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Habsburg Spain is a contemporary historiographical term referred to the
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
of the 16th and 17th centuries (1516–1700) when it was ruled by kings from the
House of Habsburg The House of Habsburg (), alternatively spelled Hapsburg in English (german: Haus Habsburg ; es, Casa de Habsburgo ; hu, Habsburg-család), also known as the House of Austria (german: link=no, Haus Österreich; es, link=no, Casa de Austria), ...
(also associated with its role in the history of
Central and Eastern Europe Central and Eastern Europe is a term encompassing the countries in Central Europe, the Baltic states, Baltics, Eastern Europe, and Southeast Europe (also called the Balkans), usually meaning former communist states from the Eastern Bloc and War ...
). The Habsburg Hispanic Monarchs (chiefly
Charles ICharles I may refer to: Kings and emperors * Charlemagne (742–814), numbered Charles I in the lists of French and German kings * Charles I of Anjou (1226–1285), also king of Albania, Jerusalem, Naples and Sicily * Charles I of Hungary (1288 ...

Charles I
and
Philip IIPhilip II may refer to: * Philip II of Macedon (382–336 BC) * Philip II (emperor) (238–249), Roman emperor * Philip II, Prince of Taranto (1329–1374) * Philip II, Duke of Burgundy (1342–1404) * Philip II, Duke of Savoy (1438-1497) * Philip ...

Philip II
) reached the zenith of their influence and power ruling the
Spanish Empire The Spanish Empire ( es, link=no, Imperio Español), also known as the Hispanic Monarchy ( es, link=no, Monarquía Hispánica) or the Catholic Monarchy ( es, link=no, Monarquía Católica) during the Early Modern period, was a colonial empire ...

Spanish Empire
. They controlled territories over the five continents including the
Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) is a landmass comprising the totality of North America, North and South America. The Americas make up most of the land in Earth's Western Hemisphere and comprise the New World. Along with th ...

Americas
, the
East Indies The East Indies (or simply the Indies), is a term used in historical narratives of the Age of Discovery The Age of Discovery, or the Age of Exploration (sometimes also, particularly regionally, Age of Contact or Contact Period), is an inf ...
, the
Low Countries, Belgium, Luxembourg
Low Countries, Belgium, Luxembourg
and territories now in Italy,
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
and
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...

Germany
in Europe, the
Portuguese Empire The Portuguese Empire ( pt, Império Português), also known as the Portuguese Overseas (''Ultramar Português'') or the Portuguese Colonial Empire (''Império Colonial Português''), was composed of the overseas colonies In political scie ...
from 1580 to 1640, and various other territories such as small enclaves like
Ceuta Ceuta (, , ; ber, Sebta, script=Latn; ar, سَبْتَة, Sabtah) is a Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other pl ...

Ceuta
and
Oran Oran ( ar, وَهران, Wahrān) is a major coastal city located in the north-west of Algeria. It is considered the second most important city of Algeria after the capital Algiers, due to its population, commercial, industrial, and cultural impo ...

Oran
in North Africa. This period of
Spanish history Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...
has also been referred to as the " Age of Expansion". With the Habsburgs, Spain was one of the greatest
political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of res ...

political
and
military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, Society, societies, or pa ...

military
powers in Europe and the world for much of the 16th and 17th centuries. During the Habsburg's period, Spain ushered in the
Spanish Golden Age The Spanish Golden Age ( es, Siglo de Oro, links=no , "Golden Century") is a period of flourishing in arts and literature in Spain, coinciding with the political rise of the Spanish Empire The Spanish Empire ( es, Imperio Español; la, Impe ...
of arts and literature producing some of the world's most outstanding writers and painters and influential intellectuals, including
Teresa of Ávila Teresa of Ávila, born Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda y Ahumada, also called Saint Teresa of Jesus (28 March 15154 or 15 October 1582), was a Spanish noblewoman who felt called to convent life in the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, ...

Teresa of Ávila
,
Pedro Calderón de la Barca Pedro Calderón de la Barca y Barreda González de Henao Ruiz de Blasco y Riaño (17 January 160025 May 1681), usually referred as Pedro Calderón de la Barca (, ; ), was a dramatist, poet, writer and a knight of the Order of Santiago, known pri ...

Pedro Calderón de la Barca
,
Miguel de Cervantes Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (; 29 September 1547 (assumed)22 April 1616 NS) was a Spanish writer widely regarded as the greatest writer in the Spanish language and one of the world's pre-eminent novelists. He is best known for his novel ''D ...

Miguel de Cervantes
,
Francisco de Quevedo Francisco Gómez de Quevedo y Santibáñez Villegas, KOS (; 14 September 1580 – 8 September 1645) was a Spanish nobleman, politician and writer of the Baroque era. Along with his lifelong rival, Luis de Góngora, Quevedo was one of the mos ...

Francisco de Quevedo
,
Diego Velázquez Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (baptized June 6, 1599August 6, 1660) was a Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine ...

Diego Velázquez
,
El Greco Domḗnikos Theotokópoulos ( el, Δομήνικος Θεοτοκόπουλος ; 1 October 1541 7 April 1614), most widely known as El Greco ("The Greek"), was a Greeks, Greek painter, sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissanc ...
,
Domingo de Soto Domingo de Soto (1494 – 15 November 1560) was a Spanish Dominican Dominican may refer to: * Someone or something from or related to the Dominican Republic The Dominican Republic ( ; es, República Dominicana, ) is a country located on ...
,
Francisco Suárez Francisco Suárez (5 January 1548 – 25 September 1617) was a Spain, Spanish Jesuit Catholic priest, priest, philosopher and theology, theologian, one of the leading figures of the School of Salamanca movement, and generally regarded among the ...

Francisco Suárez
and
Francisco de Vitoria Francisco de Vitoria ( – 12 August 1546; also known as Francisco de Victoria) was a Spanish Roman Catholic philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental q ...

Francisco de Vitoria
. Spain or "the Spains", referring to Spanish territories across different continents in this period, initially covered the entire
Iberian peninsula The Iberian Peninsula , ** * Aragonese Aragonese or Aragones may refer to: * Something related to Aragon, an autonomous community and former kingdom in Spain * the Aragonese people, those originating from or living in the historical region ...

Iberian peninsula
, including the kingdoms of
Aragon Aragon ( or , Spanish and an, Aragón , ca, Aragó ) is an autonomous community In Spain, an autonomous community ( es, comunidad autónoma) is a first-level political divisions of Spain, political and administrative division, created in acc ...
, Castile, León,
Navarre Navarre (; es, Navarra ; eu, Nafarroa ), officially the Chartered Community of Navarre ( es, Comunidad Foral de Navarra, links=no ; eu, Nafarroako Foru Komunitatea, links=no ), is a Fuero, foral autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous co ...
and, from 1580,
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who ...
. The marriage of
Isabella I of Castile Isabella I ( es, Isabel I, 22 April 1451 – 26 November 1504) was Queen of Castile This is a list of kings and queens of the Kingdom and Crown of Castile The Crown of Castile was a medieval polity in the Iberian Peninsula that fo ...
and
Ferdinand II of Aragon Ferdinand II of Aragon ( an, Ferrando; ca, Ferran; eu, Errando; es, Fernando; 10 March 1452 – 23 January 1516), also called ''Ferdinand the Catholic'', was King of Aragon from 1479, King of Sicily (as Ferdinand II) from 1469, List of monar ...
in 1469 resulted in the union of the two main crowns,
Castile
Castile
and
Aragon Aragon ( or , Spanish and an, Aragón , ca, Aragó ) is an autonomous community In Spain, an autonomous community ( es, comunidad autónoma) is a first-level political divisions of Spain, political and administrative division, created in acc ...
, which eventually led to the
de facto ''De facto'' ( ; , "in fact") describes practices that exist in reality, even though they are not officially recognized by laws. It is commonly used to refer to what happens in practice, in contrast with ''de jure'' ("by law"), which refers to th ...
unification of Spain, after the culmination of the ''
Reconquista The ' (Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portug ...

Reconquista
'' with the
conquest of Granada The Granada War ( es, Guerra de Granada) was a series of military campaigns between 1482 and 1491, during the reign of the Catholic Monarchs The term Catholic Monarchs refers to Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon ...
in 1492 and of
Navarre Navarre (; es, Navarra ; eu, Nafarroa ), officially the Chartered Community of Navarre ( es, Comunidad Foral de Navarra, links=no ; eu, Nafarroako Foru Komunitatea, links=no ), is a Fuero, foral autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous co ...
in 1512–1529. Isabella and Ferdinand were bestowed the title of " Catholic King and Queen" by
Pope Alexander VI Pope Alexander VI (born Rodrigo de Borja; ca-valencia, Roderic Llançol i de Borja ; es, Rodrigo Lanzol y de Borja, lang ; 1 January 1431 – 18 August 1503) was head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as th ...

Pope Alexander VI
in 1494, and the term ''Monarchia Catholica'' (Catholic Monarchy, Modern Spanish: ''Monarquía Católica'') remained in use for the monarchy under the Spanish Habsburgs. The Habsburg period is formative of the notion of "Spain" in the sense that was institutionalized in the
18th century The 18th century lasted from January 1, 1701 (Roman numerals, MDCCI) to December 31, 1800 (Roman numerals, MDCCC). The term is often used to refer to the 1700s, the century between January 1, 1700 and December 31, 1799. During the 18th centu ...
. Spain as a unified state came into being ''
de jure In law and government, ''de jure'' ( ; , "by law") describes practices that are legally recognized, regardless of whether the practice exists in reality. In contrast, ("in fact") describes situations that exist in reality, even if not legally ...
'' after the
Nueva Planta decrees The Nueva Planta decrees ( es, link=no, Decretos de Nueva Planta, ca, Decrets de Nova Planta) were a number of decree A decree is a rule of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements ...
of 1707 that succeeded the multiple crowns of its former realms. After the death in 1700 of Spain's last Habsburg king
Charles II
Charles II
, the resulting
War of the Spanish Succession The War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714) was an early-18th-century European war, triggered by the death in November 1700 of the childless Charles II of Spain. It established the principle that dynastic rights were secondary to maintaini ...
led to the ascension of
Philip VPhilip V may refer to: * Philip V of Macedon (221–179 BC) * Philip V of France (1293–1322) * Philip II of Spain, also Philip V, Duke of Burgundy (1526–1598) * Philip V of Spain (1683–1746) {{hndis, Philip 06 ...

Philip V
of the
Bourbon dynasty The House of Bourbon (, also ; ) is a European dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n.''" Oxford University Press Oxford University Press (OUP) is the unive ...
and began a new centralizing state formation.


History


Beginnings of the empire (1504–1521)

In 1504,
Isabella I of Castile Isabella I ( es, Isabel I, 22 April 1451 – 26 November 1504) was Queen of Castile This is a list of kings and queens of the Kingdom and Crown of Castile The Crown of Castile was a medieval polity in the Iberian Peninsula that fo ...
died, and although
Ferdinand II of Aragon Ferdinand II of Aragon ( an, Ferrando; ca, Ferran; eu, Errando; es, Fernando; 10 March 1452 – 23 January 1516), also called ''Ferdinand the Catholic'', was King of Aragon from 1479, King of Sicily (as Ferdinand II) from 1469, List of monar ...
tried to maintain his position over Castile in the wake of her death, the Castilian
Cortes Generales The Cortes Generales (; en, Spanish Parliament, lit=General Courts) are the bicameral Bicameralism is the practice of having a legislature A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative ...
(the
royal court A royal court is an extended royal household in a monarchy A monarchy is a form of government in which a person, the monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. ...
of Spain) chose to crown Isabella's daughter
Joanna of Castile Joanna I (6 November 1479 – 12 April 1555), historically known as Joanna the Mad ( es, link=no, Juana la Loca), was ''nominal'' Queen of Castile from 1504 to 1555. She was married by arrangement to Philip the Handsome, Archduke of Austria o ...

Joanna of Castile
as queen. Her husband,
Philip I of Castile Philip the Handsome, es, Felipe, french: Philippe, nl, Filips (22 July 1478 – 25 September 1506), also called the Fair, was Duke of Burgundy from 1482 to 1506 and the first Habsburg King of Castile (as Philip I) for a brief time in 1506. ...

Philip I of Castile
, was the
Habsburg The House of Habsburg (), alternatively spelled Hapsburg in English (german: Haus Habsburg ; es, Casa de Habsburgo ; hu, Habsburg-család), also known as the House of Austria (german: link=no, Haus Österreich; es, link=no, Casa de Austria), ...

Habsburg
son of the
Holy Roman Emperor The Holy Roman Emperor, originally and officially the Emperor of the Romans ( la, Imperator The Latin word "imperator" derives from the stem of the verb la, imperare, label=none, meaning 'to order, to command'. It was originally employed as ...
Maximilian IMaximilian I may refer to: *Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, reigned 1486/93–1519 *Maximilian I, Elector of Bavaria, reigned 1597–1651 *Maximilian I, Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (1636-1689) *Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria, reigned 1795– ...

Maximilian I
and
Mary of Burgundy Mary (french: Marie; nl, Maria; 13 February 1457 – 27 March 1482), nicknamed the Rich, titular Duchess of Burgundy This article lists queens, countesses, and duchesses consort of the Kingdom of Burgundy, Kingdom, County of Burgundy, Count ...

Mary of Burgundy
. Shortly thereafter Joanna began to lapse into insanity, although the extent of her mental illness was the topic of some debate. In 1506, Philip I was declared ''
jure uxoris ''Jure uxoris'' (a Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in ...
'' king, but he died later that year under mysterious circumstances, possibly poisoned by his father-in-law, Ferdinand II. Since their oldest son Charles was only six, the Cortes reluctantly allowed Joanna's father Ferdinand II to rule the country as the
regent A regent (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repu ...
of Queen Joanna and Charles. Spain was now in
personal union A personal union is the combination of two or more states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The Stat ...

personal union
under Ferdinand II of
Aragon Aragon ( or , Spanish and an, Aragón , ca, Aragó ) is an autonomous community In Spain, an autonomous community ( es, comunidad autónoma) is a first-level political divisions of Spain, political and administrative division, created in acc ...
. As undisputed ruler in most of the Peninsula, Ferdinand adopted a more aggressive policy than he had as Isabella's husband, going on to crystallize his long-running designs over Navarre into a full-blown invasion led initially by a Castilian military expedition, and supported later by Aragonese troops (1512). He also attempted to enlarge Spain's sphere of influence in Italy, strengthening it against France. As ruler of Aragon, Ferdinand had been involved in the struggle against France and the
Republic of Venice The Republic of Venice ( it, Repubblica di Venezia; vec, Repùblega de Venèsia) or Venetian Republic ( it, Repubblica Veneta; vec, Repùblega Vèneta), traditionally known as La Serenissima ( en, Most Serene Republic Most Serene Republic ( ...
for control of Italy; these conflicts became the center of Ferdinand's foreign policy as king. Ferdinand's first investment of Spanish forces came in the
War of the League of Cambrai The War of the League of Cambrai, sometimes known as the War of the Holy League and several other names, was fought from 1508 to 1516 as part of the Italian Wars The Italian Wars, often referred to as the Great Wars of Italy and som ...
against Venice, where the Spanish soldiers distinguished themselves on the field alongside their French allies at the
Battle of Agnadello The Battle of Agnadello, also known as Vailà, was one of the most significant battles of the War of the League of Cambrai and one of the major battles of the Italian Wars. On 15 April 1509, a French army under the command of Louis XII of France ...
(1509). Only a year later, Ferdinand joined the Holy League against France, seeing a chance at taking both
Naples Naples (; it, Napoli ; nap, Napule ), from grc, Νεάπολις, Neápolis, lit=new city. is the regional capital of and the third-largest city of , after and , with a population of 967,069 within the city's administrative limits as of ...

Naples
—to which he held a dynastic claim—and
Navarre Navarre (; es, Navarra ; eu, Nafarroa ), officially the Chartered Community of Navarre ( es, Comunidad Foral de Navarra, links=no ; eu, Nafarroako Foru Komunitatea, links=no ), is a Fuero, foral autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous co ...
, which was claimed through his marriage to
Germaine of Foix Germaine of Foix ( ca, Germana de Foix; french: Germaine de Foix; 1488 – 15 October 1536) was the queen consort of King Ferdinand II of Aragon Ferdinand II ( an, Ferrando; ca, Ferran; eu, Errando; es, Fernando; 10 March 1452 – 23 J ...
. The war was less of a success than that against Venice, and in 1516 France agreed to a truce that left
Milan Milan (, , Milanese: ; it, Milano ) is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the List of cities in Italy, second-most populous city proper in Italy after Rome. The city proper has a population of about 1.4 million, while its ...
under French control and recognized Spanish hegemony in northern Navarre. Ferdinand would die later that year. Ferdinand's death led to the ascension of young Charles to the throne as
Charles I of Castile and Aragon
Charles I of Castile and Aragon
, effectively founding the
monarchy of Spain , coatofarms = Coat of Arms of Spanish Monarch.svg , coatofarms_article = Coat of arms of the King of Spain , image = King Felipe VI of Spain.jpg , incumbent = Felipe VI , incumbentsince = 19 June 2014 , h ...
. His Spanish inheritance included all the Spanish possessions in the
New World The "New World" is a term for the majority of Earth's Western Hemisphere, specifically the Americas."America." ''The Oxford Companion to the English Language'' (). McArthur, Tom, ed., 1992. New York: Oxford University Press, p. 33: " 6c:_from__...
_and_around_the_Mediterranean._Upon_the_death_of_his_Habsburg_father_in_1506,_Charles_had_inherited_the_Netherlands_and_Franche-Comté,_growing_up_in_Flanders._In_1519,_with_the_death_of_his_paternal_grandfather_Maximilian_IMaximilian_I_may_refer_to: *Maximilian_I,_Holy_Roman_Emperor,_reigned_1486/93–1519 *Maximilian_I,_Elector_of_Bavaria,_reigned_1597–1651 *Maximilian_I,_Prince_of_Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen_(1636-1689) *Maximilian_I_Joseph_of_Bavaria,_reigned_1795–_...

,_Charles_inherited_the_Habsburg_territories_in_Germany,_and_was_duly_Imperial_election_of_1519.html" ;"title="Franche-Comté.html" ;"title="6c: from ...
and around the Mediterranean. Upon the death of his Habsburg father in 1506, Charles had inherited the Netherlands and Franche-Comté">6c: from ...
and around the Mediterranean. Upon the death of his Habsburg father in 1506, Charles had inherited the Netherlands and Franche-Comté, growing up in Flanders. In 1519, with the death of his paternal grandfather
Maximilian IMaximilian I may refer to: *Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, reigned 1486/93–1519 *Maximilian I, Elector of Bavaria, reigned 1597–1651 *Maximilian I, Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (1636-1689) *Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria, reigned 1795– ...

Maximilian I
, Charles inherited the Habsburg territories in Germany, and was duly Imperial election of 1519">elected as
Holy Roman Emperor The Holy Roman Emperor, originally and officially the Emperor of the Romans ( la, Imperator The Latin word "imperator" derives from the stem of the verb la, imperare, label=none, meaning 'to order, to command'. It was originally employed as ...
that year. His mother Joanna remained titular queen of Castile until her death in 1555, but due to her mental health and worries of her being proposed as an alternative monarch by opposition (as happened in the Revolt of the Comuneros), Charles kept her imprisoned. At that point, Emperor and King Charles was the most powerful man in Christendom. The accumulation of so much power by one man and one dynasty greatly concerned
Francis I of France Francis I (french: François Ier; frm, Francoys; 12 September 1494 – 31 March 1547) was King of France from 1515 until his death in 1547. He was the son of Charles, Count of Angoulême, and Louise of Savoy. He succeeded his first cousin once ...
, who found himself surrounded by Habsburg territories. In 1521 Francis invaded the Spanish possessions in Italy and
Navarre Navarre (; es, Navarra ; eu, Nafarroa ), officially the Chartered Community of Navarre ( es, Comunidad Foral de Navarra, links=no ; eu, Nafarroako Foru Komunitatea, links=no ), is a Fuero, foral autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous co ...
, which inaugurated a second round of Franco-Spanish conflict. The war was a disaster for France, which suffered defeats at Biccoca (1522),
Pavia Pavia (, , , ; la, Ticinum; Medieval Latin: ) is a town and comune of south-western Lombardy in northern Italy, south of Milan on the lower Ticino river near its confluence with the Po River, Po. It has a population of c. 73,086. The city was ...

Pavia
(1525, at which Francis was captured), and Landriano (1529) before Francis relented and abandoned Milan to Spain once more.


Charles, an emperor and a king (1521–1558)

Charles's victory at the
Battle of Pavia The Battle of Pavia, fought on the morning of 24 February 1525, was the decisive engagement of the Italian War of 1521–1526 between the Kingdom of France and the Habsburg empire of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, Holy Roman Empero ...

Battle of Pavia
(1525) surprised many
Italians Italians ( it, italiani ) are a Romance Romance (from Vulgar Latin , "in the Roman language", i.e., "Latin") may refer to: Common meanings * Romance (love) Romance or Romantic love is an emotional feeling of love for, or a strong att ...

Italians
and
Germans Germans (, ) are the natives or inhabitants of Germany Germany (german: Deutschland, ), officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in . It is the in Europe after , and the most populous . Germany is situated between the and seas ...

Germans
and elicited concerns that Charles would endeavor to gain even greater power.
Pope Clement VII Pope Clement VII (; ; born Giulio de' Medici; 26 May 1478 – 25 September 1534) was head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion bapt ...
switched sides and now joined forces with France and prominent Italian states against the Habsburg Emperor, in the
War of the League of Cognac The War of the League of Cognac (1526–30) was fought between the Habsburg dominions of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V—primarily the Holy Roman Empire and Habsburg Spain, Spain—and the League of Cognac, an alliance including the ...
. In 1527, due to Charles' inability to pay them sufficiently, his armies in Northern Italy mutinied and sacked Rome itself for loot, forcing Clement, and succeeding popes, to be considerably more prudent in their dealings with secular authorities: in 1533, Clement's refusal to annul
Henry VIII of England Henry VIII (28 June 149128 January 1547) was King of England from 22 April 1509 until his death in 1547. Henry is best known for Wives of Henry VIII, his six marriages, including his efforts to have his first marriage (to Catherine of Aragon ...
's marriage to
Catherine of Aragon Catherine of Aragon (; 16 December 1485 – 7 January 1536) was Queen of England as the first wife of King Henry VIII from their marriage on 11 June 1509 until their annulment on 23 May 1533. She was previously Princess of Wales as the ...

Catherine of Aragon
(Charles' aunt) was a direct consequence of his unwillingness to offend the emperor and perhaps have his capital sacked a second time. The Peace of Barcelona, signed between Charles and the pope in 1529, established a more cordial relationship between the two leaders that effectively named Spain as the protector of the Catholic cause and recognized Charles as king of
Lombardy (man), (woman) lmo, lombard, links=no (man), (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = , demographics1_footnotes = ...
in return for Spanish intervention in overthrowing the rebellious
Florentine Republic The Republic of Florence, officially the Florentine Republic ( it, Repubblica Fiorentina, , or ), was a medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organizati ...
. In 1543,
Francis IFrancis I or Francis the First may refer to: * Francesco I Gonzaga (1366–1407) * Francis I, Duke of Brittany (1414–1450), reigned 1442–1450 * Francis I of France (1494–1547), reigned 1515–1547 * Francis I, Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg (1510–15 ...
, king of France, announced his unprecedented alliance with the
Ottoman Ottoman is the Turkish spelling of the Arabic masculine given name Uthman (name), Uthman (Arabic: عُثْمان ''‘uthmān''). It may refer to: Governments and dynasties * Ottoman Caliphate, an Islamic caliphate from 1517 to 1924 * Ottoman Empi ...
sultan,
Suleiman the Magnificent Suleiman I ( ota, سليمان اول, Süleyman-ı Evvel; tr, I. Süleyman; 6 November 14946 September 1566), commonly known as Suleiman the Magnificent in the West and Suleiman the Lawgiver ( ota, قانونى سلطان سليمان, Ḳā ...

Suleiman the Magnificent
, by occupying the Spanish-controlled city of
Nice Nice ( , ; Niçard: , classical norm, or , nonstandard, ; it, Nizza ; grc, Νίκαια; la, Nicaea) is the Urban area (France)#List of France's aires urbaines (metropolitan areas), seventh most populous urban area in France and the prefectu ...

Nice
in cooperation with Turkish forces. Henry VIII of England, who bore a greater grudge against France than he held against the Emperor for standing in the way of his divorce, joined Charles in his invasion of France. Although the Spanish army was soundly defeated at the
Battle of Ceresole The Battle of Ceresole (; also Cérisoles) took place on 11 April 1544, during the Italian War of 1542–46, outside the village of Ceresole Alba, Ceresole d'Alba in the Piedmont region of Italy. A French army, commanded by François de Bourbo ...
, in
Savoy Savoy (; frp, Savouè ; french: Savoie is a cultural-historical region in the Western Alps it, Alpi occidentaligerman: Westalpen , photo=Mont Blanc from Punta Helbronner, 2010 July.JPG , photo_caption=Mont Blanc Mont Blanc (french: Mont ...

Savoy
Henry fared better, and France was forced to accept terms. The Austrians, led by Charles's younger brother
Ferdinand Ferdinand is a Germanic nameGermanic given names are traditionally dithematic; that is, they are formed from two elements, by joining a prefix A prefix is an affix which is placed before the stem of a word. Adding it to the beginning of one w ...

Ferdinand
, continued to fight the Ottomans in the east. With France defeated, Charles went to take care of an older problem: the
Schmalkaldic League The Schmalkaldic League (; ; or ) was a military alliance A military alliance is a formal agreement between nations concerning national security National security or national defence is the security and Defence (military), defence ...
. The
Protestant Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within Western Christianity Western Christianity is one of two sub-divisions of Christianity Christianity is an Abra ...
had begun in Germany in 1517. Charles, through his position as Holy Roman Emperor, his important holdings along Germany's frontiers, and his close relationship with his Habsburg relatives in Austria, had a vested interest in maintaining the stability of the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
. The
German Peasants' War The German Peasants' War, Great Peasants' War or Great Peasants' Revolt (german: Deutscher Bauernkrieg) was a widespread popular revolt in some German-speaking The German language (, ) is a West Germanic language mainly spoken in Ce ...
broke out in Germany in 1524 and ravaged the country until it was brutally put down in 1526; Charles, even as far away from Germany as he was, was committed to keeping order. After the Peasants' War the Protestants organized themselves into a defensive league to protect themselves from Emperor Charles. Under the protection of the Schmalkaldic League, the Protestant states committed a number of outrages in the eyes of the Catholic Church— the confiscation of some ecclesiastical territories, among other things— and defied the authority of the Emperor. Perhaps more important to the strategy of the Spanish king, the League had allied itself with the French, and efforts in Germany to undermine the League had been rebuffed. Francis's defeat in 1544 led to the annulment of the alliance with the Protestants, and Charles took advantage of the opportunity. He first tried the path of negotiation at the
Council of Trent The Council of Trent ( la, Concilium Tridentinum), held between 1545 and 1563 in Trent (or Trento, in northern Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of ...

Council of Trent
in 1545, but the Protestant leadership, feeling betrayed by the stance taken by the Catholics at the council, went to war, led by the Saxon elector
MauriceMaurice may refer to: People *Saint Maurice (died 287), Roman legionary and Christian martyr *Maurice (emperor) or Flavius Mauricius Tiberius Augustus (539–602), Byzantine emperor *Maurice (bishop of London) (died 1107), Lord Chancellor and Lor ...
. In response, Charles invaded Germany at the head of a mixed Dutch-Spanish army, hoping to restore the Imperial authority. The Emperor personally inflicted a decisive defeat on the Protestants at the historic
Battle of Mühlberg The Battle of Mühlberg took place near Mühlberg, Brandenburg, Mühlberg in the Electorate of Saxony in 1547, during the Schmalkaldic War. The Catholic princes of the Holy Roman Empire led by the Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, Holy Roman Empero ...
in 1547. In 1555, Charles signed the
Peace of Augsburg The Peace of Augsburg, also called the Augsburg Settlement, was a treaty between Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, french: Charles Quint, it, Carlo V, nl, Karel V, ca, Carles V, la, Carolus V (24 February 1500 – 21 Septemb ...
with the Protestant states and restored stability in Germany on his principle of ''
cuius regio, eius religio () is a Latin phrase __NOTOC__ This is a list of Wikipedia articles of Latin phrases and their translation into English. To view all phrases on a single, lengthy document, see: * List of Latin phrases (full) The list also is divided alphabetic ...
'' ("whose realm, his religion"). Charles's involvement in Germany would establish a role for Spain as protector of the Catholic Habsburg cause in the Holy Roman Empire. In 1526, Charles married
Infanta Isabella Isabella Clara Eugenia ( es, Isabel Clara Eugenia; 12 August 1566 – 1 December 1633), sometimes referred to as Clara Isabella Eugenia, was sovereign of the Spanish Netherlands in the Low Countries and the north of modern France with her husband, ...

Infanta Isabella
, the sister of
John III of Portugal John III ( pt, João III ; 7 June 1502 – 11 June 1557), nicknamed The Pious (Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese langua ...

John III of Portugal
. In 1556 he abdicated from his positions, giving his Spanish empire to his only surviving son,
Philip II of Spain Philip II) in Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption ...

Philip II of Spain
, and the Holy Roman Empire to his brother, Ferdinand. Charles retired to the monastery of
Yuste The Monastery of Yuste is a monastery in the small village now called Cuacos de Yuste (in older works ''San Yuste'' or ''San Just'') in the province of Cáceres in the autonomous communities in Spain, autonomous community of Extremadura, Spain ...

Yuste
(
Extremadura Extremadura ( , ; ext, Estremaúra; pt, Estremadura; Fala: ''Extremaúra'') is an autonomous community of Spain , * gl, Reino de España, * oc, Reiaume d'Espanha, , , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Es ...

Extremadura
, Spain), and died in 1558.


Philip II (1558–1598)

Spain was not yet at peace, as the aggressive
Henry II of France Henry II (french: Henri II; 31 March 1519 – 10 July 1559) was King of France from 31 March 1547 until his death in 1559. The second son of Francis I of France, Francis I, he became Dauphin of France upon the death of his elder brother Francis ...
came to the throne in 1547 and renewed the conflict with Spain. Charles' successor, Philip II, aggressively conducted the war against France, crushing a French army at the Battle of St. Quentin in
Picardy Picardy (; Picard and french: Picardie, , ) is a historical territory and a former administrative region Administration may refer to: Management of organizations * Management Management (or managing) is the administration of an organiz ...

Picardy
in 1557 and defeating Henry again at the Battle of Gravelines the following year. The Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis, signed in 1559, permanently recognized Spanish claims in Italy. In the celebrations that followed the treaty, Henry was killed by a stray splinter from a lance. France was stricken for the next thirty years by civil war and unrest (see
French Wars of Religion The French Wars of Religion were a prolonged period of civil war, war and popular unrest between Catholic Church, Catholics and Huguenots (Calvinist, Reformed/Calvinist Protestants) in the Kingdom of France between 1562 and 1598. It is estimate ...
) and was unable to effectively compete with Spain and the Habsburgs in the European power struggle. Freed from any serious French opposition, Spain saw the height of its might and territorial reach in the period 1559–1643. The
Spanish Empire The Spanish Empire ( es, link=no, Imperio Español), also known as the Hispanic Monarchy ( es, link=no, Monarquía Hispánica) or the Catholic Monarchy ( es, link=no, Monarquía Católica) during the Early Modern period, was a colonial empire ...

Spanish Empire
had grown substantially since the days of Ferdinand and Isabella. The
Aztec The Aztecs () were a Mesoamerican culture that flourished in central Mexico in the post-classic period from 1300 to 1521. The Aztec peoples included different Indigenous peoples of Mexico, ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those g ...

Aztec
and
Inca The Inca Empire, also Quechuan and Aymaran spelling shift, known as Incan Empire and the Inka Empire, and at the time known as the Realm of the Four Parts,,  "four parts together" was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. The admin ...

Inca
Empires were conquered during Charles' reign, from 1519 to 1521 and 1540 to 1558, respectively. Spanish settlements were established in the New World:
Mexico City Mexico City ( es, link=no, Ciudad de México, ; abbreviated as CDMX; nah, Āltepētl Mēxihco) is the capital city, capital and largest city of Mexico, as well as the List of North American cities by population, most populous city in North Americ ...

Mexico City
, the most important colonial city established in 1524 to be the primary center of administration in the New World;
Florida Florida is a U.S. state, state located in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States. Florida is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the northwest by Alabama, to the north by Georgia (U.S. state), Geor ...

Florida
, colonized in the 1560s;
Buenos Aires Buenos Aires ( or ; ), officially Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or cap ...

Buenos Aires
, established in 1536; and
New Granada
New Granada
(modern
Colombia Colombia ( , ; ), officially the Republic of Colombia, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by conv ...

Colombia
), colonized in the 1530s. The
Spanish Empire The Spanish Empire ( es, link=no, Imperio Español), also known as the Hispanic Monarchy ( es, link=no, Monarquía Hispánica) or the Catholic Monarchy ( es, link=no, Monarquía Católica) during the Early Modern period, was a colonial empire ...

Spanish Empire
abroad became the source of Spanish wealth and power in Europe. But as precious metal shipments rapidly expanded late in the century it contributed to the general
inflation In economics, inflation refers to a general progressive increase in prices of goods and services in an economy. When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services; consequently, inflation corresponds to a r ...
that was affecting the whole of Europe. Instead of fueling the Spanish economy, American silver made the country increasingly dependent on foreign sources of raw materials and manufactured goods. In 1557, Spain met with
bankruptcy Bankruptcy is a legal process through which people or other entities who cannot repay debts to creditor A creditor or lender is a party 300px, '' Hip, Hip, Hurrah!'' (1888) by Peder Severin Krøyer, a painting portraying an artists' par ...

bankruptcy
and was forced to partially repudiate its debt through
debt consolidation Debt consolidation is a form of debt refinancingRefinancing is the replacement of an existing debt obligation with another debt obligation under different terms. The terms and conditions of refinancing may vary widely by country, province, or st ...
and
conversion Conversion or convert may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Conversion (Doctor Who audio), "Conversion" (''Doctor Who'' audio), an episode of the audio drama ''Cyberman'' * Conversion (Stargate Atlantis), "Conversion" (''Stargate Atlantis ...
. The Peace of Cateau-Cambresis in 1559 concluded the war with France, leaving Spain at a considerable advantage. However, the government was in enormous debt and declared bankruptcy that year. Most of the government's revenues came from taxes and excise duties, not imported silver and other goods. The
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
had long menaced the fringes of the Habsburg dominions in Austria and northwest Africa, and in response Ferdinand and Isabella had sent expeditions to North Africa, capturing
Melilla Melilla ( , ; ; ber, Mrich / Mlilt; ar, مليلية ) is an autonomous city of Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , nation ...

Melilla
in 1497 and
Oran Oran ( ar, وَهران, Wahrān) is a major coastal city located in the north-west of Algeria. It is considered the second most important city of Algeria after the capital Algiers, due to its population, commercial, industrial, and cultural impo ...

Oran
in 1509. Charles had preferred to combat the Ottomans through a considerably more maritime strategy, hampering Ottoman landings on the Venetian territories in the Eastern Mediterranean. Only in response to raids on the eastern coast of Spain did Charles personally lead attacks against holdings in North Africa (1545). In 1560, the Ottomans battled the Spanish navy off the coast of Tunisia, but in 1565 Ottoman troops landing on the strategically vital island of
Malta Malta ( , , ), officially known as the Republic of Malta ( mt, Repubblika ta' Malta ) and formerly Melita, is a Southern European island country consisting of an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies south of Italy, east of Tunisi ...

Malta
, defended by the Knights of St. John, were defeated. The death of
Suleiman the Magnificent Suleiman I ( ota, سليمان اول, Süleyman-ı Evvel; tr, I. Süleyman; 6 November 14946 September 1566), commonly known as Suleiman the Magnificent in the West and Suleiman the Lawgiver ( ota, قانونى سلطان سليمان, Ḳā ...

Suleiman the Magnificent
the following year and his succession by Selim the Sot emboldened Philip, who resolved to carry the war to the Ottoman homelands. In 1571, a mixed naval expedition of Spanish, Venetian, and papal ships led by Charles' illegitimate son
Don John of Austria John of Austria ( es, Juan, german: Johann; 24 February 1547 – 1 October 1578) was an illegitimate son of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V. He became a military leader in the service of his half-brother, King Philip ...
annihilated the Ottoman fleet at the
Battle of Lepanto The Battle of Lepanto was a naval engagement that took place on 7 October 1571 when a fleet of the Holy League, a coalition of Catholic states arranged by Pope Pius V Pope Pius V (17 January 1504 – 1 May 1572), born Antonio Ghislie ...
, in the largest naval battle fought in European waters since Actium in 31 BC. The fleet included
Miguel de Cervantes Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (; 29 September 1547 (assumed)22 April 1616 NS) was a Spanish writer widely regarded as the greatest writer in the Spanish language and one of the world's pre-eminent novelists. He is best known for his novel ''D ...

Miguel de Cervantes
, future author of the historic Spanish novel
Don Quixote (, ;Oxford English Dictionary,Don Quixote , ) is a Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ont ...

Don Quixote
. The victory curbed the Ottoman naval threat against European territory, particularly in the western Mediterranean, and the loss of experienced sailors was to be a major handicap in facing Christian fleets. Yet the Turks succeeded in rebuilding their navy in a year, using it handily to consolidate Ottoman dominance over most of the Mediterranean's African coast and eastern islands. Philip lacked the resources to fight both the Netherlands and the Ottoman Empire at the same time, and the stalemate in the Mediterranean continued until Spain agreed to a truce in 1580. The time for rejoicing in Madrid was short-lived. In 1566,
Calvinist Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed faith) is a major branch of Protestantism Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an , based on the a ...
-led riots in the
Spanish Netherlands Spanish Netherlands es, Países Bajos Españoles; nl, Spaanse Nederlanden; french: Pays-Bas espagnols; german: Spanische Niederlande. (historically in Spanish: ''Flandes'', the name "Flanders" was used as a ''pars pro toto ''Pars pro toto'' (, ...

Spanish Netherlands
(roughly equal to modern-day Netherlands and Belgium, inherited by Philip from Charles and his
Burgundian
Burgundian
forebearers) prompted the
Duke of Alva A duke (male) can either be a monarch ranked below the emperor, king, and grand duke ruling over a duchy or a member of Royal family, royalty or nobility, historically of highest rank, below princes of nobility and grand dukes. The title comes ...
to conduct a military expedition to restore order. Alva launched an ensuing reign of terror. In 1568,
William the Silent William the Silent (24 April 153310 July 1584), also known as William the Taciturn (translated from nl, Willem de Zwijger), or, more commonly in the Netherlands ) , national_anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map ...
led a failed attempt to drive Alva from the Netherlands. This attempt is generally considered to signal the start of the
Eighty Years' War The Eighty Years' War ( nl, Tachtigjarige Oorlog; es, Guerra de los Ochenta Años) or Dutch War of Independence (1568–1648) was a Dutch Revolt, revolt of the Seventeen Provinces of what are today the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg a ...
that ended with the independence of the United Provinces. The Spanish, who derived a great deal of wealth from the Netherlands and particularly from the vital port of
Antwerp Antwerp (; nl, Antwerpen ; french: Anvers ) is a city in Belgium and the capital of Antwerp (province), Antwerp province in the Flemish Region. With a population of 520,504,
Antwerp
, were committed to restoring order and maintaining their hold on the provinces. In 1572, a band of rebel Dutch privateers known as the ''
watergeuzen File:Veen01.jpg, Relief of Leiden by the Sea Beggars on flat-bottomed boats, on 3 October 1574, during the Siege of Leiden. Otto van Veen, 1574. Geuzen (; French language, French: Les Gueux, English language, English: the Beggars) was a name assume ...

watergeuzen
'' ("Sea Beggars") seized a number of Dutch coastal towns, proclaimed their support for William and denounced the Spanish leadership. In 1574, the Spanish army under Luis de Requeséns was repulsed from the
Siege of Leiden The siege of Leiden occurred during the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604), Anglo–Spanish War in 1573 and 1574, when the Spanish under Francisco de Valdez attempted to capture the rebellious city of Leiden, South Holland, ...
after the Dutch destroyed the dykes that held back the North Sea from the low-lying provinces. In 1576, faced with the costs of his 80,000-man army of occupation in the Netherlands and the massive fleet that had won at Lepanto, Philip was forced to accept
bankruptcy Bankruptcy is a legal process through which people or other entities who cannot repay debts to creditor A creditor or lender is a party 300px, '' Hip, Hip, Hurrah!'' (1888) by Peder Severin Krøyer, a painting portraying an artists' par ...

bankruptcy
. The army in the Netherlands mutinied not long after, seizing
Antwerp Antwerp (; nl, Antwerpen ; french: Anvers ) is a city in Belgium and the capital of Antwerp (province), Antwerp province in the Flemish Region. With a population of 520,504,
Antwerp
and looting the southern Netherlands, prompting several cities in the previously peaceful southern provinces to join the rebellion. The Spanish chose the route of negotiation, and pacified most of the southern provinces again with the
Union of Arras The Union of Arras (Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle ...
in 1579. The Arras agreement required all Spanish troops to leave these lands. Meanwhile, Philip had his eye on uniting the entire Iberian Peninsula under his rule, a traditional objective of Spanish monarchs. The opportunity came in 1578 when the Portuguese king Sebastian launched a crusade against Morocco. The expedition ended in disaster and Sebastian's disappearance at the Battle of the Three Kings. His aged uncle Henry ruled until he died in 1580. Although Philip had long prepared for the takeover of Portugal, he still found it necessary to launch a military occupation led by the Duke of Alva. Philip took the title of King of Portugal, but otherwise the country remained autonomous, retaining its own laws, currency, and institutions. However, Portugal surrendered all independence in foreign policy, and relations between the two countries were never warm. France formed the cornerstone of Spanish foreign policy. For 30 years after Cateau-Cambresis, it was engulfed in civil wars. After 1590, the Spanish intervened directly in France, winning battles, but failing to prevent Henry of Navarre from becoming king as Henry IV. To Spain's dismay, Pope Clement VIII accepted Henry back into the Catholic Church. To keep the Netherlands under control required an extensive occupation force, and Spain was still financially strapped since the 1576 bankruptcy. In 1584, William the Silent was assassinated by a Catholic, and the death of the popular Dutch resistance leader was expected to bring an end to the war; it did not. In 1586, Queen
Elizabeth I of England Elizabeth I (7 September 153324 March 1603) was Queen of England and Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to i ...

Elizabeth I of England
, supported the Protestant cause in the Netherlands and France, and
Sir Francis Drake Sir Francis Drake ( – 28 January 1596) was an English explorer Exploration is the act of searching for the purpose of discovery Discovery may refer to: * Discovery (observation) Discovery is the act of detecting something new ...

Sir Francis Drake
launched attacks against Spanish merchants in the
Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole Antillean Creole (Antillean French Creole, Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patois) is a French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles ...
and the
Pacific Ocean The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. ...

Pacific Ocean
, along with a particularly aggressive attack on the port of
Cádiz Cádiz (, also , ; see more below) is a city and port in southwestern Spain. It is the capital of the Province of Cádiz, one of eight that make up the autonomous community of Andalusia Andalusia (, ; es, Andalucía ) is the southernmost ...

Cádiz
. Philip sent the
Spanish Armada The Spanish Armada ( es, Grande y Felicísima Armada, links=no, lit=Great and Most Fortunate Navy) was a Habsburg Spanish fleet of 130 ships that sailed from Lisbon Lisbon (; pt, Lisboa ) is the capital and the largest city of Portugal ...

Spanish Armada
to attack England. Numbering 130 ships and 30,000 men, it was led by the Duke of Medina-Sidona. The Armada's goal was to ferry Spanish troops from the Netherlands to invade England. After three days of fighting with the English fleet, the Armada withdrew and was forced to make the journey around the coast of Scotland and Ireland, many ships being wrecked by storms. Spain had invested itself in the religious warfare in France after Henry II's death. In 1589,
Henry IIIHenry III may refer to: * Henry III, Duke of Bavaria (940–989) * Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor (1017–1056) * Henry III, Count of Louvain (died 1095) * Henry III, Count of Luxembourg (died 1096) * Henry III, Duke of Carinthia (1050–1122) * Henr ...
, the last of the Valois lineage, died at the walls of Paris. His successor,
Henry IV of France Henry IV (french: Henri IV; 13 December 1553 – 14 May 1610), also known by the epithet Good King Henry or Henry the Great, was King of Navarre (as Henry III) from 1572 and King of France from 1589 to 1610. He was the first monarch of Franc ...

Henry IV of France
, the first
BourbonBourbon may refer to: Food and drink * Bourbon whiskey, an American whiskey made using a corn-based mash * Bourbon barrel aged beer, a type of beer aged in bourbon barrels * Bourbon biscuit, a chocolate sandwich biscuit * A beer produced by Brass ...
king of France, was a man of great ability, winning key victories against the Catholic League at
ArquesArques may refer to the following places in France: * Arques, Aude, in the Aude department * Arques, Aveyron, in the Aveyron department * Arques, Pas-de-Calais, in the Pas-de-Calais department * Arques-la-Bataille, in the Seine-Maritime department, ...
(1589) and Ivry (1590). Committed to stopping Henry from becoming King of France, the Spanish divided their army in the Netherlands and invaded France in 1590. Faced with wars against England, France, and the Netherlands, the Spanish government found that neither the New World silver nor steadily increasing taxes were enough to cover their expenses, and went bankrupt again in 1596. To bring finances into order, military campaigns were reduced and the over-stretched forces went into a largely defensive mode. In 1598, shortly before his death, Philip II made peace with France, withdrawing his forces from French territory and stopping payments to the Catholic League after accepting the new convert to Catholicism, Henry IV, as the rightful French king. Meanwhile, Castile was ravaged by a plague that had arrived by ship from the north, losing half a million people. Yet as the 17th century began, and despite her travails, Spain was still unquestionably the dominant power.


Philip III

Philip III succeeded his father in 1598 but had no interest in politics or government, preferring to engage in lavish court festivities, religious indulgences, and the theatre. He needed someone to do the work of governing, and he settled on the
Duke of Lerma A duke (male) can either be a monarch ranked below the emperor An emperor (from la, imperator, via fro, empereor) is a monarch, and usually the sovereignty, sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the f ...
. Under the guidance of Lerma, Philip III's government resorted to a tactic that had been resolutely resisted by Philip II, paying for the budget deficits by the mass minting of increasingly worthless vellones, causing inflation. In 1607, the government faced bankruptcy. Peace with England and France implied that Spain could focus her energies on restoring her rule to the Dutch provinces. The Dutch, led by
Maurice of Nassau Maurice may refer to: People *Saint Maurice Saint Maurice (also Moritz, Morris, or Mauritius; ) was an Egyptians, Egyptian military leader who headed the legendary Theban Legion of Roman Empire, Rome in the 3rd century, and is one of the favo ...
, the son of William the Silent had succeeded in taking a number of border cities since 1590, including the fortress of
Breda Breda (, , ) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge ...
. Following the peace with England, the new Spanish commander
Ambrosio Spinola
Ambrosio Spinola
pressed hard against the Dutch. Spinola, a general of abilities to match Maurice, was prevented from conquering the Netherlands only by Spain's renewed bankruptcy in 1607. Fortunately, Spanish forces had regained enough of the military initiative to convince a politically divided United Provinces to sign a
truce A ceasefire (or truce), also spelled cease fire (the antonym of 'open fire'), is a temporary stoppage of a war War is an intense armed conflict between states, government A government is the system or group of people governi ...
in 1609. Spain recovered during the truce, ordering her finances and doing much to restore her prestige and stability in the run-up to the last truly great war in which she would participate as the leading power. In the Netherlands, the rule of Philip II's daughter,
Isabella Clara Eugenia Isabella Clara Eugenia ( es, Isabel Clara Eugenia; 12 August 1566 – 1 December 1633), sometimes referred to as Clara Isabella Eugenia, was sovereign of the Spanish Netherlands Spanish Netherlands es, Países Bajos Españoles; nl, Spaanse Neder ...

Isabella Clara Eugenia
, and her husband, Archduke Albert, restored stability to the southern Netherlands. But Philip III and Lerma lacked the ability to make any meaningful change in the country's foreign policy. They clung to the idea of placing the infanta Isabella on the English throne after Queen Elizabeth's death and sent a limited expeditionary force to Ireland to aid the Spanish-supplied rebels. The English defeated it, but the Nine Years' War (Ireland), long war of attrition there had drained England of money, men, and morale: Elizabeth's successor, James I, wanted a fresh start to his reign. The war that had been going on between the two countries since 1585 finally ended. War with France threatened in 1610, but shortly after, Henry IV was assassinated, and the country fell into civil war again. Up until 1630, Spain was at peace and continued its dominant position in Europe. Meanwhile, Lerma's enemies expelled him from office in 1617, and Baltazar de Zúñiga began calling for a more aggressive foreign policy. In 1618, beginning with the Defenestration of Prague, Austria and the Holy Roman Emperor, Ferdinand II of Germany, embarked on a campaign against the Protestant Union and Bohemia. Zúñiga encouraged Philip to join the Austrian Habsburgs in the war, and Ambrogio Spinola, the rising star of the Spanish army, was sent at the head of the Army of Flanders to intervene. Thus, Spain entered into the Thirty Years' War.


Philip IV

In 1621, Philip III died and his son succeeded as Philip IV. The militarists now were firmly in charge. The following year, Zúñiga was replaced by Gaspar de Guzmán, Count-Duke of Olivares, an able man who believed that the center of all Spain's woes lay in Holland. After certain initial setbacks, the Bohemians were defeated at Battle of White Mountain, White Mountain in 1621, and again at Stadtlohn in 1623. The war with the Netherlands was renewed in 1621 with Spinola taking the fortress of Siege of Breda (1624), Breda in 1625. The intervention of the Danish king Christian IV of Denmark, Christian IV in the war worried some (Christian was one of Europe's few monarchs who had no worries over his finances) but the victory of the Imperial general Albert of Wallenstein over the Danes at Battle of Dessau Bridge, Dessau Bridge and again at Battle of Lutter, Lutter, both in 1626, eliminated the threat. There was hope in Madrid that the Netherlands might finally be reincorporated into the empire, and after the defeat of Denmark the Protestants in Germany seemed subdued. France was once again involved in her own instabilities (the famous Siege of La Rochelle began in 1627), and Spain's eminence seemed irrefutable. The Count-Duke Olivares stridently affirmed "God is Spanish and fights for our nation these days." Olivares was a man out of time; he realized that Spain needed to reform, and to reform it needed peace. The destruction of the United Provinces of the Netherlands was necessary. Dutch colonial policy tried to undermine Spanish and Portuguese hegemony. Spinola and the Spanish army were focused on the Netherlands, and the war seemed to be going in Spain's favor. In 1627, the Castilian economy collapsed. The Spanish had been debasement, debasing their currency to pay for the war and inflation, prices exploded in Spain just as they had in previous years in Austria. Until 1631, parts of Castile operated on a barter economy as a result of the currency crisis, and the government was unable to collect any meaningful taxes from the peasantry, depending instead on its colonies (via the Spanish treasure fleet). The Spanish armies in Germany resorted to "paying themselves" on the land. Olivares, who had backed certain tax measures in Spain pending the completion of the war, was further blamed for a fruitless war in Italy, the War of the Mantuan Succession. The Dutch, who during the Twelve Years’ Truce had made their navy a priority, proceeded to plunder Spanish and (especially) Portuguese maritime trade, on which Spain was wholly dependent after the economic collapse. Spanish victories in Germany and Italy were not enough to matter, and their navy began suffering losses. In 1630, Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden landed in Germany and relieved the port of Stralsund that was the last stronghold on the continent held by German forces belligerent to the Emperor. Gustav then marched south winning notable victories at Battle of Breitenfeld (1631), Breitenfeld and Battle of Lützen (1632), Lutzen, attracting greater support for the Protestant cause the further he went. The situation for the Catholics improved with Gustav's death at Lutzen in 1632 and a shocking victory for Imperial forces under Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand and Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor, Ferdinand II of Hungary at Battle of Nördlingen (1634), Nordlingen in 1634. From a position of strength, the Emperor approached the war-weary German states with a peace in 1635; many accepted, including the two most powerful, Brandenburg and Saxony. Cardinal Richelieu had been a strong supporter of the Dutch and Protestants since the beginning of the war, sending funds and equipment in an attempt to stem Habsburg strength in Europe. Richelieu decided that the recently signed Peace of Prague (1635), Peace of Prague was contrary to French interests and declared war on the Holy Roman Emperor and Spain within months of the peace being signed. The more experienced Spanish forces scored initial successes; Olivares ordered a lightning campaign into northern France from the Spanish Netherlands, hoping to shatter the resolve of Louis XIII of France, King Louis XIII's ministers and topple Richelieu before the war exhausted Spanish finances and France's military resources could be fully deployed. In the ''"année de Corbie"'', 1636, Spanish forces advanced as far south as Amiens and Corbie, threatening Paris and quite nearly ending the war on their terms. After 1636, however, Olivares stopped the advance. The French thus gained time to properly mobilise. At the Battle of the Downs in 1639 a Spanish fleet was destroyed by the Dutch navy, and the Spanish found themselves unable to adequately reinforce and supply their forces in the Netherlands. The Spanish Army of Flanders, which represented the finest of Spanish soldiery and leadership, faced a French advance led by Louis II de Bourbon, Prince de Condé in northern France at Battle of Rocroi, Rocroi in 1643. The Spanish, led by Francisco de Melo, were routed. One of Spain's best and most famous armies had suffered defeat on the battlefield.


The last Spanish Habsburgs (1643–1700)

Supported by the French, Naples, Neapolitans, and Portuguese Restoration War, Portuguese rose up in revolt against the Spanish in the 1640s. With the Spanish Netherlands now very much on the defensive between French and Dutch forces after the Battle of Lens in 1648, the Spanish made peace with the Dutch and recognized the independent United Provinces in the Peace of Westphalia that ended both the
Eighty Years' War The Eighty Years' War ( nl, Tachtigjarige Oorlog; es, Guerra de los Ochenta Años) or Dutch War of Independence (1568–1648) was a Dutch Revolt, revolt of the Seventeen Provinces of what are today the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg a ...
and the Thirty Years' War. Olivares attempted to suppress the Reapers' War, Catalan Revolt by launching an invasion of southern France. The quartering of Spanish troops in the Principality of Catalonia only made the situation worse, and the Catalans decided to secede from Spain altogether and unite with France. French troops soon arrived in Catalonia, but when a renewed civil war (the Fronde) broke out at home, their domestically distracted forces were driven out in 1652 by Catalan and Spanish Habsburg forces. England now entered the war and occupied Jamaica. The long, desultory and weary struggle effectively ended at the Battle of the Dunes (1658) where the French army under Vicomte de Turenne (along with some English help) defeated the Spanish army of the Netherlands. Spain agreed to the Peace of the Pyrenees in 1659 that ceded to France Artois, Roussillon, and portions of Lorraine (province), Lorraine. Meanwhile, the Portuguese took advantage of the Catalan revolt to declare their own independence in 1640. The 60 years of union between Portugal and Spain were not happy. The Portuguese fluent Philip II visited the country twice, but Philip III only once, in a short formal visit, and Philip IV never bothered to. The Spanish, hard pressed elsewhere, were blamed for inadequately protecting Portugal's overseas colonies from the Dutch (who Dutch Brazil, annexed parts of Colonial Brazil), and in a time of economic downturn, the Spanish colonies did not enjoy having to trade and compete with their Portuguese counterparts. Moreover, Portugal's autonomous status as an equal in the union went into decline after Philip II and was treated increasingly in the great councils of state as a province. After Portugal declared independence and chose the Duke of Braganza as King John IV, Spain was distracted with a Andalusian independentist conspiracy (1641), Revolt in Andalusia and thus chose to not do anything about it. The Portuguese Restoration War, Portuguese Revolt was partially what led Spain to conclude peace with France in 1659. But the government had gone bankrupt again in 1647 and 1653, and the nobility wouldn't give an inch on financial and tax reforms. Portuguese victories in 1663 at Ameixial and in 1665 at Vila Viçosa secured their independence, and in 1668 Spain recognized Portugal's sovereignty. Philip IV, who had seen over the course of his life the declining influence of Spain's empire, sank slowly into depression after he had to dismiss his favorite courtier, Olivares, in 1643. In 1646, his eldest son and heir Don Balthasar Charles, Prince of Asturias, Baltasar Carlos died at the age of 16.
Charles II
Charles II
was manipulated by various political factions throughout his life. For a short time under Don John of Austria the Younger, Juan José de Austria as favourite, valido the nobility came to dominate Spain once again. Most were self-serving, but there were a few such as the Count of Oropesa, who managed (despite ruinous deflation) to stabilize the currency. Others tried to weaken the power of the Inquisition (which however was not abolished until 1808) and encourage economic development. Even so, Spain's economy (especially in Castile) declined and its population decreased by nearly two million people during the 17th century. This was partially due to plague outbreaks, and partially due to the huge casualties caused by almost continuous warfare. The period 1677-1686 was a low point, with famine, plague, natural disasters, and economic upheaval. Emigration to the New World increased. France was now strong and united under Louis XIV, and after the Treaty of the Pyrenees (1659) took Spain's place as the dominant power in Europe. Three wars were fought during this period, the War of Devolution (1667–1668), the Franco-Dutch War (1672–1678), and the War of the Grand Alliance (1688–1697). Although Spain's territorial losses (the Franche-Comté, some towns in the Southern Netherlands and part of the island of Hispaniola) were relatively few, it had demonstrated some vulnerability, and Louis XIV (and indeed the other European rulers) had plans for when Charles II's death came, as it was clear that he would produce no children and the Habsburg line in Spain would die with him. The end came with Charles' passing at the age of 39 on November 1, 1700.


Religion and the Spanish Inquisition

The Spanish Inquisition was formally launched during the reign of the Catholic Monarchs, continued by their Habsburg successors, and only ended in the 19th century. Under
Charles ICharles I may refer to: Kings and emperors * Charlemagne (742–814), numbered Charles I in the lists of French and German kings * Charles I of Anjou (1226–1285), also king of Albania, Jerusalem, Naples and Sicily * Charles I of Hungary (1288 ...

Charles I
, the Inquisition became a formal department in the Spanish government, hurtling out of control as the 16th century progressed. Philip II greatly expanded the Inquisition and made church orthodoxy a goal of public policy. In 1559, three years after Philip came to power, students in Spain were forbidden to travel abroad, the leaders of the Inquisition were placed in charge of censorship, and books could no longer be imported. Philip vigorously tried to excise Protestantism from Spain, holding innumerable campaigns to eliminate Lutheran and
Calvinist Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed faith) is a major branch of Protestantism Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an , based on the a ...
literature from the country, hoping to avoid the chaos taking place in France. Philip was more religious than his father, and was convinced that if the Protestants were resorting to military force, then he must do likewise. He was willing to do whatever it took to fight the heretics and preserve Spanish hegemony, even intervening in papal elections to ensure the choosing of a pro-Spanish pope. Philip succeeded three times with popes Urban VII, Gregory XIV, and Innocent IX. But the fourth time, he failed to prevent the election of the pro-French Clement VIII. The church in Spain had been purged of many of its administrative excesses in the 15th century by Francisco Ximénez de Cisneros, Cardinal Ximenes, and the Inquisition served to expurgate many of the more radical reformers who sought to change church theology as the Protestant reformers wanted. Instead, Spain became the scion of the Counter-reformation as it emerged from the ''
Reconquista The ' (Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portug ...

Reconquista
''. Spain bred two unique threads of counter-reformationary thought in the persons of Saint Theresa of Avila and the Basque people, Basque Ignatius Loyola. Theresa advocated strict monasticism and a revival of more ancient traditions of penitence. She experienced a religious ecstasy, mystical ecstasy that became profoundly influential on Spanish culture and art. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuit Order, was influential across the world in his stress on spiritual and mental excellence and contributed to a resurgence of learning across Europe. In 1625, a peak of Spanish prestige and power, the Gaspar de Guzmán, Count-Duke of Olivares, Count-Duke of Olivares established the Jesuit ''Colegio Imperial de Madrid, colegia imperial'' in Madrid to train Spanish nobles in the humanities and military arts. The Moriscos of southern Spain had been forcibly converted to Christianity in 1502, but under the rule of Charles I they had been able to obtain a degree of tolerance from their Christian rulers. They were allowed to practice their former custom, dress, and language, and religious laws were laxly enforced. (However, Charles also passed the ''Limpieza de sangre'', a law that excluded those not of pure Old Christian, non-Jewish blood from public office.) Philip began to put back into place the restrictive laws of generations before and in 1568 the Moriscos rebelled (see Morisco Revolt). The revolt was only put down by Italian troops under
Don John of Austria John of Austria ( es, Juan, german: Johann; 24 February 1547 – 1 October 1578) was an illegitimate son of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V. He became a military leader in the service of his half-brother, King Philip ...
, and even then the Moriscos retreated to the highlands and were not defeated until 1570. The revolt was followed by a massive resettlement program in which 12,000 Christian peasants replaced the Moriscos. In 1609, on the advice of the Francisco Goméz de Sandoval y Rojas, Duke of Lerma, Duke of Lerma, Philip III of Spain, Philip III expulsion of the Moriscos, expelled the 300,000 Moriscos of Spain. The expulsion of the industrious Jews, Moors, and Moriscos did nothing to advance the Spanish economy. The small scattered groups of Moriscos lived largely by subsistence farming in marginal mountain areas or by unskilled laboring in a country that had very many underemployed hands. A council set up to investigate the matter in Castile found little effect, but in parts of Aragon and especially Valencia, where half the Moriscos had lived, and had made up a substantial minority of the population, the impact was certainly noticeable for the noblemen who had lost rents.


Administration and bureaucracy

The Spanish received a large influx of gold from the colonies in the New World as plunder when they were conquered, much of which Charles used to prosecute his wars in Europe. In the 1520s silver began to be extracted from the rich deposits at Guanajuato, but it was not until the 1540s, with the opening of the mines at Potosí and Zacatecas, that silver was to become the fabled source of wealth it has assumed in legend. The Spanish left mining to private enterprise but instituted a tax known as the "''quinto real''" whereby a fifth of the metal was collected by the government. The Spanish were quite successful in enforcing the tax throughout their vast empire in the
New World The "New World" is a term for the majority of Earth's Western Hemisphere, specifically the Americas."America." ''The Oxford Companion to the English Language'' (). McArthur, Tom, ed., 1992. New York: Oxford University Press, p. 33: "[16c: from ...
; all bullion had to pass through the Casa de Contratación, House of Trade in Seville, under the direction of the Council of the Indies. The supply of Almadén Mercury (element), mercury, vital to Amalgam (chemistry), extracting silver from the ore, was controlled by the state and contributed to the rigor of Spanish tax policy. Inflation - both in Spain and in the rest of Europe - was primarily caused by debt, but a level of debt made possible later by the rising silver imports; Charles had conducted most of his wars on credit, and in 1557, a year after he abdicated, Spain was forced into its first debt moratorium, setting a pattern that would be repeated with ever more disruptive economic consequences. Few Spaniards initially gave a thought to the wholesale slaughter, enslavement, and forced conversion of Native Americans either, although some men such as Bartolomé de las Casas argued for more humane treatment of them. This led to much debate and governmental action. The Laws of Burgos, the New Laws, and other legal and institutional changes somewhat alleviated conditions for Native Americans, including the freeing of all Native American slaves. Faced with the growing threat of piracy, in 1564 the Spanish adopted a convoy system far ahead of its time, with Spanish treasure fleet, treasure fleets leaving America in April and August. The policy proved efficient, and was quite successful. Only two convoys were captured; one in 1628 when it was captured by the Dutch, and another in 1656, captured by the English, but by then the convoys were a shadow of what they had been at their peak at the end of the previous century. Nevertheless, even without being completely captured they frequently came under attack, which inevitably took its toll. Not all shipping of the dispersed empire could be protected by large convoys, allowing the Dutch, English and French privateers and pirates the opportunity to attack trade along the American and Spanish coastlines and raid isolated settlements. This became particularly savage from the 1650s, with all sides falling to extraordinary levels of barbarity, even by the harsh standards of the time. Spain also responded with no small amount of privateering, using the recaptured city of Dunkirk as a base for its Dunkirk Raiders to molest Dutch, English and French trade. More seriously, the Portuguese part of the empire, with its chronically undermanned African and Asian forts, proved nearly impossible to defend adequately, and with Spain so fully engaged on so many fronts, it could spare little for their defense. Spain also had to deal with Ottoman backed Barbary pirates, Barbary piracy in the Mediterranean - a vastly greater menace than Caribbean piracy, as well as Oriental and Dutch piracy in the waters around the Philippines. The growth of Spain's empire in the New World was accomplished from Seville, without the close direction of the leadership in Madrid. Charles I and Philip II were primarily concerned with their duties in Europe, and thus control of the Americas was handled by viceroys and colonial administrators who operated with virtual autonomy. The Habsburg kings regarded their colonies as feudal associations rather than integral parts of Spain. No Spanish king could, or did, visit the colonies, either. The Habsburgs, whose family had traditionally ruled over diverse, noncontiguous domains and had been forced to devolve autonomy to local administrators, replicated those feudal policies in Spain, particularly in the Basque Country (historical territory), Basque country and Aragon. This meant that taxes, infrastructure improvement, and internal trade policy were defined independently by each territory, leading to many internal customs barriers and tolls, and conflicting policies even within the Habsburg domains. Charles I and Philip II had been able to master the various courts through their impressive political energy, but the much weaker Philip III and IV allowed it to decay, and Charles II was incapable of controlling anything at all. The development of Spain itself was hampered by the fact that Charles I and Philip II spent most of their time abroad; for most of the 16th century, Spain was administrated from Brussels and
Antwerp Antwerp (; nl, Antwerpen ; french: Anvers ) is a city in Belgium and the capital of Antwerp (province), Antwerp province in the Flemish Region. With a population of 520,504,
Antwerp
, and it was only during the Eighty Years' War, Dutch Revolt that Philip returned to Spain, where he spent most of his time in the seclusion of the monastic palace of El Escorial. The empire, held together by a determined king keeping the bureaucracy together, experienced a setback when a less-trusting ruler came to the throne. Philip II distrusted the nobility and discouraged any independent initiative among them. While writers of the time offered novel solutions to Spain's problems such as using irrigation in agriculture and encouragement of economic activity, the nobility never really produced anyone that could bring about serious reforms. Charles, on becoming king, clashed with his nobles during the Castilian War of the Communities when he attempted to fill government positions with effective Dutch and Flemish officials. Philip II encountered major resistance when he tried to enforce his authority over the Netherlands, contributing to the rebellion in that country. The Gaspar de Guzmán, Count-Duke of Olivares, Count-Duke of Olivares, Philip IV's chief minister, always regarded it as essential to Spain's survival that the bureaucracy be centralized; Olivares even backed the full union of Portugal with Spain, though he never had an opportunity to realize his ideas. The bureaucracy became so increasingly bloated and corrupt that by the time of Olivares's dismissal in 1643, its deterioration had rendered it largely ineffective.


Economy

Like most of Europe, Spain had suffered from famine and plague during the 14th and 15th centuries. By 1500, Europe was beginning to emerge from these demographic disasters, and populations began to explode. Seville, which was home to 60,000 people in 1500 burgeoned to 150,000 by the end of the century. There was a substantial movement to the cities of Spain to capitalize on new opportunities as shipbuilders and merchants to service Spain's impressive and growing empire. The 16th century was a time of development in Spain as both agriculture and trade burgeoned. Throughout the harsh interior of Castile grain and wool production grew. The former fed an expansion of the population. The latter fed both local textile manufacturing and a lucrative trade with the Netherlands. The Castile (historical region), Castilian cities of Burgos, Segovia, Cuenca, Spain, Cuenca and Toledo, Spain, Toledo, flourished with the expansion of the textile and metallurgical industries. Santander, Spain, Santander, on the northern Atlantic coast, grew in wealth from its traditional roles as a port linking the country's interior with Northern Europe and as a ship building centre. Southern cities like Cádiz and Seville expanded rapidly from the commerce and shipbuilding spurred on by the demands of the American colonies. Barcelona, already one of Europe's most important and sophisticated trading port cities in the Middle Ages, continued to develop. By 1590, Spain's population was far greater than what it had been in any previous period. It was during this last decade when Castile began to suffer crop failures and was struck by a Great Plague of Seville, plague from 1596 that brought about the first serious reversal in population numbers; a cycle that would repeat itself a number of times in different parts of the country through the 17th century. As the 16th century had worn on, inflation in Spain (a result of state debt and, more importantly, the importation of silver and gold from the New World) triggered hardship for the peasantry. The average cost of goods quintupled in the 16th century in Spain, led by wool and grain. While reasonable when compared to the 20th century, prices in the 15th century changed very little, and the European economy was shaken by the so-called price revolution. Spain, which along with England was Europe's only producer of wool, initially benefited from the rapid growth. However, like in England, there began in Spain an inclosure movement that stifled the growth of food and depopulated whole villages whose residents were forced to move to cities. The higher inflation, the burden of the Habsburgs' wars and the many customs duties dividing the country and restricting trade with the Americas, stifled the growth of industry that may have provided an alternative source of income in the towns. Another factor was the militaristic nature of the Castilian nobility, which had developed during the centuries of the reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula. They preferred careers in the government bureaucracy, the military, or the church, shunning economic activities. This militarism also meant that Spain exhausted its wealth and manpower in near-continuous wars. Under Philip II, these wars had much to do with combating Protestantism, but in the 17th century it became clear that the world that had existed before 1517 could not be restored. Spain's wars during that century became increasingly more to do with preserving the hegemonic power of the Habsburg alliance in Europe; although the Habsburg alliance was successful in buttressing the Catholic Church against the rise of Protestantism. Sheep-farming was practiced extensively in Castile, and grew rapidly with rising wool prices with the backing of the king. Merino sheep were transhumance, annually moved from the mountains of the north to the warmer south every winter, ignoring cañada Real, state-mandated trails that were intended to prevent the sheep from trampling the farmland. Complaints lodged against the shepherds' guild, the ''Mesta'', were ignored by Philip II who received a great deal of revenue from wool. Eventually, overtaxed Castile became barren, and Spain, particularly Castile, became dependent on large imports of grain to make up for crop shortfalls, that, given the cost of transportation and the risk of piracy, made staples far more expensive in Spain than elsewhere. As a result, Spain's population, and especially Castile's, never dense on the generally very dry, rocky, mountainous peninsula, grew much more slowly than France's; by Louis XIV's time (1661-1715), France had a population greater than that of Spain and England combined. Credit emerged as a widespread tool of Spanish business in the 17th century. The city of
Antwerp Antwerp (; nl, Antwerpen ; french: Anvers ) is a city in Belgium and the capital of Antwerp (province), Antwerp province in the Flemish Region. With a population of 520,504,
Antwerp
, in the Spanish Netherlands, lay at the heart of European commerce and its bankers financed most of Charles V's and Philip II's wars on credit. The use of "notes of exchange" became common as Antwerp's banks became increasingly powerful and led to extensive speculation that helped to exaggerate price shifts. Although these trends laid the foundation for the development of capitalism in Spain and Europe as a whole, the total lack of regulation and pervasive corruption meant that small landowners often lost everything with a single stroke of misfortune. Estates in Spain, and especially in Castile, grew progressively latifundia, larger and the economy became increasingly uncompetitive, particularly during the reigns of Philip III and IV when repeated speculative crises shook Spain. Since the medieval period the Catholic Church had always been important to the Spanish economy. This importance increased greatly in the reigns of Philip III and IV, who had bouts of intense personal piety and church philanthropy, donating large areas of the country to the Church. The later Habsburgs did nothing to promote the redistribution of land. By the end of Charles II's reign, most of Castile was in the hands of a select few landowners, the largest of which by far was the Church. It has been estimated that at the end of the 17th century the holdings of the Spanish church had expanded to include nearly 20% of Castilian land and that the clergy made up as much as 10% of adult males in Castile. Government policy under the succeeding Bourbon dynasty was directed to steadily reducing the Church's vast holdings, which by then had come to be seen as an impediment to the country's development.


Art and culture

The Spanish Golden Age was a flourishing period of arts and letters in Spain which spanned roughly from 1550 to 1650. Some of the outstanding figures of the period were
El Greco Domḗnikos Theotokópoulos ( el, Δομήνικος Θεοτοκόπουλος ; 1 October 1541 7 April 1614), most widely known as El Greco ("The Greek"), was a Greeks, Greek painter, sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissanc ...
,
Diego Velázquez Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (baptized June 6, 1599August 6, 1660) was a Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine ...

Diego Velázquez
,
Miguel de Cervantes Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (; 29 September 1547 (assumed)22 April 1616 NS) was a Spanish writer widely regarded as the greatest writer in the Spanish language and one of the world's pre-eminent novelists. He is best known for his novel ''D ...

Miguel de Cervantes
, and
Pedro Calderón de la Barca Pedro Calderón de la Barca y Barreda González de Henao Ruiz de Blasco y Riaño (17 January 160025 May 1681), usually referred as Pedro Calderón de la Barca (, ; ), was a dramatist, poet, writer and a knight of the Order of Santiago, known pri ...

Pedro Calderón de la Barca
. El Greco was a Greek painter whose dramatic and expressionistic style was met with puzzlement by his contemporaries but found appreciation in the 20th century. Velázquez's work became a model for 19th century realist and impressionist painters. Cervantes and de la Barca were both writers; ''Don Quixote, Don Quixote de la Mancha'', by Cervantes, is one of the most famous works of the period and probably the best-known piece of Spanish literature of all time. It is a parody of the romantic, chivalric aspects of knighthood and a criticism of contemporary social structures and societal norms. Juana Inés de la Cruz, the last great writer of this golden age, died in New Spain in 1695. This period also saw a flourishing in intellectual activity, now known as the School of Salamanca, producing thinkers that were studied throughout Europe.


See also

*Habsburg Monarchy *History of Spain *List of largest empires *Ottoman-Habsburg wars


Notes


References


Bibliography

*Armstrong, Edward (1902). ''The Emperor Charles V''. New York: The Macmillan Company *Black, Jeremy (1996). ''The Cambridge Illustrated Atlas of Warfare: Renaissance to Revolution''. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. *Braudel, Fernand (1972). ''The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II'', trans. Siân Reynolds. New York: Harper & Row. *Brown, J. and Elliott, J. H. (1980). ''A palace for a king. The Buen Retiro and the Court of Philip IV''. New Haven: Yale University Press *Brown, Jonathan (1998). ''Painting in Spain: 1500–1700''. New Haven: Yale University Press. *Dominguez Ortiz, Antonio (1971). ''The golden age of Spain, 1516–1659.'' Oxford: Oxford University Press. *Edwards, John (2000). ''The Spain of the Catholic Monarchs, 1474–1520''. New York: Blackwell. *Harman, Alec (1969). ''Late Renaissance and Baroque music''. New York: Schocken Books. *Kamen, Henry (1998). ''Philip of Spain''. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. *Kamen, Henry (2003). ''Empire: How Spain Became a World Power, 1492–1763''. New York: HarperCollins. *Kamen, Henry (2005). ''Spain 1469–1714. A Society of Conflict'' (3rd ed.) London and New York: Pearson Longman. *Parker, Geoffrey (1997). ''The Thirty Years' War'' (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge. *Parker, Geoffrey (1972). ''The Army of Flanders and the Spanish road, 1567–1659; the logistics of Spanish victory and defeat in the Low Countries' Wars.''. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. *Parker, Geoffrey (1977). ''The Dutch revolt''. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. *Parker, Geoffrey (1978). ''Philip II''. Boston: Little, Brown. *Parker, Geoffrey (1997). ''The General Crisis of the Seventeenth Century''. New York: Routledge. *Stradling, R. A. (1988). ''Philip IV and the Government of Spain''. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. *Various (1983). ''Historia de la literatura espanola''. Barcelona: Editorial Ariel *Gallardo, Alexander (2002), "Spanish Economics in the 16th Century: Theory, Policy, and Practice", Lincoln, NE:Writiers Club Press,2002. . * {{Authority control History of Spain Philippine dynasty Early Modern history of Spain 1516 establishments in the Spanish Empire 1700 disestablishments in the Spanish Empire