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Provincia Marista Mediterrnea

Colegio La Sagrada Familia

UNIT 8: SPAIN IN THE 15th AND 16th CENTURIES

Isabel I of Castilla and Fernando II of Aragn received the title of Catholic Monarchs from the
Pope after conquering the Kingdom of Granada. During their reign they unified the Iberian
Peninsula, reinforced royal authority and imposed the Catholic religion.

The unification of Spain


The Early Modern Age in Spain began with the marriage of Isabel I and Fernando II.
- In 1492, they united the Kingdom of Castilla and of Aragn and created a big and
powerful Christian kingdom.
- In 1492, they conquered the Kingdom of Granada, which was the last Muslim Kingdom
in Spain. It included Granada, Mlaga and Almera.
- Later, they conquered the Kingdom of Navarra and the Canary Islands.

Reforms
- The monarchy took control of the army, economy and government.
- The monarchs had a lot of power: they took privileges away from the nobility and the
Church.
- An army was built to fight for the country and its economy.
- There was more interest in territorial expansion and exploration.
- Strong alliances with other European countries were established.
- The Spanish Inquisition was established. The objective was to punish people who didnt
follow the rules established by the Catholic Church.

Intolerance
- Jews and Muslims lived with Christians making important contributions to Science,
music and literature.
- The Catholic Monarchs ordered the Jews and Muslims to convert to the Catholic
religion. The Muslims who did so were called Moriscos. Then the Catholic Monarchs
ordered the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492.
Provincia Marista Mediterrnea
Colegio La Sagrada Familia

UNIT 8: SPAIN IN THE 15th AND 16th CENTURIES

Discovery of America

- European countries wanted new trade routes to reach Asia and its silk, precious stones
and spices. They wanted to find trade routes by sea instead of by land.
- The conquest of Granada allowed the Catholic Church to divert their attention to
exploration.
Isabel and Fernando met Christopher Columbus and they decided to sponsor his trip to
find a new route to India and China.
- Christopher Columbus was an Italian navigator and explorer. He was convinced that
sailing west across the Atlantic Ocean was a shorter route to Asia.
On the 3rd of August 1492 the three caravels (the Santa Mara, the Pinta and the Nia)
left Palos de la Frontera, Huelva, and on 12th of October 1492 arrived in San Salvador,
an Island in the Bahamas.
Columbus thought he had reached India, so he called the inhabitants Indians. Although
he made three more voyages, he died not knowing that the continent was not Asia but
America.

Spain after colonizing America

- Spanish ports, such as Sevilla, grew in importance as a result of a greater demand for
ships.
- Spain exported goods so craftspeople and farmers became richer.
- Spain imported many products from America. Two of the most important raw materials
from America were gold and silver. This made Spain the most powerful country in
Europe.
Provincia Marista Mediterrnea
Colegio La Sagrada Familia

UNIT 8: SPAIN IN THE 15th AND 16th CENTURIES

The Spanish Empire

Throughout the 16th century, Carlos I and Felipe I, descendants of the Catholic Monarchs, ruled
the most powerful empire in the world, with territories in Africa, America, Asia and Europe.

- The Empire of Carlos I


Carlos I became king in 1516. He was the first Spanish king of the Habsburg dynasty. He ruled
Spain and its territories in America. He also inherited the German Empire from his fathers
family. For this reason, he was also called Carlos V of Germany.
Before he died, he divided his empire in two kingdoms. He gave his German Empire to his
brother Fernando and his Spanish Empire (which included the Netherlands) to his son Felipe II.

- The Empire of Felipe II


Felipe II became king in 1556. Later he established his permanent residence in Madrid. The
Spanish empire expanded under his reign, especially in America.
In 1580, Felipe II conquered Portugal which included the Portuguese territories in America,
Africa and Asia.
The reign of Felipe II was also a period of wars and conflicts. Felipe IIs armies won many
important battles on land and at sea. In 1571, in the Battle of Lepanto, the Spanish fleet stopped
the Turkish Empire from taking control of the Mediterranean Sea. However, these wars were
very expensive, so the price of some products increased and the Spanish population became
poorer.

Problems in the 16th century

- Controlling the new territories in America.


- Internal revolts in Spain
- Wars in Europe
- War against the Turks.