From Academic Kids

For Tolkien's fictional character, see Est

To know more about the city, see Este (,en,SPOT/objectId,RGN3545it,curr,EUR,season,at1,selectedEntry,home/home.html)

Este, Italian princely family, rulers of Ferrara (12401597), Modena and Reggio (12881796). The origins of the family, of Frankish nobility, date back to the time of Charlemagne in the early 9th century when they settled in Lombardy.

Alberto Azzo d'Este II (996-1097) built a castle at Este, near Padua, and named himself after it. His sons, from two marriages, became the ancestors of different lines of the family:

  • Welf IV d'Este (Guelfo), the eldest (d. 1101), was the son of Kunigunde (d. 1056), the last of the Guelfs. He succeeded his maternal uncle, Welf III, as duke of Carinthia, became duke of Bavaria in 1070, and is the ancestor of the senior, German, line of Welfs (Welf-Este) that produced the Dukes of Saxony and Bavaria, Dukes of Brunswick and Lneburg, Electors and Kings of Hanover, and extends into the British royal family of today.
  • Hugo, issue of Azzo's second marriage to Garsend of Maine, inherited the county of Maine, his mother's dowry, but sold it one year later and died without heirs.
  • Fulco I (d. about 1128/35), the third son, began the younger Italian line of Fulc-Este or simply Este. From 1171 on, his descendants were titled Margraves of Este.

The two surviving branches, with Duke Henry the Lion of Saxony and Bavaria on the German side, concluded an agreement in 1154 which allocated the family's Italian possessions to the younger line, the Fulc-Este, who in the course of time acquired Ferrara, Modena und Reggio. Este itself was taken over in 1275 by Padua and in 1405 (together with Padua) by Venice.

All later generations of the Italian branch descend from Fulco d'Este. Obizzo I (d. 1193), the first margrave, battled against Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa. His nephew Azzo d'Este VI (1170-1212) became podesta of Mantova and Verona. Ferrara was acquired by his son Azzo VII (1205-1264). Obizzo II (d. 1293) was proclaimed Lord of Ferrara in 1264, Lord of Modena 1288 and Lord of Reggio 1289. Ferrara being a papal fief, the Este family were given papal vicar position 1332.

Ferrara became a significant center of culture under Niccol d'Este III (1384-1441) and his successors, notably Leonello (1407-1450) and Borso (1413-1471). Borso was elevated to Duke of Modena and Reggio by Emperor Frederick III in 1452 and in return received these duchies as imperial fiefs. In 1471 he received the duchy of Ferrara as papal fief from Pope Paul II.

Ercole's (1431-1505) daughter Beatrice (1475-1497) married Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milano, while his daughter Isabella (1474-1539) married Francesco Gonzaga, Marquess of Mantua. Ercole I's successor was his son Alfonso I (1476-1534), third husband of Lucrezia Borgia. Alfonso's son Ercole d'Este II (1508-1559) married Rene, daughter of Louis XII of France. The legitimate line ended in 1597 with the death of Alfonso II, son of Ercole II, but Emperor Rudolph II recognized as heir his cousin Cesare d'Este (1533-1628), member of a cadet branch, who continued to rule in the imperial duchies and carried on the family name. Ferrara, on the other hand, was annexed in 1598 by Pope Clement VIII on grounds of doubtful legitimacy and incorporated into the Papal States.

The last duke, Ercole III, was deposed in 1796 by the French and his two duchies became the Cispadane Republic which one year later was merged into the Cisalpine Republic and then into the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy. Ercole was compensated in 1801 with the small principality of Breisgau in southwestern Germany, whose previous rulers, the Habsburgs, ceded it to him in anticipation of its eventual return to the Habsburgs, since Ercole's daughter Mary Beatrice d'Este was married to a cadet Habsburg, Archduke Ferdinand. Ercole died in 1803 and Breisgau passed to his daughter and her husband, who then (1806) lost it during the Napoleonic reorganization of the western territories of the defunct Holy Roman Empire to the enlarged and elevated Grand Duchy of Baden.

In 1814, when French rule in Italy ended (but after the death of Duke Ercole), Modena was returned to his daughter Mary Beatrice and her son, Archduke Francis of Austria-Este. The family thus ruled the duchy of Modena and Reggio again from 1814 to 1859, using the names Asburgo-Este (Hapsburg-Este) and Austria-Este. In 1859 the duchy lost its independence to the new united Italy, and Francesco V, the last duke, was deposed.

The family of Austria-Este became extinct in the male line with the death of Francesco V in 1875. His blood-heiress was his niece, Archduchess Mary Theresa of Austria-Este (d. 1919); she and her husband, Prince Louis of Bavaria, later became Queen and King of Bavaria). The present head of this branch of the family is Francis, Duke of Bavaria.

However, Francesco V had decided to retain the Este name in the Habsburg family and willed his inheritance to the line of Archduke Charles Louis, younger brother of Emperor Francis Joseph, on condition that the heir use the name Austria-Este. The first "adoptee" was Archduke Francis Ferdinand (b. 1863, not descended from Mary Beatrice d'Este), who took the name Austria-Este and in 1896 became the heir presumptive of the Habsburg Empire, but was murdered on 28 June 1914 in Sarajevo. Since his own children were born in morganatic marriage (Hohenberg), the Habsburgs designated his soon-to-be born great-nephew Robert (b. 8 Feb 1915), second son of the future emperor Charles, as the next "adopted Austria-Este". Through his mother Zita of Parma (a great-granddaughter of Teresa of Savoy, Duchess of Lucca and Parma, who was a daughter of Teresa of Modena, Queen of Sardinia, who in turn was a daughter of Mary Beatrice d'Este and Ferdinand of Austria, Duchess and Duke of Breisgau and Modena), Robert was a descendant of Ercole d'Este III, and the blood of last Este dukes thus joined again with the name Austria-Este.

Today, the bearer of this tradition is the eldest son of Archduke Robert of Austria-Este (d. 1996), Archduke Lorenz Otto Charles of Austria-Este (b. 1955), who is married to Princess Astrid of Belgium, the only daughter of King Albert II. In 1995, Lorenz received the additional title of Prince of Belgium. Since 1991 the couple's children are titled Archduke (Archduchess) of Austria-Este and Prince(ss) of Belgium. Eldest of these is Archduke and Prince Amadeus of Austria-Este and Belgium (b. 1986).

see also:

List of Dukes of Ferrara and of Modena List of Dukes of Modena

Est is a Vala in J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium.

de:Este (Familie) it:Este ja:エステ家


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