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Francesco II Sforza (February 4 1495October 24 1535), also known as Francesco Maria Sforza, was the last Duke of Milan from 1521 until his death.

He was the son of Ludovico Sforza and Beatrice d'Este. When Ludovico was ousted from Milan in the course of the Italian Wars, he brought Francesco with him to the court of the Emperor Maximilian I, who had married a Sforza, Francesco's cousin Bianca Maria. Francesco was assigned to an ecclesiastical career. His father was imprisoned and killed in 1508, but when Charles V re-conquered Milan from the French (1525), Francesco was appointed its duke, the last of the family to hold that title.

He returned to his state, depleted by twenty years of combat, promoting a cultural and economic recovery. In 1526 he adhered to the second Holy League with Francis I of France, Pope Clement VII and the Republic of Florence, and was besieged in the Castello Sforzescomarker
On May 4, 1534 he married Christina of Denmark, daughter of Christian II of Denmark and Isabella of Burgundy.

He fought at the Battle of Bicoccamarker, and joined the League of Cognac against Charles V. His childless death in 1535 sparked the Italian War of 1535. His half-brother Giovanni Paolo reclaimed briefly the Duchy of Milan after his death, but died in the same year under mysterious circumstances.

References

  • Oman, Charles. A History of the Art of War in the Sixteenth Century. London: Methuen & Co., 1937.


Footnotes

  1. To distinguish him from the earlier Francesco Sforza.
  2. His possession of the Duchy was not finalized until the end of the Italian War of 1521, however.



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