I. a powerful Spanish Empire A. 1556, King Charles of Spain retires and divides his empire



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Spain’s Empire and European Absolutism

I.A Powerful Spanish Empire

A.1556, King Charles of Spain retires and divides his empire

1.His brother Ferdinand gets Austria and the Holy Roman Empire

2.His son Philip II gets Spain, the Netherlands, and the American colonies

B.Philip II’s Empire

1.Gained incredible wealth from gold and silver Americas

2.Able to support a huge army

C.Defender of Catholicism

1.Believed it was his duty to defend Catholicism against Muslims and Protestants

2.Helped defeated a large Ottoman (Muslims) fleet at Lepanto

3.Launched the Spanish Armada (navy) to punish Queen Elizabeth I of England for supporting Protestants who had rebelled against Philip

a)Spanish Armada was defeated

b)Spain was weakened

II.Golden Age of Spanish Art and Literature

A.Spain’s wealth allowed monarchs and nobles to become patrons of artists; led to a golden age in the arts during the 16th and 17th centuries

B.El Greco and Velazguez

1.El Greco – Greek who lived in Spain

a)Paintings showed deep Catholic faith

2.Velazquez – paintings reflected pride in Spanish monarchy

a)Best known for portraits of royal family and scenes of court life

C.Don Quixote

1.By Miguel de Cervantes (1605)

a)Birth of modern European novel


b)Made fun of medieval chivalry

III.The Spanish Empire Weakens

A.Spain’s wealth caused long term problems

B.Inflation and Taxes

1.Severe inflation (decline in value of money and increase in prices of goods)

a)Two main causes of inflation in Spain

(1)Growth of population increased demand, so merchants raised prices
(2)So much silver in the market led to drop in its value (people needed more silver to buy things

2.Expelling Jews and Muslims around 1500 (Reconquista) led to loss of artisans and business people

3.Nobles (wealthy landowners) did not have to pay taxes; led to lower classes paying all taxes so they couldn’t accumulate wealth

a)No development of middle class

C.Making Spain’s Enemies Rich

1.Spain still used guilds and old-fashioned business methods, making their goods more expensive

a)Bought most of what they needed from France, England, and Netherlands (many were enemies)

b)Borrowed money, then used silver to repay debts

D.The Dutch Revolt

1.Philip tried to crush Protestantism in Netherlands

a)7 northern provinces declared independence from Spain

IV.The Independent Dutch Prosper

A.Different than other European states

1.Practiced religious tolerance

2.Republic, not a kingdom (elected governors)

B.Dutch Art

1.Rembrandt – painted wealthy middle-class merchants

2.Vermeer – also regular people

3.Both showed how important merchants, civic leaders, and middle class were

C.Dutch Trading Empire

1.Stable government allowed for economic growth

2.Largest fleet of ships in the world

a)Helped Dutch East India Company dominate spice and Indian Ocean trade

3.Eventually replaced Italians as bankers of Europe

V.Absolutism in Europe

A.The Theory of Absolutism

1.Absolute monarchs – kings or queens who held all of the power within their states’ boundaries

2.Goal was to control every aspect of society

3.Believed in divine right – the idea that God created the monarchy and that the monarch acted as God’s representative on Earth

4.Answered only to God, not to his or her subjects

B.Growing Power of Europe’s Monarchs

1.After Middle Ages, authority centralized due to rise of cities, decline of feudalism, and growth of national kingdoms

a)Middle class supported monarchs because peace is good for business

2.Monarchs used wealth from colonies

3.Church authority broke down after Reformation

C.Crisis Leads to Absolutism

1.Religious and territorial conflicts led to almost continuous warfare

a)Caused govts to build huge armies and levy heavy taxes

(1)Led to unrest and peasant revolts

2.Monarchs tried to impose order by increasing their power

a)Regulated everything from religious worship to social gatherings

b)Created new bureaucracies to control economic life

c)Goal was to free themselves from limitations imposed by nobility or Parliaments (representative bodies)



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