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IES FRAY PEDRO DE URBINA. GEO.

AND HISTORY DEPARTMENT

THE CATHOLIC MONARCHS AND THE SPANISH EMPIRE

1. THE CATHOLIC MONARCHS (1479-1516)


Under the reign of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, known
as the Catholic Monarchs, the Spanish kingdoms were incorporated into the
modern age.

1.1. DYNASTIC UNION.


The marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella in 1469 was the first step in the
union of the Kingdom of Castile and the territories of the Crown of Aragon.
The union became effective in 1479, when Ferdinand ascended the throne
of the Kingdom of Aragon. Isabella of Castile acceded to in 1474 after the
death of his brother Henry IV.
It was only a dynastic union, ie, personal, both crowns had in common just
the figure of the Monarchs, each kingdom had institutions, laws, customs
and different currencies.

1.2. TERRITORIAL UNION.


The RRCC will have as main objective to unite all the kingdoms of the
peninsula under their crown.

Nazari Kingdom of Granada: the last Muslim stronghold will join


Castile after a war of ten years (1482-1492), ending the process of
Reconquista.

Portugal: they attempted to unite it through marriages of their


daughters with Portuguese kings.

Kingdom of Navarra: it was incorporated in 1515 to Castile by


Fernando.

1.3. FOREIGN POLICY.


The RRCC expanded their domains, guiding their foreign policy in two
directions, the Crown of Aragon focused on its Mediterranean expansion
recovering or strengthening its rule over Naples, Sicily, Roussillon and
Cerdanya, while Castile conquered places in North Africa: Melilla, Oran,
Algiers and Tripoli, continuing its Atlantic expansion that culminated in the
conquest of the Canaries and the discovery of America in 1492.

1.4. STRENGTHENING THE MONARCHY


The RRCC implanted the Modern State and with it, a new type of monarchy
called "Authoritarian" The imposition of the Royal authority was achieved
through the following organs or institutions of power:
Creating Councils, composed of lawyers and elected by the Kings to take
power from the nobility.
Creating the Holy Brotherhood, for the maintenance of public order,
especially in rural areas.
Creating chancillerias, courts of justice where justice on behalf of the
Kings was provided.
Appointment of corregidores in the Castilian cities to control them.
Creating a professional standing army, preventing the nobles to have their
private armies.

1.5. RELIGIOUS UNITY


The RRCC sought religious uniformity of their kingdoms; as a result,
measures against Jews and Muslims were taken, creating in 1478 the Court
of the Inquisition to persecute heretics and those converts who secretly
continued to practice their religion. In 1492, expulsion or conversion
(baptism) of the Jews was passed.

2. SPANISH EMPIRE DURING 16TH CENTURY


2.1. THE EMPIRE OF CHARLES V (1516-1556)
Charles I or Charles V of Germany, grandson of the RRCC, will receive an
extraordinary heritage:
On the maternal side (Joanna, daughter of RRCC), he will receive Castile,
the Crown of Aragon, Navarra and the American and Italian territories
associated with these crowns.
On the paternal one (Philip of Habsburg, son of the Emperor Maximilian and
Mary of Burgundy), the Netherlands, Luxembourg, French Comt and
German possessions of Habsburg.
DOMESTIC POLICY
THE REVOLT OF COMMUNITIES
Charles V, born and raised in the Netherlands (Ghent), upon arrival in
Castile sparked strong opposition because he did not speak Castilian,
requested money to the Castilian Cortes to be crowned Emperor, and came
surrounded by a whole court of foreign advisers. This provoked a revolt in
Castile between 1520 and 1521, put down by the Imperial army of Charles
V.

FOREIGN POLICY
The defense of the Imperial authority and Catholicism forced Charles V to
maintain numerous wars:
Against France for control of northern Italy.
Against the Turks, who threatened Central Europe and the Mediterranean.
Against the German Princes, who supported the extension of Protestantism.
Being tired, Charles V abdicated in his son, Philip II, in 1556.

2.2. THE REIGN OF PHILIP II (1556-1598)


Son of Charles V and Isabella of Portugal, he will reign over a vast empire.
Philip II will not receive from his father the title of Emperor, associated
with German domains to his uncle Ferdinand of Habsburg.
DOMESTIC POLICY
He will have to face two revolts:
A Moorish rebellion in the Alpujarras (1568), caused by the pressure
suffered by the Moors to abandon their language and customs, and the
second revolt was in Aragon (1590), because the Aragonese felt that the
King did not respect their charters (fueros).
FOREIGN POLICY
Rivalry with France (Battle of San Quentin 1557).
He stopped the advance of the Turkish Empire (Battle of Lepanto, 1571).
Problems with the Protestants in the Netherlands.
Unsuccessful attempt to invade England (Spanish Armada, 1588).
Incorporation of Portugal (1581).

3. THE 17th CENTURY AND THE CRISIS OF THE EMPIRE


The Habsburg called Minor reigned in Spain along the seventeenth century:
Philip III (1598-1621), Philip IV (1621-1665) and Charles II (1665-1700).
These monarchs had a weaker personality than their predecessors and with
them there was a progressive political, demographic and economic decline
of the Spanish Empire.
3.1. REIGN OF PHILIP III (1598-1621)
King weak, uninterested in government, left these to his favourite the Duke
of Lerma. During his reign the Moors were expelled (1609), with very
disastrous demographic and economic effects. Also in this reign some
treaties of peace were signed with England (1604) and the Dutch
Protestants, the so-called Twelve Years Truce (1609-1621).
3.2. REIGN OF PHILIP IV (1621-1665)
Philip IV left the government in the hands of his favourite the Count Duke
of Olivares. Olivares realized the depletion of Castile, since the territory
bore all the effort of maintaining the Empire, so he decided that other
territories will contribute more to the Empire. To do this, he tried to
recruit men and raise taxes in other areas, carrying out the creation of the
Union of Arms, which led in 1640 a series of riots in Andalusia, Catalonia
and Portugal.
Outside, the reign of Philip IV coincided with the outbreak of the Thirty
Years War (1618-1648), which was both a religious conflict and a struggle
for European hegemony between France and Spain.
The war ended in 1648 with the signing of the Peace of Westphalia, where
the Hispanic Monarchy recognized the independence of the northern Low
Countries (Netherlands).
After this war, the confrontation with France continued until 1659, year in
which the Peace of the Pyrenees was signed, having to deliver to France

Roussillon and Cerdanya, reaffirming France as the hegemonic power in the


17th century. In this peace was agreed also the wedding of the Infanta
Maria Teresa with the French King Louis XIV.
3.3. REIGN OF CHARLES II (1665-1700)
His reign was the time when the Hispanic Monarchy reached rock bottom.
Kings incapacity, corruption of favourites and the economic crisis combined
to certify the sinking of the Spanish Empire.
Charles II die without descendants, causing a succession dispute between
the French candidate (Philip of Anjou) and Austrian one (Charles of
Habsburg).
The War of Succession will be won by the French candidate, putting an end
to the dynasty of Habsburg in Spain and reaching a new dynasty, The
Bourbons, which comes to the present day.

4. THE ECONOMY: CONSEQUENCES OF THE CONQUEST OF


AMERICA
The conquest of the American territories by the Hispanic Monarchy
provoked a series of consequences:
Exchange of agricultural products unknown in Europe as corn, potato,
cocoa and tobacco among others. In turn Europeans introduced in America
the cultivation of wheat, vines, olives and many animals basic for human
food.
Massive arrival of gold and silver, resulting in a cash increase, facilitating
the emergence of Capitalism.
This same fact also caused an increase in the prices of many products
("inflation").
The economic center shifted from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic.

ANNEXES: MAPS