Odoardo Farnese, Duke of Parma  

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Odoardo was the sole legitimate son of Ranuccio I Farnese and Margherita Aldobrandini. After Ranuccio's natural son and his potential rival, Ottavio, was relegated in a prison, he reigned initially under the regency of his uncle Odoardo Cardinal Farnese and, after the latter's death, of his mother, Margherita Aldobrandini.

He came of age in 1628 and in the same year he married Margherita de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany Cosimo II de' Medici's daughter. His first notable act as Duke was an alliance with France in 1633, a move designed to counter Spanish predominance in northern Italy and support his territorial ambitions. He also asked for loans to improve the army, but his first campaigns were ineffective: Piacenza was occupied by the Spanish troops, and his army was defeated by Francesco I d'Este. Spanish troops overran the duchy and devastated the countryside, but did not attempt to lay siege to the cities. In the absence of French assistance, Odoardo was convinced by Pope Urban VIII to sign a treaty of peace with Spain in 1637.




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