King of France from 1483 to 1498, Charles VIII invaded Italy in 1494, subduing Florence before marching to Naples. As a result of Charles' incursion into Florence, the ruling Medici family was deposed, leading to the reestablishment of the Florentine Republic. Charles was unable to maintain his conquered territory and died while preparing for a second invasion.
The timeline below shows where the character Charles VIII appears in The Prince. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...he blames "the present ruin of Italy" on its rulers' reliance on mercenary forces. When Charles VIII of France invaded and conquered Italy, he showed the Italians that their mercenaries are worthless... (full context)