On January 3, 1648 Spain and the Dutch agreed to a treaty that became part of the Münster treaty signed on October 24. After eighty years of war Spain finally recognized the independence of the United Provinces of the Netherlands. High prices also provoked an insurrection in Granada in March 1648 that lasted several weeks before it was suppressed. Seville failed to use quarantine methods in 1649 and lost about a quarter of their 600,000 residents. More than 500,000 people in Castile and Aragon died of the plague between 1647 and 1652. In May of that year poor people in Cordoba demanded bread at lower prices; but they were crushed while similar protests erupted and were put down in Seville. By 1654 Cadiz had about 1,500 African slaves, and special police were organized to prevent revolts.
During French control of Catalonia in the early 1650s the people were weakened by hunger and a plague. In July 1651 two Spanish armies joined, and led by Felipe IV’s natural son Juan José de Austria they besieged Barcelona which finally surrendered on October 13, 1652. Felipe IV had more than thirty children with other women, but he only recognized Juan José, son of the actress Maria Calderon. He was made a prince and a knight with an income of more than 100,000 escudos per year. In 1647 Juan José was named the King’s vicar in Italy and commanded the fleet that suppressed the Masaniello revolt in Naples before serving as viceroy in Sicily 1648-51. In October 1652 he was appointed commander of the armies in Catalonia and was viceroy 1653-56 and then governor of the Spanish Netherlands 1656-59. The French held on to Roussillon but withdrew from Catalonia. Felipe IV issued a general pardon and promised to respect the liberties and laws of the Catalans, and they submitted.
Spain was spending more than 11 million ducats a year and went bankrupt once again in 1653. As usual the bankers were given government bonds. In 1654 tax revenues were estimated at 27 million ducats, but the royal treasury got only 6 million. The Crown’s debt had reached 120 million. Ducats. The Church was paying about 1.5 million ducats a year. In 1656 Seville’s Archbishop Pedro de Tapia and Bishop Juan de Palafox of Osma led the resistance, and the Archbishop of Toledo told his clergy not to pay the millones tax.
The war between Spain and France went on in the 1650s, but the Spaniards rejected a favorable treaty offered by Cardinal Mazarin in 1656. England joined the war against Spain in December 1654, and in September 1655 Spain put an embargo on English property in Spain and then in December used the profits from its sale for warships. In April 1655 the English siege of Santo Domingo failed, and they lost 3,000 men; but they conquered Jamaica in May, captured a treasure fleet off Cadiz on September 8, 1656, destroyed a Mexican merchant convoy hiding in the Canary Islands in April 1657, and blockaded the Spanish coast, preventing silver from arriving in Spain for two years. On June 14, 1658 a combined army of French and British defeated the Spaniards and English royalists at the battle of the Dunes, capturing Dunkirk. About 17,000 Portuguese besieged the Spanish garrison of 6,000 men at Badajoz from July to October when a relief army of 16,000 Spaniards arrived and defeated the Portuguese who lost 6,200 dead from a plague and fighting.
Finally on November 7, 1659 the peace treaty made the Pyrenees Mountains the border and ended the war between France and Spain. France was to keep Roussillon, Cerdagne, Artois, and the fortresses in Hainault, Flanders, and Luxembourg. Spain gave up its claim to Alsace and released Duke Charles IV of Lorraine. Felipe IV’s daughter Maria Teresa was to marry King Louis XIV and renounce her claim to the Spanish throne in exchange for a dowry of 500,000 ducats which was not paid. The royal couple married on June 9, 1660. That year Charles II became King of England, and in September he ended the war against Spain.
Spain used this opportunity to build up the army to invade Portugal; but it was difficult and took time. Felipe IV lost support for this effort when Sor Maria and Luis de Haro died in 1661. In January of that year the Relacion o Gazeta began publishing with Felipe IV’s approval. Medina de las Torres became the chief minister and opposed the war. Criminals were used as soldiers, and Juan José de Austria was put in command of the armies fighting Portugal. In 1662 Louis XIV persuaded the weakened Spaniards to give up their diplomatic precedence to the French in European courts, indicating that a major shift in European power had occurred. English soldiers were sent to Portugal and helped the Portuguese rout Juan José’s army at Ameixial near Estremoz on June 8, 1663. The Spaniards lost 8,000 men and all their artillery while the Portuguese had only 2,000 casualties. On July 7, 1664 about 3,000 Portuguese met 7,000 Spaniards near Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo and killed 2,000 and took 500 prisoners.
Many Spanish communities lost population and blamed their decline on the war against Portugal. Felipe IV ordered Medina to raise a thousand men from every province, to confiscate private silver arriving from America, and transfer the Spanish army from Flanders to Caraçena’s command for the war in Portugal. Louis XIV sent French troops to Lisbon, and on June 17 1665 the German General Friedrich Hermann Schomberg led about 20,000 Portuguese forces to victory at Montes Claros near Vila Viçosa with only 700 killed and 2,000 wounded. The Spanish army of 22,600 men was devastated with 4,000 dead and 6,000 captured. Protests erupted in Madrid as Spain had wasted 25 million ducats on the disastrous Portuguese war, bringing the Crown’s debt to almost that much. King Felipe IV died of illness on September 17. Although Felipe had mistresses who bore at least thirty natural children, he was succeeded by his only legitimate son Carlos who was feeble. Between 1660 and 1668 the silver content in the copper-silver vellon coins was reduced, enabling the Spanish government to make a profit of 9,417,890 ducats while causing inflation.
Maria de Guevara became the Countess of Escalante in 1641, and she delineated her aristocratic heritage in a memorial in 1654, extending her domains into Santander, Basque territory, Navarre, and Extremadura. In addition to residing at her estates, she spent time in Valladolid and at the court in Madrid. In 1663 during the war in Portugal she wrote her short “Treatise and Warnings by a Woman Concerned for the Good of Her King and Affronted by Part of Spain.” She addressed Felipe IV and asserted that she and women understand what is going on as well as the men but feel it more. She lamented that the grandchildren of willing soldiers can no longer sustain their houses because they are losing their property while others are rising up and buying villages and estates. She suggested that kings should be taught to read histories and chronicles so they will know whom to value. She criticized that a bad soldier takes bribes and keeps their wages for himself. Many soldiers are inferior because they have been taken from galleys or gallows and have no honor, have never taken up a sword, and run rather than fight. She urged the King to reward those who carry out their obligation. She complained that the soldiers who fled from the siege of Badajoz in late October 1658 were granted more favors than the children of those who died. She was tired of hearing that no one dares to speak out because they are afraid of the powerful. She urged the King to use laymen from convents and even troops of women. She noted that many in Spain are rebelling because of increased taxes and because inflation is devaluing the money. In 1664 Guevara wrote the longer “Disenchantments at the Court and Valorous Women” for the infant Prince Carlos José and described many great women in history. She instructed lords how they should behave on their estates, and she emphasized the virtues of charity, patience, humility, and penitence.
Carlos II, the son of Felipe IV and his niece Mariana of Austria, was born on November 6, 1661 and was called “Bewitched” because of his severe mental and emotional disabilities which prevented him from ruling even though he was king for 35 years. When he became king in September 1665, he still could not walk. He was weak in both body and mind. Although he had tutors, at the age of nine he could not read or write. He remained in the royal palace almost always accompanied by his confessor and two friars. He rarely traveled because of his poor health. Only three times did he make long journeys—once to the Cortes in Zaragoza and twice to meet his brides. During his impotent reign the aristocrats gained power; 12 viscounts, 80 counts, and 236 marquises were added while 26 nobles became grandees. Most of these were wealthy men as titles were sold. Most grandees had annual incomes over 40,000 ducats. During the economic depressions small farmers lost their land to the feudal lords. Aristocrats received mercedes subsidies and other benefits from the government of about 3 million ducats a year. Viceroyalties were purchased, and viceroys in Italy and the American colonies accumulated great fortunes.
Regent and Queen Mother Mariana (1634-96) also lacked political capability. Felipe IV’s will called for a Junta consisting of the President of the Castile Council, Vice-chancellor of Aragon, Archbishop of Toledo, Inquisitor General, a councilor of state, and a grandee). This was set up to govern and was led by the Count of Castrillo as his rival the Duke of Medina de las Torres was excluded. The other members were the diplomatic Count of Peñaranda, the Valencian Vice-chancellor of the Aragon Council Cristobal Crespi, the Marquis of Aytona, and Cardinal Pascual de Aragon. After 1665 the Cortes of Castile would not meet again in the century. The Spaniards were governed mostly by regional or local aristocrats as Castile lost power. Queen Mariana’s confessor, the Austrian Jesuit Johannes Eberhard Nithard had come to Spain with her in 1649 and on September 20, 1666 was naturalized as a Spaniard and called Juan Everardo Nithard. He became her favorite (valido) and most influential advisor. Spaniards complained because of Felipe IV’s will banning foreigners from the government. On September 22 the Queen appointed Nithard the Inquisitor General, putting him in the Junta. Pope Alexander approved the Jesuit serving in that position in October. In 1666 Spain’s army had 600 officers and 6,200 soldiers. In June 1667 Juan José de Austria was invited to return to Madrid and attend the Council of State. On September 14 the Queen appointed him commander in Flanders.
In 1665 and 1667 Spain made treaties allowing the English to set up businesses in Spain. In 1667 Louis XIV complained that his Spanish wife’s dowry had not been paid, and so he claimed her territories in the Netherlands that she had renounced to marry him. In this War of Devolution the French invaded Flanders and Franche-Comté, but Spain lost only a few fortresses in Flanders in the 1668 truce. Juan José commanded again, but after the war he was removed from the governorship of the Spanish Netherlands. In November 1667 Infante Pedro had begun ruling Portugal, and he opened peace negotiations that resulted in Spain recognizing Portugal’s independence at Lisbon on February 13, 1668, In the treaty Spain gained only the African city of Ceuta east of Morocco.
Juan José was offered the position of governing the Spanish Netherlands; but when theologians objected to his negotiating with the Protestant Dutch and English, he declined. He was persuaded to change his mind and began his journey. In late May a plot to assassinate Nithard was discovered, and Don José Mallada was executed in a prison cell on June 2. Prince Juan José complained and refused to go to Flanders. A decree ordered him to stay away from Madrid. On October 13 Juan José’s secretary Mateo Patiño was accused of plotting to abduct Nithard. The Junta secretly ordered Juan José arrested on the 19th; but the officers refused, and he fled with sixty attendants. One of Spain’s first battle of pamphlets broke out. The prince went to Catalonia where he was popular and met with the viceroy, the Duke of Osuna. On November 17 an agent of Juan José presented his case against Nithard to the Council, and Juan José sent out letters from Barcelona. He gained a following and returned to Madrid with 400 horsemen and demanded that Nithard be dismissed, and the Jesuit left the capital on February 25, 1669. Juan José persuaded Mariana to make minor reforms, but she strengthened the royal guard and put his adversary, the Marquis of Aytona, in command. On June 4 she appointed Juan José Vicar General of Aragon and Catalonia. He went to live in Zaragoza, and in 1674 he helped the Aragonese revive their economy. On July 18, 1670 Spain made the Godolphin treaty with England that made peace and recognized the English colonies in the Caribbean Sea while the English promised to suppress piracy there.
Miguel de Molinos (1628-96) was educated by Jesuits, was ordained in 1652, and earned a doctorate. In June 1662 he joined the School of Christ, and a year later he went to Rome. In 1675 Molinos published his influential Spiritual Guide in Spanish that was soon translated into Italian, and later that year he published his Brief Treatise on Daily Communion. His Spiritual Guide was so popular that it had several editions in Spanish and Italian within ten years and was translated into Latin in 1687, into French, Dutch, and English in 1688, and into German in 1699 as his peaceful philosophy called Quietism spread. Critics attacked his passivity, preference for silence over vocal prayer, and his suggestion that people go beyond meditation to contemplation. In 1681 the Inquisition declared his book orthodox. In September 1685 Friar Francisco Neila denounced his work to the Inquisition of Zaragoza, and Molinos was arrested. Yet in October the Archbishop of Seville Jaime de Palafox ordered 6,000 copies of Spiritual Guide printed in Spanish, believing the arrest had nothing do to do with heresy. In the years 1665 to 1692 the number of Spaniards prosecuted by the Inquisition ranged from 10 to 37 per year, and many were for minor superstitions. In the spring of 1687 the Holy Office interrogated Molinos, and he confessed errors resulting in 68 of 263 questionable propositions from his book being condemned in July. Cardinal inquisitors reviewed his case, and on September 2 they sentenced him to life in prison. The next day Molinos confessed his errors in a public church, and on November 20 Pope Innocent XI confirmed the condemnation of the 68 propositions and all his writings. Molinos died in prison on December 29, 1696. His writing would be especially influential and controversial in France.
Meanwhile the Andalusian Fernando de Valenzuela had married a lady-in-waiting to the Queen in 1661. He became the favorite of the Regent and gained popularity by providing inexpensive bread and bullfights in Madrid. He managed to hang on to his power when Carlos II was declared of age in November 1675, becoming the Marquis of Villasierra that month. However, nobles favoring Juan José removed Valenzuela by appointing him Captain General of Granada, but Queen Mariana brought him back to Madrid by April 1676 and promoted him over all other nobles. On September 22 the governing Junta was dissolved, and November 2 Valenzuela became prime minister. On December 15 a public manifesto against Valenzuela signed by 24 grandees demanded that the Queen be removed from her son, Valenzuela be imprisoned, and Juan José be recalled to the King’s side. Two days later the Council of State recommended that Valenzuela be arrested and advised Juan José not to take up arms against troops Valenzuela had mobilized in Madrid. On December 23 Cardinal Pascual de Aragon, the Archbishop of Toledo, agreed to be president of a new Junta with the Admiral, the Constable, and the Duke of Medinaceli. The next day the Junta ordered Valenzuela arrested, and he fled to the Escorial on Christmas Day. The King agreed to summon Juan José, and a letter was sent to him.
On January 11, 1677 Juan José led an army of 15,000 from Aragon into Castile, and they were joined by eighteen grandees and other nobles. The Madrid garrison disbanded, and they entered the capital on the 23rd without opposition. Valenzuela was sent to the Philippines for ten years. Mariana went to Toledo, and her guards were sent to Sicily. People in Barcelona and Valencia rejoiced. Juan José persuaded King Carlos II to visit Zaragoza in April, and the Cortes voted for 56,000 libras a year for eight years to supply 1,500 troops, and all their previous debts to the crown were cancelled in exchange for no subsidies in the next twenty years. In July 1677 the Gazeta Ordinaria de Madrid began weekly publication until April 8, 1680.
Spain had been fighting a war against France in the Low Countries since 1673, but in 1674 Spanish troops were transferred to suppress a revolt in Sicily supported by the French. In May 1675 the French invaded Catalonia with 12,000 infantry and 3,000 cavalry, and by October many unpaid soldiers had deserted to the French. On July 4, 1677 some Spanish troops attacked a smaller French force at Espolla and suffered heavy losses. In May 1678 the French took over Puigcerda. Spain had to concede losses in the Netherlands and all of Franche-Comté in the treaty of Nijmegen that Spain signed with France on September 19, 1678.
Poor harvests in 1677 caused a food crisis, and Juan José had to buy wheat for Madrid in August. The next year grain prices in Spain were even worse. The Cortes of Aragon met in 1677 and 1678 and protected Spanish industry by banning the importation of all luxury textiles and by doubling customs duties on imports and exports to 20%. Aragon’s chronicler Diego Dormer considered these measures ruinous to Aragon, and the customs duties would be reduced to 10% in 1686. Juan José de Austria became ill with a fever in July 1679 and died on September 17.
Juan José was succeeded by the Duke of Medinaceli who submitted to the regional councils and the inexperienced members of the Council of State. He established the Council of Trade and Currency to supervise the guilds. Since 1673 about 7,000 silk-looms had been shut down in the region of Toledo. Flocks of sheep had been reduced from 50,000 to less than 10,000. Yet the French ambassador Villars noted that Castile’s only major export was raw wool and that two-thirds of the silver from America went to Spain’s debt to foreign nations and the other third mostly to buy goods. When taxes were inadequate, the government resorted to forcing loans and confiscation. Many men were impressed into the army while others hid or emigrated. Inflation weakened the currency with the face value of the copper coins multiplying by six. Food riots were met by fixing prices below the cost of production, hurting farmers. On February 10, 1680 the vellon (copper) coin was devalued by half, causing prices to collapse by 45% and bankruptcies of the Crown and others. People bartered, and riots broke out in Toledo and Madrid. The government’s deficit in 1680 was 9.2 million ducats. Castile’s monetary system was not stabilized until 1686. Castilian industry had been greatly reduced. Between 1676 and 1684 Spain suffered from three major epidemics.
On February 21, 1680 the Duke of Medinaceli became prime minister. Seville’s former governor Carlos de Herrera was appointed president of the Finance Council. Carlos II asked to see an auto-da-fé. The Inquisition judged 120 prisoners, including 104 suspected Judaizers who were mostly Portuguese, and on June 30 they burned 21 at the Plaza Major in Madrid. Spanish laws and customs discriminated against new Christians of Jewish origin. In April 1682 Veitia Linaje was made a special consultant to improve colonial trade.
For three years Relaciones was published illegally, but papers were authorized again on November 16, 1683. Francisco Fabro Bremundan began publishing the Gazeta Ordinaria and the next year had competition from the Gazeta General and the Singular News which merged with Bremundan’s paper and continued until his death on September 12, 1690. The Hospital General of Madrid took over the Gazeta. They sold it to Juan de Goyeneche in 1697, and he published the weekly Gazeta de Madrid.
In 1681 the French invaded Flanders again, and Spain declared war against France in December 1683. In the truce signed at Ratisbon on August 15, 1684 the French gained Luxembourg. In the previous 65 years Spain had been at war in all but seven years. The Count of Oropesa became the chief minister in 1685. By then the economic recession was ending. In 1686 Spain devalued silver, and that year two-thirds of the trade with Spanish America was smuggled. The Marquis of los Vélez became superintendent of finance in 1687. They tried to reduce government spending and make taxes more fair.
The Church retained extensive land and much greater revenues than the Crown which enabled them to sustain religious vocations, and in 1689 a royal message was circulated to all the bishops urging them to suspend ordinations for a while because so many young man were joining orders to avoid paying taxes. The King, the Church, and the nobles owned 95% of the land in Spain. Valladolid with 17 parishes had 53 convents. The Inquisition continued to suppress dissent in various cultural activities. In 1691 the Inquisition arrested the Anglican chaplain of the English ambassador. Education was weakened as the number of Jesuits decreased in Castile, Toledo, and Andalusia. The number of students enrolled at Salamanca University decreased from 7,800 to 2,076. In 1691 a French memorial reported that of the 54 million pounds of merchandise shipped to Cadiz only 2.5 million went to Spanish merchants with the rest going to the French, Genoese, Dutch, English, Flemish, and Hamburg merchants.
Oropesa resigned on June 25, 1691. Peasants in Valencia rebelled against seigneurial rents and were dispersed by the army in the summer of 1693. That year the Duke of Montalto persuaded the King to decree a senior junta with Montalto over Navarre, Aragon, Valencia, and Catalonia; the Constable governing Old and New Castile and Galicia; and the Admiral Count of Melgar administering Andalucia and the Canaries. The Constable was soon eliminated; by 1696 only the Admiral remained, and he did little. On May 16 the Queen Mother Mariana died. On May 21 a Grand Junta submitted a report on the abuses of the Inquisition; but it had been lost when Felipe V asked to see it in 1701.
Carlos II had married Maria Luisa of Orléans in 1679, but she died childless in February 1689. Then on August 28 Carlos married Mariana de Neuburg, sister of the Austrian Empress Eleonor Magdalene. This provoked Louis XIV into declaring war, and Spain fought another devastating war with France until 1697 when the French captured Barcelona. In the previous 44 years Barcelona had contributed 6,377,591 Catalan pounds to the Crown. In 1695 Prince George of Darmstadt arrived with an imperial army that supported the Catalans against the French, and he was made viceroy of Catalonia in 1698. On September 20, 1697 in the Treaty of Ryswick the Spanish regained Catalonia and the fortresses of Mons, Luxembourg, and Kortrijk, but the Dutch were permitted to garrison fortresses in the Spanish Netherlands. Louis XIV was using diplomacy and his son Philippe of Anjou became the heir of Carlos II. Also in 1697 Spain established a society to promote experimental philosophy, and the Royal Society of Medicine was formed at Seville. Carlos II had no children, and in June 1700 the Council of State unanimously approved the French choice, and Pope Innocent XII agreed in July. In his final will on October 2, 1700 Carlos left all his domains to Duke Philippe of Anjou, grandson of Louis XIV and Maria Teresa (daughter of Felipe IV). If Anjou did not accept, the inheritance of Carlos would go to Archduke Charles of Austria. Carlos II died on November 1. Two weeks later Louis XIV informed the Spanish ambassador at Versailles that Philippe would accept, and he proclaimed him King of Spain.
Duke Philippe of Anjou had been tutored by the Duke of Beauvilliers and Archbishop Fénelon and could not speak Spanish. At the age of 17 with hundreds of French officials he entered Madrid in April 1701. On May 8 he met at the San Jeronimo monastery with members of the Cortes and community leaders from Castile and representatives of Aragon who swore allegiance to him as King Felipe V. He declined to attend an auto de fé organized by the Inquisition. Louis XIV sent his grandson a long letter of advice and expected him to be guided by his French advisors. The Marquis of Louville served as head of the King’s French household. At first Felipe disliked Spanish food and often suffered from depression and headaches. He consulted the despacho universal (General Secretariat); but the Spanish advisors (Cardinal Portocarrero of Toledo, president Manuel de Arias of Castile, and secretary Antonio de Ubilla of Ribas) were gradually removed as the French ambassador dominated. The Council of State did not operate. In 1701 Louis XIV ordered French forces to take control of Spanish possessions in northern Italy in the name of Felipe V. In September a conspiracy in Naples to favor Archduke Charles and assassinate the viceroy was discovered, and some of those arrested were executed.
Louis XIV selected 13-year-old Maria Luisa, daughter of Duke Vittorio Amedeo II of Savoy, as the new King’s bride, and they were wedded by proxy on September 11 in Turin. She could speak Spanish and liked Spanish customs. Yet her father allied with the Austrian Emperor Leopold in October. Felipe V went to Barcelona and on October 2 received homage from the three estates in the cathedral as he swore to protect their laws. At a Catalan Cortes he confirmed their privileges and granted new ones such as trade with America. Viceroy George of Darmstadt was dismissed but came back later with the imperial allies. Felipe met his attractive wife Maria Luisa for the first time on November 3, and they fell in love. She presided over a cortes in Zaragoza on April 26, 1702, swore to protect their autonomous laws (fueros), and received a subsidy.
The War of the Spanish Succession began after Austrian Emperor Leopold sent Prince Eugene of Savoy across the Alps with an army of 30,000 men to claim the Duchy of Milan. They fought French forces at Carpi on July 9, 1701 and at Chiari on September 1. They attacked Cremona on February 1, 1702, and the French retreated to Adda and defended Milan. A French fleet of 28 ships conveyed Felipe V to Naples where he arrived on April 18 and marched north to Milan. He was well received and liked Italian music. The Council of Flanders was abolished on March 29, and Jean Orry arrived in June. Marie Anne de La Trémoille, the Princess of Ursins, was the head of Maria Luisa’s household and became Felipe’s chief minister.
On May 15, 1702 England, the Austrian Empire, and the Dutch Republic declared war on France in what was called the War of the Spanish Succession. Felipe V visited Milan in June and wrote to his grandfather about his depression, but in July he met with Louis-Joseph de Bourbon, the Duke of Vendome, who commanded the French and Spanish forces there. He was cheered up by crowds and excited about the war. Also in July an Anglo-Dutch fleet with 50 vessels attacked Cadiz, but they could not take it and pillaged Puerto de Santa Maria instead. On September 23 the Allies’ navy defeated a Franco-Spanish fleet and took much booty. On October 1 Cardinal Portocarrero made a contract with French Aufroy de Servigny to provide gunpowder. Felipe was told that on October 23 in Vigo harbor English and Dutch fleets destroyed Spanish treasure ships from America and took all the silver, killing 2,000 men, but actually most of the bullion and merchandise had been already unloaded. Felipe decided to keep as loans all the silver intended for English and Dutch merchants. He reached Barcelona in December, and he returned to Madrid with the Queen in January 1703. The Count of Oropesa resented the French and left Spain to support the Austrian Charles. The former admiral Melgar accepted the diplomatic post in France but went to Portugal where his friend Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, the former viceroy of Catalonia, and other defectors also joined the Allies.
On January 18, 1703 elderly Cardinal Portocarrero, Archbishop of Toledo and primate of Spain, informed the French foreign secretary Torcy that he was retiring from politics, and in his letter he expressed his anger at the decadent nobility and inefficient administration in Spain. The nobles get the best positions without knowledge or experience or merit, squander the treasury, and ruin the state. Their salaries are multiplied while the underpaid administrators who do the work neglect their duty. The worst results are in the army.
When the war began, Spain had only 13,268 infantry and 5,097 cavalry mostly in Andalucia and Catalonia. In January 1703 they abolished their outdated muskets, arquebuses, and pikes and adopted the French flintlock with a bayonet. Orry arranged for gunpowder to be supplied from Aragon, Granada, Navarre, and elsewhere, though Spain depended on France for powder until 1706. In March 1703 conscription of 1% of Spanish men began. Spain ordered from Paris 1,440 sabers, 2,200 pistols, and 780 flintlocks, and in September they purchased 10,000 flintlocks with bayonets, 1,280 sabers, and 5,280 swords for 273,064 livres. They had only 28 galleys in the Mediterranean and twenty warships in the Atlantic and Caribbean, and they would have to depend on the French navy which made Cadiz the major port in place of Seville. French industries would also supply pistols, swords, ammunition, tents, and uniforms.
George of Darmstadt went to Lisbon and persuaded King Pedro II to join the Allies in early 1703. Darmstadt as minister of war went with Archduke Charles to Lisbon where they were joined by 10,000 English troops and 188 ships. The English minister John Methuen had been trying to arrange an alliance with Portugal, and in May his son Paul Methuen negotiated a treaty. In September in Vienna the 18-year-old Archduke Charles was proclaimed King of Spain, and he visited Queen Anne in England in January 1704 before taking a fleet to Lisbon with 4,000 English and 2,000 Dutch troops and 300 Germans in March. On August 3 the allied expedition captured Gibraltar which was retained by the English. That month the large naval battle of Malaga resulted in thousands of casualties, though no ships were captured or destroyed.
In February 1704 the first French troops arrived in Spain, and the next month an army of 18,000 infantry and 8,000 cavalry led by Felipe V and Duke James FitzJames of Berwick, the natural son of James II, left Madrid for the Portuguese frontier. The Portuguese garrison at Salvatierra was captured in May. In July a French ambassador persuaded Felipe against his wishes to send princess Ursins and Orry back to France; but the King and Queen wanted them back, and they returned in May 1705. Ursins was a close friend of Louis XIV and Madame Maintenon as well as of Maria Luisa and Felipe, and she would be influential for the next ten years. While the annual revenue of the Spanish crown was 9.7 million escudos, the cost of supplying and paying their troops was at least 7 million. Felipe also had to maintain the French forces.
Felipe became more popular in Castile; but the Catalans were suspicious, and in 1705 they accepted military aid from England and allied with Austria’s Archduke Charles II who claimed to be King Charles III of Spain. Louis XIV appointed Michel-Jean Amelot, Marquis of Gournay, in April as his ambassador to Spain to advise Felipe. Amelot arrived in Madrid in May, and he and the Queen’s friend, the Princess of Ursins, would govern Spain for the next four years. In August the Allies used their naval advantage to establish a base in Valencia. Aragon and Valencia also sent troops to the Allies opposing Felipe V. In a double reversal Castile was now opposed to the Habsburg Empire while allied with their former enemy France. Whereas the Spanish Empire had fought for influence in Europe, now Europeans were fighting for rule in Spain. Charles led the attack on Barcelona, but in the storming of the citadel Darmstadt was killed. The city surrendered on October 9. On December 16 the Allies captured the city of Valencia, but on the 28th French forces led by Marshal Tessé entered Zaragoza. Felipe withdrew troops from the Portuguese frontier and led a mostly French army of 21,000 and besieged Barcelona which was reinforced by an English fleet. Allies took advantage of the depleted Portuguese frontier and marched on Madrid.
On May 7, 1706 an Anglo-Dutch squadron of 52 ships forced the French to abandon the siege of Barcelona. After losing 6,000 men and all his artillery and supplies, Felipe fled to France and eventually went back to Madrid through Navarre. The Allies coming from Portugal captured Plasencia on April 28, Ciudad Rodrigo on May 26, and Salamanca on June 7. On the 20th Felipe and the Queen retreated to Burgos, and the Allies entered Madrid on June 27 and proclaimed the archduke King Charles III of Spain. Some Spaniards attacked the occupying soldiers, and in Madrid prostitutes spread their diseases to the enemies. Charles moved from Barcelona to Zaragoza in July to discover that Felipe had brought 12,000 French troops through Navarre, and they forced the Allies to retreat to Valencia. English ships helped the Allies besiege Alicante for ten weeks and capture it in early September. The Allies also took over Majorca. Charles entered Valencia on October 1 and stayed there five months. On October 4 Felipe returned to Madrid. He dismissed most of the members from the councils of Castile, Finance, and the Indies, and Castile began recruiting more soldiers. He abolished the Council of Aragon and cancelled their laws and liberties to punish their rebelling. Old and New Castile remained loyal to Felipe, but the Balearic Islands and Naples announced their support for Charles.
Louis XIV sent his 33-year-old nephew Philippe, Duke of Orléans, who arrived in Madrid on April 10, 1707. On the 25th the Castilians and French met the English and their allies at Almansa. Charles left 10,000 soldiers to protect his new domain, and 25,000 French and Spaniards defeated his 15,000 Allies, reducing him to Catalonia. The Allies had 4,000 men killed and 3,000 captured. On May 8 Valencia city was recovered, and on the 26th Orléans led forces that regained Zaragoza; he pardoned the people as he had in Valencia. After being besieged for a month an English garrison of 700 men capitulated at Xativa in June. On the 29th Felipe irritated the loyal Valencians and Aragonese by abolishing their autonomous laws (fueros). Orléans and Aragon’s viceroy, the Archbishop of Zaragoza, criticized this decree as a mistake. Two days later Felipe revised this by confirming local laws and guaranteeing Church property, but the Council of Aragon was dissolved on July 15. On August 25 Queen Maria Luisa gave birth to Luis. That month a chancery court was established in Valencia. Luis Blaquer and Diputacio secretary Josep Orti wrote an appeal to restore the fueros in September, and they were imprisoned. Louis XIV ordered Felipe to send French troops home, and Charles gained imperial troops no longer needed in Italy. Felipe’s army had to retreat through Aragon back to Castile.
The Bourbon army besieged the Catalan city of Tortosa on June 12, 1708 and captured its garrison on July 15. In August an English fleet conquered Minorca and helped Charles take over Sardinia, and the Count of Cifuentes was made viceroy. A severely cold winter in 1708-09 and spring flooding were followed by crop failures, famine, and disease. Pope Clement XI was threatened by the imperial army and on January 15, 1709 allowed them free passage. On April 22 Felipe V seized papal revenues and expelled the papal nuncio. Five days earlier he had written to Louis XIV that he would never give up the crown of Spain. On June 3 Louis XIV ordered Amelot to recall all the French troops in Spain, and the ambassador left Madrid on September 2. That day Felipe went to the front as an independent monarch. Louis did leave 25 French battalions; but Spain was to pay their expenses, and they were only to be used for defense.
In April 1709 the Cortes of Castile had been summoned to swear loyalty to the infant heir Luis. In August a riot over food prices broke out in Santiago, and Felipe in October opened all ports to ships bringing in grain. Also in 1709 the counts of Montalto, Montellano, and Monterrey plotted to restore the fueros and were supported by the Duke of Medinaceli. Two men were arrested for plotting to assassinate Felipe V to make Orléans king, and Louis XIV decided not to send his nephew back to Spain.
Felipe V had 73 battalions of foot soldiers and 135 cavalry squadrons. On April 17, 1710 the wealthy Luis Francisco de Cerda, Duke of Medinaceli, was arrested, secretly tried, and imprisoned until his death in January 1711. On July 27, 1710 the armies of the two kings met in battle by the Noguera River near Lleida. The Allies won with only 400 casualties while 1,000 Spaniards were killed and 300 were captured. On August 20 Charles and 23,000 Allies (including 14,000 Germans) defeated 20,000 Spaniards again at Zaragoza, taking 4,000 prisoners. They entered Madrid in September while Felipe took refuge in Valladolid where food was rationed. French reinforcements led by the dukes of Vendome and Noailles helped the Spaniards’ army of 2,000 defeat 14,000 Allies on December 10 at Villaviçiosa, forcing Charles to retreat to Zaragoza where they lost again before returning to Barcelona. The Tories took over the government in England and in April 1711 began negotiating peace with France. Felipe V was cheered when he returned to Madrid on November 15.
Emperor Joseph had died in April 1711, and Archduke Charles became Emperor Charles VI and left Barcelona on September 27. A peace conference began at Utrecht in January 1712. Valencia was still occupied by 16,000 Bourbon troops. Felipe V renounced his claim to the French throne in July against the advice of Louis XIV. In August hostilities were suspended, and negotiations led to peace treaties from March to July in 1713 and with Portugal in February 1715. British ships helped the allied army evacuate Catalonia. Spain lost Gibraltar, Minorca, and the slave trade with America to England; Flanders, Milan, Naples, and Sardinia to the Austrian Empire; and Sicily to Savoy. Felipe V was recognized in Spain which was unified on the Iberian peninsula. Because the British were given control of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, the Basques were shut out of Canadian fishing grounds. The Basque provinces and Navarre had backed the Bourbons, and unlike Aragon, Valencia, and Catalonia, Spain let them keep their Fueros.
The Cortes met in Madrid from October 6, 1712 to June 10, 1713. On May 10 they limited the royal succession to the male line and banned royal marriages with Austria and Savoy. Spain’s total revenue increased from 120 million reales in 1703 to 229 million in 1713. Navy annual expenditures increased from 793,145 reales in 1705 to 14,887,610 in 1713. By then more than three thousand Spanish clergy had taken refuge in Rome. Felipe had brought 3,000 books from France, and in 1713 Pierre Robinet became the first director of the Royal Library which had acquired books confiscated from the rebellious Archbishop of Valencia in 1710. Macanaz estimated that of the 560 towns in Valencia the King controlled only 73 while more than 300 were seigneurial.
On November 10, 1713 the reforms of Melchor de Macanaz were royally decreed, and on December 19 the Council of Castile and Felipe V accepted the Crown’s authority over the national Church. Inquisitor General Cardinal Giudice objected and was dismissed, and the Inquisition was limited to only spiritual issues in November 1714. Catalonians had voted 78-43 to declare war on July 9, 1713, but in July 1714 British ships supported the 40,000 Castilians and French who lost 10,000 men besieging Barcelona which finally surrendered on September 13 after thirteen months and the death of 6,000 defenders. Castilians built a new citadel and closed Catalan universities, using their assets for a Jesuit foundation at Cervera. Catalan laws were replaced by Castilian government which convened a Cortes for the nation at Madrid. Queen Maria Luisa died of tuberculosis on February 14, 1714. On September 16 Felipe was married by proxy to Elizabeth Farnese of Parma, niece of Queen Mariana. She knew French, and several Italians were given positions. After arriving Elizabeth immediately sent the princess Ursins back to France, and on February 7, 1715 a royal decree dismissed Macanaz and Orry. An army of 10,000 regained Majorca in June.
In June 1648 the Dutch made peace with Spain. Felipe IV sent an army of 17,000 men across the Portuguese border to attack Elvas in Alentejo, and amid discontent Albuquerque was relieved of command. That year peace negotiations began at Osnaburgh and Münster; but Portuguese delegates working with the French and Dutch were not recognized by the Spaniards and Austrians. In 1647 and 1648 the Portuguese had lost 220 ships to Dutch attacks, but in June 1648 the Dutch made peace with Spain. Angola became the center of Portugal’s slave trade to Brazil. Another diplomatic mission to Rome failed, and in 1649 Portugal had only one bishop with two more in Asia. In February the property of New Christians sentenced by the Inquisition was declared immune, but this was canceled ten years later. King Joao IV (r. 1640-56) decreed that those who invested in the Brazil Company could not have their property confiscated.
After the restoration of their monarchy in 1640 Portugal lost control over many of its Asian colonies, though in Africa they regained Angola in 1648 and Sao Tomé in 1649. War was fought against England 1650-54, but the Portuguese made a treaty on July 20, 1654 that allowed English trade with Portugal and Protestants religious privileges. By 1653 Spain had pacified Catalonia, and they sent troops to the Portuguese frontier. The Portuguese expelled most of the Dutch from Brazil by 1654. Joao IV died on November 6, 1656 and was succeeded by his 13-year-old son Afonso VI (r. 1656-83); but he was physically and mentally deficient, and his mother, the Andalucian Luisa de Guzmán, governed Portugal for six years. In 1657 the Dutch blockaded Lisbon for three months, and that year the Spaniards captured Olivença. In October 1658 the Dutch besieged Elvas, but troops from Estremoz drove them away. Joao da Costa was sent to France to ask for military aid. In January 1659 some 10,500 Portuguese under Sancho Manoel de Vilhena, Count of Vila Flor, and Antonio Luis de Meneses, Count of Cantanhede, defeated 17,500 Spaniards led by Luis de Haro at the Lines of Elvas. Barely 6,300 Spaniards made it back to Badajoz while only 201 Portuguese died in the battle. That year France made peace with Spain and in a secret article promised not to aid Portugal. Da Costa arranged for the German Duke of Schomberg to lead 600 soldiers and return with him to Portugal where he reformed the army. By 1659 Portugal was importing about 62,000 cruzados with its tobacco monopoly.
Antonio Vieira (1608-97) was born in Lisbon but was taken by his parents to Brazil in 1614. He studied at the Jesuit college in Bahia and became a priest in 1635. In 1640 he accompanied the Viceroy to Lisbon to congratulate King Joao IV. In 1647 he became a diplomat, and he traveled to England, France, the Netherlands, and Italy. In 1654 he returned to Lisbon to plead for the Indians in Brazil, and in April 1655 the King put the missions under the Jesuits and Vieira, who went back to Brazil until 1661. In a sermon on January 6, 1662 he pleaded that the royal decrees to help the Indians be implemented, but he was banished to Porto and Coimbra. He worked to reform the Inquisition, but his criticism resulted in his being imprisoned by the Inquisition from October 1665 to December 1667. Then his sentence banned him from preaching, teaching, and writing. Yet he wrote a long report on the Inquisition, and in 1674 Pope Clement X suspended it in Portugal for seven years. Vieira wrote a History of the Future which was published at Lisbon in 1718.
A military alliance negotiated in April 1660 was not ratified by the restored English monarchy, though a treaty was signed on June 23, 1661. Afonso VI’s sister Catarina de Bragança left Lisbon on April 25, 1662 and married King Charles II of England on May 21, and she was queen until Charles died in 1685. Charles was given a dowry of two million cruzados, Tangier,, Bombay, and trading rights with Portuguese colonies. Spaniards led by Juan José invaded Portugal in May 1662 but they were defeated at Ameixial on June 8, 1663. Eight days later Afonso’s favorite Antonio Conti of Ventimiglia was banished to Brazil, and his new favorite, Luiz de Vasconcelos e Sousa, Count of Castelo Melhor, became his secret secretary on July 12. He removed Afonso’s enemies from court and governed for the next five years. Portugal finally made peace with the Dutch in 1663. By 1664 Portugal had mobilized an army of 28,000 men and improved frontier fortifications. Spaniards led by the Marquis of Caracena attacked the Braganças’ homeland at Vila Viçosa and met the troops led by General Schomberg on June 17, 1665 at Montes Claros. The Portuguese defense was victorious as the Spaniards lost 4,000 killed with 6,000 soldiers and 3,500 horses captured. Castelo Melhor demanded that Afonso VI be recognized as King of Portugal. In March 1667 Castelo Melhor signed a treaty allying with France against a possible alliance between Spain and England. Afonso dismissed Castelo Melhor on September 7, and the Cortes met in Lisbon in January 1668. Spain finally recognized Portugal’s independence at Lisbon on February 13, and Portugal confirmed its 1661 treaty with Holland in 1669.
Afonso VI had married Maria Francisca of Savoy on August 2, 1666; but he was impotent, and their union was annulled in 1667. She fell in love with his younger brother Pedro, and he was appointed Prince Regent in January 1668 and married her that year. Their daughter Isabel Luisa was born in January 1669. Afonso was exiled to Terceira in the Azores for seven years and died at Sintra on September 12, 1683, making Pedro II King of Portugal. Maria Francisca died on December 27. Pedro married Maria Sophia Elisabeth of Neuberg, daughter of the Palatine Elector, by proxy in Heidelberg on July 2, 1687, and she reached Lisbon on August 12. She gave birth to four sons who did not die in infancy.
Luis de Meneses, Count of Ericeira, became Védor da Fadenza in 1675, and he controlled economic policy until his suicide in March 1690. The Cortes continued to meet until 1679; but after that they did not convene until 1697 when they recognized the heir to the throne. After 1698 the Cortes of Portugal no longer met. In 1693 gold was discovered in Brazil, and 900 pounds were extracted near Sabara in 1697. The population of the mines increased to 50,000 by 1705. That year 16,000 pounds of gold was brought to Lisbon, but less than 640 pounds went to the Crown.
In the struggle against Spain’s Bourbon succession with France, England sent John Methuen to negotiate in Lisbon, and in June 1702 his son Paul Methuen arranged for naval support for Portugal from the English and Dutch. A Grand Alliance that included the Austrian Empire was formed on May 16, 1703. The Allies would gather 33,000 foot soldiers and 7,000 horsemen in Portugal to fight Spain. The Portuguese severed diplomatic relations with the court of Felipe V who declared war on Portugal on April 30, 1704 and invaded. The Spaniards and French came down the Tagus and entered Castelo Branco on May 24. Pedro II’s army led by Archduke Charles failed to take Ciudad Rodrigo and returned to Lisbon. In 1705 the Allies took Alcantara and Albuquerque but could not defeat Badajoz. Charles left Portugal in June to go to Catalonia. The Allies had much success in 1706, and troops led by General Antonio Luis de Sousa entered Madrid on June 25.
Pedro II died on December 9, 1706 and was succeeded by his 17-year-old son Joao V who would rule Portugal until 1750. On April 25, 1707 French and Spanish forces defeated the Allies and occupied Almansa. To improve the alliance with the Habsburgs he married Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria on October 27, 1708. In 1709 Portugal sold offices to raise money, and by 1711 army pay was nearly a year in arrears. The Portuguese agreed to an armistice on November 8, 1712 and to a peace treaty with France in April 1713. Peace with Spain would come in February 1715 when the Portuguese returned frontier fortresses to Spain.
Venetians had been governing Crete since the Fourth Crusade in 1204; but the Turks besieged Candia in May 1648, and for 22 years Venetian ships protected the threatened city and sometimes made adventurous attacks. In the 1650s Venice spent 700,000 ducats a year defending Candia. In 1657 the Turks took over the islands of Tenedos and Lemnos. In August 1660 Prince Amerigo of Este led a force of 4,000 men from France to Crete, but they suffered from dysentery and departed in September. In the summer of 1668 Captain Francesco Morosini lost 600 Venetian officers and 7,000 men, and Louis XIV sent 500 volunteers under the Marquis de Saint-André Montbrun who arrived in December. The French fought valiantly but left after a week infected by the plague. In the spring of 1669 France sent 6,000 soldiers on a fleet of 27 ships protected by 15 warships. They attacked the Turks at Candia on June 25, and about 500 were killed, and they departed on August 21. Candia’s garrison was down to 3,600 men, and they signed a treaty on September 6 and were allowed to leave. Venice had spent 4,392,000 ducats in 1668 alone on the military effort. During the last three years 70,000 Turkish soldiers and 38,000 drafted Cretans and slaves were killed while Candia lost 29,088 Christians. In 1671 Il Giornale began publishing in Venice. Domenico Contarini was Doge of Venice 1659-75 and died at the age of 90. Then Nicolo Sagredo governed for a year and a half and was followed by Doge Alvise Contarini (1676-84) who presided over a peaceful era.
The scholarly Marcantanio Giustinian was the 107th Doge of Venice 1684-88. Francesco Morosini commanded 68 warships with a few allies, and they captured Santa Maura on August 6, 1684. Christians in Bosnia and Herzegovina rose up against the Ottoman Empire. Francesco Morosini led a fleet of 200 ships in July 1687 with German, papal, and Tuscan allies. They landed 9,500 men and captured Corone in August and then southern Morea. Venice paid the Swedish general, Count Otto William von Königsmark, 18,000 ducats, and he and Morosini led the forces that took Modone, Navarino, Argos, Nauplia, Lepanti, Patras, and Corinth by August 1687. On September 26 they blew up part of the Parthenon, and two days later the Turks surrendered Athens. In March 1688 Francesco Morosini was elected Doge. In July his fleet attacked Negropont, but the garrison of 6,000 Turks withstood twice as many. Another 4,000 men arrived to reinforce the Venetians, but with spreading disease the imperial troops refused to fight anymore. Morosino went back to Venice in January 1690, but Proveditor-General Girolamo Cornaro led the capture of Malvasia, and their fleet defeated the Ottoman navy off Mytilene; but after Domenico Mocenigo took command, they fled from a Turkish fleet in 1692. Doge Morosini led another fleet that occupied Salamis, Hydra, and Spetsai in 1693, but he suffered from gallstones and died on January 9, 1694.
He was succeeded by Doge Silvestro Valier and commander Antonio Zen who led the invasion of Chios with 9,000 men on September 7, and the Turkish garrison of 2,000 men surrendered on the 15th. On February 9, 1695 the Venetians and Turks fought an inconclusive naval battle off the Spalmatori islands with both sides suffering heavy casualties. The Venetians managed to occupy Chios for six months but left on February 21, 1696. Zen was blamed, chained, and died in prison in July 1697. In September 1698 the Venetians defeated the Turks in a naval battle at the Dardanelles, giving them control of the Aegean Sea. Peace negotiations began at Karlowitz in Hungary in November, and the Venetians signed the treaty on January 26, 1699. During the War of the Spanish Succession the Republic of Venice remained neutral and defended their territory. During the peace conference at Utrecht in 1713 the other Italian states described Venice as the “principal power and protectress of Italy.”
Duke Francesco d’Este of Modena (r. 1629-58) had invaded Lombardy in the summer of 1647. They were aided by the French, but in February 1649 he sent the French soldiers home and submitted to the Spaniards in Lombardy in exchange for a command. In 1654 Duke Francesco invaded Lombardy again with French support; but he was wounded, and Prince Tommaso died of malaria. The allied armies could only capture the town of Valenza in 1656. Francesco persisted in 1657 and reached Milan’s suburbs, but he also got malaria and died October 14, 1658. Hundreds of outlaws and roving bands troubled northern Italy. In 1684 a French squadron bombarded Genoa. After being defeated by the French and their allies in 1693 Savoy led by Vittorio Amedeo made peace with France. On September 7, 1706 Prince Eugene of Savoy led an army that relieved Turin and then pushed the French out of northern Italy. On the 26th an Austrian imperial army took over Milan, and on March 13, 1707 an armistice confirmed their occupation.
Ferdinando II de’ Medici ruled Tuscany as Grand Duke from 1621 to 1670. His brother Giancarlo was a cardinal 1644-63 and led the Spanish faction in the conclave of 1655. His sister Margherita became Duchess of Parma and Piacenza. Their brother Mattias governed Siena 1629-67, taking time off to fight for the Austrians in the Thirty Years’ War. The sister Anna married Archduke Ferdinand Charles of Austria. The economy of Tuscany deteriorated, and rural markets fell back to bartering. In 1650 Florence acquired Pontremoli from Genoa. The youngest brother Leopoldo helped Ferdinando found the Academy of Experiment on June 16, 1657, and for the next ten years nine scientists including Evangelista Torricelli da Modigliana, who invented the barometer, did many experiments using the motto Provanda e riprovando (proving and confirming) and publishing their results.
In April 1661 Ferdinando’s oldest son Cosimo married by proxy Louis XIV’s 16-year-old cousin, Princess Marguerite Louise of Orléans, against her will because she was in love with Prince Charles of Lorraine, her only other choice being a convent. She was welcomed in Florence with festivities. The ballet Il Mondo Festeggiante was performed in the Boboli amphitheater where 20,000 spectators could be seated. A battle was depicted between Europe and America against Asia and Africa and then resolved by Jove descending to Earth on a cloud to compel peace. After a visit by Charles she made it known that she hated Italian customs and refused to learn the language, but she gave birth to Ferdinando on August 9, 1663.
In 1664 an impending war between France and Pope Alexander VII was mediated by Ferdinando II and settled at a conference in Pisa. French fashions and wigs came from the influence of Louis XIV’s court by 1665. Leopoldo became a cardinal at the age of 50 in 1667. Giancarlo and Leopoldo also promoted literature by adding books and manuscripts to the Palace Library in Florence. Ferdinando II died on May 27, 1670 and has been blamed for weakening Tuscany’s defenses while allying with stronger powers.
Cosimo III had been born on August 14, 1642 and ruled Tuscany 1670-1723. He loved luxury and religious rituals and for a while was guided by his uncle Leopoldo’s wisdom. In 1671 Marguerite gave birth to Gian Gastone, and in 1674 she demanded a share in ruling and when refused withdrew to Poggio a Caiano and then to France. She joined the convent at Montmartre but was allowed to attend the court of her cousin Louis XIV. After Leopoldo’s death in November 1675 Cosimo’s governing deteriorated as he chose ministers from the cloister with little experience. Cosimo’s avarice imposed high taxes, and with religious zeal he inflicted harsh punishment for even minor offenses against his hypocritical morality. Sex between Christians and Jews was made a crime. Christians who worked for Jews could be fined, and those unable to pay were tortured on the rack or imprisoned. Students were not allowed to attend any school outside Tuscany. Girls singing in the streets could be whipped. Beheading punished sodomy and crimes against property. In one year more than 2,000 executions were carried out in Florence. Clergy were exempt from taxes and most criminal offenses. Prostitutes had to buy expensive licenses and wear a yellow ribbon on their heads or be whipped on the way to prison. Some people migrated, and others became bigots.
Prince Ferdinando had fine tutors and grew to hate the folly of his father and grandmother, the Grand Duchess Vittoria, and he was forbidden to communicate with his mother Marguerite who longed to chase the hypocrites from the court and restore good government. When his tutors, the Lorenzini brothers, were put in dungeons for supporting him, Ferdinando rejected Cosimo’s authority and formed a band of young intellectuals who appreciated art, music, and literature. They included his uncle Francesco who had been made a cardinal at age 15. Ferdinando produced many operas including five by Alessandro Scarlatti. The young men also indulged in pleasures, and Cosimo persecuted them. Religious processions, preaching, and penance were imposed, and the slightest offenses required large payments to clergy as penance. In 1687 Ferdinando was allowed to travel, and he married Prince Violante Beatrice of Bavaria in November 1688. Cosimo refused to let his son participate in public affairs, and Ferdinando’s dissolute behavior affected his health. He criticized his father for letting defenses deteriorate, but Cosimo was afraid of revolution.
The death of Grand Duchess Vittoria in 1693 improved the situation. Cosimo’s son Gian Gastone was well educated and pursued science, but on July 2, 1697 he was forced to marry Anna Maria Franziska of Saxe-Lauenburg in Düsseldorf where he was isolated in the country life she liked. After a year he went to see his mother in Paris, but Cosimo III ordered him to go back to Bohemia. None of Cosimo’s children had children, and so he made his brother Francesco marry Eleonora Gonzaga of Guastella in 1709; but he died the next year, and Prince Ferdinando passed on in 1713. The next year Spain’s Bourbon King Felipe V married Elizabeth Farnese so that he could claim Tuscany.
Pope Innocent X (1644-55) revived the Castro War in 1649. The Papal army defeated the Parmian army near Bologna on August 18 and on September 2 destroyed the city of Castro. The Castro War increased the debt of the Papal States by 12 million crowns. Innocent aided Venice’s war against the Turks for Candia. In 1650 he promoted the celebration of the jubilee, and 70,000 pilgrims visited Rome. In 1652 the Pope began reforming the prisons, creating the modern system of cells. Innocent X objected to five Jansenist propositions from the “Augustinus” related to the grace of God and free will and condemned them on May 31, 1653. Olimpia Maidalchini married the Pope’s brother Pamphilio Pamphili, but after his death she became Innocent’s close advisor and perhaps his mistress. She was arrogant and greedy and could be manipulated. Meanwhile the Roman Campagna was suffering from malaria and brigands. Innocent X supported Spain and refused to recognize the independence of Portugal. He died on January 7, 1655.
Fabio Chigi was from a prominent banking family in Siena where he was educated. He served the Church in various capacities including as Inquisitor of Malta and nuncio at Cologne from 1639 to 1651 when Pope Innocent X appointed him Secretary of State. Fabio was elected Pope Alexander VII in April 1655 and tried to oppose nepotism, but one year later he called his brothers and nephews to Rome and gave them civil and ecclesiastical offices and fine palaces. Pope Alexander VII also tried to reduce the debt but spent too much money, hiring the architects Bernini and Francesco Borromini to beautify Rome. He patronized learning and improved the Vatican Library. Queen Kristina of Sweden arrived in Rome on Christmas Day in 1655, and the Pope confirmed her conversion by baptizing her. On January 24, 1656 she founded an academy to discuss ethics and that year the Academy of Painting was founded in Rome. Cardinal Mazarin had opposed the views of Chigi during the Westphalia conferences and prevented France’s Louis XIV from sending an ambassador to the Vatican. Pope Alexander sided with Spain against Portugal’s independence. He favored the Jesuits and negotiated their return to Venice in exchange for aid to the Venetians fighting the Ottoman Turks at Candia in Crete. He also continued to oppose the Jansenists in France. In 1659 Pope Alexander VII issued a bull that increased the access of those from a noble family to the best ecclesiastical offices.
At the end of 1660 Emperor Leopold I asked Pope Alexander VII for help against the threat of the Turks. Cardinal Mazarin died on March 9, 1661, and in his will he left 600,000 livres to the Pope for the Turkish war. In 1662 Louis XIV appointed the Duke of Créqui as his ambassador to the Vatican and secretly instructed him to contend for France’s interests and isolate the Pope, and Créqui arrived in Rome on June 11 with 200 soldiers. Louis persuaded Genoa to banish Cardinal Imperiali, and Florence allowed his troops to pass through Tuscany. Louis decreed that he was incorporating Avignon into France as a Provençal crown property. On February 12, 1664 Grand Duke Ferdinando of Tuscany mediated a peace between Pope Alexander VII and Louis XIV at Pisa in which the Pope made many concessions in exchange for military support against the Turks, and Avignon was restored in July. Alexander VII died of illness on May 22, 1667 at the age of 68.
Giulio Rospigliosi was born on January 28, 1600 in Tuscany and came to Rome when he was 17 to study at the Jesuit College. He earned a doctorate in philosophy and theology at the University of Pisa and taught philosophy there. He worked as a diplomat for Pope Urban VIII and was the Nuncio to Spain 1644-53 as Archbishop of Tarsus. He wrote poetry, the play La comica del cielo, and libretti for operas. He served in Rome as Cardinal Secretary of State from 1655 until he was elected to be Pope Clement IX on June 20, 1667. He soon won over many people by lowering the duty on flour, though much revenue was lost. In July he sent 30,000 scudi to Venice, and he helped them double the soldiers raised in the Papal States. In October troops and military supplies were sent to Venice, and in November he allowed them to raise a tenth from Church property in their republic. After an absence of two and a half years, Queen Kristina returned to Rome on November 22, 1668. Clement granted her a pension of 12,000 scudi a year and discussed many issues with her especially how to ward off Turkish aggression. He worked to resolve the war between France, Spain, England, and the Netherlands, and they signed a peace treaty at Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen) on May 2, 1668. Pope Clement IX in November gave 30,000 scudi to defend Ragusa from the Turks, and on February 4, 1669 he proclaimed a jubilee for France so that they could raise 100,000 scudi. Because Louis XIV had enough to supply the military expedition, this money was spent on a hospital in Crete. In January 1669 Clement IX suspended the persecution of Jansenists. On August 5 the Pope appointed a cardinal for Spain and one for France, but he declined to name one for the Austrian Empire. Clement IX suffered from illness and died on December 9.
On April 29, 1670 the cardinals elected the octogenarian Emilio Altieri from the Roman nobility, and as Pope Clement X he served for six years. He contributed his private revenues to the Monti di Pieta to serve the public. In 1671 he decreed that nobles could be merchants if they did not get involved in retail sales. In January 1672 he revised the rules on the handling of relics. That year he spent 125,946 scudi on alms for the poor. He imposed a new 3% tax on merchandise coming into Rome that included items for cardinals and ambassadors. He became concerned about the Turkish invasion of Poland, and he urged all Catholic princes to help. In November 1672 he sent Rome’s first subsidy for Poland with nuncio Francesco Buonvisi to Warsaw and gave him 10,000 florins to use for the Turkish war. In July 1673 he ordered nuncios to work for peace, and that year Louis XIV began seizing more revenues from vacant bishoprics. During the jubilee of 1675 gout limited his visits to some churches. Clement X died on July 22, 1676.
Benedetto Odescalchi was born on May 16, 1611 into a wealthy family and studied law. He was elected Pope Innocent XI on September 21, 1676. He was very conscientious and frugal about his own needs. He outlawed nepotism and imposed strict morals in his government of the Papal States, closing theaters and suppressing gambling in Rome. Nevertheless 130 comedies were presented in private houses in 1678. By 1679 the Pope had balanced the budget and paid off five million scudi from the debt. He condemned 65 propositions from the writings of Antonio Escobar, Francisco Suarez, and Jesuit casuists. These included two that outlawed abortion and declared it murder. In the spring of 1679 he began urging Christian princes to form a great alliance against the Ottoman Empire. On April 11, 1682 Innocent condemned the four articles written to defend Louis XIV’s Gallican control over the French Church.
While living in Rome the former Queen Kristina of Sweden wrote,
In the present century, the whole world is at arms.
We threaten each other, we fear each other.
Nobody does what they want, or what they could do.
No one knows who has lost or who has won,
but we know well enough that the whole world lives in fear.1
In 1683 and 1684 Innocent XI led the effort to establish the Holy League to fight the Turks. The alliance included the Papal States, the Austrian Empire, Poland-Lithuania, and Venice with Russia joining in 1686. He urged Italian states to contribute subsidies and military supplies. Tuscany provided 100,000 pounds of gunpowder for Emperor Leopold and gave 100,000 florins to Poland, and several other states contributed smaller amounts. In 1684 he reduced the interest on the debt of the Apostolic Camera from four to three percent in order to pay for the war against the Turks. In 1685 Innocent XI released Jews imprisoned by Venice’s Francesco Morosini, and he tried to stop forced baptisms of Jews. That year he also opposed Louis XIV’s persecution of Huguenots, and in May he abolished the right of asylum at embassies in Rome. In November 1687 the French ambassador, Marquis de Lavardin, entered Rome with 800 soldiers, and the Pope excommunicated him. During his pontificate Innocent XI spent more than five million florins on the Turkish war, increasing the debt of the Camera to 42 million. Innocent XI died on August 12, 1689.
Pietro Ottoboni was born at Venice on April 22, 1610. He obtained a doctorate in canon and civil law at the University of Padua and worked in Rome for many years. The cardinals elected him Pope Alexander VIII on October 6, 1689, and he became popular by lowering taxes, liberalizing the grain trade, and serving the public of Rome. He revived the carnival and allowed public operas, and his Columbus libretto was performed. However, he gave offices and wealth to his relatives from Venice. He disappointed Vienna by not granting subsidies for the war against the Turks, sending them to his native Venice instead. Although the French ambassador helped get him elected, Alexander VIII declared that the Gallican Articles of 1682 were not lawful. He reduced the number of Jansenist propositions condemned to 31.
During the five months between the death of Pope Alexander VIII on February 1, 1691 and the election of his successor, law and order suffered in the Papal States as there were 180 murders. On July 12 Antonio Pignatelli from an aristocratic Neapolitan family became Pope Innocent XII at the age of 76. He earned a doctorate in canon and civil law in Rome and began working for Pope Urban VIII in 1635. As Pope he made compromises with the French and confirmed their candidates. Innocent learned that the nephews of Pope Paul V had received 260,000 scudi, those of Urban VIII 1,700,000, of Innocent X 1,400,000, of Alexander VII 900,000, of Clement X 1,200,000, and of Alexander VIII 700,000, and on June 22, 1692 his bull prohibited popes from enriching their relatives from the assets of the Church, ending the nefarious nepotism. He reformed the canon laws and instituted a new constitution on September 22, 1695. He appointed thirty cardinals and one from almost every Catholic nation. On March 12, 1699 he condemned 23 propositions by Archbishop Fénelon who submitted. Innocent XII died on September 27, 1700.
Gian Francesco Alberti was born on July 23, 1649 in Urbino. He was educated in Rome and was the third Pope in a row to get a doctorate in canon and civil law. He became a cardinal in 1690 but was not ordained a priest until September 1700. On November 23 he was unanimously elected to be Pope Clement XI. He chose the able Cardinal Fabricio Paolucci to be his Secretary of State. Clement gave a million scudi in alms from his patrimony during his 20-year pontificate. In December 1700 he sent messages to Emperor Leopold, Louis XIV, and to Madrid offering to mediate the imminent conflict over the Spanish succession, and he urged the dukes of Mantua, Modena, and Parma to remain neutral. On February 6, 1701 he wrote to congratulate King Felipe V. On November 21 Clement sent nuncios to mediate peace at the courts of Vienna, Paris, and Madrid.
In July 1706 an imperial army led by Prince Eugene entered and plundered the Papal States, and the Pope protested. In September they drove the French out of northern Italy by taking Turin and Milan. Eugene demanded large sums of money from Genoa, Tuscany, Lucca, Modena, Parma, and Piacenza, and the Duke of Parma agreed to pay 540,000 florins. The Pope could not stop the imperial army from passing through the Papal States with 10,000 troops at the gates of Rome. Clement protested to Emperor Joseph I in a brief on May 6, 1708, but on the 24th General Bonneval’s imperial troops invaded the Papal States. The Pope instructed the Legate of Ferrara to defend the city, and on June 2 he appealed to the Emperor, Genoa, Venice, Lucca, Savoy, Lorraine, Poland, Portugal, and the Knights of St. John. The Austrian army entered Naples on July 7. Clement XI continued to recognize Felipe V and considered Archduke Charles a pretender. In October papal troops were driven out of Sant ‘Agostino, San Carlo, and Mirabello, and Bondeno’s garrison surrendered on the 28th. Bologna remained neutral and provided winter quarters for the imperial army.
On January 15, 1709 Paolucci and the Marquis von Prié signed a treaty which disarmed papal forces and allowed the Austrian troops passage to Naples. On June 29 Felipe V sequestered papal revenues in Spain and broke relations with Rome. On August 28 Charles in Barcelona canceled his decrees against the Holy See in Naples and Milan, and on October 10 Clement XI recognized him as King Charles III of Spain. In 1710 Felipe V extorted a million scudi from the Spanish clergy. The Pope sent Cardinal Imperiali to welcome Emperor Charles VI to Milan in November 1711. On April 1, 1712 Clement asked Louis XIV to mediate with his grandson in Spain. In the Treaty of Utrecht signed on April 11, 1713 the Papal States lost Parma and Piacenza to the Austrian Empire.
In the quarter century after 1648 Sicily was ruled by ten viceroys representing the Spanish and Habsburg empires. Felipe IV’s natural son Juan José was viceroy 1649-51. Spanish garrisons had to be supported by local taxes to prevent mutinies. Sicily’s taxes also contributed 20,000 scudi to the dowry of the Austrian Empress; 14,000 were sent to Germany, 4,000 to the Spanish ambassador in Vienna, 15,000 to Milan, and 15,000 for Mantua’s garrison. Titles and privileges were sold to aristocrats to raise revenue. Supplying enough food was a constant concern, and parliament mandated that owners cultivate at least one-sixth of their land, though they could not coerce them. In 1656 Sicilians suffered from a severe plague. Palermo had the largest population to feed, and in 1671 the town paid nearly a million scudi to subsidize bread. When food was scarce, Palermo citizens had to present identity cards to keep aliens out of the bread lines. Many aristocrats in Messina were merchants, and the town had an English church and consul. Messina exported raw and manufactured silk. Messina had a Senate elected by the elite, and they wanted the court of the viceroy there which brought in 100,00 scudi a year; but most viceroys lived at Palermo in the west.
In the 1660s Sicily’s population declined as the French competed with them in the silk trade. In 1669 the eruption of Mt. Etna spread a stream of lava two kilometers wide and 25 kilometers long, damaging the walls and port of Catania. Claude Lamoral, Prince of Ligne, was viceroy 1670-74. After 1671 several bad harvests led to food rationing, and foreigners were not allowed to eat wheat flour. Strategoto del Hoyo notified the Viceroy that people were starving to death, and he blamed the rich burghers for speculating in stocks. A parliament in Palermo urged Messina to give up its tax immunities.
In 1674 the wealthy in Messina revolted to maintain their privileges, and people resented the Viceroy building fortifications at Messina and collecting taxes to pay for the war against the Turks. The Spanish government resisted democratic reforms and gave the Strategoto more power to over-rule the Senate. In July Messina refused to accept Spanish troops or to execute democratic leaders. Rebels appealed for help to France, England, and even the Turks. Louis XIV sent the brother of his mistress, the Duke of Vivonne, who arrived with French troops in early 1675. The Viceroy summoned the militia; some deserted, and captains took bribes to exempt men from serving. Sicilians could not raise even one regiment while the government had five Spanish regiments and three German ones, plus units from Milan, Naples, Sardinia, Corsica, and Albania. A Dutch fleet led by De Ruyter fought for Spain, and the Dutch blamed his death on April 29, 1676 on lack of military support from Sicily. In June the French destroyed the Spanish and Sicilian fleets while the Archbishop helped prevent a revolt in Palermo by threatening the town instead of enemy ships with his castle’s cannons. Sicilians blamed the war on Messina and the French.
Cardinal Luis Manuel Fernández de Portocarrero was interim viceroy in 1677-78 and diverted subsidies from Spain for his own use while troops were not paid. The French controlled only the area of Messina. Samuel Pepys warned Charles II that Messina was an excellent port for France. Messina suffered from war damage and high prices and resented billeting French soldiers. Some men even poisoned their wives and daughters to avoid dishonor. Unpaid soldiers deserted, and Messina refused to give up trade restrictions. French money was counterfeited, and assassinations went unpunished. Leading burghers fled to France, and Louis XIV expelled them. Viceroys raised funds by selling fiefs. Sixteen new princes were created in the 1670s and fourteen new dukes in the 1680s. Messina gained revenue by confiscating property.
Spanish rule returned to Messina with the arrival of Viceroy Vicente de Gonzaga who was also a general. He abolished the elected city council and cancelled Messina’s authority over nearby villages. He was soon replaced by Viceroy Francisco IV de Benavides, Count of Santisteban, (1678-87) who abolished civic elections, the Senate, the Strategoto, and the university in Messina. He had firearms confiscated, and the royal mint was moved to Palermo. Property owned by rebels was sold. In the next ten years Sicily lost half its population. Parliament met in 1680 and organized a government monopoly on tobacco. The next Parliament in 1684 put a duty on imported sugar and imposed other taxes to pay for war against France. The Prince of Butera represented barons and controlled about forty votes in Parliament. Viceroy Juan Francisco Pacheco, Duke de Uceda, (1687-96) allowed Messina to be a free port, and regulations limited the importing of silk. Weapons had proliferated during the war, and he banned all weapons including “Messina knives.” Mistrust made lawyers necessary for agreements. He asked Spain to protect food supplies from the Knights of Malta. The number of Spanish soldiers on Sicily had been reduced to 4,000 plus a few Germans to protect the Viceroy. Nine naval ships cost more than 500,000 scudi a year. Parliament met again in 1690 and 1698. In 1693 an earthquake destroyed Noto and Modica and severely damaged Syracuse, Ragusa, and Catania, and infections added to the death toll that may have reached 5% of Sicily’s population.
The Portuguese Pedro Manuel Colón, Duke of Veragua, was Viceroy 1696-1701 and was disliked for engaging in commerce. When Spain shifted from the Habsburgs to the Bourbon King Felipe V, the county of Modica was confiscated from the Cabrera family as were other estates of families who supported the Austrians. In 1707 Austrian forces at Calabria threatened to invade Sicily, and galley slaves revolted. French and Irish soldiers garrisoned Palermo and were resented. Riots broke out, and fishermen captured the arsenal. Viceroy Carlo Filippo Antonio Spinola, Marquis of the Balbases (1707-13) was besieged in his castle for a month until he sent the French and Irish troops to Messina. The government suppressed the revolt using torture and executions, and the hated Viceroy moved to Messina. In 1711 he executed some German and Spanish officers. In 1713 the peace conference at Utrecht gave Sicily to Duke Vittorio Amedeo II of Savoy, ending the long Spanish rule over the island. By 1714 the population of Messina was down to 33,000 and was still declining.
After the Spaniards suppressed the revolt in Naples in April 1648, Viceroy Oñate (1648-53) proclaimed a general amnesty and replaced the gabelle with a tax on hearths. Annese and several rebel leaders were hanged. Tommaso Cornelio of Cosenza was a scientist who traveled through Italy and brought back to Naples in 1649 works of naturalists and the philosophies of Descartes, Gassendi, and Hobbes. Neapolitans studied French, German, and Dutch journals. In 1651 the lawyer Francesco d’Andrea persuaded the University of Naples to hire Cornelio as chair of mathematics, Di Capua in medicine, Ausilio in law, and Messere in Greek. Naples suffered a plague in 1656 that killed more than a million people in the kingdom. The revolution and the plague wiped out the Neapolitan silk industry.
In 1663 the Academy of Investigation was founded. A famine in 1672 led to many thieves and brigands robbing in gangs at night. Some were caught and executed by hanging while others were pardoned if they joined the army. Some considered the plays presented immoral, and in 1681 public performances were prohibited. Giuseppe Valletta had the best library, and he endowed a chair in Greek at the University of Naples. In 1688 an earthquake was so devastating that many people believed that Neapolitans were being punished for their sins. That year a census found 186,629 people in Naples, and the count increased to 216,608 in 1707, making Naples the third largest city in Christian Europe after London and Paris. Leonardo di Capoa wrote Thoughts and Arguments concerning the uncertainties in medical treatment in 1689. He challenged the theory of humors in favor of the iatrochemical method of Paracelsus. He especially opposed the attempts to purge the patient by bleeding.
In May 1708 imperial forces took the port of Comacchio on the Adriatic coast, and in October the Pope Clement XI declared war on the Habsburg Empire; but in early 1709 Emperor Joseph made a treaty with Rome that recognized his brother Charles as King of Spain. Austrian forces left Rome on June 22 and entered Naples on July 7, 1708. They appointed Cardinal Vincenzo Grimani, who wrote the libretto for Handel’s opera Agrippina, served as viceroy until his death on September 26, 1710. In January 1709 Costantino Grimaldi wrote a book arguing that the state has a right to tax ecclesiastics and their benefices. In 1710 Paolo Mattia Doria published his La vita civile (The Public Sphere) which discuss the principles of government, the functions of its officers, and its administration. After the war Wierich Lorenz Graf von Daun became viceroy in 1713.
Giambattista Vico was born on June 23, 1668 in Naples and was brought up in his poor father’s bookshop. He suffered from a head injury as a child, and disliking scholastic Jesuit education he was essentially self-taught. He fell in love with Giulia della Rocca, but she married a man in her higher social class and died at 22. In 1669 Vico was given the chair of rhetoric at the University of Naples, and in December he married a childhood friend who had little education. At the beginning of the academic year on October 18 Vico gave the first of six inaugural orations on that date in the years 1699, 1700, 1702, 1705, 1706, and 1707. After the Austrian army occupied Naples in 1708, his last oration “Study Methods” was published instead of spoken.
In the first oration “On Self-Knowledge” Vico argued, “Knowledge of oneself is for everyone the greatest incentive to acquire the universe of learning in the shortest possible time.”2 Cicero suggested that the famous motto of the Delphic oracle “Know yourself” means know your own spirit, and by knowing oneself one can attain wisdom. Vico goes further and observed that then you will “perceive the divinity of your own spirit.” The spirit manifests the image of God. “As God is in the world, so the spirit is in the body.”3 The spirit activates the body to gain experience. The body dies, but the spirit is immortal. The spirit senses within itself something infinite, and the awareness of the infinite must have been implanted by a perfect being. Thus humans infer that God exists. Vico admired the faculties of imagination and memory which help us to learn. Demosthenes believed that the gods gave laws to preserve society, and Vico said that Socrates raised the human spirit up to the heavens. The divine faculties see, hear, conceive ideas, perceive, judge, reason, discover, imagine, and remember. Truth is the natural disposition that guides us, and wonder helps us persist. Knowing yourself leads to all the sciences. Becoming wise depends only on the will.
In Vico’s second oration “On Virtue and Wisdom” notes that humans are born for truth and goodness, and by virtue and constancy they may find happiness. Yet people are prone to errors, subservient to passions and vices, and oppressed by misery. God has made wisdom the human law, jurisprudence being the wisdom of the just. Yet human history is filled with the massacre of enemies in savage wars. Even a brave spirit should flee from such horrors. Fools spend their lives burning with desire and shivering from fear. Vico asserts that the wise are citizens of the universe. God gives us the experience of divine joy by means of virtue. The wise know how to separate the spirit from the concerns of the body and so may devote themselves to the divine part of us. The wise know that what is within us is by nature free, but what is “outside is subservient and under an alien law.”4 Vico advises us to follow the law of nature which guides us to be true to ourselves.
The third oration “On True Learning” recommends truth and warns against deceit. God’s infinite goodness has given humans free will while other creatures by their nature must serve. Vico affirms the classic virtues of justice, self-control, courage, and prudence. Society is based on mutual good faith which excludes all deception. We can take counsel with the just and good and develop the capacity to know and forgive. In the fourth oration “On Education for the Common Good” Vico argued that the greatest benefits may be obtained by studying the liberal arts and sciences for the good of all the citizens. The most honorable goal is to help the greatest number of people and so become like God who helps all. The fifth and sixth orations discuss the liberal arts and the proper order of studies.
1. Quoted in Global Crisis: War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century by Geoffrey Parker, p. 29.
2. On Humanistic Education (Six Inaugural Orations, 1699-1707) by Giambattista Vico tr. Giorgio A. Pinton and Arthur W. Shippee, p. 35.
3. Ibid., p. 40.
4. Ibid., p. 69.