IV. The Early Modern Period, 1500–1800 > B. Early Modern Europe, 1479–1815 > 1. Europe, 1479–1675 > e. The Iberian Peninsula > 1. Spain > 1520–21
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
UPRISING OF THE COMUNEROS. A group of cities (led by Toledo and by the Toledan Juan de Padilla) took issue with the government and organized a Holy League (Santa Junta) at Avila (July 1520). Though this was originally as much an aristocratic as a bourgeois movement, radical tendencies soon appeared and the noble elements withdrew. After the defeat of the comuneros at Villalar (April 23, 1521), the leaders were executed and government authority reestablished.  1
War between France and Spain, the result of French support of the comuneros and French designs on Navarre. The French took Pampeluna and Fontarabia, but Charles, supported by the pope, Florence, and Mantua, expelled the French from Milan (1522). In 1524 the Spanish commanders, the Constable de Bourbon and the Marqués de Pescara, invaded Provence and advanced to Marseilles. Francis I was decisively defeated and captured at the Battle of Pavia (Feb. 24, 1525) and in captivity at Madrid was obliged to sign the Treaty of Madrid, by which he abandoned his Italian claims and ceded Burgundy. On his release he violated his promises and the war was resumed. By the Treaty of Cambrai (1529), Charles was obliged to renounce Burgundy, while Francis once more abandoned his claims to Naples.  2
The expedition of Charles to Tunis, part of a great duel between Spain and the Ottoman Turks.  3
Another war with France, arising from the succession to Milan (See 1535), led to another invasion of Provence (1536) and to the inconclusive Treaty of Nice (1538).  4
Discovery of silver mines at Potosi in (what was then) Peru (See Economic Conditions).  5
Discovery of silver at Zacatecas in Mexico; the quinto, or one-fifth of all mines' production, belonged to the Spanish crown.  6
The last war between Charles and the French kings, ending in the Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis (April 3, 1559) (See 1556–59).  7
Charles I (Charles V as emperor) gave Spain efficient government, continuing the work of Ferdinand and Isabella. On the other hand, his imperial position resulted in the involvement of Spain in all general European problems and in the expenditure of much blood and money, the latter drain not so noticeable at the time because of the great influx of gold from the New World.  8
On the abdication of Charles I, Spain and the colonies, as well as the Netherlands, Franche-Comté, Naples, and Milan passed to his son  9
PHILIP II (b. at Valladolid in 1527), the most Spanish of the Habsburg rulers and a monarch who spent most of his reign in Spain. He was grave, serious yet affable, and conscientious to a fault in his bureaucratic duties. Philip's most serious defect was a certain rigidity: tenaciously clinging to an idea. His policy centered on the determination to defend the faith and to stamp out Protestantism, and further to stand by the Habsburg interests, outside as well as inside Spain. This involved constant intervention in general European affairs and costly wars. During this period the Spanish infantry (largely volunteer and with a considerable noble element) reached the pinnacle of its prestige.  10
Philip married four times: Mary of Portugal, mother of Don Carlos; Mary the Catholic, queen of England; Elizabeth of Valois; Anne of Austria, daughter of Maximilian II.  11
Continuance of the war with France. Victories of the Spaniards under the duke of Alva, at St. Quentin (Aug. 10, 1557) and at Gravelines (July 13, 1558), led to the Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis (April 3, 1559), which reaffirmed the Spanish possession of Franche-Comté and the Italian states. The capital was definitively established at Madrid. In 1563 the construction of the Escorial Palace was begun.  12
Acceleration of emigration to the Americas: about 240,000 men and women, many of whom were conversos, Spaniards of Jewish ancestry; some, such as at least one brother of St. Teresa of Avila, returned to Spain having made fortunes.  13
Beginning of the Netherlands' prolonged struggle for independence (See 1567–1648) (See 1567).  14
The identification of religious heresy with sexual deviance led to the execution by burning of 71 men convicted of pecado nefando, anal intercourse with other men, at Sevilla.  15
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.