Spain's Golden Age and Philip II Essay

Spain's Golden Age and Philip II Essay

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Spain's Golden Age and Philip II

The concept of a Golden Age is a highly contested issue among modern
and contempory historians. There is debate over the dates of such an
age, or even its existence at all. Working on the assumption that a
golden age occurred in some form, to deduce whether it was more
specifically under Philip's reign, we must look at the condition of
Spain in key areas before and after Philip's accession in 1556. If
differences arise a judgement must be made on whether they were an
improvement for Spain, or signify a decline. The keys issues include
religion, the military, territory, the economy, law and order and the
organisation of government. The Golden Age over all should be the
period where most of these concerns have reached their peak.

The point of entry into the Golden Age in terms of the army is
complex, and depends on the definition, i.e. whether it is the number
of troops or their individual skills, loyalty and motivation which
determines it.

In the period 1525 - 1536, the army was highly thought of and
comprised of members of the aristocracy fighting for social pride and
religion. The soldiers, bred in a country with a very harsh climate
'nine months winter, three months hell,'[1] were physically the
fittest in Europe. The period of stability provided by Ferdinand and
Isabella had generated enough wealth to keep the army well supplied,
and their battles were fought with a high level of organisation and
good tactics. These features are exhibited with the large number of
successful battles fought in this period. The army began to decline as
its commitments rose. Continuous fighting, from 1536 onwa...

... middle of paper ...

...toughton, 2004

H Livermore, A History of Spain, George Allen & Unwin, 1966

C Martin & G Parker, The Spanish Armada, Penguin Press, 1988

T.A. Morris, England and Europe in the Sixteenth Century, Routlidge,

C Pendrill, Spain 1474 - 1700, Heinemann, 2002

J Plaidy, The Spanish Inquisition, Fletcher & Son Ltd, 1978

W. H. Prescott, reign of Ferdinand and Isabella the Catholic, George
Allen & Unwin, 1962


[1] R. Trevor Davies, The Golden Century of Spain, Macmillan & Co Ltd,
1964, pg 23

[2] Henry Kamen, Spain's Road to Empire, Penguin Press, 2002, pg 305

[3] T.A. Morris, England and Europe in the Sixteenth Century,
Routlidge, 1998, pg 119

[4] R. Trevor Davies, The Golden Century of Spain, Macmillan & Co Ltd,

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