The Great Charles Emaniel I., duke of Savoy, born at the castle of Rivoli, Jan. 12, 1562, died at Savillan, July 26, 1630. He succeeded his father, Philibert Emanuel, surnamed Ironhead, in 1580. His bold and enterprising spirit soon embroiled him in the wars of his time, and he successively entered into alliances with Spain, France, and the emperor of Germany, which he broke, however, as soon as it suited his interests. But he was possessed of remarkable talent, even of great scientific accomplishments, and distinguished himself by his courage in many a battle. In 1585 he married Catharine, the daughter of Philip II. of Spain. This connection, and some pretensions to the throne of France after the death of Henry III., made him the enemy of Henry IV., who had still to conquer his kingdom. Involved in war with Henry for the marquisate of Saluzzo, and with the Swiss cantons of Geneva and Bern, he was compelled by a defeat at St. Joire (October, 1589) to an unprofitable peace; but he soon recommenced hostilities in alliance with the Catholic league, penetrated into Provence, occupied Barcelonette, Antibes, and Frejus, and entered Aix as victor (November, 1590). This was but the commencement of a long i war, which was carried on with varied success, and after a series of victories and defeats was terminated by the peace of Lyons (1601), which gave Saluzzo to Charles Emanuel in exchange for some small frontier districts ceded to France. He then made a sudden attack on Geneva, but the enterprise failed; many of his soldiers were killed, others hanged as robbers.

Afraid of the growing influence of Spain in Italy, he entered into alliance with France and Venice; but after the assassination of Henry IV. (1610), France concluded peace with Spain, abandoning the duke of Savoy. He then sought the alliance of the house of Hapsburg, and after the extinction of the ducal line of Mantua laid claims to Montferrat (1012). After the death of the emperor Matthias (1619), he became a candidate for the crown of Germany, but was beaten by Ferdinand II. Restless in his ambition (which also led him into schemes of conquest in Cyprus and Macedonia), he attacked Genoa (1G24), and finally brought upon himself the enmity of all his former allies. The French occupied Pignerol, threatened Turin, and finally conquered Savoy. Broken by these disasters, the old Charles Emanuel died suddenly.