King Philip II ruled over the western Habsburg kingdom, which included Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and Sardinia. When he got married to Mary I, he then ruled over England and Ireland. There were major challenges that Philip II faced during his reign. Some of the problems were finances and control over some of his countries, such as Spain and the Netherlands. Philip II had many problems throughout Spain since the time it had grown unstable. Philip II had a debt and needed to pay back his bankers and mercenaries.
He was able to make some money from the silver from mines in Bolivia. Since there was money coming from the Americas, Europe was able to gain some wealth. Europe also gained an increase in its population. This caused inflation, which was less food and fewer jobs, while still having the population overflow. There was an obviously visible gap between the richer people and the poor ones. Because of a need for money, the unprivileged people of Spain suffered greatly from the harsh taxes of Philip II. Philip II also wanted an efficient bureaucracy and military.
He made the lesser nobility into the bureaucracy because if he would have used higher nobles they may try to gain more power. Philip II had to deal with a Turkish threat in the Mediterranean. So, Spain, Venice, and the Pope created the Holy League. In a naval battle, The Battle of Lapanto, they defeated the Turks who had tried to invade Austria. Control had been secured in the Mediterranean and then Spain annexed Portugal. Philip eventually declared bankruptcy and could not pay his soldiers. They became known as the Spanish fury when they attacked Antwerp.
While Philip II was dealing with many complications, the Netherlands came along and caused more damage for him. The Count of Egmont and William of Nassau, or William of Orange, started a strong opposition to Spanish overlords. Because of this, Philip II decided that the decrees of the Council of Trent and the Inquisition were to be enforced in the Netherlands. Louis of Nassau led the opposition of Philip II’s decision. This caused Protestants to riot throughout the country. In response to this, Philip sent the Duke of Alba to suppress the people. Alba publicly killed thousands of suspected heretics.
This was known as the Council of Troubles, but it was referred to as the Council of Blood in the Netherlands. The Duke of Alba also enforced taxes, such as a ten percent sales tax that caused people to flee the country. Furthermore, Philip II only had one chance left to destroy the Netherlandic resistance, so he called William of Orange an outlaw and even placed a bounty on him. But William of Orange had a speech, the Apology, which called Philip a tyrant, causing the Union of Utrecht to disregard Philip as their ruler. King Philip II went through a lot during his time of reign.
He was dealing with many different countries, some under and some not under his rule. Spain had a very bad economy that was not going far. There was an inflation, which made everything even more difficult. Then in the Netherlands, they wanted to be free. They caused trouble for Philip and tried to resist whatever he did. Philip even had to send over the Duke of Alba, and the people of the Netherlands hated him for it. The problems in the Netherlands led to the Twelve Years’ Truce, where the northern provinces gained independence. Later on, their official independence was from the Peace of Westphalia in 1648.
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Topic: Philip II
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