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

How successful was Philip II's foreign policy?

Extracts from this document...


How successful was Philip's foreign policy? Throughout Philip II's reign there were regular substantial occurrences outside he monarchia which forced him to implement some kind of foreign policy. When assessing how successful Philip's foreign policy was it is important to acknowledge the aim of foreign policy seem to be in line with the traditional Hapsburg aims of keeping his land and passing them on intact, whilst adding to them if possible. In line with these aims Philip seems to have achieved a moderate amount of success in the first half of his reign adding Portugal to his lands and eliminating the Turks as a threat, however these successes are seriously undermined by his later failures in England and France The area of foreign policy where Philip seemed to achieve the most success was in his exploitation of the political situation in Portugal which led to Portugal being added to Philip's monarchia. Portugal was already in a fragile state after the death of King Sebastian in 1578 the throne of Portugal had been given to his sick and aged Uncle Henry due to Sebastian having no children. ...read more.


This was seen as making Philip's foreign policy particularly successful due it being seen as the greatest victory for the Christian empire, and thus had a huge religious impact. However, Philip's greatest success when dealing with the Turks seems to be the negotiating of a truce in 1578. Despite the negative repercussions at the time involved with Philip putting his own problems before religion, the truce was highly successful as it allowed Philip to have little need for substantial military involvement in the Mediterranean, allowing him to move his armies further north in order to deal with the Netherlands and also his aspirations in France and England. This truce can be seen as having a negative impact on Philip's prestige due to the agreement being a sign that he had backed down and was inspired for fighting for Catholicism as his title 'champion of Catholicism' would suggest. However, its political benefits easily outweigh the impact it has on Philip's prestige and overall was one of Philip's most successful decisions in his foreign policy. One area where Philip achieved little success was in the last 15 years of his reign where he seemed to change his foreign policy to ...read more.


After many years of civil war and attempted interventions by Philip to turn France Catholic, Henry of Navarre, an anti Spanish protestant was crowned King of France. In response Philip ordered the transferral of troops from the Netherlands to attack France in a bid to claim the thrown for his daughter Elizabeth of Valois. Despite Henry becoming a Catholic, Philip's attack on France was highly unsuccessful and led to his third bankruptcy in 1596 and the removal of troops from the Netherlands during vital points of the revolt stopped victory against the rebels. Overall Philips foreign policy seemed to be successful early on in his reign due to him being defensive and reactive up to 1584 as it gained him Portugal and eliminated the threat of the Turks. However after 1584 Philip seemed to change to being an aggressive imperialist possibly due to the fact he wanted to leave behind some kind of impact as he realised he would not have long left as King, however this was unsuccessful as he tried to do to much in a short period of time, leaving his armies spread too thinly without enough equipment due to his mounting financial problems. ...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. Assess the view that Philip II as king of Spain was Absolute in Theory ...

    On the other hand, Parker's statement would be questionable because executing a number of people was no different from what other monarchs have practiced during their own respectable reigns however; this was a good example for Philip practicing his power.

  2. Explain how Philip II became King of Portugal in 1581. Although Philip II devoted ...

    For Philip, foreign policy dominated much of his reign. He wanted to preserve and expand his empire and also defend the catholic faith. With these aims he was at war for all but seven years of his rule and he achieved mixed results with the different countries he dealt with.

  1. Explain the external problems Spain faced on the accession of Philip II in 1556 ...

    Another example of Philip's personal monarchy was that he did not let the Pope interfere with the church in Spain. Despite the Pope being the head of the Roman Catholic Church, Philip retained control of the Spanish church and

  2. Assess Louis achievements in foreign policy by 1684. Account for his success in this ...

    These borders had originally been illogical and difficult to defend due to the lack of natural boundaries such as mountains and rivers (Louis had hoped to push his boundaries as far north as The Rhine). Therefore, these gains helped Louis to construct a more defensive frontier and at the same time provide a springboard for future expansion.

  1. Assess to what extent was Louis XIVs foreign policy less successful after 1684.

    These defeats weakened the gloire of the French army, which had been feared prior to these defeats. France's gloire was further diminished when the Allies invaded her during 1708 and 1709. These defeats suggest poor leadership and a deteriorating army which no longer held its former feared reputation.

  2. To what extent was Philip II personally responsible for the problems he faced in ...

    Moreover the bishoprics scheme led to problems in the 1560's as it oppressed the liberties of the provinces by grouping them all together as merely a Catholic, Spanish colony, rather than respecting their provincialism, leading to anger towards Philip for not understanding the individual needs of each province.

  1. Political issues far outweigh religious issues in explaining the outbreak of revolt in the ...

    which hence replaced the grandees in terms of the amount of influence they could exert on the Governess General, Margaret of Parma. The fact that the once highly influential political body of the Netherlands, the Council of State, had little significance and was largely ignored infuriated the grandees as their

  2. Despite frequent changes in policy, Russian and Soviet governments were spectacularly unsuccessful in securing ...

    Eventually, Khrushchev was removed from power and in his place came Brezhnev who did little to change the economy. The era of Brezhnev has often been described as ?a period of economic stagnation? but some historians believe that this is not fair.

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