The military disasters that the Habsburgs suffered in 1541 in Hungary and North Africa seemed to pave the way for their main opponents in Christian Europe – Francis Valois, the most Christian king of France, and the Protestant princes of Germany. And while the German princes were still able to restrain themselves through diplomatic means, the French king intended once again to join the armed struggle for the controversial wealth in Flanders and Italy .
January, France: preparation
As early as 1541, King Francis was preparing a new war “with even greater care than usual . ” Of course, the success of the case and the final decisions in many respects depended on the outcome of the imperial campaign in Africa and on the kind of support that could be obtained at the courts of Europe.
The formal pretext for the impending war was the assassination of royal envoys to the Ottoman Sultan in Northern Italy in 1541. The real cause of contention was the rich lands of northern Italy and Flanders. The Duchy of Milan, promised to the son of Francis, Emperor Charles in 1540 gave to his son Philip. The king of Flanders also considered himself unprofitable.
Monetary and, in some cases, military support was expected from the Protestant English, Danish and Swedish kings, as well as from German princes, from the Portuguese king, who was the rival of the Spanish king in the “division of the world”, from the Venetian Republic, which was supposed to be pressed with the help of the Ottoman Sultan, and finally, from the Ottoman Sultan himself, whose help was considered decisive.
The Peace Party at the French court was defeated. So, back in June 1541, Anne de Montmorency, who advocated for peace, and France’s constable from 1538 for outstanding affairs in the previous Habsburg war of 1536-1537, lost his posts.
On November 29, 1541, a confederation agreement with Denmark was signed in Fontainebleau. The French king set the Danish pension at 10,000 gold per year, and he had to provide for the impending war, at the expense of the French king, 5,000 foot soldiers, if they could be sent by land, or 1,000 if they were sent by sea. Negotiations on a military alliance were conducted with Sweden.
Already on January 4, 1542, it was reported from Paris that the Duke of Karl of Orleans ordered the Milan coat of arms to be added to his armor, and that the king openly says that he disputes the disputed lands in Flanders, Navarre, and Italy as his own, and that the king received from him the king , gifts and graces, expects at least neutrality. Indeed, in January, Pope Paul refused to participate in money in the new league against the Turks proposed by the emperor.
For the purpose of the war, only at the beginning of 1542 the king received 100,000 gold from Paris, and another 700,000 were imposed on the rest of the kingdom, with a period until Easter, and 3/10 of this amount was to be collected by the French Catholic Church. Church donation boxes were confiscated, and the cardinals were supposed to pay the appointed first, and set an example. All the money that could be borrowed in Lyon was taken at 16%. For military purposes, huge profits from the salt tax and from the sale of the royal forests were launched.
January, Adriatic: first hits
In January, the seizure of the port of Maran (now Marano-Lagunar) took place on the northern coast of the Adriatic, not far from Venice. Maran at that time was a harbor where 300-400 galleys could stand, and a strategic junction of roads, where paths converged in all the most important regions of Italy and in southern German lands, in the possession of King Ferdinand of Habsburg. Formerly in the Venetian lands, Maran in the 16th century passed into the hands of the emperor Karl of Habsburg, who, having strengthened the city, transferred it to his brother Ferdinand. For a direct attack, Maran was considered impregnable.
However, one Germaniko, “a noble gentleman from one of the best houses of Friulia”and the client of the French king, as well as the captain Turchetto, arranged so that on January 12 ships entered the harbor of Marana, in which 300 soldiers were hiding under the false load of wood and coal. Then they arranged it so that at noon on January 13 these people entered the castle and killed the captain and his 18 soldiers. After that, they captured the whole city and raised the banners of the French king with white crosses over him and sent a certain Spanoletto with letters to the court of the French king, informing him that the city was at his disposal. The envoy arrived at the scene on the evening of January 21, and on January 22, King Francis announced to the ambassadors of the emperor, Venice and the pope both about what had happened and that he himself did not know anything about the conspiracy, but he would consider whether to take the city into possession. The imperial ambassador angrily protested, the ambassadors of Venice and Rome generally approved of the king’s intention,
February – April, Speyer on the Rhine: Imperial Diet
Having lost enormous resources in the previous year, and not having sufficient military forces, the Habsburgs could still oppose the plans of the French king with the political weight of the Holy Roman Empire. Announced at the end of 1541, an imperial diet was opened in Speyer on February 8, and the emperor Karl, in his employment, handed over the chair to his brother Ferdinand. The main issue was a military campaign in Hungary – both to repel the alleged campaign of the Sultan, and to return the lands of the former Hungarian kingdom captured by the Turks into the hands of Christian sovereigns.
In fact, the decisive mobilization of “all Christianity [Europe]” , blessed by the pope and based on the military power of the Habsburg empire, would certainly have knocked down the intentions of the pro-French coalition and influenced their potential allies. The Protestant princes were promised for three years that they could consider themselves “equal to the Catholics . ” The hiring of the 50,000th force was approved “to repulse the Turk and return the land he occupied in Hungary . ” An extraordinary tax was introduced to pay for the army, among other things, taxing movable property, real estate, transactions, church income, and much more; heavy payments were imposed on the Jews.
All the lords – in the first place, of course, meant King Francis – were urged not to wage war in Christian countries. The Swiss were required not to start a war and not to allow their own to be hired by the lords who would wage war in Christian countries – it was the Swiss who made up the most important part of the infantry of the French kingdom. The King of Denmark, as an imperial citizen according to Holstein, was called to share the costs of the campaign, besides, the “princes of Lower Germany” —that is, the Protestants, potential allies of the king of France — were especially called upon .
At the Sejm in Speyer there was a representative of the French king, who extensively declared the king’s readiness to help defend Hungary by persuading the Sultan not to attack; but the German lands were not supposed to start wars. Secretly, the envoy persuaded the princes not to help in Hungary, since the Sultan will not go camping this year.
February – March, France: preparations
The French envoy at Speyer, of course, was cunning. King Francis expected a lot from the Sultan – and financial assistance, and sending the fleet. Last but not least, King Francis hoped precisely for the Ottoman campaign in Hungary under the personal command of the Sultan, which would distract his attention and strength from affairs in Western Europe.
Indeed, on March 8, Captain Polen (Antoine Escalen des Amar), the royal ambassador to the Sultan, returned to Paris from Constantinople. In addition to sultan gifts to the king, he brought the promise of the sultan to “pacify the enemies of the king” , for which the sultan promised to come at the head of 200,000 troops and 400 ships; and made “many other promises to which the king and his court were unheard of glad . ”
New encouraging news came from Constantinople: a fleet of 300 units was preparing to go to sea, and Hayreddin Barbarossa spent all the time in the arsenal; stockpiled food supplies for the army.
On February 10, all units in the French service in Piedmont were called to scheduled places, and in France a militia was announced. All persons, spiritual and secular, who kept the royal lands on lease or sublease, had to submit a documented value of their allotment for the last month and in accordance with this, within 15 days to prepare to go personally to the war for two months or pay the infantry hire according to the cost put on. Frontier castles in Flanders and in Piedmont were provided with supplies, and the French navy was preparing to go to sea.
March – May: diplomatic front
By the spring and summer of 1542, the Habsburgs faced the prospect of a war with all the main opponents, and on several fronts. However, the Holy Roman Empire and the wealth of America remained at their disposal. So, only the April convocation of Castilian Cortes put at the disposal of the emperor a budget of 1,200,000 gold.
Habsburg diplomacy was not unsuccessful. In the spring of 1542, he managed to divert from the hostile coalition the English king Henry, who was the second most important, after the Sultan, the hope of King Francis. They used the long-standing claims of King Henry to the redistribution of Flanders between him and the emperor, and the delay in paying him the French “pension” (repayment of French debt), and the breakdown of the marriage of the Duke of Orleans with Princess Mary. The emperor had earlier actually abandoned the plan of the invasion of England, in addition to the great displeasure of the pope, propaganda against the “heretic king” was muffled. Now Henry was given a great opportunity to sell his support at a higher price – and in his opinion, the promises of the French king looked less thorough.
Already in mid-May, at the French court, they talked about a possible war with England. In mid-May, the draft agreement of the emperor and the English king was secretly drawn up, one of the points of which was military mutual assistance against the French king. In this case, France would have had to fear an English invasion through the Calais brand, as a result of which Henry could capture one of the border cities and, in exchange for returning, demand an immediate return of debts, and something else. The British, in turn, believed that one of the first actions of France in the event of war was the elimination of the English bridgehead on the mainland, so that both sides have so far strengthened the border cities and amassed supplies.
By May, the position of Venice was revealed. The republic decided to stay away, although it strengthened its own strong points. The promises of the French and Sultan representatives, captain Polen and Eunice Bey did not help, return Napoli di Malvasia and in addition to Cremona, or something else from the former Venetian cities in Northern Italy. The hints did not help either that it would be nice to be on the side of the winners – in a private way Eunice Bey said that his lord the sultan would see the French king in Milan, even if he had to give all of him, the sultan, the kingdom.
King Francis failed to secure the active support of the Portuguese king. The German princes remained neutral, although both the emperor and the king tried to persuade them to participate in the war. But secret negotiations were already underway between King Francis and the Duke of Cleves, who was in a dispute with the emperor over the rights to the Duchy of Geldern, and Mr. Longewal was sent to the lands of the duke with 20,000 gold to hire cavalry. At the same time, hiring troops for three armies – imperial, royal and imperial for Hungary – went unhindered in German lands. When the English ambassador noticed that it was hardly possible for the French king to wage war without German soldiers, because they were all hired to fight the Turk, Admiral de Brion, one of the main royal military leaders, replied that if there were money, there would be soldiers and all the best German captains his master had already hired.”They are full of military virtues, especially their infantry, which is considered unsurpassed in battle … however, in sobriety and military order they do not compare with the Spaniards and Italians, who must be kept among the [Germans] . ”
In Italy, in the spring of 1542, the imperial and royal sides actively gathered troops and repaired the fortresses. Most of the Spanish infantry, returning from the Algerian campaign, was intended to defend the Kingdom of Naples. Marquis Vasto was gaining troops on Milan money. A French detachment of 500 people continued to hold Maran and even raided the lands of Ferdinand of Habsburg. A large army of the French king was supposedly gathering in Piedmont, but it was only misinformation – the main battles were not planned here.
June 1542: escalation
By summer, it became clear that the Sultan would not go to Hungary this year with an “official” war, but it remained unknown that Sultan Admiral Hayreddin Barbarossa would “personally” take to the sea. In May-June, different things were reported about his actions: that he had already launched the fleet into the sea, and that he had lost half of the fleet during the storm, and that he was still far away, and that he was about to be. In fact, the participation of the Ottoman fleet in the European War of 1542 was limited to the raid of the Dragut flotilla on the shores of the Neapolitan and Sicilian kingdoms.
Back in May, the governors of the French king retreated to their armies and contingents: Messrs. Annebo, Lange and Brissac – to Piedmont, Vendome – to Picardy, Longeval – to the Duchy of Cleves, Pietro Strozzi led the garrison of Maran.
The Pope, who still saw the main danger to Christianity not in the Turks, but in heretics, issued a bull on June 11, in which he urged Christian rulers to stop strife, and on November 1, 1542 he announced the holy and canonical universal church council in Trent. The presence of the emperor, the king and all other masters at the council was declared highly desirable for the benefit of the Christian faith and the salvation of all Christians – in fact, this cathedral, which became the embodiment of the counter-reformation, was opened only in 1545 and completed in 1563.
On May 24, Emperor Karl announced a gathering of troops in Flanders. He himself arrived on June 22 at Monzon in Aragon, where he stayed until October 10.
Having the English king in potential enemies, the French king sent representatives to the Scottish king with the task of starting a war with the “English monster” – that is, a heretic, or at least divert Henry’s attention from Europe with border clashes. The anti-English party at the French court was gaining strength, and in the event of Henry’s appearance on the emperor’s side, absolutely fantastic plans were proposed, such as the invasion of England by the Scottish, Danish and Swedish kings, who “could eat the British in four days . ”
England was strenuously preparing for war, “and no one knew against whom . ” In June, large quantities were minted in silver coins and confiscated church utensils. Warships were outfitted, which loaded all that was needed for the war, and worked so actively that “10 leagues around left unoccupied carpenters and workers”. Another 18 transports were loaded at the ports of Cornwall. It was supposed to have a fleet ready to sail by the day of St. John (June 24), but this was nothing more than a demonstration, since the troops were not hired and merchant ships were not arrested. The purpose of these preparations was either to impress King Francis and persuade him to make concessions, or to show the emperor active participation in the prepared military alliance. The actual sending of troops to the mainland was limited to 2,000 sappers to strengthen Gin in the Calais brand. By July, Henry had already agreed with the emperor and at the same time intended to attack France the next year, and demand Boulogne as a reward.
The French coalition was strengthened by another distant ally: on July 1, 1542, a defensive and offensive alliance between France and Sweden was signed in Ranya, who considered the kings of Scotland and Denmark, the dukes of Prussia, Geldern and Klev, and the allies of Sweden, the same lords, but without Prussian, the allies of France Duke. Like Denmark, fleet assistance was supposed from Sweden.
At the same time, emissaries of the French king continued to incite the Scottish king to war against England. Border incidents have begun, so far small ones: “5 or 6 large villages have been burned, cattle driven away” . But the time of this war has not yet come.
In Austria, meanwhile, troops converged for the Hungarian campaign. The only political obstacle in Hungary was seen in the opposition of the Polish king Sigismund to the intentions of King Ferdinand, in favor of the daughter of Sigismund, Queen Mother Isabella. Here the affairs of the Habsburgs went, as if, well.