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Charles V was named after Duke Charles the Bold of Burgundy, but he was called Carolus or Karl V in Germany and Carlos I in Spain. His grandfathers were Hapsburg Emperor Maximilian I of Austria and Fernando of Aragon and Spain, and his parents were Philip the Handsome of Burgundy and Juana of Castile. Charles was born at Ghent on February 24, 1500. His tutors included Chamberlain Guillaume de Croy of Chievres and Adrian of Utrecht who became Pope Adrian VI. He spoke French and Flemish but did not learn Spanish until after he became King of Spain. In 1506 from his father Charles inherited Burgundy, Franche-Comté, and the Low Countries which included Brabant, Flanders, Holland, Zeeland, Hainault, and Artois. On January 5, 1515 Charles began governing the Netherlands at the court of Mechelen in Brussels, and his secretary was the famous humanist Erasmus.
After King Fernando of Spain died on January 23, 1516, Charles proclaimed himself and his mad mother Juana the Catholic kings of Spain on March 13. Archbishop Ximenes de Cisneros continued to govern as regent until he died on November 8, 1517. The Spanish empire gave him Castile with its American colonies and Aragon-Catalonia which included Sicily, Sardinia, Naples, and a few outposts in North Africa. His younger brother Ferdinand was raised in Spain and was popular there, but Charles sent him to the Netherlands. In June 1516 Erasmus published his Education of the Christian Prince as a guide for Charles, hoping that he would follow the teachings of Jesus and avoid wars. On October 29 Charles formed an alliance with England’s Henry VIII and Pope Leo X.
On September 18, 1517, Charles returned to Spain with a fleet of forty ships. He appointed his tutor’s young nephew Guillaume de Croy of Chievres of the same name archbishop of Toledo, and this was resented as was his assigning Adrian of Utrecht to be regent of Castile. At the Cortes in Valladolid during the winter of 1517-18 Charles appointed his Chancellor Jean de Sauvage the Walloon to preside, but Juan de Zumel from Burgos persuaded the Cortes to reject foreigners. The aged Pedro Ruiz of Villena presented a memorial for political reforms to Charles and his advisors to improve the judicial system and make taxes more fair. The taxes were to be reduced in order to benefit the poor with 190,000 ducats a year for the standing army, 90,000 ducats for 9,000 troops in reserve, and 100,000 ducats to pay 500 people in the court. The Cortes voted Charles a subsidy of 600,000 ducats for three years. They presented 88 articles indicating their demands that included reforming the judicial system, controlling the Inquisition, restraining the sale of indulgences, and insisting the new King learn Spanish.
After four months of lavish festivals that cost the city of Valladolid 40,000 ducats, Charles left on March 22, 1518. He arrived at Zaragoza in Aragon on May 9. Chancellor Sauvage died on June 7 and was replaced by Mercurino Gattinara. The Cortes of Aragon swore loyalty to Charles and also made Ferdinand his heir. Castilians resented this; but the Aragonese eventually voted Charles 200,000 ducats in January 1519, and in Barcelona the Catalans authorized 100,000 ducats.
Emperor Maximilian I died on January 12, 1519, and Charles inherited from his grandfather the Hapsburg lands in Austria, Tyrol, and some of southern Germany. To become emperor Charles needed to pay the electors at least 4,000 gulden each, and during this election he spent one million gold florins as the Palatinate got 184,000 gulden, Mainz 113,000, and Cologne 52,000. On June 28 the German electors unanimously chose Charles V to rule the Holy Roman Empire. He reinstated Marguerite of Austria as regent in the Netherlands and appointed viceroys to govern Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia, Navarre, Sardinia, Sicily, Naples, and Peru and New Spain in America. Each viceroy worked with a Council that offered consultas of advice for the King who then made the final decisions. Pope Leo sent three briefs in July to Charles V, the Inquisitor General, and the Zaragoza tribunal advising them to reduce the power of the Inquisition to canon law and revoke privileges granted by his predecessor, but Charles refused to print the brief in Spain and sent a protest to Rome. Several requests were made to reform the Inquisition, but Charles rejected them one after another.
Fernao de Magalhaes (Magellan) was Portuguese, but his expedition was financed by Spain’s Charles V to discover spice islands and left Seville with five ships on August 10, 1519. Avoiding naval ships sent by Portugal’s King Manuel and Portuguese settlements in Brazil, they reached Rio de la Plata on January 10, 1520. During a winter settlement a mutiny broke out on Easter against three of the ship captains, and one captain and a few mutineers were executed. Another captain and a priest were left on the coast. One ship was wrecked in a storm on the coast. Three ships made it through the Strait of Magellan on November 28 as one ship returned to Spain. The others sailed west across the Pacific Ocean and reached the Marianas and Guam on March 6, 1521. Magellan had the Malay interpreter Enrique, and they were guided to Cebu on April 7. They opposed Datu Lapu-Lapu, and in a battle at Mactan on April 27 Magellan was killed. Nearly thirty crew were killed as Enrique escaped on May 1. They left the islands named the Philippines in two ships and reached the spice islands of Malaku on November 6. The Trinidad was captured by a Portuguese ship, and only the Victoria commanded by Juan Sebastian Elcano was able to return by way of the Cape of Good Hope to Spain on September 6, 1522.
Charles V made a treaty with the Swabian League on February 6, 1520 and went back to Castile. Chancellor Mercurino Gattinara persuaded Charles to summon the Cortes at Santiago that opened on March 31 with his demand for a new servicio even though the previous grant had not expired. Toledo and other towns refused to appear, but the Emperor improved his chances by excluding Salamanca and Toledo. Many Spaniards did not want him to leave their country and moved their session to La Coruna where the Emperor presented his imperial plans. They were bribed but on April 22 gave him only 4,000 Spanish ducats from the treasury, and this was not even collected because of protests. He appointed Cardinal Adrian to be regent in Spain and Diego Hurtado de Mendoza as viceroy of Valencia. Charles left on May 20, visited Henry VIII in late May, formed an alliance with England at Canterbury, and crossed the channel on June 1.
The middle-class revolt of the Comuneros erupted at Toledo on April 15, 1520 and was led by Juan Lopez de Padilla and Hernando de Avalos who had been summoned to court. They aroused the people who insisted that their exile be reversed. They demanded two representatives elected from each borough in the Cortes. Count Silva of Cifuentes and Corregidor Antonio de Cordoba fled from the fortress, and Toledo established a commune. On May 30 woolworkers disrupted the Segovia City Council by removing Segovia’s delegate to the recent Cortes of Santiago while he was making a report. They took him to the city jail and then hanged him. The corregidor and other officials were forced to flee. A revolutionary committee was organized and chose new officials. Most of the royal army was in recently conquered Navarre guarding the frontier because they expected a French invasion. A few royal guards were sent to Segovia but could only try to stop supplies outside the walls.
The revolt spread in June, and Bishop Antonio de Acuña led the movement at Zamora. People from the cities of Segovia, Salamanca, Toro, and Toledo met at Avila on June 19, 1520 and formed the Holy Junta. On July 30 at a chapter meeting in the cathedral of Toledo the knights voted to press the city council to send representatives to the Junta of Avila and to appoint a captain-general to lead the militia and relieve Segovia. The Junta sent a force that helped Segovia’s militia drive away the royal guards, and on August 13 Segovia elected three delegates to go to the Junta of Avila.
On August 20 the Regent Cardinal Adrian ordered Castile’s Captain-general Antonio de Fonseca to assemble the guards to secure the royal artillery at Medina del Campo. The city council refused to give him the artillery, and he attacked. The citizens fought off his troops with heavy losses as fire destroyed six commercial streets and the Franciscan monastery that stored goods for merchants from other cities. This aroused cities in the south. The citizen militia of Palencia burned the bishop’s fortress at Villamuriel. Constable Iñigo Fernandez de Velasco oppressed people in the Merindades. When he was expelled from Burgos, it weakened aristocratic control of the north. Citizens of Najera joined with surrounding villages to free themselves from the seigneurial yoke, but Duke Antonio Manrique de Lara quickly suppressed them with royal soldiers from Navarre in September.
On August 29, 1520 militia forces commanded by the popular Padilla entered Tordesillas and met with Queen Juana, mother of King Charles. Her mental health had improved since her breakdown in 1506, and she authorized the representatives of thirteen cities assembled there to act in her name as the government of Castile. On September 14 they suspended the Council of Castile and ordered its members detained in Valladolid. On the 25th they ordered that revenues in the chief cities be reserved for the Junta’s use. Three days later they directed the remaining officials in Valladolid to come to Tordesillas, but most fled as far as Burgos. The rebels’ power reached its height in September and tried to recruit royal guards. The Comuneros in Seville rose up on September 16. Cardinal Adrian fled from Valladolid and reached the fortress of Medina del Rioseco on October 15. On the 20th the Junta demanded that neither judges nor corregidores should get any money from fines. They decided that no more corregidores would be appointed, and the others fled.
The aristocrats realized that they depended on royal grants to hold their lands and backed the monarchy. King Manoel of Portugal loaned the royal government of Castile 50,000 ducats in October. Iñigo de Velasco, the constable of Castile, and Admiral Fadrique Enriquez were named co-regents with Cardinal Adrian. Burgos abandoned the Junta in November. On December 5 the royal forces captured thirteen delegates and the headquarters of the Junta at Tordesillas and liberated Queen Juana, sacking the town. The Comuneros had an army of 900 lances and 9,000 infantry. On December 17 King Charles approved the sale of 100,000 ducats of government bonds (juros). On December 20 the Junta ordered royal annuities confiscated. At the beginning of 1521 the royal army had 1,651 heavy cavalry, 1,059 light cavalry, and 8,000 infantry. The rebels sent a letter to Admiral Enriquez on January 20, 1521 explaining why they were opposing the nobles. Padilla led an army of 500 lances and 7,000 infantry, and in late February after four days of fighting they captured the village of Torrelobaton and its fortress.
On April 23, 1521 Padilla’s infantry was defeated in the battle at Villalar. The next day after a tribunal met quickly, Padilla, Juan Bravo of Segovia, and Francisco Maldonado of Salamanca were executed. Bishop Acuña and those in Toledo held out; but he was captured after a month, and Toledo capitulated in October. Farmers and those developing industry in Segovia were active in the revolt, and 7,715 were punished. Many castles had been destroyed, and property was plundered. Most wealthy merchants sided with the aristocrats against the Comuneros. Resistance continued in Toledo until February 1522. In October King Charles pardoned the Comuneros except for 293 rebels he sentenced on November 2. Of these 23 were executed, and about 20 died in prison. The revolt did stimulate the replacing of many top officers. The Constable of Castile blamed the Comuneros uprising on the conversos (converted Jews and Muslims).
Charles had persuaded the guilds to arm themselves against pirates in May 1520. The Christian brotherhood called Germania in Valencia and Majorca used these arms to revolt and were led by the weaver Juan Llorenç who wanted a republican constitution for Valencia. The Junta of Thirteen there had a representative from each union. Llorenç died in 1520, and he was replaced by the more radical Vicent Peris who wanted land reform and social revolution against the nobles and mudejars (Moors). During the summer they attacked palaces in Xelva and redistributed land there. They burned the homes of Moors in Valencia, and the war escalated in June 1521. Germanias took over several cities in the north, but Viceroy Diego Hurtado de Mendoza’s royalist forces defeated them at the battle of Almenara on July 18, killing 2,000 men. In the south rebels led by Vicente Peris defeated the Viceroy’s troops at Gandia on July 23. They plundered the region, stopped taxation, and forced the Muslims of Safor to be baptized. Pedro Fajardo, the Marques de los Velez, led the royalist forces that defeated and killed more than 2,000 rebels at Oriola on August 30. By October the Viceroy’s army had destroyed the Germania’s forces. Some resistance continued outside the capital until the new Viceroy Germaine de Foix pardoned them in December 1524.
Emperor Charles V was crowned at Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen) on October 26, 1520. His aunt Catarina of Aragon was Queen of England. His older sister Eleanor was Queen of Portugal, and his younger sisters were Queen Isabella of Denmark, Queen Mary of Hungary and Bohemia, and Queen Catarina who became Queen of Portugal in 1525. His younger brother Ferdinand I would become King of the Romans in 1531 and would succeed him as Emperor in 1556.
In 1511 Jacob Wimpheling had criticized the Church in his Gravamina of the German Nation, and he suggested that Germany should retain its tithes to support priests, widows, and orphans. In 1517 Martin Luther complained about the selling of indulgences and began a powerful movement for reform of the Church. He was protected by the Elector Friedrich of Saxony who asked Erasmus on November 5, 1520 if Luther was right or wrong. Erasmus recommended entrusting the issue to worthy men. He believed that the world was “thirsty” for the true Gospel but that the spirit of the times should not be opposed “in such an ill-willed manner.”
Ulrich von Hutten accused Pope Leo X of crimes in his pamphlets. Hutten urged Charles V to listen to Luther’s call for the Emperor to oppose the Pope, and in March 1521 he sent to Charles his Pro Luthero exhortatoria advising him not to condemn Luther without a hearing. Charles heard Luther at the Diet of Worms on April 18. When Luther spoke of the “wickedness, avarice, and tyranny of the papacy,” Charles told him not to talk about those things. After Luther denied the authority of the Council, the Emperor refused to hear anymore. After the Diet the Emperor wrote to the German nobles that a single monk with erring opinions has risen up to challenge the Christian faith that has been practiced for a thousand years. He regretted not taking action against Luther’s “false teaching” sooner, and he forbade him “to preach his bad doctrine and to lead the people astray with his call to rebellion.” On May 25 Charles signed the Edict of Worms that condemned Luther and accused him of destroying the seven sacraments and of being a heretic. Pope Leo X was surprised by the severity of the imperial decree.
The Archbishop of Toledo died after a fall from a horse on January 7, 1521. That year his uncle Chievres died of poison. On April 22 King François I declared war on Emperor Charles, and the French invaded Navarre; but on November 19 the imperial forces took Milan, and they restored Francesco Maria Sforza as the Duke of Milan.
In 1521 Charles V made his 18-year-old brother Ferdinand Archduke of Austria to govern his empire in the east, but he knew little German. Ferdinand trusted finances to the unpopular Salamanca from Burgos. Aragon had a Council with administrative functions and the Cortes which also governed Catalonia and Valencia. Castile was given a Council of Finances in 1522 to finance his wars.
Pope Leo X died on December 1, and that ended papal subsidies to the army. In January 1522 Adrian of Utrecht was elected Pope Adrian VI. Charles negotiated with his brother Ferdinand in Brussels in January and February and assigned him to rule the Austrian duchies and the Hapsburg lands in Germany. On April 23 Charles appointed Van der Hulst to be Inquisitor General of the Low Countries without consulting Pope Adrian. France’s Swiss mercenaries were defeated at Bicocca on April 29. Charles visited England’s Henry VIII again. On June 16 at Windsor they strengthened their alliance as Charles promised to marry Henry’s six-year-old daughter Mary; she was the daughter of the Emperor’s Aunt Catarina.
In 1517 Cardinal Ximenes supervised completion of the Polyglot Bible in the original languages with a parallel column for the Latin Vulgate in five volumes with a sixth volume on vocabulary and grammar, but it was not published until 1522.
Charles V returned to Spain in July 1522 with 4,000 German soldiers and remained there for the next seven years. Francisco de Cobos had become royal secretary to Charles in 1516 and controlled the Council of Finances by 1523. When Pope Adrian VI learned that Cardinal Soderini favored the French and war, he had him arrested and imprisoned in the Castle of Sant Angelo. On April 30 Adrian proclaimed a general armistice in Christendom for three years. Charles summoned a Cortes at Valladolid in July 1523 to pay for the suppression of the revolt. He criticized King François for allying with the Turks and for having seized Fuenterrabia in 1521. He urged the Cortes to pay off the Spanish debt of nearly a million ducats. On July 29 the empire of Charles made a secret treaty with the Pope, England, Ferdinand, and Venice against France, and on August 3 the Pope allied with them and Milan, Florence, Genoa, Siena, and Lucca. Pope Adrian VI died on September 14 and was succeeded by Clement VII who cancelled the prerogative of appointing bishops that Adrian had granted to Charles. Adrian had also allowed Charles to unite the knightly orders of Santiago, Alcantara, and Calatrava under his Spanish crown.
Emperor Maximilian I had lost Milan by not returning it to its hereditary rulers. In October 1523 Charles was advised not to make that mistake because it would violate his treaty with Venice. Seneca had recommended loving one’s subjects and cultivating friendship, and Machiavelli, who was still alive, warned that a prince should let others do what is unpopular. Chancellor Gattinara suggested that Charles should make his confessor Bishop Garcia de Loaysa of Osma president of the Indian Council, and he did so. His councilors also counseled him to give the judges of the Inquisition regular salaries and not let them take wealth that was confiscated. The Council of the Indies was established in 1524. That year the Fuggers leased the Spanish Crown’s revenues from the knighthood orders of Santiago, Calatrava, and Alcantara.
The Inquisition in Spain was much criticized, but Charles silenced its opponents in 1523 and turned it against the Lutherans as well as the Jews. They also went after the Illuminists (alumbrados) and Erasmists even though they were not Lutherans. Inquisitor General Adrian first issued a decree against Lutheran doctrines on September 7, 1521, and the tribunal of Majorca executed Gonsalvo the painter in 1523. Illuminists believed they could contact God directly, and some such as Francisca Hernandez indulged their sexual passion. The Inquisition of Toledo condemned 48 doctrines of Illuminism on September 23, 1525.
In January 1524 the widowed Queen Germaine de Foix of Aragon ordered many arrests and executions. On March 24 Spaniards recaptured the fortress at Fuenterrabia. Charles sent Gérard de Pleine, the lord of La Roche, in May to negotiate peace with the new Medici Pope Clement VII. With the aid of Duke Charles III of Bourbon the imperial troops invaded Provence on August 14, but they were forced to withdraw in September. France’s King François went back to Milan on October 26, but his siege of Pavia failed on February 24, 1525. Ferdinand raised 10,000 troops at Innsbruck, and Charles of Bourbon led them into Italy. François was captured and taken to the Alcazar castle in Madrid. Charles summoned a Cortes to Toledo to pay for these campaigns, and he extended his Castilian edict forcing conversions to Valencia so that the Inquisition could go after those of Muslim and Jewish origin known as “new Christians.” The Cortes persuaded him to marry his cousin Isabella of Portugal on March 10, 1526 with a dowry of one million ducats that had been provided by her father, the late King Manuel. She gave birth to Felipe on May 21, 1527.
On January 14, 1526 François I signed a treaty recognizing the Hapsburgs in ducal Burgundy and Tournai, giving up his claims in Italy. On April 17 his two sons replaced him as hostages at Seville until he met his obligations. Yet on May 16 the French ambassador informed Charles that François did not believe the treaty of Madrid was binding because he had signed it in captivity. The King of France formed the Holy League at Cognac on May 23 with Pope Clement VII, Sforza of Milan, Florence, and Venice. Their ambassadors came to Charles at the Granada Alhambra in June demanding the two sons of François, but Charles complained about the Clement’s Holy League aligned against him and refused to release them. Charles pleased the Lutherans by proposing a universal council, but the Pope declined. Charles wrote to the College of Cardinals that Pope Clement would bear the responsibility if misfortune befell Christianity.
The Bishop of Zamora had supported the revolt of the Comuneros, and Charles executed him for having killed one of his guards. Pope Clement VII then excommunicated Charles who did not attend mass. After being absolved he retired to the Hieronymite monastery in Seville. Chancellor Gattinara wrote to Erasmus that Christianity was divided between blind followers of the Pope, equally stubborn Lutherans, and those following Erasmus who wanted the welfare of the people. Erasmus criticized Luther for denying the free will of humans, and this appealed to many Spaniards who valued human dignity.
The University of Alcala had many followers of Erasmus as many of his books were translated into Spanish such as his Handbook of the Militant Christian. Miguel de Eguia published this in 1526 and a hundred humanist books. Erasmian disciples included Archbishop Alfonso de Fonseca of Toledo and Archbishop Alfonso Manrique of Seville, and they were protected. In 1527 Manrique convened an assembly of 32 theologians to examine Erasmian propositions while Charles sent a friendly letter to Erasmus. Alfonso de Valdes criticized clerical abuses and promoted the views of Erasmus in his dialogs Lactancio y el arcediano and Mercurio y Caron. In 1528 his brother Juan de Valdes published his Dialog of Christian Doctrines advocating ideas of Erasmus while mocking his critics as fools. When the Inquisition began examining these in 1531, Juan moved to Italy. He was convicted of heresy, and his writings were banned in Spain. His Ciento y diez Consideraciones divinas was suppressed by the Spanish Inquisition and was never published in Castilian, but he published his philological treatise, Dialogo de la Lengua, at Naples in 1535.
The French army crossed the Alps in 1527 to expel the imperial forces from Genoa and Milan. Charles of Bourbon commanded the imperial army which demanded their pay and was on the verge of mutiny. The Duke of Ferrara had sent them some money, but it was not enough. They besieged Rome briefly, and Bourbon was killed at the start of the attack on May 6. The frustrated imperial army stormed Rome and killed every man in the Pope’s Swiss Guard. They besieged Pope Clement VII and a few cardinals and spent three days plundering the city. Clement surrendered on June 6 with many hostages, and he was imprisoned in Castle Sant Angelo for six months. Juan’s brother, Alfonso de Valdes, Latin secretary to Charles V, argued that this was God’s punishment for the sins of the Pope and the vices of his court. He believed that Charles wanted peace among Christians so that they could fight the Turks.
Charles asked for funds for this at the Diet of Speyer which began on June 25. On August 27 they unanimously agreed that each state should live so as to answer to “God and his imperial Majesty,” and they called for a general council. Ferdinand attended and told them about the disaster in Hungary and was given a small subsidy to fight the Turks. The estates unanimously elected him King of Bohemia on October 24, 1526, and Ferdinand was crowned at Prague on February 24, 1527.
The French took revenge on Pavia and marched towards Naples. The ruling oligarchs in Genoa during the siege went over to the Empire. Both sides were running out of money for war. Lautrec’s army lacked supplies and dwindled from 25,000 to only 4,000 fit to fight. France formed an alliance with England in January 1528 and surrounded Naples. Hugo de Moncada was blockaded by Genoese and French ships, and he ventured a sea battle to get wheat from Sicily; but his ships were destroyed or captured, and he was killed on May 28. Young Philibert of Chalon, the Prince of Orange, commanded the defense of Naples with the help of Alarçon. The veteran Genoese captain Andrea Doria had not been paid by the French and defected to the Emperor on July 4, withdrawing his ships from the blockade and opening Genoa to imperial troops. The death of the French General Lautrec on August 15 ended the siege. Antonio Leyva defeated the last French force in Italy at Landriano on June 21, 1529 and captured St. Pol.
After 33 years of conquest in the West Indies the first royal Audiencia was held at Santo Domingo in 1526. In Spain these were appellate courts, but in America they also functioned as administrative governments. Hernán Cortés led the conquest of Mexico in 1521 and governed it for several years before he returned to Spain. Charles sent Nuño de Guzman to control Cortés, and he held the first Audiencia in Mexico City on December 27, 1527. Antonio de Guzman became Viceroy of New Spain in 1528. In 1529 Charles made Cortez the Marquis de la Val de Oaxaca, a knight of Santiago, and Captain-general of New Spain. As of 1526 any subject from the empire could go to America. In 1529 the Emperor allowed ten ports of Castile to trade with America; but all the ships had to register their cargoes in Seville when they returned. This monopoly favored that port and the King of Castile. The population of Mexico was estimated at 25,000,000 in 1519, but under Spanish rule by 1568 this was reduced to about 3,000,000 and then by epidemics to only 1,375,000 in 1595. By 1570 about 120,000 Spaniards lived in America with about 230,000 mestizos and Africans.
The second Diet of Speyer began on March 15, 1529, and the Catholic majority pushed through its intolerance of Lutheran faith it first adopted at Worms. The Lutherans made a famous protest on April 25 and after that were called “Protestants.”
Charles agreed to a treaty with Pope Clement VII at Barcelona on June 29, 1529. François’s mother Louise of Savoy, and the Emperor’s aunt Marguerite of Austria met at Cambrai on July 5 and negotiated a treaty that was called the “Ladies Peace” and was signed on August 3. François admitted that Charles was sovereign over Artois and Flanders, and the French surrendered their claims to Milan, Genoa, and Naples. The children of François held hostage were released for a ransom of two million écus, and François promised to marry Eleanor, the sister of Charles. The Emperor ambiguously gave up his claim to his native Burgundy while still claiming rights there. Pope Clement VII was given Ravenna, Cervisa, Modena, Reggio, and Rubiera. He absolved those who had attacked the Papal States, and he threatened to excommunicate anyone who aided the Turks.
At Bologna on February 24, 1530 Clement VII crowned Emperor Charles V, the last time a Pope would crown a Holy Roman Emperor. Ferdinand wanted Charles to help him fight the Turks, but the Emperor spent nearly four months visiting with the Pope in Bologna. Clement insisted that he keep his promise to restore the Medici in Florence. Charles sent imperial forces to help the expelled Medici back into power, and he made treaties with Venice and Duke Sforza of Milan. In the spring Charles traveled to Innsbruck to see his brother Ferdinand and sister Mary of Hungary. Prince Philibert of Orange was killed in a cavalry skirmish in Italy on August 3. On August 7 King François married Charles V’s sister Eleanor of Austria, but they had no children.
Chancellor Gattinara lost power in 1528 and died in 1530. Cobos became leader of the Council in 1528, and there was no chancellor. He gained much wealth as his annual salary increased to 60,000 ducats before his death in 1547. Charles put Nicholas Perrenot, the Lord of Granvelle, in charge of foreign policy in 1530. That year the Augsburg Confession was addressed to Charles V as the Protestants and Catholics agreed to separate temporal and spiritual power. Pope Clement VII wrote in July to Charles that he was opposed to a council. The Protestants argued that they opposed a council because they followed the Gospels, but at the Diet on September 23 the Elector Joachim of Brandenburg asked them how the Gospels gave them the right to seize people’s property. On November 19 Charles and the Catholics called a final recess and gave the Protestants until April 15, 1531 to change their minds.
Following the ancient law of the Holy Roman Empire, after the Emperor was formally crowned, they could elect a King of the Romans. After the Turks killed King Lajos II of Hungary and Bohemia on August 29, 1526, Ferdinand had been elected King of Hungary and Bohemia. The electors met at Cologne because Frankfort had refused to sign the recess and negotiated the election oath with Ferdinand who was elected King of the Romans on January 5, 1531. Six days later he was crowned at Aachen.
The Emperor’s aunt Archduchess Marguerite of the Netherlands had died on November 30, 1530, and she was succeeded by his sister Mary of Hungary who ruled 1531-55. Charles opened the States General of the Netherlands on March 2, 1531, and they adopted an administrative ordinance and criminal code in his name. In May 1532 he accepted the Peace of Nuremberg which decreed that no one would be condemned for their religious belief until a church council was held. Emperor Charles and his army went to help Ferdinand defend Vienna, and they entered the city on September 23. Meanwhile Andrea Doria took the navy to the Gulf of Corinth and captured Patras and Coron in the Morea. Charles traveled through Styria and Carinthia in October and visited Pope Clement VII again in Bologna from December to February 1533. He promised to provide eleven galleys to fight the Turks as Clement prepared three. They agreed to share the government of Italy, and Antonio Leyva was appointed Captain-general of the armies. Charles returned to Spain by the end of April. On July 12 the Pope finally excommunicated Henry VIII over his divorcing Catarina of Aragon. Yet Charles had persuaded him not to interdict England but only Henry VIII so as not to curtail trade with the Low Countries.
While Charles V was in Italy, Empress Isabella as regent in Spain authorized Francesco Pizarro to conquer Peru. Charles learned of his conquest in the summer of 1533. After visiting the Inca capital of Cuzco in November, Pizarro founded Lima on the coast on January 18, 1534. Charles met with Pizarro’s brother Hernando in Old Castile on January 30, 1535 and received treasure. Francesco Pizarro was murdered on June 26, 1541, and the royal Audiencia was established in Lima in 1542. New laws that year curtailed the encomienda in Mexico and abolished it in Peru. After 1550 encomenderos could receive tribute in kind but were not entitled to demand free labor.
In July 1530 a Basque priest was burned as a Lutheran in Granada, and Juan de Vergara was imprisoned and forced to pay a fine of 1,500 ducats in December 1535. On August 5, 1533 the Cortes of Aragon passed several articles complaining that people were imprisoned for private offenses including usury, sodomy, and bigamy, that Moriscos were not given instruction in the Catholic faith, and that their confiscated land was being taken by the Inquisition. Spaniards considered Erasmian doctrines Lutheran, and some Erasmists were incarcerated. Pedro de Lerma, the Chancellor of Alcala University, was forced to retire in 1537 and then was jailed for heresy. After Inquisitor General Manrique died in 1538, Erasmism had no defender and disappeared in Spain.
Charles V presided over the Cortes of Castile in the summer of 1533 and then went to the Cortes of Aragon at Monzon. These in Aragon met about every five years and gave Charles about 500,000 ducats for each five-year period. In 1534 he visited Segovia, Toledo, and Palencia in the north, and reached Madrid in March 1534. In August a Turkish fleet of 84 galleys led by Khair ad-Din Barbarossa captured Tunis from Muley Hassan, an ally of Charles. The Emperor resided at Barcelona for diplomatic convenience, and on March 1, 1535 he notified Empress Isabella she would be regent again. The Spanish fleet was joined by the Portuguese and the Genoese led by Andrea Doria. German troops gathered with Italian and papal forces and the Maltese on Sardinia. The fleet of 100 warships and 300 transports departed on June 10 and anchored at ruined Carthage five days later. They stormed the fortress of La Goleta on July 14 as Charles was with the artillery. The Turks fled, and the imperial forces captured all 82 ships of Barbarossa who withdrew into Tunis where he threatened to kill thousands of Christian slaves. Charles had promised his soldiers they could plunder Tunis, and Barbarossa escaped to Algiers. The imperial forces regained Tunis on July 21 and freed thousands of Christian prisoners.
On November 1, 1535 Francesco Sforza died, and François moved his troops into Savoy and Piedmont. Charles V visited his kingdom of Naples in the winter. Divorced Queen Catarina died in England on January 7, 1536, ending the Emperor’s quarrel with Henry VIII. On June 2 Pope Paul III issued a bull about the council but called the Lutheran ideas heresy. Also in 1536 Barbarossa and his pirates raided the Balearic Islands and the coast of Valencia and in 1537 southern Italy. Charles went to Rome and on April 17, 1536 met with Pope Paul III, who agreed to call a general council to meet at Mantua in May 1537. The members of the Schmalkaldic League rejected the council because they had been promised one in Germany. The Pope would prorogue the council on April 20, 1537 and again on June 28, 1538 for another year. In January 1539 England’s Henry VIII informed Charles that he would not accept a papal council.
Charles complained that King François did not keep his promises. He argued with his advisors over the French candidate to rule Milan, and Cobos and Grenvelle both urged compromise to maintain peace. However, the commanders Andrea Doria and Antonio de Leyva persuaded Charles to go to war again. Mary of Hungary begged him to let the Netherlands remain neutral in this war, but Charles disagreed and led the invasion of Provence on July 25, 1536. The French retreated to Avignon, burning food and thus causing the Spaniards to suffer from disease. Both sides were soon exhausted, and the imperial forces withdrew on September 3. An attack on the French at Savoy also failed. The imperial diplomat Matthias Held tried to organize a Catholic League, but he alienated Catholics as well as Protestants.
Charles was conveyed back to Spain by Doria, and opened the Cortes of Castile in April 1537. The Cortes of Aragon went on from August 11 to November. That summer Pope Paul III issued a bull confirming the human rights of the Indians in America and forbidding any enslavement of the natives by the conquerors. On February 8, 1538 Charles organized a league with his brother Ferdinand, Pope Paul, and Venice to fight the Turks, but their forces led by Doria were defeated by Barbarossa on September 28 at Prevesa. The Turks captured 3,000 prisoners and 36 ships while the Empire also had ten ships sunk and three burned. Charles met King François at Nice, and on June 18, 1538 they agreed to a truce for ten years. The league ended when Venice made peace with the Turks in 1540.
At the Cortes of 1538 the tax exemptions of the nobles and hidalgos were confirmed, and they stopped summoning the nobles and clergy to the Castilian Cortes. That resulted in tax burdens being put on those less able to pay them. Government revenues increased by 50% during the reign of Charles while prices went up about 100%. He was forced to borrow silver from private individuals and pay up to 7% interest on the juros (government bonds). His usual annual revenue as King of Spain was one million ducats, and it rose to 1,500,000 after 1542. He borrowed 39 million ducats on Castile’s credit.
The Agreement of Frankfurt in April 1539 guaranteed those following the Augsburg Confession against the use of force and extended the truce 15 months. Empress Isabella died on May 1. That year Charles appointed Philipp von Hutten as Captain-general of Venezuela. In June Beatus Rhenanus dedicated his edition of the complete works of Erasmus to Charles. The poor law of 1540 punished vagrants by forcing them to work without pay. The humanist Juan Luis Vives had published De Subventione Pauperum in 1526 advocating that they prohibit begging and regulate public charity.
Charles V appointed his 12-year-old son Felipe II regent and visited François in France. In January 1540 he met his brother Ferdinand in Brussels. He also met with his sister Mary of Austria who governed the Netherlands. Ghent was rebelling, and on February 17 Charles ordered the leaders to surrender. Others were arrested the next day, and thirteen rebels were executed in March. He also ordered a district of the town torn down so that a fortress could be built. In April he revoked the city’s privileges and confiscated their public treasury, arms, and the famous Roland bell. On May 3 many leaders and representatives of various professions were forced to humiliate themselves before him and ask for his pardon, and the next day he decreed the Karolinische Conessie as the new constitution for Ghent.
On June 12, 1540 Charles presided over a religious conference at Hagenau and commended the articles by the Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggio and the Lutheran theologian Melanchthon at Augsburg in 1530; but the Protestants led by Martin Bucer, Jean Calvin, and others would not agree, and they postponed it until October. That month Charles gave the fief of Milan to his son Felipe. Granvelle opened the conference at Worms on November 25, and the papal nuncio Tomas Campeggio arrived on December 8. After Melanchthon rejected the papal demands, they decided to communicate by writing.
Charles V arrived at the Diet of Regensburg (Ratisbon) on February 23, 1541. The Diet formally opened on April 7, and the principles they agreed on in July were called the “Book of Regensburg” or the “Declaration of Ratisbon,” but both the Catholics and the Protestants rejected it. Pope Paul III announced he would call another council. The attempts by Charles V to promote reconciliation had failed. He tried to negotiate with them separately, and before disbanding the Diet agreed to provide 10,000 infantry and 2,000 cavalry for three months.
Charles traveled to Innsbruck and then through Lombardy to Genoa. He went to Lucca to ask Pope Paul III to help plan a council in Germany and forces to fight against the Turks and protect Italy from the French, but Paul advised him not to attack Algiers. Charles had his fleet gather at Majorca under Andrea Doria and his army under Viceroy Ferrante Gonzaga of Naples. He sent Duke Fernando of Alba with the Spanish ships to Algiers. On October 25 a storm devastated 150 ships, and the soldiers on land lacked provisions and suffered in the rain. Harassed by enemy attacks, Charles decided to cancel the campaign. He returned to Spain, reaching Valladolid in January 1542. The population of Castile was estimated to be 6,270,000 in 1541.
After Charles wasted his resources on this invasion of Algiers, François took advantage by ordering his army to invade the Low Countries in 1542. Charles needed money and asked for the servicio grants from the Cortes in Castile and Aragon. Bullion was arriving from America, but the wars cost so much that Spain was becoming poorer. One tenth of revenue went for Doria’s fleet and the Spanish galleons, one fifth to defend the coasts against attacks from Africa, and about half went for armaments and military preparations in other countries that Emperor Charles ruled.
Charles V considered Stenay a fief of Luxembourg, but the French took it over in June 1542. Charles told his sister Mary to add two fortresses on the Luxembourg border. She sent the Prince of Orange to Antwerp and ran into the French at Hoogstraten. People worked on the fortifications at Antwerp, and Orange got there before the French. Marshal Martin van Rossem of Gelderland was supplied by France and threatened to devastate the Netherlands. His forces assaulted Antwerp and broke the dikes to cover his flank; but he could not sustain a siege and marched on to join the Duke of Orleans who had taken Damvillers. Rossem helped him capture Yvoy on August 16. By the end of the month the capital of Luxembourg had fallen. At the same time the Duke of Alba managed to defend Perpignan north of the Pyrenees in Navarre from a French attack led by the Dauphin who withdrew in September. On October 31 Charles sent Grenvelle to Queen Mary and King Ferdinand in the Netherlands.
Charles V appointed Florian de Ocampo, who had studied with the humanist Antonio de Nebrija, royal chronicler of Spain in 1539, and in 1541 he published the first five books of the Cronica de España that was extended during the reign of Felipe II by Ambrosio Morales (1513-91) and had ten editions by 1604. Alfonso Chacon (1530-99) also wrote about the ancient and medieval history of Spain and the papacy.
In January 1543 Charles demanded 50,000 ducats each from Germany, Antwerp, and Genoa. He renewed his alliance with England on February 11 and sent Cobos to Germany to raise the money. The imperial army assembled at Metz. Martin van Rossem led a large army and invaded the Netherlands again. The Duke of Arschot was Captain-general and lifted the siege of Heinsberg on March 21, and his attack on Sittard three days later failed. Rossem besieged Heinsberg in May and June without success. Charles spent the summer with the Cortes of Aragon. He was suffering from gout, but he left Spain and did not return until 1556 when he was no longer King.
In May 1543 Charles wrote the “Secret Instruction” to his son Felipe who had just married his cousin Maria Manuela of Portugal. She came with a dowry of 150,000 ducats which Charles used to finance his campaign. Felipe was recognized as heir and regent by the Cortes in Castile and the one in Aragon. Before leaving, Charles wrote instructions for Felipe, advising him to be a friend of justice but temper it with mercy. He urged him to study and learn Latin and French. He warned him about the factions of Secretary Cobos and Cardinal Tavera. Cobos had too many privileges, and the Duke of Alba was ambitious. Charles exploited the wealth of the Low Countries which gradually declined. Then he used the gold and silver from America. Much revenue was raised from Castile by the sales tax (alcabala). Revenues from 1534 to 1543 averaged more than 250,000 ducats a year, but American treasure declined in the 1540s.
Charles left Genoa with 3,000 Spaniards, 4,000 Italians, and 500 light horsemen. At the Diet of Speyer he would find 16,000 infantry, 2,000 cavalry, and artillery under the Marquis of Marignano. Charles by April 1544 persuaded those attending the Diet to contribute 24,000 infantry and 4,000 cavalry for six months. When they recessed on June 10 the Estates promised to aid the Emperor against the King of France and raise forces so that Turks would not oppress Christians. The Diet asked for help in a “Christian Reformation” and a new Diet until a “general free Christian Council of the German Nation could meet.”1 Charles promised not to persecute or attack anyone for the sake of religion. The Diet pledged that the Imperial Chamber Court which met in Speyer would stop prosecuting those adhering to the Augsburg Confession. Charles and his army had entered Luxembourg on June 6, and they gathered at Metz with 3,000 Italian soldiers and 4,000 German cavalry. German princes commanded 16,000 infantry, and about 6,500 Spanish troops arrived from the Netherlands. The entire army had more than 40,000 men.
Charles and the army left Metz on July 6, 1544, and after a siege the town of St. Dizier capitulated on August 17. He ordered the Elector of Cologne to dismiss Martin Bucer and Caspar Hedio. The Emperor crossed the frontier of Gelderland, and Roermond capitulated on September 2. The young Duke of Cleves submitted and was allowed to keep his lands, and later after divorcing his French wife he married Ferdinand’s daughter. François attacked Cleves and invaded Luxembourg, but he avoided a battle against Charles at Landrecy. Charles captured Cambrai and garrisoned a citadel. The Emperor persuaded Prince Maurice to mediate between the Duke of Brunswick and the Schmalkaldic League. Charles negotiated without the English the Peace of Crépy on September 18, 1544 as François once again renounced his claim to the Low Countries and Naples while promising to provide 10,000 soldiers and 600 heavy cavalry to fight the Turks. In the secret portion of the treaty François agreed to help the Emperor reform abuses in the Church and attend a council at Trent, Cambrai, or Metz.
On November 19, 1544 Pope Paul III set a date for a council to meet at Trent within four months; but the Diet at Worms scheduled for December did not really begin until Ferdinand arrived on March 24, 1545. Charles showed up on May 16. On June 17 Pope Paul III at the Vatican offered 100,000 ducats more for an army of 12,000 infantry and 500 cavalry, and he granted Charles 500,000 ducats based on Church lands in Spain with an equal amount of revenues. Prince Felipe wrote to his father Charles complaining that people were being reduced to such poverty that many “walk naked.”
On August 4, 1545 Charles summoned a religious conference to convene at Regensburg on November 20. They argued over a treaty draft but could not agree. The Council of Trent began on December 13, and the Regensburg colloquy met from January 27, 1546 to March 10 but was unable to achieve consensus. The Diet of Regensburg met on June 5. Charles made a treaty with Bavaria on the 7th and with Duke Moritz of Saxony on June 18. Charles sent a letter to his sister Mary instructing her how to mobilize the forces of the Netherlands with 10,000 men including 3,000 cavalry, 200 arquebusiers, and 300 nobles to strengthen his bodyguard. On July 4 Ferdinand’s daughter Anne of Austria married Duke Albrecht V of Bavaria.
The Catholic Emperor Charles V was prepared to fight the Schmalkaldic League of the Protestant estates. The imperial troops joined with the papal forces at Landshut on August 13, 1546, and the next day the League formally challenged Charles. On August 31 the Protestants bombarded the imperial camp. Maximilian of Buren joined forces with Charles on September 15 near Ingolstadt. They avoided a major battle, and on October 18 Cardinal Farnese left with thousands of Italians because of the coming winter. The imperial army suffered disease and was reduced by half. Yet Charles managed to become the master of southern Germany. Charles suffered from gout because of his large meals of meat at midday and drinking much iced beer at odd times.
The imperial army defeated the Schmalkaldic League in the battle at Mühlberg on April 24, 1547. Johan Friedrich I was captured, and he signed the capitulation of Wittenberg on May 19. Charles invested Moritz of Saxony with Electoral lands on June 4. Philip of Hesse submitted to the Emperor on June 20, and Charles took him and Johan Friedrich with him as prisoners to the Diet at Augsburg which began on September 1. There on October 18 Charles proclaimed that the council should meet again at Trent, and he published an Interim Declaration on May 15, 1548. This was quickly rejected by the captive Johan Friedrich and then by most other Protestants, but it allowed Protestant clergy to marry and the laity to receive bread and wine in communion. Felipe visited his father Charles at Brussels in April 1549 and was designated the heir of the Low Countries. Charles promulgated the Pragmatic Sanction that organized the Netherlands into seventeen provinces under his rule. On April 29, 1550 Felipe’s “Edict of Blood” banned the teaching or dissemination of subversive literature, and the Inquisition imposed severe punishments on Protestants.
Charles V stayed in Brussels and the Low Countries until he went back to Germany in June 1550. That year 17 Spanish ships brought him three million ducats in gold and silver from America. He published his last edict on the suppression of heresy that authorized burning, burying, and beheading as punishments, and informers were promised half the confiscated estate of the heretic. At first a lawyer from the council of Brabant was given authority, but the indignant Dutch forced him to flee for his life. Then they chose four secular clergy as public officers. A previous law prevented any inquisitor from pronouncing a sentence without the sanction of a provincial council member. Many believed that during the reign of Charles V some 50,000 people were executed for religious opinions, and Grotius wrote that it was 100,000. Charles managed to withdraw 24 million ducats from the Netherlands which had only three bishops in Arras, Tournay, and Utrecht.
The Protestant Moritz of Saxony led the imperial army, but he began corresponding with the Lutheran leaders opposing them. He betrayed the imperial cause by besieging Magdeburg in 1550-51 in order to exhaust the Emperor’s resources. In August 1551 Charles ordered his Spanish and Italian troops to withdraw from Württemburg. The French captured fifteen Spanish vessels off the coast of Italy, and the imperial army seized all French ships in the Netherlands. Troops assembled in Gascony, and the Duke of Guise led 30,000 men and 7,000 horses across the frontiers of Bar and Burgundy. In 1551 Charles borrowed four million ducats for his war against France.
At Chambord on January 15, 1552 France’s King Henri II and three Protestant princes led by Moritz of Saxony formed an alliance against Charles V, and they drove the imperial forces out of Germany. Henri captured Toul and Metz on April 10. Nine days later Charles had to retreat from Innsbruck, and Moritz drove back the imperial troops and entered that city on May 19. Charles fled across the Alps in Carniola to Styria and then to Villach in Carinthia, and Anton Fugger loaned him 400,000 ducats in June. In Italy citizens of Siena expelled the imperials on July 26, and imperial forces led by Cosimo de Medici did not retake the city until April 21, 1555. On August 1, 1552 Charles guaranteed religious freedom to Lutherans in the treaty of Passau. On November 10 Albrecht II Alcibiades left the imperial side with 15,000 men. Charles besieged Metz with 35,000 men on October 19 but withdrew on January 1, 1553 and went back to Brussels. He wanted to annul the treaty of Passau, but Ferdinand confirmed his acceptance of it on December 29, 1553. Charles had failed in his attempt to impose the Inquisition on Naples in 1547, and on July 25, 1554 he made Felipe King of Naples. That year the expenses of Charles were over 4.3 million ducats, driving the interest he had to pay up as high as 43%.
On September 25, 1555 Emperor Charles V and the Schmalkaldic League made peace at Augsburg, ending the religious conflict in the empire between the Catholics and Lutherans while failing to protect Calvinists and Anabaptists. On October 22 Charles resigned from his Order of the Golden Fleece, and three days later at Brussels he abdicated his sovereignty over the Netherlands in favor of his son Felipe. Because of the wars all the states in the Empire of Charles had accumulated large debts. On January 16, 1556 he abdicated his rule over Castile, Aragon, Sicily, and the American colonies, transferring them to Felipe too. Charles signed a truce with Henri II of France on February 5. He hoped that his son Ferdinand would succeed him as Emperor, and in early August he gave his imperial throne to his brother. The Electors eventually ratified this on May 3, 1558. Charles returned to Valladolid and received there his youngest daughter Juana who was acting as regent of Spain for Felipe. During the forty-year reign of Charles real wages in Spain had decreased about 20%. During the 1550s the debt to the financiers of Antwerp owed by Charles V and his son Felipe II rose from £500,000 to £5,000,000.
Meanwhile the Duke of Alba was assigned to govern Milan in 1555 and was made Viceroy of Naples in 1556. On February 2, 1557 Charles retired to the Hieronymite monastery at Yuste in Estremadura but raised hundreds of thousands of ducats for his son. In the last codicil to his will he urged his son Felipe to prosecute every heretic in his dominions and to use the Inquisition to do this. Charles V had another recurrence of severe gout and died of malaria on September 21, 1558.
Felipe (Philip) II became King of Spain on January 16, 1556. He was born on May 27, 1527 and had been tutored by Juan Martinez de Sileceo and was taught Latin and Greek by Cristobal Calvete de Estrella, mathematics and architecture by Honoratio Juan, and history by Juan Ginés de Sepulveda. Castile’s Mayor Juan de Zuñiga was assigned to govern his morals and behavior. Felipe had difficulty with arithmetic and understanding financial accounts. He knew Castilian and learned a little Latin. He studied the Bible, classics such as Aesop’s Fables, and humanists including many works by Erasmus. Felipe became Duke of Milan in 1540 and Regent of Spain in May 1543. On November 12 he married his cousin Maria Manuela of Portugal. She gave birth to the deformed Don Carlos on July 8, 1545 and died four days later. The Cortes blamed his father Charles for the costly wars, and Felipe complained that the increasing taxes were causing misery.
Charles V summoned his son to the Low Countries in 1548. Felipe visited Genoa and Milan where he gave the governor’s wife a diamond ring and her daughter a necklace of rubies. He crossed the Tyrol and traveled through Germany and met his father and Queen-regent Mary at Brussels in April 1549, and they toured the provinces of the Netherlands. At a tournament in Brussels the four knights Felipe, the Duke of Savoy, Count Lamoral van Egmont, and the Emperor’s majordomo Juan Manriquez de Lara faced challengers, and in a joust against Zuñiga’s son Felipe was hit in the head and knocked unconscious. Like his father, Felipe ate mostly meat and suffered from gout (acute arthritis).
Felipe returned to Spain in July 1551 and resided at Valladolid. The war crisis of 1552 caused Felipe to grant Spaniards allocations of Indian labor in exchange for money, and he approved new contracts for the African slave trade. On July 19, 1553 Mary Tudor, the Catholic cousin of Charles, became Queen of England. In September they sent her a portrait of Felipe by Titian, and the Spanish ambassador Simon Renard gave gold crowns and chains to members of her Council to help court her. She could speak Latin, Castilian Spanish, and French fluently. Felipe came and promised he would not claim the right to govern England if she died nor would he entangle England in his wars against France. Announcement of the marriage treaty on July 14 was met with popular discontent. Charles invested his virtuous daughter Juana as Regent of Spain, and she was liberal in benefitting convents and colleges.
Felipe married Mary Tudor on July 25, 1554 at Winchester and became King of England, but he did not interfere in the government and gave pensions with Peruvian gold. He practiced his Catholic religion, and Mary’s attempt to convert reformed England soon led to persecution. In November she told Parliament that she was pregnant, but this turned out to be a health problem. Felipe did not care much for her or England and went to the Netherlands in September 1555. Charles transferred the Netherlands to Felipe on October 25.
After Felipe II became King of Spain in January 1556, he agreed to a five-year truce with Henri II of France on February 5. Charles turned over La Franche-Comté de Bourgogne to Felipe in April. The French broke the truce in December when Duke François of Guise invaded Italy with 12,000 infantry, 400 men-at-arms, and 800 light cavalry. Felipe raised an army of 35,000 infantry and 12,000 cavalry in Flanders to be commanded by Emanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy. The Spanish and Netherlands governments declared bankruptcy on January 1, 1557, using force to reduce the interest payments on their debts to 5%. Felipe returned to England in March. The imperial army led by the Duke of Alba defeated the French at Saint-Quentin on August 10, and the Duke de Guise was ordered to take the French army back to France. The peace treaty was announced on September 14. Felipe won over Duke Cosimo de’ Medici by ceding him Siena, and he was succeeded by Francesco (r. 1574-87) who helped Felipe get loans from his brother Pietro de’ Medici.
The new 79-year-old Pope Paul IV opposed the Hapsburgs, and he proclaimed that Felipe II was no longer King of Naples. Alba led 12,000 Spanish soldiers to Rome, defeated the papal troops, and entered the city on September 27. The French besieged the English at Calais on the last day of 1557, and it capitulated on January 6, 1558. They attacked Luxembourg in April, but the imperial army led by Count Egmont aided by the English fleet defeated the French at Gravelines on July 13. Felipe II presided over the States General at Arras in 1557 and at Valenciennes in 1558. On May 3 they voted him an annual grant of 800,000 guilders for nine years but imposed restrictions. Felipe claimed the Imperial Vicariate in Italy in July. He decreed that anyone who bought, sold, or read banned works was to be burned to death, and the accuser was to receive a quarter of the confiscated property. During his reign he also alienated Italians by appointing mostly Spaniards to govern Sicily, Naples, and Milan.
Archbishop Fernando Valdés of Seville was Inquisitor General 1547-66, and 800 people were arrested in Seville on November 1, 1557 including Juan Ponce de Leon for bringing in books from Geneva. The first auto de fé (act of faith) was held on May 21, 1559 at Valladolid where 200,000 people saw ten heretics strangled and two burned to death. Felipe attended the second auto de fé on October 8 when twelve including four nuns were burned to death for being Protestants. Seville also held two autos in which 29 were burned to death. More persecutions followed in Granada, Toledo, Barcelona, and seven other capitals. Penitents were absolved but still might spend the rest of their lives in prison or as galley slaves in the imperial ships. The government took two-thirds of the fines and confiscations. Between 1559 and 1566 more than a hundred people were put to death in Spain by the Inquisition. Queen Mary Tudor had three times as many killed in England and Henri II twice as many in France. Ten times as many died in the Netherlands but that was because of Spanish persecution. Many Spanish reformers took refuge in other countries, and most of those executed in Spain were foreigners.
On September 7, 1558 Felipe’s daughter Juana acting as Regent decreed that foreign books could no longer be imported into Castile and Leon and that all books printed in Spain now had to be licensed by the Council of Castile. The Inquisition had devised the first Spanish Index in 1545 and another in 1551. On August 17, 1559 Inquisitor General Fernando de Valdes created an augmented Spanish Index that banned 670 works, though only 170 were in Castilian. Even the Handbook of the Militant Christian and thirteen other works in Spanish by Erasmus were banned. On September 13 what was called the “Law of Blood” made importing books in the vernacular without a special license a capital crime.
The Florentine Carlos de Seso was the most prominent Lutheran, and after fifteen months in prison he was burned at the stake next to the Dominican monk Domingo de Roxas who was gagged when he tried to raise his voice. Dr. Agustin de Cazalla, a canon from Salamanca, was also executed. Archbishop Bartolomé Carranza of Toledo and eight other bishops were compelled to perform humiliating penance. The Dominican Carranza had argued effectively against the Protestants but assented to justification by faith. He was responsible for having the Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer burned at the stake on March 21, 1556. After being arrested in 1559 Carranza spent nearly eight years in prison. He appealed to Rome and was confined in the castle of St. Angelo for ten years. He had to abjure sixteen “highly suspect” propositions from his books. In 1576 he was sentenced to five years reclusion, but he died two months later.
Queen Mary Tudor of England died on November 17, 1558, and Felipe learned the news in Brussels. He ordered his ambassador Feria to offer marriage to her sister Elizabeth, but she declined to become a Roman Catholic. The Council of Aragon had been responsible for Felipe’s lands in Italy, but in 1558 he created the Council of Italy to advise him. Riots broke out in Aragon, and provinces in the Low Countries refused to fund Felipe. Yet he provided money and men to defend the Hapsburg provinces of Styria, Carinthia, and Hungary. In July 1559 Felipe ordered all Spaniards to leave the University of Louvain within four months and to report to the Inquisition when they returned to Spain. Then on November 22 he banned all Spaniards from studying in foreign universities.
Spain made a treaty with England on April 2, 1559 and with France the next day at Cateau-Cambresis. Felipe II married Henri II’s daughter Elisabeth, and the Duke of Savoy wed Henri’s sister Margaret of Berry. Felipe in September returned to Spain where Elisabeth was known as Queen Isabel de la Paz. His far-flung states such as Sicily, Naples, Milan, and the Netherlands were unwilling to contribute imperial defense unless their own interests were involved. The Council of Italy was also advising him by 1559. All 39 councilors he appointed were lawyers, and only one of the eight council presidents he appointed was not a lawyer.
Margherita of Parma, the illegitimate daughter of Charles V, was raised by Queen Mary of Hungary and was duchess 1547-86. She came to Brussels in June 1559, and Felipe presided over the last chapter meeting of the Golden Fleece. He still had about 3,500 soldiers occupying Flanders. The Flemings petitioned to have them removed and asked that their national privileges be respected. To fulfill the Cateau-Cambresis treaty Willem the Silent of Orange had been a hostage at the court of Henri II who told him of a secret treaty he made with the King of Spain to eliminate heresy in his dominions. Willem communicated this to his friends in the Netherlands.
Felipe addressed the States General of the Low Countries through Bishop Granvelle of Arras. They insisted foreign troops be removed because they violated their constitution. This Granvelle was the son of Spain’s chancellor and could dictate to five secretaries in different languages. He became Bishop of Arras in 1547, and Pope Pius IV made him a cardinal in 1561. Felipe appointed Count Egmont to govern Flanders and Artois, and he made Prince Willem of Orange the Stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland, and Utrecht. Both of Willem’s parents were Lutherans and taught him that faith. He became a page at court, and at age 22 in 1555 he was put in command of the imperial armies. Felipe left the Netherlands on August 20, 1559 and never returned. On May 12 the papal bull Super Universas established three new ecclesiastical provinces with Utrecht as the metropolitan see for the north and Malines for Brabant and Flanders. The bull also authorized Felipe to establish fourteen new bishoprics in the Netherlands in 1561. Many of the Dutch resented these because they were afraid of the Inquisition.
Turks had been attacking the western empire since 1551, and in 1560 the Knights of Malta persuaded Felipe II to launch a campaign to recover Tripoli with a Holy League that included Venice, Genoa, the Papal States, and Savoy. On March 12 they captured the island of Djerba, and Duke Juan de la Cerda of Medinaceli built a naval base there. On May 11 the Ottoman fleet of 120 ships defeated the Christians who lost 60 ships and about 10,000 men with 5,000 captives taken to Istanbul. Another 25 ships were sunk in 1562 in a fall storm off Malaga. The Cortes funded replacing the ships, and by the time Don Garcia de Toledo became admiral in 1564 they had 90 galleys at sea. The Turks attacked Oran in 1563.
In 1561 Felipe II decreed that Madrid was the home of his centralized government, and the town of 12,000 people increased to 300,000 by the end of his reign. After getting advice in writing he made his decisions in writing, and all government orders required his signature. The humble Francisco de Erasso was secretary to six of the central councils from 1559 to 1565 when he was fined 13,000 ducats for fraud. In 1563 Felipe tried to impose the Inquisition on Milan; but they protested so much that even Pope Pius IV and the Council of Trent supported the outraged citizens, and the King yielded. On April 23 Felipe had the cornerstone laid for his monastic palace of El Escorial, and it was completed in 1584. The priest Diego de Espinosa became president of the Inquisition Council in 1564 and of the Council of Castile the next year; he was most influential until his death in 1572. In April 1573 his former secretary Mateo Vazquez complained that Felipe had to do so much reading and writing, and he served as the King’s private secretary for the next eighteen years. The American colonies had about twenty printing presses, but most of the books printed there were written in Spain. Many of the nobles and literary figures in Italy and the Netherlands read and wrote in Spanish.
Felipe made sure there were enough judges, and he was dedicated to justice without favoring the wealthy. Anyone who opposed his officers in the conduct of their duty was to be punished severely. Many convicted criminals were sentenced to slave labor in the galleys; but captains often failed to free them when their sentence was completed. So Felipe ordered that convicts serve only in his galleys where viceroys were to make sure their captains freed them at the proper time. As naval wars against the Turks increased the need for more galley slaves, they added offenses for which men could be enslaved in the galleys.
Willem of Orange invited provincial governors to meet in his home in May 1562, and they discussed how to resist Spanish oppression. They sent Floris van Montmorency, Baron of Montigny, who reached Felipe in Spain in June. He returned and reported to them in December that Felipe wanted to exterminate heresy. Protestants in the Netherlands began defying edicts, and they rescued prisoners from a fortress. Margherita of Parma levied 3,000 troops. On March 11, 1563 the Willem of Orange, Count Egmont, and the admiral Count Hoorne wrote a letter for a coalition to Felipe demanding that he remove Cardinal Granvelle. Felipe’s reply written on June 6 did not satisfy them. The nobles wrote again on July 29 resolving not to attend the Council of State, and the coalition remonstrated to Regent Margherita and proposed a meeting of the States General to find a solution. She consulted less with Granvelle and more with his opponents, and she sent a letter to Felipe on August 12 with her secretary Armenteros warning that to maintain Granvelle would risk an insurrection. Felipe consulted with the Duke of Alba and wrote back that some of the opponents “deserve to lose their heads.” The King sent a letter to Granvelle on December 14, ordering him to leave the Low Countries for a while, and he left on March 13, 1564 and went to Besançon to the great joy of the Flemings.
On January 26, 1564 Pope Pius IV ratified the decrees of the Council of Trent, but Felipe II refused to give up his royal rights and privileges and published them with a proviso. Diego Hurtado de Mendoza was Viceroy of Catalonia from 1564 to 1571, and he made sure that the Pyrenees mountains were a barrier that kept heretics out of Spain.
Count Egmont was sent to Spain in February 1565 to try to persuade Felipe II to authorize a more moderate policy toward heretics in the Low Countries. He consulted Margherita of Parma and agreed to form a committee of experts to discuss the issue, but he opposed stopping the punishment. On April 4 Felipe confirmed Egmont’s titles to two towns of Brabant, and he was given an honorarium by the province of Flanders. Egmont went back to Brussels and told his colleagues that Felipe would not come there yet but that the heresy laws would be relaxed and that the Council of State would be supreme. However, on May 13 Felipe ordered that six repentant Anabaptists be burned to death. People insulted the inquisitors, and executions were carried out secretly in prisons. In July the committee recommended exile for repentant heretics, but Felipe still insisted on capital punishment. In October he commanded Granvelle to move to Rome and issued letters from the Segovia woods that confirmed the Inquisition in the Netherlands. Meetings were held to oppose this; tracts were written, and thousands were printed.
The Knights Hospitaller of St. John had been expelled from the island of Rhodes in 1522. In 1530 Charles V offered them the island of Malta and Tripoli, and they claimed it on October 26. He also gave them Tripoli, but they were driven from there in 1551. Tripoli’s former governor, Jean Parisot de la Valette, became Grand Master of the Knights in 1557 and converted the Grand Harbor to a strong fortress. On May 18, 1565 about 35,000 Turks with 180 warships captured the St. Elmo fortress and besieged the Knights of Malta in the other two. On September 7 a relief force of 11,00 men led by Garcia de Toledo landed and forced the Turks to depart after they lost about 10,000 men to disease and combat. The Christians lost about 2,500 soldiers, 7,000 civilians, and 500 slaves. Also in the winter of 1565 Turkish corsairs from Tetuan attacked the Spanish troops on Orgiba and went inland to carry off several hundred Moriscos in their ships. The same year conquistador Miguel de Legazpi established a base at Cebu in the Philippines that was named after Felipe II. In 1566 Felipe ordered a comprehensive geographic survey of Spain.
In December 1565 the nobles petitioned to abolish the Inquisition and obtained four hundred signatures on their “Compromise of the Nobility,” and this was translated into several languages as “The League of the Nobles of Flanders against the Spanish Inquisition.” On January 24, 1566 Willem of Orange wrote to Regent Margherita why he would not comply with royal orders, and several provincial governors declared they could not stand by while 50,000 of their countrymen were burned to death for religious beliefs. Rumors spread that Felipe was bringing a large army. On April 5 Willem of Orange and Count Hoorne presented the petition and told Margherita they would lay down their lives for their country, but they would not fight for the royal edicts or the Inquisition. Duke Erik of Brunswick levied troops on the German borders for Flanders. In June the Queen-mother Catherine de Medici of France met with her daughter Isabel of Spain, and the Dutch worried that the French would crush their liberties. Thirty thousand Protestants took refuge in England.
On April 3 Viscount Hendrik of Brederode and Louis of Nassau led 200 armed confederates into Brussels for a meeting where they took oaths to their league before presenting a petition to the Regent two days later demanding the abolition of the edicts and Inquisition. At a banquet of 300 confederates Brederode jested they had become “beggars for the service of their king and country.” They shouted, “Vivent les Gueux!” which means “Long live the Beggars!” This became the name of those who opposed the Spanish government and the Roman Catholic religion, and Brederode led a large group to Antwerp. The Council of State sent Montigny again to Spain to try to avoid war, and on June 17 he asked King Felipe to summon a States General.
In the Low Countries people began preaching Protestant doctrines to large crowds. There were many more Anabaptists than Lutherans, but the largest denomination was the Calvinists who had headquarters in Flanders, Hainault, and Artois as well as in Geneva. Most discourses were in Fleming or French. The preaching spread from Ghent to Ypres and other towns in Flanders to Holland and Zeeland but found the largest crowds in the commercial city of Antwerp. The Prince of Orange was the burgrave of Antwerp, and Margherita sent him to restore peace. He persuaded the Calvinists to put aside their weapons, and she ordered foreigners except merchants to leave Antwerp.
On July 28, 1566 Count Louis of Nassau led twelve deputies of Brussels to remonstrate with Margherita. People also met and asked the league to secure them freedom of religion. Louis subsidized a force of 4,000 cavalry and 40 companies of infantry in Germany with the help of his older brother Willem of Orange. On July 31 Margherita wrote her brother Felipe, asking him to come or at least summon the States General. On the same day he wrote to her from the Segovia woods that he would replace the Inquisition with inquisitorial powers vested in bishops, but the nobles must abandon the league and support his government. He protested to the Duke of Alba that he had been forced to give the Regent authority for a general pardon and that he would punish those promoting sedition in the Low Countries.
On August 14 the Walloons in St. Omer began breaking into churches and defacing their ornaments. At Ypres they pillaged the cathedral. The uprising was called the “Iconoclastic Riots” and extended to Brabant. On August 20 in Antwerp a mob desecrated thirty churches and the cathedral over three days. The unrest spread to Holland, Utrecht, Delft, Leyden, Amsterdam, Haarlem, Friesland, and in Groningen on the German border. Fanatics burned down the great library of Vicogne, and 400 churches were sacked in Flanders.
About 25,000 people in arms prepared to march to Brussels to seize the Regent if she would not comply with their demands. Margherita had kept the capital calmer by threatening to hang any preacher and his listeners. She called a meeting of the knights of the Golden Fleece and the Council of State and wrote to her brother Felipe that they must abolish the Inquisition in the Low Countries. Count Egmont announced that if she fled to Mons, he would lead 40,000 men to besiege the town. On August 23 Margherita proclaimed that she would not punish members of the league, and she authorized religious meetings of the Reformed if they would attend without arms. Two days later the confederate nobles agreed they would aid her in suppressing the revolt. Prince Willem went to Antwerp, investigated, and had three rebel leaders hanged and three others banished. The reformers had seized all the churches, and he negotiated that they could keep six of them. Margherita objected and ordered the Prince to revoke his concessions. Willem went to Utrecht and Holland and restored order there too.
Felipe authorized Margherita of Parma to raise 13,000 soldiers in Germany, and in September 1566 a fleet from America brought 1,500,000 ducats in silver bullion to Seville. Felipe ordered the mobilization of 60,000 infantry and 12,000 cavalry and appointed the Duke of Alba to command. Willem of Orange, Count Egmont, Count Hoorne, and Louis of Nassau met with other nobles on October 3; but Egmont opposed fighting the forces of Felipe, and so they could not agree. Margherita ordered Governor Philip de Noircarmes of Hainault to put a garrison in the commercial city of Valenciennes, but the preacher La Grange urged them to resist. Margherita declared a rebellion and confiscated their property. Merchants raised money to levy troops from Germany, and a revolt began. Willem of Orange had the city gates locked. Marnix of Toulouse led 2,000 soldiers who killed 1,500 people. Willem negotiated a treaty that included no garrison in the city.
On March 13, 1567 Calvinists rose up in Antwerp. Valenciennes was blockaded until the royalist army entered it in April; La Grange and 35 others were sentenced to be hanged. Maestricht, Turnhout, Ghent, Ypres, Oudenardé, and other towns had also resisted a garrison, but now they surrendered. Only Antwerp and part of Holland held out. Willem advised Calvinist preachers to leave Antwerp, and on April 28 he wrote to Margherita that he would not take the oath she demanded. Then he left for Germany. The Spaniards crushed the rebels at Oosterweel. Regent Margherita complained in a letter to Felipe in April that she had been deprived of power and wanted to resign. Six weeks later he replied that he intended to increase her power. Antwerp was occupied, and four leaders were executed. Margherita went to Antwerp and on May 24 decreed severe penalties for heresy and rebellion, but she allowed those who did not riot to emigrate. The capitulation of Amsterdam to the Regent’s troops was followed by other towns in Holland. The government seized the property of a hundred rich merchants in Tournay. In a few weeks about 20,000 people left the country.
On March 18, 1567 the Cortes granted Felipe II 400,000 ducats in addition to the subsidy of 800,000 for three years. That year Pope Pius V issued a bull against bullfighting, but Felipe, fearing a revolution, ignored the edict in Spain. Cardinal Espinosa was Grand Inquisitor and President of the Council, and he and the Duke of Alba advised quelling the revolt in the Low Countries. Felipe II appointed Alba captain-general there, and he decided they needed only 10,000 Spanish veterans in Italy who reached Brussels in August. Alba created a new tribunal to punish rebels, the Council of Troubles, which came to be known as the “Council of Blood.” Juan de Vargas was let off for crimes in Spain and become most loyal to Alba. For his sake the court was conducted in Latin. Anyone who had participated in the rebellion was imprisoned. Netherlands law required that citizens be tried by native judges, but this court had one man from Burgundy and two from Spain. Alba kept the tribunal secret without even a written commission.
On September 8 Margherita resigned, and the next day Count Egmont and many political enemies were arrested. On October 24 Alba wrote to Felipe that the Low Countries should maintain themselves with no taxes from Spain. Margherita clashed with Alba and asked her brother to grant a general pardon. The Duke of Alba objected and confiscated as much property as he could. On November 12 Vargas and Del Rio went to Ghent to begin interrogating the Catholic Egmont for five days and found him guilty of treason. They also brought 63 charges against Count Hoorne.
Willem of Orange was summoned to appear before the Council of Troubles at Brussels within six weeks. His son, the Count of Buren, was studying at Louvain and was taken from the university and sent to Spain. Willem published his “Justification” and was supported in Germany by the Elector of Saxony and Wilhelm of Hesse, and dissidents came to him at Dillenburg. Margherita began to intercede for the people and objected to the garrison in Brussels. Machiavelli came back from Spain and told her she was no longer regent. Alba became Regent and governor-general, and he would not let her call the States General. She left Brussels at the end of December, joining her husband in Parma before being granted Naples.
Executions began on January 4, 1568 when 84 notables were hanged at Valenciennes. In February the Council convicted 37 of capital crimes, and 35 more were condemned on March 20. That month many more were arrested including 500 on Ash Wednesday. Some were tortured on the rack in prison so they would confess and accuse others. Almost all offenses were related to religion, and the most painful execution by burning was for more religious crimes. Only 18 of 147 summoned in Ghent went to Brussels, and they were all convicted and executed. Those calling themselves “savage beggars” took refuge in the forests of West Flanders. On March 2 Emperor Maximilian II wrote a letter to Felipe II on behalf of his subjects in the Netherlands under the constitutions of the empire. Felipe replied that he was defending the Catholic faith and that he would risk the sovereignty of the Netherlands even though “the world should fall in ruins around me!”
Willem of Orange needed 600,000 florins to raise an adequate force and appealed to German princes. A large force was raised by the end of April 1568. He led four armies of exiles into the Netherlands with his sons Louis and Adolf of Nassau and Hoogstraten supported by French, English, and German mercenaries. On May 23 the patriots won a victory at Heiligerlee, killing, wounding or capturing nearly 2,000 Spaniards while suffering only 50 casualties. Five days later the Council condemned Willem and his noble companions, and their estates were confiscated. Felipe II mobilized 70,000 men in the Netherlands, and they defeated and expelled the resistance by the end of the year. Of the 18,000 people tried by the Tribunal of Troubles records indicate that about 1,100 were executed while about 9,000 had property confiscated. Prisoners were brought to Brussels, and 25 were executed in the first three days of June. Egmont and Hoorne were beheaded on June 5. Felipe kept Montigny in Spain where he was eventually hanged secretly on October 14, 1570. Willem of Orange crossed the Maas at Stokken on October 5, 1568; but no city rose up because of the iconoclastic excess of 1566. In December 1568 the English seized four ships carrying £85,000 in Genoese money for the Duke of Alba, making the economic condition of the Netherlands worse.
Felipe’s son Carlos was born deformed on July 8, 1545, and his mother Maria Manuela of Portugal died a month later. His ancestors were so inbred that he had only six great great grandparents instead of sixteen. Juana the Mad was the great grandmother of both his parents. In 1560 he was recognized as the royal heir in Spain. In 1562 while pursuing a girl he fell down stairs and suffered severe head injuries, but his life was saved by the famous physician Vesalius who served the imperial court. His behavior became wild, and he said he wanted to kill his father. Felipe had him arrested on January 18, 1568. After suffering indigestion and illness he died on July 24. Black legends were made up by Spain’s enemies, and he was portrayed as a supporter of Dutch liberation in Schiller’s drama Don Carlos and Verdi’s opera.
On March 20 1569 the States General met for only one day as Alba proposed several new taxes; but the States General only imposed a one-percent tax on all property. They offered to grant him four million florins over the next four years, and he accepted. Felipe II was concerned about Huguenots in Catalonia, and the committee in the Cortes refused to pay the excusado tax to Felipe. On July 19, 1569 Hurtado de Mendoza imprisoned the Deputies and other officials even though he did not believe they were heretics; but on March 5, 1570 Felipe recognized the charges were false, and they were released.
After his father’s death Felipe had learned that Charles V had an illegitimate son named Johann of Austria who was born in Regensburg in February 1547. Felipe II made him captain-general of the Mediterranean fleet in 1568 and supreme commander of the forces fighting the Moriscos in 1569.
During the reign of Felipe II about 40,000 people were executed for heresy and sexual crimes. After the auto da fé of 1570 the Lutherans were rarely persecuted as the Inquisition turned back to the Jews and Moriscos who were Muslims in Spain forced to convert to Christianity or depart. Aragon still had about 200,000 Moriscos, and Granada had 150,000 Moriscos and 125,000 Christians. In 1563 all the Moriscos were ordered disarmed, and in the next seven years 368 were condemned in Granada. In 1564 Moors were denied the right of asylum in their lords’ villages or churches. Archbishop Pedro Guerrero complained to Pope Pius IV that the new Christian Moriscos were really “infidels” and only pretended to conform with Christian rites. On January 1, 1567 a royal proclamation in Arabic and Castilian ordered all Moriscos to abandon their traditional customs including dress and language as well as religious practices by the end of the year.
On Christmas Day in 182 Moorish villages about 4,000 men began a revolt in Granada that grew to 30,000. They elected Aben Humeya (Fernando de Valor) their king and killed 6,000 Christians in six days. However, wealthy Moors did not join, and the attempt to take over the city of Granada failed. The Christian army led by Mondéjar recaptured all the villages by March 1569, and 3,500 Moriscos were expelled in June from the city of Granada and were dispersed in La Mancha. King Olj Ali Pasha of Algeria sent arms to the rebels still in the hills and attacked the Spanish coast. On October 19 Felipe published an edict that the remaining Moriscos in Granada should leave so as not to communicate with their brothers in the mountains. In January 1570 Algerian forces seized Tunis. On February 24, 1571 Felipe decreed that all Moriscos must leave the kingdom of Granada where the Spaniards had built 84 forts. Those reconciled received compensation for their estates, but the rebels had theirs confiscated. About 80,000 refugees were relocated throughout Castile by 1571, but about 20,000 of them died. In March the Council for the Repopulation of Granada began distributing the Moriscos’ property to the 60,000 Christians resettling in 259 communities of Granada.
In 1570 Felipe II supported the conspiracy led by Roberto Ridolfi that tried to place the Catholic Queen Mary Stuart of Scotland on the English throne, and the Duke of Alba was ordered to send 10,000 soldiers from the Netherlands to England; but they never went because the leading conspirators were arrested in September 1571.
In May 1571 Pope Pius V organized the Holy League of Spain, Venice, Genoa, the Papal States, and some Italian duchies. Spain was given a subsidy by the clergy of 500,000 ducats a year and would pay half the expenses. Venice contributed one-third and the Pope one-sixth. Felipe II was allowed to name his son Johann of Austria as the commander-in-chief. In the naval battle of Lepanto on October 7 the Christians with 208 better equipped galleys defeated the 230 vessels of the Turks in the Gulf of Corinth while losing 17 ships, 8,000 killed, and 21,000 wounded. They sank 50 ships, captured 137, and freed about 15,000 galley-slaves as about 30,000 Turks were killed or wounded, and 3,000 were captured. Castile spent 800,000 ducats on the Lepanto campaign and Spanish Italy another 400,000.
Between 1568 and 1572 Felipe supervised the printing of the Polyglot Bible in eight volumes with translations in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Jerome’s Vulgate Latin, and modern Latin.
In 1572 Spain provided one hundred manned galleys in the Mediterranean Sea for the Holy League, and Felipe had 60,000 men in the Netherlands with an armada of fifty ships carrying 1,200 soldiers, costing Spain more than 6,000,000 ducats. During 1571-73 Felipe’s annual revenue was 5,500,000 ducats, and his military expenditures were more than half that. From 1571 to 1577 Castile spent 7,063,000 ducats on the Mediterranean fleet and 11,692,000 on the army in Flanders.
On July 31, 1571 the Duke of Alba increased taxes again without the consent of the States General, but on June 26, 1572 Felipe annulled the levy of the Tenth Penny. In the previous six years more than 50,000 people had left the Netherlands, more than half to England and others to German principalities. Elizabeth ordered all the Dutch out of English ports by March 1, 1572. Willem of Orange’s Sea Beggars left England and on April 1 attacked Alba’s occupation, seizing the town of Brill in Zeeland and then capturing towns in Holland, Overyssel, and Gelderland. On May 24 Louis of Nassau and French Protestants captured Mons in Hainault. Within a few weeks the Dutch held all of Zeeland and Holland except Middleburg and Amsterdam. Zeeland and Holland elected Willem stadholder in July, and that month he went to Mons. By August much of northern Netherlands was rebelling. On August 24 France’s Charles IX stopped the Protestants from going there. Alba’s army led by his son Fadrique defeated Willem’s forces in September as Mons fell. Alba let his soldiers sack and massacre the city of Mechelen (Malines) during the first four days of October. In December the Spanish army attacked the rebels in Holland and Zeeland. In early 1573 Felipe replaced the Duke of Alba with Luis de Requesens as governor, but he did not reach Brussels until November. Meanwhile Fadrique’s forces besieged Haarlem which surrendered on July 12.
Johann of Austria reconquered Tunis on September 11, 1573. The next year a massive Turkish fleet of 250 ships or more and at least 40,000 men overwhelmed the presidio at La Goleta on August 24, killing 6,700 men while the remaining 300 were captured by September 3. In 1576 the Ottoman empire was extended into Morocco. One year after they invaded Persia in March 1577, Sultan Murad III agreed to a truce for two years in the Mediterranean. A formal armistice signed on March 21, 1580 was renewed twice and lasted until 1591.
In February 1574 the Spaniards lost their last stronghold in Zeeland at Middleburg. On June 5 Requesens proclaimed a general pardon. The financial adviser Juan de Ovando calculated that Felipe’s debts were 74 million ducats, and in July a secret committee recommended that they declare bankruptcy and convert the high-interest, short-term debt to low-interest, long-term obligations. Felipe summoned the Cortes of Castile again in November 1574, and they approved more than double the previous revenues.
Felipe admitted he did not understand the financial situation but decided they needed to make peace with the Turkish “infidels” and the “heretics” in the Netherlands. He prayed for a miracle. An army had defeated rebels in Germany at Mook on April 14, but the unpaid Spaniards mutinied. The Spanish army in the Netherlands cost 700,000 ducats a month; but by 1575 Spain’s debt was more than fifty million ducats. The Spanish treasury was broke, and on September 1 Felipe suspended payments on debts and declared bankruptcy. In 1575 three-fourths of the soldiers Felipe recruited were German.
Governor-general Requesens died on March 5, 1576, and a divided Council of State claimed authority. Spaniards besieged Zierikzee, and its fall on June 30 led to mutiny by unpaid soldiers who seized some towns and the citadel of Antwerp. The estates of Brabant began raising a militia, and on September 4 they removed the Spaniards from their Council of State. Felipe sent Johann of Austria and Escobedo to the Netherlands in October to restore royal authority. Some mutineers claimed they were owed six years’ pay, and they sacked Antwerp on November 4 as about 7,000 people were killed. On November 8 the States General made peace with Willem of Orange and the rebels and agreed to the Pacification of Ghent which required all foreign troops to withdraw and accept the religious status quo and toleration.
Johann of Austria agreed to the Pacification document on February 17, 1577 by signing the Eternal Edict with the States General. He was accepted as governor-general by all the provinces and entered Brussels in triumph on May 12. On July 24 he seized the citadel of Namur and called for the return of the army. He sent Escobedo back to Spain to urge Antonio Perez to prepare for an invasion of England. Johann of Austria alienated the Dutch, and Willem of Orange demanded that he send home the troops and retire to Luxembourg. Felipe sent two regiments to the Netherlands to protect his son. During the summer Antwerp surrendered to Willem, and the States General proclaimed sovereignty there and prohibited trade with Spain.
A fleet of 55 ships arrived at Seville from America on August 18 with more than two million ducats in bullion, enabling Felipe to borrow five million ducats in Italy to hire enough troops to defeat the States General in Gembloux in January 1578 by killing and capturing 6,000 of their 7,000-man army. The royal fifth of the minerals rights in America that went to Spain was averaging more than 1,600,000 ducats a year. Johann of Austria was deposed as governor on December 7, 1577. On May 18, 1578 Willem of Orange could not stop Calvinist agitators from seizing Ghent.
Gonzalo Perez was Felipe’s personal secretary for 25 years until his death in 1566. His illegitimate son Antonio Perez became secretary of state for southern Europe and worked with Felipe’s son Johann of Austria. In 1574 Antonio had Johann’s personal secretary replaced by his friend, Juan de Escobedo, who had been secretary to the Finance Council since 1566. Escobedo made personal demands, and Perez had assassins stab him to death on March 31, 1578. Many people wondered why the murderers were not punished. Felipe’s private secretary Mateo Vazquez accused Perez of the murder in December. When Felipe declined to act, Vazquez left the court in protest. Johann of Austria appointed Alexander Farnese, son of Margherita of Parma, to succeed him as governor-general in the Netherlands and died of typhus on October 1.
On March 30, 1579 Felipe II wrote to Cardinal Granvelle asking him to return to Spain and run the government. On July 9 Vazquez agreed to return if the King would protect him and not take advice from Perez and his friends. Granvelle arrived in Madrid on July 28, and that night Perez was arrested. An investigation of Perez did not begin until 1582, and in June 1584 he was charged with taking bribes and betraying state secrets. That year one of Escobedo’s murderers confessed and implicated Perez who was arrested and imprisoned in January 1585.
On January 6, 1579 the Walloon states of Artois, Hainault, and Douai formed the Arras Union, and in response on the 23rd the northern provinces founded the Union of Utrecht and declared their Protestant independence. They were soon joined by towns in Flanders and Brabant. The Conference of Cologne with six Catholics and four Protestants convinced Farnese that religion was the main issue, and on May 17 he signed a treaty with the Walloon and Catholic states of Hainault, Arras, and Flanders. The treaty at Arras recognized Felipe’s claim to Hainault and Artois and the exclusive Catholic religion in exchange for autonomous privileges and no foreigners in the government. Farnese withdrew his troops from the provinces agreeing to the Arras treaty and moved them to fight the resistance in Brabant and Flanders, attacking Ypres, Bruges, Ghent, and Brussels.
Egmont’s son Duke Philippe of Aarschot and other powerful nobles submitted to Felipe II, and in 1580 Count Rennenberg brought Friesland back. Felipe put a price of 25,000 crowns on the head of Willem of Orange in August 1580. That fall Willem wrote an Apology in which he accused Felipe II of various crimes, and in 1581 the propaganda pamphlet had several editions in French, Dutch, Latin, German, and English.
After 1580 Felipe II ruled over nine million people on the Iberian peninsula including 6.5 million in Castile and one million in Portugal. He also ruled over 5.5 million in Naples, Sicily, Milan, and Sardinia and about 3 million in his Burgundian lands, mostly in the seventeen provinces of the Netherlands. Treasure coming to Seville from America increased from 35 million ducats in the 1570s to 64 million in the 1580s.
On August 4, 1578 Felipe’s nephew Sebastian I of Portugal died childless in the battle of Alcazar-Kebir in Morocco. His heir Cardinal Henrique ruled Portugal and was celibate. He refused to name a successor and died on January 31, 1580. Three of the five governors wanted Felipe II to be king, and they summoned a Cortes to meet in May. Granvelle persuaded Felipe to mobilize troops in Castile on February 4. Felipe hoped to be formally recognized as king but did not leave Spain until after Easter. On May 27 he arrived at the frontier fortress at Badajoz where he reviewed his army of 20,000 infantry from Spain, Italy, and Germany, 1,500 cavalry, and 136 artillery guns. While the Cortes was moving to Setubal, Dom Antonio seized Lisbon and the royal arsenals and treasury. On June 18 a minority in the Portuguese Cortes proclaimed Dom Antonio king, and the towns of Santarem, Lisbon, and Setubal declared for him.
The Duke of Alba led the Hapsburg army into Portugal on June 13, 1580, and Felipe II arrived two weeks later. They defeated Dom Antonio’s forces outside of Lisbon on August 25. Alvaro de Bazan, the Marquis of Santa Cruz, led the armada that joined the land forces in the fall. Dom Antonio fled north and was defeated again in October. He left Portugal on a Dutch ship and went to France in early 1581. On January 23 the States General made Henri III’s brother Hercule-François, the Duke of Anjou, prince of the Netherlands. They had condemned Felipe II as a traitor, and on July 26 they renounced his authority.
After Felipe II promised to respect the kingdom’s liberties, the Portuguese Cortes accepted him as their king in April 1581. He ordered those who had resisted his rule executed and abolished the customs barrier between Castile and Portugal. In 1582 he proclaimed that only Portuguese would administer their realm and overseas possessions under his reign. The Council of Portugal was established, and that year Felipe founded in Castile an academy of science to study mathematics, astronomy, navigation, and engineering. Dom Antonio with the help of French Huguenots tried to take the Azores Islands where Terceira had been defying Spain since 1580. A Spanish fleet defeated them and another French fleet in July 1583.
Inquisitor General Gaspar de Quiroga (1573-94) published his new Manual of the Sacraments in 1581 and called a special synod at Toledo in 1582. By 1583 Spain had its own Prohibitory Index of banned books prepared by Cardinal Quiroga and an Expurgatory one the next year. He patronized El Greco and other artists.
Francis Drake had plundered Spanish ships on his voyage around the world from 1577 to 1580. In 1581 the States General of the Netherlands deposed Felipe II and chose as their defender Duke François of Anjou, brother of France’s Henri III. Anjou came to the Netherlands on February 10, 1582, and Willem of Orange crowned him Duke of Brabant and Count of Flanders. Anjou was Catholic and did not like the Calvinist theocracy in Ghent. On January 18, 1583 he led an attack on Antwerp but was trapped inside and barely escaped from the citizen militia. He had been engaged to England’s Queen Elizabeth, but after this defeat she ended the engagement.
Felipe left Portugal in the spring of 1583, and gold and silver from America provided the funds that allowed Spain to pay an army to overrun the Netherlands. Granvelle persuaded Felipe to make Gian Andrea Doria admiral of Spain. Ambassador Bernardino de Mendoza conspired against England’s Queen Elizabeth and was expelled in January 1584 for having been implicated in the Throckmorton plot. The Duke of Anjou died on June 10, 1584, and one month later Willem of Orange was assassinated. On September 17 Calvinist Ghent surrendered to the Spanish army, and Farnese made it his headquarters. On December 31 Felipe allied with the House of Guise by signing the secret treaty of Joinville with Duke Henri of Guise and Duke Charles of Mayenne to suppress heresy in France and the Netherlands, promising to pay the French Catholic League 50,000 écus a month. They wanted to prevent Henri of Navarre from becoming king of France and supported Cardinal Charles of Bourbon.
By the end of the year Farnese had reconquered most of Flanders. Brussels surrendered on March 10, 1585. In May Felipe II ordered all English and Dutch ships in Spanish ports seized, beginning a trade embargo against the two powers. Spaniards took Antwerp after a year-long siege on August 17. Three days later Elizabeth signed the treaty of Nonesuch with emissaries of the new Dutch Republic. She allowed Francis Drake to attack Spanish ships and sent military aid to the United Provinces of the Netherlands. At the end of the year she sent the Earl Leicester there with 6,000 infantry and 1,000 cavalry.
Pope Sixtus V renewed the cruzada (crusade) subsidy for Spain for seven years. Spain’s war in the Netherlands was costing two million ducats a year, draining the treasury. Felipe II attended the wedding of his daughter Catalina to the Duke of Savoy in Aragon, and he and his secretary Vazquez both became ill in October. In January 1586 Felipe ordered the Marquis of Santa Cruz to prepare a plan to invade England; but Pope Sixtus V declined to contribute because he considered Felipe’s policies motivated by greed and revenge rather than by religion. Felipe returned to Castile in March 1586. He began to rely more on counselors that became known as the Junta de Noche because they met every night. Felipe sent Mendoza to France, and in 1586 he joined the Babington plot against Elizabeth which resulted in Queen Mary Stuart of Scotland being executed on February 18, 1587. Then Felipe asserted his claim to the English throne and that of his daughter.
In January 1587 the Spaniards estimated that an “invincible armada” would cost seven million ducats. On April 20 Drake’s English fleet sank or captured two dozen ships in Cadiz Bay and destroyed provisions and munitions. He sacked Vigo in Spain and then crossed the Atlantic Ocean to capture Santo Domingo and plunder Cartagena in the Caribbean.
By July the Spanish fleet had 130 ships with 33,000 men. Felipe decided to move 17,000 veterans from the Netherlands. Prince Alexander Farnese of Parma was governor-general of the Netherlands, and he hoped to persuade Queen Elizabeth to tolerate the Roman Catholic faith in England, surrender the Dutch towns held by English troops, and maybe get a war indemnity. Santa Cruz died on February 9, and Felipe appointed Alonso de Guzman, the Duke Medina of Sidonia, commander-in-chief. He came to Lisbon in March and took over the fleet in May. They were accompanied by 180 chaplains, and before leaving all the man confessed and took communion.
On August 6 the 130 ships with 22,000 men reached Calais where Parma’s army was waiting. The next night eight English fire-ships broke up the armada. English ships also prevented the Dutch navy from going to sea. On August 8 the guns on 150 English ships devastated the Spanish armada. Farnese disembarked his troops in Flanders and returned to Bruges. On September 23 the Spanish armada ran into storms off Santander, Ireland, and they lost half their ships. That month Felipe summoned the Cortes, and they informed him that his armada campaign had cost about 15,000 men and 10,000,000 ducats. On October 13 he realized that he had lost most of his fleet, and he ordered prayers in churches.
In 1585 a Morisco murdered a Christian sheep owner in Codo. Don Lupercio Latras led sheep ranchers from the mountains, and in 1588 they killed 700 Moriscos in Codo. Royal officers captured and executed Latras in 1590 along with 40 Aragonese. About 10,000 Moriscos still lived in Granada. Some formed gangs of bandits, and the improved flintlock muskets over the old matchlock made them difficult to control in the 1580s and 1590s. In the 1580s up to ninety percent of those accused by the Inquisition were Moriscos. Felipe had only visited Aragon in 1563 and 1585 when the Aragonese refused to let him incorporate the county of Ribagorza.
Manoel I ruled Portugal 1495-1521. By 1517 the Portuguese had 4,000 soldiers in Asia, though this rarely surpassed 5,000 at any time. That year Manoel sent a diplomatic and trade mission led by Tomé Pires and Fernao Pires de Andrade to Canton. Lopo Soares de Albergaria had a fortress built at Ceylon in 1518. By then overseas trade provided 68% of Portugal’s resources. In 1520 Pires went to Beijing; but in September 1521 the new Jiajing Emperor ordered the Portuguese to leave China, and Pires was held hostage. Revision of town and council charters in the Ordenaçoes Manuelinas was completed by 1521.
Manoel was succeeded by his 19-year-old son Joao III (1521-57) who complained to Charles V that Spain had violated their territory in Magellan’s expedition around the world. In 1522 Antonio de Brito became captain-general of the Moluccas. After 1523 the crown sent out two ships per year from Goa and Cochin to the Spice Islands, and in 1535 private traders were required to register their purchases. Vasco da Gama was sent to India as viceroy in April 1524, but he died of malaria on December 24. Joao III informed the Cortes in 1525 that they would meet only once every ten years. That year the Cortes complained that the court was wasting resources on parasites and abuses by nobles and their sinecures. Corruption was rampant, and the King did little to control it.
Portugal had established a fort in Ternate by 1522, and on April 22, 1529 Portugal and Spain signed a treaty at Zaragoza that gave Portugal possession of the Molucca Islands. In 1530 King Joao III established captaincies in Brazil to help populate the wilderness, and four years later he sent out the first corregidores to govern the islands. The Portuguese dominated the spice trade with Asia until Venice began to develop their eastern Mediterranean commerce for oriental products in 1535. Portugal’s state income began to decline in 1540. By mid-century the eastern trade by Italians was almost as large as the Portuguese trade, reducing the latter’s profits.
At the Cortes in 1544 it was revealed that since 1522 the government of Portugal had run up a debt of 1,946,000 cruzados (gold ducats). Of this Joao’s doing family business with Spain cost 1,790,000 cruzados including 900,000 for his sister Isabella’s dowry in marrying Emperor Charles V on March 10, 1526 and 400,000 so that his daughter Maria could marry Spain’s Prince Felipe in 1543. The cost of defending their colonies in India was 610,000 cruzados, and total military spending was 1,140,000. From 1522 to 1551 the crown lost an average of more than 100,000 cruzados annually from wrecked and captured ships sailing between Lisbon and Flanders or India.
Viceroy Nuno da Cunha (1529-38) took an armada and captured Mombasa in Africa on his way to India. In 1531 he moved the government from Cochin to Goa, but they could not overcome the Turks at Diu. However, Shah Bahadur, threatened by the Moguls, made peace with Portugal in 1534 and let Cunha build a fortress at Diu in exchange for his aid against Mughal Emperor Humayun. That year a Portuguese bishop was established in Goa. After Bahadur was killed in 1537, Sulaiman Pasha with 72 ships and 6,500 men besieged Diu in the fall of 1538. Viceroy Joao de Castro (1545-48) organized a relief expedition to Diu.
Pope Clement VII had authorized the Inquisition in Portugal in 1531, and Spain persuaded Portugal to establish it in 1536. According to Portuguese records 19,247 people were condemned while 1,379 were burned between 1543 and 1684. The Jesuits began in Portugal in 1540. In 1551 the population of Lisbon was estimated at 100,000 with ten percent slaves, and this increased to 165,000 by about 1620. Yet the population of Portugal remained about 1,400,000 throughout the 16th century.
More than twenty colleges were founded in Portugal in the 1530s and 1540s including the Royal College of the Arts and Humanities in 1548. André de Gouveia organized the classes and hired the teachers, but his death in June led to the school being taken over by the Jesuits. The University of Lisbon had been closed in 1537 and was replaced by the University of Coimbra which emphasized royal authority. In 1541 a law prohibited Portuguese students from receiving degrees from foreign universities.
Gil Vicente (1470-1540) wrote poetry and often acted in and directed his 42 plays. He achieved enough status to satirize the clergy and the nobility as well as others in society. He is considered the father of the Portuguese theater as it made its transition from religious medieval dramas to Renaissance plays. Humanism was also expressed in poetry and plays by Bernadim Ribeiro and Sa de Miranda. Their works ended up being censored by the index of forbidden books which in 1551 banned 495 titles with only 13 in Portuguese or Castilian, but these increased to 94 by 1581 and to 330 in 1624.
In the first half of the 16th century the Portuguese sent 472 ships around Africa to Asia with about 2,400 Portuguese traveling there each year. During this period Castile with five times the population of Portugal sent about 1,500 people a year to America. In the period 1554-80 the government of Portugal issued bonds nine times and did so even more often after 1582.
Jesuits began proselytizing in Asia in 1542 when Francisco Xavier arrived in India. In the next ten years he taught Christianity and converted people in India, Ceylon, Malacca, Indonesia, and Japan (1549-51) before dying of fever on the way to China on December 3, 1552. He preached against the sins of homosexuality, idolatry, and infanticide. By 1571 there were 30,000 Christians in Japan, and in 1582 Jesuit Visitor-General Alessandro Valignano estimated there were 150,000 Japanese Christians in 200 churches. In August 1587 Toyotomi Hideyoshi ordered the missionaries expelled.
The Portuguese closed Hindu temples in Goa in 1540, and the Inquisition arrived twenty years later. In 1556 and 1557 bishops were established in Cochin, Malacca, Macau, and Ethiopia. A law in 1572 strengthened the economic and social power of the nobles. Portugal began paying rent for Macau to China in 1573, and merchants there joined the Jesuits in 1578. In 1575 the Portuguese increased its slave trade in Angola and began shipping 5,000 slaves a year to Brazil. Portugal sent 28 missions to Brazil from 1549 to 1604.
The Jesuits actively promoted the Catholic Reformation in Portugal during the reign of Sebastiao 1557-78. Sebastiao was only three years old when he became king, and for five years his grandmother Catarina, Joao III’s widow, governed. The Portuguese began colonizing Indonesia in 1561 and Timor in the 1580s. Cardinal Henrique was inquisitor-general 1539-80, and in 1559 he founded the University of Evora for the Jesuits. He became regent in 1562 and the next year established a Council of State. Sebastiao was declared of age in 1568. He divided Portuguese Asia into three parts the next year and appointed Francisco Barreto captain-general of East Africa at Monomotapa. On March 1, 1570 he signed a decree to regulate trade in India, renouncing the royal spice monopoly. In June 1578 an armada of 500 ships with 15,500 cavalry, 1,500 infantry, and 9,000 others sailed from Lisbon to Morocco. King Sebastiao led the march five days inland to Alcazar-Kebir where he was killed along with 8,000 others while 15,000 were captured and made slaves by 41,000 cavalry and 8,000 infantry led by Abd-al-Malik. Fewer than a hundred Portuguese made it back to the ships. This failed expedition also cost Portugal more than a million crusados.
Cardinal Henrique ruled Portugal again after Sebastiao’s death in 1578 and appointed a regency of five governors before he died of tuberculosis on January 31, 1580. Spain’s Felipe II sent agents to distribute bribes on his behalf. The lower classes favored Dom Antonio, but Spanish soldiers led by the Duke of Alba invaded in June. Antonio proclaimed himself king in Lisbon and other cities, but the Spaniards defeated his army of about 7,500 men at Alcantara on August 25. Antonio fled to the Azores where he finally surrendered on Terceira in August 1583. The Cortes proclaimed Felipe king in April 1581. He remained in Lisbon for two years and let the Portuguese administer the government as many reforms were enacted. Portuguese remained the official language, and Portuguese people were allowed to travel in the Spanish empire. When he left in 1583, Felipe created the Council of Portugal composed of six Portuguese. Cardinal Albrecht governed Portugal 1583-93 and was inquisitor-general 1586-96.
Luis Vaz de Camoens (1524?-80) was the son of a ship captain who died after being rescued from a wreck off Goa, India. Luis learned Latin and became a soldier. He fought at Ceuta and lost an eye. He often lived in Lisbon and was imprisoned for nine months after wounding a court official. He agreed to go to India in May 1553, and in 1556 he was appointed to a position at the Portuguese colony of Macau in China. On the way he stayed in the Moluccas for about a year. He was sent back to Goa but was shipwrecked by the mouth of the Mekong River. He lost his wealth but managed to save the manuscript of his epic poem, The Lusiads. He left Goa in 1567 and was stranded at Mozambique for two years and reached Lisbon in April 1570 during a plague. After receiving a royal license he published The Lusiads in 1572 but did not get much recognition. Intended to be a national epic as Virgil’s Aeneid was for Rome, he dedicated his poem to King Sebastiao, and he was disappointed by his death in 1578. Lisbon suffered another plague in 1579, and Camoens died on June 10, 1580.
The Os Lusiados is named for the sons of Lusus, who is the mythical companions of the Greek god Bacchus and first settled Lusitania which became Portugal. The story in ten cantos begins at a council of the gods on Olympus where Venus and Mars side with the Portuguese but are opposed by Bacchus. Most of the poem is historical, and Camoens describes Vasco da Gama’s first voyage around the Cape of Africa to Mozambique where his men are attacked by Muslims. After another dangerous attack at Mombasa, Da Gama’s expedition is welcomed by the King of Malindi. Da Gama tells this king of earlier Portuguese history from Afonso Henriques who became Portugal’s first king in 1139 and then how the Christian Portuguese expelled the Muslims from their kingdom. He tells the story of Queen Ines de Castro and Fernando I who became king in 1367. King Joao I (r. 1385-1433) began Portugal’s overseas colonization with the conquest of Ceuta in North Africa in 1415. Afonso V (r. 1438-77) continues that policy, and Joao II (r. 1481-95) sends Pero da Covilha across the Mediterranean to India. Manoel I (r. 1495-1521) authorizes da Gama to seek India’s valuable spices by going around Africa. His adventures are described with adornment of the gods’ influences. More Portuguese history is told by describing the banners on the fleet. In the last canto Tethys prophesies what future conquerors will accomplish up to Viceroy Joao de Castro who governed Portuguese India 1545-48.
1. Quoted in The Emperor Charles V by Karl Brandi tr. C. V. Wedgwood, p. 513.