EUROPEAN ROYAL HOUSES

 

 

THE HOUSE OF GONZAGA , HEIRS TO THE SOVEREIGN MARQUESSATE OF MANTUA

GENEALOGY OF THE PRINCES GONZAGA

The Gonzaga family ruled as Sovereigns of Mantua 1328-1707, Monferrato 1536-1707, and Guastalla 1539-1746. It descends from Filippo Gonzaga living ca 1150, father of Abramino di Conradis di Gonzaga (d 1210), ancestor of Luigi Gonzaga (1268 - 1360), a leading Guelph nobleman, who in 1328 became Captain of Mantua, in 1329 hereditary Imperial Vicar, was inscribed as Patrician of Venice (for all descendants) 1332, & in 1340 was invested with the Lordship of Mantua by the Pope and in 1349 by the Emperor. Luigi Gonzaga was ancestor of Gian Francesco (1395 - 1444), 5th Sovereign Lord of Mantua, who was created a Prince of the Holy Roman Empire 6 May 1432 (male primogeniture), and Mantua erected into a Marquessate fief of the Empire by Patent of 29 Sep1433, with the title of Marquess for all descendants. His successor, Lodovico III (d 1478) married a Hohenzollern Princess; his two younger sons, Gian Francesco (d 1498) and Rodolfo (d 1494) founded the lines of Princes of Bezzola (extinct 1703), and Castiglione & Solferino (extinct 1819). The elder son, Federico I (1440 - 1484) m Margaret of Bavaria and is the ancestor of the present line, through his younger son Giovanni (1474-1525), Captain-General of the Emperor Maximilian I, Lord of Vescovato, in whose possession he was confirmed by Charles V in 1521. Federico II, son of Gian Francesco II (d 1519) and Isabella d'Este, was elevated to the status of Sovereign Duke of Mantua in 1530, m Margaret Paleologus, Marchioness of Monferrato, and conferred the Sovereign County of Guastalla on his younger son Ferdinando I (d 1557). A branch of the senior Mantua line settled in France and received the French Duke-Peerages of Nevers and Rethelois, but returned to Mantua on succeeding to the Sovereign Duchy in 1627. Carlo IV (d 1708) sided with France in the War of the Spanish Succession, losing his territories in 1707 which were permanently confiscated and divided between Austria and Savoy by the Treaty of Utrecht (1713). The male line of this branch became extinct in 1708, when its rights passed to the line of Guastalla. The line of Sovereign Counts, later Sovereign Dukes of Guastalla, Princes of Bozzolo, Dukes of Sabionetta (1703) became extinct in the male line in 1746 (and the duchy was united with the Duchy of Parma by the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle of 1748), when their right of representation passed to the senior surviving line of Vescovato. The title of Prince of the H.R.E. was confirmed for all branches 1 Mar 1593, with the qualification of "Celesissimus" (Serene Highness) and the title of Count Palatine for the eldest son of the head of the House, along with the right to mint money. The Lords of Vescovato were made Grandees of Spain 1703. With the extinction of the junior lines of Princes of Luzzara with the death of Prince Giovanni (1721-?) and Princes of Castiglione & Solferino with the death of last Prince Luigi III (1745-1819), rights to these titles were inherited by family pact by the senior line of Vescovado (Vescovato), although rights over Castiglione and Solferino had been ceded to Austria by the last Prince (in return for an annuity) in breach of this pact. The title of Princely Grace recognized by Austria 31 Oct 1861 for Prince Antonio Francesco, son of Prince Francesco Carlo. The title of Marquess of the Vodice conferred on Lt-Gen Prince Maurizio Ferrante (b 21 Sep 1861; d 24 Mar 1938), son of Prince Antonio Francesco, 29 Dec 1932. The titles of Prince and Marquess of the H.R.E., Patrician of Venice, Lord of Vescovato, Don or Donna, Nobile Uomo or Nobile Donna, born by all members, also Count of Villanova and Cassolnovo (17 Sep 1773, mpr), have been confirmed in Italy; the ancient title of Imperial Vicar, the Imperial title of Serene Highness, and Count Palatine, and the Austrian title of Princely Grace, have not been recognized in Italy.