Having just seen the good movie "The profession of arms" about the last days of Giovanni dall Bande Nere, and having been some days ago at the death place of the Bayard (considered the best knight in the world by those who lived in that period), and having always been fascinated by episodes such as the Challenge of Barletta , and having read the tale of Maramaldo, a knight whose conduct was so vile that Maramaldo became a synonim of "ruthless" and "villanous" in the italian language, I wonder: who were the last european knights?
And as knights, I mean armored warriors of noble descent with a warrior ethic and with a strong sense of individuality (meaning they were also seeking personal glory as soldiers, and to make a name for themselves through their deeds): I don't mean to discuss the role of cavalry in warfare and its evolution throughout modern age.
For western Europe, I guess it's safe to assume that the last knights fought in the War of the Roses and in the Italian Wars. In Italy in particular those weren't sworn to a lord, but were mercenaries. The "condottieri", despite being mercenaries, were all knights in the proper meaning of the term: noble second sons or sons of cadet branches which showed military aptitude and who refused to pursue an ecclesiastic career. They wore splendid full plates (I think the late 15th century / early 16th century was the peak of artistic armor crafting) and fought on horses. They were famous among the commoners. Some had a true chivalric ethic, others didn't, but all were probably the last incarnation of the medieval knight. I guess that artillery and gunpowder sealed their fate and their decline.
What about later?
Could the reiters in the Thirty Years War could be considered as the knights of old, for instance? What about eastern Europe? Could the polish Winged Hussars be considered like medieval knights? I'm not very knowledgeable about them, so if you have anything to share, please do.
So my question is, who were the last proper knights?
(Oh, and if you have badass knightly tales to share, or just awesome illustrations or pics of armors from the period, please do!)