Spain’s Golden Age and the Reign of Philip II Essay

Spain’s Golden Age and the Reign of Philip II Essay

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Spain’s Golden Age and the Reign of Philip II


A ‘golden age’ can be interpreted in many ways; it can be a time of
great power for a monarch, or a country. It can be described as a
time when some activity is at its peak, or as a period of great peace,
prosperity and happiness. I will look at the period 1474 – 1598 to
see if any of the monarchs’ reigns meet any of these interpretations
of a ‘golden age’.

The kingdom of Aragon had its own Cortes, which limited Ferdinand’s
power as he was subject to the fueros[1]. In Castile however, the
Cortes were relatively powerless; not necessary to pass laws and had
little interest in taxation. No Cortes was called between 1480 and
1498, which is indicative of Isabella’s power.

To help keep peace and control Isabella appointed ‘corregidors’, and
town councillors. However these methods were unsuccessful; the town
councils became too large and the ‘corregidors’ were disliked and were
withdrawn in some cities; Segovia and Burgos, and Aragon. The Royal
Council did not increase much in Ferdinand and Isabella’s reign, as
they dealt with matters in person and did not delegate to officials.
In Aragon the royal authority diminished, and it was run by viceroys,
as Ferdinand spent very little time there. There was also no
permanent place of government, as Ferdinand and Isabella travelled
most of their life, so the administration was wherever they were.

Charles I of Spain had many problems even before he arrived in Spain;
the idea of uniting Spain was under threat. He could not pay
officials properly, so administration was corrupt, as bribery was
often used. However, Charles did make re...


... middle of paper ...


...reign could be described
as a ‘golden age’, as they were mainly at peace, they eradicated
heresy and internal enemies, their finances were reasonably balanced,
and they made Spain a great power in Europe.



[1] The laws or traditions of the land

[2] Annual payment to pay for the crusade against Granada

[3] They were originally a peacekeeping force in Castile and Aragon,
but they ended up supplying troops and money for the Crown.

[4] Sales tax

[5] Process that allowed towns to convert the sales tax into a fixed
sum

[6] A new church tax, levied on the income from property in each
parish

[7] A subsidy levied on 4 basic foodstuff; meat, wine, oil and vinegar

[8] A church the monarch controls, even if officially the Pope does

[9] Moriscos are converted Muslims and Conversos are converted Jews

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