This article is about the Historical figure Phillip II (1527-1598) you may be looking for the Reign character King Philip II.

Phillip II (May 21, 1527 - September 13, 1598) was King of Spain from January 16, 1556 to September 13, 1598.

Early Life Edit

The son of Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire, and his wife, Infanta Isabella of Portugal, Philip was born in the Spanish capital of Valladolid on May 21, 1527 at Palacio de Pimentel.

The culture and courtly life of Spain were an important influence in his early life. He was tutored by Juan Martínez Siliceo. Philip displayed reasonable aptitude in arms and letters alike. Later he would study with more illustrious tutors, including the humanist Juan Cristóbal Calvete de Estrella. Philip, though he had good command over Latin, Spanish and Portuguese, never managed to equal his father, Charles V, as a linguist. Despite being also a German archduke from the House of Habsburg, Philip was seen as a foreigner in the Holy Roman Empire. The feeling was mutual. Philip felt himself to be culturally Spanish; he had been born in Spain and raised in the Castilian court, his native tongue was Spanish, and he preferred to live in Spain. This would ultimately impede his succession to the imperial throne.

In April 1528, when Philip was eleven months old, he received the oath of allegiance as heir to the crown from the Cortes of Castile, and from that time until the death of his mother Isabella in 1539, Philip was raised in the royal court of Castile under the care of his mother, and one of her Portuguese ladies, Doña Leonor de Mascarenhas, to whom he was devotedly attached. Philip was also close to his two sisters, María and Juana, and to his two pages, the Portuguese nobleman Rui Gomes da Silva and Luis de Requesens, the son of his governor Juan de Zúñiga. These men would serve Philip throughout their lives, as would Antonio Pérez, his secretary from 1541.

The Reign of Phillip II Edit

Philip faced many constitutional constraints on his authority. This was largely influenced by the growing strength of the bureaucracy during Philip's reign. The Spanish Empire was not a single monarchy with one legal system but a federation of separate realms, each jealously guarding its own rights against those of the House of Habsburg. In practice, Philip often found his authority overruled by local assemblies, and his word less effective than that of local lords.

Philip II also grappled with the problem of the large Morisco population in Spain, who were sometimes forcibly converted to Christianity by his predecessors. In 1569, the Morisco Revolt broke out in the southern province of Granada in defiance of attempts to suppress Moorish customs; and Philip ordered the expulsion of the Moriscos from Granada and their dispersal to other provinces.

Despite its immense dominions, Spain was a country with a sparse population that yielded a limited income to the crown. Philip faced major difficulties in raising taxes, the collection of which was largely farmed out to local lords. He was able to finance his military campaigns only by taxing and exploiting the local resources of his empire. The flow of income from the New World proved vital to his militant foreign policy, but nonetheless his exchequer several times faced bankruptcy. Philip's reign saw a flourishing of cultural excellence in Spain, the beginning of what is called the Golden Age, creating a lasting legacy in literature, music, and the visual arts.

The Spanish Economy under Phillip II Edit

Charles V had left Philip with a debt of about 36 million ducats and an annual deficit of 1 million ducats. This debt caused Phillip II to default on loans in 1557, 1560, 1575, and 1596. This happened because the lenders had no power over the king and could not force him to repay his loans. These defaults were just the beginning of Spain's economic troubles as Spain's kings would default six more times in the next 65 years. Aside from reducing state revenues for overseas expeditions, the domestic policies of Philip II further burdened Spain, and would, in the following century, contribute to its decline, as maintained by some historians.

King Phillip played groups against each other, leading to a system of checks and balances that managed affairs inefficiently, even to the extent of damaging state business, as in the Perez affair. Following a fire in Valladolid in 1561, he resisted calls to move his Court to Lisbon, an act that could have curbed centralization and bureaucracy domestically as well as relaxed rule in the Empire. Instead, with the traditional Royal and Primacy seat of Toledo now essentially obsolete, Philip moved his Court to the Castilian stronghold of Madrid. Except for a brief period under Philip III, Madrid has remained the capital of Spain to the present day.

Death Edit

Philip II died in El Escorial, near Madrid, on September 13, 1598 of cancer. His death, which was very painful, involved a severe attack of gout, fever, dropsy & edema. For 52 horrific days the King deteriorated. He could no longer be moved to be washed because of the pain; thus a hole was cut in his mattress for the release of bodily fluids.

He was succeeded by his son Philip III.

Marriages & children Edit

King Phillip II was married 4 times & had children by 3 of his wives.

1. Maria Manuela, Princess of Portugal (October 15, 1527 – July 12, 1545). She was a daughter of Philip's maternal uncle, John III of Portugal, and paternal aunt, Catherine of Austria. They were married November 12, 1543 in Salamanca, Spain. Their marriage produced one son in 1545, after which Maria died 4 days later due to hemorrhage at the age of only 17:

  • Carlos, Prince of Asturias (July 8, 1545 – July 24, 1568), died unmarried and without issue.

2. Queen Mary I of England (February 18, 1516 – November 17, 1558). The only surviving child of King Henry VII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon. Mary was Phillip's distant cousin many times removed. Their wedding took place on July 25, 1554 in the Winchester Cathedral, and the marriage was political. By this marriage, Philip became King of England and Ireland, although the couple was apart more than together as they ruled their respective countries. The marriage produced no children and Mary died in 1558, ending Philip's reign in England and Ireland.

3. Princess Elisabeth of Valois (April 2, 1545 – October 3, 1568), the eldest daughter of Henry II of France and Catherine de' Medici. The couple were married by proxy on June 22, 1559, and their actual wedding took place on February 2, 1560. During their extremely happy marriage (1559–1568) they conceived one son and five daughters, though only two of the girls survived. Elisabeth died a few hours after the loss of her last child, at the age of only 23.

Their children were:

  • Stillborn son (1560)
  • Miscarried twin daughters (1564)
  • Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia of Spain (August 12, 1566 – December 1, 1633)
    • Married Albert VII, Archduke of Austria, had 3 children all died very young
  • Princess Catherine Michelle of Spain (October 10, 1567 – November 6, 1597)
    • Married Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy, had 10 children
  • Miscarried daughter (1568).

4. Archduchess Anna of Austria (November 1, 1549 – October 26, 1580). Phillip's sorrel niece. By contemporary accounts, this was a convivial and satisfactory marriage for both Philip and Anna; which took place in May 1570 by proxy. This marriage produced four sons and one daughter. Anna died at the age of only 30 of heart failure 8 months after giving birth to Maria in 1580.

Their children were:

  • Ferdinand, Prince of Asturias (December 4, 1571 – October 18, 1578)
  • Charles Laurence (August 12, 1573 – June 30, 1575)
  • Diego, Prince of Asturias (August 15, 1575 – November 21, 1582),
  • Philip III of Spain (April 3, 1578 – March 31, 1621), succeeded his father (the only child to live to adulthood)
    • Married Margaret of Austria and had issue
  • Maria (February 14, 1580 – August 5, 1583)


  • Phillip's mother: Isabella of Portugal
  • King Charles V: Holy Roman Emperor: Phillip's father
  • Princess Maria of Portugal: Phillip's 1st wife
  • Queen Mary I of England: Phillip's 2nd wife
  • Princess Eliabeth of Valois: Phillip's 3rd wife
  • Archduchess Anna of Austria: Phillip's 4th & final wife
  • Prince Carlos: Phillip's eldest son & first child by Maria
  • Princess Catherine Michelle of Spain: Phillip's 2nd daughter by Elizabeth
  • Princess Isabella Clara of Spain: Phillip's eldest daughter by Elisabeth
  • Cenotaph of Phillip & his family at The Escorial
  • Flag of the Spanish Armies under Phillip II
  • Baptism of Phillip at Valladolid, Spain
  • Statue of Phillip II in Madrid, Spain
  • Phillip and his wife Anna of Austria at a banquet with family and courtiers
  • King Phillip II with his 2nd wife Queen Mary I of England

References Edit

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