Condé

Condé (kôNdāˈ) [key], family name of a cadet branch of the French royal house of Bourbon. The name was first borne by Louis I de Bourbon, prince de Condé, 1530–69, Protestant leader and general. He fought the Spanish at Metz (1552) and Saint-Quentin (1557) but won little favor at court. After his conversion to Protestantism he became involved in the Conspiracy of Amboise (1560; see Amboise, conspiracy of) and escaped execution only through King Francis II's premature death. He was restored to favor by the regent, Catherine de' Medici, but took command of the Huguenots in the Wars of Religion (see Religion, Wars of) and was captured at Dreux (1562). Released in 1563, he once more took up arms in 1567 and was killed at the battle of Jarnac.

His son, Henri I de Bourbon, prince de Condé, 1552–88, was also a Huguenot general. Henri II de Bourbon, prince de Condé, 1588–1646, French political leader, son of Henri I, was forced to leave France (1609) because of the attentions paid his wife by King Henry IV. He returned in 1610 and in 1615 formed a conspiracy against Concino Concini, who dominated the government of the regent, Marie de' Medici, but he was bought off and later imprisoned (1616–19). Afterward he made his peace with the government, fought against the Protestants in the religious wars, and in 1643 became a member of the council of regency for King Louis XIV. His elder son, Louis II (see Condé, Louis II de Bourbon, prince de) was known as the Great Condé. Another son, Armand, founded the cadet branch of Conti. Both sons and a daughter, Mme de Longueville, were leaders in the Fronde.

Louis II's great-grandson, Louis Joseph de Bourbon, prince de Condé, 1736–1818, fought with distinction in the Seven Years War. At the beginning of the French Revolution he emigrated and fomented counterrevolutionary action. He formed a corps known as the army of Condé, which he allied with the Austrians. In 1797 he offered his services to Russia; in 1800 he entered English pay, but he was obliged to dissolve his army in 1801. He returned to France at the Restoration.

His son, Louis Henri Joseph de Bourbon, prince de Condé, 1756–1830, followed his father into exile, fought in his army, and headed an unsuccessful revolt in the Vendée during the Hundred Days. He died, probably by suicide. His son was the ill-fated Louis Antoine Henri de Bourbon-Condé, duc d'Enghien.

See H. E. P. L. d'Aumale, History of the Princes de Condé in the XVIth and XVIIth Centuries (1863–64, tr. 1872).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: French History: Biographies