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Dextera Domini exaltavit me
"The right hand of the Lord is exalted"
Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser
"God Save Emperor Francis"
Este territories (Modena, Reggio and Ferrara) in yellow
The Duchy of Modena and Reggio (Italian: Ducato di Modena e Reggio, Latin: Ducatus Mutinae et Regii was a small Italian state that existed from 1452 to 1859, with a break between 1796 and 1814. It was ruled by the noble House of Este, from 1814 Austria-Este.
House of Este
In 1452 Emperor Frederick III enfeoffed the duchy to Borso d'Este, whose family had ruled the city of Modena and Reggio Emilia for centuries. Borso in 1450 had also succeeded his brother as margrave in the adjacent Papal Duchy of Ferrara, where he received the ducal title in 1471. The Este lands on the southern border of the Holy Roman Empire with the Papal States formed a stabilizing buffer state in the interest of both.
The first Este dukes ruled invulnerably and achieved an economic and cultural peak: Borso's successor Duke Ercole I had the city of Modena rebuilt according to plans designed by Biagio Rossetti, his successors were patrons of artists like Titian and Ludovico Ariosto. In the War of the League of Cambrai from 1508, troops from Modena fought in Papal service against the Republic of Venice. Upon the death of Duke Alfonso II in 1597, the ducal line became extinct. The Este lands were bequested to Alfonso's cousin Cesare d'Este, however, the succession was not acknowledged by Pope Clement VIII and Ferrara was finally seized by the Papacy. Cesare could retain Modena and Reggio as Imperial fiefs.
In the 1628 War of the Mantuan Succession, the dukes of Modena sided with Habsburg Spain and in turn received the town of Correggio from the hands of Emperor Ferdinand II. During the War of the Spanish Succession, Duke Rinaldo was ousted by French troops under Louis Joseph de Bourbon, he could not return until 1707. His successor Francesco III backed France in the 1740 War of the Austrian Succession, and was expelled by Habsburg forces, but his duchy was restored by the 1748 Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. In 1711 the small duchy of Mirandola was absorbed by the Este.
In 1796, Modena was again occupied by a French army under Napoleon Bonaparte, who deposed Duke Ercole III and created the Cispadane Republic out of his territory. By the 1801 Treaty of Lunéville the last Este Duke was compensated with the Breisgau region of the former Further Austrian territories in southwestern Germany, and died in 1803. Following his death, the ducal title was inherited by his son-in-law, the Habsburg-Lorraine archduke Ferdinand of Austria, an uncle of Emperor Francis II.
House of Austria-Este
With the dissolution of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy in 1814, Ferdinand's son, Francis IV, again assumed the rule as Duke of Modena. Soon after, he inherited the territories of Massa and Carrara from his mother. In the course of the Italian unification, the Austria-Este dukes were briefly ousted in 1831 and 1848, but soon returned.
During the Second Italian War of Independence, following the 1859 Battle of Magenta the last Duke Francis V was again forced to flee, this time permanently. In December, Modena joined with Tuscany and Parma to form the United Provinces of Central Italy, which were annexed to the Kingdom of Sardinia in March 1860.
Provinces of the Duchy before the dissolution
- Modena (Duchy of Modena)
- Reggio (Duchy of Reggio)
- Massa and Carrara (Duchy of Massa and Carrara)
The Duke of Modena was:
- Duke of Modena (Lord 1288, Duke 1452) and Reggio (nell'Emilia) (Lord 1289, Duke 1452)
- Duke of Ferrara (Lord 1264, Duke 1471-1597)
- Duke of La Mirandola (1710), Massa (1829) and Guastalla (1847)
- Prince of the Holy Roman Empire, Prince of Carpi (1525), Correggio (1659), San Martino in Rio (1752) and of Carrara and Lunigiana (1829),
- Marquess of Montecchio (1597, marquessate in 1569), of Scandiano (1645) and La Concordia (1710)
- Sovereign Earl of Novellara (1737) and Bagnolo (1737),
- Earl of Jeno ed Avad (Hungary, 1726)
- Lord of Sassuolo (1373), San Martino in Spino (1710), Campogalliano (1752), Castellarano (1752), Rodeglia (1752), Ieno and San Cassiano
- Trudy Ring; Robert M. Salkin; Sharon La Boda (1 January 1996). International Dictionary of Historic Places: Southern Europe. Taylor & Francis. pp. 446–. ISBN 978-1-884964-02-2 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]. Retrieved 21 February 2011.
- Modena Ducale – Associazione "Legittimismo Estense"