Humbert I, Count of Savoy

Humbert I (Italian: Umberto I; c.950 – 1042 or 1047 x 1048), better known as Humbert the White-Handed (French: Humbert aux blanches-mains) or Humbert Whitehand (Italian: Umberto Biancamano)[2] was the founder of the House of Savoy. Of obscure origins, his service to the German emperorsHenry II and Conrad II was rewarded with the counties of Maurienne and Aosta and lands in Valais, all at the expense of local bishops and archbishops; the territory came to be known as the county of Savoy.

11th-century founder of the House of Savoy
Humbert I
Count of Savoy
Successor Amadeus I
Born c.950 or c.980
Died 1047/1048
Buried Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne Cathedral
Noble family Savoy (founder)
Spouse(s) (possibly) Ancilla
Issue Amadeus I
Father Amadeus, Count of Belley

. . . Humbert I, Count of Savoy . . .

Humbert was the son of Amadeus, who may or may not have preceded him as count of Maurienne.[3] His brother was Bishop Otto of Belley. Humbert is the progenitor of the dynasty known as the House of Savoy. The origins of this dynasty are unknown, but Humbert’s ancestors are variously said to have come from Saxony,[4]Burgundy or Provence. Given Humbert’s close connections with Rudolf III of Burgundy,[5] it is likely that his family was Burgundian, and was descended either from the dukes of Vienne,[6] or from a Burgundian aristocratic family (such as the Guigonids, ancestors of the counts of Albon).[7] It is also likely that Humbert was related to Ermengarde of Burgundy, second wife of Rudolf III.[8]

Humbert initially held lands around Belley and in the county of Sermorens,[9] before gaining lands in Aosta and Valais.[10]

After Rudolf III’s death (1032), Humbert I swore fealty to Emperor Conrad II.[11] He supported Conrad II in his campaigns against Odo II, Count of Blois, and Aribert, Archbishop of Milan.[12] In return, Conrad II appointed Humbert count of Savoy and granted him Maurienne, Chablais and perhaps Tarentaise.[13] These imperial grants to a loyal supporter secured key passes through the Alps, controlling trade between Italy and Western Europe, which would be the core of Savoy power for centuries.[14]

. . . Humbert I, Count of Savoy . . .

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. . . Humbert I, Count of Savoy . . .

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