** boys clothing: Spanish royalty -- Philip II

Spanish Royalty: Philip II (1527-98)

Figure 1.--Philip II was one of thev most powerful kings of Europe, bolstered with a poweful army. The Spanish tercios were the first modern European army. The tercios were financed by the treasure fleets carrying vast sipments of bullion and emerals from the Americas. Much of that treasure was disapated in wars which were part of his effoprt to supress the Protestants. Here he is presiding over a 'auto de fe' -- burning Protestants. This may have occurred in theEscorial. You can see the flames and smoke in the lower right hand corner. The boy here is his older son, the Prince of Asturias who was menytally unsable. Philip had him arrested. He died after a yera and a half of solitary confiment (1568). The artist was Domingo Valdivieso y Henarejo, pzinted in 1871.

Philip II was the son of Emperor Charles V. He was a fervent Catholic and set out to destroy Protestantism. He fought the Protestants in both the Netherlands and France. He married Quen Mary of England in an effort to end Protestantism in England. After Mary died without issue he left Englnd. With his decission to send the Armada against England and Protestabt Queen Elizabeth, he waisted vast amounts of wealth. The gold and silver from the Americas proved in the end a curse. (Not unlike many modern oil producing countries.) Spanish manufacture suffered as it was easier to purchase rather than make products. In addition the religious persucution led by Holy Office of the Inquisition which expelled the Jews and during Philip's reign pursued conversos. It acted to supress thought as well. Thus Spain did not share in the European Renaisance which was in the 18th century to lead to the Industrial Revolution.


Philip was the only son of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, and Queen Isabella of Portugal. Cgarles vamong his many possessions wre Castile and Aragon, essentially modern Spain. He valso ruled the Netherlamfs, at the time the modern Netherlands and Belgium.

Childhood in Spain (1527-48)

Philip was born in Valladolid, the Castillian capital (1527). He grew up in Spain and remained there until (1548). He grew up in the cultured court life of Castile . Spanish was his first language. He was raised by his mother and one of her Portuguese ladies. This was Doña Leonor de Mascarenhas, to whom he became devotedly attached. Philip was also close to his two sisters, María and Juana, and to his two pages, the Portuguese nobleman Rui Gomes da Silva and Luis de Requesens. They were the sons his governor Juan de Zúñiga. Both would serve Philip throughout their lives. Charles furnished Philip with experienced advisors. The two modstbimportsnbt were the secretary Francisco de los Cobos and the general Duke of Alba. Chsrles also nleft detailed written instructions on his unbringing. They emphasised 'piety, patience, modesty, and distrust'. Philip appears to have inerbnlized these instructions. An historian reports that he grew up to become grave, self-possessed and cautious. Personally, Philip spoke softly and had an icy self-mastery; in the words of one of his ministers, "he had a smile that was cut by a sword".


Philip was tutored by Juan Martínez Siliceo, by nommeans a brilliant scholkar. He would become the future archbishop of Toledo. Philip was a average student with some aptitude for arts and letters. As he got older, more impressive tutors were found. The best known was humanist Juan Cristóbal Calvete de Estrella. Language was very important for royalty at the time, espcially rullers thatbhad multi-ethnic territories tio rule, Philip spoke Spoanish and had a good command of Latin and Portuguese. He never equalled his father's linguistic achievements. As the son of the Emperor, Philip an archduke of Austria, but he was always seen as a foreigner in the Holy Roman Empire--never mastering German. Philip felt the same way. Language was only part of the problem--he was culturally Spanish and this is where he wanted to live. This is part of the reason why Charles divided his realm and chose his brither to suceed him as emperor. Philip's important martial training was put in the hands of his governor, Juan de Zúñiga, a Castilian nobleman who served as the commendador mayor of Castile. Practical lessons in combat wete the resonsibility of the Duke of Alba during the Italian Wars (1542) . He wsould be Philips most importsnt comndedr--overseeing the subsequebnt operations in the Netherlands. The Emperor began his political training (1541). Charles recorded that his son to be studious, grave, and prudent beyond his years. Chrles decided that his political training should focus on the Spanish kingdoms. The Emperor at first interaacted with his son during his visits to Castile. He was convinced of his bvility and placed the regency in his hands (1541). He was made Duke of Milana ytedar earlier. Philip this began ruling the most extensive empire in the world when he was only 16 years old.

The Netherlands (1548-54)

He lived in Brussels with his father, Emperor Charles V. His father permitted him tio largely rule in ythe Netherlands. The legal constraunts on him in the Netherlands and grouth of Protestanbtismn would powerfully influednce his reign as king of Spain.

England (1554-55 and 1557)

Philip's father arranged a marriage to Queen Mary of England. It was an astute political move. Philip understood the politics, but was not at all interested in Mary, a maternal first cousin. Mary for her part who just became queen (1553) was intent on restoring Catholocism and needed a Catholic huband. They married at Winchester Cathedral two days after their first meeting (July 1954). Together they planned the return of Cathocism to England. Mar=y was already being called Bloody Mary. This was interesting as her father, Henry VIII, was resoonsible for far more deaths--and not just his wives. This was az kind of royal double standard. To return Englkand to Caztolocism a child and heir was needed. But Mary had only a serirs of false pregnacies. Interestingly, the king who would send the Spanish Armada to conquer England was a moderating inflluence on Mary. Also without Elizabeth, Mary Queen of Scotts would be strongest comeptior, but while Catholic, Mary was married to the French dauphine and France was a rival popwer. Finaly after his father abdicated, Philip left. He returned in 1657b for a visit. Mary had another false pegnancy. Mary died (1558).

Dutch Revolt

Revolt flared again led by William the Silent of the House of Orange (1568). William and the House of Orange are commonly seen as Dutch. They did not, however, begin in the Netherlands. In fact both were German. William was born in Hesse. He received both Protestant and Catholic teachngs as a boy. And William was a faithful servant of Emperor Charles V who rewarded him at a young age for his military service. Charles in return appounted him stadtholder of the counties Holland, Zeeland, and Utrecht. From this position he played a key role in the formation of the Dutch nation. Philip II upon the death of his father (Charles V) inherited many titles and lands including the Spanish Netherlands (1558). Philip lived in the Netherlands during the later years of his fathert's reign. He attempted to centralize power and usurp the historic rights of the local estates. Philip was also very harsh with the Dutch Protestants who were growing in number, but unlike Spain, there was no well-established Inquisition to deal with them. He decided to return to Spain (1559). This shows Philip berating William I, the Silent, Prince of Orange on the quay in Amsterdam as he left for Spain. Philip accused William of personally leading the resistance oif the Dutch nobility against the Emperor. At the time the Reformation was just beginning in the Netherlands. Here we Philip leaving for Spain. Philip would deal with the Dutch by sending a Spanish army. It was the beginning of which the Dutch call the 'tachtig jarige oorlog' -- the War for Independence which lasted for 80 years. Philip would deal with the Dutch by sending a Spanish army. Spain at the time was the strongest country in Europe with a powerful army. William was a deply religious man, but not particularly sectarian. And when Phulip II began to supress the Dutch, William came to their defense and played an imprtant part of the Dutch Revolt. The War for independence began with Prince William I of Orange's efforts to seize control of the Dutch provinces to protect them from King Philips plan to destoy Protestantism. He financed mercinary invasions (1568 and 1572). Both failed, supressed by the Duke of Alva. It was Geuzen raids, irregular Dutch land and sea forces, that sized control from the Spanish (1573). They completed the Reformation in Holland and Zeeland and firmly established Calvanist theology. The other provinces joined the revolt (1576) and a political union was forged. Philip declared William an outlaw and offered a reward of 25,000 crowns for his assassination knowing that he could not arrest William through Dutch courts (1581). A Burgundian Catholic Balthasar Gérard for both religious and political reasons as well as Philip's bounty shot William (1584). He was the first head of state to be assainated with a hand gun. It became a dreadful, vicious war as religious wars often are. Spanish brutality in the Netherlands was very much on the mind of Queen Elizabeth as the Spanish Armada approached (1588). Elizabeth had a spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham, to protect her from Catholic assassins.

Accension (1556)

Philip ascended the Spanish throne when his father Holy Roman Emperor Charles V abdicated (1556). He had previously given Philip several territories, including Naples and Sicily, the Netherlands, Franche-Comt�, and the duchy of Milan. Philip with his heritance and the riches of the Americas flowing into Spain had the potential to achieve great things for Spain. In addition Philip did not have the very demanding resonsibility that his father had to govern the German Holy Roman Empire. Philip also did not have the entense rivalry with France that the German Hapsburgs faced. This meant that Philip had emense wealth without major European power to impose him. Unlike Elizabeth England, Philip did not turn his energies on improving the ell being of the Spanish people and Spanish economy. It is from his accension that Spanish power and dominance begin to erode and England emerges as a major naval power.

Spain in the 16th Century

Philip inherited the strongest army in Europe. There was the superbly-disciplined Spanish infantry forged in the fires of the Reconquista. Spain was one of the most populace realms in Europe. The new American colonies also provided enormous wealth. European monarchs in the 16th century were enormosly poweful, but they were not absolute. Laws and tradition as well as the Church limited their powers in numerous ways. Philip II expanded the bonds of his already extensive royal authority through the use of the Spanish Inquisition. Philip used the Inquisition as both a political and religious tool. Philip combated both political oposition and heresy with the same religious zeal. Philip often did not differentiate between the Spanish state and the Church. Philip saw believed that his subjects had a Christian duty to given him unquestioning loyalty. Philip's not only wanted to destroy Protestantism, but want to establish absolutist rule in the Netherlands. While Philip inherited the Netherlands, the tradition there were more pluralistic and thgere were well-established political rights. Philip suceeded in cencentrating power in his hands. There was no national assembly to ballance the poer of the asembly. Rather Spain had separate assemblies in the diffrent kingdoms that came to make up the country. There was a Cortes in Castile and a comparable assembly in Navarre. Aragon had three different assemblies based on the three regions. Thesee regional assemblies were in ineffectual in balancing Philip's authority. Philip's great uthority combined with his suspious nature and desire to micromanage affairs resulted in great inefficiencies. Any effort at decenbtralizing administration were reolutely resisted by Philip.

Spanish Empire

The Spanish empire was largely established by the time Philip cam to power. There werw, however, two additions during Philip's own reign. The Philippine Islands in the Pacific were conquered and became a Spanish bastion. In addition a colony was established in Florida. Philip's fourth wife was, Anne, daughter of the emperor Maximilian II. She produced a second son. As a result of Don Carlos' death, it was this son who suceded Philip as Philip III.

Golden Age

It was during Philip's reign that the Spanin reached the height of its influence and power. The Spanish Empire was akrgely established during the vreign of his father Charles V. Bur it is during Philip's reign that Spoaniosh art and culture flourishished which it is why it is coonmly referred to as the Spanish Golden Age. This was largely because of the ab=nnual Treasure Fleets carrying vast quantities of bullion and jewels to Spain. Miuch of this flowed out of Sapin to finance wars with the Protesrants. And Spain imported many needed priducts instead of creating domestiv induatry. Despite the Treasure Fleets, Philiop was constantly in needs of money. Philip borrowed vast sums. This resulted in state defaults (1557, 1560, 1569, 1575, and 1596). One of the major cause of these defecits was the Dutch declaration of independence (1581). This resulted in a cistly war with the Dutch Republic that kasted 80 years.

American Gold and Silver

Spanish Conquistadores conquered the Aztec and Inca Empires in the first half of the 16th century. The result of the booty and the working of existing as well as new mines was a a huge influx of gold and silver bullion flowing into Europe. The impact on the European economy was immense altering the course of history that still affect us today. Columbus and other early expolrers encountered small quantities of gold in the Caribbean, but fantastic accounts of a Kingdom of Gold began to circulate in Europe--the legendary El Dorado. He was a king who was so wealthy that he covered himself with gold dust every day and dove into a lake. Political factors also drove the European conquest. German Emperor and Spanish King Charles V desperately needed gold bullion. Charles had taken out large loans to bribes the electors that made him Holy Roman Emperor (1519). He also faced a costly war with the Turks. The Ottomons moving north took Belgrade (1521). Next they conquered Hungary (1526). Soon they had reached Vienna, the center of Hapsburg rule (1526). Charles not only faced the Turks, but the Protestant Reformation in Germany. This forced Charles to seek even more loans. One way in which Charles paid his loans is by granted licenses to pursue treasure in the Americas. Thus conquistadors financed by European banks descended upon the New World, scouring every corner for the legendary El Dorado. Hernan Cortez defeated the Aztec ruler Montezuma in Mexico (1520) and sent the first large shioment of gold objects back to Spain. Charles V immediately smelted them down to bullion. Francisco Pizarro demanded a ransom for Inca ruler Atahuallpa and obtained a vast treasure of gold and silver objects (1532). The Spanish first simply seized good and silver objects from the native Americans, in effect looted the artistic trasures of entire civilizations. Historians estimate that about $140 million work of gold and silver objects were obtained from Peru alone between 1531 and 1540. Then they used the indeginous people as slaves to produce more bullion from existing and new mines. The American treasure, however, quickly passed through Charles' treasury. It served to enable him to take out even more loans. Charles by 1551 had borrowed 14.4 million ducats at interests rates approaching 50 percent. [Hoopes] Charles army did stop the Ottomans from moving further into Christian Europe, but it could not cintain the Protesrant Revolution. But the impact of the gold is much larger. The American gold helped finance Renaissance art. As much of went into the pockets of bankers, it played an important role in the expanding European economy in the countries that had financed Charles. The gold also financed the illfated Spanish Armada unleashed on England by Charles's son Phillip II (1588). Some of the gold flowed into other European treasuries as other maritime powers (England, France, and the Netherlands) began preying upon Spanish treasure ships. Some of the gold can be seen in gold leaf and trasures of the churches across Europe. But much of the rest of the gold is difficult to trace with precission. What is known is that the American gold significantly increased the gold stock of Europe, resulting in both inflation and an expansion of economic activity.


Philip married four times, each time for political and dynastic reasons, but the fourth marriage with Anne of Austria was one he arranged because hecwas smitten with the young kady. He produced two heirs. His first son, Don Carlos, was mentally unstablke and died in prison under mysterious circumstances. The next two marriages failed to produce a son. The second with Queen Mary of England was of enormous political inportance. If they had produced an heir, Mary may have well suceeded in reyurning england to ghe Vatholic faith. The last marriage with Anne of Austria produced five children, among them was Philip who suceded his father as Philip III.

Maria of Portugal

Philip married Maria of Portugal (1543). She died giving birth to Don Carlos (1545-68). Philip came to believe Don Carlos conspired against him and as a result ordered his arrest. Don Carlos died shortly in custody. The results are not known with any certainty. His enemies claim that he ordered the murder of his son.

Queen Mary of England

Philip married Englnd's Catholic Queen Mary I as part of a political allince (1554). He was still a prince at the time. The marriage was unpopular with the English people. Philip saw it as primarily a political alliance. Both hoped to restore Catholicism. Mary attempted to supress the Protestants, but without the assistance of an estasblishec Inquisition was eestrauined by English Law. Even so she became jkown as 'Bloody Mary'. Mary and Philip likely would have suceeded in restoring Catholocism if they had produced an heir, but there were no children. Mary almost had her Protestant half-sister Elizabeth executed, but Philip counseld against it. Philip was king, but not a ruling monarch. This all rested with Mary When Mary died (1558), Philip proposed to Elizabeth, the new queen, but she declined. Philip then left Englaznd Philip continued his father's confrontation with France and induced England to join the war. Spain defeated the French at St.-Quentin (1557), but England lost Calais (1558). Philip succeeded to the Spanish throne when his father abdicated (1556), but did not return to Spain until his father's death (1558).

Elizabth of Valois

Spain and France had been at war off an on for years. With the rise of the Spanish Inquisition, religious elements became increasingly important in Philip's foreign policy. At the same time, English attacks on Spanish trasure ships turned Philip against Elizabeth and Protestant England. Philip ended the 60-year war wih France with the Treaty of Cateau-Cambr�sis, validated by Philip�s marriage to Elizabeth of Valois (1559). Elizabeth was the daughter of Henri II of France. Elizabeth was younger than Philip and had been promised to his son, Don Carlos. She produced two daughters, but no son. So after three marriages, Philip was still without a son.

Anne of Austria (1549-80)

Anne was the daughter of Emperor Maximilian II and Princess Maria of Spain. Anne was born in Spain, but noved to Vienna at age 4 years. She was then raised in Austria. Anne was betrothed to Don (Prince) Carlos, son of King Philip II. He was thus heir to the Spanish throne. His father has Don Carlos arrested for treason and he died in orison under mysterious circumstances (1568). Philip II lost his third wife, Elizabeth of Valois, in that same year. The result was an arrangement that would have delighted modern tabloids. Philip had of course gitten to know Anne as his daughter-in-law. He was apparently smitten with her and his son was conveniently out of the way. A marriage was arranged between Anne and Philip. The difference in age was not an obstacle at the time. The fact that Philip was Anne's uncle, not to mention his daughter-in-law was a problem. Pope Pius V first opposed the marriage, but as a result of enteties from Philip, finally granted a dispensation for it. They married in Prague (1570). The king was apparently in love with Anne and she was beautiful. Historians put out that while married to Anne, there is no indication that Philip maintained mistresses. Anne is said to have had a personality similar to his own. Philip by all accounts was devoted to his young Austrian wife. Queen Anne is described as vivid and cheerful. She managed to to liven up the very formal atmosphere at Philip's court. She was a patron of the arts. She developed a earm relationship with her young step-daugters, children from Philipd's marriage with Elizabeth of Valois. Philip and Anna had five children. Among them was Philip who suceded his father as Philip III.


Philip inherited the Portugese throne. The direct line of the Portuguese royal family died out (1580). This allowed Philip to claim the Portuguese crown through his mother, who was a Portuguese princess. When the Portuguese resisted, he invaded and annexed the country. Portugal would be a Spanish province for 60 years. Revenue from the Portuguese Empire added to Philip's coffers. It was a disater for Portugal. Being a Spanish provunce involved Portugal in the Dutch war for indepensence. leading to the Dutch-Portuguese Wat. This was not foughtnout in Europe, but the Dutchbwithbtheir powerful fleet attacked Portuguese colonies.

The Counter Revolution

Philip II proclaimed himself as the leader of the Counter Reformation. Philip was determined not only to rule their inherited territories, but to use the the power he inherited to turn back the Reformation. Philip used the powers of the Spanish state to enforce political absolutism and persue the Counter-Reformation. The gold and silvr from the America'salong with the income from his realm gave Philip the wealth to ggressively persue the Counter Reformation. Although Philip began his reign without a major European power oposing Spain, his policies involved Spain in wars throughout Europe in the Netherlands, Portugal, England, Italy, and France. In assessing these cnflicts its difficult to determine towhat extent tgey were affected by the religious zeal of the Counter Reformation and that of Spanish national expansionism.

Reformation in the Netherlands

Philip was devouted to the Roman Catholic Church and attempted to supress the Reformation, but often subordinated religious matters to Spanish diplomacy. Despite his Catholcism, Philip had poor relations with the papacy, in part because of Spain's Itlalian possessions. Much of reign was concerned with the Netherlands. Philip appointed the Duke of Alba to replace his half-sister, Margaret of Parma, as Governor General in the Netherlands (1567). Alba�s methods achieved some success in the south, but failed to defeat the Dutch revolt in the north. Philip subsequently supported more conciliatory tactics and reconquered the southern portion of what had been the Spanish Netherlands.

The Spanish Inquisition

The Spanish monarchy was a strong supporter of the Inquistion. In fact Isabella and Ferdinand had founded the Spanish Inquisition. Philip's image in history is in large measure formed by his use of the Spanish Inquisition to both deal with religious heresy and deal with his policy of centralizing power and absolutist rule. Phillip known as his "Mot Catholic Majecty" was as a devout Catholic that one could imagine as a head of state. He was known to have remarked at a royal auto-de fe that, "If my own son was a heretic, I would carry wood to burn him myself." The religious persucution led by Holy Office of the Inquisition which expelled the Jews acted to supress though as well. Thus Spain did not share in the European Renaisance which was in the 18th century to lead to the Industrial Revolution.

The Ottomons

Philip's repression of the Moriscos is often noted as an example of religious supression (1568-71), but was also part of a joint efforts with his half-brother, John of Austria (1545-78) against the Ottomons. While Philip is best known for the Great Armada, another campaign was much more siccessful. The Ottomons after the death of Suleiman the Magnificent (1566_, the Turks continue to expand in the Mediterranean continued. The Turks sized Cyprus from the Venetians (1570), the last important Christian outpost in the Eastern Mediterrean. The Pope and Christian Europe appeled to Philip to confront the expanding Tuks. Philip formed a Holy League to confront the Turkish navy in the Mediterranean. Spanish and Venetian warships, joined by volunteers across Europe, decisively defeated the Turks at the Battle of Lepanto. John of Austria also played a major rold in defeating the Ottomons.


It wasElizabeth, the young English princess that he helped save that was to be the bane of Philip's existence. Elizabeth I was one of the greates monrarchs in English history. She presided on the emergence of England as an important naval power. She was like her father a skilled politican and egotistical, unliked her father she had a sence of the responsibilities of office and duty to her people. She was immensely popular throughout her reign.

Mary Queen of Scotts

English Catholics viewed Elizabeth as illigitimate. Philip did as well, but was pragmatic enough after her husband, the king of France died, to deal diplomatically with her. Mary Queen of Scots, the Catholic great-granddaughter of Henry VII, was seen as the legitimate queen. Mary was held prisoner by Elizabeth. Her execution provided Philip an excuse to invade and seize the crown for himself.

The Great Armada

English support for the Dutch and attacks on Spanish treasure ships led Philip to the building of the enormously expensive Great Armada which was destroyed by the English and storms (1588). the Great Armada was rooted in the struggle between Philip II of Spin and Elizabeth I of England. Elizabeth first met Philip when he came to England to marry her half-sister Mary. The initial contacts were pleasant enough despite the religious differences. Philip in fact played a role in moderating Mary's treatment of her. Perhaps saving her life. After Elizabeth became queen their relationsjip deteriorated. The primary issue was the Sea Dogs and their depredations on Spanish treasure ships. The situation worsened stll when it became obvious that Elizabeth herself was authorizing thgese attacks and profiting from them. This situation was of course exacerbated by the religious differences. Philip's decession to supress the Protestant Reformation was a major concern to Elizabeth, less from religious reasons, but because of the economic importance of the Low Countries (Spanish Netherlands) to England. France had traditionally been England's enemey, but under Elizabeth it was Philip II and Spain that emerged as her principal foreign foe. Philip after the death of his wife Queen Mary, Elizabeth's half sister, returned to Spain and gradually began to conceive od returning to England with a massive invasion force. Elizabeth's execution of Mary the execution of the Queen of Scots Is reported to assed to his determination to dethrone Elizabeth. In fact with Mary gone, the England could be added to his own domains. With the gold and silver flowing in from the Americas, Philip built a huge fleet and hurled it at England and its tiny navy (1588). Sound tactics, more effective gunnery, and superior tactics and as so often in war fortunate circumstances alowed Elizabeth's small navy to defeat Philip's Great Armada. It was a great personal achievement for the Queen. It demonstrated that a woman could not only effective govern in time of peace, but also lead a modern nation in time of war.

French Wars of Religion (1590-98)

Philip entered the French Wars of Religion (1590-98) to assist the Catholic League along with with the Papacy and the Duke of Guise against the Protestant Henry of Navarre (Henry IV) (1590). In the process, Philip claimed the French throne for his daughter Isabella, but was finally had to admit defeat and recognize Henry (1598). Even so, his intervention had prevented Henry from taking Paris. He was forced to convert to Catholocism. He was thus anle to ebter Paris, assuring his posession of the crown. This had enormous consequences because it mean his son an heir would be raised as a Catholic.

The Economy

Huge quantities of gold and silver flowed into Spain from the Americ's during Philip's rule. The Spanish economy, however, was adversely affected. One result was severe inflation. This was a phenomenon throughout Europe, but as most of the bullion first came to Spain, it was the country most affected. There was a fivefold increase in prices during Philip's reign. It thus became more economical to import manufactured goods than to produce them domestically Philip's rule was disastrous for the Spanish economy. He neglected farming which was still the critical ector in most countries. Rather Philip supported sheep ranching. As a reult, Spain was importing large quantities of grain and other food stuffs by the mid-1560s. Despite the American gold, Philip was forced to impose burdensome taxes. The wars against France, the Dutch, and the English were tremendously expensive. The never ending strugle in the Netherlands and the cost of constructing the Armada placed a huge economic strain on Spain. The tax base simply could not support the cost of these wars. Wores still, the taxes fell upon the productive sectors of the economy. Spain had deeply conservative class structure. The Church and the nobility were largely exempt from taxation. The tax burden fell primarily on those involved in trade, commerce, and industry. Not only taxes burdened industry, but the inefficent Spanish state also created regulations that impaired prodyction. Industry was also affected by rligious persecution. The Jews and the Moors expelled meant the loss of much talent, including financiers and craftsmen. Certainly the religious climate created by the Inquisition was not condusive to innovation. It is no accident that the intellecual ferment of the Renaissance which resulted in the development of scientific thought and experimentation was lacking in Spain which after Philip led to a steady decline in Spnish power. The overall result was that Spain's productive sectors were impaired. The burdnesome taxes helped to promote opposition in the Netherlands, one of Philip's most productive territories. Philip was forced to borrow enormous sums, which he repudiated four times. At Philip's death, Spain had ben seriously weakened both militarily and economically (1598).


A in Elizabethan England, there was a floweing of literature under Philip. The most remembered work is Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote. Some view it as a satire on Philip's quixotic foreign adventures. I am not sure tis was Cervantes' intentions. Certainly if the Spanish censors would hve preceived this they never would have allowed the book to be published.


Spain as a result of the Reconquista and Columbus' discoveries emerged as a great European power. England at the time had no American colonies and was a European backwater. Commentators at the time would be incredulous to learn that vEngland would become the preminent world naval power and command of an emense world empire. A central question in world history is why Spain collapsed a a wotld power and why tiny Englan was able to rise to such a commanding point of power. Philip�s rule is generally seen by historians as a great failure and a turning point in Spanish history. He took command of a powerful nation and was blessed by huge revenues from the American colonies as well as the Netherlands--one of the most productive provinces in Europe. There were some successes, especially the defeat of the Turks at Lepanto. Mostly there were failures such as the loss of the the northern Netherlands and the defeat of the Great Armada. The many wars combined with misguided economic and tax policies not only bankrupted Spain, but severely damaged the Spanish economy. Religious and political oppression spearheaded by the Inquisition under Philip further impaired Spanish intelectual and cultural life. Thus the world power that Philip inherited became under his successors a European backwater.


Philip's son by Anne of Austria, Philip III, suceeded him.


Hanson, Neil. The Confident Hop of a Miracle: The True History of the Spanish Armada (Knopf, 2005), 489p.


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Created: October 3, 2003
Last updated: 4:48 PM 1/12/2021