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Victor Amadeus II

Victor Amadeus II (ămədēˈəs) [key], 1666–1732, duke of Savoy (1675–1713), king of Sicily (1713–20), king of Sardinia (1720–30). Succeeding his father, Charles Emmanuel II, as duke of Savoy, he overthrew the regency of his mother in 1683. Finding himself caught between France and the house of Hapsburg, he steered an opportunistic course in foreign policy, guided in part by his desire to rid Savoy of French influence, in part by his appetite for territorial aggrandizement. Under French pressure he took (1686) severe measures against the Waldenses, but in 1690 he joined the League of Augsburg (see Augsburg, League of) against the French king Louis XIV and returned to a more tolerant policy at home. Although defeated by the French in the War of the Grand Alliance, he concluded a favorable separate peace in the Treaty of Turin (1696), which restored Pinerolo to Savoy and caused the collapse of the alliance. In the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–13) he at first sided with France, but changed sides once more in 1703. The French occupied Savoy, but were obliged to lift the siege of Turin after Victor Amadeus and his cousin, Eugene of Savoy, had thoroughly defeated them in 1706. The peace (see Utrecht, Peace of) awarded him Sicily with the royal title and gave him additional territory in N Italy, including Alessandria. When the Spanish seized (1718) Sicily, the Quadruple Alliance was formed and humbled Spain. Victor Amadeus in 1720 abandoned his claim to Sicily in exchange for the island of Sardinia and became king of Sardinia. He abdicated in 1730 in favor of his son, Charles Emmanuel III.

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

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See more Encyclopedia articles on: Italian History: Biographies


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