The Unexpected: In the time of Louis XII's heir

Another great chapter, without the money and manpower draining effects of multiple Italian wars going on, France who already was a very rich country will have more to invest in the growth of cities and their economy, especially with them having good deals with Genoa (makes me wonder if they can't start talks with the Medicis about the possibility of marriages as well as implementing their banking system on France to better rationalize the economy) as well as other economically rich places.

Also interesting early colonization of America by the French, especially because they landed in Virginia first. With a way healthier economy, we could see them populating the place with their massive numbers, wouldn't be surprised if they practically claimed the whole of the north American east coast within a couple decades or so. Also opens up the possibility for french expansion and exploring somewhere else, like settling down the Cape of Good Hope so they can have a nice route towards India and Asia in general.
 
Another great chapter, without the money and manpower draining effects of multiple Italian wars going on, France who already was a very rich country will have more to invest in the growth of cities and their economy, especially with them having good deals with Genoa (makes me wonder if they can't start talks with the Medicis about the possibility of marriages as well as implementing their banking system on France to better rationalize the economy) as well as other economically rich places.

Also interesting early colonization of America by the French, especially because they landed in Virginia first. With a way healthier economy, we could see them populating the place with their massive numbers, wouldn't be surprised if they practically claimed the whole of the north American east coast within a couple decades or so. Also opens up the possibility for french expansion and exploring somewhere else, like settling down the Cape of Good Hope so they can have a nice route towards India and Asia in general.
Indeed. It will be a special period for France.

I tried to depict a plausible situation in which a regency will be implied. For many regencies of the time, regents try to handle the issues of the kingdom without adding uncertain situations that could threaten their positions, for example wars (except when war is already occuring, like it was the case for the regency of Anne of Austria for her son Louis XIV). As it is a very long regency and the fact that Charles IX won't make huge decisions before being around his twenties, that would give for France nearly two decades to thrive and taking profit of opportunities, especially with the New World. Concerning the economical policies, I try to take inspiration both from Henry VII of England's policies and Charles VII of France's policies

Concerning the exploration of the New World, I takes inspiration from Giovanni Verrazzano's historical expedition in 1523-1524 where he found the territories depicted in the thread (except that the bay of New York was named Terre d'Angouleme to honour Francis I). The main difference is the royal support to the expedition, as IOTL, Verrazzano was supported by a rich shipowner from Dieppe since Francis I was at war with Charles V.
 
1521-1523: In the British Isles
1521-1523: In the British Isles
The years 1521-1523 saw the kingdoms of the British Isles experience distinct situations as events affecting Christendom were developing.

In 1521, the kingdom of England benefited from its alliance and proximity to the kingdom of France through trade with the north of the kingdom and with Flanders, and the chancellor's peace and economic measures helped to consolidate the royal treasury, although this also created resentment among the population. Since becoming chancellor, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey has managed the king's wishes competently and diplomatically, while at the same time developing his power and influence. The French alliance was strengthened by the promise of marriage between Henry VIII's daughter and the son of Francis III of Brittany and his renunciation of the title of King of France. This alliance was at the heart of a diplomatic policy which some like to compare to the policy of the late Henry VII, Henry VIII's father.
The events of 1521-22 changed this approach, although it continued to exist in a different form. The capture of Belgrade and Leo X's appeal to Christian rulers to take part in a military expedition against the Turks aroused Henry VIII's keen interest in the autumn of 1521. But his fickle nature contributed to a decline in his motivation to participate in the project, especially when Leo X died. Negotiations led by Leo X's successor, Paul III, and the fact that Emperor Charles V and the French regency seemed ready to join an alliance against the Turks, made the English ruler want to join the alliance, unwilling to see his neighbours and rivals achieve a glory that he could attain. Part of him dreamed of being able to become the new Richard the Lionheart if he could not achieve what Edward III and Henry V had come close to in France. The English lords, however, were more mixed or uncertain about the project, with most seeing no point in it. Despite the lack of motivation of some of his lords, Henry VIII asked Thomas Boleyn to take part in the Cambrai meeting in September 1523, which was to determine the distribution of responsibilities in the expedition. The English king was given the task of deploying the English fleet to support the Portuguese and Spanish fleets in North Africa. Wanting to go further, the sovereign entrusted his friend, Charles Brandon, to lead the military forces that would accompany the fleet on the expedition.
During the same period, Henry VIII sought to make his court the most brilliant in Christendom, stimulated by the power of the Habsburgs but above all by the dynamism of the French royal court, where his sister and Duke François III of Brittany competed in patronage to strengthen their prestige and influence. This search led to an increase in the number of parties and tournaments in which the king participated, when he was not hunting with his friends and confidants. During these physical activities, Henry VIII was the victim of several accidents. The most serious of these occurred in 1521 during a tournament when his opponent's spear almost pierced his eye.
Another feature of this period was Henry VIII's firm stance against Luther's ideas. This was expressed in the publication of the theological treatise Defending the Seven Sacraments in 1521, which led to Henry VIII being granted the title 'Defender of the Faith' by Pope Leo X. Beyond this text, the king relied on his chancellor to combat the development of Luther's ideas in his realm, while Thomas More published Responsio ad Lutherum in 1523 in response to Martin Luther's critical text towards the king.
This religious policy did not, however, prevent elements of reform in the local management of the church, especially after the election of Paul III. Thus, in 1523, Thomas Wolsey obtained from the Pope the power to carry out reform in England. This led him to take up the papal reform of the Augustinian order, but also to begin an investigation into the good behaviour of the convents in the territories of York and Ipwich.
Although the kingdom of England was prosperous and had a prominent place in Christendom, Henry VIII was dissatisfied, as he still had no son with his wife, Catherine of Aragon. The situation was made worse by the fact that he had an illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy, born in 1519, and his two nephews continued to grow up healthy.

The years 1521-1523 were complicated for the Kingdom of Scotland: the compromise reached by the Treaty of Calais in 1517 was fading for a number of reasons. On the one hand, the strong rivalry between John Stuart of Albany and Archibald Douglas had grown stronger over the years, with the regent determined to govern the kingdom as he saw fit while the head of the Douglas clan wanted to take over the regency. This rivalry is reflected in numerous incidents between their allies. The former accuses the latter of trying to usurp the power of the regency council, while the head of the Douglas clan denounces the abuses of the former. Control over James V is at the heart of the tensions, as both want to keep him under their own influence, regardless of the compromises that allow Margaret Tudor to visit him. The existence of the Anglo-French alliance also contributed to the tensions as it weakened Albany's position as chief regent while the English party led by Archibald Douglas grew stronger.
In order to maintain his position, John II Stuart made several trips to France between 1521 and 1523, both to visit the lands he had in his possession, but also to seek the support of the French regency. He relied on Francis III of Brittany who had allowed him to return to Scotland to take up the position of regent, being untrusting of Mary of England whom he suspected of being more favourable to his sister. These journeys enabled him to gain French approval, even though this approval appeared to be lukewarm due to the lack of firm support from the regent.
In this struggle for influence, Margaret plays a particular game. While she was officially a key member of the English faction because of her family relationship with Henry VIII, the existence of the 'Tudor Triumvirate' and her desire to regain a prominent position at the top of the regency council led her to develop links with both English supporters and members of the French faction. In addition, her relationship with her second husband deteriorated, as she learned of his infidelities and the fact that he had paid his mistress with the money she possessed. Taking advantage of the alliance situation with the kingdoms of France and England, she manages to develop a network of allies bringing together Scottish lords from both factions who have no problem collaborating together, as there is no rivalry between their respective clans. However, this network was not easy to maintain or develop, as rivalries between Scottish lords could be very strong. In addition, neither John II Stuart nor Archibald Douglas wanted to see the dowager queen return to prominence, even though the regent could rely on her support on several occasions.
These rivalries also contributed to the development of a third camp which approached Christian II of Denmark in the hope of gaining the support of Charles V. This faction found it difficult to develop influence, as their main ally was faced with the Swedish War of Independence that followed the Stockholm Bloodbath of December 1520. Added to this was the fact that Charles V seemed uninterested in supporting a faction in Scotland, even if he did support it in order to gain some influence in Scotland. The development of the imperial faction was weakened by the defeat and exile of Christian II in January 1523 when he was driven from power in Sweden and Denmark.
 
Nice little chapter with the English, so without a protestant England, there's no annulment of his marriage between the two of them, does that mean that someone else than Elizabeth takes the throne once he dies or does someone else?
 
Nice little chapter with the English, so without a protestant England, there's no annulment of his marriage between the two of them, does that mean that someone else than Elizabeth takes the throne once he dies or does someone else?
Technically, it's because Henry VIII attempted to annul his marriage with Catherine of Aragon that the Reformation thrives in England : the pope Clement VII hesitated and refused to grant the annulment to the English King (for different reasons, mainly the huge influence and pressure of Charles V after the Sacking of Roma, because of the fact he was Catherine's nephew).
However, the "Great Matter" as it was called would have its little twists in the thread that depicts it (I won't spoil much, but let's just say another context and another pope can make wonders in the way events are going).
 
1521-1523: From Spain to Hungary
1521-1523: From Spain to Hungary
The years 1521-1523 saw the Habsburgs strengthen their dominant position in Christendom but also face many challenges.

In 1521, Charles V sought to consolidate his authority over his territories but also over Christendom, determined to resurrect the universal empire that had existed at the time of Charlemagne and especially the Romans of old. The fall of Belgrade in August 1521 gave him the opportunity to develop this ambition thanks to the revival of the military expedition project against the Turks by Pope Leo X. He was the first to invest in the project, signing an alliance with the Pope in October 1521, which at the same time allowed him to obtain papal recognition for his title of King of Naples. In addition, the Grand Master of the Knights Hospitallers called on him for help, which gave him an opportunity to lead the great battle of faith against the infidel Turks. This led him to prepare a fleet during the winter of 1521-22 to provide Rhodes with reinforcements and resources to support a siege that the Knights Hospitaller believed was imminent. During 1522 and the Ottoman siege of the island, Charles V was the main supporter of the island's defenders, sending a total of three fleets between March and December 1522 to support the Hospitallers against the Turks. The success against the Turks helped to strengthen the ties between the Knights Hospitallers and the Emperor, who also gained great prestige from his support of the defenders of Rhodes.
The election of Paul III strengthened the ties between Charles V and the papacy, with the new pope supporting him in the project against the Ottoman Empire. Charles V became the leader of the Holy League, drawing up the project for a military expedition during 1523 and gaining the support of most of the members of the alliance. The emperor also developed his ties with the kingdom of Hungary through the marriage of his sister Mary to Louis II of Hungary in December 1521, while his brother Ferdinand married the Hungarian king's sister, Anne Jagellon. In order for his brother to honour the promise of marriage obtained at the Congress of Vienna by their grandfather Maximilian I, Charles V granted responsibility for the hereditary lands of the House of Habsburg to his brother in the Treaty of Worms of April 1521.
But while the Habsburg ruler was developing his policy of universal empire and champion of Catholicism, he also faced various difficulties in his various territories. In Spain, two major revolts raged in the years 1520-1522. The first revolt was that of the Germanias in the Valencia region, while the second was that of the communities of Castile. Both revolts had in common the rejection by local elites of the increasing interference of royal power and the centralisation of power. In addition to these revolts, in the spring of 1521 there was an insurrection in Upper Navarre, as the inhabitants of the region had not accepted the submission to the Crown of Castile and, by extension, to the Spanish Crown. The rebels sought to take advantage of the various insurrections to emancipate themselves from Spanish rule and asked for help from Henry II of Navarre. However, the Navarrese sovereign was an observer of the insurrection, as he could not count on the French regency to try to recover his lost territories. The Spanish regent, Cardinal Adriaan Floriszoon Boeyens, and the local viceroys managed to suppress the various revolts at the end of 1521 and the beginning of 1522. The territories that rebelled were severely repressed, especially in Upper Navarre and Castile. The insurrection in Upper Navarre contributed to the deterioration of relations between the Spanish and Navarrese crowns, with Charles V suspecting Henry II of Navarre of having incited the rebels in Upper Navarre in order to recover the territory lost in 1515.
It was not only the insurgencies in the Spanish lands that bothered Charles V : the years 1521-1523 saw a fracture in the lands of the Empire due to Luther's ideas. Determined to strengthen imperial authority and preserve the unity of the Holy Roman Empire, Charles V convened a Diet in Worms in the spring of 1521 to decide the fate of Martin Luther. The edict that emerged in May 1521 banished the German monk from the empire, condemning him and his ideas. However, the German monk was welcomed by the Elector of Saxony, and the decisions of the Edict of Worms were not respected by several of the German princes. The split was confirmed at the three Nuremberg diets between spring 1522 and autumn 1523. While they were held to bring the princes of the Holy Roman Empire to support the military expedition project against the Turks, they evolved into a controversy about the respect of the decisions of the Diet of Worms : some of the German princes were not interested in contributing to the military project without guarantees from the emperor to respect their rights. And among these rights was the right to freedom of religious practice, as several German princes supported Martin Luther or had adhered to his ideas. Despite the demands of Charles V and the pope that they abide by the decisions of the Diet of Worms, the German princes were determined not to allow the emperor to encroach on their privileges and rights. This growing rebellion of the German princes was compounded by increasing local unrest, particularly among the peasants, who were tired of suffering many hardships. This unrest led to the first major revolt, the Knights' Revolt of 1522, the first insurrection to incorporate Luther's ideas into its demands.

Having become Archduke of the Habsburg hereditary lands by the Treaty of Worms in April 1521, Ferdinand of Habsburg was faced with a particular situation. His territories were heavily indebted under his grandfather, Maximilian I, leading him to pursue austerity policies. The new archduke also sought to continue the centralising policy of his predecessor. In doing so, he encountered the hostility of his subjects, which led him to take strong measures. In 1522, for example, he had the rebellious mayor of Vienna and his advisers arrested and executed.
Added to these difficulties was the conflict in Hungary. Following the fall of Belgrade, Ferdinand followed his brother in the project of a military expedition against the Turks. At the same time, he consolidated his ties with the kingdom of Hungary, particularly through his marriage to Louis II's sister, Anne. In parallel with the negotiations for the creation of an alliance against the Ottoman Empire, the Archduke of Austria sent soldiers to support his brother-in-law. This support was not obvious, as the Austrian lords were not in favour of sending armed forces outside the Holy Roman Empire. Despite these difficulties, Ferdinand prepared the organisation of the expedition, particularly in the autumn of 1523 when the project was formalised by the meeting in Cambrai. Since he could not rely solely on the Austrian lords, he negotiated with the Swiss cantons to be able to build up a sufficient force to campaign in the Balkans.

The kingdom of Hungary was in a difficult position in the years 1521-1523. Once again at war with the Ottoman Empire following Louis II's insult to Suleiman's ambassador, the kingdom lost its southern defences with the loss of the fortresses of Šabac and Belgrade in the summer of 1521. However, there was some respite due to Suleiman's interest in taking Rhodes and the Turkish sultan's need to reorganise his forces after the failed siege of the island. The strengthening of ties with the Habsburg dynasty through the marriages of Louis II to Mary of Austria and Ferdinand to Anne of Jagellon, and the formation of the Holy League in 1522, contributed to the hopes of the Hungarian ruler and his lords to repel the Turkish threat. But the great power of the Hungarian magnates and corruption plagued the kingdom and made it unfit for military campaigns against the Ottomans.
These years saw the blossoming of Louis II's relationship with Mary as she began to develop her influence at the Hungarian court. The large presence of Dutch and Germans in her court helped to strengthen support for the interests of the House of Habsburg, which was seen as all the more necessary as the plan for an expedition against the Turks took shape during 1523. However, the presence of foreign advisors and the close ties with the Habsburgs also contributed to divisions within the Hungarian nobility, as several magnates were hostile to the interference of the House of Austria in internal affairs.
 
Interesting, so already Louis II of Hungary doesn't die, meaning no fragmentation of Hungary and there's actually a chance of keeping the realm intact, especially if Mary has a heir she can marry into another Balkan country to further strengthen the anti Ottoman bloc.

Also with Luther running around preaching, how's the religious situation in France? Are Jean Calvin and the hugenots a thing yet? With Mary calling the shots, I don't see the initial hostility Francis had with them coming around, which could prevent a lot of bloodshed and the disaster that was the French Wars of Religion.
 
Interesting, so already Louis II of Hungary doesn't die, meaning no fragmentation of Hungary and there's actually a chance of keeping the realm intact, especially if Mary has a heir she can marry into another Balkan country to further strengthen the anti Ottoman bloc.

Also with Luther running around preaching, how's the religious situation in France? Are Jean Calvin and the hugenots a thing yet? With Mary calling the shots, I don't see the initial hostility Francis had with them coming around, which could prevent a lot of bloodshed and the disaster that was the French Wars of Religion.
Louis of Hungary in OTL died in 1526, so three years after the timeframe of that post…
 
Interesting, so already Louis II of Hungary doesn't die, meaning no fragmentation of Hungary and there's actually a chance of keeping the realm intact, especially if Mary has a heir she can marry into another Balkan country to further strengthen the anti Ottoman bloc.

Also with Luther running around preaching, how's the religious situation in France? Are Jean Calvin and the hugenots a thing yet? With Mary calling the shots, I don't see the initial hostility Francis had with them coming around, which could prevent a lot of bloodshed and the disaster that was the French Wars of Religion.
Contrary to Martin Luther or Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin wasn't active in the 1520's (he was a young boy, since he was born in 1509, and studied. He became active in the 1530's and it is through his publications after the 1540's that the Huguenots became a thing in France). Many things will happen, but Calvin will be mentionned when the time will come.

Concerning Francis's hostility, it mainly resulted from the Affair of the Placards as he saw it as a crime of lèse-majesté (one of the placards was put on the door of his chambers in Amboise, implying that his life could have been threatened). I also suspect the fact that he didn't have someone to advice restraint, like his mother Louise of Savoy who was politically-savvy (and had been dead since 1531).

The religious situation in France is a bit similar as IOTL, except that Mary is implementing a similar policy as her brother Henry VIII (fighting and limiting the spread of Luther's ideas while promoting the internal reformation of the church). There is the hostility from the theology faculty of Paris and of the parliaments, but as the same time, the regency is trying to handle the matter in order to strenghten its position as a defender of the faith while promoting reforms that could help the crown, especially concerning the Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges (many of these matters will be mentionned or tackled in the future threads). There will be an evolution, especially as the current situation resulted from the regency context.

Oh yeah, can't believe I forgot that detail, my bad. But hopefully he gets to live here.
Wait and see... The answer will be in the first thread of the next timeframe... ;):angel:
 
1521-1523: Papacy and Italian territories
1521-1523: Papacy and Italian territories
The years 1521-1523 were pivotal for many territories in the Italian peninsula as events related to the Turkish threat influenced the political balance of the peninsula and other events influenced their evolution.

The papacy underwent important changes during these years. In 1521, Leo X relaunched the project of an expedition against the Turks following Suleiman's attack on the southern lands of the Kingdom of Hungary and the capture of Belgrade. In this process, he developed strong links with Charles V and Ferdinand of Habsburg in the Treaty of Alliance of Verona signed in October 1521, which gave him the opportunity to recognise Charles V as King of Naples. In the same vein, he urged the other sovereigns and leaders of Christendom to act, using the Treaty of London of 1517 to legitimise his point. But before he could make further progress with his negotiations and appeals, the Pope died of bronchial pneumonia in early December 1521.
The death of Leo X prompted a conclave to be held at the end of 1521. Although Cardinals Alexander Farnese and Giulio de Medici were among the favourites, it was Cardinal Matthias Schiner who was finally chosen at the beginning of January 1522 : the Cardinal of Sion had the advantage of having been close to Leo X and Julius II and of having good relations with Charles V without being close to him. Choosing the name Paul, Matthias Schiner became Paul III and expressed his desire to return to the evangelical sources of the Christian message.
In the first two years of his pontificate, Paul III was very active in diplomatic and theological matters. Following in the footsteps of Leo X, he worked to bring together the various Christian sovereigns to form an alliance to fight the Ottoman Turks. His proximity to Emperor Charles V facilitated this work and the siege of Rhodes provided an opportunity to convince many of the reluctant rulers to join in the creation of a military alliance. The Republic of Venice was the most difficult to persuade, as the Pope needed the support of Charles V and some of his other allies to convince the maritime republic to join the alliance. In September 1522, he founded the Holy League to fight the Turks and to realise his predecessor's military expedition project. Although the main Christian powers were present, Paul III deplored the neutrality of Venice, while the Kingdom of Poland did not respond, as Sigismund I was busy settling the conflict with the Principality of Muscovy. Apart from these failures, the Pope supports the military expedition project proposed by Charles V while he negotiates with the French regency to grant the passage of their troops through the Papacy's territories. During the same period, Paul III strengthened ties with the Swiss cantons.
On the theological level, Paul III led two battles. On the one hand, he continued to fight the ideas of Martin Luther, perpetuating the position of his predecessor, but also that which he had taken as cardinal and prince-bishop of Sion in 1521. Thus, he sent Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggio to the second Diet of Nuremberg, which was held from December 1522 to February 1523 and whose subject was the implementation of the decisions of the Diet of Worms. The cardinal in latere of the pope in the imperial lands informed the members of the diet of the pope's message : the latter enjoined them to implement the decisions of the Diet of Worms. The reluctance of the German princes and their demands were not well received by the Pope, who nevertheless perceived the problems raised by them.
At the same time, the new pope began to develop a policy of reform aimed at combating abuses within the Church and returning it to its evangelical roots. Drawing on his experience as a bishop and inspired by some of Erasmus' ideas, he began to implement ecclesiastical and theological reforms from 1522-1523 onwards, aiming to return to the evangelical principles of the Christian message while ensuring that the fundamentals of the Catholic canon were preserved. While he maintained a fairly remarkable standard of living, he sought to develop a more virtuous way of life in the Papal States, arousing some opposition and resentment among the Roman nobility and some cardinals. Among his early reforms was the reorganisation of the Augustinian order. His reforms in the fiscal field were more difficult because of the considerable weight of certain sources of revenue, particularly around papal dispensations. In order to develop his reforms, Paul III chose reformist advisors and corresponded with the great thinkers and bishops in favour of an internal reform of the Church, such as William of Briçonnet or Hugo von Hohenlandenberg, bishop of Constance. His actions and correspondence allowed the emergence of a reform movement throughout Christendom, although its development was hindered by the spread of Martin Luther's ideas and suspicions that some religious representatives were colluding with them.

The death of Leo X and the election of Paul III led Cardinal Giulio de Medici to take on a more consistent role as Gran Maestro of Florence. His governance enabled him to gain the support of the majority of Florence's inhabitants, his austerity and support for the arts and culture allowing the city to gradually regain a lustre it had lost over the last few decades. At the same time, he continued to play an important role in the papacy, being one of the main figures in the pope's inner circle. He brought Florence into the Holy League, thus affirming his links with the papacy and the desire to give Florence the importance it had once had.
The republican faction in Florence, however, was very hostile to him and plotted against him, supported by Cardinal Soderini who was a rival of the Medici. A first plot took shape in the winter of 1522 after a rumour that Cardinal Giulio de' Medici was leaving his position as Gran Maestro was denied. However, in the absence of external support that would allow Giulio de Medici's opponents to act, the latter were forced to wait for an opportunity to arise, carefully preparing their plans. They approached Francesco Maria Della Rovere, who was looking for resources to recruit an army to retake the Duchy of Urbino. The latter was now under papal control, although officially it was under the authority of the Medici.

The Republic of Venice found itself in a very complicated position during the years 1521-1523. While Pope Leo X called for Christian unity to confront the Turks, the Doge procrastinated, not wanting to threaten trade relations with the Ottoman Empire and unwilling to see his city again in conflict with their powerful neighbour after the 1499-1503 war in which it had lost Albania and many Greek possessions. In the interest of preserving trade, the doge signed a non-aggression agreement with the Ottomans in early 1522. But this position of neutrality was undermined by the growing demands of the Pope and pressure from the Emperor Charles V. The latter eventually threatened the republic with the passage through its territories of armed forces destined for the expedition against the Turks, but also promised to help the maritime republic recover some of the lands lost to the Ottomans in previous decades. Between the risk of losing trade opportunities with the Sublime Porte on the one hand and the more direct risk of the Venetian Republic being invaded by the allied armies of the Holy League while the Duchy of Verona and the Habsburg hereditary lands were nearby, the Doge resigned himself to joining the Holy League in the autumn of 1522. The maritime republic allowed its allies to call on the islands it owned and even sent a fleet to supply the defenders of Rhodes at the end of November 1522. In 1523, it prepared its fleet both to participate in the military expedition prepared by the papacy and the emperor Charles V, but also to try to protect its territories from potential Ottoman reprisals.

Unlike its former rival, Genoa did not have these political dilemmas. During the years 1521-1523, Antoniotto II Adorno strengthened his position as doge, taking advantage of the exile of his main rivals. He also consolidated his relations with the French regency. As a result of this rapprochement, the doge joined the Holy League when the kingdom of France agreed to contribute. The doge also saw this as an opportunity to restore his city's position, which had been weakened by the rivalries between the Albergo family and the wars in Italy. But if the doge managed to strengthen his position, he was also confronted with the discontent and ambition of the other Albergo who sought to take advantage of the vacuum caused by the exile of the Fregoso to challenge the doge's power, supported in this by the communes who had never accepted the omnipotence of the doge.

The years 1521-1523 saw the Duchy of Milan in a special situation. Duke Maximilian Sforza had consolidated his position during the previous years, having four children in 1523 : Beatrice, Francesco, Bianca born in 1520 and Ludovico in 1522. Together with his wife Bona, the duke breathed new life into his city, giving it a dynamic cultural and artistic framework and making Milan one of the most important cultural centres of the Italian peninsula.
In order to consolidate his position and preserve his duchy, the Duke consolidated his relations with the Papacy and developed those with Charles V. In the case of relations with the Emperor, however, they were cordial and did not go beyond diplomatic exchanges, the Duke being advised by his wife not to get too close to the Habsburgs, who had as many claims on the Duchy of Milan as the French sovereigns. Maximilian's wife advised him to get closer to the French regency in order to preserve relations with the French kingdom. Maximilian began to develop a policy quite similar to that of his ancestor, Duke Francesco, who had sought to develop a diplomatic policy based on balance between the various neighbours of the duchy to counterbalance the threats of the other pretenders. With this in mind, the duke joined the Holy League in 1522 in order to support Pope Paul III's project and to ensure that his powerful neighbours would not seek to interfere in the affairs of the duchy.
But the years 1521-1523 also saw the beginning of a change in relations between the duchy and the Swiss cantons. With the return of peace and prosperity, the question of maintaining the alliance with the Swiss cantons became increasingly important, even if the existence of different sovereigns who could claim the duchy justified its maintenance for the duke. The payment of the annual pension became a matter of contention for the duke's entourage, while Milanese hostility towards the Swiss grew again as the stability of the duchy increased, calling into question the durability of the Treaty of Bergamo. Growing pressure from his entourage led the duke to slowly detach himself from his alliance with the Swiss : he continued to maintain diplomatic relations with the Swiss cantons, but cut back on the amount of the pension, relying in particular on Bernardino de Medici, a tax collector in his service.

Although not an integral part of the peninsula, the Swiss cantons continued to play an important role in the early 1520s. They continued to maintain an important relationship with the duchy of Milan, even as hostility towards them grew. The Geneva crisis helped to strengthen the ties between the Republic of Geneva and the contiguous cantons, while at the same time contributing to an important rivalry between the Swiss and Duke Charles III of Savoy. The election of Paul III as head of the papacy led to a consolidation of the alliance of the Swiss Confederation with the Papal States. This strengthened alliance led the Swiss cantons to join the Holy League to fight the Turks in 1522, seeing it as an opportunity to provide the various members of the alliance with a large number of mercenaries to support them.
The years 1521-1523 however saw the emergence of a religious controversy in the canton of Zurich. In 1521, Ulrich Zwingli became an important figure in Zurich. As he continued to develop his theological positions, he learned in early 1522 of the election of Matthew Schiner as pope. He received the news with some interest, being friends with the cardinal and knowing his thoughts on the need to reform the Church. He hoped that Paul III would take steps to reform the Church and enable it to cleanse itself of its corruption and return to a more evangelical approach to the message of Christ.
Several events in 1522, however, led the preacher to express several of his positions. The first was the Sausage Affair : in March 1522, one of Zwingli's friends, the humanist printer Christoph Froschauer, fed sausage to his employees and three priests in the middle of Lent, even though the Church forbade the consumption of meat before Easter. Although Zwingli himself abstained from eating meat, he defended the printer's choice in a treatise on the observance of Lent. The controversy provoked a reaction from the ecclesiastics, especially the bishop of Constance. In the autumn of 1522, Zwingli's positions became even more controversial. On the one hand, he published a text questioning the relevance of priestly celibacy, which provoked strong reactions from the ecclesiastical authorities. On the other hand, the announcement of the creation of the Holy League in October 1522 led to a mixed reaction from the preacher: while he was in favour of the alliance with the papacy, Zwingli was not in favour of the involvement of his compatriots in the conflict, denouncing it as a pretext for implementing the mercenary policy developed by the Swiss cantons. His stance against the involvement of the Swiss cantons in the Holy League provoked strong reactions in Zurich and the Swiss Confederation, with many denouncing the preacher's criticisms, particularly because the mercenary policy was the source of their economy.
The major controversies caused by Zwingli's positions led to the holding of a first Dispute in January 1523 to settle the quarrel. During this dispute, Zwingli triumphed, as his opponent, the vicar-general of the Bishop of Constance, was unable to convince the stipendiary priest of the Grossmünster Cathedral in Zurich of his heresy. In the summer of 1523, Zwingli received a message from Paul III. In his message, the pope welcomed his friend's desire for evangelical reform, but warned him not to take too radical measures that would go against the Catholic canon. In the autumn of 1523, a new controversy emerged over the maintenance of the cult of images, which led to a second dispute in October 1523. This colloquy was also an opportunity to debate the issue of priestly celibacy. While Zwingli managed to convince a good part of the audience, the Zurich council was more reserved on these issues, not wanting to shock the bishops and other cantons and fearing a reaction from Pope Paul III, who was paying close attention to the Swiss cantons because of the strengthened links between the papacy and the Swiss confederation and the important exchanges that the Pope was having with some of the bishops as part of his plans for reforming the Church.
 
The Habsburg at this point had ZERO claims over Milan and would have none until the line of Ludovico Sforza (who received the Imperial investit of Milan) will be extant. Only if that line will end (or at least the full male line) the fief will be vacant and the Holy Roman Emperor will be able to give it to anyone he wished (in OTL Charles V gave it to his son Philip). Two daughters and none of them called Isabella? The Duchess of Bari will be likely fuming for not having yet a namesake granddaughter…
 
The Habsburg at this point had ZERO claims over Milan and would have none until the line of Ludovico Sforza (who received the Imperial investit of Milan) will be extant. Only if that line will end (or at least the full male line) the fief will be vacant and the Holy Roman Emperor will be able to give it to anyone he wished (in OTL Charles V gave it to his son Philip). Two daughters and none of them called Isabella? The Duchess of Bari will be likely fuming for not having yet a namesake granddaughter…
Thank you for these informations (the only reason concerning Bona's defiance was the fact that IOTL, she seemed distrutful of Charles V, even though it is perhaps because of her own claims on the duchy). I didn't think about Isabella of Aragon. Perhaps it is the fact none of her granddaughters has her namesake that she died ITTL...
 
Another interesting chapter, glad seeing a pope who's actually working hard to reform the church and tries to create a united front against the Turks, things in Italy seem to be stable for now, although I wouldn't be surprised if some internal conflict of the swiss could spill over to the neighboring states.
 
1524-1526: Holy League War, the "Habsburg Crusade"
1524-1526: Holy League War, the "Habsburg Crusade"
1524 saw the start of the great Holy League expedition, which became known as the "Habsburg Crusade" or, for those with bad taste, the "Last Crusade".

This great expedition began in March 1524 : François III of Brittany left the kingdom of France at the head of thirty thousand men in order to follow the axis of progression decided at the meeting in Cambrai for the French forces. Crossing the territories of Genoa, Modena and the papacy, the French were joined by twenty thousand Swiss mercenaries and condottieres in the service of the pope under the orders of Lodovico de' Medici, nicknamed Giovanni delle Bande Nere. The two armies reached Ancona in June 1524 and were joined by the Venetian fleet, which took charge of transporting them to Durres, which was placed under blockade by the Serenissima's ships in the spring of 1524. Arriving at the Albanian port at the beginning of July 1524, the French and their allies began the siege of the city. In August 1524, they confronted and repelled various forces sent by the local governors to clear the siege. The French artillery and the Venetian blockade allowed the city to fall at the beginning of September 1524, with the loss of about four thousand men to the Franco-Italians and the Venetians. The city was placed under the authority of Venice in accordance with the promises of the Cambrai meeting. After the capture of the city, disagreements emerge between the different commanders: Lodovico de' Medici wanted to join the German-Hungarian armies in Serbia, while the Venetians wanted to consolidate their position in Albania. Although he was close to the Venetians because of the diplomatic ties between the kingdom of France and the Serenissima, François III of Brittany agreed with Lodovico, determined to obtain the most military glory to strengthen his prestige and influence. The Franco-Italian army left the Durrës region at the end of September and headed north. As it moved inland during October, its progress was punctuated by looting to support the army, which provoked the hostility of the local populations. At the beginning of November 1524, François III of Brittany and his allies took the town of Ivanjica. The arrival of the winter season greatly affected the Franco-Italian army and slowed its progress. It was not until around St. Nicholas' Day 1524 that the Italo-French army joined the forces of Louis II of Hungary and the Habsburg commanders in besieging the fortress of Belgrade.
In April 1524, the Germanic armies set out for the Kingdom of Hungary. They consisted of about forty thousand men : Georg von Frunsberg's mercenaries and men from the hereditary lands and many Swiss mercenaries gathered by Ferdinand of Habsburg. These armies were to be joined by forces sent by German princes supporting participation in the expedition, but the outbreak of violent peasant revolts in the southern regions of the Holy Roman Empire diverted these forces from their original purpose. Joining the Kingdom of Hungary in June 1524, the Germanic armies expected to receive support from the Hungarian lords. Instead, they received only sparse and distrustful support from the latter. Although Louis II of Hungary joined them, urged on by some nobles who said they would only come to arms in the presence of the king, only a fraction of the Hungarian nobles and many prelates joined the Germanic armies with their troops, as part of the Hungarian nobility had little interest in fighting the Turks and were suspicious of foreign armies, which they perceived as a Trojan horse of the Habsburgs to increase their influence over the kingdom. Others, such as John Zápolya (1), focused on difficulties and disturbances that could threaten their interests. The divisions of the Hungarian nobility and the lack of motivation of several Hungarian lords delayed the descent of the armies towards Belgrade, with the German-Hungarian armies leaving the Buda region at the end of July 1524. In August 1524, almost sixty-five thousand men crossed the Drava on the bridge built by the Turks at Osijek (2) and reached Šabac, which they besieged at the end of the same month. The fortress fell during October, allowing the Hungarians and their allies to move towards Belgrade. Towards the end of the month, they confronted and defeated a force sent by the bey of Smederevo. They reached Belgrade in early November 1524 and began to lay siege to it. The German-Hungarians were reinforced by the armies of Francis III of Brittany and Giovanni delle Bande Nere in the middle of December 1524.
In May 1524, Charles V embarked in Barcelona on one of the fleets to sail along the North African coast to Egypt. His fleet was joined by ships of the papacy and the Genoese fleet commanded by Andrea Doria. The Christian fleet, made up of almost one hundred and seventy ships, reached Oran in June 1524, allowing the Spaniards to reinforce the garrison that had been present in the city since 1509. They were joined in July 1524 by the Portuguese and English fleets, consisting of around sixty ships in total. The Portuguese took advantage of the expedition to reinforce their presence in Mazagan, Safi and Santa Cruz du Cap de Gué. The three fleets together advanced along the North African coast and reached Algiers at the end of July 1524. The city had been recaptured by Khayr Ad-Dîn in February 1524, forcing his adversary Sidi Ahmed or el Kadhi to retreat to his land. The armies of the Holy League, consisting of about thirty-five thousand men, undertook the siege of the city defended by the barbarians and their Turkish allies. During the siege, Charles V met representatives of Sidi Ahmed or el Kadhi, who offered his help in taking Algiers and driving out Khayr Ad-Dîn. In the middle of August 1524, the emperor accepts that the Sultan of Koukou becomes his tributary in exchange for his protection and the recognition of the presence of the Peñon of Algiers. The decision of the Habsburg sovereign was met with tension by his allies, in particular by the commanders of the Papal and English troops. The reinforcement of the Koukous enabled the armies of the Holy League to seize Algiers towards the end of September 1524. Khayr Ad-Dîn fled, narrowly escaping capture by his adversaries, and took refuge in Bône, under Ottoman control since 1522. The capture of Algiers was greeted with triumph by the members of the Holy League, particularly because many hoped to see the end of the barbarian pirates who had been attacking the Christian coasts. The fall of Algiers also made it possible to free many Christian slaves from the various barbarian raids. Respecting the agreement reached with the Koukous, Charles V had a peace treaty signed in mid-October 1524 which put them in charge of the city. The confirmation of the emperor's promise to the sultan Sidi Ahmed or el Khadi was greeted with irritation by some of his allies, who felt that the capture had served no purpose in their expedition. After the success in Algiers, the fleet of the Holy League set sail again at the beginning of November 1524. Because of the bad season, the expedition reached the Sicilian coast in December 1524 and spent the rest of the winter of 1524-1525 in Trapani.
During 1524, Sultan Suleiman learned about the attacks of the Christian powers against his allies and territories. The Turkish sultan had two difficult years : the revolt of Ahmed Pasha, whom he had appointed governor, the defeat on Rhodes and the attacks of the Christian powers caused anxiety and discontent in the court. During the winter of 1524-1525, the Sultan prepared a military campaign to counter his adversaries and reassert his prestige.

At the beginning of March 1525, the armies of the Holy League succeeded in taking Belgrade. The success of the siege was welcomed by Pope Paul III and the rest of Christendom as a sign from Heavens for the success of the expedition. The armies of the Holy League had lost twelve thousand men to capture the fortress. The passage of winter and the attrition of the siege forced the commanders of the Christian armies to reorganise their forces. This reorganisation allowed them to strengthen the fortress. The period of reorganisation however saw divisions emerge between the Hungarians and their allies : while the commanders of the allied armies of the Holy League wanted to descend on Constantinople, the Hungarians considered instead to consolidate their southern frontiers by seizing the fortress of Smederevo. The hesitations and divisions of the Hungarians aroused the resentment of their allies, and it was decided to lay siege to Smederevo in order to protect Belgrade from a potential Turkish attack. The various armies descended on the fortress and began to lay siege to it from May 1525.
In the spring of 1525, Suleiman the Magnificent left Constantinople with an army of more than 100,000 men, joined by the Pasha of Rumelia, Mehmet Beg Mihaloglu. His aim was to thwart the armies of the Holy League and to retake Belgrade from his opponents. He reached the Smederevo region in June 1524. The arrival of the Turkish army provoked disagreements between the various leaders of the Holy League armies as to whether to withdraw or to confront the Turkish army in order to protect Belgrade and try to open the road to Constantinople. The Hungarian lords were hostile to the idea of Belgrade being lost to the Turks again and encouraged their allies to confront the Turkish army. While the Habsburg commanders were not interested in risking a pitched battle, the Hungarians were supported by Francis III of Brittany, who wanted to cross swords with the Turks and become the equal of the former crusader kings. This led to the choice of an armed confrontation with the Ottoman army, but wanting to gain an advantage over their opponents, the armies of the Holy League withdrew to Belgrade and settled near Hisarlik (3). The Ottomans joined them in early July 1525. Faced with Soliman's 100,000 soldiers, the armies of the Holy League deployed some eighty thousand men.
The Battle of Hisarlik, which broke out on 8 July 1525, began with a charge by the Hungarian cavalry, as the Hungarians did not want to wait for the Turks to complete their deployment. This charge provoked a charge by the French gendarmerie to support their allies and prevent them from being cut off from the rest of the Holy League forces. As the rest of the Holy League deployed, the charge of the French and Hungarian cavalry broke through the Romanian cavalry and some Turkish infantry units, but came under fire from Turkish artillery. While the charge destructured the Turkish left wing and could allow the envelopment of the Ottoman army, the Hungarian cavalrymen preferred to plunder the neighbouring Turkish camp instead of chasing the Timariotes. They cut themselves off from the French cavalrymen who were chasing the Turkish cavalrymen and were massacred by the janissaries. Separated from their allies, the French horsemen are confronted by the spahis and are forced to withdraw. François III of Brittany was wounded during the confrontation. However, the Turkish army was forced to reorganise its left wing, while the armies of the Holy League sought to exploit its weakness to disrupt their opponents. A violent melee ensued, with the discipline of the elite Turkish troops facing that of Georg von Frunsberg's lansquenets and the Swiss pikemen supporting Giovanni delle Bande Nere's company. The French artillery aimed at the Turkish forces seeking to envelop their allies, while the Turkish artillery sought to disrupt the German-Italian lines. The situation changed as the Hungarians suffered the heaviest losses against the Ottomans, creating a gap in the organisation of the Holy League armies. The Turks sought to take advantage of the situation and concentrated their attacks on Louis II's men. Under pressure, the latter began to flee the battle while their allies sought to prevent the dislocation of their forces. In the clashes, Giovanni delle Bande Nere is seriously wounded, causing confusion among his men and worsening the situation. Threatened with dislocation, the armies of the Holy League sought to retreat, but were nearly routed. Only the sacrifice of German lansquenets prevented disaster. The battle ended at dusk and saw the armies of the Holy League losing nearly twenty-five thousand men, while the Turks suffered over fifteen thousand killed and wounded. Some of the Holy League forces retreated to Belgrade, while the majority went to Šabac. In the defeat of Hisarlik, several Hungarian prelates and barons died, while Giovanni delle Bande Nere of his wounds in the days following the end of the battle. The Christian armies reorganised in the Šabac region during the summer and autumn of 1525. The news of the Turkish siege of Belgrade caused many divisions among its commanders, the Hungarians wanting to protect the fortress at all costs, while the French and Lodovico's men were not very motivated to do so as they reorganised. The Habsburg forces send some of their forces to try to rescue the Belgrade garrison but fail to disrupt the siege. The news of the fall of the fortress contributed to divisions and weakened the motivation of some members of the expedition, who began to see the goal of reaching Constantinople as more difficult to achieve. To these concerns were added political motivations : having narrowly escaped death, François III of Brittany considered that he had spent more than two years away from the kingdom of France and that it was necessary for him to return in order to reassert his influence at court.
Despite his success, Suleiman preferred to delay, as he himself had been wounded in the confrontation and his army had suffered heavy losses. Only in the second half of July, after recovering from his injury and certain that he would not be attacked again by the Holy League, did he move up to Belgrade and lay siege to it at the beginning of August, encircling nearly six thousand Hungarians and Germans. During the siege, the Holy League commanders sent some of their forces to try to break the siege and relieve the garrison. If these efforts were unsuccessful, they forced Suleiman to deploy some of his forces to avoid a surprise attack. Despite the defence of the garrison and occasional attacks by the Holy League to destabilise the siege, the siege capabilities of the Ottomans and the weakening of the fortress following the siege of a few months earlier meant that Suleiman again captured the fortress during October 1525. The arrival of autumn, however, prevented the Turkish sultan from exploiting his success further. He left part of his armies in the hands of Mustapha Pasha and Mehmet Beg Mihaloglu, aware that his opponents still seemed able to act before returning to Constantinople, which he reached at the end of November 1525. News from the south of his empire also forced him to take an interest.

In April 1525, Charles V's expedition set sail again after having reorganised and strengthened its forces. The various commanders also took advantage of the winter period to reaffirm the expedition's objectives : to take control of the Nile delta before reaching the Holy Land. The news of the capture of Belgrade by the other expedition gave the emperor and his allies hope of success against the Ottomans. The expedition stopped in the Tunis region in May 1525, allowing Charles V to force the Hafsid Sultan, Abû `AbdAllâh Muhammad IV al-Mutawakkil, to recognise the Habsburg Emperor's suzerainty in exchange for the retention of his title. The Sultan was also obliged to cede La Goulette to the Spaniards to signify their presence in the region. Like what had happened in Algiers, this approach of Charles V was badly perceived by some of his allies who did not understand why they did not seize the Muslim cities. This helped to fuel divisions within the expedition that had been brewing since the previous year. The English contingent was particularly bitter, finding less and less reason to participate in the expedition. Setting sail again in June, the fleet stopped at the island of Djerba, which the Spanish soldiers and their allies recaptured from the Turks before stopping at Tripoli at the end of the month, allowing the Spaniards to strengthen their position in this territory. In July 1525, the expedition reached the area around Alexandria. The forty thousand men of the expedition landed on the outskirts of the city and laid siege to it during the second half of July. The armies of the Holy League captured the city in August 1525 and headed for Damietta to capture it and control the Nile Delta. The arrival of Charles V's army and the fall of Damietta helped to fuel the instability that had resulted from Ahmed Pasha's revolt over the previous two years as the governor of Egypt, Pargali Ibrahim Pasha, struggled to mobilise forces to stop the Christian army while preventing any further revolt against Suleiman's rule. In late August 1525, the Holy League expedition captured Damietta. With the Nile delta under his control, Charles V decided to descend on Cairo to secure his rear and allow the Mamluks to re-establish themselves in Egypt. Moving down the Nile, the army of the Holy League seized Mansourah and confronted the forces of the Bey of Egypt south of the city. The battle was fierce and the Christian armies suffered from the heat, but managed to disperse the Egyptian force while suffering heavy losses. The rest of the army reached Cairo in September 1525 and laid siege to the Citadel where the Bey of Egypt had taken refuge. The citadel fell at the end of the month and the bey was captured. After this success, Charles V appointed various Mamluk emirs to lead the Egyptian territory in exchange for the recognition of his suzerainty. During the autumn of 1525, Charles V reorganised the remaining forces of the expedition as disagreements and opposition increased.

In the spring of 1526, the Holy League expedition to Hungary was again reorganised and reinforced with troops sent by Ferdinand of Habsburg in order to make another attempt to move south. But several divisions developed among the various commanders. The French were not in favour of continuing the expedition, with Francis III of Brittany preferring to prepare for a return to his kingdom while his forces were weakened without the possibility of being renewed. The departure of the French in April 1526 caused bitterness and anger among the other members of the expedition. In addition, there were deep divisions among the Hungarians, between those who wanted to support the expedition in the hope of recovering Belgrade and those who were more hostile to the Holy League and the Habsburgs, making Louis II's position very uncomfortable. As for Giovanni delle Bande Nere's mercenaries, they were taken over by Georg von Frunsberg, but he was faced with the problem of paying his men. Some of the mercenaries lived off the land, causing unrest in the Hungarian lands and fuelling tensions between the members of the Holy League and the Magyar nobles. The commanders of Ferdinand of Habsburg's forces wanted to resume the expedition so that they could support Charles V and at least help to weaken the Turkish threat to the Kingdom of Hungary and the Christian lands. It was finally decided to organise a new expedition to Belgrade to retake it and prevent the Ottomans from being able to move north. Thirty thousand men descended on the fortress in May 1526, passing through Šabac and reaching Belgrade again in early July 1526. They began the siege, but were met with fierce resistance from the garrison. At the end of August 1526, the besieging army was attacked by an army sent by the Pasha of Rumelia. A violent confrontation forced the besiegers to lift the siege and retreat northwards, sounding the death knell for the Balkan expedition.

In the Mediterranean, Charles V also faced major difficulties. After a long year of campaigning, the army he commanded was weakened and had to deal with the major unrest in Egypt, while the prospect of an Ottoman counter-attack was high. In addition, the announcement of the loss of Belgrade and the defeat of Hisarlik compromised the expedition's chances of success. Finally, he learns of the unrest that had affected the lands of the Empire during the previous year and the growing rift among the German princes as Luther's ideas continued to flourish. Unwilling to see his domains implode in his absence, the emperor hesitated about what to do. He decided to consolidate the position in Egypt to prevent the Ottomans from taking it, relying on the Mamluks as allies. With his new local allies, he obtained possession of Damietta in exchange for the return of Mamluk suzerainty over Egypt. In March 1526, the emperor learned of the arrival of an army led by the Pasha of Syria to drive his army out of Egypt and regain control. Mobilising his remaining forces and supported by some Mamluk auxiliaries, the Emperor went to meet this opposing army and confronted it near El-Qantara in April 1526. The raging battle saw the Imperials and their allies triumph with difficulty over their opponents, Charles V being almost defeated when some of the Egyptian troops defected. But the battle was a Pyrrhic victory and the Pasha of Syria was only pushed out of Egyptian lands. This success, however, allowed Charles V to stabilise the power of the new Mamluk emirs. Determined to restore stability to the Holy Roman Empire and to put an end to the unrest caused by Martin Luther's ideas, the Habsburg emperor prepared to leave his forces, leaving only a sizeable garrison in Damietta. The Holy League fleet left Egypt in July 1526. It stopped again at Tripoli before heading for Malta and then Messina in early October 1526. On his return, Charles V learned of the dissolution of the Balkan expedition and its failure to recapture Belgrade. These failures nourished a deep bitterness in the sovereign, aggravated by the fact that he learned of the departure of the French from the expedition at the beginning of the year.

(1) Between 1523 and 1525, John Zápolya supported the Grand Prince of Wallachia, Radu V, against his various rivals. He enabled the sovereign to stabilise his power, which remained very fragile because of the important power of the Boyars.
(2) During his 1521 expedition, Suleiman built a bridge at Osijek to enable him to attack the heart of the Hungarian lands.
(3) Hisarlik is the Turkish name for Grocka, south-east of Belgrade.
 
1524-1526: the triumph of Mary of England
1524-1526: the triumph of Mary of England
The years 1524-1526 saw events disrupt the political balance within the kingdom of France and the royal court as certain policies were confirmed.

In April 1524, Francis III of Brittany led the army that took part in the expedition against the Ottoman Empire. The departure of the heir apparent was an opportunity for Mary of England to strengthen her influence in the court and to counterbalance that of the Valois-Angouleme clan. She found herself in an even stronger position as during the summer and autumn of 1524, the Valois-Angouleme family was bereaved twice: in July 1524 it lost Claude de France and in September Charlotte, one of François' daughters.
The death of the wife of Francis III of Brittany led to a regency in Brittany, while the eldest son of the heir apparent to the French crown, Francis, became the new legitimate duke of Brittany under the name of Francis IV. The new duke's younger brothers, Henry and Charles, were placed under the care of their aunt and grandmother, Marguerite and Louise of Savoy. The regency of Brittany was a thorny issue at court, as the Breton lords' desire for autonomy persisted and grew stronger in the years following the death of Louis XII. Pierre II de Rohan-Gié, an important lord of the duchy, was appointed by the duke as governor of the duchy in his absence, but the death of Claude de France made him the most important and powerful figure in the duchy. His support for the Valois-Angouleme family contributed to the development of an opposition between him and the regent, the dowager queen wishing to weaken the influence and power of the family of the heir apparent and rival. In the absence of Francis III of Brittany, it was Louise of Savoy and Marguerite who were at the head of the Valois-Angoulême clan, the latter supported by her husband Charles IV of Alençon. During this period, they set out to preserve their family's influence against the dowager queen. In doing so, they contributed to perpetuating the rivalry between the Breton and English parties and led their contemporaries to describe the situation as the "reign of the ladies". While she had to manage and satisfy the demands of the heir apparent's allies to the crown, Mary strengthened her position as regent and developed the policies she wished to see implemented with greater ease. While she continued to rely on Antoine Duprat, she also sought to develop her network within the court and the royal council. Guillaume Brudé became one of her most important advisors, particularly because of his role as tutor to Charles IX. On his advice, she decided in 1525 to create the royal reading college, inspired by the college of the three languages of Louvain founded in 1518, in order to promote the study of Greek, Hebrew and mathematics.
On the diplomatic front, although she continued to rely on the policy defended by Francis III, particularly because of the military contribution, the dowager queen appropriated it to make her own mark, particularly in relations with the states of the Italian peninsula. She worked in such a way as to be able to distinguish the kingdom from the Habsburg projects, in particular to preserve its territorial integrity. She continued to finance the troops of Francis III of Brittany, even though the distance and duration made this operation complicated. The regent also continued to maintain relations with the kingdom of England, while developments in Scotland led her to support her sister more openly. She also began to consider her son's future marriage, keen to find a marriage that would serve the kingdom's interests and strengthen its ties with other kingdoms to counterbalance the influence of Charles V. Among the nations with which she forged ties was the Kingdom of Poland: Sigismund I of Poland took a dim view of Charles V's interest in the Great Princely House of Muscovy and wanted to get closer to one of his potential rivals in order to protect his kingdom from a potential alliance between the Habsburgs and Vasily III, even though his wife Cunegund was more in favour of an alliance with the Duchy of Bavaria, which was close to Charles V. A marriage project was agreed in the summer of 1525 between the two kingdoms.
In the autumn of 1526, Francis III of Brittany (who became Francis of Valois following the death of his wife) returned to France with the rest of the army that had accompanied him on the expedition against the Turks. The return of the heir apparent to the crown renewed the rivalry between the queen dowager and the latter, even though Mary was now in a position of strength, as Francis had to handle the regency of her son François IV of Brittany. The heir apparent could rely on his family and allies and the prestige gained during the military campaign against the Turks, but had to face the more open demands of the Breton barons for the autonomy of their duchy and the fact that he had to make up for the two years of absence that had allowed Mary to impose herself at court.

After spending the winter of 1523-1524 on the Land of Orleans, Giovanni Verrazzano set sail again for Newfoundland in March 1524. Crossing the North Atlantic, he reached the kingdom of France in May 1524, where he presented the queen dowager with the results of his expedition and gave his account. In particular, he presents the wealth of the Land of Orleans, some of the natives he brought back on his voyage and the fact that he may have found a passage to the Pacific. The navigator asks the queen dowager to develop a new expedition in order to create a colony in the Land of Orleans and to be able to explore this passage to the Pacific Ocean. Although the queen dowager and the royal council had some reservations because of the conflict with the Turks and the difficulties of setting up such an undertaking, the prospect of finding a passage to Asia helped to appease them. Marie also saw it as an opportunity to develop commercial links with the inhabitants of the Land of Orleans and to develop influence in the New World, which would give her son the means to counterbalance the influence of the Habsburgs and prevent them from expanding everywhere. The project of a second expedition was supported by the Valois-Angouleme clan, as it would strengthen the Duchy of Brittany. The family of the heir apparent to the crown, however, wished to see a more pronounced presence in Newfoundland, as many Breton fishermen had been fishing for cod in its waters since the early 1520s. A second expedition was prepared during the rest of 1524, with the recruitment of volunteers and the gathering of ships to carry the expedition.
After several months of preparation, it was in March 1525 that Giovanni Verrazzano left Dieppe with a fleet of about ten ships carrying nearly a thousand men, including four hundred colonists, livestock and food for fifteen months. Crossing the North Atlantic in the winter, the expedition reached Newfoundland in May 1525 before reaching the Land of Orleans at the end of June. The colonists established Fort Charlesbourg while Giovanni Verrazzano began to renew contacts with the Leni Lenape, notably with the aim of developing commercial relations with them, arousing their interest. In July 1525, after helping the new governor of New France to consolidate Fort Charlesbourg, Verrazzano set sail again to find the passage to the Pacific south of Arcadia. He found the area in June and began to explore. The exploration was complicated by the strong currents and shallow waters, but the Italian navigator and his crew managed to explore some parts before the arrival of autumn forced them to sail north. During the summer of 1525, Fort Charlesbourg developed slowly, taking advantage of the warm weather to produce a winter crop and developing ties with the Leni Lenape. These different elements allowed the expedition to better prepare for winter, while the memory of the previous expedition helped to prevent the emergence of scurvy. The passage of the winter of 1525-1526 was complicated, with part of the expedition being decimated by cold and hunger. But the resources prepared for the expedition and the help of the Leni Lenape enabled Fort Charlesbourg to get through its first winter.
During 1526, Fort Charlesbourg developed somewhat as the settlers explored the surrounding area and waters. Contact with the Leni Lenape led to the discovery of certain resources in the area that could be exploited for the colony's survival. The governor had the nearby river explored in the spring of 1526, naming it the Saint John (1) in honour of the Italian navigator. The latter set sail again to explore further what he thought was the passage to the Pacific Ocean. The exploration was always rather complicated, but Verrazzano managed to discover more of the area, entering the passage during the spring and summer of 1526. He discovered a large lagoon that seemed to disappear into unknown lands. He and his crew came across other natives with whom contact was sometimes uncertain or tense. Returning to Fort Charlesbourg in September 1526, the Italian navigator took stock of his latest explorations and helped to develop relations with the Leni Lenape. He also prepared for the return to France when a good part of the resources planned for the expedition had been consumed.

(1) The Hudson River OTL.
 
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Nice chapter, but Francis would NOT revert to his title of Count of Angouleme as he was also Duke of Valois since 1498 and so would use this other title (like he was doing before marrying Claude)
 
Nice chapter, but Francis would NOT revert to his title of Count of Angouleme as he was also Duke of Valois since 1498 and so would use this other title (like he was doing before marrying Claude)
Oops. I have forgotten this little fact when I wrote the French version. Fortunately, I will rectify this little fact, especially since he had been acknowledged in this title in this TL.
 
Glad seeing this updated, so a Marie that is slowly winning influence in court even with Francis's advantages is interesting, she won't be able to completely sideline him but she'll be able to do more of what she needs.

Also a earlier colonization by a more populous and rich France has some very interesting butterflies in the New World, mainly because the larger French population there not only halts some of the British expansion in the East Coast but also will be a threat to New Spain eventually(especially if Spain continues under Habsburg rule).
 
Glad seeing this updated, so a Marie that is slowly winning influence in court even with Francis's advantages is interesting, she won't be able to completely sideline him but she'll be able to do more of what she needs.

Also a earlier colonization by a more populous and rich France has some very interesting butterflies in the New World, mainly because the larger French population there not only halts some of the British expansion in the East Coast but also will be a threat to New Spain eventually(especially if Spain continues under Habsburg rule).
True, especially in this period : English rulers were more interested in finding a Northwest passage to Asia rather than trying to find out about the New World. It was only with Elisabeth I that the colonization in the New World truly thrived from England (while France was devastated by its Wars of Religion, preventing it to develop expeditions and colonization towards the American mainland).
 
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