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

In what ways and to what extent does the concept of Spain's Golden Age apply more specifically to the reign of Philip II than to the whole period 1474 - 1598?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

In what ways and to what extent does the concept of Spain's Golden Age apply more specifically to the reign of Philip II than to the whole period 1474 - 1598? Justify your answer by reference to the similarities and differences you detect between the periods before and after the accession of Philip in 1556 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. ...read more.

Middle

At one point Philip was said to be the richest ruler in the world, as he had complete control over new world silver resources, and very profitable salt pans in Portugal and the Caribbean. However, his recurring bankruptcies, and incessant squandering of New World wealth on Armadas draws the conclusion that there was more of a decline than a rise in terms of the economy during Philip's reign, and therefore that the term (Golden Age) does not apply more specifically to his reign. Establishing a golden age regarding law and order is again a simpler notion to define, it being the period of fewest civil disturbances. However the question arises of whether revolts around the empire should be taken into account, or if judgement should be based purely on events in internal Spain. For the purposes of this question the former must be adopted, as unrest in other parts of the empire has a direct and indirect effect on Spain. An aim of Ferdinand and Isabella's was to create stability and order, as Spain had existed in relative lawlessness prior to this accession. A main tactic used to create this law and order was the Santa Hermandad, an organisation directly under the control of the Monarchs, and whose purpose was to dispense justice in cruel and harsh ways. It could be said that this is the point of entry into a golden age regarding law and order, as the Brotherhood was so successful it completed its task by 1498 and was disbanded. ...read more.

Conclusion

However as the monarchy grew more stable, and Spain took further control of Italy, the Pope's influence diminished. The Pope's were unable to prevent the Monarchs from using the Inquisition, and gradually granted more powers of appointment to the Spanish Kings. The Council of Trent gave Philip significant new powers within the Church. It is the view of Trevor Davies that by the end of the period, the church had been subordinated to the state, and the relations between Philip and the Pope were 4 'those of a non-religious statesman.' The increase in persecution, and the establishment of the Spanish Church's independence, both achieved primarily in Philip's reign, is the evidence for Spain's entrance into the religious Golden Age. At the end of Philip's reign, religion is Spain was more uniform and autonomous than ever before. To conclude, although in many of these areas do not reach a peak under Philip, or in some cases at all, it is still my conclusion that the term Golden Age does apply more specifically to Philip. This is because these issues are not equal in importance, to contemporys the most important matters would probably be religion and the empire, and in these areas Philip did experience a Golden Age that his predecessors did not. The concept of a Golden Age can happily be applied to the entire era, whereby an obscure collection of Kingdoms became a major international power, but as this took some time to complete is it probably fair to say that it was achieved towards the end of the period, rather than the beginning. ...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 British History: Monarchy & Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

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

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

5 star(s)

This is an excellent response that is clearly structured, convincing and focused, with excellent evaluation of the historiography. The author is knowledgeable and supports all judgments well. 5 out of 5 stars.

Marked by teacher Natalya Luck 26/07/2013

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 British History: Monarchy & Politics essays

  1. Describe how Cavour, Garibaldi, Mazzini and Victor Emmanuel II helped to bring about the ...

    So that we can see that Mazzini's idea of unity was still remained in people's mind. It seems that his role in awakening Italians' patriotism was very important. Garibaldi was another important leader of the Italian unification movement. He was a guerrilla leader (Thousand red shirt)

  2. Was there a mid-Tudor crisis during the reigns of Edward VI and Mary I ...

    Such quick changes from one extreme to the other caused sense of crisis, and it also could be argued that religious change may have been the main problem for the Tudors as it destabilized the roots of society and contributed to the rebellions witnessed in this period.

  1. What problems did Elizabeth I face at the begining of her reign?

    Another problem may be that the French king was a devout Catholic; therefore it would have been practically impossible for Elizabeth to lead a Protestant country without offending her new husband - consequently the country's religion would have to be Catholicism, deeply displeasing her protestant citizens.

  2. Charles V - An Evaluation Of Success And Failures.

    In conclusion, war was always a central feature of his reign and his resources would always be stretched in attempting to deal with the Turkish threat and threats posed by other enemies such as the French and the Lutherans. Failures In Foreign Policy Charles real failure as a ruler lay

  1. Asses the most important factors that led to David Lloyd George(TM)s downfall in 1922

    So although his intentions were good, the violence caused in Ireland by LG's treaty, was undoubtedly one of the major factors that led to his downfall. The Chanak Crisis, which coincided with the situation in Ireland, was the final straw for many Tory MP's regarding LG.

  2. Why did King Charles I Resort to Personal Rule in 1629?

    Because of the failure of the Free Gift, Charles responded with a more direct approach: the Forced Loan, also in 1626. Although it maintained the fiction that the money to be raised from this was voluntary, it was not. Men who refused to pay were imprisoned.

  1. The Battle of Bosworth.

    It is thought that there they had come to some sort of arrangement. Henry then continued with his journey. Richard had already set out to intercept Henry on the 10th of august. The two armies were in sight of each other by the 21st of august.

  2. How successfully did James deal with religious problems throughout his reign?

    In response to the parliamentary laws, Catholics saw their chances of respect and equal rights disappearing. A Catholic faction attempted to elect Sir Edward Harewell in the 1604 elections. Realising the potential threat of a Catholic seat in parliament, other candidates placed an armed guard on the gates of the courthouse, preventing Harewell from being elected.

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