chapter  1
18 Pages

The system of Italian states

Withroughlyonehalfofthelandunderitsdirectruleandwiththe resourcesofitsvastempiretobackitspolicies,theSpanishmonarchywas obviouslyinapositionwhereitcouldmakeitsinfluencefeltonmostItalian states,allthemoreeasilysoassomeofthem,althoughformallyindependent, were,infact,beholdentoSpain.OnesuchstatewasTuscanywhoseruling dynasty(theMedici)originallyoweditscrown,toalargeextent,toHabsburg largesse;besides,itsSpanishpatronsheldfivegarrisontownsalongthe Tuscancoast(theso-calledStatodeiPresidi)fromwhichSpanishforcescould stage,ifneedbe,arapidmilitaryintervention.ThedukeofSavoy,whose dominionshadbeenoverrunbyFrenchforcesintheearlypartofthecentury, hadrecoveredthemin1559inthewakeofHabsburgvictoryandcould hardlyignoretheimportanceofSpanishsupportasasafeguardagainstfuture Frenchclaims.AsforthePapacyithadlittlechoice,inthefaceoftheriseof ProtestantismandaslongasthereligiousfutureofFrancewasindoubt,but torelyontheHabsburgs(bothSpanishandAustrian)forthedefenceofthe Catholiccause.Lastly,thefortunesoftheRepublicofGenoa,whosebankers werelendingprodigiousamountsofmoneytotheSpanishgovernment,were inextricablytiedtothoseoftheirclient.