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Francisco de Moncada

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Count of Osona, Spanish historian, son of the Governor of Sardinia and Catalonia, born at Valencia, 29 December, 1586; died near Goch, Germany, 1635. He entered the army at a very early age, and in 1624, was appointed by King Philip IV ambassador to the imperial court at Vienna, where he soon succeeded in acquiring the esteem of Ferdinand II and his ministers. In 1629 he was recalled from Vienna and sent to Brussels in place of Cardinal de la Cueva, ambassador to the Infanta Isabella. His chief duty there consisted in keeping the king posted in regard to the conditions in the Netherlands, in supervising the royal officials, and in watching over the disbursements of Spanish funds. He soon discovered the chief fault of the preceding administration and endeavoured to concede to the Belgians a much larger share in the administration of their country's affairs, for he realized that only by such a show of confidence could they be kept loyal to the empire. He also proposed, though without success, to transfer the general management of Belgian affairs from Madrid to Brussels. In 1630 he was appointed commander-in-chief of the navy, in 1632 of the entire army, and in 1634, after the death of the Infanta, governor of Belgium, until relieved by the arrival of Prince Cardinal Ferdinand. His crowning and final achievement as military commander was the liberation of Breda, the citizens of which ordered memorial coins struck in his honour. The following year he accompanied the cardinal on an expedition into the Duchy of Cleves, where he died after a short illness at the siege of Goch. He had an amiable character, knew how to guide men according to his own desires, and combined great shrewdness and firmness with wise moderation. He wrote a valuable history of the expedition of the Catalonians and Aragonians against the Turks and Greeks (Barcelona, 1623; Madrid, 1777, 1805, 1883; Paris, 1841, in "Tesoro de los historiadores espanoles"). We furthermore possess from his pen the "Vida de Anicio Manlio Torquato Severino Boecio", which was printed (Frankfort 1642) seven years after his death.


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