Milan -...

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Milan, the most northern of the major Italian city-states, came to dominate the Po River  valley. The city's strategic location along trade lines and as a gateway to Italy from the  north necessitated a strong military state. Due to the need for strong leadership, Milan  became a strong monarchy under a succession of powerful dukes. The Visconti family  ruled as dukes almost continuously from 1317 to 1447, maintaining the stability of the  volatile region through military might. At the height of their power they controlled nearly  all of northernmost Italy. In 1447 the last Visconti died, and the Milanese attempted to  install a republic. The republic proved unable to protect the city's military interests, and  in 1450, Francesco Sforza, a professional soldier, seized control of the government. His  family would rule Milan for years to come. The most well known of his descendents, 
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Milan -...

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