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Conti

Conti (kôNtēˈ) [key], cadet branch of the French royal house of Bourbon. Although the title of prince of Conti was created in the 16th cent., the founder of the continuous line was Armand de Bourbon, prince de Conti, 1629–66, son of Henry II de Condé (see under Condé, family) and brother of Louis II de Bourbon, prince de Condé, with whom he was in rivalry. Disappointed in his expectation of a cardinal's hat, Armand led rebel armies during the first Fronde; his brother supported the government. Later they joined together in the second Fronde. Armand was reconciled (1653) with the court and married (1654) a niece of Cardinal Mazarin. He was given command of the army in the Italian and Spanish campaigns (1654–57). Toward the end of his life he turned to religious mysticism and retired (1657) to his estates, where he wrote several theological and moral treatises. He was a friend and protector of Molière. His eldest son, Louis Armand I de Bourbon, died while young, and his next son, François Louis de Bourbon, prince de Conti, 1664–1709, succeeded. His debauchery and his mockery of Louis XIV caused him to be banished (1683) to Chantilly. He then joined the Hungarian campaign of Charles V of Lorraine. Later he returned to Louis XIV's service and fought in the Dutch War. In 1697 he competed unsuccessfully with Augustus II (Frederick Augustus I, elector of Saxony) for the Polish throne. Louis François de Bourbon, prince de Conti, 1717–76, French general, grandson of François, served in the War of the Austrian Succession under General Belle-Isle in Bavaria, and in 1744 he received command of the army in Piedmont. He also distinguished himself in the campaigns in Germany (1745) and Flanders (1746). He resigned his commission in 1747 and for a while was a candidate for the Polish throne. Disliked by Mme de Pompadour, however, he lost favor at court. In opposition to the king, he supported the parlement against René Nicolas de Maupeou; later he opposed the reforms of A. R. J. Turgot. He was a writer and a friend of Jean Jacques Rousseau. His son, the last of the line, Louis François Joseph, prince de Conti, 1734–1814, fought in the Seven Years War, notably at the battles of Hastenbeck (1757) and Krenfeld (1758). He was the only prince of the blood to favor the edicts of Maupeou (1771). He signed the protests of the princes in 1789 and left France, but he returned in 1790. He was arrested in 1793 and detained at Marseilles. In 1795 he was exiled to Spain.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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