• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explain how Philip II became King of Portugal in 1581. Although Philip II devoted most of his time to foreign affairs, his foreign policy was a failure. To what extent would you accept this verdict?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

4i) Philip became King of Portugal in 1581, and it was one of his biggest successes in foreign policy. Portugal's King Sebastian was killed in battle and he had no children, so his 66 year old uncle Henry succeeded him. When Henry also died childless Portugal was left without an obvious heir. Philip had a claim to the throne through his mother and he was quick to respond and used a variety of methods to secure the throne. Philip acquired the allegiance of the nobility through bribes and promised them rewards if they supported his claim. The church and many merchants also supported Philip as they wanted a strong powerful monarch. Another claimant, the Duchess of Braganca, was satisfied with the release of her son from prison in Seville and the promises of lands. His main difficulty was winning over the peasant who supported Henry's brother's illegitimate son, Don Antonio. Foreign powers such as England supported Don Antonio so Philip acted quickly. ...read more.

Middle

A truce was signed in 1578 followed by a formal peace treaty in 1580. This allowed Philip to concentrate on the other European powers such as France and England whilst the Turks turned towards the east. Spain lost most of its African possessions but his policy was not a total failure and he never aimed to conquer the Turks but merely to contain them. The rivalry with France lasted much longer. The Habsburgs and Valois were at war since before Philip, and he wanted to preserve the Hapsburg dynasty. He was tested soon after his ascension with the Pope forming a pact with the French. Henry II then planned to attack Spanish lands in Italy and Philip reacted first by sending an army to Rome. French attacks on Milan failed and Philip earned a great name for himself by offering no conditions for withdrawing his army. He then had further successes at St. Quentin where the Spanish army achieved another great victory. ...read more.

Conclusion

Finally war broke out in 1585 with the Armada and crushing naval defeat for Philip. In this case his policy mostly failed as he lost all hopes of restoring Catholicism in England whilst also damaging his reputation with the military losses. One major success was the addition of Portugal to his empire. Philip had always wanted to expand his territory, and his acquirement of Portugal was achieved almost bloodlessly by clever bribes and threats. He also ensured minimal trouble from the area by letting the area retain their tradition. There were negatives such as the need to defend the Portuguese coastline and the threat from other claimant, but Portugal gave Philip an impressive navy, more overseas possessions and also a great boost to his reputation, so in this case his policy was a great success. Overall Philip's foreign policy was definitely not a total failure. He did fail in his aim restoring Catholicism in England, but achieved his aim of containing the Turks, preserving the dynast and expanding his empire with Portugal. Therefore his foreign policy can only be seen as part failures. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Historical Periods section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Historical Periods essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    To what extent was warfare between Britain and France the main contributory factor in ...

    3 star(s)

    also plunge the nation into a vat of debt which was almost impossible to climb out of. After the intervention of the Dutch, French and Spanish, the war was pretty much unwinnable for Britain as she was simply on her own with a few Native American tribes.

  2. Why Was King Alfred So Great?

    well as Alfred's reasonable and fair handling of the Danelaw, essentially gifting the Vikings land, Alfred may have considered the potential of the Vikings as allies. With the Danes pre-occupied in their European ventures Alfred considered them as a strong discouragement for any potential invaders, thus using the Vikings to induce stability into the region.

  1. 'Collectivisation was a political success but an economic failure and a human disaster'

    Stalin also ensured he maintained popularity by placing the blame for the harsher measures on minor party officials; in his 'dizzy with success' speech he blamed over enthusiastic activists for the slaughter and called a temporary halt to collectivisation, making himself seemed concerned about the welfare of peasants as well as shifting the fault.

  2. To What Extent Was The South African War (1899 - 1902) A Capitalist War

    It is vital to recognise the colonial power Britain already held over certain areas of South Africa (particularly the Cape.) The disastrous 'Jameson Raid' of 1895, a fatuous uprising of Uitlanders, mainly comprised of British, lead by Dr Jameson (a good friend of Cecil Rhodes), left relations between the British and the Transvaal governments particularly strained.

  1. The First English Civil War

    Around Chester, a new Royalist army was being formed under the Lord Byron, and all the efforts of Sir John Brereton and of Sir John Gell, the leading supporter of Parliament in Derbyshire, were required to hold their own, even before Newcastle's army was added to the list of their enemies.

  2. How successful was Philip II in implementing his religious policies?

    These somewhat repressive measures included; all Spanish students studying abroad to be recalled, as to not allow them to be influenced by heretics, An index being formed of 'dangerous' or heretical books being banned or censored, including the works of many prominent Spanish thinkers and literatures.

  1. William's Victory

    Instead, on hearing of Williams landing at Pevensey Bay, he marched his men down to Hastings to meet him. This is described in a source from Florence of Worcester as '... the king at once and in great haste, marched his army to London...'.

  2. To what extent could the Crusades be described as failure within the years 1095-1195?

    For many kings and barons Middle East had been the world of the broad opportunities. Land, wealth, power and prestige - all of this, they thought, will be a reward for the release of the Holy Land. Due to expansion of practice of inheritance on the basis of primogeniture, many

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work