Imperial Spain: 1469-1716
J. H. Elliott
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Since its first publication, J. H. Elliott's classic chronicle has become established as the most comprehensive, balanced, and accessible account of the dramatic rise and fall of imperial Spain. Now with a new preface by the author, this brilliant study unveils how a barren, impoverished, and isolated country became the greatest power on earth—and just as quickly fell into decline.
At its greatest Spain was a master of Europe: its government was respected, its armies were feared, and its conquistadores carved out a vast empire. Yet this splendid power was rapidly to lose its impetus and creative dynamism. How did this happen in such a short space of time? Taking in rebellions, religious conflict and financial disaster, Elliott's masterly social and economic analysis studies the various factors that precipitated the end of an empire.
the challenge in the same way as other impoverished aristocrats. They left their 85,000 vassals and their 620 towns and villages to the care of stewards and administrators and transferred themselves to Madrid. Life at Court might be expensive (indeed, the Duke of Infantado is said to have spent more than 300,000 ducats in the course of the King's visit to Valencia in 1599), but the grandees expected to make up for their losses by plundering the royal treasury, just as their ancestors had
Jewellery 40,000 Tapestries and hangings 90,000 Letters of exchange 100,000 Juros (in the name of himself and others) 470,000 Real estate 500,000 1,240,000 Such an inventory gives force to González's constant insistence on the urgent necessity of redeeming juros and reducing the enormous burden on Castile of the Crown's debts, which lured away surplus wealth into unproductive channels. The Castile of González de Cellorigo was thus a society in which both money and labour
would be immediately assisted by the seventh part of this reserve, or 20,000 infantry and 4,000 cavalry. There were obvious practical difficulties in the way of this ingenious scheme. The States of the Crown of Aragon, for instance, had extremely rigid laws regulating the recruitment of troops and their use beyond the frontiers. It would not be easy to induce them to set aside these laws for the sake of helping a province like Milan, which was always liable to sudden attack. But the Conde Duque
ideals, the values and the institutions of medieval Castile. The conquest of Granada and the discovery of America represented at once an end and a beginning. While the fall of Granada brought to an end the Reconquista of Spanish territory, it also opened a new phase in Castile's long crusade against the Moor – a phase in which the Christian banners were borne across the straits and planted on the inhospitable shores of Africa. The discovery of the New World also marked the opening of a new phase
to be little or no concern of theirs. So far as Castile was concerned, many of Charles's policies seemed to Castilians to deviate sharply from the traditional policies pursued by his predecessors. His feud with the King of France, his war against the Protestant princes of Germany, appeared to have little or nothing to do with the promotion of Castilian interests, and hardly seemed to justify the use of Castilian manpower and the expenditure of Castilian money. Even his Italian policy,