Thomas I of Savoy

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Thomas I or Tommaso I (1178, Aiguebelle – 1 March 1233) was Count of Savoy from 1189-1233. He was the son of Humbert III of Savoy and Beatrice of Viennois. His birth was seen as miraculous; his monkish father had despaired of having a male heir after three wives. Count Humbert sought counsel from St. Anthelm, who blessed Humbert three times, and it was seen as a prophecy come true when Thomas was born shortly before Anthelm himself died on 26 June 1178. He was named in honour of Saint Thomas Becket.

Thomas was still a minor when his father died on 4 March 1189, and a council of regency was established, comprising of his mother Beatrice, his father's cousin Boniface I of Montferrat, and the Bishop of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne. He had reached his majority by August 1191. Thomas possessed the martial abilities, energy, and brilliance that his father lacked, and Savoy enjoyed a golden age under his leadership. Despite his youth he began the push northwest into new territories. In the same year he granted Aosta Valley the "Carta delle Franchigie", recognising the right to administrative and political autonomy. This right was maintained up until the eve of the French Revolution. Later he conquered Vaud, Bugey, and Carignano. He supported the Hohenstaufens, and was known as "Thomas the Ghibelline" because of his career as Imperial Vicar of Lombardy.

Family and children

In 1195 he ambushed the party of Count William I of Geneva, which was escorting the count's daughter, Margaret of Geneva, to France for her intended wedding to King Philip II of France. Thomas carried off Marguerite and married her himself, producing some eight sons and six daughters.


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