Spain s empire and european absolutism
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Spain’s Empire and European Absolutism. Chapter 21 Section 1 Pg 513. What is a Dynasty?. Why have the New York Yankees been referred to as a dynasty? They kept winning….. year, after year, after year, after year…. So…What is a dynasty?. A line of hereditary rulers

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Spain s empire and european absolutism

Spain’s Empire and European Absolutism

Chapter 21 Section 1

Pg 513

What is a dynasty

What is a Dynasty?

  • Why have the New York Yankees been referred to as a dynasty?

  • They kept winning…..

    year, after year, after year,

    after year….

So what is a dynasty

So…What is a dynasty?

  • A line of hereditary rulers

  • Much of European political history is dominated by dynasties such as the Carolingians, the Capetians, the Bourbons, the Habsburgs, the Hohenzollerns and the Romanovs.

  • Can the US be described as having a dynasty?

Hapsburg dynasty

Hapsburg Dynasty

  • is one of the most important royal houses of Europe

  • and is best known for being an origin of all of the formally elected Holy Roman Emperors between 1438 and 1740, as well as rulers of the Austrian Empire and Spanish Empire and several other countries.

Charles v

Charles V

  • As part of the Hapsburg family, inherited:

  • *Spain

    *Spain’s American colonies

    *parts of Italy

    * lands in Austria and the Netherlands

  • He was the elected Holy Roman Emperor so he ruled much of Germany

  • 1st time since Charlemagne that European ruler controlled so much territory

You may remember

You may remember…

  • Charles V was a devout Catholic, fought Muslims, opposed Lutherans, unwillingly signed the Peace of Augsberg letting German princes choose religion for own territory, and was the nephew of Catherine of Aragon (Henry VIII’s 1st wife that he divorced)

  • 1556 Charles divides up empire and retired to a monastery

    -gave brother Ferdinand: Austria and the Holy Roman Empire

    -gave son Philip II: Spain, Spanish Netherlands, and American colonies

Ferdinand s territory

Ferdinand’s Territory

Holy Roman


Austrian territory

Philip s territory

Philip’s Territory

Philip ii

Philip II

  • Deeply religious, like father

  • Could be aggressive for the sake of the empire

  • Was married to Mary, Queen of England and Henry VIII’s oldest daughter (mother was Catherine of Aragon)

A large empire

A Large Empire

  • In 1580, king of Portugal died without an heir

  • Philip was king’s nephew, so he seized the Portuguese kingdom

  • With Portuguese strongholds in Africa, India, and East Indies, he now had an empire circling the globe



  • The empire provided Philip with wealth, he claimed 1/4 - 1/5 of every shipload of treasure from the American mines

  • Spain was able to afford a large army of 50,000 soldiers



  • When Philip took over, Europe was going through religious wars caused by the Reformation

  • Religious conflict not new to Spain, Philip’s great grandparents were Ferdinand and Isabella who drove out Jews and Muslims from Spain during the Inquisition

  • Philip saw himself as part of a tradition and duty to defend Catholicism against the Muslims of the Ottoman Empire and Protestants

Philip defender of catholicism

Philip- Defender of Catholicism

  • Philip called on all Catholic princes to fight and defeated a large Ottoman fleet

  • In 1588, Philip launched the Spanish Armada in attempt to punish Protestant England under rule of Queen Elizabeth but was defeated

  • Although the defeat weakened Spain, its wealth gave the appearance of strength

The escorial

The Escorial

  • Philip’s massive palace had huge gates and walls including a monastery that reflected the great power and faith of Spain

Golden age of spanish art

Golden Age of Spanish Art

  • Spain’s wealth did more than support great navies and build palaces

  • Allowed monarchs to become patrons of the arts as Spain entered a golden age in the arts

  • The works of two great painters show the faith and pride of Spain during this period: El Greco and Diego Velazquez

El greco

El Greco

  • “El Greco” means “the Greek”

  • Born in Crete, but spent most of his life in Spain

  • Real name Domenikos Theotokopoulos

  • Used clashing colors, distorted the human figure

  • Although unusual, his paintings reflected the deep catholic faith of Spain

Diego velazquez

Diego Velazquez

  • Painted 50 years after El Greco

  • Paintings showed pride of monarchy

  • Known for his portraits of Spanish royal family and scenes of court life

  • Like Greco, used bright colors

Problems weaken spanish empire

Problems Weaken Spanish Empire

  • Gold and silver from the America’s made Spain temporarily wealthy but caused some economic problems as well

  • Severe inflation set in because:

    1) Spain’s growing population demanded more food, and merchants raised prices

    2) as silver flooded the market, value dropped and it took more and more silver to buy things

Adding to economic problems

Adding to Economic Problems

  • When Spain expelled the Jews and Muslims, they lost valuable business people

  • Nobles didn’t pay taxes which meant that lower class had to pay all of the taxes

  • Lower class couldn’t accumulate enough wealth to start a business and make money= Spain had no middle class

Spain s empire and european absolutism

To finance wars, Spanish Kings borrowed money from German and Italian bankers

Had to repay debts with silver coming in from colonies

Spain’s economy became so pathetic that Philip had to declare Spain bankrupt 3 times

Spain and the netherlands

Spain and the Netherlands

  • The Netherlands,

    called the Spanish

    Netherlands, had been

    controlled by Spain

    from the 16th century

The dutch revolt

The Dutch Revolt

  • In Spanish Netherlands, Philip used an army to keep his subjects under control

  • Dutch had little in common with Spanish rulers:

    -Dutch were Calvinists and they were Catholics in Spain

    -Spain had weak economy, Dutch had strong trade and middle class

Spain s empire and european absolutism

Philip raised taxes in the Netherlands and tried to crush Protestantism

In response, angry Protestants swept through Catholic churches, destroying religious paintings and statues

Philip sent in an army under Spanish duke Alva to punish them

-the duke executed 1500 Protestants in 1 day

William of orange

William of Orange

  • Emerged as the great leader against the Spanish

  • Motives for fighting Spain were political, not religious

  • Wanted to free the Netherlands from Spanish rule

  • Lost battle after Battle

Desperate measures

Desperate Measures

  • 1574, Dutch took a drastic step

  • Lands were called the Low Countries because much of the land was below sea level

  • Only great dikes kept seawater from flooding the fields

Spain s empire and european absolutism

  • The Dutch opened the floodgates, flooding the land with water driving out the Spanish troops from their camps

United provinces of the netherlands

United Provinces of the Netherlands

  • In 1579, the 7 northern provinces of the Netherlands (which were mainly Protestant) became the United Provinces of the Netherlands

  • The 10 southern provinces (present day Belgium) were Catholic and remained under Spanish control

Independent dutch prosper

Independent Dutch Prosper

  • United Provinces of Netherlands (UPN) different from rest of Europe

    -had religious tolerance

    -wasn’t a kingdom, but a republic

  • Each province had elected governor whose power depended on support of merchants and landholders

Spain s empire and european absolutism

  • Stability of government allowed Dutch to concentrate on economic growth

  • Had largest fleet in the world- almost 5000 ships in 1636

  • Gradually replaced Italians as bankers of Europe- one reason: trade routes of the Atlantic became more important than routes of the Mediterranean

Tulip mania

Tulip Mania

  • Between 1633-1637, tulip mania reached a peak

  • Supply of Tulips couldn’t meet the demand

  • One man traded his mansion for just 3 bulbs

  • Soon people were spending life savings or taking out loans to buy tulips

  • Prices eventually sank, and families lost properties over tulip craze

  • Even so, tulips remained popular in the Netherlands, and is still one of the biggest exporters of tulip bulbs today

Dutch art

Dutch Art

  • Many of the best artists of the world lived in the Netherlands

  • Rembrandt van Rijn painted portraits of wealthy middle class merchants and group portraits

  • In famous painting, The Syndics, portrayed a group of city officials

  • Used sharp contrast of light and shadow to draw attention to his focus

The syndics

The Syndics

Spain s empire and european absolutism

  • Jan Vermeer chose domestic, indoor settings for portraits

  • Often painted women doing day to day activities

  • Didn’t become popular until the 19th century

Absolutism in europe

Absolutism in Europe

  • Even though Philip lost Spain’s possession of the Dutch, he was a forceful ruler in many ways

  • Tried to control all aspects of empire’s affairs

  • During next few centuries, many European monarchs try to claim authority to rule without limits

  • They wanted be absolute monarchs, and believed all power within their boundaries rested in their hands

  • Goal was to control every piece of society

Divine right

Divine Right

  • Monarchs believed in divine right- the idea that God created the monarchy and they were to act as God’s representatives on earth

  • An absolute monarch answered only to God- not his or her subjects

Growing power of europe s monarchs

Growing Power of Europe’s Monarchs

  • As Europe came out of the Middle Ages, monarchs grew more powerful due to:

    - the decline of feudalism

    - the rise of cities

    -growth of national kingdoms

  • All these helped to unify authority

  • In addition, the middle class usually backed the monarchy, because they supported business

  • Church authority also broke down during the Reformation, opening a way for monarchs to gain even more control

Spain s empire and european absolutism

17th century was a period of disorder

Religious and territorial conflicts led to continuous war

This caused governments to build huge armies and raise taxes

This led to widespread fighting

Monarchs tried to impose order by increasing their own power

Absolute rulers

Absolute Rulers

  • As absolute rulers they regulated everything from religious worship to social gatherings

  • To seem more powerful, they increased the size of their own courts and created more government bureaucracies

  • Goal was to free themselves from limitations imposed by the nobility and Parliament

  • Only with such freedom could they rule absolutely, as did Louis XIV of France

Political cartoon a

Political Cartoon (A)

Political cartoon b

Political Cartoon (B)

Political cartoon c

Political Cartoon (C)

Answer the following questions

Answer the following questions:

1. What is the message behind these political cartoons?

2. Do you think absolute power has to be corrupt? Why or why not?

3. What does it mean regarding absolute power- “you’ve got to use it, or lose it”?

4. Will absolute power corrupt someone? Why or why not?

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