French became the civil status language of the duchy in the 15th century

“In the 14th and 15th centuries, all official acts of county, then ducal, administration, such as donations, tributes or agreements, were drawn up in Latin by public notaries who recorded them in their protocols. Savoy presents a curious linguistic situation. It extended to the north in the Franco-Provençal country and to the south in the Piedmontese-speaking country. Its counts were French-speaking and used French in their private correspondence; but Latin was the only language that held power. It appears that the local language never entered the administrative writings of the principality. »16 André Perret also underlines that «the written language is first Latin, then French will compete with Latin» 17. However, according to André Perret, in Latin texts and French writings “the words of petois, clothed in the Latin endings, […] especially in connection with specific terms for dwellings and mountain equipment, mountain pastures” life of” 17. Historian Jean-Louis Goulin also points out that “the vernacular Written usage was not entirely foreign to the central administration of the former Kingdoms of Savoy. 18 During the fourteenth century, “documents apparently in the Franco-Provençal dialect script and other French scripts” seem to have co-existed. » 18.19

French became the civil status language of the duchy in the 15th century and was made official by the Edict of Villers-Cotterets of 1539, as the duchy was then occupied by 18,20 French troops. But this application seems to have been very random.

The use of French begins in the County of Savoie where documents from the 13th century21 were written exclusively on the French side. French was the vehicular language from the fourteenth century and it became the administrative language during the reign of Duke Emmanuel-Philibert after an edict of 1121 or 15 February 1560, replacing it with Latin in acts of the courts22. This decision applies to Bougie and Val d’Ouest after the edict of Rivoli (February 22, 1561), which also modifies the previous prescription and specifies the rules of application23,22. At the same time, the Duke of Savoy declared Italian derived from Tuscan as the administrative language in his lands on the Italian side and in the county of Nice22.

French was indeed the language of the administration, but also of the court, as well as of the upper strata of the population (aristocracy and part of the bourgeoisie). Both public and notarial acts, but also sermons use French 24.

The population, for its part, uses a patois17 – Gianni Mombello (1933–2005), professor of the history of the French language at the University of Turin, in an article spoke of a “vernacular language”17 -, derived from a local dialect Hui Romanesque, Francoprovencal, with local nuances related to such and such valleys, or even villages24.

Map of the Imperial Circles (early 16th century). Duchies are shown in purple

On February 19, 1416, Emperor Sigismund I created the County of Savoy within the Duchy of Savoy, giving it unprecedented political autonomy1. Thus the Emperor rewards the Savoys for their loyalty. The ceremony takes place at the Château de Chambery in the presence of the German and Savoyard courts1. The date of the event, 19 February, has been chosen by identity movements as a “national” Savoyard holiday 3,4 .

The duchy, during this period, occupied a “special position” within Imperial Italy (Reichs Italiana)5,6. However, as a member of the imperial circle of Rhine-Superior (Oberrheinische Reichskreis), along with the duchies of Tuscany, Genoa, Milan or even the Po7 plain, it was one of the major imperial fiefdoms in the central-northern region of Italy. is believed. After the reform of the imperial system in the late 15th century, he was the only person who had a seat and the right to vote in the imperial diet5,6. However, the duke would never use it5,6,8.

After the occupation of the duchy by the French (1536–1559), but also because of its proximity to the border and its location on the road to Italy, Duke Emmanuel-Philibert of Savoy decided to move the capital from the Duchy of Chambéry to Turin. . After the Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis in 15639,10. On February 7, 1563, Turin symbolically became the capital of the Kingdom of Savoy, with the entry of the ducal couple9.

Map of the Duchy of Savoy in 1631.
During the War of the Spanish Succession, Duke of Savoy Victor-Amédée II supported King Philip V of Spain, then replaced by 11. In 1703–11 the Duchy and County of Nice were occupied by France. In 1713 the Treaties of Utrecht ended the occupation. The Duke of Savoy receives the Kingdom of Sicily in the same year, in exchange for his support for the other powers. However, under pressure from Great Britain, he exchanged this kingdom with the House of Austria for Sardinia by the Treaty of London. The exchange took effect in 1720, at the end of the War of the Quadruple Alliance.

In 1860, the Italian Revolution (Risorgimento) and a plebiscite for the unification of Italy federated the various states of Italy and installed King Victor-Emmanuel II of Sardinia on the throne of a constitutional monarchy with the support of the French Emperor Napoleon III. ,

On 22 April of the same year, during the ratification of the Treaty of Turin, after a census plebiscite (130,533 “yes”/”yes” and the territory “235 “no”), the territories of Savoy as well as the county of Nice, were annexed to the duchy. Under, conditionally ceded to France, the new departments of Savoie, Haute-Savoie and Alpes-Maritimes are formed.