You are on page 1of 10




Carlos is born in Ghent (Flanders) in 1500. In 1516 he became king of Spain

and was called both Carlos I of Spain and Carlos V of the Holy Roman Empire
because he received a vast dynasty inheritance from both sides of his

Opposition to Carlos V

When Carlos arrived to Spain as heir of the Catholic Monarchs, many

opposed having a foreign king. There were uprisings againts him:
o The Revolt of the Comuneros in 1520 was led by the nobles,
bourgeoisie, and peasants of Castilla. Carlos Is election was
very expensive and taxes were increased to finance it. The
royal army defeated the Comuneros in the Battle of Villalar in
o The Germana revolts took place between 1519-1523 in
Valencia and Mallorca. The artisans rebelled against the
nobility. Carlos supported the nobility and the rebels were
The inheritance of Carlos V

Maternal inheritance: Carlos V inherited the Crown of Castilla

and territories outside the pennsula, the Crown of Aragn and
its territories in Italy, and the kingdom of Navarra.
Paternal inheritance: From his paternal grandfathers, he
inherited the German lands belonging to the House of
Habsburgs and the possibility to become emperor. He also
received the possessions of the House of Burgundy in the
Netherlands and the Franche-Comt.

Foreign policies
The political policies of Carlos v included defending Christianity and
the imperial supremacy of Christian kings. However, many opposed
these ideas and there were many conflicts during his reign.
o The Papacy. The Church as afraid that Carlos Vs imperial power
would rival the Church and possibly even control it, especially
after the Sack of Rome in 1527, when imperial troops assaulted
and sacked the papal capital.
o France. It was surrounded by the territories of the Empire and it
was always against the European hegemony of the Habsburgs.
King Francoise I of France AND Carlos V fought against each
other four times. The rivalry with france continued all his

The Ottoman Empire. Defending Christianity against the

Muslims was especially important, particularly against the Turks
of the Ottoman Empire. Carlos V took Tunis in 1535 but was
defeated in Algiers in 1541.
Conflicts with Protestants. Carlos V was a strong Catholic
supporter. In the 1540s he became influenced by the ideas of
the Counter- Reformation. In the Battle of Mlberg in 1547, he
fought and defeated the German Protestant princes who
supported Lutheranism. He eventually recognised their
religious freedom from the Holy Roman Empire by signing the
Peace of Augsburg in 1555.

Financial problems
Carlos Vs wars were very expensive and some efforts were needed:
o The Tercios were a modern and profesional army. They were
made up of volunteers from their territories and mercenary
o A more complex management was required , which was made
up of volunteers from their territories and mercenary tropos.
o A more complex management was required, which made up of
officials from different social and geographical origins.
o The Hacienda Real went into debt. The gold and silver sent
from America was not enough to cover all the costs of the
Crown and the Emperor had to borrow from German and Italian

Abdication of Carlos V
By 1556, Carlos V was in poor health and exhausted. In that year, he
abdicated as Holy Roman Emperor in favour of his brother, Fernando,
hor received the title of Emperor an his Austrian territories. His son,
Felipe II, became the ruler of the rest of his Empire. In 1558 Carlos V
dis at the Monastery of Yuste (Extremadura).



Felipe II becomes king of Spain. Felipe II was the ruler of the largest empire
in the world. Madrid and San Lorenzo del Escorial were new centres of
power in, and relying primarily on the Crown of Castilla. Despite its large
size, this empire is often called the Spanish monarchy. Felipe developed a
more complex bureaucracy and a system of advisors. He also gave more
power to the viceroys and governors who ruled outside Castilla and
thecorregidores in the provinces and municipalities.

The inheritance of Felipe II

He inherited the territories of the House of Burgundy and the CArowns

of Aragn and Castilla and their territories in Europe and America.
Later, the kingdom of Portugal was also added along with its
territories around the world.
Opposition to Felipe II

Felipe IIs rule in Spain was authoritarian, and sometimes provoked


The revolt of the moriscos. Felipe II was a greater defender of

Catholicism and resisted the spread of the Protestant
Reformation. The role of the Inquisition became more powerful.
The Moriscos were Muslims who had converted to Christianity.
The revolt broke out in the Alpujarras (Granada) after Felipe II
had forbidden the practise of certain Muslim customs. This
revoltwas defeated by Juan de Austria and many Moriscos were
forced to ove away from Granada and live in other regions.
Unrest in Aragn. Antonio Prez, secretary to the king, was
accused of murder. He fled to Aragnand asked for protection
from the Supreme Justice (Justicia Mayor) and defender of the
Aragonese fueros. Felipe II insisted that he should be sent back
to Castilla, but the Aragonese refused because he was
protected by their laws. A revolt broke out, which Felipe
defeated and used as an excuse to reduce Aragonese
In the Netherlands, the Calvinists opposed the king who
refused to accept the Protestants. Northern provinces, which
were mostly Protestant, declared Independence under the
name of the United Provinces, including Holland. Felipe II
disagreed and tried to reconquer them in a long war that lasted
eighty years.

Foreign policies
Felipe IIs international policies aimed to strengthen his territories and
defend Catholicism.
o France. Felipe II defeated the French at the Battle of Saint
Quentin in 1557, which was followed by the Peace of CateauCambrsis in 1559. However, this rivalry was renewed near the
end of his reign.
o The Holy League.Felipe II created the Holy League formed by
the Papacy, Venice, and other Italian states to confront and
defeat the Turks at the Battle of Lepanto. This ended Turkish
control of the eastern Mediterranean.
o Portugal. Felipe II claimed the Portuguese throne through his
mother, Isabel of Portugal. His tropos forced the Parliament of
Tomar to accept him as the king in 1581. After that, his rule
over Poruguese territories overseas made his empire even
more vast.

England. Felipe wanted to bring England back to Catholicism

and stop English attacks on Spanish ships. He planned to
invade England, but his great fleet, the Spanish Armada or
Invincible Armada, was defeated in 1588.


FELIPE III (1598-1621)

Felipe III was not as energetic as his father. He left political decisions to a
royal favourite, or valido, who governed on his behalf. Felipe IIIs main
favourite was the Duke of Lerma, who was more concerned with his own
personal interests than ruling the country.

Domestic policies
The expulsion of the Moriscos (1609-1613). This was the Duke of
Lermas most disastrous decisin. The Moriscos were a hard-working
minority, and the economy was damaged by their departure.

Foreign policies
In foreign affairs, there was a pause in the continuous wars of the
previous century. Peace was signed with England in 1604, and the
Twelve Years Truce was signed with the Dutch rebels of the United
Provinces (1609). Felipe III decided to help the Austrian branch of his
dynasty and entered the Thirty Years War (1618-1638).

FELIPE IV (1621- 1665)

Felipe IVs valido, the Count-Duke of Olivares, tried to maintain Spains

position as the leading power in Europe.

Domestic policies
Olivares wrote the Great Meorial in 1624, proposing to strength the
authority of the monarch by standardising the laws and institutions of
all the kingdoms, increasing the participation in military spending of
the other kingdoms and establishing a system for recruiting soldiers,
called the Union of Arms (1626)-

The crisis of 1640


Uprising in Catalua. Catalua rejected the proposals and broke

out in a revolt requesting support from France. After a war,
royal rule was restored in Catalua in 1652.

Portuguese Rebellion. Nobles tefused to help against the

cataln revolts, proclaimed the Duke of Braganza king of
Portugal. Portugal became independent in 1668.
There was an aristocratic conspiracy in Andaluca and a few
years later in Aragn. Also in Naples there was a popular
movement called the anti-Spanish revolt.

Foreign policy
France intervened in the Thirty Years War to support the Protestants.
The Spanish Tercios were defeated in the Battle of Rocroi in 1643. By
the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, Spain recognise the Independence
of the United Provinces. However, war with France continued until the
Peace of the Pyrenees in 1659, which also ceded some territories in
Flanders and Northern Catalua. This was the end of Spains
hegemony as the leading military power in Europe.

CARLOS II (1665-1700)

Carlos II was only two years old when he succeeded Felipe IV and his mother
ruled as regent.
He was so sick and incapable, that the great issue of his reign was who
would succeed him. It was a period of political instability. Other European
monarchs conspired to gain control of the Spanish Empire.

The Spanish War of Succession

There were two claimants to the Spanish throne. Both were nephews
of Carlos II : Philip of Anjou (who later became king Felipe V of
Bourbon), grandson of the king of France, and Archduke Charles of
Before Carlos II died in 1700 he named Philip of Anjou as his heir.
Philip became Felipe V of Spain, but the Austrians did not accept him
and the Spanish War Succession broke out. Carlos IIs death marked
the end of he Spanish Habsburg dynasty.



Spanish society in the Modern Age still had its roots in the medieval threeestate or social group system. The first two estates had certain privileges,
such as not paying taxes.

First state. Nobility.

They lost political power, but received privileges like held positions
in government or feudal manors (seoros). These were large

extensions of land along with the people living and working on


Second state. Clergy

They had great influence and power, especially those high up in

the church hierarchy. Many religious orders were created and the
Inquisition had great control.

Third state. Bourgeoisie

They wanted to become civil servants to the king or to be

promoted to the nobility.

Third state. Peasants and Artisans.

The wakest and most numerous group. They worked, paid taxes,
and could be recruited as soldiers.

Mental restraints on society

Two features of Spanish society at the time clearly restrained progress
since it made economic growth difficult by limiting trade and
o Purity of blood. The concept of purity of blood reflected
religious intolerance. People preferred old Christian bloodlines
and showed intolerance towards people of Jewish or Muslim

Manual labour. There was a disdain for manual labour which

was considered something belonging to the lowest ranks of the
third estate. All of society supported the ideal life of the
nobility, who despised any kind of manual labour or commerce.

Castilla was the economic engine of the Spanish Monarchy in the 16 th century.
Sevilla and Madrid benefited greatly from Spains imperial expansion. The territories
of the Crown of Aragn which were outside the Atlantic trade routes, however, did
not gain as much as Castilla.

Rise in prices.
The arrival of silver and gold from America raised prices and made
Castilian industry less competitive. Much of this income paid for wars
in Europe and luxuries for the court, like buildings, artwork, or other
opulent items.

Economic crisis of the 17 th century

The economy of the Spanish monarchy suffered a major economic

crisis, which affected mainly the Crown of Castilla. Its main causes

Population decline.
This was caused by many epidemics, emigration to America,
and wars. Certain rural areas were especially affected and
became deserted. Certain cities lost their manual labour and
also saw less demand for their products.

Control of trade routes.

Spanish fletes were attacked by the English, French, and Dutch,

and the Spains Casa de Contratacin became weak because of
pirates, privateers , and fraudulent traders.
Loans and bankruptcies. The Spanish economy was affected by
the costs of imperial policy. The wealth of Castilla was used top
ay for wars. The monarchs requested loans from bankers. On
several occasions, the monarchy could not pay its loans and
declared itself bankrupt.



Expeditions were organised during the 16 th century to search for

alternative routes to Asia. Many American territories were conquered during
this century. There was strong resistance from the natives and nota ll of
America was under European control.
Nez de Balboa crossed the isthmus of Panama and reached the Pacific
Ocean (1513), Ponce de Len explored the Florida pennsula (1513); Daz de
Sols travelled down La Plata River (1515 -1516); Orellana travelled long the
Amazon river (1541); and Magellan discovered the southern passageway
(Strait of Magellan) with Juan Sebastin Elcano, who completed their voyage
west after Magellans death, making him the first to completely travl around
the world (1519-1522).
Conquest expeditions were carried out in the 16 th century in search of the richest
of great empires. Although these were prvate expeditions and investments, and
risks were covered by the conquerors themselves, hey needed permission from the
monarchy and all conquers were made in the name of the Spanish Crown.

Conquest of the Aztec Empire

Hernn Corts began the conquest in 1519. He occupied their capital,
Tenochtitlan, with the help of enemy tribes of the Aztecs. Despite strong
resistance, this Mexican Empire was defeated in 1521.

Conquest of the Incan Empire

Francisco de Pizarro imprisoned the emperor Atahualpa when he arrived to
Peru. This weakened the Incan Empire and helped with its conquest (1533)

Other expeditions
There were many other expeditions across America, such as the expeditions
of Diego de Almagro and Pedro de Valdivia to Chile and Jimnez de
Quesadas conquest of New Granada, which is now Colombia.

Reasons fot the success of European conquerors

There were several reasons for the success in the conquest.


They had a superior military.

They took advantage of the domestic instabilities of the
indigenous empires.
They brought European diseases that nearly wiped out the
native population.


Castilla was in charge of matters dealing with the colonisation of America. It
created administrations to govern its new territories.

In Spain

The Consejo de Indias was part of the court and advised the king on
legal and administrative matters for the American sector of the
o The Casa de Contratacin was established in Sevilla in 1503. It
controlled trade across the Atlantic and emigration to America. It was
also responsable for creating maps and for training sailors.
In America

These institutions and posts, many of which were newly created, were in the
larger cities.


Viceroyalty. There were originally two: New Spain in the north (Mexico
Aand Central America)and Peru to the south (South America). They
were run by a viceroy.
Governors. They ruled the provinces and were under the authority of
the viceroy.
Corregidores and alcaldes. They directed the cabildos or city councils.
Courts of Justice (Audiencias). They were created to apply and
administer Spanish laws on the new continent.



Hispanic America was forced to adopt a system of colonial dependency.

Their economy was aimed towards meeting the needs of the Spanish
Monarchy. The indigenous population was considered inferior to the Spanish,
causing many problems.

The first conquest provided large amounts of gold and silver. Mining
was the most prominent sector in colonial America, especially after
the discovery of important silver mines in northern Mexico
(Zacatecas, San Luis) and in todays Bolivia (Potos).

The rising demand for food led to creation of large cattle ranches for
local production. Hacienda estates were created to provide products
to be exported to other continents like cocoa, sugar, or tobacco.

It was less developed to avoid competing with products brought over
from Europe. Craftsmen created all the goods that would be sold.
People made furniture, horseshoes, and ox shoes which were needed
throughout the colonies.


The Spanish crown ensured their trade monopoly by controlling the

seas through the House of Trade in Sevilla and by using a fleet
system, which grouped galleons together that regularly crossed the
Europe brought grains, vegetables, grapes, olives, horses, pigs, and
sheep to America. American products like corn, potatoes, cocoa,
tomatoes, and different tropical fruits were exported to Europe.


Conquest and colonisation produced a Sharp decline in the indigenous
population. The main causes of death were due to the hard labour they were
forced to carry out and the arrival of illnesses previously unknown to
America, like smallpox, for which the natives had no natural defences.

The conquerors imposed their language, customs, and religion on he
people of the new territories. Indigenous cultures mostly disappeared
and Christianism and the Spanish languqge became essential to the
cultura of the New World.
o Religious orders played an important role both in
evangelisation and education. The first American university
was founded in Santo Domingo in 1538. Some religious leaders

tried to approach the natives differently by studying their

customs and languages and denouncing Spains colonisation.
The fine arts were a mixture of European and local traditions,
like the Andean Baroque in the Viceroyalty of `Peru or the
Mexican baroque in New Spain. The colonial Baroque also
produced great writers like Juana Ins de la Cruz in the 17 th

Social organisation
Colonial society was organised in an authentic or caste system
according to skin colour. The main social groups were:
o Peninsulares: They were born in Spain. It was a dominant group
and held the highest government offices. They were usually the
landowners of the hacienda estates.
o Criollos: Descendants of the peninsulares born in America.
They belonged to the upper class, but the crown tried to avoid
giving them too much power. Although the peninsulares and
criollos only made up 1% of the total population, hey hada ll he
o Mestizos and Mulattoes: Mestizos were the children of
europeans and natives- Mulattoes were the children of
europeans and africans.
o Amerindians: This group made up most of the population. They
were considered socially inferior, but not slaves. They worked
through an encomienda system under the rule of Spanish
o Negroes: They were taken by force from Africa to America to
work as slaves.