History 351: Seventeenth Century Europe 2011


But the system linked the crown to the privado’s faction, annoying other nobles



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But the system linked the crown to the privado’s faction, annoying other nobles

  • And the privado could be incompetent



    Francisco Gómez de Sandoval, Duke of Lerma (1553-1625) (by Rubens, 1603)

    • A high nobleman, he became a favorite of the young Philip III before the latter became King in 1598,

    • The King made Lerma his privado and in 1599 gave him a dukedom.

    • Lerma used his power to make himself vastly rich.

    • His enemies at court secured his fall in 1618; earlier that year he persuaded the Pope to make him a Cardinal.

    Later privados

    • One of those who drove Lerma from power was Olivares, who became privado under Philip IV; more on Olivares in a while.

    • On Olivares’ fall in 1643, his nephew Luis Méndez de Haro, Marquis of Carpio (d. 1661), succeeded him as privado.

    • Mariana (or Maria Anna) of Austria married her uncle Philip IV when she was 14; she was regent for Charles II 1665-77, and appointed as privado first her Austrian confessor Johann Eberhard Nithard (to 1669) and then the minor noble Fernando de Valenzuela (1673-7).

    • Philip IV’s illegitimate son John of Austria took over in 1677, ending the age of the privados.





    Charles II and his Mother, Mariana (or Maria Anna) of Austria (1634-96) (Milan 1666)

    Spain: Government: the Cortes of Castile

    • The consent of the Cortes was required if the King wanted new taxes.

    • The Cortes sometimes used its power over taxation to criticize royal policy.

    • But it was a weak institution, and after 1665 it ceased to be called.

    • The nobles and clergy did not send representatives to the Cortes; 18 towns did

    • The representatives got to vote taxes for the whole of Castile, and to say how they would be distributed; their expenses were paid by the government; and they got a share of the taxes they voted.

    Spain: Society

    • Nobles; grandees; títulos (Duke; Marquis; Count; Viscount) (also Baron in Catalonia); caballeros; hidalgos.

    • Clergy: 100-150,000 under Philip IV (ten times as many as in England).

    • Students; Colegios Mayores

    • Arbitristas

    • Link between trade and low status; Granada 1492; purity of blood (limpieza de sangre); Jews; Moors; Marranos; Moriscos; Inquisition.

    • Expulsion of the Moriscos 1609-14; 319,000 expelled; Valencia.



    Expulsion of the Moriscos 1609

    Spain: Economy

    • Peasants: high taxation, and large payments to noble landowners encourage them to leave the land and emigrate to America.

    • Mesta: aristocratic organization of sheep-owners, dominated by grandees; merino sheep.

    • But Spanish wool increasingly uncompetitive with the New Draperies of the Dutch and English.

    • Debasement of the coinage; vellón.

    • Agricultural prosperity in Catalonia; Barcelona.

    Olivares in 1635 (by Velázquez)

    Gaspar de Guzmán, Count of Olivares, 1587-1645: early career

    • Olivares became Duke of San Lúcar la Mayor, and was known as the Conde-Duque (Count-Duke) from then on.

    • He was a younger son of the Count of Olivares, who served as Spanish ambassador to Rome, and as Viceroy of Naples and Sicily.

    • Olivares’ father never quite made it to the rank of Grandee.

    • There was Jewish blood in the family’s recent past.





    Olivares: early career

    • Since he was a younger son, he was not expected to inherit the family estates, and so would need to earn a living.

    • So he was sent to the University of Salamanca, to be trained for a career in the church.

    • But when his elder brother died, he became heir to the family lands; he married and was sent to court.

    • In 1607 his father died and he inherited the countship and lands.

    Olivares’ rise to power

    • At court, he was attached to the household of the heir to the throne, who became Philip IV.

    • Young Philip initially disliked Olivares; the latter worked hard to change that.

    • When Philip IV became King in 1621, Olivares rose to power; by 1623 he was Philip’s chief minister.

    • Olivares was intelligent, verbose, deeply religious, and self-doubting; he was well aware of Spain’s problems, and determined to solve them.

    Olivares’ plans for reform

    • To make government more efficient, he supplemented the councils with juntas – to which he appointed relatives and clients.

    • They included the junta for reformation (1623).

    • It proposed cutting the size of local government bureaucracy by two thirds.

    • It advocated reducing the number of students and grammar schools.

    • It proposed ending wasteful spending by abolishing the ruff and brothels, and discouraging plays and novels.



    A Ruff (on the Darnley Portrait of Elizabeth I, 1575)

    Olivares’ plans for reform

    • He intended to increase royal authority, and with this in mind appointed officials from the lesser rather than the higher nobility.

    • He set up juntas for economic reform, intending to promote trade and agriculture, and reverse depopulation. He offered noble status to large-scale traders.

    • He expanded the navy.

    • He wanted to share the cost of government fairly across Spain, and ultimately to unite the different regions.



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