Battle of St. Quentin (1557)
|Battle of St. Quentin|
|Part of the Italian War of 1551–1559|
Map of Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy's Dutch campaign
Duchy of Savoy
|Kingdom of France|
|Commanders and leaders|
Ferrante I Gonzaga
Lamoral, Count of Egmont
Louis Gonzaga, Duke of Nevers|
Anne de Montmorency
|Casualties and losses|
|1,000||3,000 killed and 7,000 captured or 14,000|
The Battle of Saint-Quentin of 1557 was fought at Saint-Quentin, Picardy, in northern France, during the Italian War of 1551–1559. The battle was won by Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy and forces loyal to Phillip II of Spain, who controlled the Spanish Netherlands.
The battle took place on the Feast Day of St. Lawrence 10 August. The French forces under Constable Anne de Montmorency were overwhelmed, and Montmorency was captured by the forces under the command of the Philibert of Savoy and the Count of Egmont, in an alliance with English troops. England had entered the war at the behest of Phillip II, who married Mary I of England in 1554. England declared war on France, 7 June 1557.
After the victory over the French at St. Quentin, "the sight of the battlefield gave Philip a permanent distaste for war"; he declined to pursue his advantage, withdrawing to the Spanish Netherlands to the north, where he had been the Governor since 1555. The Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis ended the war two years later.
Feast of Saint Lawrence
Being of a grave religious bent, Philip II was aware that 10 August is the Feast of St Lawrence, a Roman deacon who was roasted on a gridiron for his Christian beliefs. Hence, in commemoration of the great victory on St Lawrence’s Day, Philip sent orders to Spain that a great palace in the shape of a gridiron should be built in the Guadarrama Mountains northwest of Madrid. Known as El Escorial, it was finally completed in 1584.
The greatest impact of this battle was not on France, England or Spain, but on Italy. Duke Emmanuel Philibert of Savoy, having won the victory, had also secured a place at the conference table when the terms of peace were deliberated, resulting in the Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis. The duke was able to secure the independence of the Duchy of Savoy, which had been occupied by the French a generation earlier. As part of the peace terms, Emmanuel Philibert married Marguerite d’Angoulême, younger sister of King Henry II of France, in 1559. The Duke of Savoy moved his capital across the Alps to Turin two years later, making Savoy an Italian state and refounding the dynasty of the House of Savoy, which would become the royal house of a united Italy in 1860.
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