Philip II of Spain (1527-1598)

Philip II of Spain

1527 Philip II was born in Spain, at Valladolid, on the 21st of May. He was the first leader of a global empire; his fields stretched from Europe and America to Far East. He was genius of bureaucratic organization and it was said that he led his empire “by pen”.

Philip II was the eldest son of Charles V, emperor of Holy Roman Empire and king of Spain and son of Isabella of Portugal. During a long time of his childhood and teenage, Philip’s father was gone, so his education was provided by tutors. He was married four times.

1543 He married to his cousin, Maria of Portugal, and became regent of Spain. Maria gave birth to a son, Don Carlos, that would be accused of plotting against his father and who would die in mysterious circumstances. He married second time to Maria Tudor and he was a consort in England for a short period.

1556 Charles V abdicated but Philip had already been Duke of Milano, King of Napoli and he would inherit large territories in both Americas and in Far East.

1557 He fought at Saint Quentin against French people and he obtained a victory that opened the way to sign Cateaua Cambresis treaty, in 1559, treaty which ended a 60-year war against France. Then Philip married the third time, this time to Isabelle of Volois of France. They had two loved daughters: Isabbela, who would become, together with her husband, co-governor of the Netherlands, and Catalina.

1563 He started to build monastic palace, El Escorial.

1568 The rebel in the Netherlands started.

1566 Philippines were conquered by Philip that is why they are called like this.

1570 Philip married fourth time to his Austrian cousin.

1571 Ottoman Turks are defeated at Lepanto.

1580 He conquered Portugal. While he was at Lisbon, he wrote some wonderful letters to his daughters. Philip loved art like his father and he protected Tiziano.  He built a lot around Madrid so expanding some palaces.

1563-1584 His greatest architectural achievement is El Escorial ensemble construction, monastery, palace and Royal Mausoleum full of paintings, books and holy relics.

1588 He sent the army against England wishing to turn it to Catholicism, but his big fleet was dispersed and destroyed by a series of violent storms. Philip also helped Holy Catholic League in France that fought from 1590 to 1598 against Huguenot (protestant) king, Henry IV.

1580 He also claimed the rights over Portugal’s throne.

1598 He died in Spain, at El Escorial, on the 13th of September, clutching his father’s crucifix and starring the main altar of church.

El Escorial is considered by contemporaries “the eighth wonder of the world”, and Philip called it “lady of my heart”.[1]




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