Spain History – The Imperialism of the Habsburgs Part V

By | January 17, 2022

According to THENAILMYTHOLOGY, religious intolerance and political absolutism, if they had been endured in Italy, where Spanish domination was either long-standing or supported by an army always held in arms, applied in countries, such as the northern provinces of the Netherlands, which had welcomed Calvinism with great fervor and enjoyed secular privileges, they determined a revolt of a political-religious nature, to which at first the Catholics of the southern provinces also gave their support, still intolerant of the Spanish despotism that threatened the economic resources of the region, and, like the Calvinists, fiercely averse to Philip II. The revolution was very serious, because, if he had triumphed, the monarch would have lost his richest state; but soon acquired unpredictable developments for the intervention by France and England. France sided against Spain, and not only Huguenot France, but also the Catholic one, since Catherine, in the hope of securing a throne for her son, sent Francis Duke of Alençon to Flanders (1582). For several years now England had turned its greedy gaze to the Spanish colonies and, in the impossibility of starting regular trade with them, since the motherland had retained the monopoly of their exploitation, even if it did not come to open warfare, it had armed powerful fleets of privateers disrupting Atlantic trade; now the insurrection of Flanders, where the English had multiple interests, marked the beginning of the opening of hostilities. All this should have shown the error that was at the basis of the compromise attempted by Charles V when he had given to his son, in addition to the Spanish and Italian states, also Flanders, which belonged to a whole other world and would hardly have submitted to a government that they had not considered national and that had not embraced a national policy. And he should finally have revealed the fundamental misunderstanding on which the separation between kingdom and empire rested, which while he had deprived the main branch of the Habsburgs, the Spaniard, of part of his dominions, had left him the full duty of defending the two legacies. of Charles V and the fruit of the wars that had led to Cateau-Cambrésis, and therefore had precluded him from following a strictly Spanish policy. Instead, by insisting on error, Philip II believed that possession of Flanders was necessary for him for the same reasons that had already persuaded his father not to abandon the region, and that the fate of his house would be decided on the Flemish fields. Moreover, it did not stop there. Well remembering what sad consequences the Reformation had for his father and, Castilian at heart, led to exalt the most rigid intransigence and to consider the uniqueness of religion as indispensable to give a solid unitary basis to the state – we already saw that this was one of the fundamental canons of its internal politics – and to make Europe less reluctant to accept the dominance of a nation, such as Spain, which traditions and work of government had made totally Catholic; in the conflict that arose he saw especially the religious character and, against Lutheranism and Calvinism, considered as anti-Spanish movements, he assumed the enormous weight of defender of the Catholic faith throughout Europe. Undoubtedly, he thus ensured a national character to the struggle he waged. Castile had already done a lot for the triumph of the Counter-Reformation, giving it first of all the Loyola and then a dense group of theologians and scholastic philosophers restorers of the doctrine of the Church, and again the weapons of its strong infantry; now he sided in favor of his monarch by revealing an even greater enthusiasm than he had shown in supporting the cause of Charles V, because the new ideal felt it more adherent to its own traditions and spirit and was inclined to consider the war that had begun as national and to transform the defense of the Church into national ambition. And it could also be added that, by contrasting Calvinists with Catholics, Philip II managed to keep the Catholic part of Flanders for himself. But in this national and religious adaptation, the imperialism of the Habsburgs became much more dangerous for Europe and much more difficult for its supporter, because it had lost its previous territorial borders and aimed at the conquest of the consciences of the peoples; and because, after the political-religious splitting of the empire and the revolution of Flanders, it was supported almost exclusively by a country, like Spain,Moriscosand on its own soil), which until then had not had the time or the ability to firmly organize its own autonomous economic life, and who had only a formidable and feared army, for the spirit that animated it and for the boundless trust it received at home, a true manifestation of the region that had created it. Thus, the war that ensued, in which several nations defended their political and moral independence, assumed proportions and intensity never seen before; and Spain was not only weakened forever from an economic, political and military point of view – since the army too ended up feeling the influence of the crisis that tormented the country and put an end to its glories – but impoverished in the sources of its ethical life: because, not shaken, as was France, from the religious contrast and therefore not led to refine his inner life in the debate and to open his mind and soul to wider and deeper problems, he dried up his own morality in casuistry, in rigorism, in the so-called “point of honor” This latter is an evident manifestation of the ethics of a people, in which pride was about to prevail over other reasons for living. Philip II against the Huguenots supported the Guise with strong financial aid; in 1584 he recognized the cardinal of Bourbon as heir of Henry III, and then, on the latter’s death, he tried to assert the rights to the throne of Isabella, his daughter and of Elizabeth of Valois.

Spain History - The Imperialism of the Habsburgs 5