Charles Emmanuel I
CHARLES EMMANUEL I. [Carlo Emanuele] (1562-1630), duke of Savoy, succeeded his father, Emmanuel Philibert, in 1580. He continued the latter's policy of profiting by the rivalry of France and Spain in order to round off and extend his dominions. His three chief objects were the conquest of Geneva, of Saluzzo and of Monferrato. Saluzzo he succeeded in wresting from France in 1588. He intervened in the French religious wars, and also fought with Bern and other Swiss cantons, and on the murder of Henry III. of France in 1580 he aspired to the French throne on the strength of the claims of his wife Catherine, sister of Henry of Navarre, afterwards King Henry IV. In 1590 he sent an expedition to Provence in the interests of the Catholic League, and followed it himself later, but the peace of 1593, by which Henry of Navarre was recognized as king of France, put an end to his ambitions. In the war between France and Spain Charles sided with the latter, with varying success. Finally, by the peace of Lyons (1601), he gave up all territories beyond the Rhone, but his possession of Saluzzo was confirmed. He now meditated a further enterprise against Geneva; but his attempt to capture the city by treachery and with the help of Spain (the famous escalade) in 1602 failed completely. The next few years were filled with negotiations and intrigues with Spain and France which did not lead to any particular result, but on the death in 1612 of Duke Francesco Gonzaga of Mantua, who was lord of Monferrato, Charles Emmanuel made a successful coup de main on that district. This arrayed the Venetians, Tuscany, the Empire and Spain against him, and he was obliged to relinquish his conquest. The Spaniards invaded the duchy from Lombardy, and although the duke was defeated several times he fought bravely, gained some successes, and the terms of the peace of 1618 left him more or less in the status quo ante. We next find Charles Emmanuel aspiring to the imperial crown in 1619, but without success. In 1628 he was in alliance with Spain in the war against France; the French invaded the duchy, which, being abandoned by Spain, was overrun by their armies. The duke fought desperately, but was taken ill at Savigliano and died in 1630. He was succeeded by his son Victor Amedeo I., while his third son Tommaso founded the line of Savoy-Carignano from which the present royal house of Italy is descended. Charles Emmanuel achieved a great reputation as a statesman and warrior, and increased the prestige of Savoy, but he was too shifty and ingenious, and his schemes ended in disaster.
See E. Ricotti, Storia della monarchia piemontese, vols. iii. and iv. (Florence, 1865); T. Raulich, Storia di Carlo Emanuele I. (Milan, 1896-1902); G. Curti, Carlo Emanuele I. secondo; più recenti studii (Milan, 1894).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)