Philip II Overview

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Philip II Overview

  1. 1. Philip II of Spain 1527-1598 Richard Fitzsimmons Strathallan School
  2. 2. Overview … <ul><li>Philip II of Spain has had a chequered reputation among historians, many of them polarised over his character, his policies and his legacy </li></ul><ul><li>For some, Philip’s reign was a ‘golden age’, and he was Spain’s greatest monarch </li></ul><ul><li>For others, Philip personified everything that was most sinister about Counter-Reformation Catholicism </li></ul><ul><li>But, it is not only the man who invites controversy – the rest of this course concentrates on the policies he pursued and the consequences of his actions – equally controversial and the subject of historical debate </li></ul>
  3. 3. Philip’s early life <ul><li>Born in 1527, brought up in a large household of 191 – rarely alone – raised strictly by his mother (Isabel of Portugal) until her death in 1539 – father, Charles V rarely there (away 1529-33, 1535-6, 1539-41, 1543-57) </li></ul><ul><li>From 1535 he had his own household under his ‘governor’, Don Juan de Zuniga </li></ul><ul><li>A sickly child –very ill in 1535 with gastric problems – dogged him for the rest of his life – became obsessed with his health </li></ul><ul><li>Brought up a very devout Roman Catholic – legacy of his mother -to play an important role in later life – sometimes he confused what was for God’s cause with his own … partic. in foreign policy </li></ul><ul><li>Given a sense of duty and responsibility as Charles’ heir – dynastic concerns – attended Council meetings from age 12 – Regent of Spain at 16 </li></ul>
  4. 4. Philip’s upbringing … 1 <ul><li>Educated by tutor Juan Martinez de Siliceo – governor Juan de Zuniga – skilful at hiding his feelings </li></ul><ul><li>Primarily a Spanish emphasis in his learning – maths, architecture, geography, history, classical langs, but no contemporary langs – lack of skill in foreign langs plagued him throughout his reign. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Philip’s upbringing … 2 <ul><li>He preferred hunting to study. </li></ul><ul><li>At age 14, given his own secretary – Gonzalo Perez </li></ul><ul><li>1542 – made his first ‘progress’ – travelling round Castile and Aragon </li></ul><ul><li>1543 – Charles left for Germany, leaving Philip behind as Regent, aided by a group of highly experienced men including the Duke of Alva, Cardinal Juan de Tavera and Francisco de Los Cobos </li></ul><ul><li>1543 - Philip married Maria of Portugal (she died in July 1545 in childbirth) </li></ul>
  6. 6. Philip’s character … <ul><li>Assessments of Philip’s character have often been influenced by historians’ own prejudices </li></ul><ul><ul><li>J. L. Motley – ‘grossly licentious, cruel … a consummate tyrant’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Henry Kamen – ‘Philip was by temperament tranquil, subdued and always in control of himself … as a person he was more gentle. He disliked war and violence…’ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>They have concentrated on alleged character defects - cruelty, ambition, war-mongering, his religious obsession, his indecision etc, and rarely have achieved a balanced summary </li></ul>
  7. 7. Philip’s character … ‘zero-defects mentality’ or procrastinator? <ul><li>One area that has been most raked over has been Philip’s seeming inability to make decisions, particularly in foreign policy. </li></ul><ul><li>Geoffrey Parker advances one potential explanation for this – what he calls Philip’s ‘Zero-defects mentality’ </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>i.e. an obsessive drive not to make mistakes, and a fear of failure – may help explain why he had an almost pathological desire to control decisions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>wanted to prove himself worthy of his father Charles V, and to avoid the disgrace of failure </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>this could lead to periods of deep depression e.g. over the Netherlands in 1574-5, and Armada 1588. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Philip’s character … <ul><li>How far did he depend slavishly on the advice of his father ? </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>He tended to withhold information from his ministers – led to confusion and perhaps competing advice </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Not good at delegation – tended to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of government business </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>BUT, did work very long hours conscientiously, sometimes at the expense of his own health </li></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Philip’s inheritance … <ul><li>Philip was King of Spain, but also separately King of Aragon and Castile </li></ul><ul><li>Duke of Milan </li></ul><ul><li>King of Naples and Sicily </li></ul><ul><li>Ruler of Sardinia </li></ul><ul><li>Ruler of Franche-comte </li></ul><ul><li>Netherlands – multiple titles depending on each province (17) </li></ul><ul><li>Philip’s dominions were huge and, essentially, ungovernable as a unitary state. </li></ul>
  10. 11. Philip’s inheritance … problems <ul><li>Philip’s dominions were huge and, essentially, ungovernable as a unitary state. </li></ul><ul><li>He had different titles in each state, and consequently different powers </li></ul><ul><li>He had to deal with a number of representative assemblies – Cortes in Castile and Aragon, States-General in the Netherlands </li></ul><ul><li>Each territory guarded its ‘privileges’ jealously – made collection of taxation and use of military force difficult in his many wars </li></ul><ul><li>The size of his empire, and the distances involved, made direct governance basically impossible and communication was extremely slow </li></ul>
  11. 13. Charles V’s legacy … <ul><li>Charles gave Philip four sets of instructions, advising him in the art of government </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Nov 1539 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>May 1543 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Jan 1548 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1556 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Of these, the 1543 instructions were probably the most important and certainly the most comprehensive </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Laid down precise rules for government </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Gave advice on anticipated problems </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>He discussed in detail the strengths/weaknesses of individual councillors </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>He urged Philip to avoid being identified with, or reliant on, any particular faction at court, or any individual </li></ul></ul></ul>
  12. 14. State of the Empire, 1556 … <ul><li>In 1556 Charles V left an on-going war with Valois France under Henry II – not going well on the Netherlands border </li></ul><ul><li>War in the Mediterranean against the Turks – in uneasy abeyance in 1550s </li></ul><ul><li>An imperial treasury strained by almost 40 years of continuous warfare – bankruptcy was declared in 1557 (national debt 25.5 million ducats – annual income 3 million) </li></ul><ul><li>Military forces stretched throughout the Empire </li></ul>
  13. 15. Further reading … <ul><li>J. Casey, ‘Philip II of Spain, the prudent King’ Teaching History 1997 </li></ul><ul><li>H. Kamen, Spain 1469-1714: A Society of Conflict . </li></ul><ul><li>H. Kamen, Philip II of Spai n. </li></ul><ul><li>J. Kilsby, Spain: Rise and Decline, 1474 - 164 3. </li></ul><ul><li>P. Limm, The Dutch Revol t. </li></ul><ul><li>A. W. Lovett, Early Habsburg Spain, 1517-1598 . </li></ul><ul><li>J. Lynch, Spain 1516 - 98; From Nation State to World Empire. </li></ul><ul><li>M. Mallett, The Struggle for the Mediterranean in the 16th Centur y. Warwick History Videos, </li></ul><ul><li>D. McKinnon-Bell, Philip II. </li></ul><ul><li>D. McKinnon-Bell, ‘Philip II: the champion of Catholicism.’ History Review </li></ul><ul><li>N. G. Parker, The Dutch Revolt . </li></ul><ul><li>N. G. Parker, ‘Philip II of Spain – a reappraisal.’ History Today 1979 </li></ul><ul><li>N. G. Parker, The Grand Strategy of Philip II . </li></ul><ul><li>M. Rady, The Netherlands: Revolt and Independence, 1550 - 165 0. </li></ul>

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