loss of Sicily to Austria.
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) and of Italy. Victor Amadeus II was succeeded by Charles Emmanuel III (reigned 1730–73), Victor Amadeus III (reigned 1773–96), and Charles Emmanuel IV, who lost all but the island of Sardinia to Napoleon I and abdicated (1802) in favor of his brother, Victor Emmanuel IVictor Emmanuel I,
1759–1824, king of Sardinia (1802–21). His brother and predecessor, Charles Emmanuel IV, lost (1798) all his territories except the island of Sardinia to France in the French Revolutionary Wars.
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. Restored to his possessions in 1814, Victor Emmanuel I abdicated in 1821, after the outbreak of a revolution in Piedmont. His brother and successor, Charles Felix, died without issue in 1831, and the cadet line of Savoy-Carignano, descended from a younger son of Charles Emmanuel I, came to the throne in the person of Charles AlbertCharles Albert,
1798–1849, king of Sardinia (1831–49, see Savoy, house of). Because he had not been entirely unsympathetic to the revolutionary movement of 1821 in Sardinia, Charles Albert developed an ambiguous political reputation prior to acceding to the throne in
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The Kingdom of Italy

In Charles Albert's reign the house of Savoy became the center of the RisorgimentoRisorgimento
[Ital.,=resurgence], in 19th-century Italian history, period of cultural nationalism and of political activism, leading to unification of Italy. Roots of the Risorgimento
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, the movement that led to the unification of Italy under his son, Victor Emmanuel IIVictor Emmanuel II,
1820–78, king of Sardinia (1849–61) and first king of united Italy (1861–78). He fought in the war of 1848–49 against Austrian rule in Lombardy-Venetia and ascended the throne when his father, Charles Albert, abdicated after the defeat
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. Savoy itself, however, was ceded to France in 1860. Humbert IHumbert I,
1844–1900, king of Italy (1878–1900), son and successor of Victor Emmanuel II. A soldier by training, Humbert showed interest primarily in military affairs and foreign policy, and early expectations of his tolerance and liberalism were largely unfulfilled.
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, who succeeded (1878) Victor Emmanuel II as king of Italy, was assassinated in 1900. His son and successor, Victor Emmanuel IIIVictor Emmanuel III,
1869–1947, king of Italy (1900–1946), emperor of Ethiopia (1936–43), king of Albania (1939–43), son and successor of Humbert I. In 1896 he married Princess Helena of Montenegro.
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, also took the titles emperor of Ethiopia (1936) and king of Albania (1939); after the Italian armistice (1943) with the Allies in World War II he delegated (1944) his powers to his son, who briefly ruled (1946) as Humbert IIHumbert II,
1904–83, last king of Italy (1946), son and successor of Victor Emmanuel III. On the abdication (May, 1946) of his father, who was tainted by his long acquiescence (1922–43) to Fascist rule, Humbert succeeded to the throne, pending a referendum on the
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 from Victor Emmanuel's abdication until the establishment of the Italian republic, when the family went into exile. Male members of the family were barred from entering Italy from 1948 to 2002.

A younger son of Victor Emmanuel II, AmadeusAmadeus,
1845–90, king of Spain (1870–73), duke of Aosta, son of Victor Emmanuel II of Italy. After the expulsion (1868) of Queen Isabella II, Juan Prim urged the Cortes to elect Amadeus as king. He accepted the crown reluctantly.
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, was given the title duke of Aosta; he was king of Spain from 1870 to 1873. His ducal title descended to Emmanuel Philibert, duke of AostaAosta, Emmanuel Philibert of Savoy, duke of
, 1869–1931, Italian general; son of King Amadeus of Spain and cousin of Victor Emmanuel III of Italy. In World War I he held the Piave front after the Italian defeat at Caporetto and later occupied Friuli.
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See E. L. Cox, The Eagles of Savoy (1974).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Savoy, House of


the ruling dynasty of Savoy, the Kingdom of Sardinia, and the united Kingdom of Italy. Members of the House of Savoy were counts of Savoy from the 11th century to 1416, dukes of Savoy from 1416 to 1720, kings of Sardinia from 1720 to 1861, and kings of Italy from 1861 to 1946.

The first count of Savoy for whom we have reliable information was Humbert the Whitehanded, who died between 1042 and 1051. The kings of Sardinia were Victor Amadeus II (ruled 1720–30), Charles Emmanuel III (ruled 1730–73), Victor Amadeus III (ruled 1773–96), Charles Emmanuel IV (ruled 1796–1802), Victor Emmanuel I (ruled 1802–21), Charles Felix (ruled 1821–31), Charles Albert (ruled 1831–49), and Victor Emmanuel II (ruled 1849–61).

In 1861, Victor Emmanuel II became king of the united Kingdom of Italy; his reign continued until 1878. The subsequent kings of Italy were Humbert I (ruled 1878–1900), Victor Emmanuel III (ruled from 1900 to May 9, 1946), and Humbert II (ruled from May 9 to June 13, 1946). Humbert II was lieutenant general of the realm from June 5,1944, to May 9, 1946.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.