Biography of Philip II

Biography of Philip II

Philip II He was born on May 21, 1527 in Valladolid. His parents were the king Carlos I and Isabel of Portugal. On May 10, 1529 he was appointed heir to the crown of Castile. Due to the emperor's continuous travels, his mother was the one who educated him in those years. Had two tutors: Juan Martínez Siliceo would teach him to read and write, and Juan de Zúñiga would be his tutor. Between the two of them they would teach the prince the fundamentals of politics and knowledge.

Due to this education, the prince's relationship with his mother was very close, so his death in 1539 left him deeply marked. He would begin to enter politics because he was appointed regent of the kingdom for the king's march to Ghent. Thanks to the advisers he was able to quickly familiarize himself with the affairs of state.

On November 15, 1543, he married his cousin María Manuela de Portugal, but the young woman passed away a year later when giving birth to Prince Charles, on July 12, 1545. Her second wedding would take place almost ten years later, on July 25, 1554, with Mary Tudor, Queen of England, since the alliance with this nation was very profitable for the emperor.

That same year Felipe would receive the title of King of Naples and Duke of Milan. In addition, on October 25 of the following year he would receive the sovereignty over the Netherlands. Thanks to his closeness to the people, he became a beloved king. Just the following year, the king Carlos I abdicated his son, so Felipe would be named king of Castile and Aragon, becoming the king of most important empire of those times. However, the German empire and the Habsburg territories passed to his uncle Fernando, leaving the family divided into two branches, the Austrian and the Spanish.

In March 1557 he returned to England to spend time with his wife and try to conceive an heir, but in the summer of that year he had to march to the Netherlands to take part in the battle of San Quentin, which took place on August 10, 1557. Thus ended the confrontation with France thanks to the treatise of Cateau-Cambresis, with which Italy remained in Spanish hands. In addition, Felipe had become a widower when María died in 1558, so to seal the deal he married Elizabeth of Valois.

The following year he arrived in Spain and decided to carry out reforms in the government, laying the foundations for a modern public administration. One of the measures that stands out the most is the establishment of Madrid as the capital of the kingdom, permanently establishing the court in the village.

Thanks to the peace signed with France, he was able curb Turkish expansionism in the Mediterranean and in North Africa, starring in the famous battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571 alongside Rome, Venice and Genoa, the so-called Holy League. Don Juan de Austria would be in charge of directing the ships during the battle. He would also be the protagonist at the time of end the revolts of the Moors in Granada in 1568. However, it will be possible to curb the Turks through diplomatic channels. Thanks to this, the king could focus on the conflicts in the Atlantic and the war that was raging in the Netherlands.

The problems would come in 1568 when his wife and Prince Charles passed away, leaving no male heir to the throne; Furthermore, the Prince of Orange would invade the Low Countries. In 1570 he remarried his niece Anne from Austria, with whom he will have five children but of whom only one would survive, the future Felipe III. The queen died in 1580, leaving Felipe II a widower until his death.

During the 1970s there would be tensions in the Madrid court. Two factions had been created that wanted to win the royal favor. One was led by the Duke of Alba, and the other by the Prince of Éboli, who on his death would be replaced by Antonio Pérez. These confrontations almost collapsed the administration and reached its peak with the death of Juan de Escobedo, secretary of Don Juan of Austria, on March 31, 1578.

To make matters worse, the situation in the Netherlands it was getting complicated increasingly. Don Juan of Austria tried to resolve the conflict, but died in Namur in 1578. Cardinal Granvella would be appointed Secretary of State to try to solve the political and financial crisis through which the kingdom passed.

At this time began the second part of the reign, marked by the physical and moral decline of the king. Felipe had been named King of Portugal in 1580 by the courts of Tomar and in 1581 annexed it to their territories. However, the event that marked the decline was the well-known invincible army.

Elizabeth I had been appointed Queen of England years before and had decided to intervene in the fighting in the Netherlands. This turned the balance in favor of the Dutch rebels. Felipe II decided to gather a large naval fleet and send it to England, known as invincible army. With it he intended to invade the country. However, due to weather conditions and clashes with the English, in 1588 the disaster of the navy and it would mean the decline of the king.

Due to the illnesses and ailments that affected the king, he was progressively neglecting the functions of the state and could not control all matters as before. The Night Board is then created to collaborate in the decisions of the monarch. Years later it would be created the Big Board, in charge of dealing with the economic crisis.

He was also unsuccessful in trying to place his daughter Isabel Clara Eugenia at the court of France, as she would be crowned King Henry IV. There were clashes in northern France that favored the Dutch. These confrontations would end with the Peace of Vervins in 1598, according to which these territories were under the rule of Isabel Clara Eugenia, who had married Archduke Albert.

The health of the king was deteriorating more and more, affected by gout and osteoarthritis. In June 1598 the king was bedridden due to the fevers that overtook him, causing him such pain that he could hardly move. On September 13 of that year he died in the monastery of El Escorial. His son succeeded him on the throne Philip III.

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Graduated in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication, since I was little I have been attracted to the world of information and audiovisual production. Passion for informing and being informed of what is happening in every corner of the planet. Likewise, I am pleased to be part of the creation of an audiovisual product that will later entertain or inform people. My interests include cinema, photography, the environment and, above all, history. I consider it essential to know the origin of things to know where we come from and where we are going. Special interest in curiosities, mysteries and anecdotal events in our history.


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