Habsburg Spain
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Habsburg Spain (1504-1521)

The Habsburg Period in Spain is the collection of events between the 16th and 17th centuries. It begins with the Holy elected emperor of the Roman Empire, Fredrick the III. The Habsburgs, of Austrian descent, was the dominant ruling family at the time; the most significant rulers are noted as Charles I and Phillip II. Over the entire period there was a constant objective to expand and and to conquer other areas, ranging from parts of the Americas to Asia. They had a powerful empire which lasted well over one hundred years and was at that time considered the powerhouse of the world. These factors contributed to it being nicknamed the "Age of Expansion". During the 17th century, Spain found itself in a political and cultural decline as well as facing a number of military defeats. Charles II was the final Habsburg ruler; when he passed in 1700, his death sparked the War of Spanish Succession.

The Habsburg period brought about the Iberian Peninsula's first united state, thanks to the marriage of Isabella of Castille and Ferdinand II of Aragon, both of whom brought along their counterparts. Ferdinand II was able to take full control of the Iberian Peninsula, as he took control over from Isabella's daughter, nicknamed "Joanna the mad". It doesn't take too many guesses to see why he took power from her. From there, he played an influential role in the War of the League of Cambrai. At the time of his death France was in control of Italy.

Charles I succeeded him and faced his fair share of problems along the way, in particular the attempt by rebels to overthrow him and put Joanna the mad back into power!


During the 1500's Charles won a victory at the Battle of Pavia and faced the problem of paying his army, so his northern Italian forces decided they would loot Rome instead. During a later period Henry VIII joined the battle with Spain against France and, although Spain was defeated, England and Austria made sure that the French forces were subsided. Once Charles' forces were ready again he went to dispose of the Schmalkaldic league (a Protestant alliance arranged to prevent attacks from Charles I), as the French forces had been defeated


Charles had them sign the Peace of Cateau Cambresis, which dictated that Spain had control of Italy. The leader of the French nation, Henry II, had been killed, which put them on the backfoot. Spain later faced problems with attacks from the Ottomans and with a constant barrage of attacks the leader was killed and responsibility passed down to a less capable individual. This put Spain in a very promising position, but as has occured so many times in the past they were once again facing financial difficulties. They needed to stay defensive in order to recover but the problem with this was that it provided enemies with time to recover. Later in this period was the Eighty Year War which, in a nutshell, caused many problems for Spain.


After this they themselves were found on the backfoot as they faced enemies such as England, France and the Netherlands. With Spain once again having financial troubles, the Spanish were outnumbered and without proper resources. The ruler at the time was Phillip II and he didn't have a lot of his time remaining due to his poor health, so he decided for the sake of Spain to make peace with France by reinstating the rightful king to its throne. Alongside this they also faced a heavy hit from the plague, which wiped out great numbers of the population. It's an impressive feat that with all these problems they still managed to keep their place as a superpower.


As mentioned, the final days for the Habsburg dynasty came when Charles II was in power and sadly faced disabilities and deformities that limited his capabilities when distributing his decisions. The Battle of Rocrio was the turning point as well as the significant event that highlighted the end of the Spanish domination that had been so familiar for over one hundred years.

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