Gaspar de Guzmán y Pimentel, the Count-Duke of Olivares, is one of the best-known valid valid in modern Spanish history. It was Valido and advisor to King Philip IV and many of his decisions were transcendental for the future of the country.
Born in Rome on January 6, 1587. He was the son of the counts of Olivares, Enrique de Guzmán and María de Pimentel y Fonseca. They belonged to a minor branch of the lineage of the Medina Sidonia. When he was young, he studied in Salamanca ecclesiastical studies, being even appointed rector by his companions in 1603. He abandoned his studies when his two older brothers they passed away and went to court with his father. He died in 1607, which left Gaspar in charge of the mayorazgo and received the title of nobilitybelonging to his father.
He moved to Seville, where he granted patronage to various artists and writers, and married Isabel de Velasco, one of Queen Margaret's bridesmaids. Thanks to this link, he was able to easily access the court's social circles. In 1615 he entered at the service of Prince Philip, the future King Felipe IV. At court he was gaining power and prestige, in part thanks to the influences of his uncle, Don Baltasar de Zúñiga. Thanks to this ascension, it was causing the loss of prestige of the Duke of Lerma and the departure of the Sandovals.
Once Philip IV came to the throne, in 1621 it is appointed sommelier of corps and shortly after he is appointed senior groom. These positions would help him climb into the influence of the king. Thanks to gifts, intrigues, favors and the continuous struggle between the nobles of the court, in 1623 it already appears as valid on the visit of the Prince of Wales. With the appointment, he was able amass a great fortune thanks to the large amount of territories, income and titles that it acquired.
He wanted to strengthen his position by replacing the members of the council with people like him. In this way his political interest and its position between the nobles and the king, getting as close as possible to the most influential aristocratic houses of the moment.
Spain was then immersed in a great crisis. There was an institutional crisis, the monarchy had lost the power it had in the past and, in addition, the country had been gradually losing their territories on the European continent. For this reason, Olivares decided to carry out the Great Memorial, a program focused on trying to regain the power and prestige that the monarchy had lost and also concentrate power in the figure of the valid one. It was about reorganize the use of resources so that all the territories covered the expenses equally, and not only Castilla as had been happening. This would be done by Arms Union.
The reforms did not suffer the expected effect and they failed due to the opposition that was found both in the courts and in the various territories of the kingdom. Because of this, had to go into debt to be able to carry out the war of Flanders. This financial crisis reached its peak in 1627 when it occurred bankruptcy.
In 1629 the so-called Mantua events, which allowed the count-duke to exercise power in an authoritative way. Thus, he was able to implement a large reform program for the next five years. However, he had to end the break relations with France.
Due to his bad government, he was about to be deposed on various occasions, especially during the period of time in which the monarch was ill in 1627. However, thanks to his charisma and people skills he was able to continue to hold the position. Thanks to the victory of Fuenterrabia he was able to enjoy one more time in the post, but this caused even greater damage to the royal coffers. This caused discontent among the population and the uprising of the Catalan people. In addition, the separation of the kingdom of Portugal in 1640. For all this, in 1643 Felipe IV decided to dismiss him. He retired to Loeches to spend the last years of his life. Passed away July 22, 1645 in the town of Toro.
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