Habsburg Spain

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Habsburg Spain refers to the history of Spain over the 16th and 17th centuries (1506–1700), when Spain was ruled by the major branch of the Habsburg dynasty (also associated to its role in the history of Central Europe). Under Habsburg rule (chiefly under Charles V and Philip II of Spain), Spain reached the zenith of its influence and power, controlling territory ranging from the Americas to the East Indies in Asia, the Low Countries (which included territories now in France and Germany), a part of modern-day Italy in Europe, and from 1580 to 1640 Portugal, the Portuguese Empire and various other territories such as Malta in the Mediterranean basin and small enclaves like Ceuta and Oran in North Africa. Altogether, Habsburg Spain was, for well over a century, the world's greatest power. For this reason, this period of Spanish history has also been referred to as the "Age of Expansion."

After dominating Europe politically and militarily for much of the Habsburg reign, Spain experienced a relative decline in influence under the later Habsburg kings, mainly in the second half of the 17th century.

The Habsburg years were also a Spanish Golden Age of cultural efflorescence. Among the most outstanding figures of this period were Diego Velázquez, El Greco, Miguel de Cervantes, Teresa of Ávila, Pedro Calderón de la Barca, Francisco de Vitoria, Domingo de Soto and Francisco Suárez.

Chronology

The beginnings of the empire (1504–1521)

Spain as a unified state came...
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