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THE BOURBONS



THE BOURBONS Bourbon, reigning house. The name belonged to a feudal family of central France and after their extinction it passed on to a branch of Capetians. The first Bourbons date back to 11th century and their seat was Bourbon-l'Archambault castle. Since the accession to the throne of France of Henry IV, the family split in at least four branches, ruling in different countries: Bourbons of France, of Spain, the Neapolitan branch and the Dukes of Parma.
The Bourbons of Parma got the Duchy with Charles I (1731-34), the son of Philip V and Elizabeth Farnese, and his brother Philip (1720-1765): they were followed by Ferdinando I (1751-1802) and Lodovico (1773-1803). Carlo Lodovico (1799-1833) could take possession of the Duchy with the name of Charles II only after the death of Marie Louise of Austria, to whom it had been assigned by the Congress of Vienna. The last reigning Dukes were Charles III (1823-54) and Robert (1848-1907), who was removed during the insurrectionary movements in 1859.

CHARLES I
Charles I, king of Spain and Duke of Parma and Piacenza (Madrid 1716-1788). Charles, the son of Philip V and Elizabeth Farnese, ruled the Duchy from 1732 until 1734, when he became king of Naples with the title of Charles VII. In 1759 he succeded to his Father on the throne of Spain, ruling with the name of Charles III until his death. He is still remembered in Parma for his sackings of the artistic legacy of the town. As a matter of fact, pretending to save his family properties from Austrians, Charles moved to Naples most of the Farnese pieces of furniture, pictures and more than 13.000 books belonging to the Ducal Library as well as the precious Farnese Archives.

FERDINANDO
Ferdinando, Duke of Parma and Piacenza (Parma 1751-Badia di Fontevivo, Parma, 1802).
The son of Duke Philip and Louise Elizabeth of France, after his Father's death (1765) Ferdinando took the title of Duke under the regency of Léon-Guillaume Du Tillot, until he came of age. His magnificent wedding in 1769 with the moody Maria Amalia , the daughter of Maria Teresa of Austria, marked the decline of skilful Du Tillot. The minister, who displeased the new duchess and the clerical party because of his bold reforms and wasn't loved by the people due to his pro-French disposition, was dismissed and forced to leave the Duchy in 1771. In the following years Ferdinando I had to face the consequences of the French Revolution and most of all the threats of the French armies. In 1796 Napoleon, by that time bossing around in Europe, in spite of the Duke's neutrality, invaded Piacenza obtaining a remarkable war indemnity.
Later, in 1801, forced by an agreement between Napoleon and Spain, he had to give up the Duchy in favour of the French Republic, getting in exchange the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.
He died the following year in the Fontevivo abbey, probably after being poisoned.

PHILIP I
Philip, Duke of Parma and Piacenza (Madrid 1720-Alessandria 1765).
The second son of of Philip V of Spain and Elizabeth Farnese, he was assigned the Duchy owing to the Aquisgrana Treaty in 1748. His wedding with Louise Elizabeth, the daughter of Louis XV of France, brought about a remarkable change in the customs and life of the Duchy. Spanish was replaced by French and many skilled workers from France (architects, decorators, carpenters, sculptors, tailors) contributed to transform the Duchy.
Among them the famous architect Ennemond Petitot and the sculptor Jean-Baptiste Boudard.
The Duchy was actually ruled by minister Léon-Guillaume Du Tillot. Philip died of smallpox in Alessandria.






CHARLES I





FERDINANDO





PHILIP I