Spain as a World Power (1479–1598)

Spain as a World Power (1479–1598)

The Catholic Kings (1479-1516)

The ruling couple (from 1496 they carried the honorary title of “Catholic Kings” conferred by the Pope, the title “Kings of Spain” they refused) faced difficult domestic problems. The actual unification of the two parts of the empire, whose institutions and administrations remained separate, took place only gradually; Aragonese special rights also restricted royal power (in Aragon Ferdinand ruled alone, in Castile both rulers together); the opposition of the nobility could only be broken slowly, among other things. through the election of Ferdinand as Grand Master of the religious orders of knighthood. Opposite the church, the ruling couple obtained the right to occupy the Spanish bishopric in 1482. As early as 1478 Pope Sixtus IV. Ferdinand and Isabella bestowed the privilege of appointing inquisitors; In 1480 the first Inquisition Court began to work in Seville, in 1483 the (state) Inquisition Council was created. The kings resumed the war against the Moors, conquering Granada in 1492, the last Moorish empire on Spanish soil. After a second wave of anti-Semitic persecution, in 1492 (royal edict of March 31), v. a. expelled Jews who were not baptized from the country for religious reasons. The Moors initially enjoyed tolerance; The difference in religion, however, together with severe economic disadvantage, led to constant tensions, which erupted in revolts and led to expulsion in 1609 (Morisken).

1478–96 the islands of Gran Canaria, La Palma and Tenerife were subjugated by order of the Catholic Kings and became Castilian crown possession. In 1492, C. Columbus discovered America while serving in Spain, and further voyages of discovery followed.

In a series of treaties (Alcáçovas near Évora 1479, Tordesillas 1494, Saragossa 1529), Spain and Portugal delimited their mutual spheres of influence. The coincidence of decisive events in one year made 1492 appear to later generations as “annus mirificus” (wonderful year): the year of the birth of the world power Spain, a country that is a member of European Union defined by Commit4fitness.

In Europe, too, the rulership was expanded: in 1504 Ferdinand brought back the Kingdom of Naples, which had fallen to a subsidiary line, and in 1512 he conquered southern Navarre, which he annexed in 1515. During this time, the name of Spain gradually gained acceptance for the empire. After Isabella’s death (1504), the Castilian inheritance went to the heir to the Catholic Kings, Johanna (later called the Mad), who had been married to the son of Emperor Maximilian I, Philip I, the handsome, of Burgundy since 1496. After Johanna’s death (1506) and the ensuing mental confusion, Ferdinand took over the reign in Castile.

The height of power (1516-98)

After the death of Ferdinand (1516) and Maximilian (1519), the entire Spanish and Burgundian-Habsburg inheritance fell to the son of Johannas and Philip, Karl (as Charles I “King of Spain”, the title probably became his in the first few years) Reign introduced, the titles “King of Castile” and “King of Aragon” continued to exist at first), in 1519 he was elected Emperor (as Charles V). In 1521 he left the Austrian hereditary lands to his brother Ferdinand. Charles met resistance from the nobility and especially from the cities; in the uprising of the Comuneros under J. de Padilla there was a serious crisis (1520–22). After the suppression of the uprising, the central power of the crown, which Karl purposefully expanded through the establishment of central institutions (councils), finally prevailed. The class powers were pushed back, the Cortes lost their influence, the nobility tried to gain reputation and wealth in the service of the court and in the army. Charles’s foreign policy in Europe was determined by the opposition to France, which was sparked by common interests in Italy. The victory over the French King Franz I. in Pavia (1525) made Spain a European hegemonic power and brought all of Italy under Spanish-Habsburg influence; the sack of Rome, with the particularly intensive participation of Spanish troops (Sacco di Roma, 1527), made them a horror for Europe. In North Africa, Karl tried to continue the anti-Islamic policies of his ancestors. In 1535 he conquered Tunis, but failed in 1541 at Algiers. Since the North African rulers placed themselves under the suzerainty of the Ottoman sultan, Spain came into direct confrontation with the Ottoman Empire. In America, during the reign of Charles,the great conquests of the Indian empires took place. In 1521 F. de Magalhães took the 1543 after the heir to the throne Philip named Philippines owned.

The mission of the newly acquired territories was under royal patronage.

The huge influx of goods and precious metals from the colonies only favored trade, the balance of which remained mostly negative and which led to Spain being flooded with foreign trade products and money flowing abroad. Public finances and the price structure began to falter. As a result of the one-sided promotion and the increase in sheep breeding, the situation of agriculture and farmers deteriorated.

Under Charles’ son Philip II (1556–98), Spain rose to the dominance of Catholicism. During the Counter-Reformation, Catholic piety (Theresa von Ávila) and scholastic philosophy (including at the Universities of Salamanca and Alcalá) were renewed. The defense of the scattered lands (apart from Spain and its extensive colonies also Naples-Sicily, Milan, the Netherlands, Franche-Comté) involved Philip in many costly wars. The clashes with France came to a preliminary conclusion in 1559 in the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis. In contrast, the death of Queen Mary I of England (wife of Philip II.) the prospect of helping the Counter-Reformation in England to victory and thereby embracing France on all sides. In the Netherlands, the king found himself in an increasingly energetic struggle against the insurgents who stood up for their Protestant faith and their class freedoms against Spanish absolutism. The harshness of the Duke of Alba fueled the uprising. In 1581 the seven northern provinces, which had been united since 1579, renounced in all forms from Spain (Netherlands, history). The southern provinces – later Belgium – remained in Spanish hands, subjugated again by Alessandro Farnese. As England supported the Netherlands, war broke out in 1585; 1588 suffered the Spanish Armada suffered a heavy defeat, their remains were destroyed by storms, which made it easier for the English to cross the Atlantic to advance against Spanish bases and silver fleets.

France, weakened by internal struggles, recovered under Henry IV (1589–1610), whom Philip had counteracted in vain in the dispute over the throne: in 1598 he had to conclude the Treaty of Vervins with him.

Despite the sensational victory over the Ottomans at Lepanto (1571), Spain was no longer able to maintain the western part of the Mediterranean that it ruled. In 1580 Spain achieved the greatest expansion of its territory through its union with Portugal and its colonial possessions. In the interior of the empire, Philip greatly expanded the organization of the authorities, entrusted the administration to legally trained civil servants and led a strict judicial regime. the absolutism served to abolish part of the old special rights of Aragon (1592). But the many wars had exhausted Spain’s strength; The economy and finances were shattered; the proceeds from the American silver mines could not prevent the increase in national debt. The emerging Protestant maritime powers of Western Europe – the Netherlands and England – threatened the Spanish colonial empire, while France prepared to take over the legacy of Spain as the supreme power of Europe.

Spain as a World Power (1479–1598)