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Caterina Sforza (1463 -1509) was the illegitimate daughter of the duke of Milan, Galeazzo Maria Sforza. As the daughter of a noble man, Caterina was given a good education. At 10 she was married to Giralomo Riario, and the marriage was consummated at 14. Caterina gave birth to the first of many children at the age of 15.
Giralomo Riario was the nephew of Pope Sixtus, who came to give them the two towns of Forli, and Imola. After the death of her husband, her son attained the lordship, but as he was too young to rule, Caterina ruled in his stead. Her first act as ruler was to take revenge on the murderers of her husband, after which she set out to train the forces of her cities, and redesign the tax system.
Caterina controlled the cities long after the death of Pope Sixtus, but was eventually defeated in battle by Cesare Borgia.
Caterina Sforza had many talents, and was widely known in the Italian courts for her beauty, but it was her skill as a military commander who got her the nick- name “the tiger”.