Campaign of the Month: August 2011
Le Ballet de l'Acier
The following chronology outlines the major events of the reign of His Most Christian Majesty, Louis XIII, ‘the Just,’ King of France, from the assassination of his father, Henri IV, ‘the Great,’ in 1610 to the present day.
1612 – The queen-regent arranges the marriages of Louis and his eldest sister, Elisabeth – Louis will marry the Infanta Ana while Elisabeth will marry the Infante Felipe. Huguenots and the grands both object to the proposed marriages.
1614 – Angry over the influence of the queen-regent’s “Italian favorites,” in particular the head of the royal council, the marquis d’Ancre, a number of the grands mobilize their private armies and demand that the Estates-General be summoned. The queen-regent agrees to the demand, and the Estates-General is held in Paris. The bishop of Luçon attracts the notice of the queen-mother and the king.
1615 – Once again the grands under the nominal leadership of the prince de Condé, mobilize their armies against the queen-regent. The duc de Guise takes command of the Royal Army to safely escort the king and his sister Elisabeth to the border with Spain, where the brides are exchanged. Louis and Anne are married by proxy in October and meet for the first time in November as the royal army and the grands maneuver and skirmish.
1616 – Amid increasing protests over the influence of the marquis d’Ancre, Concini, the queen-regent orders the arrest of the prince de Condé and remakes the royal council, including adding the bishop of Luçon as minister of state and war. On his own initiative, the duc de Lesdiguières raises a private army and joins the duc de Savoie in war against the Spanish in Milan.
1617 – Concini, the marquis d’Ancre, is assassinated by the captain of the king’s guards in April. The queen-mother is placed uder house arrest; Luçon is banished to his diocese. The king now rules France in fact as well as in name, bringing back many of the his father’s advisors to his council, headed by the king’s favorite, the duc de Luynes. Lesdiguières is recalled from Italy to avoid further provoking the Spanish.
1619 – The queen-mother escapes house arrest with the help of the powerful duc d’Épernon. The Royal Army takes the field, but Luynes turns to the bishop of Luçon, who is summoned from Avignon and negotiates a settlement ending the ‘War of the Mother and Son’ without serious incident. Condé is released from prison.
1620 – The queen-mother again attracts an army. Louis personally leads his forces against those of his mother at the battle of Ponts-de-Cé in August, ending the second ‘War of the Mother and Son.’ The victorious king, with the army at his back, turns southward and enters Pau, uniting the crowns of France and Navarre and restoring Catholic worship in the Huguenot kingdom. Huguenots across France organize in defense of their cities in defiance of the king.
1621 – The royal army takes the field, under the command of the new constable, the duc de Luynes, and begins compelling the submission of Huguenot towns across the west and south of France. La Rochelle, too powerful to be cowed by the king’s forces, is bypassed. Several Huguenot towns are invested successfully, but the royal army is defeated by the Huguenots at Montauban in the fall. Lunynes, blamed for the failure, dies of the fever which sweeps the army.
1622 – The campaign against the Huguenots is resumed; the royal forces are victorious at the Ile de Riez, but the siege of Montpellier ends with a negotiated truce in October. Most of the Huguenot towns, with the exception of Montauban and La Rochelle, submit to the king. The bishop of Luçon, at the request of the king, receives his cardinal’s hat, becoming Cardinal Richelieu.
1623 – Spanish forces occupy the Valtellines, a strategic Alpine valley, and the French ally with Savoy, Venice, and the Grey League to protect their mutual interests in northern Italy.
1624 – Richelieu joins the king’s council as a minister without portfolio in April; by August the prelate succeeds in ousting the head of the council and takes his place. The king orders an army under the marquis de Coeuvres into northern Italy to assist the Swiss Grisons in taking the Valtelline back from the Spanish. Savoy attacks Genoa.
1626 – The fighting between the French and Spanish in Italy is brought to an end by the Treaty of Monçon.