The Kings of Portugal


Philip II of Spain

Philip II of Spain (Spanish: Felipe II; 21 May 1527 – 13 September 1598) was King of Spain (1556–98), King of Portugal (1581–98, as Philip I, Filipe I), King of Naples and Sicily (both from 1554), and jure uxoris King of England and Ireland (during his marriage to Queen Mary I from 1554 to 1558). He was also Duke of Milan. From 1555 he was lord of the Seventeen Provinces of the Netherlands. The son of Holy Roman Emperor and King of the Spanish kingdoms Charles V and Isabella of Portugal, Philip was called "Felipe el Prudente" ("Philip the Prudent") in the Spanish kingdoms; his empire included territories on every continent then known to Europeans, including his namesake the Philippines. During his reign, the Spanish kingdoms reached the height of its influence and power. This is sometimes called the Spanish Golden Age. During Philip's reign there were separate state bankruptcies in 1557, 1560, 1569, 1575, and 1596. This was partly the cause of the declaration of independence that created the Dutch Republic in 1581. On 31 December 1584 Philip signed the Treaty of Joinville, with Henry I, Duke of Guise signing on behalf of the Catholic League; consequently Philip supplied a considerable annual grant to the League over the following decade to maintain the civil war in France, with the hope of destroying the French Calvinists. A devout Catholic, Philip saw himself as the defender of Catholic Europe against the Ottoman Empire and the Protestant Reformation. He sent a large armada to invade Protestant England in 1588, with the strategic aim of overthrowing Elizabeth I of England and establishing Catholicism in England. He hoped to stop both English interference in the Spanish Netherlands and the harm caused to Spanish interests by English and Dutch privateering. Philip was described by the Venetian ambassador Paolo Fagolo in 1563 as "slight of stature and round-faced, with pale blue eyes, somewhat prominent lip, and pink skin, but his overall appearance is very attractive". The Ambassador went on to say "He dresses very tastefully, and everything that he does is courteous and gracious." Besides Mary I, Philip was married three other times and widowed four times.

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