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The Age of Absolutism. Philip II and Elizabeth I. Introduction. European monarchs were becoming powerful kingdoms where everyone had to answer to the king/queen Absolutism: monarch has total control and power Economic, war, domestic and foreign affairs

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The age of absolutism

The Age of Absolutism

Philip II and Elizabeth I


  • European monarchs were becoming powerful

  • kingdoms where everyone had to answer to the king/queen

  • Absolutism: monarch has total control and power

    • Economic, war, domestic and foreign affairs

  • Divine right: belief that monarchs receive their power directly from God - justified by God

  • Goal: Unify diverse people and bring greater efficiency and control

The hapsburgs
The Hapsburgs

  • Hapsburgs: most powerful royal family in Europe

  • After King Charles V abdicated the thrown the lands scattered so:

    • Ferdinand (Charles V brother)

      • Holy Roman Emperor, controlled central Europe (today Germany)

    • Philip II (Charles V son)

      • Controlled Spain, the Netherlands, and overseas empires


  • Philip II: ruled from 1556-1598

    • Most powerful monarch in Spanish history

    • Saw himself as the leading defender of Catholicism

      • Enemy of all protestant countries

    • Caused many wars trying to spread Hapsburg power

    • 1567: Tried to force Catholicism on the Netherlands

    • Protestant rebellion was supported by England

The end of the spanish hapsburgs
The End of the Spanish Hapsburgs

  • After Philip II, Spanish power declined

  • Economy poorly maintained due to inept leaders

    • Still received a lot of gold from its colonies, but spent more than it received

    • Inflation grew and industry and agriculture declined

    • Kicked out Muslims and Jews—for religious reasons—they were the skilled merchants and artisans

    • Series of corrupt and incompetent leaders

    • Overtaxed its citizens and much of the empire rebelled

  • Charles II was the last of the Spanish Hapsburgs


  • Tudor dynasty led from 1485-1603

    • Not as absolute: parliament and courts of law (magna carta)

  • Henry VII: first Tudor - took control after War of the Roses

  • Henry VIII: second Tudor to reign – most powerful Tudor ruler

  • Turmoil after Henry VIII died:

    • Edward VI: Young and short reign

    • Mary I: Catholic, “Bloody Mary”

      • Married Philip II of Spain, Burned protestants at the stake, died childless

    • Elizabeth I: queen in 1558

Elizabeth i
Elizabeth I

  • Very popular with the English people

  • Her reign was one of England’s highest cultural periods

  • She never married – distrusted other European monarchs and wanted to avoid conflict with nobility

  • During Elizabeth’s reign she set up a hierarchy of social rank in English society

Spanish armada
Spanish Armada

  • Reasons Spain attacked England:

    • England support Dutch rebellion

    • England was protestant and saw Elizabeth as illegitimate ruler

    • England supported pirate raids on Spanish ships

  • 1588 Spain sends 130 ships (Spanish Armada) to invade England

Spanish armada continued
Spanish Armada Continued

  • Armada got “stuck” in the English channel

  • Spanish crescent formation difficult to defeat

  • English had faster, more maneuverable ships and better cannons

  • English use fire ships to destroy the Spanish formation

  • Severe weather destroyed remainder of fleet during retreat

  • Defeat of Spanish Armada is the beginning of Spain’s decline as a major power

Think pair share
Think, Pair, Share

  • Take 5 minutes to write down what kind of ruler Elizabeth was, any thoughts you had about the speech and any part that you found interesting.