Published on March 16, 2009
Government New councils had been set up, such as the Council of War, making admin more efficient. The government was fully functioning, and had experience. Charles had appointed family members to positions in government – loyal.
Religion Spain was completely Catholic, and untainted by Protestantism. Philip inherited the Inquisition, which helped to maintain Catholic uniformity by finding and destroying heresy. Censorship helped to restrict the Spanish peoples’ access to dangerous Protestant ideas. Philip made sure he had power over the Pope in Spain. All papal laws had to have royal approval before they were passed. Religious unity = order.
Economy and Finance The Spanish economy benefitted from bullion – precious metals from the New World.
Law and Order There had been little opposition to Charles reign since the Comuneros Revolt (1520) had been defeated. The Spanish people supported Philip as the rightful heir, and were reconciled to his rule.
Foreign Policy AlthoughPhilip inherited the Habsburg- Valois war, the Spanish eventually won and made gains at the Treaty of Cateau- Cambresis in 1559.
Empire Philip inherited what is now seen as one of the largest and most powerful empires in history.
1556 Negatives of Philip II’s Inheritance
Government A conciliar system had worked well for Charles – an absentee monarch – but did not work so well for Philip as he did not like to delegate. Family members had been appointed and although they were loyal, they were not necessarily the best people for the job. This damaged the potential effectiveness of government. Secretaries grew in power and status, and they could become threatening to Philip.
Government (2) Separate assemblies (e.g. Castile Cortes) guarded rights and privileges that had existed before the Iberian Peninsula was united. This could make government difficult. Philip had different powers in each state. Consequently, consistency was almost impossible to achieve. Philip met with difficulty when it came to issues such as taxation, for example. Communication was extremely slow. No fixed capital.
Religion Isolated cells of heresy existed, especially in rural areas, threatening Spain’s Catholic uniformity. The growth of Protestantism was always a threat. The Inquisition contributed largely to the ‘Black Legend’ view of Philip as a tyrant. Censorship was almost impossible to enforce.
Economy and Finance 36 million ducats in debt, 68% of annual revenue needed to pay off loans. As early as 1532, revenue was less than expenditure. Charles had sold crown land and offices to make immediate money, but these were now exempt from tax, and so damaged Spain in the long-term. There was a lack of investment in new farming and industrial techniques, making it hard for Spain to raise money in the future.
Economy and Finance (2) Trade was disrupted by war, and the economy also suffered as war affected population. The treasury was strained by almost 40 years of continuous warfare. Each area of Spain needed to be self- supporting, with a little profit for the Empire. However, only Castile and the Netherlands did this in reality.
Law and Order Relied heavily on Grandees and Corregidores to enforce – they had self- interests at heart. Philip was biased towards Castile, causing resentment.
Foreign Policy War with France, not going well on Netherlands border. Ottoman Empire always a threat. Uneasy ceasefire with the Turks.
Empire The Empire demanded costly and extensive defence. Military forces were strained across the Empire, leaving some areas vulnerable. The Empire threatened France, who were surrounded by Spanish territory on all sides. They aimed to destroy the Spanish Empire.
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