Duchy of Parma
The Duchy of Parma was created in 1545 from that part of the Duchy of Milan
Duchy of Milan
The Duchy of Milan , was created on the 1st of may 1395, when Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Lord of Milan, purchased a diploma for 100,000 Florins from King Wenceslaus. It was this diploma that installed, Gian Galeazzo as Duke of Milan and Count of Pavia...

 south of the Po River
Po River
The Po |Ligurian]]: Bodincus or Bodencus) is a river that flows either or – considering the length of the Maira, a right bank tributary – eastward across northern Italy, from a spring seeping from a stony hillside at Pian del Re, a flat place at the head of the Val Po under the northwest face...

, as a fief for Pope Paul III
Pope Paul III
Pope Paul III , born Alessandro Farnese, was Pope of the Roman Catholic Church from 1534 to his death in 1549. He came to the papal throne in an era following the sack of Rome in 1527 and rife with uncertainties in the Catholic Church following the Protestant Reformation...

's illegitimate son, Pier Luigi Farnese
Pier Luigi Farnese, Duke of Parma
Pier Luigi Farnese was the first Duke of Parma, Piacenza and Castro, from 1545 to 1547.Born in Rome, Pier Luigi was the illegitimate son of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese...

, centered on the city of Parma
Parma is a city in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna famous for its ham, its cheese, its architecture and the fine countryside around it. This is the home of the University of Parma, one of the oldest universities in the world....


In 1556, the second Duke, Ottavio Farnese, was given the city of Piacenza
Piacenza is a city and comune in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Piacenza...

, becoming thus also Duke of Piacenza, and so the state was thereafter properly known as the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza (Ducato di Parma e Piacenza in Italian).

The Farnese family continued to rule until their extinction in 1731, at which point the duchy was inherited by the young son of the King of Spain
Philip V of Spain
Philip V was King of Spain from 15 November 1700 to 15 January 1724, when he abdicated in favor of his son Louis, and from 6 September 1724, when he assumed the throne again upon his son's death, to his death.Before his reign, Philip occupied an exalted place in the royal family of France as a...

, Don Charles
Charles III of Spain
Charles III was the King of Spain and the Spanish Indies from 1759 to 1788. He was the eldest son of Philip V of Spain and his second wife, the Princess Elisabeth Farnese...

, whose mother Elizabeth Farnese was the Farnese heiress. He ruled until the end of the War of the Polish Succession
War of the Polish Succession
The War of the Polish Succession was a major European war for princes' possessions sparked by a Polish civil war over the succession to Augustus II, King of Poland that other European powers widened in pursuit of their own national interests...

 in 1735, when Parma was ceded to Emperor Charles VI
Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles VI was the penultimate Habsburg sovereign of the Habsburg Empire. He succeeded his elder brother, Joseph I, as Holy Roman Emperor, King of Bohemia , Hungary and Croatia , Archduke of Austria, etc., in 1711...

 in exchange for the Two Sicilies.

The Habsburg
The House of Habsburg , also found as Hapsburg, and also known as House of Austria is one of the most important royal houses of Europe and is best known for being an origin of all of the formally elected Holy Roman Emperors between 1438 and 1740, as well as rulers of the Austrian Empire and...

s only ruled until the conclusion of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle
Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748)
The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle of 1748 ended the War of the Austrian Succession following a congress assembled at the Imperial Free City of Aachen—Aix-la-Chapelle in French—in the west of the Holy Roman Empire, on 24 April 1748...

 in 1748, when it was ceded back to the Bourbon
House of Bourbon
The House of Bourbon is a European royal house, a branch of the Capetian dynasty . Bourbon kings first ruled Navarre and France in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Bourbon dynasty also held thrones in Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Parma...

s in the person of Don Philip, Don Charles's younger brother, which received also the little Duchy of Guastalla
Duchy of Guastalla
The Duchy of Guastalla was an Italian state which existed between 1621 to 1748. It was bordered by the Duchy of Modena and Reggio and the Po River to the north, on the opposite bank of the Duchy of Mantua.-History:...

. As duke Philip, he became the founder of the House of Bourbon-Parma
House of Bourbon-Parma
The House of Bourbon-Parma is an Italian cadet branch of the House of Bourbon. It is thus descended from the Capetian dynasty in male line. The name of Bourbon-Parma comes from the main name and the other from the title of Duke of Parma....

 reigning over the Duchy of Parma, Piacenza and Guastalla (Ducato di Parma, Piacenza e Guastalla in Italian).

In 1796, the duchy was occupied by French troops under Napoleon Bonaparte, and the political situation of the State became extremely confused. Duke Ferdinand
Ferdinand, Duke of Parma
Ferdinand Maria Philip Louis Sebastian Francis James of Parma was Duke of Parma from 1765 to 1802. He was the second child and only son of Philip, Duke of Parma and Princess Louise-Élisabeth of France, eldest daughter of Louis XV of France and Maria Leszczyńska...

 maintained his throne under French military governors until the Treaty of Aranjuez
Treaty of Aranjuez (1801)
The Treaty of Aranjuez was signed on March 21, 1801 between France and Spain. The overall accord confirmed the terms presented in the Treaty of San Ildefonso. Moreover, Ferdinand, the Bourbon Duke of Parma, agreed to surrender the Duchy of Parma to France. Ferdinand's son Louis received the Grand...

 of 1801, when a general agreement between the House of Bourbon
House of Bourbon
The House of Bourbon is a European royal house, a branch of the Capetian dynasty . Bourbon kings first ruled Navarre and France in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Bourbon dynasty also held thrones in Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Parma...

 and Napoleon formally decided the cession of the duchy to France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 in exchange for Tuscany
Tuscany is a region in Italy. It has an area of about 23,000 square kilometres and a population of about 3.75 million inhabitants. The regional capital is Florence ....

, but the Duke lasted in Parma until he died in 1802, maybe by poisoning. However, Napoleon was undecided about the future of the duchy, aspiring to a total engagement of the Bourbons in the European wars as his allies. Even if French laws and administration was gradually introduced, the formal annexation to the French Empire
First French Empire
The First French Empire , also known as the Greater French Empire or Napoleonic Empire, was the empire of Napoleon I of France...

 was declared only in 1808 after the outbreak of the conflict against Bourbonic Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

. The duchy was reformed as the Département of Taro
Taro (département)
Taro is the name of a département of the First French Empire in present Italy. It was named after the Taro river. It was formed in 1808, when the states of Parma and Piacenza were annexed by France. Its capital was Parma. It was divided into the following arrondissements:* Parma.* Borgo San Donnino...


In 1814, the duchies were restored under Napoleon's Habsburg wife, Marie Louise, who was to rule them for her lifetime. After Marie Louise's death in 1847, the Duchy was restored to the Bourbon-Parma line, which had been ruling the tiny Duchy of Lucca
Duchy of Lucca
The Duchy of Lucca was an Italian state existing from 1815 to 1847. It was centered on the city of Lucca.The Duchy was formed in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna, out of the former Republic of Lucca and the Principality of Lucca and Piombino, which had been ruled by Elisa Bonaparte...

. In this context, Guastalla was ceded to Modena. The Bourbons ruled until 1859, when they were driven out by a revolution following the French and Sardinian victory in the war against Austria (called Austrian War in France and Second War of Independence in Italy).

The Duchy of Parma and Piacenza joined with the Grand Duchy of Tuscany
Grand Duchy of Tuscany
The Grand Duchy of Tuscany was a central Italian monarchy that existed, with interruptions, from 1569 to 1859, replacing the Duchy of Florence. The grand duchy's capital was Florence...

 and the Duchy of Modena to form the United Provinces of Central Italy
United Provinces of Central Italy
The United Provinces of Central Italy, also known as Union of Central Italy, Confederation of Central Italy or Government General of Central Italy, was a short-lived client state of the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia...

 in December 1859, and merged with the Kingdom of Sardinia
Kingdom of Sardinia
The Kingdom of Sardinia consisted of the island of Sardinia first as a part of the Crown of Aragon and subsequently the Spanish Empire , and second as a part of the composite state of the House of Savoy . Its capital was originally Cagliari, in the south of the island, and later Turin, on the...

 into the Kingdom of Italy
Kingdom of Italy
There have been several distinct entities known as the Kingdom of Italy. Italy under the rule of Odoacer from 476 to 493 is often called the Kingdom of Italy, since it encompassed the Roman province of Italy and Odoacer is periodically styled rex...

 in March 1860 after holding a referendum.

The House of Bourbon continues to claim the title of duke of Parma to this day. Prince Carlos of Bourbon-Parma has held the title since 2010.

See also

  • County of Guastalla
    County of Guastalla
    The County of Guastalla was a sovereign state of northern Italy centred on Guastalla. The title of count was created in 1406 for Guido Torelli: the Torelli family held Guastalla until 1539, when it was bought by Ferrante Gonzaga. Another branch held the county of Montechiarugolo until 1612...

  • Historical states of Italy
    Historical states of Italy
    Italy, until the present era, was a conglomeration of city-states and other small independent entities. The following is a list of the various states that made up what we now know as Italy during the past...

  • House of Bourbon-Parma
    House of Bourbon-Parma
    The House of Bourbon-Parma is an Italian cadet branch of the House of Bourbon. It is thus descended from the Capetian dynasty in male line. The name of Bourbon-Parma comes from the main name and the other from the title of Duke of Parma....

  • List of Dukes of Parma
  • Pauline Bonaparte
  • Pretenders to the throne of Parma
    Pretenders to the throne of Parma
    This is a list of pretenders to the throne of Parma, which was ruled by the House of Bourbon-Parma until 1859 when the ducal family escaped after the Italian national insurrection linked to the Second Italian War of Independence....

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