Spain 1556-1598 Spain 1659-1700

Spain under the Later Habsburgs : 1598-1659

A.) The Foreign Policy

Under King Philip II., Spain had pursued a foreign policy which had considerably exceedced her financial capacity. The attempts to conquer England (1588), to suppress the Dutch Revolt (since 1579) and to determine the outcome of the Huguenot Wars in France all had ended in failure.
In 1598, Philip III. was crowned king. The ar with France was terminated in the TREATY OF VERVINS (1598). The Spanish Netherlands were, for lifetime, transferred to Isabella (1598), married to Albrecht of Austria; the war with the Dutch Republic would continue until 1609. Peace with England was signed in 1604; with the Dutch Republic, a truce over a period of 12 years was agreed upon in 1609.
Comparatively peaceful decades permitted Spain to recover financially; the 30 Years War broje out in 1618. After the death of Isabella, the Spanish Netherlands reverted to the Spanish crown; the 12 Years Truce with the Dutch Republic was permitted to expire. Spain thus was a belligerent in the 30 Years War, focussing her attention on the Dutch Republic. Early in the war, Spain was successful; Breda fell to her forces in 1625. England, especially France financed protestant armies; the Danes and later the Swedes entered the scene. In 1634 a Spanish army defeated the much-feared Swedes in the Battle of Nördlingen.
Now France, hitherto formally neutral, entered the war (Franco-Spanish War 1635-1659). In 1640, rebellions broke out in Catalonia and in Portugal; while the revolt in Catalonia was suppressed (1652), Portugal succeeded in regaining her independence (only recognized by Spain in 1668). In 1643 the French defeated the Spanish in the Battle of Rocroi. In 1648 the Treaty of Westphalia was signed, ending the Thirty Years War. In the treaty, Spain formally recognized the independence of the Dutch Republic. However, the war between France and Spain continued until 1659 (Treaty of the Pyrenees), when Spain ceded Roussillon and border territory in the Spanish Netherlands to France.

B.) Domestic Policy

Felipe III. trusted the administration to the Duke of Lerma (1598). In 1609-1614, several hundred thousand Moriscos were expelled (c. 4 % of the total population); most of them moved to North Africa. During the early reign of Felipe III., the Spanish economy recovered as no wars had to be financed. The population pf Madrid grew from 65,000 in 1606 to 175,000 in 1630. After the expulsion of the Moriscos, Spain suffered from inflation. In 1618 the Duke of Lerma was ousted. In 1621 the Dutch War was resumed.
Rising taxation contributed to the insurrections in Portugal and Catalonia in 1640. In Naples, an insurrection erupted in 1646.
Spain, during the preceding century, had, on land, been a military power of first rank. However, Spain was not a uniform state; Castile, the backbone of Spain, had to bear the brunt of the costs, while Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia enjoyed a high degree of political autonomy. The Cortes of Aragon did not always identify with Spanish policy.

Felipe III., Duque de Lerma, Felipe IV, Duque de Olivares, from ArteHistoria, in Spanish
Spain and the Heritage of Madrid, by David Ringrose, scroll down for I. Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries: The Hapsburg Empire
Felipe III., from Personajes historicos de Espana, Francia e Inglaterra, in Spanish
Velipe IV, from Personajes historicos de Espana, Francia e Inglaterra, in Spanish
Article Catalonia, from Catholic Encyclopedia
Aragon en la Guerra de Cataluna, 1640-1652, from Atlas de Geografia de Aragon en Internet
Duke of Lerma, from EB 1911
Count of Olivares, from EB 1911
Martin Hume, Spain under Philip III., posted by MATEO
DOCUMENTS Duke of Lerma, from Web Gallery of Art (w. biography), from Olga's Gallery
Count-Duke of Olivares, from Web Gallery of Art
Equestrian Statue of Philip III., Plaza Mayor, from Madrid Spain
Philip IV., from National Gallery
Data on Spanish State Revenue, 1520-1807, posted by ESFDB
REFERENCE Peter Pierson, The History of Spain, Greenwood, 1999, 248 pp.; KMLA Lib.Sign. 946 P624t

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on November 9th 2004

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