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Title: A History of Spain - founded on the Historia de España y de la civilización - española of Rafael Altamira
Author: Chapman, Charles E. (Edward), 1880-1941
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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New York

_All rights reserved_



Set up and electrotyped. Published October, 1918.

Norwood Press

J. S. Cushing Co.--Berwick & Smith Co.

Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.





The present work is an attempt to give in one volume the main features
of Spanish history from the standpoint of America. It should serve
almost equally well for residents of both the English-speaking and the
Spanish American countries, since the underlying idea has been that
Americans generally are concerned with the growth of that Spanish
civilization which was transmitted to the new world. One of the chief
factors in American life today is that of the relations between
Anglo-Saxon and Hispanic America. They are becoming increasingly
important. The southern republics themselves are forging ahead; on the
other hand many of them are still dangerously weak, leaving possible
openings for the not unwilling old world powers; and some of the richest
prospective markets of the globe are in those as yet scantily developed
lands. The value of a better understanding between the peoples of the
two Americas, both for the reasons just named and for many others,
scarcely calls for argument. It is almost equally clear that one of the
essentials to such an understanding is a comprehension of Spanish
civilization, on which that of the Spanish American peoples so largely
depends. That information this volume aims to provide. It confines
itself to the story of the growth of Spanish civilization in Spain, but
its ultimate transfer to the Americas has been constantly in the
writer’s mind in the choice of his material, as will appear from the
frequent allusions in the text. An attempt is made to treat Spanish
institutions not as static (which they never were) but in process of
evolution, from period to period. The development of Spanish
institutions in the colonies and the later independent states, it is
hoped, will be the subject of another volume. Neither story has ever
been presented according to the present plan to the American public.

Emphasis here has been placed on the growth of the civilization, or
institutions, of Spain rather than on the narrative of political events.
The latter appears primarily as a peg on which to hang the former. The
volume is topically arranged, so that one may select those phases of
development which interest him. Thus one may confine himself to the
narrative, or to any one of the institutional topics, social, political,
religious, economic, or intellectual. Indeed, the division may be
carried even further, so that one may single out institutions within
institutions. As regards proportions the principal weight is given to
the periods from 1252 to 1808, with over half of the volume devoted to
the years 1479 to 1808. The three centuries from the sixteenth to the
nineteenth are singled out for emphasis, not only because they were the
years of the transmission of Spanish civilization to the Americas, but
also because the great body of the Spanish institutions which affected
the colonies did so in the form they acquired at that time. To treat
Spain’s gift to Spanish America as complete by the year 1492 is as
incorrect as to say that the English background of United States history
is necessary only to the year 1497, when John Cabot sailed along the
North American coast, or certainly not later than 1607, when Jamestown
was founded. In accord with the primary aim of this work the place of
Spain in general European history is given relatively little space. The
recital of minor events and the introduction of the names of
inconsequential or slightly important persons have been avoided, except
in some cases where an enumeration has been made for purposes of
illustration or emphasis. For these reasons, together with the fact that
the whole account is compressed into a single volume, it is hoped that
the book may serve as a class-room text as well as a useful compendium
for the general reader.

The writer has been fortunate in that there exists a monumental work in
Spanish containing the type of materials which he has wished to present.
This is the _Historia de España y de la civilización española_, which
has won a world-wide reputation for its author, Rafael Altamira y
Crevea.[1] Indeed, the present writer makes little claim to originality,
since for the period down to 1808 he has relied almost wholly on
Altamira. Nevertheless, he has made, not a summary, but rather a
selection from the _Historia_ (which is some five times the length of
this volume) of such materials as were appropriate to his point of view.
The chapter on the reign of Charles III has been based largely on the
writer’s own account of the diplomacy of that monarch, which lays
special emphasis on the relation of Spain to the American Revolution.[2]
For the chapter dealing with Spain in the nineteenth century the volumes
of the _Cambridge modern history_ have been used, together with those on
modern Spain by Hume and Butler Clarke. The last chapter, dealing with
present-day Spain, is mainly the result of the writer’s observations
during a two years’ residence in that country, 1912 to 1914. In the
course of his stay he visited every part of the peninsula, but spent
most of his time in Seville, wherefore it is quite possible that his
views may have an Andalusian tinge.

In the spelling of proper names the English form has been adopted if it
is of well-established usage. The founder of the Carlists and Carlism,
however, is retained as “Don Carlos” for obvious reasons of euphony. In
all other cases the Spanish has been preferred. The phrase “the
Americas” is often used as a general term for Spain’s overseas colonies.
It may therefore include the Philippines sometimes. The term “Moslems”
has been employed for the Mohammedan invaders of Spain. The word “Moors”
has been avoided, because it is historically inaccurate as a general
term for all the invaders; the Almohades, or Moors, were a branch of the
Berber family, and other Moslem peoples had preceded them in Spain by
upwards of four hundred years. Their influence both as regards culture
and racial traits was far less than that of the Arabs, who were the most
important of the conquering races, and this fact, together with their
late arrival, should militate against the application of their name to
the whole era of Moslem Spain. All of these alien peoples were
Mohammedans, which would seem to justify the use of the word “Moslems.”
The word “lords” in some cases indicates ecclesiastics as well as
nobles. “Town” has been employed generally for “_villa_,” “_concejo_,”
“_pueblo_,” “_aldea_,” and “_ciudad_,” except when special attention has
been drawn to the different types of municipalities. Spanish
institutional terms have been translated or explained at their first
use. They also appear in the index.

As on previous occasions, so now, the writer finds himself under
obligations to his colleagues in the Department of History of the
University of California. Professor Stephens has read much of this
manuscript and has made helpful suggestions as to content and style.
Professors Bolton and Priestley and Doctor Hackett, of the “Bancroft
Library group,” have displayed a spirit of coöperation which the writer
greatly appreciates. Professor Jaén of the Department of Romance
Languages gave an invaluable criticism of the chapter on contemporary
Spain. Señor Jesús Yanguas, the Sevillian architect, furnished the lists
of men of letters and artists appearing in that chapter. Professor
Shepherd of Columbia University kindly consented to allow certain of the
maps appearing in his _Historical atlas_ to be copied here. Doctors R.
G. Cleland, C. L. Goodwin, F. S. Philbrick, and J. A. Robertson have
aided me with much valued criticisms. The writer is also grateful to his
pupils, the Misses Bepler and Juda, for assistance rendered.


BERKELEY, January 5, 1918.


CHAPTER                                                             PAGE

PREFACE                                                              vii

INTRODUCTION BY RAFAEL ALTAMIRA                                     xiii


   II. THE EARLY PEOPLES, TO 206 B.C.                                 6

  III. ROMAN SPAIN, 206 B.C.-409 A.D.                                15

   IV. VISIGOTHIC SPAIN, 409-713                                     26

    V. MOSLEM SPAIN, 711-1031                                        38

   VI. CHRISTIAN SPAIN IN THE MOSLEM PERIOD, 711-1035                53

  VII. ERA OF THE SPANISH CRUSADES, 1031-1276                        67





  XII. SOCIAL ORGANIZATION IN SPAIN, 1252-1479                      137

 XIII. THE CASTILIAN STATE, 1252-1479                               151

  XIV. THE ARAGONESE STATE, 1276-1479                               166

   XV. ECONOMIC ORGANIZATION IN SPAIN, 1252-1479                    174

  XVI. INTELLECTUAL PROGRESS IN SPAIN, 1252-1479                    180


XVIII. ERA OF THE CATHOLIC KINGS, 1479-1517                         202

  XIX. SOCIAL REFORMS, 1479-1517                                    210

   XX. POLITICAL REFORMS, 1479-1517                                 219

  XXI. MATERIAL AND INTELLECTUAL PROGRESS, 1479-1517                228

 XXII. CHARLES I OF SPAIN, 1516-1556                                234

XXIII. THE REIGN OF PHILIP II, 1556-1598                            246

 XXIV. A CENTURY OF DECLINE, 1598-1700                              258

  XXV. SOCIAL DEVELOPMENTS, 1516-1700                               272

   XXVI. POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS, 1516-1700                          287

  XXVII. RELIGION AND THE CHURCH, 1516-1700                         303

 XXVIII. ECONOMIC FACTORS, 1516-1700                                324

         HISTORY, AND SCIENCE, 1516-1700.                           338

    XXX. THE GOLDEN AGE: LITERATURE AND ART, 1516-1700              351

   XXXI. THE EARLY BOURBONS, 1700-1759                              368

  XXXII. CHARLES III AND ENGLAND, 1759-1788                         383

 XXXIII. CHARLES IV AND FRANCE, 1788-1808                           399

  XXXIV. SPANISH SOCIETY, 1700-1808                                 411

   XXXV. POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS, 1700-1808                          425

  XXXVI. STATE AND CHURCH, 1700-1808                                443

 XXXVII. ECONOMIC REFORMS, 1700-1808                                458

XXXVIII. INTELLECTUAL ACTIVITIES, 1700-1808                         471

  XXXIX. THE GROWTH OF LIBERALISM, 1808-1898                        488

     XL. THE DAWN OF A NEW DAY, 1898-1917                           508

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTES                                               527

INDEX                                                               541


GENERAL REFERENCE MAP                                     _Frontispiece_

DEVELOPMENT TOWARD NATIONAL UNITY, 910-1492                          67


The fact that this book is in great part a summary, or selection, from
one of mine, as is stated in the Preface, makes it almost a duty for me
to do what would in any event be a great pleasure in the case of a work
by Professor Chapman. I refer to the duty of writing a few paragraphs by
way of introduction. But, at the same time, this circumstance causes a
certain conflict of feelings in me, since no one, unless it be a pedant,
can act so freely in self-criticism as he would if he were dealing with
the work of another. Fortunately, Professor Chapman has incorporated
much of his own harvest in this volume, and to that I may refer with
entire lack of embarrassment.

Obviously, the plan and the labor of condensing all of the material for
a history of Spain constitute in themselves a commendable achievement.
In fact, there does not exist in any language of the world today a
compendium of the history of Spain reduced to one volume which is able
to satisfy all of the exigencies of the public at large and the needs of
teaching, without an excess of reading and of labor. None of the
histories of my country written in English, German, French, or Italian
in the nineteenth century can be unqualifiedly recommended. Some, such
as that by Hume, entitled _The Spanish people_, display excellent
attributes, but these are accompanied by omissions to which modern
historiography can no longer consent. As a general rule these histories
are altogether too political in character. At other times they offend
from an excess of bookish erudition and from a lack of a personal
impression of what our people are, as well as from a failure to narrate
their story in an interesting way, or indeed, they perpetuate errors and
legends, long since discredited, with respect to our past and present
life. We have some one-volume histories of Spain in Castilian which are
to be recommended for the needs of our own secondary schools, but not
for those of a foreign country, whose students require another manner of
presentation of our history, for they have to apply an interrogatory
ideal which is different from ours in their investigation of the deeds
of another people,--all the more so if that people, like the Spanish,
has mingled in the life of nearly the whole world and been the victim of
the calumnies and fanciful whims of historians, politicians, and

For all of these reasons the work of condensation by Professor Chapman
constitutes an important service in itself for the English-speaking
public, for it gives in one volume the most substantial features of our
history from primitive times to the present moment. Furthermore, there
are chapters in his work which belong entirely to him: XXXII, XXXIX, and
XL. The reason for departing from my text in Chapter XXXII is given by
Professor Chapman in the Preface. As for the other two he was under the
unavoidable necessity of constructing them himself. His, for me, very
flattering method of procedure, possible down to the year 1808, if
indeed it might find a basis for continuation in a chapter of mine in
the _Cambridge modern history_ (v. X), in my lectures on the history of
Spain in the nineteenth century (given at the Ateneo of Madrid, some
years ago), in the little manual of the _Historia de la civilización
española_ (History of Spanish civilization) which goes to the year 1898,
and even in the second part of a recent work, _España y el programa
americanista_ (Spain and the Americanist program), published at Madrid
in 1917, nevertheless could not avail itself of a single text, a
continuous, systematized account, comprehensive of all the aspects of
our national life as in the case of the periods prior to 1808. Moreover,
it is better that the chapters referring to the nineteenth century and
the present time should be written by a foreign pen, whose master in
this instance, as a result of his having lived in Spain, is able to
contribute that personal impression of which I have spoken before, an
element which if it is at times deceiving in part, through the influence
of a too local or regional point of view, is always worth more than
that understanding which proceeds only from erudite sources.

I would not be able to say, without failing in sincerity (and therefore
in the first duty of historiography), that I share in and subscribe to
all the conclusions and generalizations of Professor Chapman about the
contemporary history and present condition of Spain. At times my dissent
would not be more than one of the mere shade of meaning, perhaps from
the form of expression, given to an act which, according as it is
presented, is, or is not, exact. But in general I believe that Professor
Chapman sees modern Spain correctly, and does us justice in many things
in which it is not frequent that we are accorded that consideration.
This alone would indeed be a great merit in our eyes and would deserve
our applause. The English-speaking public will have a guarantee, through
this work, of being able to contemplate a quite faithful portrait of
Spain, instead of a caricature drawn in ignorance of the facts or in bad
faith. With this noble example of historiographical calm, Professor
Chapman amply sustains one of the most sympathetic notes which, with
relation to the work of Spain in America, has for some years been
characteristic, that which we should indeed call the school of North
American historians.


February, 1918.




[Sidenote: Isolation of the Iberian Peninsula.]

The Iberian Peninsula, embracing the modern states of Spain and
Portugal, is entirely surrounded by the waters of the Mediterranean Sea
and the Atlantic Ocean, except for a strip in the north a little less
than three hundred miles in length, which touches the southern border of
France. Even at that point Spain is almost completely shut off from the
rest of Europe, because of the high range of the Pyrenees Mountains.
Portugal, although an independent state and set apart to a certain
extent by a mountainous boundary, cannot be said to be geographically
distinct from Spain. Indeed, many regions in Spain are quite as separate
from each other as is Portugal from the Spanish lands she borders upon.
Until the late medieval period, too, the history of Portugal was in the
same current as that of the peninsula as a whole.

[Sidenote: Mountains and plateaus.]

The greatest average elevation in Spain is found in the centre, in
Castile and Extremadura, whence there is a descent, by great steps as it
were, to the east and to the west. On the eastern side the descent is
short and rapid to the Mediterranean Sea. On the west, the land falls by
longer and more gradual slopes to the Atlantic Ocean, so that central
Spain may be said to look geographically toward the west. There is an
even more gentle decline from the base of the Pyrenees to the valley of
the Guadalquivir, although it is interrupted by plateaus which rise
above the general level. All of these gradients are modified greatly by
the mountain ranges within the peninsula. The Pyrenean range not only
separates France from Spain, but also continues westward under the name
Cantabrian Mountains for an even greater distance along the northern
coast of the latter country, leaving but little lowland space along the
sea, until it reaches Galicia in the extreme northwest. Here it expands
until it covers an area embracing northern Portugal as well. At about
the point where the Pyrenees proper and the Cantabrian Mountains come
together the Iberian, or Celtiberian, range, a series of isolated
mountains for the most part, breaks off to the southeast until near the
Mediterranean, when it curves to the west, merging with the Penibética
range (better known as the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the name of that
part of the range lying south of the city of Granada), which moves
westward near the southern coast to end in the cape of Tarifa.

[Sidenote: Geographical divisions of the peninsula.]

These mountains divide the peninsula into four regions: the narrow
littoral on the northern coast; Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia, Murcia, and
most of La Mancha, looking toward the Mediterranean; Almería, Málaga,
and part of Granada and Cádiz in the south of Spain; and the vast region
comprising the rest of the peninsula. The last-named is subdivided into
four principal regions of importance historically. The Carpetana, or
Carpeto-Vetónica, range in the north (more often called the Guadarrama
Mountains) separates Old Castile from New Castile and Extremadura to the
south, and continues into Portugal. The Oretana range crosses the
provinces of Cuenca, Toledo, Ciudad Real, Cáceres, and Badajoz, also
terminating in Portugal. Finally, the Mariánica range (more popularly
known as the Sierra Morena) forms the boundary of Castile and
Extremadura with Andalusia. Each of the four sub-divisions has a great
river valley, these being respectively, from north to south, the Douro,
Tagus, Guadiana, and Guadalquivir. Various other sub-sections might be
named, but only one is of prime importance,--the valley of the Ebro in
Aragon and Catalonia, lying between the Pyrenees and an eastward branch
of the Iberian range. Within these regions, embracing parts of several
of them, there is another that is especially noteworthy,--that of the
vast table-land of central Spain between the Ebro and the Guadalquivir.
This is an elevated region, difficult of access from all of the
surrounding lands. Geologists have considered it the “permanent nucleus”
of the peninsula. It is in turn divided into two table-lands of unequal
height by the great Carpeto-Vetónica range. The long coast line of the
peninsula, about 2500 miles in length, has also been a factor of no
small importance historically. Despite the length of her border along
the sea, Spain has, next to Switzerland, the greatest average elevation
of any country in Europe, so high are her mountains and table-lands.

[Sidenote: Disadvantageous effects of geography.]

These geographical conditions have had important consequences
climatically and economically and especially historically. The altitude
and irregularity of the land have produced widely separated extremes of
temperature, although as a general rule a happy medium is maintained. To
geographical causes, also, are due the alternating seasons of rain and
drought in most of Spain, especially in Castile, Valencia, and
Andalusia, which have to contend, too, with the disadvantages of a
smaller annual rainfall than is the lot of most other parts of Europe
and with the torrential rains which break the season of drought. When it
rains, the water descends in such quantity and with such rapidity from
the mountains to the sea that the river beds are often unable to contain
it, and dangerous floods result. Furthermore, the sharpness of the slope
makes it difficult to utilize these rivers for irrigation or navigation,
so swift is the current, and so rapidly do the rivers spend themselves.
Finally, the rain is not evenly distributed, and some regions,
especially the high plateau country of Castile and La Mancha, are
particularly dry and are difficult of cultivation.

[Sidenote: Beneficial effects.]

On the other hand the geographical conditions of the peninsula have
produced distinct benefits to counterbalance the disadvantages. The
coastal plains are often very fertile. Especially is this true of the
east and south, where the vine and the olive, oranges, rice, and other
fruits and vegetables are among the best in the world. The northern
coast is of slight value agriculturally, but, thanks to a rainfall
which is constant and greater than necessary, is rich pastorally. Here,
too, there is a very agreeable climate, due in large measure to a
favoring ocean current, which has also been influential in producing the
forests in a part of Galicia. These factors have made the northern coast
a favorite summer resort for Spaniards and, indeed, for many other
Europeans. The mountains in all parts of the peninsula have proved to
contain a mineral wealth which many centuries of mining have been unable
to exhaust. Some gold and more silver have been found, but metals of use
industrially--such, for example, as copper--have been the most abundant.
The very difficulties which Spaniards have had to overcome helped to
develop virile traits which have made their civilization of more force
in the world than might have been expected from a country of such scant
wealth and population.[3]

[Sidenote: Geographical isolation the cause of Spanish individuality.]

The most marked result of these natural conditions has been the
isolation, not only of Spain from the rest of the world, but also of the
different regions of Spain from one another. Spaniards have therefore
developed the conservative clinging to their own institutions and the
individuality of an island people. While this has retarded their
development into a nation, it has held secure the advances made and has
vitalized Spanish civilization. For centuries the most isolated parts
were also the most backward, this being especially true of Castile,
whereas the more inviting and more easily invaded south and east coasts
were the most susceptible to foreign influence and the most advanced
intellectually as well as economically. When at length the centre
accepted the civilization of the east and south, and by reason of its
virility was able to dominate them, it imposed its law, its customs,
and its conservatism upon them, and reached across the seas to the
Americas, where a handful of men were able to leave an imperishable
legacy of Spanish civilization to a great part of two continents.

[Sidenote: Events traceable to geographic conditions.]

Specific facts in Spanish history can also be traced very largely to the
effects of geography. The mineral wealth of the peninsula has attracted
foreign peoples throughout recorded history, and the fertility of the
south and east has also been a potent inducement to an invasion, whether
of armies or of capital. The physical features of the peninsula helped
these peoples to preserve their racial characteristics, with the result
that Spain presents an unusual variety in traits and customs. The fact
that the valley of the Guadalquivir descends to the sea before reaching
the eastern line of the Portuguese boundary had an influence in bringing
about the independence of Portugal,--for while Castile still had to
combat the Moslem states Portugal could turn her energies inward.
Nevertheless, one must not think that geography has been the only or
even the controlling factor in the life and events of the Iberian
Peninsula. Others have been equally or more important,--such as those of
race and, especially, the vast group of circumstances involving the
relations of men and of states which may be given the collective name of



[Sidenote: Prehistoric Spain.]

The Iberian Peninsula has not always had the same form which it now has,
or the same plants, animals, or climate which are found there today. For
example, it is said that Spain was once united by land with Africa, and
also by way of Sicily, which had not yet become an island, with southern
Italy, making a great lake of the western Mediterranean. The changes as
a result of which the peninsula assumed its present characteristics
belong to the field of geology, and need to be mentioned here only as
affording some clue to the earliest colonization of the land. In like
manner the description of the primitive peoples of Spain belongs more
properly to the realm of ethnology. It is worthy of note, however, that
there is no proof that the earliest type of man in Europe, the
Neanderthal, or Canstadt, man,[4] existed in Spain, and it is believed
that the next succeeding type, the Furfooz man, entered at a time when a
third type, the Cromagnon, was already there. Evidences of the Cromagnon
man are numerous in Spain. Peoples of this type may have been the
original settlers of the Iberian Peninsula.[5] Like the Neanderthal and
Furfooz men they are described generally as paleolithic men, for their
implements were of rough stone. After many thousands of years the
neolithic man, or man of the polished stone age, developed in Spain as
in other parts of the world. In some respects the neolithic man of Spain
differed from the usual European type, but was similar to the neolithic
man of Greece. This has caused some writers to argue for a Greek origin
of the early Spanish peoples, but others claim that similar
manifestations might have developed independently in each region.
Neolithic man was succeeded by men of the ages of the metals,--copper,
bronze, and iron. The age of iron, at least, coincided with the entry
into Spain of peoples who come within the sphere of recorded history. As
early as the bronze age a great mixture of races had taken place in
Spain, although the brachycephalic successors of the Cromagnon race were
perhaps the principal type. These were succeeded by a people who
probably arrived in pre-historic times, but later than the other races
of those ages--that dolichocephalic group to which has been applied the
name Iberians. They were the dominating people at the time of the
arrival of the Phœnicians and Greeks.

[Sidenote: The Iberians.]

The early Spanish peoples left no literature which has survived,
wherefore dependence has to be placed on foreign writers. No writings
prior to the sixth century B.C. which refer to the Iberian Peninsula are
extant, and those of that and the next two centuries are too meagre to
throw much light on the history or the peoples of the land. These
accounts were mainly those of Greeks, with also some from Carthaginians.
In the first two centuries B.C. and in the first and succeeding
centuries of the Christian era there were more complete accounts, based
in part on earlier writings which are no longer available. One of the
problems resulting from the paucity of early evidences is that of the
determination of Iberian origins. Some hold that the name Iberian should
not have an extensive application, asserting that it belongs only to the
region of the Ebro (_Iberus_), the name of which river was utilized by
the Greek, Scylax, of the sixth century B.C., in order to designate the
tribes of that vicinity. Most writers use the term Iberians, however, as
a general one for the peoples in Spain at the dawn of recorded history,
maintaining that they were akin to the ancient Chaldeans and Assyrians,
who came from Asia into northern Africa, stopping perhaps to have a
share in the origin of the Egyptian people, and entering Spain from the
south. According to some authors the modern Basques of northern Spain
and the Berbers of northern Africa are descendants of the same people,
although there are others who do not agree with this opinion. Some
investigators have gone so far as to assert the existence of a great
Iberian Empire, extending through northern Africa, Spain, southern
France, northern Italy, Corsica, Sicily, and perhaps other lands. This
empire, they say, was founded in the fifteenth century B.C., and fought
with the Egyptians and Phœnicians for supremacy in the Mediterranean,
in alliance, perhaps, with the Hittites of Asia Minor, but was defeated,
and fell apart in the twelfth or eleventh century B.C., at which time
the Phœnicians entered Spain.

[Sidenote: The Celtic invasion.]

The origin of the Celts is more certain. Unlike the Iberians they were
of Indo-European race. In the third century B.C. they occupied a
territory embracing the greater part of the lands from the modern Balkan
states through northern Italy and France, with extremities in Britain
and Spain. They entered the peninsula possibly as early as the sixth
century B.C., but certainly not later than the fourth, coming by way of
the Pyrenees. It is generally held that they dominated the northwest and
west, the regions of modern Galicia and Portugal, leaving the Pyrenees,
eastern Spain, and part of the south in full possession of the Iberians.
In the centre and along the northern and southern coasts the two races
mingled to form the Celtiberians, in which the Iberian element was the
more important. These names were not maintained very strictly; rather,
the ancient writers were wont to employ group names of smaller
sub-divisions for these peoples, such as Cantabrians, Turdetanians, and

[Sidenote: Celtiberian civilization.]

It is not yet possible to distinguish clearly between Iberian and Celtic
civilization; in any event it must be remembered that primitive
civilizations resemble one another very greatly in their essentials.
There was certainly no united Iberian or Celtic nation within historic
times; rather, these peoples lived in small groups which were
independent and which rarely communicated with one another except for
the commerce and wars of neighboring tribes. For purposes of war tribal
bodies federated to form a larger union and the names of these
confederations are those which appear most frequently in contemporary
literature. The Lusitanians, for example, were a federation of thirty
tribes, and the Galicians of forty. The social and political
organization of these peoples was so similar to others in their stage of
culture, the world over, that it need only be indicated briefly. The
unit was the gens, made up of a number of families, forming an
independent whole and bound together through having the same gods and
the same religious practices and by a real or feigned blood
relationship. Various gentes united to form a larger unit, the tribe,
which was bound by the same ties of religion and blood, although they
were less clearly defined. Tribes in turn united, though only
temporarily and for military purposes, and the great confederations were
the result. In each unit from gens to confederation there was a chief,
or monarch, and deliberative assemblies, sometimes aristocratic, and
sometimes elective. The institutions of slavery, serfdom, and personal
property existed. Nevertheless, in some tribes property was owned in
common, and there is reason to believe that this practice was quite
extensive. In some respects the tribes varied considerably as regards
the stage of culture to which they had attained. Those of the fertile
Andalusian country were not only far advanced in agriculture, industry,
and commerce, but they also had a literature, which was said to be six
thousand years old. This has all been lost, but inscriptions of these
and other tribes have survived, although they have yet to be translated.
On the other hand the peoples of the centre, west, and north were in a
rude state; the Lusitanians of Portugal stood out from the rest in
warlike character. Speaking generally, ancient writers ascribed to the
Spanish peoples physical endurance, heroic valor, fidelity (even to the
point of death), love of liberty, and lack of discipline as salient

[Sidenote: The Phœnicians in Spain.]

The first historic people to establish relations with the Iberian
Peninsula were the Phœnicians. Centuries before, they had formed a
confederation of cities in their land, whence they proceeded to
establish commercial relations with the Mediterranean world. The
traditional date for their entry into Spain is the eleventh century,
when they are believed to have conquered Cádiz. Later they occupied
posts around nearly all of Spain, going even as far as Galicia in the
northwest. They exploited the mineral wealth of the peninsula, and
engaged in commerce, using a system not unlike that of the British
factories of the eighteenth century in India in their dealings with the
natives. Their settlements were at the same time a market and a fort,
located usually on an island or on an easily defensible promontory,
though near a native town. Many of these Phœnician factories have
been identified,--among others, those of Seville, Málaga, Algeciras, and
the island of Ibiza, as well as Cádiz, which continued to be the most
important centre. These establishments were in some cases bound
politically to the mother land, but in others they were private
ventures. In either case they were bound by ties of religion and
religious tribute to the cities of Phœnicia. To the Phœnicians is
due the modern name of the greater part of the peninsula. They called it
“Span,” or “Spania,” meaning “hidden (or remote) land.” In course of
time they were able to extend their domination inland, introducing
important modifications in the life of the Iberian tribes, if only
through the articles of commerce they brought.

[Sidenote: The Carthaginian conquest.]

The conquest of Phœnicia by the kings of Assyria and Chaldea had an
effect on far-away Spain. The Phœnician settlements of the peninsula
became independent, but they began to have ever more extensive relations
with the great Phœnician colony of Carthage on the North African
coast. This city is believed to have acquired the island of Ibiza in
much earlier times, but it was not until the sixth century B.C. that the
Carthaginians entered Spain in force. At that time the people of Cádiz
are said to have been engaged in a dangerous war with certain native
tribes, wherefore they invited the Carthaginians to help them. The
latter came, and, as has so often occurred in history, took over for
themselves the land which they had entered as allies.

[Sidenote: The Greeks in Spain.]

Meanwhile, the Greeks had already been in Spain for some years.
Tradition places the first Greek voyage to the Spanish coast in the year
630 B.C. Thereafter there were commercial voyages by the Greeks to the
peninsula, followed in time by the founding of settlements. The
principal colonizers were the Phocians, proceeding from their base at
Marseilles, where they had established themselves in the seventh century
B.C. Their chief post in Spain was at Emporium (on the site of Castellón
de Ampurias, in the province of Gerona, Catalonia), and they also had
important colonies as far south as the Valencian coast and yet others in
Andalusia, Portugal, Galicia, and Asturias. Their advance was resisted
by the Phœnicians and their Carthaginian successors, who were able to
confine the Greeks to the upper part of the eastern coast as the
principal field of their operations. The Greek colonies were usually
private ventures, bound to the city-states from which they had proceeded
by ties of religion and affection alone. They were also independent of
one another. Their manner of entry resembled that already described in
the case of the Phœnicians, for they went first to the islands near
the coast, and thence to the mainland, where at length they joined with
native towns, although having a separate, walled-off district of their
own,--comparable to the situation at the present day in certain ports of
European nations on the coast of China. Once masters of the coast the
Greeks were able to penetrate inland and to introduce Greek goods and
Greek influences over a broad area of the peninsula. To them is
attributed the introduction of the vine and the olive, which ever since
have been an important factor in the economic history of Spain.

[Sidenote: Spain under the Barcas.]

The principal objects of the Carthaginians in Spain were to develop the
rich silver mines of the land and to engage in commerce. In furtherance
of these aims they established a rigorous military system, putting
garrisons in the cities, and insisting on tribute in both soldiers and
money. In other respects they left both the Phœnician colonies and
the native tribes in full enjoyment of their laws and customs, but
founded cities of their own on the model of Carthage. They did not
attempt a thorough conquest of the peninsula until their difficulties
with the rising power of Rome pointed out its desirability. In the
middle of the third century B.C., Carthage, which had long been the
leading power in the western Mediterranean, came into conflict with Rome
in the First Punic War. As a result of this war, which ended in 242
B.C., Rome took the place of Carthage in Sicily. It was then that
Hamilcar of the great Barca family of Carthage suggested the more
thorough occupation of Spain as a counterpoise to the Roman acquisition
of Sicily, in the hope that Carthage might eventually engage with
success in a new war with Rome. He at length entered Spain with a
Carthaginian army in 236 B.C., having also been granted political powers
which were so ample that he became practically independent of direction
from Carthage. The conquest was not easy, for while many tribes joined
with him, others offered a bitter resistance. Hamilcar achieved vast
conquests, built many forts, and is traditionally supposed to have
founded the city of Barcelona, which bears his family name. He died in
battle, and was succeeded by his son-in-law, Hasdrubal. Hasdrubal
followed a policy of conciliation and peace, encouraging his soldiers to
marry Iberian women, and himself wedding a Spanish princess. He made his
capital at Cartagena, building virtually a new city on the site of an
older one. This was the principal military and commercial centre in
Spain during the remainder of Carthaginian rule. There the Barcas
erected great public buildings and palaces, and ruled the country like
kings. Hasdrubal was at length assassinated, leaving his command to
Hannibal, the son of Hamilcar. Though less than thirty years of age
Hannibal was already an experienced soldier and was also an ardent
Carthaginian patriot, bitterly hostile to Rome. The time now seemed ripe
for the realization of the ambitions of Hamilcar.

[Sidenote: Siege of Saguntum.]

In order to check the Carthaginian advance the Romans had long since put
themselves forward as protectors of the Greek colonies of Spain. Whether
Saguntum was included in the treaties they had made or whether it was a
Greek city at all is doubted today, but when Hannibal got into a
dispute with that city and attacked it Rome claimed that this violated
the treaty which had been made by Hasdrubal. It was in the year 219 B.C.
that Hannibal laid siege to Saguntum. The Saguntines defended their city
with a heroic valor which Spaniards have many times manifested under
like circumstances. When resistance seemed hopeless they endeavored to
destroy their wealth and take their own lives. Nevertheless, Hannibal
contrived to capture many prisoners, who were given to his soldiers as
slaves, and to get a vast booty, part of which he forwarded to Carthage.
This arrived when the Carthaginians were discussing the question of
Saguntum with a Roman embassy, and, coupled with patriotic pride, it
caused them to sustain Hannibal and to declare war on Rome in the year
218 B.C.

[Sidenote: Expulsion of the Carthaginians by the Romans.]

Hannibal had already organized a great army of over 100,000 men, in
great part Spanish troops, and had started by the land route for Italy.
His brilliant achievements in Italy, reflecting, though they do, not a
little glory on Spain, belong rather to the history of Rome. The Romans
had hoped to detain him in Spain, and had sent Gnæus Scipio to
accomplish this end. When he arrived in Spain he found that Hannibal had
already gone. He remained, however, and with the aid of another army
under his brother, Publius Cornelius Scipio, was able to overrun a great
part of Catalonia and Valencia. In this campaign the natives followed
their traditional practice of allying, some with one side, others with
the other. Hannibal’s brother Hasdrubal was at length able to turn the
tide, defeating the two Scipios in 211 B.C. He then proceeded to the aid
of Hannibal in Italy, but his defeat at the battle of the Metaurus was a
deathblow to Carthage in the war against Rome. The Romans, meanwhile,
renewed the war in Spain, where the youthful Publius Cornelius Scipio,
son of the Scipio of the same name who had been killed in Spain, had
been placed in command. By reckless daring and good fortune rather than
by military skill Scipio won several battles and captured the great city
of Cartagena. He ingratiated himself with native tribes by promises to
restore their liberty and by several generous acts calculated to please
them,--as, for example, his return of a native girl who had been given
to him, on learning that she was on the point of being married to a
native prince. These practices helped him to win victory after victory,
despite several instances of desperate resistance, until at length in
206 B.C. the Carthaginians abandoned the peninsula. It was this same
Scipio who later defeated Hannibal at Zama, near Carthage, in 202 B.C.,
whereby he brought the war to an end and gained for himself the surname

[Sidenote: Results of Carthaginian occupation.]

The Carthaginians had been in Spain for over two hundred years, and, as
was natural, had influenced the customs of the natives. Nevertheless,
their rule was rather a continuation, on a grander scale, of the
Phœnician civilization. From the standpoint of race, too, they and
their Berber and Numidian allies, who entered with them, were perhaps of
the same blood as the primitive Iberians. They had developed far beyond
them, however, and their example assisted the native tribesmen to attain
to a higher culture than had hitherto been acquired. If Rome was to
mould Spanish civilization, it must not be forgotten that the
Phœnicians, Greeks, and Carthaginians had already prepared the way.


ROMAN SPAIN, 206 B.C.-409 A.D.

[Sidenote: Importance of the Roman occupation.]

Undoubtedly the greatest single fact in the history of Spain was the
long Roman occupation, lasting more than six centuries. All that Spain
is or has done in the world can be traced in greatest measure to the
Latin civilization which the organizing genius of Rome was able to graft
upon her. Nevertheless, the history of Spain in the Roman period does
not differ in its essentials from that of the Roman world at large,
wherefore it may be passed over, with only a brief indication of events
and conditions in Spain and a bare hint at the workings and content of
Latin civilization in general.

[Sidenote: The Roman conquest.]

The Romans had not intended to effect a thorough conquest of Spain, but
the inevitable law of expansion forced them to attempt it, unless they
wished to surrender what they had gained, leaving themselves once more
exposed to danger from that quarter. The more civilized east and south
submitted easily to the Roman rule, but the tribes of the centre, north,
and west opposed a most vigorous and persistent resistance. The war
lasted three centuries, but may be divided into three periods, in each
of which the Romans appeared to better advantage than in the preceding,
until at length the powerful effects of Roman organization were already
making themselves felt over all the land, even before the end of the

[Sidenote: The military conquest.]

The first of these periods began while the Carthaginians were still in
the peninsula, and lasted for upwards of seventy years. This was an era
of bitter and often temporarily successful resistance to Rome,--a matter
which taxed the resources of the Roman Republic heavily. The very lack
of union of the Spanish peoples tended to prolong the conflict, since
any tribe might make war, then peace, and war again, with the result
that no conquests, aside from those in the east and south, were ever
secure. The type of warfare was also difficult for the Roman legionaries
to cope with, for the Spaniards fought in small groups, taking advantage
of their knowledge of the country to cut off detachments or to surprise
larger forces when they were not in the best position to fight. These
military methods, employed by Spaniards many times in their history,
have been given, very appropriately, a Spanish name,--_guerrilla_
(little war). Service in Spain came to be the most dreaded of all by the
Roman troops, and several times Roman soldiers refused to go to the
peninsula, or to fight when they got there, all of which encouraged the
Spanish tribes to continue the revolt. The Romans employed harsh methods
against those who resisted them, levelling their city walls and towers,
selling prisoners of war into slavery, and imposing heavy taxes on
conquered towns. They often displayed an almost inhuman brutality and
treachery, which probably harmed their cause rather than helped it. Two
incidents stand out as the most important in this period, and they
illustrate the way in which the Romans conducted the war,--the wars of
the Romans against the Lusitanians and against the city of Numantia in
the middle years of the second century B.C.

[Sidenote: Viriatus.]

The Roman leader Galba had been defeated by the Lusitanians, whereupon
he resorted to an unworthy stratagem to reduce them. He granted them a
favorable peace, and then when they were returning to their homes
unprepared for an attack he fell upon them, and mercilessly put them to
death. He could not kill them all, however, and a determined few
gathered about a shepherd named Viriatus to renew the war. Viriatus was
a man of exceptional military talent, and he was able to reconquer a
great part of western and central Spain. For eight or nine years he
hurled back army after army sent against him, until at length the Roman
general Servilianus recognized the independence of the lands in the
control of Viriatus. The Roman government disavowed the act of
Servilianus, and sent out another general, Cæpio by name, who procured
the assassination of Viriatus. Thereafter, the Lusitanians were unable
to maintain an effective resistance, and they were obliged to take up
their abode in lands where they could be more easily controlled should
they again attempt a revolt.

[Sidenote: The wars of Numantia.]

Meanwhile, the wars of Numantia, which date from the year 152 B.C., were
still going on. Numantia was a city on the Douro near the present town
of Soria, and seems to have been at that time the centre, or capital, of
a powerful confederation. Around this city occurred the principal
incidents of the war in central Spain, although the fighting went on
elsewhere as well. Four times the Roman armies were utterly defeated and
obliged to grant peace, but on each occasion their treaties were
disavowed by the government or else the Roman generals declined to abide
by their own terms. Finally, Rome sent Scipio Æmilianus, her best
officer, with a great army to bring the war to an end. This general
contrived to reach the walls of Numantia, and was so skilful in his
methods that the city was cut off from its water-supply and even from
the hope of outside help. The Numantines therefore asked for terms, but
the conditions offered were so harsh that they resolved to burn the city
and fight to the death. This they did, killing themselves if they did
not fall in battle. Thus ended the Numantine wars at a date placed
variously from 134 to 132 B.C. The most serious part of the fighting was
now over.

[Sidenote: Sertorius.]

In the next period, lasting more than a hundred years, there were not a
few native revolts against the Romans, but the principal characteristic
of the era was the part which Spain played in the domestic strife of the
Roman Republic. Spain had already become sufficiently Romanized to be
the most important Roman province. When the party of Sulla triumphed
over that of Marius in Rome, Sertorius, a partisan of the latter, had to
flee from Italy, and made his way to Spain and thence to Africa. In 81
B.C. he returned to Spain, and put himself at the head of what purported
to be a revolt against Rome. Part Spanish in blood he was able to
attract the natives to his standard as well as the Romans in Spain who
were opposed to Sulla, and in a short time he became master of most of
the peninsula. He was far from desiring a restoration of native
independence, however, but wished, through Spain, to overthrow the
Sullan party in Rome. The real significance of his revolt was that it
facilitated the Romanization of the country, for Sertorius introduced
Roman civilization under the guise of a war against the Roman state. His
governmental administration was based on that of Rome, and his principal
officials were either Romans or part Roman in blood. He also founded
schools in which the teachers were Greeks and Romans. It was natural
that not a few of the natives should view with displeasure the secondary
place allotted to them and their customs and to their hopes of
independence. Several of the Roman officers with Sertorius also became
discontented, whether through envy or ambition. Thus it was that the
famous Roman general Pompey was at length able to gain a victory by
treachery which he could not achieve by force of arms. A price was put
on Sertorius’ head, and he was assassinated in 72 B.C. by some of his
companions in arms, as Viriatus had been before him. In the course of
the next year Pompey was able to subject the entire region formerly
ruled by Sertorius. In the war between Cæsar and Pompey, commencing in
49 B.C., Spain twice served as a battle-ground where Cæsar gained great
victories over the partisans of his enemy, at Ilerda (modern Lérida) in
49, and at Munda (near Ronda) in 45 B.C. It is noteworthy that by this
time a Cæsar could seek his Roman enemy in Spain, without paying great
heed to the native peoples. The north and northwest were not wholly
subdued however. This task was left to the victor in the next period of
civil strife at Rome, Octavius, who became the Emperor Augustus. His
general, Agrippa, finally suppressed the peoples of the northern coasts,
just prior to the beginning of the Christian era.

[Sidenote: Invasions from Africa.]

For another hundred years there were minor uprisings, after which there
followed, so far as the internal affairs of the peninsula were
concerned, the long Roman peace. On several occasions there were
invasions from the outside, once by the Franks in the north, and various
times by peoples from Africa. The latter are the more noteworthy. In
all, or nearly all, of the wars chronicled thus far troops from northern
Africa were engaged, while the same region was a stronghold for pirates
who sailed the Spanish coasts. A large body of Berbers successfully
invaded the peninsula between 170 and 180 A.D., but they were at length
dislodged. This danger from Africa has been one of the permanent factors
in the history of Spain, not only at the time of the great Moslem
invasion of the eighth century, but also before that and since, down to
the present day.

[Sidenote: The Romanization of Spain.]

Administratively, Spain was divided into, first two provinces (197
B.C.), then three (probably in 15 or 14 B.C.), and four (216 A.D.), and
at length five provinces (under Diocletian),[6] but the principal basis
of the Roman conquest and control and the entering wedge for Roman
civilization was the city, or town. In the towns there were elements
which were of Roman blood, at least in part, as well as the purely
indigenous peoples, who sooner or later came under the Roman influence.
Rome sent not only armies to conquer the natives but also laborers to
work in the mines. Lands, too, were allotted to her veteran soldiers,
who often married native women, and brought up their children as Romans.
Then there was the natural attraction of the superior Roman
civilization, causing it to be imitated, and eventually acquired, by
those who were not of Roman blood. The Roman cities were distinguished
from one another according to the national elements of which they were
formed, and the conquered or allied cities also had their different sets
of rights and duties, but in all cases the result was the same,--the
acceptance of Roman civilization. In Andalusia and southern Portugal the
cities were completely Roman by the end of the first century, and
beginning with the second century the rural districts as well gradually
took on a Roman character. Romanization of the east was a little longer
delayed, except in the great cities, which were early won over. The
centre and north were the most conservatively persistent in their
indigenous customs, but even there the cities along the Roman highways
imitated more and more the methods of their conquerors. It was the army,
especially in the early period, which made this possible. Its camps
became cities, just as occurred elsewhere in the empire,[7] and it both
maintained peace by force of arms, and ensured it when not engaged in
campaigns by the construction of roads and other public works.

[Sidenote: The Roman gift to Spain.]

The gift of Rome to Spain and the world was twofold. In the first place
she gave what she herself had originated or brought to a point which was
farther advanced than that to which other peoples had attained, and
secondly she transmitted the civilization of other peoples with whom her
vast conquests had brought her into contact. Rome’s own contribution may
be summed up in two words,--_law_ and _administration_. Through these
factors, which had numerous ramifications, Rome gave the conquered
peoples peace, so that an advance in wealth and culture also became
possible. The details need not be mentioned here, especially since Roman
institutions will be discussed later in dealing with the evolution
toward national unity between 1252 and 1479. The process of
Romanization, however, was a slow one, not only as a result of the
native opposition to innovation, but also because Roman ideas themselves
were evolving through the centuries, not reaching their highest state,
perhaps, until the second century A.D. Spain was especially favored in
the legislation of the emperors, several of whom (Trajan, Hadrian, and
possibly Theodosius, who were also among the very greatest) were born in
the town of Itálica (near Seville), while a fourth, the philosopher
Marcus Aurelius, was of Spanish descent.

[Sidenote: Last years of the Roman rule.]

In the third and fourth centuries Spain suffered, like the rest of the
empire, from the factors which were bringing about the gradual
dissolution of imperial rule. Population declined, in part due to
plagues, and taxes increased; luxury and long peace had also softened
the people, so that the barbarians from the north of Europe, who had
never ceased to press against the Roman borders, found resistance to be
less and less effective. Indeed, the invaders were often more welcome
than not, so heavy had the weight of the laws become. The dying attempt
of Rome to bolster up her outworn administrative system is not a fact,
however, to which much space need be given in a history of Spain.

[Sidenote: Society in Roman Spain.]

In Spain as elsewhere there were a great many varying grades of society
during the period of Roman dominion. There were the aristocratic
patricians, the common people, or plebeians, and those held in
servitude. Each class had various sub-divisions, differing from one
another. Then, too, there were “colleges,” or guilds, of men engaged in
the same trade, or fraternities of a religious or funerary nature. The
difference in classes was accentuated in the closing days of the empire,
and hardened into something like a caste system, based on lack of equal
opportunity. Artisans, for example, were made subject to their trade in
perpetuity; the son of a carpenter had no choice in life but to become a
carpenter. Great as was the lack of both liberty and equality it did not
nearly approximate what it had been in more primitive times, and it was
even less burdensome than it was to be for centuries after the passing
of Rome. Indeed, Rome introduced many social principles which tended to
make mankind more and more free, and it is these ideas which are at the
base of modern social liberty. Most important among them, perhaps, was
that of the individualistic tendency of the Roman law. This operated to
destroy the bonds which subordinated the individual to the will of a
communal group; in particular, it substituted the individual for the
family, giving each man the liberty of following his own will, instead
of subjecting him forever to the family. The same concept manifested
itself in the Roman laws with reference to property. For example,
freedom of testament was introduced, releasing property from the fetters
by which it formerly had been bound.

[Sidenote: Beginnings of the Christian church in Spain.]

Even though Rome for a long time resisted it, she gave Christianity to
the world almost as surely as she did her Roman laws, for the very
extent and organization of the empire and the Roman tolerance (despite
the various persecutions of Christians) furnished the means by which the
Christian faith was enabled to gain a foothold. In the fourth century
the emperors gave the new religion their active support, and ensured its
victory over the opposing faiths. There is a tradition that Saint Paul
preached in Spain, but at any rate Christianity certainly existed there
in the second century, and in the third there were numerous Christian
communities.[8] The church was organized on the basis of the Roman
administrative districts, employing also the Roman methods and the Roman
law. Thus, through Rome, Spain gained another institution which was to
assist in the eventual development of her national unity and to play a
vital part in her subsequent history,--that of a common religion. In the
fourth century the church began to acquire those privileges which at a
later time were to furnish such a problem to the state. It was
authorized to receive inheritances; its clergy began to be granted
immunities,--exemptions from taxation, among others; and it was allowed
to have law courts of its own, with jurisdiction over many cases where
the church or the clergy were concerned. Church history in Spain during
this period centres largely around the first three councils of the
Spanish church. The first was held at Iliberis (Elvira) in 306, and
declared for the celibacy of the clergy, for up to that time priests had
been allowed to marry. The second, held at Saragossa in 380, dealt with
heresy. The third took place at Toledo in 400, and was very important,
for it unified the doctrine of the Christian communities of Spain on the
basis of the Catholic, or Nicene, creed. It was at this time, too, that
monasteries began to be founded in Spain. The church received no
financial aid from the state, but supported itself out of the proceeds
of its own wealth and the contributions of the faithful.

[Sidenote: Priscillianism.]

As in other parts of the Roman world, so too in Spain, heresies were
many and varied at this time. One of the most prominent of them,
Priscillianism, originated in Spain, taking its name from its
propounder, Priscillian. Priscillian was a Galician, who under the
influence of native beliefs set forth a new interpretation of
Christianity. He denied the mystery of the Trinity; claimed that the
world had been created by the Devil and was ruled by him, asserting that
this life was a punishment for souls which had sinned; defended the
transmigration of souls; held that wine was not necessary in the
celebration of the mass; and maintained that any Christian, whether a
priest or not, might celebrate religious sacraments. In addition he
propounded much else of a theological character which was not in accord
with Catholic Christianity. It was to condemn Priscillianism that the
Council of Saragossa was called. Nevertheless, this doctrine found favor
even among churchmen of high rank, and Priscillian himself became bishop
of Ávila. In the end he and his principal followers were put to death,
but it was three centuries before Priscillianism was completely stamped
out. In addition to this and other heresies the church had to combat the
religions which were already in existence when it entered the field,
such as Roman paganism and the indigenous faiths. It was eventually
successful, although many survivals of old beliefs were long existent in
the rural districts.

[Sidenote: Economic development and public works.]

The Romans continued the economic development of Spain on a greater
scale than their predecessors. Regions which the other peoples had not
reached were for the first time benefited by contact with a superior
civilization, and the materials which Spain was already able to supply
were diversified and improved. Although her wealth in agricultural and
pastoral products was very great, it was the mines which yielded the
richest profits. It is said that there were forty thousand miners at
Cartagena alone in the second century B.C. Commerce grew in proportion
to the development of wealth, and was facilitated in various ways, one
of which deserves special mention, for its effects were far wider than
those of mere commercial exchange. This was the building of public
works, and especially of roads, which permitted the peoples of Spain to
communicate freely with one another as never before. The roads were so
extraordinarily well made that some of them are still in use. The
majority date from the period of the empire, being built for military
reasons as one of the means of preserving peace. They formed a network,
crossing the peninsula in different directions, not two or three roads,
but many. The Romans also built magnificent bridges, which, like the
roads, still remain in whole or in part. Trade was fostered by the
checking of fraud and abuses through the application of the Roman laws
of property and of contract.

[Sidenote: Intellectual life and the fine arts.]

In general culture Spain also profited greatly from the Romans, for, if
the latter were not innovators outside the fields of law and government,
they had taken over much of the philosophy, science, literature, and the
arts of Greece, borrowing, too, from other peoples. The Romans had also
organized a system of public instruction as a means of disseminating
their culture, and this too they gave to Spain. The Spaniards were apt
pupils, and produced some of the leading men in Rome in various branches
of learning, among whom may be noted the philosopher Seneca, the
rhetorician Quintilian, the satirical poet Martial, and the epic poet
Lucan. The Spaniards of Cordova were especially prominent in poetry and
oratory, going so far as to impose their taste and style of speech on
conservative Rome. This shows how thoroughly Romanized certain parts of
the peninsula had become. In architecture the Romans had borrowed more
from the Etruscans than from the Greeks, getting from them the principle
of the vault and the round arch, by means of which they were able to
erect great buildings of considerable height. From the Greeks they took
over many decorative forms. Massiveness and strength were among the
leading characteristics of Roman architecture, and, due to them, many
Roman edifices have withstood the ravages of time. Especially notable
in Spain are the aqueducts, bridges, theatres, and amphitheatres which
have survived, but there are examples, also, of walls, temples,
triumphal arches, and tombs, while it is known that there were baths,
though none remain. In a wealthy civilization like the Roman it was
natural, too, that there should have been a great development of
sculpture, painting, and the industrial arts. The Roman type of city,
with its forum and with houses presenting a bare exterior and wealth
within, was adopted in Spain.

In some of the little practices of daily life the Spanish peoples
continued to follow the customs of their ancestors, but in broad
externals Spain had become as completely Roman as Rome herself.



[Sidenote: General characteristics of the Visigothic era.]

The Roman influence in Spain did not end, even politically, in the year
409, which marked the first successful invasion of the peninsula by a
Germanic people and the beginning of the Visigothic era. The Visigoths
themselves did not arrive in that year, and did not establish their rule
over the land until long afterward. Even then, one of the principal
characteristics of the entire era was the persistence of Roman
civilization. Nevertheless, in spite of the fact that the Visigoths left
few permanent traces of their civilization, they were influential for so
long a time in the history of Spain that it is appropriate to give their
name to the period elapsing from the first Germanic invasion to the
beginning of the Moslem conquest. The northern peoples, of whom the
Visigoths were by far the principal element, reinvigorated the
peninsula, both by compelling a return to a more primitive mode of life,
and also by some intermixture of blood. They introduced legal,
political, and religious principles which served in the end only to
strengthen the Roman civilization by reason of the very combat necessary
to the ultimate Roman success. The victory of the Roman church came in
this era, but that of the Roman law and government was delayed until the
period from the thirteenth to the close of the fifteenth century.

[Sidenote: Coming of the Vandals, Alans, and Suevians.]

In the opening years of the fifth century the Vandals, who had been in
more or less hostile contact with the Romans during more than two
centuries, left their homes within modern Hungary, and emigrated, men,
women, and children, toward the Rhine. With them went the Alans, and a
little later a group of the Suevians joined them. They invaded the
region of what is now France, and after devastating it for several years
passed into Spain in the year 409. There seems to have been no effective
resistance, whereupon the conquerors divided the land, giving Galicia to
the Suevians and part of the Vandals, and the southern country from
Portugal to Cartagena to the Alans and another group of Vandals. A great
part of Spain still remained subject to the Roman Empire, even in the
regions largely dominated by the Germanic peoples. The bonds between
Spain and the empire were slight, however, for the political strife in
Italy had caused the withdrawal of troops and a general neglect of the
province, wherefore the regions not acknowledging Germanic rule tended
to become semi-independent nuclei.

[Sidenote: Wanderings of the Visigoths.]

The more important Visigothic invasion was not long in coming. The
Visigoths (or the Goths of the west,--to distinguish them from their
kinsmen, the Ostrogoths, or Goths of the east) had migrated in a body
from Scandinavia in the second century to the region of the Black Sea,
and in the year 270 established themselves north of the Danube. Pushed
on by the Huns they crossed that river toward the close of the fourth
century, and entered the empire, contracting with the emperors to defend
it. Their long contact with the Romans had already modified their
customs, and had resulted in their acceptance of Christianity. They had
at first received the orthodox faith, but were later converted to the
Arian form, which was not in accord with the Nicene creed. After taking
up their dwelling within the empire the Visigoths got into a dispute
with the emperors, and under their great leader Alaric waged war on them
in the east. At length they invaded Italy, and in the year 410 captured
and sacked the city of Rome, the first time such an event had occurred
in eight hundred years. Alaric was succeeded by Ataulf, who led the
Visigoths out of Italy into southern France. There he made peace with
the empire, being allowed to remain as a dependent ally of Rome in the
land he had conquered. In all of these wanderings the whole tribe, all
ages and both sexes, went along. From this point as a base the
Visigoths made a beginning of the organization which was to become a
powerful independent state. There, too, in this very Roman part of the
empire, they became more and more Romanized.

[Sidenote: The Visigothic invasion.]

The Visigoths were somewhat troublesome allies, for they proceeded to
conquer southern France for themselves. Thereupon, war broke out with
the emperor, and it was in the course of this conflict that they made
their first entry into Spain. This occurred in the year 414, when Ataulf
crossed the Pyrenees and captured Barcelona. Not long afterward, Wallia,
a successor of Ataulf, made peace with the emperor, gaining title
thereby to the conquests which Ataulf had made in southern France, but
renouncing those in Spain. The Visigoths also agreed to make war on the
Suevians and the other Germanic peoples in Spain, on behalf of the
empire. Thus the Visigoths remained in the peninsula, but down to the
year 456 made no conquests on their own account. Wallia set up his
capital at Toulouse, France, and it was not until the middle of the
sixth century that a Spanish city became the Visigothic seat of

[Sidenote: The Visigothic conquest.]

The Visigoths continued to be rather uncertain allies of the Romans.
They did indeed conquer the Alans, and reduced the power of the Vandals
until in 429 the latter people migrated anew, going to northern Africa.
The Suevians were a more difficult enemy to cope with, however,
consolidating their power in Galicia, and at one time they overran
southern Spain, although they were soon obliged to abandon it. It was
under the Visigothic king Theodoric that the definite break with the
empire, in 456, took place. He not only conquered on his own account in
Spain, but also extended his dominions in France. His successor, Euric
(467-485), did even more. Except for the territory of the Suevians in
the northwest and west centre and for various tiny states under
Hispano-Roman or perhaps indigenous nobles in southern Spain and in the
mountainous regions of the north, Euric conquered the entire peninsula.
He extended his French holdings until they reached the river Loire. No
monarch of western Europe was nearly so powerful. The Visigothic
conquest, as also the conquests by the other Germanic peoples, had been
marked by considerable violence, not only toward the conquered peoples
of a different faith, but also in their dealings with one another. The
greatest of the Visigothic kings often ascended the throne as a result
of the assassination of their predecessors, who were in many cases their
own brothers. Such was the case with Theodoric and with Euric, and the
latter was one of the fortunate few who died a natural death. This
condition of affairs was to continue throughout the Visigothic period,
supplemented by other factors tending to increase the disorder and
violence of the age.

[Sidenote: Visigothic losses to the Franks and the Byzantine Romans.]

The death of Euric was contemporaneous with the rise of a new power in
the north of France. The Franks, under Clovis, were just beginning their
career of conquest, and they coveted the Visigothic lands to the south
of them. In 496 the Franks were converted to Christianity, but unlike
the Visigoths they became Catholic Christians. This fact aided them
against the Visigoths, for the subject population in the lands of the
latter was also Catholic. Clovis was therefore enabled to take the
greater part of Visigothic France, including the capital city, in 508,
restricting the Visigoths to the region about Narbonne, which
thenceforth became their capital. In the middle of the sixth century a
Visigothic noble, Athanagild, in his ambition to become king invited the
great Roman emperor Justinian (for the empire continued to exist in the
east, long after its dissolution in the west in 476) to assist him.
Justinian sent an army, through whose aid Athanagild attained his
ambition, but at the cost of a loss of territory to the Byzantine
Romans. Aided by the Hispano-Romans, who continued to form the bulk of
the population, and who were attracted both by the imperial character
and by the Catholic faith of the newcomers, the latter were able to
occupy the greater part of southern Spain. Nevertheless, Athanagild
showed himself to be an able king, and it was during his reign (554-567)
that a Spanish city first became capital of the kingdom, for Athanagild
fixed his residence in Toledo. The next king returned to France, leaving
his brother, Leovgild, as ruler in Spain. On the death of the former in
573 Leovgild became sole ruler, and the capital returned to Toledo to
remain thereafter in Spain.

[Sidenote: Leovgild.]

Leovgild (573-586) was the greatest ruler of the Visigoths in Spain. He
was surrounded by difficulties which taxed his powers to the utmost. In
Spain he was confronted by the Byzantine provinces of the south, the
Suevian kingdom of the west and northwest, and the Hispano-Roman and
native princelets of the north. All of these elements were Catholic, for
the Suevians had recently been converted to that faith, and therefore
might count in some degree on the sympathy of Leovgild’s Catholic
subjects. Furthermore, like kings before his time and afterward,
Leovgild had to contend with his own Visigothic nobles, who, though
Arian in religion, resented any increase in the royal authority, lest it
in some manner diminish their own. In particular the nobility were
opposed to Leovgild’s project of making the monarchy hereditary instead
of elective; the latter had been the Visigothic practice, and was
favored by the nobles because it gave them an opportunity for personal
aggrandizement. The same difficulties had to be faced in France, where
the Franks were the foreign enemy to be confronted. All of these
problems were attacked by Leovgild with extraordinary military and
diplomatic skill. While he held back the Franks in France he conquered
his enemies in Spain, until nothing was left outside his power except
two small strips of Byzantine territory, one in the southwest and the
other in the southeast. Internal issues were complicated by the
conversion of his son Hermenegild to Catholicism. Hermenegild accepted
the leadership of the party in revolt against his father, and it was six
years before Leovgild prevailed. The rebellious son was subsequently put
to death, but there is no evidence that Leovgild was responsible.

[Sidenote: Reccared.]

Another son, Reccared (586-601), succeeded Leovgild, and to him is due
the conversion of the Visigoths to Catholic Christianity. The mass of
the people and the Hispano-Roman aristocracy were Catholic, and were a
danger to the state, not only because of their numbers, but also because
of their wealth and superior culture. Reccared therefore announced his
conversion (in 587 or 589), and was followed in his change of faith by
not a few of the Visigoths. This did not end internal difficulties of a
religious nature, for the Arian sect, though less powerful than the
Catholic, continued to be a factor to reckon with during the remainder
of Visigothic rule. Reccared also did much of a juridical character to
do away with the differences which separated the Visigoths and
Hispano-Romans, in this respect following the initiative of his father.
After the death of Reccared, followed by three brief reigns of which no
notice need be taken, there came two kings who successfully completed
the Visigothic conquest of the peninsula. Sisebut conquered the
Byzantine province of the southeast, and Swinthila that of the
southwest. Thus in 623 the Visigothic kings became sole rulers in the
peninsula,--when already their career was nearing an end.

[Sidenote: Last century of Visigothic rule.]

The last century of the Visigothic era was one of great internal
turbulence, arising mainly from two problems: the difficulties in the
way of bringing about a fusion of the races; and the conflict between
the king and the nobility, centring about the question of the succession
to the throne. The first of these was complicated by a third element,
the Jews, who had come to Spain in great numbers, and had enjoyed high
consideration down to the time of Reccared, but had been badly treated
thereafter. Neither in the matter of race fusion nor in that of
hereditary succession were the kings successful, despite the support of
the clergy. Two kings, however, took important steps with regard to the
former question. Chindaswinth established a uniform code for both
Visigoths and Hispano-Romans, finding a mean between the laws of both.
This was revised and improved by his son and successor, Recceswinth, and
it was this code, the _Lex Visigothorum_ (Law of the Visigoths), which
was to exercise such an important influence in succeeding centuries
under its more usual title of the _Fuero Juzgo_.[9] Nevertheless, it was
this same Recceswinth who conceded to the nobility the right of
electing the king. Internal disorder did not end, for the nobles
continued to war with one another and with the king. The next king,
Wamba (672-680), lent a dying splendor to the Visigothic rule by the
brilliance of his military victories in the course of various civil
wars. Still, the only real importance of his reign was that it
foreshadowed the peril which was to overwhelm Spain a generation later.
The Moslem Arabs had already extended their domain over northern Africa,
and in Wamba’s time they made an attack in force on the eastern coast of
Spain, but were badly defeated by him. A later invasion in another reign
likewise failed.

[Sidenote: The Moslem conquest.]

The last reigns of the Visigothic kings need not be chronicled, except
as they relate to the entry of the Mohammedans into Spain. King Witiza
endeavored to procure the throne for his son Achila without an election
by the nobility, and Achila in fact succeeded, but in the ensuing civil
war Roderic, the candidate of the nobility, was successful, being
crowned king in the year 710. What followed has never been clearly
ascertained, but it seems likely that the partisans of Achila sought aid
of the Moslem power in northern Africa, and also that the Spanish Jews
plotted for a Moslem invasion of Spain. At any rate the subsequent
invasion found support among both of these elements. Once in 709 and
again in 710 Moslem forces had effected minor landings between Algeciras
and Tarifa, but in 711 the Berber chief Tarik landed with a strong army
of his own people at Gibraltar,[10] and marched in the direction of
Cádiz. Roderic met him at the lake of Janda,[11] and would have defeated
him but for the treacherous desertion of a large body of his troops who
went over to the side of Tarik. Roderic was utterly beaten, and Tarik
pushed on even to the point of capturing Toledo. In the next year the
Arab Musa came from Africa with another army, and took Mérida after an
obstinate siege which lasted a year. Up to this time the invaders had
met with little popular resistance; rather they had been welcomed. With
the fall of Mérida, however, it began to be clear that they had no
intention of leaving the country. At the battle of Segoyuela[12] Musa
and Tarik together won a complete victory, in which it is believed that
Roderic was killed. Musa then proceeded to Toledo, and proclaimed the
Moslem caliph as ruler of the land.

[Sidenote: The family in Visigothic law.]

There were four principal racial elements in the peninsula in the
Visigothic period: the indigenous peoples of varying grades of culture;
the Germanic peoples; the western Roman, which formed a numerous body,
more or less completely Romanized; and the Byzantine Roman, which
influenced even beyond the Byzantine territories in Spain through the
support of the clergy. The two last-named elements were the most
important. The Germanic tribes, especially the Visigoths, had already
become modified by contact with Rome before they reached Spain, and
tended to become yet more so. The Visigoths reverted to the family in
the broad sense of all descended from the same trunk as the unit of
society, instead of following the individualistic basis of Rome,
although individuals had considerable liberty. Members of the family
were supposed to aid and protect one another, and an offence against one
was held to be against all. A woman could not marry without the consent
of her family, which sold her to the favored candidate for her hand. She
must remain faithful to her husband and subject to his will, but _he_
was allowed to have concubines. Nevertheless, she had a right to share
in property earned after marriage, and to have the use of a deceased
husband’s estate, provided she did not marry again. A man might make a
will, but must leave four-fifths of his property to his descendants.
Children were subject to their parents, but the latter did not have the
earlier right of life and death, and the former might acquire some
property of their own.

[Sidenote: Social classes in the Visigothic era.]

The great number of social classes at the close of the Roman period was
increased under the Visigoths, and the former inequalities were
accentuated, for the insecurity of the times tended to increase the
grades of servitude and personal dependence. The nobility was at first a
closed body, but later became open to anybody important enough to enter
it. The kings ennobled whomsoever they chose, and this was one of the
causes of the conflict between them and the older nobility. Freemen
generally sank back into a condition of dependence; in the country they
became serfs, being bound by inheritance both to the land and to a
certain type of labor. Freemen of the city, however, were no longer
required to follow the trade of their fathers. Men of a higher grade
often became the retainers of some noble, pledged to aid him, and he on
his part protected them. Few were completely free. The Suevians took
two-thirds of the lands and half of the buildings in the regions they
conquered, and it is probable that the Visigoths made some such division
after Euric’s conquest, although they seem to have taken less in Spain
than they did in France.

[Sidenote: Social customs.]

The Visigoths were not an urban people like the Romans. The tendency of
this age, therefore, was for a scattering of the city populations to the
country, where the fortified village or the dwelling of a Visigothic
noble with his retinue of armed followers and servants formed the
principal centre. The cities therefore remained Hispano-Roman in
character, and their manner of life was imitated more and more by the
Visigoths. There was a laxity in customs which went so far that priests
openly married and brought up families, despite the prohibitions of the
law.[13] Superstition was prevalent in all classes.[14] One of the
popular diversions of the period seems to have been a form of

[Sidenote: Royal power under the Visigoths.]

Before the Visigoths reached Spain the monarchy was elective, but within
a certain family. The king’s authority had already increased from that
of a general and chief justice to something approaching the absolutism
of a Roman emperor. With the extinction of the royal family there was a
long period of strife between rival aspirants for the throne. Leovgild
was the first to take on all the attributes, even the ceremonial, of
absolutism, and was one of many kings who tried to make the throne
hereditary. Despite the support given to the kings by the clergy, who
hoped for peace through enhancing the royal power, the nobles were able
to procure laws for an elective monarch without limitation to a
specified family; an assembly of nobles and churchmen was the electoral
body. These conflicts did not modify the absolute character of the
king’s rule; the king had deliberative councils to assist him, but since
he named the nobles who should attend, both appointed and deposed
bishops, and in any event had an absolute veto, these bodies did no more
than give sanction to his will. Heads of different branches of
administration also assisted the king. The real limitation on absolutism
was the military power of the nobles.

[Sidenote: Visigothic administration.]

For a long time the Visigoths and the Hispano-Romans had different laws
governing their personal relations, although in political matters the
same law applied to both. In the case of litigation between Visigoths
and Hispano-Romans the law of the former applied, with modifications
which approximated it somewhat to the principles of the Roman law. In
the eyes of the law these differences disappeared after the legislation
of Chindaswinth and Recceswinth, but many of them in fact remained as a
result of the force of custom and the weakness of the central authority.
In general administration the Visigoths followed the Roman model from
the first. The land was divided into provinces ruled by officials called
dukes, while the cities were governed by counts.[15] Each had much the
same authority under the king as the kings had over the land. The Roman
provincial and municipal councils were retained, and their position
bettered, since they were not made responsible for the taxes as in the
last days of the empire. Complex as was this system and admirable as it
was in theory there was little real security for justice, for in the
general disorder of the times the will of the more powerful was the
usual law. Taxes were less in amount than in the days of the empire, but
only the Hispano-Romans were subject to them.

[Sidenote: The church in Visigothic times.]

The church became very influential after the time of Reccared, but lost
in independence, since the kings not only appointed the higher church
officers, but also intervened in matters of ecclesiastical
administration, though rarely in those of doctrine. Churchmen had
certain privileges, though fewer than in the last century of Roman rule
and much fewer than they were to acquire at a later time. Their
intervention in political affairs was very great, however, due not only
to their influence with the masses, but even more to their prestige as
the most learned men of the time. Monasteries increased greatly in
number; at this time they were subject to the secular arm of the clergy,
for the bishops gave them their rule and appointed their abbots.
Religious ceremonies were celebrated by what was called the Gothic rite,
and not after the fashion of Rome, although the pope was recognized as
head of the church. As regards heresies the church had to oppose the
powerful Arian sect throughout the period and to uproot the remnants of
indigenous and pagan faiths.

[Sidenote: Economic backwardness.]

An agricultural and military people like the Visigoths, in an age of
war, could not be expected to do much to develop industry and commerce.
Such as there was of both was carried on by some Hispano-Romans and by
Greeks and Jews. Spain dropped far behind in economic wealth in this
era. Roman methods were used, however, even in the agriculture of the

[Sidenote: Intellectual decline.]

[Sidenote: Saint Isidore.]

Spain also fell back in general culture. Public schools disappeared. The
church became almost the only resort for Christians desirous of an
education, but there were Jewish academies in which the teachers read
from books, and commented on them,--the system adopted by the Christian
universities centuries later. Latin became the dominant tongue, while
Gothic speech and Gothic writing gradually disappeared. The Greek
influence was notable, due to the long presence of Byzantine rule in
southern Spain. The writers of the period were in the main churchmen,
particularly those of Seville. Orosius of the fifth century, author of a
general history of a pronouncedly anti-pagan, pro-Christian character,
was one of the more notable writers of the time. By far more important,
one of the greatest writers in the history of Hispanic literature in
fact, was Saint Isidore, archbishop of Seville in the early part of the
seventh century. Among his numerous works were the following: a brief
universal history; a history of the Visigoths, Vandals, and Suevians;
lives of illustrious men; an encyclopedia of Greco-Roman knowledge; and
books of thoughts, of a philosophical and juridical character. He
represented very largely the ideas of the Spanish clergy, and many of
the principles enunciated by him were later embodied in the _Fuero
Juzgo_. He maintained that political power was of divine origin, but
that the state must protect the church. He supported the ideas of
hereditary succession and the prestige and inviolability of kings as the
best means of securing peace.

[Sidenote: The fine arts.]

In architecture the Visigoths followed the Romans, but on a smaller and
poorer scale. Perhaps the only matter worthy of note as regards the fine
arts was the presence of Byzantine influences, especially marked in the
jewelry of the period.


MOSLEM SPAIN, 711-1031

[Sidenote: Importance of the Moslem conquest.]

The Moslem period in Spanish history is the subject of a number of
popular misconceptions. The Moslems are believed to have attained to a
phenomenally high stage of culture and to have lived in a luxury without
parallel at that time in the world. While these views are not without
truth, it is also true that the conquerors never shook themselves free
from their tribal instincts, and it was not until the tenth century that
their civilization was well established. Even then it was more largely
through the efforts of others whom they imitated than through
innovations of their own that they reached their high estate, which was
the natural result of their power and wealth, although its ripest fruit
was reserved for a later period, when much of their political authority
had passed. Nevertheless, the Moslem occupation of Spain was on other
grounds fully as important for Europe as it has usually been regarded,
and perhaps more important for Spain and Spanish America than has ever
been stated. As to the first point, it is true that Europe, through
Moslem Spain, gained a knowledge of classical and Byzantine
civilization. As to the second, racial elements entered the peninsula at
this time which have left a deep impress on Spanish character,
especially on that of the Andalusians and through them on Spanish
America. The later Spanish colonization of the Americas passed almost
wholly through the ports of Seville and Cádiz, and was confined in large
measure to Castilians. At that time, however, Andalusia was considered
part of Castile, and it was only natural that the Andalusian
“Castilians” should have been the ones to go. Many present-day Spanish
American peoples pronounce their language in the Andalusian way,
although differing in degree of similarity and having certain practices
peculiar to themselves. In other respects, too, one finds
Moslem-descended Andalusian traits in the Americas.

[Sidenote: Conversion of the Arabs to Mohammedanism.]

The Arabs were a people dwelling in greatest part in that section of
western Asia which bears their name. Prior to their conversion to
Mohammedanism they led a tribal life, not as one great tribe but as
many, some of them in settled fashion, and others in a nomadic way, but
all were independent one tribe from another and all engaged in endless
strife. There was no such thing as an Arabic national feeling or an
Arabic political state. Early in the seventh century Mahomet began to
preach the faith which he originated, a religion of extreme simplicity
in its doctrinal beliefs, but based very largely on the Jewish and
Christian creeds. The Mohammedans date their era from the year 622 A.D.,
but it was not until after that time that the Arabs were converted to
the new religion. Once they did receive it they were for a long time its
principal sword-bearers, since it fitted their fighting spirit and
promised rewards which suited their pleasure-loving tastes. Most of
them, however, were not nearly so zealous in their religious beliefs as
they have at times been regarded; rather they were too sceptical and
materialistic a people to be enthusiastic devotees of an abstract faith.

[Sidenote: Arabic conquests.]

[Sidenote: Elements of dissension among the Moslem conquerors.]

Nevertheless, the Arabs achieved a conquest which was remarkable alike
for its extent and for its rapidity. Between 697 and 708 they overran
nearly all of Syria and the entire northern coast of Africa, including
Egypt. For their conquests they had formed themselves into a single
state under the rule of a caliph, who was at the same time the head of
the church, thus centering political and religious authority in one
person. The state was divided into provinces, two of which were in
northern Africa,--Egypt and northwestern Africa. This cohesion was more
apparent than real, for the old tribal jealousies and strife continued,
accentuated by differences both in religious zeal and in
interpretations of the Moslem faith. Of the Arabs who entered Spain
there were two principal parties, representing at the same time
religious and tribal animosities, the Sunnites, or Sunnis, who were of
Yemenite race, and the Shiites, or Shiahs, of Mudarite blood. Their
quarrels in Spain, as elsewhere in Moslem realms, were a factor which
rendered difficult the establishment or the maintenance of a strong
political state. In northwestern Africa the Arabs had encountered the
Berbers, who had submitted only after opposing a determined resistance.
The Berbers were by nature a devout and democratic people, and once they
received the Moslem faith they took it up with fanatical enthusiasm.
They never regarded their conquerors with favor, however, and their
hatred was intensified by the very religious indifference of the Arabs.
Here, then, was another element of dissension in Spain, for the Berbers
took part in the conquest along with the Yemenite and Mudarite Arabs.

[Sidenote: Nature of the Moslem conquest of Spain.]

The military conquest took seven years (711-718), for after the fall of
Mérida the invaders met with vigorous, if also unorganized, resistance.
In characteristic fashion the Spanish peoples fought in guerrilla bands
or defended their own towns with desperate courage, but did not aid one
another. Some nobles made terms whereby they were allowed to retain
their estates, but the majority of them opposed the conquerors. Except
for narrow strips in the mountain regions of northern Spain the entire
peninsula had been overrun by the year 718, at which time the Moslem
armies crossed the Pyrenees into southern France. Spain was organized as
a district ruled by an emir under the governor of the province of
Africa, who was in turn subject to the Moslem caliph. The bond uniting
Spain to Africa was not in fact very tightly drawn, for the Spanish
Moslems acted in the main with complete independence of the governor of
Africa. The conquerors did not usually insist on the conversion of the
Spanish peoples (although there were exceptions to the rule), preferring
usually to give them the option of accepting the Mohammedan faith or of
paying a poll tax in addition to the taxation on Moslems and Christians
alike. Many of the Arabs opposed the conversion of the Christians,
since the continuance of the latter in their own religion meant a
lighter financial burden upon the Moslems. Since, also, the conquerors
were outnumbered, they often found it wise to grant the Spanish peoples
a right to retain their faith. In fine the conquest was not a matter of
religious propaganda, but rather was one of a more or less systematic

[Sidenote: Division of the conquered lands.]

[Sidenote: Religious effects of the conquest.]

The lands of the Visigothic state, the Christian church, emigrating
nobles, and those who resisted were confiscated, but individuals who
submitted, even nobles (and in some cases monasteries), had their
estates restored to them in whole or in part, subject to the usual
taxation. A fifth of the confiscated lands were taken by the state, and
the rest were distributed among the soldiers and the chiefs of the
Moslem armies. The state holdings were re-allotted to Spanish serfs, who
were required to pay a third of the produce to the government, being
allowed to keep the rest for themselves. The Berbers were given lands in
the north, while the Arabs took the more fertile south. These lands,
too, were given over to serfs on much the same terms as those granted by
the state. The mass of the people were not greatly disturbed. Indeed,
the agricultural laborer advanced economically, because requirements
were lighter than formerly, and, also, since the lands were divided
among a great many proprietors, the evil of the vast estates which had
existed formerly was for the time being corrected. Slaves profited by
the conquest, in part because they were better treated, but also in that
they might become free by the mere act of conversion to Mohammedanism if
they were slaves of Christians or Jews. A great many Christians became
Mohammedans, some of them to escape slavery, others to avoid the poll
tax, and still others from sincere belief, and they came to form an
important class of the Moslem world, called “Renegados,” or renegades,
by the Christians, and “Muladíes” by themselves. The conquest weighed
more heavily on the Christian church, although, indeed, it was allowed
to remain in existence. The church had to experience the curious
practice of having its bishops named or deposed and its councils called
by the Moslem caliph or his representative. The Jews gained more than
any other element. The harsh Visigothic laws were repealed and Jews were
employed in government and administration as allies of the conquerors.

[Sidenote: Civil wars.]

The Moslem invasion of France was carried on with varying success for
several years. In 732 occurred the so-called battle of Tours, in fact
fought near Poitiers, when Charles Martel and a Frankish army defeated
the Moslems. It was not this battle which caused the retreat of the
invaders from France, but rather a civil war in Spain eight years later,
necessitating a return to the peninsula. The Berbers of Africa had risen
in revolt against their Arabic rulers, and had defeated both them and a
Syrian force sent to the latter’s assistance. Thereupon the Spanish
Berbers rose as well. For a time they were successful, but the emir was
able finally to subdue them, being aided by the Syrian army in Africa,
which he had induced to come to Spain. Then followed a terrible war
between the Syrians and the emir, because the promises to the former had
not been fulfilled. The struggle ended with a grant of some of the state
lands in southern Spain to the Syrians, who were to receive the
government’s third of the produce, but not the title to the lands.
Shortly afterward there was another civil war, this time between the
Shiite and Sunnite Arabs, caused by the harsh treatment of the former by
a Sunnite governor. The war lasted eleven years, being then given a new
turn by the intervention of a man who was to play an important part in
the history of the period.

[Sidenote: Coming of Abd-er-Rahman to Spain.]

Other parts of the Moslem world had been afflicted by the same sort of
internal strife as that which was occurring in Spain. In particular
there was a dynastic struggle, which resulted in the dethronement of the
caliphs of the Ommayad family and in the rise to power of the Abbasside
caliphs. The Ommayads were ordered to be put to death, but one of them,
a youth named Abd-er-Rahman, contrived to escape. He took refuge
successively in Egypt and northwestern Africa, and in 755 came to Spain
with the object of establishing himself there. This he was able to do,
though not without a struggle, setting himself up as emir with his
capital in Cordova, and proclaiming his independence of the caliph.

[Sidenote: Abd-er-Rahman I.]

The entire reign of Abd-er-Rahman I (755-788) was one of war. He had to
fight the Yemenite (Sunnite) Arabs, the Berbers, and many chiefs of
various tribes, as well as the governors sent out by the Abbassides,
before his authority was recognized. His ideal was that of an absolute
monarchy which should bring to an end the aristocratic independence and
anarchy in Spain, but in order to accomplish this he had to combat
Arabic tradition and pride, Berber democracy, and inter-tribal hatred.
Abd-er-Rahman was at least able to subject his opponents if not to
change them. It was during his reign that the Frankish king Charlemagne
invaded Spain and got as far as Saragossa. Obliged by events in France
to recross the Pyrenees he was attacked by the Basques in the pass of
Roncesvalles, and his rear-guard was completely destroyed. It was this
event which gave rise to the celebrated French epic poem, the _Chanson
de Roland_ (Song of Roland), in which the Frankish hero Roland is
supposed to combat the forces of Islam. No Mohammedan forces in fact
engaged in the battle, for the Basques were Christians; they were then,
as later, opposed to any foreign army which should invade their lands.

[Sidenote: Internal strife.]

Hisham I, the next emir, was not free from wars, but his reign was more
notable in its religious aspects. He was a devout Mohammedan, and
enabled the religious class to attain to great power. His successor,
Hakem I, was a sincere believer, but did not refrain from drinking wine,
thus breaking the religious law, and he conceded less influence in the
government to the church than his father had. This led to several
uprisings, in which the Renegados were a principal element. Hakem
subdued them, and exiled many thousands, most of them Renegados, who
went to different parts of northern Africa and Egypt. Another serious
revolt broke out in Toledo, which had been enjoying virtual
independence, though nominally subject to the emir. The citizens of
Toledo were most of them Renegados, but they were also Spanish, and were
unable to forget that Toledo had once been the capital of Spain. Hakem
resolved to bring them into real subjection, and was able to effect his
will. Seven years later, in 829, when Abd-er-Rahman II was emir, the
people of Toledo revolted again, and it took eight years to subdue them.
War and disorder were also prevalent in other parts of the realm. The
inhabitants of Mérida, who were Christians, rose several times; in
Murcia there was a seven years’ war between the Sunnites and Shiites. At
this time, too, the Normans began to attack the coasts of Spain just as
they were doing in other parts of Europe. They made no permanent
conquest, but rendered the coasts unsafe during the greater part of the
century. Toward the close of the ninth century the emirate began to
break under the strain of constant war. After repeated rebellions the
city of Toledo formed itself into a republic, and on the basis of an
annual tribute to the emir was recognized by the latter, who had no
other right there. In Aragon the Visigothic but Renegado family of
Beni-Casi founded an independent kingdom. A similar kingdom sprang up in
Extremadura, and another in the mountains of southern Spain. Meanwhile,
the Christian kingdoms were making gains. Except for them the new states
were usually made up of Renegados. They did not work together, however,
or the Arabic domination might have been completely broken: rather, each
little state followed a selfish policy of its own. The most important
was that of Omar-ben Hafsun in the south. Omar founded his kingdom in
884, with his capital at the castle of Bobastro. In 886 the emir
attacked him, and for more than thirty years thereafter there was war
between Omar and the emirs of Cordova. Omar was usually successful,
acquiring nearly all of Andalusia, but his political plans illustrate
the lack of a truly Spanish ideal in the kingdoms carved out of the
emirate. At first he planned only a tiny kingdom of his own; later he
aimed to get the governor of Africa to appoint him emir of Spain;
finally he became converted to Christianity, and resolved to wage a
religious war, whereupon his Renegado followers abandoned him. During
the same period civil wars of a racial nature broke out in other parts
of Spain between the Arabic aristocracy and the Renegados, especially
around the cities of Elvira and Seville. The Arabs despised the
Renegados, who were at this time the principal industrial and commercial
class, especially in Seville, and envied their wealth. Many Arabic
chiefs also refused obedience to the emirs. For a time the aristocratic
party was successful, inflicting great blows on the Renegados, and
increasing their own estates, but in the reign of Abdallah, early in the
ninth century, they received a check. The same Abdallah inflicted a
crushing defeat on King Omar. Thus the way was prepared for Abdallah’s
successor, Abd-er-Rahman III, who was to establish peace in Spain after
two centuries of almost continuous disorder.

[Sidenote: Abd-er-Rahman III.]

Abd-er-Rahman III (912-961) was by far the greatest ruler in the history
of Moslem Spain. His first problem was the establishment of the central
power. Within a few years he had reduced not only the Renegado states of
Toledo, Aragon, Extremadura, and Bobastro but also the aristocratic
Arabs and the Berber chiefs in various parts of Spain. He then changed
his title from that of emir to caliph, thus signifying his intention of
maintaining a robust absolute monarchy. He also drove back the Christian
kings in the north, after which he proceeded to cultivate friendly
relations with them. Even the Moslem province in northwestern Africa
fell under his sway. In administrative matters as well Abd-er-Rahman III
proved his ability. Not only did he create a great army but he also
increased the strength of the navy (which the emirs before him had
already founded) until it became the most powerful fleet in the
Mediterranean Sea. Spain was recognized as the greatest state in Europe,
and in western Europe it was also the centre of the highest culture.
Through the caliph’s measures agriculture, industry, and commerce, and
education, literature, and the fine arts developed to a high point, and
Cordova became a city of half a million inhabitants.

[Sidenote: Almansor.]

Hakem II (961-976) continued his father’s policy in all respects, but
was able to devote even more attention to intellectual activities. In
military affairs the next reign, that of Hisham II (976-1013), was
particularly brilliant, but it was not the caliph who directed affairs.
In the time of Hakem II a certain Mahomet-ben-Abdallah-abu-Amir had
attracted the attention and won the heart of the caliph’s favorite wife.
Through her aid he became the chief minister of Hisham II, who was a
minor at the time of his succession. Hisham was soon put aside by
Mahomet, who sequestered the caliph in the palace, and ruled in the name
of the virtually deposed monarch. Mahomet was principally famous for his
victories, on account of which he was called Almansor, meaning “the
aided of God,” or “the victorious by divine favor.” He reorganized the
army, making it a machine which was not only efficient in a military way
but also personally devoted to him. Then in repeated campaigns he
defeated the Christian kings of the northwest and northeast, reducing
the greater part of their territories to his authority, and making
himself arbiter in the kingdoms which were allowed to exist.

[Sidenote: Downfall of the caliphate.]

Almansor died in 1002, but the military supremacy of the Moslem state
was sustained by his son Abdul Malik, who succeeded as chief minister
and virtual ruler. The latter did not live long, however, being followed
in authority by another son of Almansor, who was not so fortunate in his
rule. The Moslem nobles were hostile to the military absolutism of the
Almansor family, chiefly, no doubt, because of the usual intractability
of the aristocracy, but also because the military element, composed of
Berbers and foreigners of all descriptions, even slaves (who might be
powerful generals), had become the most important in the country. Civil
wars broke out, therefore, and they resulted in the fall of the Almansor
family, in 1009. The wars continued, however, between the generals of
Almansor’s army and the various pretenders to the caliphate (even though
Hisham was alive during part of the time and was believed to be living
for many years after he had probably died or been put to death). In
1027, the last of the Ommayads, Hisham III, became caliph, but in 1031
was deposed. Thenceforth, no one was able to make good a claim to the
throne; Moslem Spain fell apart into a number of independent units, and
the caliphate came to an end.

[Sidenote: Social classes in Moslem Spain.]

Although the differences in social status were much the same in Moslem
Spain as in other parts of Europe, there were added complications, owing
to the differences of race and religion. There were the usual gradations
of aristocracy, freemen, freedmen, and slaves, but the real aristocracy
was the Arabic. This was nearly destroyed in the time of Abd-er-Rahman
III, and a new aristocracy of soldiers and merchants took its place.
Prior to that time both the Arabic and Berber nobility had gone on
increasing their holdings until they had attained vast estates, and it
was perhaps on this account that they lived for the most part in the
country, leaving the cities to the Renegados and “Mozárabes,” as the
Christians living under Moslem rule were called. The Renegados were an
especially important element in the population, both industrially and
intellectually, but were despised by the other groups; indeed, many were
descendants of slaves. The Mozárabes usually lived in a separate
district, and were allowed to govern themselves to some extent, having
law courts and some administrative officials of their own. In daily life
they mixed freely with the Moslem population. The old differences
between the Hispano-Roman and Visigothic Christians were maintained for
a time, but seem at length to have passed away. The Mozárabes were
allowed to retain their Christian worship, and as a rule were not
persecuted, although frequently insulted by lower class Moslems. Late in
the ninth century, especially in the reign of Mahomet I, there was a
period of persecution, caused very largely by the excessive zeal of some
of the Christians. The law inflicted the penalty of death on anybody who
publicly cursed the founder of the Mohammedan faith, wherefore a number
of Christians, already exasperated by certain harsh measures of the
emir, began to seek martyrdom by cursing the prophet. A Christian church
council disapproved of this practice, but it continued and was later
sanctioned by the church, which canonized many of the martyrs. The Jews
were another important element, not only in administration, but also in
commerce and in general culture. Cordova became the world’s centre for
Jewish theological studies. In all of this period the Jews were well

[Sidenote: Status of women.]

A Mohammedan was allowed to have as many as four wives and a greater
number of concubines, all together forming the particular individual’s
harem. The wives were subject to their husbands, but were not without
rights. The first wife was privileged to forbid her husband’s taking
concubines or additional wives without her consent, although it is
doubtful if the right was generally exercised. Possibly a wife’s most
important powers were those having to do with property, coupled with her
privilege of bringing suit at law without the previous consent of her
husband. Children of legally taken concubines, even if the latter were
slaves, were held to be legitimate and free. Women enjoyed more liberty
than they are commonly supposed to have had, being privileged, for
example, to visit freely with their relatives. The Arabs were very fond
of music and dancing, and took delight in licentious poetry. Not a
little of the pleasure-loving character of this race survives today in
southern Spain.

[Sidenote: Methods of warfare.]

[Sidenote: Moslem law.]

Much has been said already with regard to the general administration of
the Moslem realm, which was not greatly different from that of the
Visigothic kingdom preceding it. As for the Moslem armies they were not
so superior in organization when they entered Spain as their rapid
conquests might lead one to suppose. They were nothing more than tribal
levies, each group marching with its chief as leader. Campaigns were
also managed in a somewhat haphazard fashion, for the Moslem troops went
forth to war when the tasks of harvest time did not require their
presence at home. Many expeditions were made with no idea of military
conquest; rather they were for the sake of destroying an enemy’s crops
or securing plunder, after which the army would return, satisfied with
what it had done. The Moslem rulers gradually began to surround
themselves with special troops, and, finally, Almansor abolished the
tribal levy, and formed regiments without regard to tribe. As for Moslem
law the Koran was at the same time a book of holy writ and one of civil
law. This was supplemented by the legislation of the caliphs, but there
was always more or less confusion between law and religion. There was
never a formal code.

[Sidenote: Religion in Moslem Spain.]

Attention has already been called to the difference in the religious
fervor of the Moslem tribes. Many of the Arabs even went so far as to
deny the existence of God, although the vast body of them, perhaps, were
indifferentists. The Berbers and the mass of the people generally were
very enthusiastic Mohammedans, so that it was unsafe to express one’s
opinions contrary to the faith or even to engage openly in certain
philosophical studies, for these were regarded as heretical. Among the
religious themselves there were varying interpretations of the Koran and
differences of rite. Religious toleration existed to such an extent that
not only were the Mozárabes allowed to retain their churches, their
priesthood, and their councils, but also some of their holy days were
celebrated by Christians and Moslems alike. There was one instance where
the same building served as a Mohammedan mosque and a Christian church.
Christian clergymen from foreign lands frequently visited Moslem Spain,
while native churchmen went forth from the caliphate to travel in the
Christian countries, returning later to the peninsula.

[Sidenote: The wealth of Cordova.]

[Sidenote: Economic prosperity.]

In the tenth century Moslem Spain came to be one of the richest and most
populous lands in Europe. The wealth of Cordova was astounding, although
some allowance has to be made for the exaggerations of the chroniclers.
At one time the Moslem capital was said to have 200,000 houses, 600
mosques, and 900 bath-houses, besides many public buildings. It was well
paved, had magnificent bridges across the Guadalquivir, and contained
numerous palaces of the caliphs and other great functionaries. The most
famous of all was that of Az-Zahra, which was a palace and town in one,
erected by Abd-er-Rahman III for one of his wives. The great mosque of
Cordova, which is in use today as a Catholic cathedral, was equally
luxurious. This was begun in the reign of Abd-er-Rahman I, and was
continued and enlarged by later Moslem rulers. It came to have nineteen
aisles one way, and thirty another, with twenty-one gates, and 1293
columns of porphyry and jasper with gilded capitals. In its adornment it
was a wealth of marble, silver, and precious stones. Travellers came to
Cordova from all parts of the world, but it is worthy of note as an
evidence of the lack of complete security, even in the greatest days of
the caliphate, that it was the practice to come in great bodies, for the
roads were infested with bandits. One measure of the advance of Moslem
Spain is in the revenues of the government, which were eighteen times
greater in the reign of Abd-er-Rahman III than they were in the reign of
Abd-er-Rahman I.[16] This wealth depended on economic well-being, which
was especially in evidence in the tenth century. The Arabs were not
innovators in agriculture, but they had already learned much from
others, and they assimilated Hispano-Roman and Mozárabic methods, with
the result that Spain became richer in this regard than she had ever
been before. They introduced rice, sugar, and several other products
which had not previously been cultivated in Spain, and made use of
irrigation in Granada, Murcia, and Valencia. Stock-raising, mining, and
manufacturing were also extensively carried on. As a natural result of
all this activity there was a like development of commerce. The
principal part of Abd-er-Rahman III’s revenues proceeded from import and
export duties. It is worthy of note that there was a considerable
traffic not only in slaves but also in women,--such was Arabic
character. Seville was perhaps the most important port. Through the
medium of commerce Spain came into close contact with the Moslem East
and with the Byzantine Greeks. As a result of the mathematical problems
involved in trade it is believed that the Arabs introduced into Europe
the very important cipher, or zero, which they on their part had
received from India.

[Sidenote: Languages.]

[Sidenote: Education.]

Not only Arabic and Latin but many other languages as well were spoken
in Moslem Spain; the Berber, for example, was independent of either of
the two first-named. Despite the predominatingly Latin character of the
eventual Spanish tongue the Arabic influence upon it was great,--not so
much in words as in forms and idioms of speech. There were Moslem
schools of a private character, but there was no public school system.
The caliphs often brought learned men to their court, but it was the
religious who more than any others devoted themselves to education.
There were few Moslems who could not read or write, and in this respect
Spain was in advance of the rest of western Europe. Women, far from
being excluded from education, were taught the same branches as the men,
and often became notable both in literature and in scientific studies.

[Sidenote: Intellectual achievements.]

[Sidenote: The fine arts.]

[Sidenote: Narrow streets.]

The Arabs introduced the industrially manufactured paper of the orient
instead of using the parchment or papyrus of the Romans. This greatly
lowered the cost of books, and led to an increase in productivity,
facilitating both literary and scientific studies. Although philosophy
and astronomy were so strongly opposed by the common people and the
priestly class of the Moslems that their study was at times forbidden by
the government,[17] they were a fruitful topic in the education and
researches of the upper classes. One of the greatest glories of Arabic
civilization was the transmission of Greek culture to western Europe,
for the Arabs had become acquainted with the works of the Greeks, while
western Europe had almost completely forgotten them. Nevertheless,
Moslem Spain was to be more important in this respect in the period
following the downfall of the caliphate. Mathematics and medicine did
not meet with popular and religious opposition, and in both of these
sciences the Arabs achieved notable results. Polite literature, however,
and especially poetry, was the most favored intellectual medium. Poetry
had been cultivated by the Arabs while they were yet in their crude
tribal stage. It was not unusual for challenges to personal combat or
declarations of war to be written in poetry. Books of science, even,
made their appearance in verse, and the improvisation of poetry was a
general practice. The most favored subject-matter illustrates a
pronounced trait in Arabic character, for amorous themes of an immoral
order accorded best with Arabic taste. The Spanish Moslems were not
notable in painting and sculpture, but distinguished themselves in
architecture and the industrial arts. Perhaps the most important feature
of their cultivation of these arts was the introduction of Byzantine
influences. They made use of the dome and of the elaborate decoration of
flat surfaces (especially of walls) with arabesques, so named because of
their profuse employment in Arabic work. In addition they painted their
buildings in brilliant and variegated colors. They rarely built in
stone, preferring brick, plaster, and adobe. The mosque was the
principal example of their architecture. In that and in their civil
edifices they made use of one feature, not unlike that of the Roman
house, which has survived in Spain,--the enclosed court, or _patio_,
surrounded by arcades, with a fountain in the centre. Streets were
narrow, both with a view to provide shade against the heat of the sun,
and also because of the necessities of space, so that the city might be
contained within its walls.



[Sidenote: Fitful character of the Christian reconquest.]

One of the popular misconceptions of the Moslem period in the history of
Spain is that the Christians began a holy war almost from the time of
the Moslem invasion, and continued to gain in fervor and in power, step
by step, until at length they took Granada in 1492. In fact religious
enthusiasm and national conquest alike were fitful and spasmodic, and
very little progress was made in the period of the emirs and caliphs.

[Sidenote: The kingdom of Asturias.]

[Sidenote: Covadonga.]

It has usually been held, although the matter is in dispute, that the
Visigoths resisted the invaders continuously at only one point in
Spain,--in Asturias. In the mountains of Asturias there gathered various
nobles of the centre and south of Spain, a number of bishops, and the
remains of the defeated Christian armies, and, aided perhaps by the
natives of that land, they prepared to make a stand against the Moslems.
On the news of the death of Roderic they elected a certain Pelayo as his
successor, and it is this king who is customarily regarded as the
founder of the Spanish monarchy. Pelayo fixed his capital at Cangas de
Onís, and is believed to have maintained amicable relations with the
Moslems for a while, perhaps paying them tribute, and possibly even
making a visit to Cordova. Hostilities broke out again, however, and in
the year 718 Pelayo and his partisans won a victory in the valley of
Covadonga. Coming as it did after several years of defeats this
achievement attained to a renown which was far greater than the merits
of the actual battle, and in later years legendary accounts made the
combat itself assume extraordinary proportions. It has usually been
taken as marking the beginning of the Christian reconquests, and it is
said that Pelayo became king in consequence of the battle, when in fact
he was elected several years before. The battle of Covadonga did secure
eastern Asturias to the Christians, which was its immediate result.
Aside from that tiny kingdom there is no proof that there were any
independent Christian states in Spain, although it is probable that
there were several in the other mountainous parts of the north.

[Sidenote: The advance of the Asturian frontier.]

Since the invaders respected the religion and customs of the conquered,
the war of the Christian kingdom of Asturias against them did not at
first have a religious or even a racial character. It was a war of the
nobles and clergy for the reconquest of their landed estates and of the
king for the restoration of his royal authority over the peninsula. The
little Asturian kingdom was like the old Visigothic state in miniature;
for example, there were the struggles between the nobility and the crown
for precisely the same objects as formerly. For a century the history of
Asturias reduced itself primarily to these quarrels. Nevertheless, the
Moslem frontier tended to withdraw from the far northwest, not that the
Moslems were forced out by the Christians, but possibly because their
own civil wars drew them together in the centre and south, or because
their numbers were not great enough to make them seek the less desirable
lands in the northwest. The frontier became fixed south of the Douro
along a line running through Coimbra, Coria, Talavera, Toledo,
Guadalajara, and Pamplona, although the last-named place was not long
retained. It cannot be said that the Christians took a conscious
offensive until the eleventh century. In this period, despite the
internal dissension of the Moslem state, the Christian frontier did not
pass the Guadarrama Mountains even at the most favorable moments,
leaving Aragon and central and southern Spain in the enemy’s hands. The
line of the Douro was far from being held consistently,--as witness the
conquests of Abd-er-Rahman III and Almansor.

[Sidenote: Alfonso I and Alfonso II.]

[Sidenote: Santiago de Compostela.]

The only notable kings of Asturias in the century following the death of
Pelayo (737) were Alfonso I “the Catholic” (739-757) and Alfonso II
“the Chaste” (791-842). Both made successful campaigns against the
Moslems, although their principal importance was that they brought back
many Mozárabes from the temporarily conquered regions, and these helped
to populate the north. To assure his power Alfonso II sought an alliance
with the Holy Roman Emperor, Charlemagne, and with his son, Louis the
Pious. It is this which gave rise to the legend of Bernardo del Carpio,
who is said to have compelled the king to forbear making treaties with
foreign rulers which lowered the dignity of the Spanish people. Some
writers have found in this supposed incident (for the figure of Bernardo
is a later invention) an awakening sense of nationalism, but it seems
rather to reflect the traditional attitude of the nobility lest the king
become too strong for them, for real patriotism did not exist. The two
Alfonsos did much to reorganize their kingdom internally, and Alfonso
the Chaste moved the capital to Oviedo. In his reign, too, there
occurred a religious event of great importance,--the finding of what was
believed to be the tomb and body of the apostle Santiago (Saint James)
in northwestern Galicia. The site was made the seat of a bishopric, and
a village grew up there, named Santiago de Compostela. Compostela became
a leading political and industrial factor in the Christian northwest,
but was far more important as a holy place of the first grade, ranking
with Jerusalem, Rome, and Loreto. Thenceforth, bands of pilgrims not
only from Spain but also from all parts of the Christian world came to
visit the site, and, through them, important outside influences began to
filter into Spain. More noteworthy still was the use of the story of the
miraculous discovery to fire the Christian warriors with enthusiasm in
their battles against the Moslems, especially at a later period, when
the war entered upon more of a crusading phase.

[Sidenote: Beginnings of Navarre and Aragon.]

The people of the mountains of Navarre were of Basque race, and seem to
have maintained a more or less unorganized freedom from political
subjection for many years before a definite state was formed. They
opposed both the Frankish kings and the Moslem emirs, and for a long
time the former were their principal enemy. At length they established
their independence of both. In these wars the kingdom of Navarre almost
certainly had its origin, but at an uncertain date. Tradition makes
Iñigo Arista one of the early kings, or chiefs, but the first name
definitely to appear is that of Sancho García in the tenth century
(905-925). The founding of an independent state in Aragon was due to the
same causes; indeed, Aragon and Navarre were assigned a common origin in
the legends of the period. Aragon was absorbed by Navarre, however,
possibly toward the end of the tenth century.

[Sidenote: Origin of the Catalan counties.]

Catalonia had been overrun by the Moslems when they entered Spain, but
between 785 and 811 the Frankish kings were able to reconquer that
region, establishing a province there which they called the Spanish
Mark. This section was at first ruled by a number of counts, independent
of each other, but subject to the kings of the Franks. Catalan
submission to the latter did not endure through the ninth century.
Wifredo, count of Barcelona, is believed to have established his
independence as early as 874, although that event is doubtful; at any
rate the separation from the Frankish kingdom was not much longer
delayed. Each count was lord unto himself, although the counts of
Barcelona were recognized as the greatest among them. Indeed, in the
entire breadth of northern Spain each unit labored for its own selfish
ends. Christians fought Moslems, but also fought other Christians. Owing
to the disorder of the Moslem realm, however, the Catalan counts, like
the other Christian rulers, were able to make some territorial gains.

[Sidenote: Two centuries of scant progress in Asturias.]

[Sidenote: The independence of Castile.]

[Sidenote: Sancho the Fat.]

For nearly two centuries after the death of Alfonso II, or until the
fall of the Moslem caliphate, very little progress was made by the kings
of Oviedo and León, which latter city had become the capital of the
Christian kingdom in the northwest early in the tenth century. There was
a marked opposition between the Asturian-Leonese and the Galician parts
of the realm, and the Galician nobles maintained almost continuous war
with the kings. Similarly the counts of the frontier often acted like
petty sovereigns, or even joined with the Moslems against their own
compatriots. So, too, there were contests for the throne, and neither
side hesitated to call in Moslem aid. Some kings achieved conquests of
temporary moment against the Moslems; for example, Alfonso III “the
Great” (866-909) added considerably to his territories in a period of
marked weakness in the caliphate, but was obliged to abdicate when his
sons and even his wife joined in rebellion against him; the kingdom was
then divided among three sons, who took respectively León, Galicia and
Lusitania, and Asturias, leaving to the king the town of Zamora alone.
Then followed the caliphate of Abd-er-Rahman III, when the Christian
kingdoms, except Galicia, were most of the time subject in fact to the
Moslem state, although allowed to govern themselves. To the usual
quarrels there was added a new separatist tendency, more serious than
that of Galicia had been. This proceeded from the eastern part of the
kingdom in a region which came to be called Castile because of the
numerous castles there, due to its situation on the Moslem frontier. The
counts of Castile, centering around Burgos, had repeatedly declined to
obey the kings of Oviedo and León,--for example, when they were called
to serve in the royal armies. During the reign of Ramiro II (930-950),
Count Fernán González united the Castilians under his standard, and
after repeated wars was able to make Castile independent of the king of
León. The reign of Sancho “the Fat” is typical of the times. Sancho
became king of León in 955, but was soon dethroned by his nobles, who
alleged among other things that because of his corpulence he cut a
ridiculous figure as a king. Sancho went to the court of Abd-er-Rahman
III, and got not only a cure for fatness but also a Moslem army. Aided,
too, by the Christian kingdom of Navarre he was able to regain his
throne. He had promised to deliver certain cities and castles to the
caliph, but did not do so until compelled to by the next caliph, Hakem.
Civil wars between the nobles and the crown continued, and many of the
former joined with Moslem Almansor in his victorious campaigns against
their coreligionists and their king.

[Sidenote: Advance of the Christian states in the early eleventh

[Sidenote: Sancho the Great.]

When the caliphate began to totter, following the deaths of Almansor and
Abdul Malik, the Christian kings returned to the conquest. Alfonso V
(994-1027) of León and his uncle Sancho “the Great” (970-1035) of
Navarre pushed their frontiers southward, Alfonso crossing the Douro in
Portugal. The counts of Castile, too, now aiding one Moslem faction, now
another, now remaining neutral, profited by each new agreement to
acquire additional territory or fortified posts. Shortly after the death
of Alfonso V, Sancho the Great intervened successfully in the wars of
the Christian kingdoms, and united Castile and León under his authority.
Since he was also king in Navarre, Aragon, and the Basque provinces of
France and Spain, only Galicia, where the kings of León took refuge, and
the counties of Catalonia remained free from his rule in the north. Here
seemed to be an important moment in the history of Spain,--one which
might have had tremendous consequences. But it was as yet too early, not
alone for Spanish nationalism, but even for the conception of a Spanish
state. Sancho the Great undid his own work, and consigned himself to a
place only a little short of oblivion by dividing his kingdom among his
sons. The three most important regions resulting from this act were the
kingdoms of Navarre, Castile, and Aragon. The death of Sancho in 1035 is
an important date, however, for it marks the time when work had to be
begun over again to achieve the distant ideal of the unity of Spain.
Meanwhile, the counts of Barcelona, who had lost their territories in
the days of Almansor, regained them in the ensuing decline of the
caliphate, whether by military conquest, or by intervention in the wars
of the Moslem state in return for concessions. The important year 1035
is notable also in Catalonia, for at that time Ramón Berenguer I, the
first outstanding figure among the counts of Barcelona, inherited the
rule of the county.

[Sidenote: Inter-relations of the Christian and Moslem peoples.]

Except in times of war, relations between the Christian and Moslem
peoples were even cordial and intimate. They visited one another’s
countries, aided one another in civil wars, engaged in commerce, and
even contracted mixed marriages, not only among people of the lower
classes, but also among those of the highest rank, even to that of
royalty. Mohammedan law did not require the conversion of Christian
wives, but many of the latter embraced the Moslem faith, with the
consent, too, of their families. Although there were instances of
Mohammedan women marrying Christians, the reverse was usually the case,
for the conquerors did not bring their families as had the earlier
Germanic invaders. Religious differences were not an insuperable barrier
in this period: there was scarcely a war confined to Christians on the
one side and Mohammedans on the other; the Mozárabes were not greatly
molested within the Moslem state; Christians were often employed in
administrative capacities by the emirs and caliphs; and Christian
mercenaries, many of them Spaniards, fought in the Moslem armies. It was
only natural, therefore, that the neighboring Arabic civilization should
have exercised not a little influence on Christian Spain, especially
since the power and wealth of the caliphate were so much greater than in
the kingdoms of the north. In intellectual aspects--for example, in
philosophy and science--the Arabic influence was to be greater at a
succeeding time, but in political and military matters and in language
much passed over to the Christians in this period. In like manner the
Spanish peoples reacted upon the invaders, but this was confined
principally to the effects produced by the Renegados and Mozárabes,
whose contributions were largely due to the conditions of the Moslem
world in which they lived.

[Sidenote: Diversity in Christian Spain.]

Christian Spain itself was far from being a unit; rather diversity was
the rule. The northwest followed the Visigothic tradition, while the
north centre and northeast, especially Navarre and Catalonia, while
retaining much of the Visigothic institutions came into frequent contact
with French peoples, who gave a new turn to their civilization. Within
each section, too, there were many complex differences between one
region and another. Hence the institutions of the principal areas may be
taken separately.

_Kingdoms of Asturias, León, and Castile_

[Sidenote: Social classes in the Christian northwest.]

Social inequality increased in this period, due to a decline in wealth
and to an accentuation of the hazards of life. The higher nobility
attained to vast privileges and authority, although less than in other
parts of Christian Europe. They were often, but not always, allowed to
conquer lands for themselves, rule their own estates with almost
absolute authority, leave the king’s service for that of another
monarch, and be free from taxation. The social prestige of the nobles
was weakened, however, through the king’s right to grant titles of
nobility. The king might also deprive a noble created by himself of his
titles and lands. Most of the nobility of the lower grades were in fact
retainers of the greater nobles or of the king, usually rendering
military service in return for protection. This state of dependence was
called _encomienda_ (commendation),--a term used centuries later to
cover the virtual enslavement of the American Indians. Small landed
proprietors and free agricultural and industrial laborers placed
themselves in similar relations to the great nobles, so that the latter
were about the only really free class of the time. These civilian
dependents gave produce, tribute, or personal service to the lord. The
various grades of servitude, from serfs attached to a piece of land and
enjoying at least some of the products of their labor down to
individuals held in personal slavery, continued to exist. In general the
servile classes advanced in about the same degree that the freemen fell
back; many of them came together to form an intermediate class in which
some rights--for example, to own property and to change one’s habitation
freely within the same seigniorial territory--were enjoyed.

[Sidenote: The political system.]

The king’s power was complete enough in theory to merit being called
absolute, for in him rested supreme legislative, judicial, and
administrative authority over the realm as a whole. In fact the royal
authority did not extend equally over all the land. On his own
properties and usually in conquered regions the king was indeed an
absolute monarch, but as concerned the lands of the nobles and the
church there were important limitations on his authority. On their
estates the nobles enjoyed rights of an economic nature and also those
of a sovereign, with almost as much power in theory and in fact as the
king had in theory over all the land. They raised troops at will, and
fought with one another and even against the king; they had judicial
authority over most of the cases arising within their lands; and they
collected taxes for themselves. The protection which they owed to all on
their estates was not very faithfully accorded, but on the contrary they
oppressed not only their own dependents but also those of other
lords,--a practice which was a fruitful cause of private war. The
nobles, too, were veritable highwaymen, robbing travellers, business
men, and pilgrims, and contributing more than any other class to the
lawlessness of the times. Bishops and abbots occupied a position similar
to that of the great nobles. The church had acquired estates through
gifts of individuals and grants of the king, and the same rights and
duties attached to them as in the case of the nobles. Thus, for example,
great churchmen raised troops, which at times they commanded themselves.
The royal power was still further limited in fact, because of the
necessity of relying upon nobles or churchmen to govern distant lands or
to hold other posts of an administrative and even of a judicial nature.
The rulers of administrative districts were the counts (_condes_)
appointed by the king, and these individuals often gave him considerable
trouble,--as witness the uprisings (at length successful) of the counts
of Castile. The very necessities of civil strife obliged the kings to
yield privileges to one set of nobles in order to get their aid against
another. Nevertheless, great as was the nobles’ authority, it was not so
excessive as elsewhere in western Europe. Feudalism, the essence of
which was the grant of lands in perpetuity with rights of sovereignty
attached, in return for which the grantee owed fealty and some form of
service, perhaps military, to the grantor, did not exist in its fullness
in northwestern Spain. By special grants the king might agree to refrain
from exercising his sovereign privileges, but in such cases certain
limitations were usually expressed. When judicial authority was
conferred on a noble, some attributes were retained,--for example, the
trial of crimes of murder and the right of appeal to the royal authority
from the cases in seigniorial courts. Again, when the lords made laws
for their territories they did so by special grant of the king, who
frequently intervened to change the seigniorial statutes or to enact
others of his own. The difference from European feudalism, however, was
perhaps more juridical than actual.

[Sidenote: Rise of the free towns.]

One element appeared in this period which was to prove a great
limitation on seigniorial authority, and was to be an aid to the king in
the establishment of internal good order and unity. This was the
plebeian town. The most important type of this class was the _villa_, or
_concejo_, which originated in the tenth century. The _villas_ were
founded on lands conquered by the kings, and were usually in frontier
districts exposed to the enemy. On this account special privileges were
granted in order to induce people to settle there. Anybody who could
contrive to reach a _villa_ was declared free, even if of servile grade
before. All citizens were not equal, however; there were varying grades
of rank, though all were free. The _villas_ were exempted from many
duties to the state,--often from the payment of taxes. They were also
withdrawn from the jurisdiction of the counts, and were granted much
political authority. Each _villa_ received its own _fuero_, or charter,
by a special grant, with the result that there was a great variety in
the terms of different charters, although certain of them tended to
become the types which were imitated in subsequent grants. As a general
rule the government of a _villa_ was in the hands of the assembly of
citizens, in which local laws were enacted and judges and administrative
officers elected. These rights, added to a long line of exemptions, made
veritable political entities of the _villas_, which were independent of
all but the king, and were in great measure not subject to him. The
_villa_ extended beyond its own walls to include neighboring rural
districts as well. The rise of the _villas_ on royal lands compelled the
nobility and the clergy to form similar settlements in order to attract
people to their territories or to avoid uprisings of their dependents,
although these towns did not achieve rights equal to those of the

[Sidenote: Diversity and primitive character of the law.]

Since privilege was the general rule, the law in northwestern Spain was
very far from being uniform. The Visigothic _Fuero Juzgo_ continued to
be the general law, but it was often supplanted as a result of grants by
the king to nobles, clergy, and _villas_, and by the nobles and clergy
to yet other units under their rule. Very important, too, was the
modifying effect of local customs, which in the absence of other
specific law were frequently cited. These customs tended to resemble
those of the Germanic invaders or even of the indigenous peoples, since
the type of life at this time was similar to that of earlier unsettled
periods. This era, therefore, was one of a marked falling away from
Roman traditions, which had to wait several centuries before they again
came into their own.

[Sidenote: Economic backwardness.]

As was natural in such an age of disorder, commerce and industry did not
flourish. With the rise of the towns a beginning was made, and at least
one town, Santiago de Compostela, seems to have attained to some
industrial importance. Commerce was hampered by innumerable obstacles,
such as the depredations of foreign enemies and robber lords, the duties
which had to be paid to the king, and the tolls which were collected by
the lords at highways, rivers, or bridges within their lands.
Stock-raising and agriculture and the production of the bare necessities
of life were the principal occupations. Even these suffered, not only
from the raids of the Moslems and the nobles, but also from the extreme
weight of taxation, which was all the worse in that it was levied at the
caprice of the king, lord, or churchman collecting it. The state of
misery was so great that it is not surprising that famine and epidemics
harassed the people.

[Sidenote: Ignorance and superstition.]

[Sidenote: Innovations in architecture.]

In general culture, too, there was a decline to an even lower level than
that of the Visigothic period. Churches and monasteries maintained
something of the old intellectual traditions, and their schools were
almost the only resort for an education. Latin continued to be used in
literature and in official documents, but was already acquiring the new
forms which were to pave the way to the various Romance tongues of later
days. The age was one of superstition, which made itself manifest, as in
other parts of Europe, even in judicial procedure. The tests of wager of
battle (or a duel between litigants), the hot iron, and boiling water
were all used to determine innocence or guilt, in the belief that God
would intervene on the side of the man whose cause was just. Poverty and
danger led men to live in groups, thereby introducing a fresh departure
from Roman individualism. In the towns life more nearly resembled the
Roman type. In architecture this period marked the introduction of the
buttress in some of the churches. Naturally, it was an age of the
building of castles and walls, although the materials used were
perishable. Most edifices were of wood, for in that day Spain was
covered with forests in regions where they no longer exist. The burning
of villages in times of war, especially during the Norman invasions, led
to an exchange from the wooden roof in church building to one of
non-combustible material of industrial manufacture.

_Kingdoms of Navarre, Aragon, and Catalonia_

[Sidenote: The Christian reconquest of Catalonia.]

In essentials, the social organization of north central and northeastern
Spain was not greatly different from that of the northwest. Navarre and
Catalonia were considerably affected by French influence,--Aragon less
so. The details for Navarre and Aragon are in any event obscure or
lacking. The Moslem invasion caused an emigration of the people of
Catalonia across the Pyrenees, with the result that most of the
territory remained deserted for two centuries. By 797 Gerona had been
reconquered, and by 801 Barcelona was retaken, and these dates marked
the beginning of the social and political reorganization of what was to
become Catalonia. Lands were allotted to the Frankish conquerors and to
a number of Catalans who had either remained in that region, subject to
the Moslems, or who came in at the time of the reconquest. These estates
were given free of obligation, except for that of military service. The
most important holders were the various counts, but there were a number
of lesser proprietors beyond their jurisdiction. Many of these were
converted in course of time into feudatories of the counts. The counts
were at first the appointees of the French king; later they became
hereditary; and finally independent. The church also acquired vast
territories in Catalonia, and was allowed to enjoy immunity from
obligations and an absolute dominion over its lands. The most important
holdings were those of the bishop of Gerona.

[Sidenote: Feudalism in Catalonia and Navarre.]

From the above it appears that the feudalism of France had taken root in
Catalonia, where the nobles were more absolute in their own territories
and more free from the power of the king or lord to whom they were
subject than was the case in northwestern Spain. The greater importance
of the counts of Barcelona has already been alluded to; by the beginning
of the eleventh century they were saluted with the title of prince in
recognition of their sovereignty. Aside from their own estates, however,
their legal authority extended little further than that of a right to
inspect judicial tribunals (in order to see that their decisions were in
accord with the general law of the land) and to have certain cases
appealable to their courts. The _Fuero Juzgo_, in so far as it applied
to the changed conditions of Catalonia, was the general law, but
numerous exceptions began to appear, much as in the northwest, although
the development of free towns was not nearly so great. In Navarre the
administration of justice belonged to the king, but on the other hand
the king could not hold court, or make war, peace, or a truce, without
consulting the nobles, and he was subject in every respect to the laws
which confirmed their privileges. Furthermore, he acquired his throne by
election, although the choice was confined as a rule to members of a
single family. Feudalism not only weakened the power of the monarchy in
north central and northeastern Spain, but also tended to impair the lot
of the servile classes, which were delayed in achieving emancipation in
these regions much longer than in other parts of Spain.

[Sidenote: Coming of the monks of Cluny.]

[Sidenote: Backwardness of Pyrenean Spain.]

The most important religious incident of the period was the entry of the
monks of Cluny into Spain. This order had taken it upon itself to
combat simony (the sale of church office) and offences against the
ecclesiastical law of celibacy (requiring that men who had taken holy
orders should not marry), both of which practices were than very
prevalent in Christendom, and to bring about a complete and effective
submission of distant churches to the bishop of Rome. These monks came
into Spain by way of Navarre in the reign of Sancho the Great, and by
1033 they were already in Castile. Aside from their immediate objects
they produced two other important effects: they reinforced the French
ideas which had preceded them; and they accelerated the reconquest as a
result of the influence which they acquired, employing it to urge on the
kings in wars against the Moslems. In economic institutions, general
culture, and the fine arts the north centre and northeast were very
backward, like the northwest. It is noteworthy, however, that by the
ninth century the Catalans were already beginning to engage in trade in
the Mediterranean.


[Illustration: Spain in 910]

[Illustration: Spain in 1130]

[Illustration: Spain in 1037]

[Illustration: Spain 1212-1492]



[Sidenote: General characteristics of the era.]

The period of a little more than two centuries after the downfall of the
caliphate was marked by a complete change from that preceding it, and in
like manner was quite independent of the next succeeding era. Up to this
time Moslem Spain had represented by far the principal element in the
peninsula. The Christian states had maintained themselves with
difficulty, making occasional gains, which were not infrequently
followed by equally great losses whenever the Moslem power was
sufficiently united internally to present its full strength. The
civilization of the Christian kingdoms had also been notably inferior in
almost every respect to that of the Moslem south. From the eleventh to
the middle of the thirteenth century, however, the region of Moslem
Spain, divided against itself, could not make an effective resistance,
and the Christian powers began an offensive which enabled them to
reconquer all of the peninsula except for a narrow strip in southern
Andalusia. These wars partook very largely of the crusading spirit then
so prevalent in Europe, and although it was not nearly so persistent,
fervid, or exclusive an aim as is usually believed it seems appropriate
to characterize this era as that of the Spanish crusades. This was also
a period of noteworthy advance in internal organization in Christian
Spain, for although civil war and disorder were great as compared with
some later eras many regions enjoyed long terms of peace, very much more
complete at least than in the three preceding centuries. The pushing
back of the Moslem frontier conduced greatly to this end. The kings
gradually became more powerful than the great individual nobles, who
had been able to meet them on virtually equal terms before. The free
commoners advanced both in status and in numbers. In material well-being
there was a marked improvement. Finally, in general culture the same
tendency appeared. In all of these respects the fund of civilization was
very slight compared with what it was to become in succeeding centuries,
but it was at least something, whereas the period before had represented
little more than bare existence. Despite the fact that there was very
little understanding of the ideal of national unity, as evidenced by the
frequency with which monarchs divided their kingdoms, circumstances
tended toward the accomplishment of what men could not readily grasp.
Two great states emerged in Christian Spain, the kingdoms of Castile and
Aragon. They were able even to act in peace and concert at times in the
wars against the Moslems. A third region tended to withdraw from the
current of peninsula unity, for it was in this period that the modern
state of Portugal had its independent beginnings. Nevertheless, Moslem
Spain, though less important than Castile and Aragon, remained the
keynote of the period, not alone because of the wars against it, but
also because its civilization, especially in material and intellectual
aspects, was still far superior to that of Castile and Aragon. It was at
this time, indeed, that the Moslem world produced its greatest scholars
and the Christian states became most strongly imbued with the spirit of
Moslem culture, with permanent results on Spanish character. This era
was unequal in length for Castile and Aragon, closing respectively in
1252 and 1276 with the deaths of Ferdinand III and Jaime I.

_Moslem Spain_

[Sidenote: The _taifa_ states and the rise of Seville.]

With the dethronement of Hisham III in 1031 the caliphate broke up into
a number of states called _taifas_, from an Arabic word meaning “tribe,”
or “people.” Down to the close of the eleventh century there were many
of these states,--twenty-three at one time,--but the most important were
those of Cordova, Seville, Málaga, Granada, Almería, Denia and the
Balearic Islands, Saragossa, Toledo, and Badajoz. The rulers were
usually Slavic or Berber generals of the latter-day armies of the
caliphate and their descendants. Each desired to make himself sole
caliph, and so an internecine strife was waged almost continuously,
especially in the south. Seville soon forged ahead of its regional
rivals, and was by far the most important _taifa_ of the century. Like
several of the others it had been founded as a republic (as early as
1023), but its skilful ruler, Abul Cassim Mohammed of the Abbadite
family, soon made himself absolute, while retaining the forms of a
republic. In order to overcome his most powerful neighbors he pretended
that Hisham II had reappeared, availing himself of a mat-maker who
resembled the dead caliph. The stratagem was so successful that Carmona,
Valencia, Denia, Tortosa, and even the republic of Cordova recognized
the pseudo-Hisham, whereupon the crafty Sevillian proceeded to conquer
large parts of the _taifa_ states of Málaga and Granada. His successors
were equally fortunate, and by the end of the third quarter of the
century the greater part of Moslem Spain, especially in the west and
south, had acknowledged the rule of the lord of Seville. Seville, too,
had become every bit as noteworthy an intellectual centre as Cordova had
been under the caliphs.

[Sidenote: Yusuf and the Almoravide conquest.]

The Christian kings of Castile and León had meanwhile profited by the
wars of the _taifa_ states to make conquests or to reduce many of the
_taifas_ to the payment of tribute. Even Seville was tributary to a
Christian king. This inclined many of the Moslem princes, realizing
their own helplessness, to invite a newly-risen Mohammedan power in
northwestern Africa to come to their aid. The rulers of the _taifas_
recognized that their own authority might be endangered by the entry of
their coreligionists, but their feelings were well expressed in the
words attributed to the ruler of Seville: “I would rather be a
camel-driver in Africa than a swineherd in Castile.” The African people
referred to were a branch of the Berbers who had dwelt apart in the
Sahara Desert. Converted at length to the Moslem faith, they became
fanatically religious, taking to themselves the name “Almoravides”
(religious men), and launching themselves forth to the conquest of all
northwestern Africa. The African empire of the Almoravides was already
an accomplished fact when their emperor, Yusuf, was invited to help the
Spanish Moslems under a promise that he would not deprive the _taifa_
rulers of their states. In 1086 Yusuf entered Spain, and encountered the
army of Alfonso VI of León at Zalaca, near Badajoz. Yusuf was completely
successful, and the Christian peril was rolled back, but no
counter-conquests of moment were made. Yusuf himself returned to Africa.
Four years later the Moslem princes had need of Yusuf, and once again he
came to avert the threatening danger. By this time popular opinion,
reinforced by the intrigues of the Moslem priesthood, desired the
establishment of Yusuf’s authority in Spain; the restoration of a single
rule, it was believed, would check the Christian kings, and bring peace
and prosperity. By 1091 Yusuf had reduced all of the _taifa_ princes
except the king of Saragossa, and the latter was subjected by Yusuf’s
successor. Thus the unity of Moslem Spain was again accomplished.[18]

[Sidenote: Rise of the Almohades.]

The Almoravide rule rested very lightly on the Moslem population, but
only for a short time. The emperors lost their religious enthusiasm, and
not only did they fail to advance the conquest but they also gave
themselves up to a life of luxury and dissipation. Public security
declined, with the result that the people now wished to rid themselves
of the sovereigns whom formerly they had desired so much. At this time
there came a tremendous uprising in Africa in 1125 of the Moors of the
Moroccan Atlas, an uncivilized branch of the Berber family. They had
become fanatical Mohammedans, and like their Almoravide predecessors had
taken a name springing from their religious faith, that of “Almohades”
(unitarians). Uncultivated as they were, they were able to master the
military art of that day sufficiently to overwhelm the Almoravide power
in Africa, though only after a long war.

[Sidenote: The Almohades in Spain.]

[Sidenote: The Christian reconquest.]

Meanwhile, a second era of _taifa_ states had sprung up in Spain, but in
1146 the Almohades entered the peninsula, and proceeded to reduce the
_taifa_ princes. By 1172 all Moslem Spain was under their sway. Spain
was now formed into a province of the Almohade empire, the capital of
which was in Africa. The new conquerors did more than merely garrison
the peninsula,--they pursued the hated Arabs so zealously that the
latter were either destroyed or absorbed. The Berbers were for many
years virtually the only Mohammedan element in the peninsula except for
the Renegados. The wars with the Christians were also renewed. In 1194
Alfonso VIII of Castile challenged the emperor Yacub to a battle. Yacub
accepted, and the battle was fought at Alarcos (Badajoz) in 1195, ending
in the rout of the Christians. The war continued, however, and in 1212
the united forces of León, Castile, Navarre, and Aragon gained a great
victory at Navas de Tolosa in Andalusia. This was the turning-point in
the Christian reconquest. The Almohade state soon fell to pieces, and by
1228 the _taifas_ began to reappear, but one after another they were
conquered by the Christian kings. A single Moslem state escaped; in 1230
it had been founded at Arjona, and presently took shape as the kingdom
of Granada, establishing its capital in 1238 at the city of the same
name. This tiny realm, extending at its greatest from Almería to
Gibraltar, was able to maintain itself for over two centuries and a

_León and Castile_

[Sidenote: Castilian conquests.]

[Sidenote: Alfonso VI.]

By the will of Sancho the Great of Navarre, Castile had become legally a
kingdom in 1035. Ferdinand I (1035-1065) soon overwhelmed the king of
León, uniting all northwestern Spain under his rule. Wars with Navarre
followed until 1054, after which Ferdinand devoted himself with great
religious zeal to campaigns against the Moslem _taifas_, making numerous
conquests, and subjecting many states to the payment of tribute. Despite
the lesson of his own experience he divided his realm, at death, into
the three kingdoms of Castile, León, and Galicia, besides two lesser
principalities. A long civil war followed, out of which there emerged
Alfonso VI (1065-1109) as sole ruler of the domain of his father.
Alfonso VI took up the wars against the Moslems with great success, and
on one occasion, in 1082, was able to ride his horse into the sea in the
extreme south of Spain at Tarifa, when he is said to have exclaimed:
“This is the last land in Spain, and I have trod it.” The principal
event of the reign was the capture of Toledo in 1085. Alfonso had
promised to restore the _taifa_ king of Toledo to his throne, from which
he had been ousted by a rebellion, but changed his mind, and took the
city for himself. From that time forward Toledo was of great military
importance to the Christians, serving as the centre of the reconquest,
and it was also the medium through which Moslem civilization began to
produce an effect on Castile. The treaty of capitulation was not very
faithfully carried out; for example, Alfonso had promised to allow the
Mohammedans to retain their principal mosque for purposes of worship,
but in his absence the monks of Cluny were able to persuade the queen to
take over that edifice as a Christian church. The incident is
illustrative of a new crusading spirit which had entered Spain with the
monks of Cluny, although it had not yet become general. _Taifa_ after
_taifa_ now humbled itself before Alfonso; Valencia was captured, and
the former king of Toledo became its nominal ruler, but with a Castilian
army; and Alfonso could with reason entitle himself “sovereign of the
men of the two religions,” a phrase which shows that Christian zeal was
not altogether uncompromising. It was then that the Almoravide invasion
checked the Castilian king, but although he lost Valencia he was able to
maintain the principal part of his conquests.

[Sidenote: The Cid.]

It was in the reign of Alfonso VI that Rodrigo, or Ruy, Díaz of Vivar
(near Burgos), better known as “the Cid,” performed the achievements
which have made him a famous character in literature. Until recently he
was represented as a fanatically ardent, Christian crusader, ever
drawing his sword against the infidel or in defence of any just and
noble cause, and performing superhuman prodigies of valor. The true Cid
was very far from answering to that description, and was also so typical
of his age that his real career has historic value apart from
literature. In the civil wars following the death of Ferdinand I, Díaz
was a partisan of Sancho II of Castile, and contributed greatly to that
monarch’s success,--a victory which was spoiled by the assassination of
his patron. Díaz then recognized Alfonso VI, and was sent by the latter
to collect the tribute due from the king of Seville. On his return he
was accused of having appropriated for himself certain of the funds
which he was bringing to the king, and was banished from Castile;
possibly Alfonso VI may still have felt resentment over Díaz’s part in
the victories of Sancho. Followed by only a few warriors Díaz wandered
over Spain, seeking wealth and honors in return for military aid.
Finally he took service with the Moslem king of Saragossa, and won fame
in all the peninsula as a result of his victories not only against
Moslem enemies but more than once against Christian kings; in fine,
religion seems not to have entered into his program to any appreciable
extent; indeed, the name Cid was applied by his Moslem soldiers, meaning
“lord,” or “master.” In 1086 the Moslem king of Valencia, the same one
who had been placed on the throne by Alfonso VI, got into difficulties
with his subjects, and sought the aid of Saragossa. The Cid was sent
with an army of mingled Christians and Moslems to restore the authority
of the Valencian monarch. This he did, but under a contract which
ignored his Saragossan master and enabled the Cid to become the virtual
ruler of Valencia. In 1092 on the death of the king of Valencia the Cid
converted his _de facto_ into a _de jure_ rule, reigning until his death
in 1099. As monarch of Valencia he was selfish and cruel, like others of
his time, sustaining his power by virtue of his army of Christians and
Moslems against foes of whatever faith, even against Castile. He
espoused one of his daughters to Ramón Berenguer III of Barcelona, and
another to a prince of the royal family of Navarre. After his death his
state fell before the advance of the Almoravides.

[Sidenote: The anarchy of Urraca’s reign.]

[Sidenote: The beginnings of Portugal.]

Alfonso VI was succeeded by his daughter Urraca (1109-1126), for he left
no sons, and her reign was a period of anarchy. Urraca, who was a widow,
was compelled by the nobles to remarry, on the ground that affairs of
state needed a man’s direction, while her infant son by a previous
marriage, Alfonso, was brought up in Galicia, being considered king of
that region. Alfonso I “the Battler” of Aragon was selected as a husband
for Urraca, but the marriage was not a happy one. Urraca was so
imprudent in her manner of life that the Battler saw fit to imprison her
in a castle. Furthermore, he displayed a clear intention of making
himself ruler in Castile as he was in Aragon, a course which the
Castilian nobles were far from approving. The scene having been set the
wars began. A complication entered from the side of Galicia, where
Bishop Gelmírez of Santiago de Compostela proposed that the infant
Alfonso should reign in León as well as in Galicia. The changes of side
and fortune in these wars, not only by the three principals, but also by
individual nobles, need not be followed, except to relate one incident
which marked the first step toward the ultimate independence of
Portugal. Teresa, a sister of Urraca, had married a French count, Henry
of Lorraine, to whom (in 1095?) Alfonso VI granted territories called
the county of Portugal in the northern part of the land which now bears
that name. These estates were held as a fief, subject to tribute and
military service. Henry and later Teresa (on the former’s death)
profited by the civil strife to increase their holdings and acquire real
strength. Urraca died in 1126, and matters were arranged by the
recognition of the young Alfonso (Alfonso VII “the Emperor”) as king in
his grandfather’s domain, while Alfonso the Battler gained some
territories adjoining his kingdom of Aragon.[19]

[Sidenote: Alfonso “the Emperor.”]

The death of Urraca did not end the internal strife in Christian Spain.
For ten years there were wars with Teresa and her son Affonso Enríquez
of Portugal; there were wars, too, against Aragon and Navarre, following
the death of Alfonso the Battler, out of which Alfonso VII procured some
extensions of territory. When the century was nearly half gone Alfonso
was able to turn energetically to an attack upon the Moslem states,
especially between 1144 and 1147 during the second era of the _taifas_.
His conquests were vast, but of brief duration, for the Almohades soon
entered Spain to deprive him of what he had won. Like Ferdinand I before
him Alfonso VII took the title of emperor, which then had a significance
equivalent to that of sole temporal ruler of Christendom in succession
to the Roman emperors. In the case of Ferdinand and Alfonso it may also
have represented a protest against the like pretensions of the Holy
Roman Emperors, then reigning principally in Germanic Europe. Alfonso
seemed in a fair way to create a peninsula empire, for he was able to
make the kings of Aragon and Navarre, the counts of Barcelona and
Toulouse, various lesser princes of Spain and southern France, and some
rulers of the Moslem _taifas_ swear fealty to him as their feudal
sovereign. The imperial confederation had no real strength, however, for
the spirit of separatism was as yet too deeply rooted. Alfonso himself
demonstrated this by dividing his realm at his death, in 1157, into the
two kingdoms of Castile and León.

[Sidenote: The defence of Calatrava.]

[Sidenote: Alfonso VIII and the overthrow of the Moslems.]

The next following reigns had their share of internal strife and one
important event in the course of the Moslem wars,--the defence of
Calatrava in 1158 by two Cistercian monks, who procured an army by
proclaiming a crusade. Out of this event there came the founding in 1164
of the important military order of Calatrava. Alfonso VIII (1158-1214)
inherited the throne of Castile while still a child. War and disorder
followed until 1180, for the kings of León and Navarre and various
nobles endeavored as usual to profit for themselves at the expense of
the newly enthroned monarch. At length Alfonso VIII, who was one of the
ablest rulers of this period (both in internal organization and in
external conquest), directed his attention to the reconquest from the
Moslems. After a rapid succession of victories he was defeated, as
already noted, at the battle of Alarcos, on which occasion the kings of
León and Navarre failed to accord him the aid they had promised. Wars
followed against the two kings, but matters were at length adjusted and
a tremendous army, including many foreigners, was raised to combat the
Almohades. All seemed to be imbued with the crusading spirit, but most
of the foreigners deserted before the issue presented itself. Nearly all
the peoples of Christian Spain were represented in Alfonso’s host,
however, and together they won the great battle of Navas de Tolosa in

[Sidenote: The independence of Portugal.]

Meanwhile, the counts of Portugal had continued their policy of complete
separation from León and Castile, and had also extended their frontiers
southward by successful wars against the Moslems. Affonso Enríquez took
the title of king, and this was recognized in 1143 by Alfonso VII,
subject to the vassalage of the Portuguese monarch to León. Affonso
Enríquez managed to avoid this condition by submitting his state to the
sovereignty of the pope, who accepted it in 1144, though conferring only
the title of duke on Affonso. A few years later Pope Alexander III
recognized the Portuguese ruler as king. Thus Portugal withdrew from the
current of peninsula unity, and established her independence in law and
in fact.

[Sidenote: Saint Ferdinand and the crusades in Spain.]

Berenguela, daughter of Alfonso VIII of Castile, had married Alfonso IX
(1188-1230) of León, by whom she had a son, Ferdinand. Pope Innocent III
brought about an annulment of the marriage on the ground of
consanguinity, though he recognized the legitimacy of Ferdinand. On the
death of Henry I of Castile in 1217 Berenguela was proclaimed queen, but
granted the throne to her son, who as Ferdinand III, later Saint
Ferdinand (San Fernando), was to prove an even greater monarch than his
grandfather, Alfonso VIII. Wars with his father and with his nobles
occupied the early years of his reign, but by 1225, having overcome his
Christian enemies, he was able to renew the campaigns against the
Moslems. City after city fell into his power; Cordova was taken in 1236;
Murcia became tributary in 1241; and the culminating blow came with the
siege of Seville, which surrendered to Ferdinand in 1248. Despite the
fact that not a little crusading zeal entered into these campaigns and
that Ferdinand himself was an ardent Christian, religious enthusiasm,
even yet, was not as uncompromising as it later became. Ferdinand was an
ally at one time of the Almohade emperor, whom he restored to his throne
in Africa; he also accepted the alliance of the Moslem prince of Granada
in the campaign against Seville; and other similar instances of his
freedom from fanatical intolerance might be adduced. Nevertheless, he
planned to overwhelm the Moslem authority, and would almost certainly
have invaded Africa if he had lived a few years longer. His Christian
spirit, however, was along practical and national lines. When Louis IX
of France invited him to join in a crusade in the orient Ferdinand is
said to have replied: “There is no lack of Moors in _my_ land.” Not only
by conquests but also by internal reforms he assisted in the development
of Castilian unity. One external event of capital importance was the
incorporation into Castile of the kingdom of León in 1230 on the death
of Alfonso IX, despite the latter’s attempt to deliver his dominions to
two daughters by a marriage previous to that with Berenguela. With
Ferdinand’s death in 1252 the era of the Castilian crusades came to an

_Catalonia, 1035 to 1164_

[Sidenote: The extension of the authority of the counts of Barcelona.]

At the time when Ramón Berenguer I (1035-1076) became count of
Barcelona, Catalonia was a federation of counties, acknowledging the
ruler of Barcelona as overlord. Possessed already of Barcelona and
Gerona, Ramón Berenguer soon acquired two more counties, which had been
left by his father to other sons. He extended his frontiers at the
expense of the Moslems, and laid the foundations of the later Catalonian
power in southern France through marriage alliances with princes of that
region. It was in his reign, too, that the Catalan code of the
_Usáticos_, or _Usatges_ (Usages, or Customs), was compiled, though at
the instance of his powerful vassals, who wanted their privileges
reduced to writing. By the end of his reign he had united five
Catalonian counties and many other territories under his rule, including
almost as much land in southern France as he possessed in Spain. No
further progress was made until the reign of Ramón Berenguer III
(1096-1131), who, through inheritance, without civil wars, acquired all
of the Catalonian counties but two and a great part of southern France.
He also waged wars against the Moslems, though perhaps the most notable
thing about them was that the Pisans fought as his allies. Indeed, he
established commercial and diplomatic relations with the various Italian
republics,--a beginning of Spain’s fateful connection with Italy. Ramón
Berenguer IV (1131-1162) inherited only the Spanish portions of his
father’s domain, but extended his authority over Tortosa, Lérida, and
other Moslem regions, being a notable warrior. In 1150 he married the
daughter of the king of Aragon, and in 1164 his son by this marriage
united Aragon and Catalonia under a single rule.


[Sidenote: The beginnings of Aragon and the union with Catalonia.]

The kingdom of Aragon dates from the will of Sancho the Great of Navarre
in 1035. The new state was almost insignificantly small at the outset,
but, by inheritances, wars with the Moslems, and the peaceful
incorporation of Navarre in 1076, it already included a large portion of
north central Spain by the close of the eleventh century. The era of
great conquests began with Alfonso I “the Battler” (1104-1134), the same
king whose marriage with Urraca of Castile had resulted so unfavorably.
Better fortune awaited him on the Moslem frontier. In 1118 he captured
Saragossa, an event as important in Aragon as was the acquisition of
Toledo a few years before in Castile. He carried his campaigns as far
south, even, as Murcia and Andalusia, but the principal result of these
invasions was that he brought back ten thousand Mozárabes to settle his
newly-won conquests. Having no sons he tried to leave his realm to two
military orders, but this arrangement did not prove agreeable to his
subjects. The nobles of Navarre elected a king of their own, withdrawing
from the union with Aragon, while those of Aragon chose a brother of
Alfonso, named Ramiro, who at the time of his election was a monk. The
reign of Ramiro II “the Monk” (1134-1137) was exceptionally important
for Spain, without any particular merit accruing therefor to the king.
The pope freed him from his vows and he married. From this marriage
there was born a daughter, Petronilla. Ramiro espoused her to Ramón
Berenguer IV of Barcelona, and soon abdicated, returning to his
monastery. Petronilla’s son, Ramón Berenguer, who presently changed his
name to the Aragonese-sounding Alfonso, was the first to rule in his own
right over Aragon and Catalonia in what came to be called the kingdom of
Aragon, although Catalonia was always the more important part.

[Sidenote: The act of vassalage to the pope and the French conquests in
Aragonese dominions of southern France.]

Alfonso II inherited Catalonia in 1162, and became king of Aragon proper
in 1164 on the abdication of Petronilla. Later he inherited nearly all
of southern France. He was also a frequent ally of Alfonso VIII of
Castile against the Moslems, gaining some territories on his own
account. In 1179 these two kings made a treaty dividing Spain between
them, fixing the limits of their respective present and future
conquests,--a noteworthy instance of the approach toward the unification
of Spain. Alfonso II was succeeded by Pedro II “the Catholic”
(1196-1213) at a time when affairs were in a critical state in his
French dominions. That region had been in constant turmoil, as a result
both of the ambitions of the kings of France and of the comparative
independence and selfish aims of the feudal lords. There was now added a
new factor,--the widespread Albigensian heresy, which had been accepted
by the majority of the Provençal people and even more by their lords.
With matters in this state Pedro visited Rome in 1204, and, while
there, gave his dominions in vassalage to the pope, receiving them back
as a fief. This act was to have important consequences at a later time,
but if its immediate object was to check French pretensions to southern
France, as has been supposed, it was not very successful, for the pope
himself proclaimed a crusade against the Albigenses. The crusaders were
French nobles, who represented a purely French invasion quite as much as
they did an orthodox host. Under their leader, Simon de Montfort, they
won several victories, displaying such cruelty against Catholics and
heretics alike that they were censured by a famous religious at that
time preaching among the Albigenses, Domingo de Guzmán. Guzmán was the
Spaniard who later founded the Dominican order, named for him, and who
became canonized as Saint Dominic (San Domingo). Pedro II endeavored to
mediate to check the temporal designs of Montfort, but was persuaded by
the pope to recognize the French leader as his vassal in the regions he
had conquered. When Montfort continued in his aggressive designs Pedro
II declared war against him, but was defeated in a battle which cost him
his life.

[Sidenote: Early years of the reign of Jaime “the Conqueror.”]

The death of Pedro II brought to the throne the greatest Aragonese
monarch of the period, Jaime I “the Conqueror” (1213-1276), a worthy
contemporary of Ferdinand III of Castile. At the outset of his reign he
was a mere child in the dangerous possession of Simon de Montfort. On
this occasion the tremendous influence of the great pope, Innocent III,
was beneficial to Spain, for Montfort was constrained to surrender the
boy king to his people. Then followed the usual troubles which beset the
early years of a youthful monarch in that period. There were wars
brought about by ambitious nobles fighting for the possession of the
king, wars of the nobles among themselves, and wars of the nobles
against the king. Though only a boy, Jaime took a hand in the fighting,
and was many times in danger,--twice he was captured by hostile
nobles,--but thanks to his courage and coolness was always able to free
himself from the perils which beset him. Not until 1228 was he in full
command of the situation. Meanwhile, civil wars had been taking place
in southern France, resolving themselves finally into a struggle between
the count of Toulouse, aided by the Catalans, and Simon de Montfort. In
this war Montfort lost his life, and the French power in that region for
the time being vanished.

[Sidenote: The conquests of Jaime.]

Backed by the sentiment of most of Catalonia, which desired territorial
and commercial expansion in the Mediterranean, Jaime now planned a
career of conquest. Many of the Aragonese and western Catalonian nobles
declined to join him in this enterprise; so he had to find means as best
he could without their aid. In 1229 he entered the island of Majorca,
which for centuries had been successively a pirate and Moslem
stronghold. Having achieved the conquest, which proved an easy matter,
Jaime distributed the lands among his Catalan followers. In 1232 Minorca
was subjected, and in 1235 Ibiza, too. Thus the Balearic Islands fell
into Jaime’s power and received a Catalan civilization, which they still
possess. The greatest prize, however, was the rich kingdom of Valencia.
Although handicapped by the lukewarm support of his nobles Jaime
proceeded to the conquest with such success that he won the aid of those
who had previously failed to help him, and in 1238 the city of Valencia
fell,--an event comparable with the capture of Seville by Ferdinand III.
The rest of the kingdom was not long in falling into Jaime’s power, and
the lands were distributed among his nobles, but the Moslems were so
numerous that they were able to rise in rebellion on two occasions
before the end of the reign. On achieving the conquest of Valencia,
Jaime had agreed with the king of Castile that the southern boundary of
that kingdom should be the limit of the Aragonese conquest, while
Murcia, which became tributary to Ferdinand III in 1241, was reserved
for the ultimate definitive conquest of Castile. The unquenchable
military ardor of Jaime I would not allow him to rest on his laurels,
however, and he engaged to conquer Murcia for the king of Castile. This
he accomplished in the years 1265 and 1266, giving the lands to his
Catalan nobles, who were subjected to the Castilian king, whereupon
Jaime withdrew. These relations between the kings of Castile and Aragon
not only instanced a somewhat rare good faith, but also marked a
tendency which was gradually manifesting itself toward the ultimate
unity of Spain. Next, the restless warrior-king planned to go on a
crusade to Palestine, but his fleet was wrecked, and he gave up the
project, although some Catalan boats did reach their destination. In
1273 Jaime wanted to conquer Granada for Castile, but this time he could
not persuade his Catalan nobles to follow him. He did, however, send a
fleet to attack the coast of Morocco.

[Sidenote: Other characteristics of Jaime’s rule.]

Jaime was not only a great conqueror; he was also a great administrator.
Owing to the entry of feudalism into northeastern Spain his nobles had
such power that even the able Jaime was obliged often to compromise or
to yield to their wishes. He took steps to reduce their power, at the
cost of civil war, and in many other respects bettered the
administration of his kingdom. Though deeply religious he was far from
being an ascetic, as is evidenced by the many illegitimate children
descended from him, and although usually magnanimous in character he was
capable of acts of ferocious cruelty,--such, for example, as that of
ordering the tongue of the bishop of Gerona to be torn out for the
latter’s having revealed to the pope a secret of the confession. In 1276
when the great king died he left a will which contradicted the policies
of centralization and the aggrandizement of the kingdom which in his
lifetime he had unfailingly pursued. He divided his realms, giving
Aragon, Catalonia, and Valencia to his eldest son, Pedro, and Majorca
and the Roussillon (southern France) to his son Jaime. The division was
not to endure long, however.


[Sidenote: Navarre passes under French rule.]

There is little worth recording in the history of Navarre in this
period. After the separation from Aragon in 1134 Navarre engaged
periodically in civil strife and in wars with Aragon or Castile. When
the throne became vacant in 1234 the French count of Champagne was
elected king, and, with this, Navarre was, for many years, more
involved in the history of France than in that of Spain. At length the
heiress of Navarre married Philip IV of France, whereupon Navarre ceased
to be a kingdom, becoming a mere dependency of the French monarch.



_Moslem Spain_

[Sidenote: Absolutism in government.]

The principle of absolute monarchy continued to be followed in Moslem
Spain, and was even accentuated, whether in the eras of the _taifas_, or
at times of a single dominion. Indeed, this was virtually the case while
the _taifas_ were still republics, although they soon converted
themselves into confessed monarchies. In furtherance of absolutism an
excess of court ceremonial was introduced, and the rulers rarely allowed
their faces to be seen, holding audiences, for example, from behind a
curtain. The _taifa_ kings amassed great wealth, and their palaces were
overflowing with luxury.

[Sidenote: Social factors in Moslem Spain.]

The most important social change was the complete overthrow of the
Arabic element, leaving the Berbers and Renegados in control. Arabic
influence had already done its work, however, and the passing of the
contemporary members of that race did not mean the uprooting of Arabic
traits in Spain. Social well-being declined, owing to the various
factors of war, the development of vast landed estates (at the expense
of the small proprietor), and the increase in taxation. The Jews enjoyed
great consideration for a while, exercising an important influence in
material, intellectual, and even political affairs. Under the
Almoravides and Almohades they were severely persecuted, and many of
them emigrated to Castile, where for the time being they were well
received. The Mozárabes were also persecuted, and in increasing degree
with the advance of the Christians, for they aided not a little in the
reconquest. Many of them were taken north by the Christian kings when
they returned from their invasions, whereupon those remaining in Moslem
territory were all the more harshly treated. The Almohades were
particularly intolerant.

_León and Castile_

[Sidenote: Nobles and clergy.]

The nobility continued to be the most important social class, with much
the same differences of grade among themselves, the same authority and
privileges, and the same tendencies to war against the king and with one
another and to commit acts of violence and robbery as in the preceding
period. The conflict of the nobility as a class against the king took
definite shape, and a numerous new nobility, the _caballeros_ (knights),
sprang up. The _caballeros_ proceeded from the plebeian ranks, being
composed of those who could equip themselves for war as cavalrymen.
Although they gained certain privileges, such as exemptions from
taxation, thus weakening the king’s power, they served in fact as a
counterpoise to the hereditary noble class. They were much favored by
the kings, who needed well-equipped soldiers for their wars. The clergy
made distinct gains as regards personal immunities and the freedom of
their lands from the usual obligations, especially from that of
taxation. This bettering of their position was not the result of general
laws, but rather of the accumulation of individual privileges, granted
now to one religious institution, now to another. Their advantages in
these respects were not always well received by others, and objections
were made, especially by the popular element, through their
representatives in the national _Cortes_ (Congress, or Parliament),--of
which institution presently.

[Sidenote: The advance of the middle class.]

[Sidenote: Gains of the servile classes.]

The free popular element, or middle class, which had been reborn in the
preceding period with the founding of the _villas_, or _concejos_,
developed a much greater social importance than formerly. Many factors
contributed to this end, such as the increase in the number of the
_villas_, the concession of new privileges, the material advance of
Christian Spain (agriculturally, industrially, and commercially), the
important military services of the municipal militia, and the fact that
not only the _caballeros_ but also the leading jurisconsults began to be
recruited from the middle class. As a rule this element paid taxes, but
it enjoyed not a few exemptions and privileges,--for example, a right
not to be required to make unusual contributions at the mere will of the
king, or in some cases a right to commute all of their taxes to a single
tribute. At the same time, the servile classes made striking advances,
in part through their own efforts, but aided also by an increasing
sentiment in favor of manumissions, by the need for population (both as
a result of the conquests and in consequence of economic development),
and by the protection accorded them in the _villas_. The movement for
emancipation was not uniform or free from setbacks, and this led to
numerous uprisings of serfs, who joined the enemies of their masters in
wars against the latter. The monks of Cluny, accustomed to the much
greater subjection of the servile classes in France, represented a
strong current of reaction. At Sahagún, the principal Cluniac centre,
there were such limitations on liberty as those requiring that all bread
must be cooked in the ovens of the monastery, and forbidding anybody to
sell his wine before the monks had sold theirs, or to buy cloth, fresh
fish, firewood, or other necessities before the monks had bought theirs,
and there were other restrictions of a like character. By the end of the
twelfth century serfs generally had gained such rights as the exact
fixing of services due their lords, the abolition of the practice of
selling them with the land, and the recognition of the validity of their
marriages, whether consented to by their lords or not. In the thirteenth
century they gained almost complete personal liberty, doing away with
the _malos usos_, or bad customs, like those referred to in the case of
the monastery of Sahagún.

[Sidenote: The four new social classes.]

Four new social classes became important at this time, principally as a
result of the wars of reconquest,--the foreigners, Jews, Mudéjares, and
Mozárabes. As a general rule each group had its own law, differentiating
it from the national elements. Foreigners from every prominent western
European region came to León and Castile, attracted by the crusading
character of the wars or by the material development of this part of
Spain or perhaps fleeing from worse conditions in the lands whence they
had come. For the Jews this was the happiest period they ever enjoyed in
Catholic Spain, and great numbers of them entered Castile in order to
escape the persecution of the Almoravides and Almohades. For a while
they were on practically an equal footing socially and juridically with
the Christians, and were one of the principal agencies for the diffusion
of Moslem culture in León and Castile. By the opening of the thirteenth
century their situation began to change with the adoption of restrictive
measures, although it was not until the next period that these operated
in all their harshness. As the conquests proceeded, great bodies of
Moslems were incorporated into the Christian states, and they came to be
called “Mudéjares.” Despite the growth of intolerance with the advance
in the crusading character of the wars the Mudéjares were in general
very well treated. Aside from treaties of capitulation making promises
to that effect, political and economic interests made it advisable both
on account of the numbers of the vanquished Moslems and because of the
need for population. Many of them, whether as freemen or serfs, were
agricultural laborers enjoying considerable independence, including the
right of publicly practising their religion. As time went on they tended
to gather into the cities, although subjected to more restrictions than
in the country,--such as the refusal to allow the public practice of the
Moslem faith (with a number of exceptions, however) or requirements that
they must wear a distinctive dress and live in a separate section of the
city. If they were not greatly molested in other respects they did have
to endure very heavy taxation, even including the tithe for the benefit
of the Christian church. The Mozárabes, though of the same race and
religion as the Leonese and Castilian population, had lived so long in
contact with Moslem civilization that they represented a class apart,
having their special laws differing from those of the native-born
Christians. Naturally, they were well received.

[Sidenote: Forms of wedlock.]

[Sidenote: The family.]

Among the social traits of the era may be noted a certain moral laxity.
Two forms of marriage were recognized, that of _bendición_ (blessing of
the church), accompanied by a religious ceremony, and the wedding _á
yuras_ (under oath), by a simple contract between the parties concerned.
A third form of union, similar to the latter but not recognized as
lawful wedlock, was that of _barraganía_ (concubinage). The essential
conditions of _barraganía_ were permanence and fidelity. Both parties
were supposed to be single, although the custom often extended to
include married men; in the latter case, but not in the former, the
children were held to be illegitimate. Many clergymen entered into this
relation, despite efforts to prevent the practice. _Barraganía_ and the
marriage _á yuras_ have been considered to be a Christian imitation of
Moslem marital customs. Divorce was allowed for serious cause. The
father was recognized as the master of the family, although the wife and
children gained certain financial and personal rights which had not
formerly been accorded them. The bonds of family were so strong,
however, that individuals who were free by law to emancipate
themselves--for example, by marriage--often continued under the parental
roof. Thus great family groups living in common were formed.

[Sidenote: Advance in domesticity.]

[Sidenote: Other social customs.]

As a result of the greater economic wealth, the comparative peace back
from the frontier, and the development of the towns the manner of life
underwent a rapid change, which may be summed up by saying that people
began to live inside the house instead of out, giving more active play
to the domestic instinct of the woman, which in its turn had a much
needed softening effect upon the man. Houses now had hearths, although
not always a chimney and as late as the twelfth century no panes of
glass in the windows. Furniture reached a degree of luxury and comfort
far in advance of what it had been since the Roman era. It was heavy and
very sober in decoration at first, but increased in adornment later on.
Beds were an object of luxury in the eleventh century; people slept on
benches or on the floor. By the thirteenth century artisans and laborers
usually had a bed, as also a table, two chairs, and a chest. Chairs,
throughout the period, were low, and rarely had backs; those with both
arms and a back were reserved for the master of the house. Floors, even
in palaces, were usually bare of cover. Habits of cleanliness were not
yet very much in evidence. Clothing was customarily worn until worn out,
without being changed or washed. At table it was rare for the diners to
have individual plates or napkins, and the fork was not yet known. Bones
and refuse were left on the table, or thrown on the floor, and the use
of water for any purpose other than for drinking was unusual. The custom
of public baths had some vogue in the cities, however. Men still lived
much in the open, but women habitually withdrew from public view. Crimes
against women, from those which were more serious down to the
comparatively mild offence of pulling a woman’s hair, were punished with
extreme severity,--not that women enjoyed high esteem or even an equal
consideration with men, for the supposed gallantry of the medieval
period did not in fact exist. Men wore their hair long, and a long beard
was considered as an indication of dignity,--so much so, that a heavy
penalty was imposed on anybody who pulled or cut another’s beard.
Amusement was provided by jugglers or by dancing and singing, especially
on days of religious festivals, or holidays, and during the holding of
fairs. Among the great people the French sport of the tourney was much
in favor. From France, too, came feudal chivalry, imposing the ideals of
valor, loyalty, and dignity (to the extent that nobody should doubt
another’s nobility, his word, or his courage) on those professing it.
This exaggerated sense of honor led to duelling, and comported ill with
the real conduct of the nobles. Epidemics of leprosy and plagues
(bubonic?) were frequent, resulting in the founding of hospitals and
institutions of charity.

[Sidenote: Political and administrative changes.]

Fundamentally, León and Castile had much the same political organization
as before, but the popular element, as represented in the _villas_ and
the _Cortes_, began to be a real political force, and the kings
increased their strength at the expense of the nobles, although their
struggle with the nobility as a class was not to result in complete
royal victory for more than two centuries yet. The throne continued
elective in theory, but the tendency was for it to become hereditary,
although the question was not definitely settled at this time. The right
of women to reign became recognized with the crowning of Berenguela. In
administration many governmental districts were enlarged to include
various counties, the whole being ruled by a governor appointed directly
by the king, assisted by functionaries called _merinos mayores_,[20] who
had charge of civil and criminal jurisdiction. An important reform was
effected by removing the nobles from the post of the king’s
representative in the counties and substituting officials called
_adelantados_, whose authority at this time was more civil than
military, and therefore less dangerous.[21] Still others exercised
respectively political and military authority.

[Sidenote: Beginnings of the _Cortes_.]

[Sidenote: Legislation.]

For centuries the kings had been in the habit of holding councils of
nobles or ecclesiastics, or both, although there was a tendency to
exclude the churchmen. In 1137 a council of nobles at Nájera was called
the _Cortes_. The popular element was first admitted in 1188, at a
_Cortes_ held in León,--possibly the first occasion in the history of
Europe when representatives of the towns appeared in such an assembly.
The first known instance in Castile occurred in 1250. For a number of
years, León and Castile, though become a single kingdom, continued to
have a separate _Cortes_. The kings called this body whenever they
wished, although they often made promises (which they did not fulfil) to
set regular intervals. None of the individuals called, whether nobles,
ecclesiastics, or representatives of the _villas_ (or towns), had the
right to present themselves; that was left to the choice of the king,
but the custom gradually became fixed that certain towns should have the
privilege of being represented. Each member had one vote, but the number
of representatives from the towns differed, without being subject to a
general rule. The towns themselves chose who should represent them, but
the methods of choice were various. The _Cortes_ was allowed to make
petitions to the king, each branch for itself, and to fix the sum of
money that it would grant him. It had no true legislative functions, but
the king sought its advice, or its approval for his laws, and its
influence was such, that it was able to procure desired legislation. The
king presided in person at the opening and closing sessions, and through
officials of his own appointment at the other meetings. The king
continued to be the principal legislative authority, and the law
retained its former diversity and its fundamental basis of privilege;
the variety even increased, with the introduction of the new social
classes. The _Fuero Juzgo_, which was the common law, applied in but few
respects. The kings did something in the way of producing greater
juridical similarity, as by making dispositions of a general character
at meetings of the _Cortes_, and by using certain municipal charters as
types, while Ferdinand III commenced to draw up a uniform code, although
he did not live to complete it.

[Sidenote: Political life of the towns.]

Municipal organization retained the essential features of the preceding
era, such as the local assembly and the various officials, of whom the
most important were the judges. The latter came to be called _alcaldes_
(from an Arabic term meaning “the judges”),--an example of Moslem
influence. In many cities, there were representatives of the king,
called _merinos_ and other names. Communication with the king was also
maintained by the use of messengers, now of the king, now of the city.
The actual monarchical authority was so slight that the towns often
acted with complete independence. Like the nobles they made forays
against the Moslems on their own account, or fought one another, or with
very good reason attacked neighboring, lawless nobles. For these wars
they often formed leagues, or brotherhoods (_hermandades_), of towns (or
occasionally leagues which included some nobles), for which special
ordinances were drawn up without previously consulting the king. Some of
the towns of the north coast were so independent that they joined in the
wars between France and England, against the latter. Often the towns
changed their own charters without royal permission, although this was
not done in open defiance of the king, but, rather, in secret and
fraudulently. The privileges of the towns in respect to taxation
(although, indeed, they paid the bulk of what the king received from his
free, Christian subjects) have already been mentioned.[22] Taxes were
also collected within the towns for local purposes. In addition to
revenues from direct contributions the towns also imposed obligations of
personal service on their citizens, and owned lands which formed
perhaps their most important source of wealth. These lands were of two
kinds, the _propios_ (estates “belonging to” a municipality and utilized
to assist in defraying public expenses), which were worked directly or
rented by the town, and the _comunales_, or land common, for the use of
all, subject to local regulations. In seigniorial towns, especially in
those acknowledging an ecclesiastical lord, great progress was made
toward an approximation of the rights enjoyed by the royal towns and
cities. They had already gained economic independence, but now wished to
attain to political freedom as well. They fought against the lord’s
practice of arbitrarily choosing their principal magistrates; next, they
endeavored to gain for their own assembly the exclusive right of choice;
then they tried to increase the powers of the locally chosen officials
as compared with those appointed by the lord; and, all along, they aimed
to acquire more authority for their assemblies, or for the council which
came to represent them,--for example, the right to fix wages. By the
opening of the thirteenth century local autonomy had been gained at
Santiago de Compostela, and many other seigniorial towns (both noble and
ecclesiastical) had achieved equal, or nearly equal, good fortune.

[Sidenote: The administration of justice.]

Justice belonged fundamentally to the king, but the _alcaldes_ of the
towns usually exercised civil jurisdiction, and often criminal as well;
in some towns royal _merinos_ or _adelantados_ had charge of criminal
jurisdiction. The king might punish local judges, however, even removing
them and appointing others, but this power did not in fact enable him to
check abuses. Appeals went to the king, who also had the right to try in
first instance the serious crimes of murder, assault on a woman,
robbery, and others. In such cases the king was assisted in
administering justice by a group of men of his own appointment, called
the _Cort_ (not to be confused with the _Cortes_), but this body merely
advised him, for the decision was left to him. As might be expected in
an age of disorder, punishments were atrocious,--such, for example, as
mutilation, stoning to death, throwing over a cliff, burning, burial
alive, starvation, cooking, stripping off the skin, drowning, and
hanging; only the last-named has survived. On the other hand,
composition for murder, or the payment of a sum of money, was
allowable,--for men were valuable to the state,--although the murderer
was not free from the private vengeance of the dead man’s family. The
so-called “vulgar proofs,”--such as the tests of the hot iron and hot
water, and the wager of battle,--besides torture, were employed (as
elsewhere in western Europe) as a means for acquiring evidence, but
these methods were already being looked upon with disfavor. Real justice
was in fact rare; the wealthy, especially if they were nobles, were able
to take matters into their own hands or to procure favorable decisions,
if affairs should reach the point of litigation.

[Sidenote: Methods of warfare.]

Military service was obligatory upon all, but except for a small royal
guard there was no permanent army. Organization continued to be simple;
the seigniorial troops were commanded by the lord or his representative,
and the militia of the towns by an _alférez_ (standard-bearer).[23]
Large numbers of foreigners joined in the wars against the Moslems, but
perhaps the most important element was that of the military orders.
These orders had a mixed religious and secular character, for, while
some members took the usual monastic vows, others were not required to
do so. Aside from the orders of general European prominence, like that
of the Templars, there were three which were confined to the peninsula,
those of Calatrava, Santiago, and Alcántara, all formed in the middle of
the twelfth century. Their membership became so numerous and their
wealth so great that they constituted one more important force with
which the kings had to reckon in the struggle for the establishment of
royal authority, although the peril proved greater in its possibilities
than in the fact. War was absolutely merciless, falling quite as heavily
on the non-combatant as upon the opponent with arms in his hands. The
enemy population might be subjected to the loss of their lands and to
enslavement, unless this seemed inadvisable, and pillage was legally
recognized, with a share of the booty going to the king. Such weapons as
the sword, lance, and pike were still the principal types. The use of
flags was introduced as a means of inciting the troops to deeds of
valor, while priests were employed to provide a like stimulus. The first
navy in this part of Spain was the private fleet of Bishop Gelmírez of
Santiago de Compostela. Private navies were the rule. The first royal
navy was formed by Ferdinand III, as a result of the important part
played by the private naval levies which had assisted in the taking of

[Sidenote: The monks of Cluny and church reform.]

Notwithstanding the increase in privileges accorded the church, the king
had always intervened in its affairs,--as by the appointment or
deposition of bishops, and even by taking under his own jurisdiction
certain cases on appeal from the ecclesiastical courts. The monks of
Cluny, influential in so many respects, set about to uproot the
dependence of the church upon the king and to bring about a closer
relation of the clergy with the papacy. Aided by the piety of the kings
themselves they were able to achieve their ends, although the monarchs
maintained that the pope’s measures should not be valid in the royal
dominions without governmental consent. Thenceforth, the pope and his
legates began to take the place of the king in church affairs. The same
centralizing policy of the monks of Cluny and the great popes of the era
was employed to bring the Castilian church into uniformity with that of
Rome in matters of doctrine and rite. Some difficulty was experienced in
the latter respect, for the Spanish people were attached to their form
of worship, which was called the Visigothic, or Mozarabic, rite. Earlier
popes had recognized this as orthodox, but Gregory VII asked Alfonso VI
to abolish it. The king was willing, but the people and the clergy were
not. The matter was once left to the decision of the wager of battle,
and again to that of fire, but in each case the local rite came out
victorious. Finally, the king rode roughshod over judicial proofs, and
abolished the local rite.[24] It was in this period, therefore, that the
hierarchy of the church, depending on the pope, was established in
Spain. At this time, too, the monasteries (and the military orders as
well) became independent of the bishops, and ascended to the pope, or
his legate, through the medium of their abbots (or grand masters). The
increasing wealth and privileges of the church have already been
sufficiently alluded to; many of the orders degenerated greatly, even
that of the monks of Cluny, as a result of the luxury which their means
permitted. At the moment when clerical ostentation had become greatest
there came the founding of the mendicant orders, early in the thirteenth
century. In the peninsula, as elsewhere, these orders (whose principal
vow was poverty) achieved a great work for the church; the Franciscans
went chiefly among the poor, and the Dominicans dealt more with the
upper classes, but both preached the necessity for repentance and for
conversion to the faith.[25] They also contributed greatly to doing away
with the loose practices which had become current among the clergy in
all parts of Christendom. One such practice persisted, despite their
efforts, the earlier efforts of the monks of Cluny, and the continuous
opposition of the kings (translated into severe laws),--that of priests
entering into the form of union called _barraganía_.

_Aragon proper_

[Sidenote: Social institutions in Aragon.]

In institutions, Aragon proper must be distinguished, throughout this
period, from the Catalonian region of the greater kingdom of Aragon.
Social differences were much more marked than in León and Castile, for
there was an excessively privileged feudal nobility, which had a
despotic power over the servile classes; the movement for emancipation
from slavery and serfdom belongs to a much later time. Lords had a right
even to kill their serfs. Slavery (confined usually to Moslems) was not
personal, for the slaves were attached legally to the land. What has
been said for Castile as regards the church, the Jews, Mozárabes, and
Mudéjares applies generally for Aragon. There were more Mudéjares than
in Castile, but, although they enjoyed equality with Christians before
the law, they were on a lower plane socially, and were more heavily
taxed. The practice of living in communal family groups was the rule in

[Sidenote: Political life and administration in Aragon.]

The nobles had privileges of a political, as well as of a social
character, being virtually sovereigns on their own estates. One
noteworthy official to develop was the _Justicia_ (Justice, or
Justiciar), charged with hearing cases of violation of privilege and
complaints generally against the authorities. The nobles tried to take
the appointment of this official to themselves, but failing in this
were, nevertheless, able to compel Jaime I to recognize that the
functions of the _Justicia_ were to be exercised in his own right, and
not by delegation of the king,--for example, in cases in which the
_Justicia_ acted as judge, or mediator, between the nobles and the king.
The free towns usually sided with the crown, as in Castile, but they
were not nearly so numerous, and not equally an agency for the
liberation of the servile classes. According to some writers they were
represented in the _Cortes_ as early as 1163 (which was earlier than in
León), but others make 1274 the date of their entry. There were four
estates in the Aragonese _Cortes_,--the higher nobility, the
_caballeros_, the clergy, and the representatives of the towns. Aragon
and Catalonia continued to have a separate _Cortes_ after the union of
the two states, and Valencia also received one of its own, but there
were times when a general _Cortes_ of the entire kingdom was held. The
principal form of legislation was that of the royal charters. The same
diversity of law existed as in Castile, but Jaime I did something to
bring about unification by having a code drawn up. This code, called the
_Compilación de Canellas_ (Compilation of Canellas), for one Canellas
was the compiler, embodied the traditional law of Aragon, supplemented
by principles of equity. It did not do away with the charters, applying
only to matters which they did not cover. The Roman law of Justinian and
the canon law, both of which greatly favored the king, were beginning to
be studied, but the nobility opposed the assertion of these legal
principles in courts of law. Taxes fell more heavily and more
vexatiously on the common people than they did in Castile, but a greater
proportion went to the lords and less to the king; Jaime I had to give
his note for the royal dinners, at times, and he paid his tailor by an
exemption from taxation. The king was not always able to persuade his
nobles to join him in war, though in other respects the military customs
resembled those of Castile. The principal difference in the religious
history of the two regions was that the influence of the monks of Cluny
in favor of ecclesiastical dependence on the pope was much earlier
accepted in Aragon; the Visigothic, or Mozarabic, rite was abolished as
early as 1071. Pedro II’s submission of the kingdom to the pope was not
well received, however, by either the nobility or the people of both
Aragon and Catalonia.


[Sidenote: Social institutions in Catalonia.]

Different as Catalonia was from Aragon, the two regions had many
features in common because of the existence of feudalism. The feudal
hierarchy was composed of counts, viscounts, _valvasores_ (barons), and
free vassals, of whom the first three grades were noble. Underneath was
the institution of serfdom, equally harsh as in Aragon, and almost
equally late in advancing toward emancipation. Personal slavery (of
Moslem prisoners of war, as a rule) also existed. There were not many
Mozárabes or Mudéjares, but the Jews were fairly numerous. All enjoyed
the same lenient treatment as that accorded in Castile and Aragon,--with
a beginning of restrictive measures at the end of the period. The middle
class of the cities was more important than in Aragon, especially in the
coast cities or towns, where the citizens engaged in commerce. Although
the communal family group was the general rule in Catalonia, this
institution was considerably modified by the existence of the law of
primogeniture, causing the entailment of landed properties to each
successive eldest son,--a variation from the _Fuero Juzgo_. This aided
in economic prosperity, because it kept estates intact, and influenced
younger brothers to go forth in order to build up estates of their own.
In other respects, social customs did not vary materially from those of
Aragon and Castile.[26]

[Sidenote: Political life and administration in Catalonia.]

[Sidenote: Importance of Barcelona.]

The only new factor of interest in general political and administrative
organization was the increase in the actual authority of the counts of
Barcelona (and, similarly, after they became kings of Aragon), although
on the same legal basis of feudalism as before. This came about through
the uniting of most of the counties in the single family of the counts
of Barcelona, who therefore were able to exercise a decisive influence
in Catalonian affairs. The rise in importance of Barcelona was the most
notable event in municipal history. Its commerce and wealth were so
great, and its prestige as capital of the county so influential, that it
exercised a veritable hegemony over the other towns. Each year the
general assembly elected five councillors, who in turn appointed a
council of one hundred, or _Consell de Cent_, which was the principal
governing body of the city. The city was allowed to coin money and to
appoint consuls charged with looking after the business interests of
Barcelona in foreign lands. The _Consell_ also had mercantile
jurisdiction. The Catalan commercial customs were to pass over in a
developed form into Castile, and from there to the Americas. The
Catalonian _Cortes_ had but three estates, and was in other respects
similar to that of Castile. The representatives of the towns were
admitted in 1218, but their right to appear was not definitely affirmed
until 1282. Barcelona had unusual weight in that body, for it possessed
five votes. The _Usatges_ (the code adopted in the reign of Ramón
Berenguer I) merely expressed in writing the feudal customs which were
already in vogue, and therefore it was generally observed. It did not
supersede the charters, the _Fuero Juzgo_, and local customs, all of
which continued in effect. The Roman and canon law, despite the
resistance of the nobility, came to be regarded as supplementary to
other legal sources, although not as of right until centuries later. In
naval affairs Catalonia was far ahead of the rest of Spain. Both a
merchant and a naval marine had existed since the ninth century, and the
former was encouraged by the suppression of taxes and by favorable
treaties with the Italian states. The navy had become a permanent state
institution by the middle of the twelfth century (in the reign of Ramón
Berenguer IV). Individual lords and towns had naval vessels of their
own, however. The history of the church followed the same course as in
Aragon; the Roman rite was adopted in the time of Ramón Berenguer I


[Sidenote: The royal power in the social and political life of

When Jaime I conquered Valencia, he had an opportunity to put into
effect some of his ideas with regard to strengthening the principle of
monarchy, and did not fail to take advantage of it. In the distribution
of lands among the nobles, the king was recognized as the only lord;
furthermore, the majority of the lands were given outright, in small
parcels, to middle class proprietors, subject only to the royal and the
neighborhood taxes. Most of the recipients were Catalans, and thus the
Catalan civilization came to predominate in Valencia. The most numerous
body of the population, however, was that of the Mudéjares. Many of
these were not molested in their estates and their business, and some
were even granted lands, but the majority were obliged to pay heavy
taxes in return for the royal protection. The Mudéjar uprisings led to
the introduction of more rigorous measures. In political affairs, too,
Jaime I established a system more favorable to monarchy. The nobles
wished to have the Aragonese law apply, but the king introduced new
legislation whereby the greater part of the authority rested with him.
The Valencian _Cortes_, of three branches, dates from 1283.

_Balearic Islands_

[Sidenote: Similarly in the Balearic Islands.]

Jaime I pursued the same policy in the Balearic Islands as in Valencia,
avoiding the evils of feudalism, and treating the Mudéjares well,--for
here too they were in the majority.


[Sidenote: Feudalism and French influences in Navarre.]

The extreme of feudal organization, similar to that in Aragon, existed
in Navarre. French peoples were an important element in the population,
and the power of the monks of Cluny was unusually great. Although the
kings established hereditary succession, the nobles continued to be
virtually absolute on their estates. The towns did not become as
important a power as elsewhere in Spain, and it was not until the next
era, possibly in the year 1300, that their representatives were admitted
to the _Cortes_.



_Moslem Spain_

[Sidenote: Economic vicissitudes.]

The political vicissitudes of Moslem Spain could not fail to have an
unfavorable effect on industry and commerce. The economic decline did
not at once manifest itself and was not continuous in any event, for the
periods of depression were often followed by others of great prosperity.
Agriculture, industry, and the arts profited by new impulses, and trade
was carried on with eastern Mediterranean lands. The Christian conquests
meant an end of these commercial relations, but many of the industries
survived in the hands of Moslems, now become Mudéjares.

[Sidenote: Moslem intellectual achievements.]

[Sidenote: Averröes and Maimónides.]

In intellectual culture, Moslem Spain was even greater than it had been
in the days of its political power,--at least in the higher
manifestations of that culture. The _taifa_ kings encouraged freedom of
thought and expression, even when unorthodox; yet, in literature and
science the greatest heights were reached, by both Jewish and Moslem
writers, in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, during the rule of the
intolerant Almoravides and Almohades. That, too, was the period of their
greatest influence on the Christians. The principal service of Moslem
Spain to western Europe was, as has been said, the transmission of Greek
thought, although not in its purity, but with the modifications and
variants of its later days, especially those of the Alexandrian school.
In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries many European scholars of note
visited Spain, and took back with them the Greco-oriental thought which
was to be the chief basis of the philosophy and science of Christendom,
until the true Greek texts were discovered at the time of the
Renaissance. The Moslems were further advanced in medicine than the
other western European peoples, and were the first in Europe since the
days of the Greeks to cultivate the study of botany. In pure mathematics
and its applications, such as in astronomy and the pseudo-science of
astrology, they were equally to the fore. Their greatest influence was
to make itself felt, however, in the realm of philosophy, especially in
the works of Averröes and Maimónides, scholars who are to be compared
with Saint Isidore, both as respects the greatness of their
achievements, and as concerns the breadth, almost universality, of their
attainments. Averröes of Cordova (1126-1198), as commentator and
propagator of the ideas of Aristotle and Plato, was perhaps the
principal resort of western European scholarship for an early knowledge
of Greek thought. He was also a distinguished doctor and mathematician.
Maimónides (or Moisés ben Maimón), also of Cordova (1139-1205), was the
founder of the rationalistic explanation of Jewish doctrine and a bitter
opponent of the neoplatonism[27] of the Alexandrian school, but he was
much influenced by Aristotle, whose ideas he contributed to disseminate
in western Europe. He was also a celebrated physician. In addition to
individual treatises on the various sciences, many encyclopedias were
written inclusive of all. As might be expected, the rhetorical taste of
Moslem Spain found abundant expression, in both poetry and prose, and in
subject-matter of a heroic, fabulous, satirical, or amatory character.
History, which at this time was more akin to literature than to science,
was also much cultivated. Aben-Hayyán of Cordova wrote a history in
sixty volumes, of the epoch in which he lived; and there were others
almost equally prolific who dealt with different phases of the history
of Moslem Spain. In the sciences, Jewish scholars followed the current
of their Moslem masters, but in philosophy and literature they developed
originality, inspired by their religious sentiments. Their poetry had a
somewhat more elevated tone than that of the Moslems.

[Sidenote: Architectural mediocrity.]

Although the Almoravides and Almohades were great builders, this period
was less important in Moslem architecture than either the preceding or
the following eras. The principal characteristic seems to have been a
withdrawal from Visigothic and classical forms, but the execution was
less correct and in poorer taste than formerly.

_León and Castile_

[Sidenote: Advance of agriculture and stock-raising.]

The advance of the conquests, leaving large areas back from the frontier
in the enjoyment of a measure of peace, furthered economic development.
There continued to be civil wars in the interior, and personal security
against abuses of the lords and the attacks of bandits was none too
great, but matters were very much better than before, as a result of
legislation favorable to property, the greater importance of the towns,
and the emancipation of the servile classes. Agriculture was
encouraged,--for example, by laws granting unbroken lands to whoever
should cultivate them. The conquest made itself directly felt through
the introduction of the vine and the olive of Moslem Spain into regions
which had not previously cultivated them. Works of irrigation and the
buildings of roads, so important for the agricultural prosperity of
Spain, seem not to have been undertaken, however. Stock-raising was much
more actively pursued than agriculture, due in part to the traditional
importance of that occupation, and in part to the ease with which that
form of wealth could be withdrawn from the hazards of war,--an advantage
which agriculture, naturally, could not share. The age-long war of the
stock-raisers against the farmers was usually favorable to the former,
who were wont to appropriate commons for their animals and even to enter
cultivated fields and damage or despoil them. Associations of
stock-raisers to protect their interests were already in existence.

[Sidenote: Industrial and commercial beginnings.]

In the thirteenth century Castilian Spain made a beginning of industrial
and commercial life, of which Santiago de Compostela had been perhaps
the only representative prior to that date. Laborers united in guilds,
just as in other western European lands, working together according to
the laws of their guild, and living in the same street. Many of them
were foreigners, Jews, or Mudéjares. An export trade of raw materials
and wine developed between the towns of the north coast and the
merchants of Flanders, England, and Germany, and just at the end of the
period the capture of Seville added commercial wealth to Castile,
through the trade of that city in the western Mediterranean. Interior
commerce still encountered the difficulties which had harassed it in
earlier times, but some of them were overcome through the development of
fairs to facilitate exchange. Certain days in the year, usually
corresponding with the feast of the patron saint of the town, were set
aside by important centres for a general market, or fair, on which
occasions special measures were undertaken to assure the safety of the
roads and to protect all who might attend,--Moslem and Jews as well as
Christians. Men naturally travelled in large groups at such times, which
was an additional means of security. The season of the fair might be the
only occasion in a year when a town could procure a supply of goods not
produced at home, wherefore this institution assumed great importance.
The increased use of coin as a medium of exchange demonstrates the
commercial advance of this period over the preceding.

[Sidenote: The intellectual awakening.]

In every branch of intellectual culture there was a vigorous awakening
at this time. The classical traditions of the Spanish clergy and the
Mozárabes were reinforced by western European influences coming
especially from France, while the Greco-oriental culture of the
Mudéjares and Mozárabes merged with the former to produce a Spanish
civilization, which became marked after the conquests of the thirteenth
century. In the twelfth century universities had sprung up in Italy and
France, where the Roman and the canon law, theology, and philosophy
were taught. In those countries the formal organization of the
universities had grown naturally out of the gatherings of pupils around
celebrated teachers, but Spain had no Irnerius or Abélard, wherefore the
origins of the universities of the peninsula were the result of official
initiative. In 1212 or 1214 Alfonso VIII founded a university at
Palencia, but this institution lived only thirty-one years. About the
year 1215 Alfonso IX of León made a beginning of the more celebrated
University of Salamanca, the fame of which belongs, however, to the next
following era. By the close of the eleventh century the Castilian
language had become definitely formed, as also the Leonese and Galician
variants. By the middle of the twelfth century all three had become
written languages, and, by the middle of the thirteenth, Latin works
were already being translated into the Romance tongues.

[Sidenote: Romance poetry.]

[Sidenote: Beginnings of the drama.]

One of the earliest forms of Romance literature was that of popular
poetry of an epic character, singing the deeds of Christian warriors.
This was of French origin, coming in with French crusaders and the monks
of Cluny. Two long poems of this class, both dealing with the life of
the Cid, have been preserved. One, the _Poema_ (Poem), is believed to
date from the middle of the twelfth century, while the other, the
_Crónica_ (Chronicle), is probably of later origin. Both mix legend with
fact, but the former is the less legendary. In the thirteenth century
another type of poetry developed in Castile called _mester de clerecía_
(office of the clergy), also bound up with French influences, but more
erudite and formally correct and usually religious in subject-matter, a
Spanish expression of European scholasticism. From the side of Aragon
came the influence of southern France, in the lyrical and erotic poetry
of the Provençal troubadours. Galicia was much affected by these foreign
impulses, due to the journeys of pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela, and
developed a notable poetry of its own. In this period, too, the
Castilian theatre had its origins, in the mystery plays of the church
and in the popular performances of jugglers in the streets. Whereas the
former were in the nature of a religious ceremony, the latter, which
were ultimately to exercise the greater influence, were of a secular
character, usually satirical, and given to great liberty of expression.

[Sidenote: History and science.]

In historical literature there were two names of some note in this
period. Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada, archbishop of Toledo (1170-1247),
reduced the early Spanish chronicles to a narrative form, embellished by
erudite references which his classical knowledge enabled him to employ.
He may be regarded as the father of Spanish historiography. Naturally,
given the age, his works were not free from legends and errors, and do
not display the critical spirit of modern times. Bishop Lucas of Tuy
(died 1288), though far inferior to Jiménez de Rada in both method and
criticism, wrote a life of Saint Isidore and other works which enjoyed
great popularity in the thirteenth century. In scientific literature
there were no great names, for this was a period of study and the
translation of Arabic and western European texts, rather than one of
original composition.

[Sidenote: Romanesque architecture.]

[Sidenote: Early Gothic architecture.]

[Sidenote: Mudéjar architecture.]

[Sidenote: Sculpture, painting, and the lesser arts.]

Just as the Romance tongues replaced the Latin, so Romanesque
architecture took the place of the decadent classical styles. Although
there was not a little variety in details, this style was characterized
in León and Castile by an accentuation of the cruciform ground plan,
robustness of form, heaviness in proportions, and profuse ornamentation,
often of a rude type. Arches were sometimes round, and sometimes
slightly pointed. Over the crossing there often appeared a polygonal
dome or a tower with arcades and a cap. The wooden roof was supplanted
by barrel-vaulting in stone, and this led to a strengthening of the
walls, reducing the window space, and to the use of heavy piers or
columns and of exterior buttresses attached to the walls. The west
front, or portal, of churches was adorned in luxurious style, notably
with the sculptured work of men, animals, or foliage. At the same time,
new influences proceeding out of France were making themselves felt, and
by the thirteenth century the so-called Gothic style of architecture was
firmly established. In this the entire edifice was subordinated to the
treatment of the vault, which attained to a great height through the use
of the true pointed arch and of transversals to receive the weight of
the vault. For this purpose the flying buttress, now free from the
walls, was greatly developed. Edifices not only became higher, but also
were enabled to use a large amount of space for windows, since the walls
no longer had to sustain the thrust. At the same time decorative effects
were increased, not only in porticoes, but also in the glass of the
windows, the capitals of columns, water-spouts, pinnacles and towers,
and in various forms of sculpture. The spaces between the buttresses
were often filled in to form chapels. Remarkable as was the advance made
in architecture, the work of this period was sober and robust when
compared with the later Gothic work. Nevertheless, the development was
very great, and is to be explained, very largely, by social causes, such
as the advance in the population and importance of the cities and of the
middle class. Greater cathedrals were therefore needed, but they were
also desired from motives of vanity, which prompt new social forces to
construct great monuments. The cathedrals became not only a religious
centre but also a place of meeting for the discussion of business and
political affairs, the heart and soul of the cities in which they were
located. Gothic architecture also manifested itself in military and
civil edifices. The castle was the characteristic type of the former.
The material now became stone, instead of wood. As in other parts of
Europe, there were the surrounding moat and the bridge, the walls with
their salients and towers, the buildings inside for the artisans on the
one hand, and for the lord and his soldiers on the other, and the
powerfully built tower of homage to serve as a last resort. The growth
of the towns gave rise to the erection of local government buildings, or
town halls, and private dwellings began to have an important
architectural character. Another style of architecture, usually called
Mudéjar, existed in this period, combining Arabic with Christian
elements, of which the latter were Gothic of a simplified character. The
roof was of wood, but with the ornamentation of the period. The body of
the edifice was of brick, which was left without covering on the
outside, giving a reddish tone to the building. Sculpture had an
important vogue as an adjunct of architecture. Gradually, it passed from
the badly proportioned, stiff figures of the earlier years to something
approaching realism and to a great variety of form. Painting was notable
only for its use in the adornment of manuscripts and of windows, and in
these respects the work done was of a high order. Both sculpture and
painting were employed to represent sacred history or allegory. Rich
tiles were much used, both in the form of azulejos, and in that of
compositions of human figures, in which the usual symbolism appeared.
The gold work and furniture also bore witness to the greater wealth of
this period as compared with earlier times.

_Aragon, Catalonia, and Valencia_

[Sidenote: Economic differences in the kingdom of Aragon.]

[Sidenote: Catalan commerce.]

Much that has been said about León and Castile as regards material
prosperity might be repeated for Aragon, Catalonia, and Valencia. Aragon
proper was the poorest part of this region, economically. Stock-raising
and industries growing out of it were the principal occupations there.
Catalonia, though not backward in agriculture, was not too well adapted
to it, since certain crops, notably grain, could not be raised, but it
had a varied industrial life and an active commerce. Valencia was the
most favored region, being agriculturally wealthy, on account of the
extensive use of irrigation, and, like Catalonia, having a rich
industrial and commercial life. This was true also of Majorca. The
Catalans had been engaged in Mediterranean commerce since the ninth
century, but in this period their trade reached much greater
proportions. Although Catalan boats went to every part of the
Mediterranean, the principal relations were with Italy; there were
frequent commercial treaties with Pisa and Genoa. Jaime I brought about
the sending of commercial representatives, or consuls, to foreign
countries, and was responsible for the establishment of mercantile
bodies, called _consulados de mar_ (commercial tribunals of the sea) in
Catalan ports. A special maritime law sprang up, and was embodied in a
code, called the _Libro del consulado de mar_ (Book of the _consulado_
of the sea).

[Sidenote: Intellectual manifestations.]

[Sidenote: Raymond Lull.]

The intellectual movement in Aragon and Catalonia ran along lines
parallel to that in León and Castile, but with more frequent contact
with French and Italian thought. Jaime I followed the custom of the era
in founding universities, establishing one at Lérida and another at
Valencia. One great name appeared in the literary history of this
period, reaching over into the next, that of Raimundo Lulio, known to
English scholars as Raymond Lull, or Lully (1232-1315), a philosopher,
mystic, and poet, who wrote many books which had a noteworthy influence
on European thought. Writing in the vulgar tongue and in a style adapted
to the general public, he attacked the pantheistic ideals of Averröes
and held that all sciences, though they have their individual
principles, lead to a single all-embracing science, which, for him, was
Christianity; in other words, he represented the reconcilement of
Christianity with reason and science. The development of the Romance
tongues followed the same course as in Castile, but the Catalan became
widely separated from the other peninsular tongues, being more akin to
the Provençal, or language of southern France. The Provençal influence
on poetry was earlier in evidence in Catalonia than in Castile, and was
more pronounced. Lyric poetry, accompanied by music, was so high in
favor that great nobles and the kings themselves cultivated it. Alfonso
II (1162-1196) was the first Spanish troubadour, and other kings
followed, including Jaime I. History was the most important form of
prose literature, and the principal work was that of Jaime I himself, a
chronicle of the vicissitudes of his reign. Jaime I also compiled a
collection of proverbs and the sayings of wise men.

[Sidenote: Architecture.]

The Romanesque art of this region was less heavy and more gracefully
proportioned than that of Castile,--possibly, the result of Italian
influences. Catalan Gothic architecture was especially affected by
Italian art,--so much so, that it lacked some of the principal elements
of the Gothic.


Attention need be called only to the profound French influence in this



[Sidenote: General characteristics of the era.]

After the death of Ferdinand III and of Jaime I the reconquest of Spain
from the Moslems came to a virtual standstill for over two centuries.
Some slight accessions of territory were obtained by Castile, but no
serious effort was made to acquire the only remaining enemy stronghold,
the kingdom of Granada. Conditions had changed to such an extent that
Moslem Spain for the first tune in more than five centuries was of
secondary and even minor importance. Castile and Aragon devoted their
principal attention to other affairs, and both took great strides ahead
in the march of civilization. In Castile the chief problems were of an
internal social and political nature. On the one hand this period marked
the change from a seigniorial country type of life to that of the
developed town as the basis of society; on the other it witnessed the
struggle of monarchy and the ideal of national unity against seigniorial
anarchy and decentralization for which the lords (including many of the
great churchmen) and the towns contended. As before, the king’s
principal opponents were the nobles, and the civil wars of this era,
whatever the alleged causes, were really only the expression of the
struggle just referred to. Outwardly the kings appeared to have been
defeated, but in no period of the history of Spain has the external
narrative been more at variance with the actual results, as shown by a
study of the underlying institutions, than in this. The real victory lay
with monarchy and unity, and this was to be made manifest in the reign
of Ferdinand and Isabella following this era. That reign was therefore
the true end of this period, but as it was even more the beginning of
modern Spain it has been left for separate treatment. The institutions
of Castile from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century were therefore
of more than usual importance, and particularly so since they formed the
basis for the system which Spain was so soon to establish in the
Americas. In almost every aspect of life, social, political, economic,
and intellectual, Castile forged as far ahead over the preceding period
as that had over the one before it, although it did not reach that high
and intricate culture which is the product of modern times. Castile was
still medieval, like nearly all of Europe, but the new age was close at

[Sidenote: Alfonso “the Learned.”]

[Sidenote: His foreign policy.]

Alfonso X “the Learned,” or “the Wise” (1252-1284), was one of the kings
whose reign seemed to be a failure, but in fact it was he who sowed the
seed which was to bring about an eventual victory for the principles of
monarchy and national unity. Besides being a profound scholar Alfonso
was a brave and skilful soldier, but his good traits were balanced by
his lack of decision and will power, which caused him to be
unnecessarily stubborn and extremely variable. He engaged in a number of
campaigns against the Moslems, and made some minor conquests, but these
wars were of slight consequence except as they bore on his struggles
with the nobles. The same thing may be said for Alfonso’s European
policy, which aimed not only at the aggrandizement of Castile but also
at his acquisition of the title of Holy Roman Emperor. The kings of
Castile had long claimed the throne of Navarre, and Alfonso now
attempted to invade that realm, but desisted when it seemed that this
might lead to complications with Jaime I of Aragon. He also had a legal
claim to the Basque province of Gascony, which had come to the throne of
Castile as the dowry of the wife of Alfonso VIII, and planned to
incorporate it into a _de facto_ part of the kingdom, but he renounced
his rights to England upon the marriage of his sister to Prince Edward,
the later Edward I, of England. In 1257 the imperial electors chose
Alfonso X as Holy Roman Emperor, but many German princes supported the
pretensions of an English earl of Cornwall, and on the latter’s death
those of Count Rudolph of Hapsburg. For sixteen years Alfonso
endeavored to get possession of the imperial title, going to great
expense in wars for that purpose, but the opposition of the popes, wars
with Granada and with his own nobles, and a general lack of sympathy
with the project in Castile combined to prevent him from even making a
journey to Germany in order to be crowned. In 1273 Rudolph of Hapsburg
was formally chosen emperor, and Alfonso’s opportunity passed.

[Sidenote: Causes of his strife with the nobles.]

Meanwhile, influenced by the Roman law, Alfonso had been enunciating
monarchical doctrines which were at variance with the selfish and
unscrupulous designs of the nobles, who fought the king at every turn.
Other causes for strife existed, but they were not fundamental. These
were, especially, the unwise measures employed by Alfonso to procure
funds for his sadly depleted treasury, and on the other hand his
extravagant liberality. Alfonso reduced the tribute due from Granada,
debased the coinage, increased the salaries of court officials, expended
enormous sums in celebration of the marriage of his eldest son, and was
responsible for other acts of a like character. In line with his claim
of absolute royal power he ceded the province of Algarve to the king of
Portugal, renounced his right to homage from that king, and as already
noted gave Gascony to England, all of which he did on his own authority.
These acts were alleged by the nobles, who fought him themselves, or
even went so far as to join the Moslems of Granada and Morocco against
him. The most serious period of the struggle was reserved for the last
years of the reign. This was precipitated by a fresh appearance of the
Moslem peril.

[Sidenote: War of succession between Alfonso and Sancho.]

The Almohades had been succeeded in their rule of northern Africa by the
Benimerines, who were invited by the Moslems of Granada to join them in
a war against Castile. The invitation was accepted, but, although the
Benimerines landed and were for a time victorious, the danger was
averted. Its chief importance was that the king’s eldest son, Fernando
de la Cerda, was killed in battle in 1275, thereby precipitating a
dynastic question. According to the laws of succession which Alfonso had
enacted the eldest son of the dead prince should have been next heir to
the throne, but this did not suit Alfonso’s second son, Sancho, who
alleged the superiority of his own claim. He did not fail to support his
pretension by promises of favors to disaffected nobles, which procured
him a backing strong enough to persuade Alfonso himself to name Sancho
as his heir. Later, Alfonso decided to form a new kingdom in the
territory of Jaén, though subject to Castile, for the benefit of his
grandson. Sancho objected, and persisted even to the point of war, which
broke out in 1281. The partisans of Sancho, who included nearly all of
the nobles, the clergy, and most of the towns, held a _Cortes_ in
Valladolid in 1282, and deposed Alfonso. The latter soon won over some
of Sancho’s followers, and continued the war, but died in 1284,
disinheriting Sancho, leaving Castile to his grandson and smaller
kingdoms in southern Spain to two of his younger sons.

[Sidenote: Sancho “the Brave.”]

That the elements which supported Sancho were really fighting for their
own independent jurisdiction was early made clear. In 1282 they obtained
an acknowledgment from Sancho of the right of the nobles and towns to
rise in insurrection against the illegal acts of the king, and to bring
royal officials and judges to trial for their maladministration, being
privileged to inflict the death penalty on them. With their aid he was
able to set aside his father’s will and become King Sancho IV
(1284-1295), later styled “the Brave.” Once in possession of the throne
he too showed a disposition to check the turbulence of the nobles, for
it was as impossible for a king to admit the arbitrary authority of the
lords as it was for the latter to accept the same attribute in the king.
Internal strife continued, but the pretext changed, for Sancho’s
opponents alleged the will of Alfonso in justification of their
insurrections. Sancho was at least an energetic character, and put down
his enemies with a stern hand, on one occasion having no less than four
thousand partisans of his nephew put to death. His brother Juan, whom
Sancho had deprived of the small kingdom which Alfonso had left him,
gave him the most trouble, at one time enlisting the aid of the
Benimerines, but without success.[28]

[Sidenote: Ferdinand “the Summoned.”]

[Sidenote: María de Molina.]

Ferdinand IV “the Summoned”[29] (1295-1312) was only nine years old when
his father died, wherefore the opponents of strong monarchy seized the
occasion for a new period of civil strife which lasted fourteen years.
His uncle, Juan, and his cousin, Alfonso,[30] renewed their pretensions,
furnishing an opportunity for the lords and towns to join one side or
the other, according as they could best serve their own interests, as
also affording a chance for the intervention of Portugal, Aragon,
France, and Granada with a view to enlarging their kingdoms. Although
the towns usually supported the king, they did so at the price of such
privileges as had been exacted from Sancho in 1282, showing that they
had the same spirit of feudal independence as the lords, despite the
monarchical sentiment of the middle class and the interest which they
had in common with the king in checking the turbulence of the lords.
That the king was able to extricate himself from these difficulties was
due in greatest measure to his mother, María de Molina, one of the
regents during his minority. By her political skill, added to the
prestige of her word and presence, she was able to attract many towns
and nobles to Ferdinand’s side and to separate the more dangerous
foreign enemies from the conflict against him. This she did not do
without making concessions, but, at any rate, by the time the king had
attained his majority at the age of sixteen the most serious perils had
been overcome. Ferdinand IV showed himself an ingrate, demanding a
strict account from his mother of her use of the public funds. Not only
was she able to justify her administration, but she also demonstrated
her devotion to her son’s interests on later occasions, causing the
failure of two insurrections headed by Ferdinand’s uncle, Juan.
Ferdinand made several minor campaigns against the Moslems, but died
while engaged in one of them, leaving as his heir a year old boy.

[Sidenote: Able rule of Alfonso XI in domestic affairs.]

Alfonso XI (1312-1350) shares with Alfonso X the honor of being the
greatest Castilian king of this era, and he was by far more successful
than his great-grandfather had been. Naturally, civil wars broke out at
the beginning of the reign; a dispute over the regency served as one of
the pretexts. María de Molina came forward again, and saved her grandson
as she had saved his father, although she was unable to put down the
insurrections. In 1325, when he was but fourteen years old, Alfonso was
declared of age, and began his reign with an act which was
characteristic of the man and his time. He summoned an uncle of his, his
principal opponent, to a meeting at his palace, under a pretence of
coming to an agreement with him, and when the latter came had him put to
death. He tried the same policy with success against other leaders, and
intimidated the rest so that he soon had the situation under control.
Alfonso combined a hand of iron with great diplomatic skill, both of
which were necessary if a king were to succeed in that period. An
exponent of the monarchical ideas of Alfonso X, he proceeded by diverse
routes to his end. Thus, in dealing with the nobles he made agreements
with some, deceived others, punished still others for their infractions
of the law, developed a distrust of one another among them, employed
them in wars against the Moslems (in order to distract their forces and
their attention), destroyed their castles whenever he had a sufficient
pretext, and flattered them when he had them submissive,--as by
encouraging them in the practices of chivalry and by enrolling them in a
new military order which he created to reward warlike services. In fine
he employed all such methods as would tend to reduce the power of the
nobles without stirring up unnecessary opposition. He was strong, but
was also prudent. He followed the same policy with the towns and the
military orders. For example, he promised that no royal town should ever
be granted to a noble (or churchman),--a promise which was not observed
by his successors or even by Alfonso himself. He was also successful in
getting generous grants of money from the _Cortes_, which assisted him
materially in the carrying out of his policy. He won the favor of the
people by correcting abuses in the administration of justice and by his
willingness to hear their complaints alleging infractions of the law,
whether by his own officials or by the nobles. He procured the
comparative security of the roads, and in other ways interested himself
in the economic betterment of his people. Meanwhile, he enhanced his own
authority in local government, and always maintained that the national
legislative function belonged to the king alone, not only for the making
or amending of laws, but also for interpreting them.

[Sidenote: The acquisition of Álava and repulse of a Moslem invasion.]

Alfonso’s great work was the political and administrative organization
of the country, but there were two external events of his reign which
are worth recording. In 1332 the Basque province of Álava was added to
Castile, although with a recognition of the jurisdiction of the law of
Álava. More important, perhaps, was a great conflict with Granada and
the Benimerines of Morocco, who once more tried to emulate the successes
of their coreligionists of the eighth century. The kings of Aragon and
Portugal joined Alfonso to avert this peril, and a great battle was
fought in 1340 at the river Salado, near Tarifa, where the Moslem forces
were completely defeated. Though not yet forty at the time of his death
Alfonso had already written his name in large letters on the pages of
Castilian history.

[Sidenote: Pedro “the Cruel.”]

The work of Alfonso XI seemed to be rendered in vain by the civil wars
of the reign of his successor, Pedro I, variously called “the Cruel” or
“the Just” (1350-1369). In fact, the basis of the structure which
Alfonso had reared was not destroyed, and even Pedro took some steps
which tended to increase the royal power. He was not the man for the
times, however, since he lacked the patience and diplomacy which had
distinguished his father. He was, above all, impetuous and determined to
procure immediate remedies for any ill which beset him, even to the
point of extreme cruelty. He possessed a stern hand, energy, and
courage, but he had to deal with a nobility as turbulent and
unsubmissive as was the spirit of Pedro himself. The tale of his reign
may be told at somewhat greater length than some of the others,--not
that it was more important, but by way of illustrating the usual course
of the civil wars in that time.

[Sidenote: Civil wars of the reign of Pedro “the Cruel.”]

Pedro I was the only legitimate son of Alfonso XI, who had left five
illegitimate sons by his mistress, Leonor de Guzmán, to each of whom he
had given important holdings and titles. On the death of Alfonso, his
wife (Pedro’s mother) procured the arrest of Leonor de Guzmán and later
her assassination. Naturally, this incensed the five sons of Leonor,
although all but the eldest, Count Henry of Trastamara, appeared to
accept the situation. Other pretexts for internal strife were not
lacking. Pedro was a mere boy, and at one time became sick and seemed
about to die, whereupon the nobles began to prepare for a dynastic
struggle. Pedro lived, however, but caused discontent by choosing a
Portuguese, named Alburquerque, as his leading adviser and favorite; the
chief basis for the objections of the nobles was that each one wished
the post for himself. The resistance to Alburquerque was the
rallying-cry in the early period of the wars, in which Pedro’s
illegitimate brothers joined against him. Pedro was successful, and it
is noteworthy that he dealt leniently with his brothers, in contrast
with his energetic cruelty against the other rebels. In 1353, as the
result of negotiations which had been arranged by Alburquerque, Pedro
married a French princess, Blanche of Bourbon. Previously, however, he
had entered into relations with a handsome young lady of good family,
named María de Padilla, to whom he remained ardently devoted for the
rest of his life. So blindly in love with her was he that Alburquerque
had to take him from the arms of María in order to have him assist at
his own wedding. Three days later the youthful Pedro deserted his wife
in favor of his mistress. Alburquerque wisely took himself away, the
Padillas were established as the favorites at court, and the young queen
was imprisoned. The nobles could no longer pretend that they were
fighting Alburquerque; on the contrary, they joined the very man they
had assumed to oppose, in a war against the king, with various alleged
objects, but in fact with the usual desire of seizing an opportunity for
increasing their own power. At one time they contrived to capture Pedro,
but he escaped and wreaked a fearful vengeance on his enemies, though
once again he allowed his brothers, who as usual were against him, to
submit. Meanwhile, Pedro’s marital experiences included a new wife, for
he found two bishops who declared his first marriage null, despite the
pope’s efforts to get the king to return to Blanche of Bourbon. Pedro
married Juana de Castro, but this time was able to wait only one day
before returning to María de Padilla. These events had their influence
in the civil wars, for many towns refrained from giving Pedro aid or
joined against him out of disgust for his actions.

[Sidenote: The wars with Henry of Trastamara.]

The wars were renewed from the side of Aragon, where Henry of
Trastamara, who for years had been the Castilian monarch’s principal
opponent, formed an alliance with the king of Aragon. The ruler of
Aragon at that time was Pedro IV, a man of the type of Alfonso XI.
Having overcome the seigniorial elements in his own realm he did not
scruple to take advantage of Pedro I’s difficulties in the same regard
to seek a profit for himself, or at least to damage a neighboring king
of whom he felt suspicious. Prior to the outbreak of hostilities Pedro I
gave himself up to a riot of assassinations, and among his victims were
three of his half brothers and several members of their families. His
enemies were not yet able to defeat him, however, even with the aid of
Aragon, and a peace was signed in 1361. Shortly afterward, both Blanche
of Bourbon and María de Padilla died, the latter deeply bemoaned by
Pedro I. In 1363 Henry of Trastamara and Pedro IV again formed a league
against the Castilian king, and it was at this time that Henry first set
up a claim to the crown of Castile. To aid them in their project they
employed the celebrated “White companies,” an army of military
adventurers of all nations who sold their services to the highest
bidder. They were at that time in southern France and (as usually
happened in such cases) were regarded as unwelcome guests now that their
aid was no longer required there. The pope (then resident at Avignon)
gave them a vast sum of money on condition that they would go to Aragon,
and Pedro IV offered them an equal amount and rights of pillage (other
than in his own realm) if they would come. Therefore, led by a French
knight, Bertrand du Guesclin, they entered Spain, and in 1366 procured
the conquest of most of Castile for Henry, who had himself crowned king.
Pedro I sought aid of his English neighbors, for England at that time
possessed a great part of western France, and, in return for certain
concessions which Pedro promised, Edward III of England was persuaded to
give him an army under the command of the celebrated military leader,
Edward, the Black Prince. It was Henry’s turn to be defeated, and he
fled to France. Pedro I now took cruel vengeance on his enemies,
disgusting the English leader, besides which he failed to keep the
promises by which he had procured his aid. The English troops therefore
went back to France, at a time when a fresh insurrection was about to
break out in Castile, and when Henry of Trastamara was returning with a
new army. Pedro I was utterly defeated at Montiel, and was besieged in a
castle where he took refuge. Captured by Henry through a trick, he
engaged in a hand-to-hand struggle with his half brother, and seemed to
be winning, but with the aid of one of his partisans Henry at length got
the upper hand and killed Pedro,--a fitting close to a violent reign.

[Sidenote: Difficulties of Henry II.]

Henry II (1369-1379), as the victor of Montiel was now entitled to be
called, did not retain his crown in peace. Despite the fact that he had
gravely weakened the monarchy by his grants of lands and privileges in
order to gain support, he was beset by those who were still faithful to
Pedro, or who at least pretended they were, in order to operate in their
own interest. Aragon, Navarre, Portugal, and England waged war on
Henry, and the two last-named countries supported Pedro’s illegitimate
daughters by María de Padilla, Constanza and Isabel (for Pedro had no
legitimate children), in their pretensions to the throne, as against the
claims of Henry. The most serious demands were put forward by John of
Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster and husband of Constanza, backed by Edward III
of England. Henry overcame his difficulties, although at the cost of
concessions to the nobles which were to be a serious obstacle to future

[Sidenote: Juan I and the battle of Aljubarrota.]

[Sidenote: The Prince and Princess of Asturias.]

The reign of Juan I (1379-1390) was marked by two important events. Juan
married the heiress to the Portuguese throne, and the union of Spain and
Portugal seemed about to take place, but this arrangement did not suit
the Portuguese nobility. A new king of Portugal was chosen, and the
Castilian army was completely defeated at Aljubarrota in 1385. Shortly
afterward, the Duke of Lancaster landed in Spain with an English army to
prosecute the claims of his wife. This matter was settled by the
marriage of the Duke of Lancaster’s daughter, in 1388, to Juan’s heir,
Prince Henry. Thus was the conflict of Pedro I and Henry II resolved.
Their descendants, though tainted with illegitimacy in both cases, had
joined to form the royal family of Spain. The young prince and his
consort took the titles of Prince and Princess of Asturias, which have
been used ever since by the heirs to the Spanish throne.

[Sidenote: Henry “the Sickly.”]

Henry III “the Sickly” (1390-1406), though already married, was only a
minor when he became king, wherefore there occurred the usual troubled
years of a minority. Despite the pallor of his complexion (whence his
nickname) he was a spirited individual, and upon becoming of age (when
fourteen years old) set about to remedy some of the evils which had been
caused by the grants of favors to the nobles durng the regency and in
preceding reigns. He also adopted a vigorous policy in his relations
with Portugal, Granada, and the pirates of the North African coast, and
even went so far as to send two somewhat celebrated embassies to the
Mogul emperor and king of Persia, Tamerlane. One event of capital
importance in his reign may be taken as the first step in the Castilian
venture across the seas. In 1402 Rubín de Bracamonte and Juan de
Bethencourt commenced the conquest of the Canary Islands under the
patronage of Henry. The young king was also preparing to conquer
Granada, when at the age of twenty-seven his life was unfortunately cut

[Sidenote: Juan II and Álvaro de Luna.]

It seemed likely that the opening years of the reign of Juan II
(1406-1454) would witness a fresh period of civil struggle, since the
king was not yet two years old. That this was not the case was due to
the appearance of a man who was both able and faithful to his trust, the
regent, Ferdinand of Antequera, an uncle of Juan II. In 1412, however,
he left Castile to become king of Aragon, and a few years later Juan’s
majority was declared at fourteen years of age. Juan II was the first
truly weak king of Castile. In the history of Spanish literature he
occupies a prominent place, and he was fond of games of chivalry, but he
lacked the decision and will-power to govern. Fortunately he had a
favorite in the person of Álvaro de Luna who governed for him. On
several occasions in the reign Álvaro de Luna was able to win successes
against Granada, but the fruits of victory were lost because of civil
discord in Castile. During most of the reign the nobles were in revolt
against Álvaro de Luna, and the weak king occasionally listened to their
complaints, banishing the favorite, but he could not manage affairs
without him, and Álvaro de Luna would be brought back to resume his
place at the head of the state. By 1445 the position of Álvaro de Luna
seemed secure, when a blow fell from an unexpected quarter. He had
procured a Portuguese princess as the second wife of Juan II, but she
requited him by turning against him. She persuaded Juan to give an order
for his arrest, and, since there was no cause for more serious charges,
he was accused of having bewitched the king, and was put to death in
1453. This time Juan could not call him back; so he followed him to the
grave within a year.

[Sidenote: Henry “the Impotent” and Juana “La Beltraneja.”]

The evil of internal disorder which for so many years had been hanging
over the Castilian monarchy came to a head in the reign of Henry IV “the
Impotent” (1454-1474). If Juan II had been weak, Henry IV was weaker
still, and he had no Álvaro de Luna to lean upon. He commenced his reign
with an act of characteristic flaccidity which was to serve as one of
the pretexts for the insurrections against him. War was declared upon
Granada, and the Castilian army reached the gates of the Moslem capital,
when the king developed a humanitarianism which hardly fitted the times,
declining to engage in a decisive battle lest it prove to be bloody. A
more important pretext for rebellion arose out of a dynastic question.
Failing to have issue by his first wife, Henry procured a divorce and
married again. For six years there were no children by this marriage,
wherefore the derisive name “the Impotent” was popularly applied to the
king, but at length a daughter appeared, and was given the name Juana.
Public opinion, especially as voiced by the nobles, proclaimed that the
father was the king’s favorite, Beltrán de la Cueva, on which account
the young Juana became known vulgarly as “La Beltraneja.” The _Cortes_
acknowledged Juana, and she was also recognized as heir to the throne by
the king’s brothers and by his sister, Isabella, but the nobles formed a
league on the basis of her supposed illegitimacy with the object of
killing the favorite. They directed an insulting letter to the king,
demanding that his brother, Alfonso, should be named heir. Instead of
presenting a bold front against these demands, Henry was weak enough to
consent to them.

[Sidenote: The seigniorial program and the vacillation of the king.]

The dynastic question was far from being the principal one in the eyes
of the nobles. By this time it was perfectly clear that the real
struggle was political, between the elements of seigniorial independence
and strong monarchy. Thus the nobles and their allies had insisted that
the king’s guard should be disarmed and that its numbers should be
fixed; that the judges in royal towns and certain other royal officials
should be deprived of their office and be replaced by the appointees of
the league; that the king should be subjected to a council of state
formed of nobles and churchmen, which body was to intervene in the
affairs formerly handled by the king himself, including even the
exercise of ordinary judicial authority; that all cases against nobles
and churchmen should be tried by a tribunal of three nobles, three
churchmen, and three representatives of the towns, and several of the
members who were to compose the tribunal (all of them opponents of the
king) were named in the document of these demands; and that there should
be a right of insurrection against the king if he should contravene the
last-named provision. After he had accepted the nobles’ terms Henry
realized the gravity of his act and changed his mind, declaring his
agreement void. The nobles then announced the deposition of the king,
and named his brother, Alfonso, in his stead, but the royal troops
defeated them soon afterward, and Alfonso suddenly died. The nobles then
offered the crown to Isabella, but she declined to take it while her
brother was living, although consenting to do so in succession to him,
thus retracting her previous recognition of Juana. On this basis the
nobles offered peace to the king, and he consented, which for the second
time put him in the position of acknowledging the dishonor of his wife
and the illegitimacy of Juana. The queen protested, and in 1470 Henry
again recanted, but at the time of his death, in 1474, he had not yet
resolved the succession to the throne.

[Sidenote: The marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella.]

[Sidenote: The union of Castile and Aragon.]

Meanwhile Isabella had contracted a marriage of surpassing importance in
the history of Spain. In 1469 she married Ferdinand, heir to the throne
of Aragon, rejecting Henry IV’s proposal of a marriage with the king of
Portugal. Isabella was proclaimed queen on the death of her brother, but
many nobles now took the other side, upholding the cause of Juana,
including some who had formerly fought on the side of Isabella,--for
example, the archbishop of Toledo. The hand of Juana was promised to the
king of Portugal, who therefore joined in the war on her side. The
forces of Isabella were victorious, and in 1479 a treaty was made
whereby she was recognized as the queen. The unfortunate Juana chose to
enter a convent. In the same year, 1479, Ferdinand became king of
Aragon, and at last a political union of the greater part of Christian
Spain had become a fact.



[Sidenote: General characteristics of the era.]

The general remarks made with respect to Castilian history in this
period apply, with but few modifications, to that of the kingdom of
Aragon. In Aragon the victory of monarchy over seigniorial anarchy was
externally clear as early as the middle of the fourteenth century. The
civil wars after that date (and there were very few until the last reign
of the period) were due to the vast power of the city of Barcelona in
conflict with the king, to the difference in interests of Aragon proper
and Catalonia, and to social uprisings. Social progress in this region,
but especially in Catalonia, was much more marked than in Castile,
merely because there was so much more to gain, and great as were the
advances made they did not bring the masses to a state of social freedom
equal to that which had been attained in Castile. Of great importance to
the future of Spain was the embarkation of Aragon on a career of Italian
conquest. Fatal as Spain’s Italian aspirations were to be in succeeding
centuries, that evil was balanced, at least in part, by a contact with
Renaissance influences proceeding out of Italy, and by a favorable
commerce which redounded in many ways to the benefit of Spain. This was
one of the periods when the advantages of the Italian connection were
greater than the disadvantages.

[Sidenote: Pedro III and the nobles.]

Pedro III (1276-1285) showed in his short reign that he was a man of his
father’s mould. Able as he was he had to yield not a little to his
nobles and the oligarchical towns, as indeed had Jaime I,--as witness
the case of the independent position of the _Justicia_ won from Jaime I.
From Pedro III these elements, especially those of Aragon proper,
obtained the rights embodied in a document called the “General
Privilege”; by this the _Justicia_ was proclaimed chief justice for all
cases coming before the king, and was made to depend more closely on the
nobles and allied towns. They also gained many other privileges, such as
the restoration of the goods and lands taken from them by Jaime,
exemption from naval service, and a reduction in the number of days of
military service required of them. Yet Pedro was able to keep them
sufficiently in hand to enable him to embark upon an ambitious foreign

[Sidenote: Foreign policy of Pedro III.]

Pedro took the first step toward the reincorporation of the realm left
by his father to Pedro’s brother Jaime when he procured a recognition
from the latter that he held his kingdom of Majorca as a vassal of the
king of Aragon. Reaching out still farther he established a protectorate
over the Moslem state of Tunis, gaining great commercial advantages at
the same time. The next logical move was the conquest of the island of
Sicily. Two events combined to bring Pedro III into competition for
dominion there. One was his denial of vassalage to the pope, repudiating
the arrangement of Pedro II, and the other was his marriage to
Constance, the daughter of King Manfred of Sicily. The papacy had only
recently won its struggle of several centuries against the Hohenstaufen
Holy Roman Emperors, and it claimed that the territory of Naples, or
southern Italy and Sicily, was at the pope’s disposal. Manfred of Sicily
was a member of the defeated imperial family, and would not recognize
the papal claim, whereupon the pope offered the kingdom as a fief to the
French prince, Charles of Anjou. Charles accepted and succeeded in
conquering the island, putting Manfred to death. He then proceeded to
rule in tyrannical fashion, until in 1282 he provoked the celebrated
uprising known as the “Sicilian vespers,” when a terrible vengeance was
wreaked upon the followers of Charles. Pedro III already had a great
army near by in Tunis, and when he was invited by the Sicilians to help
them he accepted, alleging the claims of his wife to the Sicilian crown,
and landing in Sicily in the same year, 1282. In a short time he was
master of the entire island, and through the exploits of his great
admiral, Roger de Lauria, in control of not a little of the Italian
coast as well, though only temporarily.

[Sidenote: The French invasion.]

Affronted both by the denial of vassalage and by the conquest of Sicily
the pope excommunicated Pedro, and declared his deposition as king of
Aragon, granting the throne in his stead to Charles of Valois, second
son of the king of France. He even went so far as to proclaim a crusade
against Pedro, and a great French army was prepared to carry out his
decision and to establish the claim of Charles of Valois. Allies were
found in King Jaime of Majorca and many of Pedro’s own nobles and
churchmen. The French forces soon overran much of Catalonia, but when
matters looked darkest a great naval victory by Roger de Lauria and an
epidemic which broke out in the French army turned the tide, and the
invaders were driven across the Pyrenees. In the same year Pedro died,
but just before his death he offered to return Sicily to the pope,--so
strong was the prestige of the papacy in that day.

[Sidenote: Alfonso III.]

[Sidenote: Struggles with the nobility and the Privilege of the Union.]

Pedro’s son, Alfonso III (1285-1291), had no idea of abandoning Sicily.
He made it into a separate kingdom under his brother Jaime, and the
strife with France and the pope went on. Alfonso was not of his father’s
calibre, however, and in 1291 agreed to renounce the Sicilian claim and
to fight Jaime if the latter should fail to comply with this
arrangement; furthermore, he agreed to pay the papal tribute of the
treaty of Pedro II, including all back sums still unpaid. Before Alfonso
could act on this agreement he died. His reign had not been free from
struggles with the nobility, and the latter were in no small degree
responsible for the weak result of his foreign policy; only an
exceptionally capable monarch, such as Pedro III had been, could handle
successfully the grave foreign and domestic problems of the time. The
nobles and towns of Aragon proper and Valencia had banded together in a
league called the Union, and they used their combined influence to exact
new privileges from Alfonso. When he resisted they went so far as to
conspire for the succession of the French pretender, and took other
extreme measures which soon decided the king to give way. In 1287 he
granted the famous “Privilege of the Union.”[31] By this document the
king was restrained from proceeding against any member of the Union
without the consent of both the _Justicia_ and the _Cortes_, and a
council was to be appointed to accompany him and decide with him the
matters of government affecting Aragon and Valencia. If he should fail
to observe the Privilege in these and other respects (for there were
other articles of lesser note) the members of the Union might elect a
new king. Thus, as Alfonso III put it, “There were as many kings in
Aragon as there were _ricoshombres_” (great nobles). Jaime II
(1291-1327), brother of the preceding, contrived to reduce some of the
privileges granted by this document, although indirectly, for he
recognized its legal force. He enacted laws which were in fact
inconsistent with it, and in this way managed to deprive the _Justicia_
of some of the vast power to which he had attained.

[Sidenote: Jaime II and the Sicilian question.]

The reign of Jaime II was especially interesting from the standpoint of
foreign affairs. Having been king in Sicily, Jaime was not disposed to
surrender the island to the pope, and left his son, Fadrique, there to
govern for him. Soon he changed his mind, and made a similar agreement
to that of Alfonso III, whereby the island was to be given to the pope,
and Jaime was to employ force, if necessary, to achieve this end. Jaime
was soon afterward granted Sardinia and Corsica in compensation for
Sicily, although they were to be held as a fief from the pope, and he
was to make good his claim by conquering them. The Sicilians were not
favorable to Jaime’s agreement, and proceeded to elect Fadrique king,
resisting Jaime’s attempts to enforce his treaty. After a long war,
peace was made in 1302 on terms whereby Fadrique married the daughter of
the Angevin claimant, the papal candidate, and promised the succession
to his father-in-law. Toward the close of Jaime’s reign Sardinia was
conquered, in 1324, by the king’s eldest son. It was at this time, too,
that a body of Catalan mercenaries set up their rule in the duchy of
Athens, thus extending Catalan influence to the eastern

[Sidenote: Alfonso “the Benign.”]

Alfonso IV “the Benign” (1327-1335) had a brief, not very eventful
reign, marked by wars with Pisa and Genoa for the possession of
Sardinia, but more especially interesting as a preparation for the reign
to follow. Alfonso’s second wife tried to procure a kingdom for her son
by a partition of the realm, thus depriving the king’s eldest son,
Pedro, of his full inheritance. Alfonso was willing to accede to her
wishes, but the energetic character of Pedro, backed by popular
sentiment, obliged him to desist from the project.

[Sidenote: Pedro “the Ceremonious” and the overthrow of seigniorial

Pedro IV “the Ceremonious” (1335-1387) forms a curious parallel to his
Castilian contemporaries, the great Alfonso XI and the violent Pedro I.
Like the latter he was energetic, treacherous, and cruel, but was more
hypocritical, having a great regard for appearances and standing on the
letter of the law (hence his nickname). Withal, like Alfonso XI, he was
the type of ruler needed at the time, and was even more successful than
the great Castilian, for he definitely decided the question between the
nobility and the crown. The struggle began over a dynastic issue when
Pedro, who at the time had no sons, endeavored to arrange for the
succession of his daughter Constance, instead of his brother Jaime. The
nobles and the towns of the Aragonese and Valencian parts of the kingdom
used this event as a pretext for a renewal of the activities of the
Union, and in the first conflict they were too strong for Pedro. He was
obliged in 1347 to acknowledge the Privilege of the Union, and in
addition had to consent to a division of the kingdom into districts
ruled by delegates of the Union, who had broad powers, including a right
to receive the taxes, which henceforth were not to go to the king. Pedro
was not a man to bow at the first defeat, and in the same year renewed
the contest. It is noteworthy that the Catalonian nobles and towns were
on the king’s side, possibly because of their interest in Mediterranean
expansion, which necessitated the backing of a strong government. In
addition, certain democratic towns in Valencia and Aragon joined Pedro,
as well as many individuals who resented the tyranny of the recently
victorious Union. In 1348 Pedro crushed the Aragonese opposition at the
battle of Épila, and then overwhelmed his opponents in Valencia,
punishing them afterwards with a ruthless hand, displaying a rather
vitriolic humor when he made some of his enemies drink the molten metal
of which the bell for calling meetings of the Union had been composed.
The legal effect of these victories was little more than the
nullification of the Privilege of the Union and a reduction of the
powers of the _Justicia_ and of the exaggerated pretensions, social and
otherwise, of the nobles, while the General Privilege and other royal
charters remained in force. In fact, however, a death-blow had been
struck at feudal anarchy, and the tendency henceforth was toward
centralization and absolutism.

[Sidenote: Pedro’s successful foreign policy.]

The reign of Pedro was not without note, also, in foreign affairs. Even
before settling his dispute with the Union he had accomplished something
for the aggrandizement of Aragon. He somewhat treacherously provoked a
quarrel with the king of Majorca, and then conquered the island in 1343.
Proceeding at once against the same king’s possessions in southern
France he incorporated them into his kingdom. Pedro had also assisted
Alfonso XI of Castile against the Benimerines, contributing to the
victory of the Salado in 1340. The war with Genoa and the uprisings in
Sardinia which had filled the reign of his predecessor gave trouble also
to Pedro, but after a campaign in Sardinia in person he was able
temporarily to get the upper hand. His intervention in the civil wars of
Castile has already been noted, and from these he came out with some not
greatly important advantages. He also cast his eyes upon Sicily with a
view to restoring it to the direct authority of the Aragonese crown,
although this was not accomplished in his reign, and he encouraged
commercial relations with the lands of the eastern Mediterranean. In
1381 he accepted an offer to become the sovereign of the Catalan duchy
of Athens. These events were more indicative of a conscious Catalan
policy of predominance in the Mediterranean than important in

[Sidenote: Juan I and Martín I.]

[Sidenote: The dispute over the succession and the crowning of Ferdinand

The reigns of the next two kings, Juan I (1387-1395) and Martín I
(1395-1410), were more important from the standpoint of social
institutions than in external political events. In the former reign
occurred the loss of the duchy of Athens. In the latter, the island of
Sicily, as foreseen by Pedro IV, returned to the Aragonese line when
Martín of Sicily succeeded his father as king of Aragon. On the death of
Martín without issue, a dispute arose as to the succession to the
throne. The most prominent claimants were Ferdinand of Antequera, then
regent of Castile, a son of Martín’s sister, and Jaime, count of Urgel,
son of a cousin of Martín. Ferdinand was supported by the Aragonese
anti-pope, Benedict XIII,[33] by the ecclesiastical and popular
elements of most of Aragon proper, by various nobles, and by the
political influence of the Castilian state, while Jaime counted on the
popular support of Catalonia and Valencia and of part of Aragon, as well
as on various noble families. Jaime had the advantage of being a native
of the kingdom, while Ferdinand was looked upon as a foreigner, but as a
matter of law Ferdinand had the better claim. For two years there were
serious disturbances on the part of the noble families, which united
their personal rivalries to the question of the dynastic succession.
Finally, the matter was left to a commission of nine, three each from
Aragon, Catalonia, and Valencia, and this body rendered a decision, in
1412, in favor of the Castilian claimant, who thereby became Ferdinand I
of Aragon (1410-1416). Jaime resisted for a time, but was soon obliged
to submit, and was imprisoned in a castle, although well treated there.

[Sidenote: Alfonso “the Magnanimous” and Aragonese expansion into

Ferdinand was succeeded by his son, Alfonso V, called variously “the
Learned” or “the Magnanimous” (1416-1458) under whom the Catalan Policy
of Mediterranean expansion advanced to a stage far beyond anything
previously attempted. Most of his reign was passed by him in warfare in
Italy. Invited by the queen of Naples, who adopted him as her heir, to
assist her against the house of Anjou, Alfonso was at length able to
dominate the land and to set up a brilliant court at the city of Naples.
He also intervened successfully in other wars, and even thought of
attempting to reconquer Constantinople from the Turks, for that city had
been taken by them in 1453. Meanwhile, his absence from his Spanish
dominions permitted of a revival of internal disorders, which were to
come to a head in the next reign. Alfonso gave Naples (southern Italy)
to his illegitimate son Ferdinand, and the rest of his domains,
including Sardinia and Sicily, to his brother Juan.

[Sidenote: Juan II, Juana Enríquez, and Charles of Viana.]

[Sidenote: The revolt of the Catalans.]

Prior to his succession to the Aragonese throne Juan II (1458-1479) had
married the queen of Navarre, and at her wish, consented to by their
son, Charles, Prince of Viana, had continued to act as king of that land
after his wife’s death. He had contracted a second marriage with a
Castilian lady, Juana Enríquez, and her intrigues against Charles of
Viana had already caused that prince no little trouble. In the interests
of her own children (one of whom, the later great King Ferdinand, was to
be a worthy exemplar of the scheming traits of his mother) she plotted
to deprive him of his rights, first to the throne of Navarre, and later,
after Juan had succeeded to the Aragonese crown, to that of Aragon. The
Catalans took up the cause of Charles of Viana with enthusiasm, and when
Juan refused to declare him his heir civil war broke out, not only in
Catalonia, but also in Aragon and Navarre. Charles was at first
successful, and his father consented to recognize him as his successor
and to appoint him governor of Catalonia, but the agreement had hardly
been signed when the young prince died. Public opinion ascribed his
death to poisoning at the instigation of his step-mother, and so great
was the general indignation over this event that civil war in Catalonia
broke out afresh. The Catalans were at a legal disadvantage in not
having a legitimate lord to set up against Juan II. They elected various
individuals as count of Barcelona, and even thought of organizing a
republic, but the successive deaths of their chosen rulers, and the
length of the war, which had already lasted twelve years, inclined many,
toward the close of the year 1470, to make peace with the king. The very
misfortunes of the latter, despite the crimes which he had committed,
tended to this end, for he had again become a widower, and was blind and
alone, for his son, Ferdinand, had remained in Castile after his
important marriage with Isabella in 1469. Finally, in 1472, a peace
satisfactory to both sides was arranged. It is to be noted that this war
had nothing to do with the earlier struggle of the lords against the
king, but was sustained rather by the city of Barcelona and the
permanent committee, or deputation, representing the _Cortes_ of
Catalonia, against the king, being fought mostly in Catalonia, and being
involved also with the attempts of the Catalan peasant classes to shake
off the social burdens which they had so long been obliged to bear. The
former seigniorial stronghold of Aragon proper was in this war the most
powerful royalist element. The closing years of Juan’s reign were
devoted to a war against France for the reconquest of Cerdagne and the
Roussillon, which had previously been granted by Juan to the French king
in return for support against the former’s Catalan enemies. This war was
still going on when, in 1479, Juan died, and Ferdinand ascended the
throne, to rule, jointly with Isabella, the entire realms of Castile and
Aragon. Thus had the evil intrigues of Juana Enríquez redounded to the
benefit of Spain.


[Sidenote: Navarre re-enters the current of peninsula history.]

From 1285 to 1328 Navarre was a French province, but recovered its
independence under the house of Evreux on the death of Charles IV of
France without succession. The next heir after Charles of Viana was his
sister Blanche, but her father, Juan II of Aragon, had her imprisoned,
and a younger sister, Leonor, was enthroned in her stead.[34] Leonor and
her husband, the count of Foix, established a new dynasty which was
destined to be of short duration, for in 1512 Ferdinand of Aragon
conquered Spanish Navarre. French Navarre remained for a time under the
rule of the house of Foix, but presently became a part of the kingdom of

_The Basque Provinces_

[Sidenote: Early history of the Basque provinces and their ultimate
incorporation in the kingdom of Castile.]

The three Basque provinces of Álava, Vizcaya, and Guipúzcoa had more of
interest in their internal organization than in their external political
history, since in the latter respect they were closely united to Navarre
and Castile, which states disputed the dominion of these provinces. They
were usually subject to one power or the other, although some of their
towns, together with others of the Castilian north coast, formed
themselves into leagues (_hermandades_), and enjoyed a certain amount of
independence in their dealings with England and France. A number of
popular beliefs exist with regard to the history of these provinces, one
of which is that they have never been conquered. It is true that no
conqueror ever stamped out the indomitable spirit and the customs of the
people, but the land was rarely independent. It is believed that the
Moslem invasion of the eighth century did not extend to these provinces,
but at a later time they did suffer from Moslem incursions. With the
organization of the kingdom of Asturias, both Álava and Vizcaya seem to
have been either dependent on that realm or at least in close
relationship with it. At times, from the eighth to the tenth centuries,
the counts of Álava were also counts of Castile. Passing into the hands
of Sancho the Great of Navarre, Álava was incorporated in that kingdom
until the reign of Alfonso VIII of Castile. Alfonso VIII won the battle
of Vitoria, and conquered the land in 1200. Thenceforth it remained
under the sovereignty of the Castilian monarch, although with an
assembly, the _Cofradía_ (Fraternity, or Association) of Arriaga, of its
own. In 1332, in the reign of Alfonso XI, the incorporation with Castile
was made complete, although with a retention of the charters and
liberties of the province. Vizcaya also vacillated between Navarre and
Castile as a more or less independent, protected country, until in 1370
it passed over to the Castilian crown by inheritance of the wife of
Henry III. The course of events in Guipúzcoa was very similar. In 1200
the province submitted to the conqueror of Vitoria, and from that time
forth the external political history of Guipúzcoa was that of Castile.


[Sidenote: Inconsequential character of Granadine political history.]

The Moslem state of Granada was of very slight political importance in
this period, despite its by no means insignificant territorial extent,
wealth, and population. It was a mere political accident, annoying to
the Christians at times, but as a rule not worthy of serious
consideration as an enemy. It was precisely because it was not greatly
to be feared or very troublesome that it was permitted to maintain its
independence. It is to be noted, also, that there was very little of
the crusading spirit in these centuries; if there had been, Granada
would soon have been conquered. On several occasions, when the rulers of
Granada called in the Benimerines and others from Africa, the Moslems
were a serious peril to Christian Spain, but the battle of the Salado in
1340 proved decisive, being followed by a decline of the political
strength of the Moslem states of northern Africa. After 1340 the rulers
of Granada limited themselves, in their relations with the Christian
states, to intervening in Castile during periods of civil war, or to
asking Castilian aid at times of internal strife in Granada. Uprisings
and dethronements were of frequent occurrence, but so too were Moslem
raids into Castilian territory.




[Sidenote: Social changes of the era in Castile.]

As regards social organization this period represents merely an
evolution of the factors which had already appeared in the preceding
era, and its chief results were the following: the end of serfdom; the
advance of the middle class and its opposition to the lords, principally
through its jurisconsults and the _caballeros_ of the towns; an increase
in the privileges of the clergy; and additional landed wealth for the
nobles through the donations of the kings or private conquests. The
principal social struggle was no longer that of the serfs against their
lords, but rather of the middle class, as represented by the wealthier
citizens of the towns, against the nobles and clergy for legal equality,
especially as regards taxation and other duties to the state. The
disappearance of serfdom did not bring economic well-being to the
agricultural laborers; their fortunes in this regard were often as
vexatious and hard to bear as their former personal dependence had been.
At the same time, the poorer people of the towns became a fairly
numerous class, but they were in a position of inferiority as compared
with the wealthier citizens.

[Sidenote: Social and political prestige of the nobility.]

[Sidenote: Primogeniture and _latifundia_.]

Through civil wars and the weakness of the kings the power of the
nobles, both socially and politically, appeared to increase. They did
not confine their strife to opposition to the king, but fought one
another incessantly, not for any political or other ideal, but mainly
for personal reasons. Such was the nature of the wars, for example,
between the Guzmán and Ponce families of Seville. As time went on,
these intra-class struggles increased, being more numerous than ever in
the fifteenth century. The nobility would have destroyed itself if the
kings had known how to take advantage of the situation, but most of them
failed to appreciate their opportunity. Sancho IV, Alfonso XI, Pedro I,
and Henry III tried to reduce the nobles by direct attack, and Henry IV
gave special attention to the development of a new nobility as a
counterpoise to the old, but usually the kings dared to fight only
indirectly, as by granting the petitions of the towns which involved a
diminution of seigniorial authority. Two circumstances in addition to
their political victories tended to secure the position of the nobles:
the adoption of the law of primogeniture with regard to the succession
to both their titles and their lands; and the increase in the
territorial domains in the possession of the nobles. By the law of
primogeniture the wealth of the family and the lustre of its name were
given in charge of the eldest son, maintaining in this way the powerful
position of the particular noble house. The second sons (_segundones_),
in large measure disinherited, sought a career as members of the clergy
or as soldiers. Henry II himself was partly responsible for the
introduction of this new practice of the nobility, and he and later
kings usually required that the lands granted by them to the nobles
should be inalienable and subject to the law of primogeniture. The royal
donations, which were especially great from the time of Henry II on,
were usually of two kinds: _honores_ (honors), or grants of the fiscal
rights which the king had in a specifically named place; and _tierras_
(lands), or grants of a fixed rent on a certain town or towns. Both
forms were termed generally grants in _encomienda_. The nobles increased
their holdings yet more by usurpations and private conquests. Early in
the reign of Henry IV, for example, the Duke of Medina Sidonia and other
nobles conquered territories of vast size from the Moslems, and these
_latifundia_, (broad estates) have influenced even to the present day
the economic life of Andalusia.

[Sidenote: Decline of the military orders.]

The _caballeros_ of the military orders were a notably important
element. A noble of high rank was usually chosen as grand master, and
this gave him a preponderantly strong position. The vast power of these
orders was the cause of their downfall, the impulse for which came from
without, through the joint action of the French monarchy and the popes.
The order of the Templars, the strongest of all, was abolished by the
pope in 1312, and this reacted to cause a decline of the other orders.
Furthermore, the reason for their existence ceased with the entry of the
Turks into Europe and the cessation of the Spanish crusades. Except as
concerned the military orders the nobles seemed to have reached the
height of their social ambitions, conducting themselves in a lawless
manner with a more or less complete lack of loyalty, high ideals, or
moral sense, but (as will be pointed out in the following chapter) their
authority appeared to be greater than it actually was.[35]

[Sidenote: Social importance of the clergy.]

The personal immunities of the clergy were not only extended, but were
also made applicable to a greater number than formerly, and the wealth
of the church was increased. Not only priests, but also their servants
and the members of the religious orders, including even those of the lay
orders, acquired the so-called “benefit of clergy,” which exempted them
from certain financial obligations to the state and to the towns, and
secured them the privilege of being subject judicially to the
ecclesiastical courts only. Furthermore, entry into religious orders
became so comparatively easy that the number of ecclesiastics proper
increased greatly, although many of them continued to be business men,
lawyers, administrative officers, and even jugglers and buffoons,
frequently leading a licentious life. Similarly, the mendicant orders
had lost their early ideals of poverty and self-sacrifice, and besides
being lax at times in their mode of life were devoting themselves to the
acquisition of wealth, especially by procuring inheritances. These
conditions were cited in complaint after complaint of the national
_Cortes_, asking the king for their redress. Finally, Henry II issued a
law, confirmed by Juan I, that clergymen should contribute to the funds
applied on public works, and that lands which had been tributary should
continue to pay taxes after their acquisition by the church. These laws
seem not to have been complied with, for the complaints were renewed in
later meetings of the _Cortes_; it was charged that the clergymen
excommunicated the tax collectors. On the other hand the right of the
church to collect the _diezmo_, or tithe (not precisely a tenth), of the
produce of lands not their own, a right which had already existed in
some jurisdictions, became general. The king profited by this
arrangement, since a portion called the royal thirds (_tercias
reales_)[36] went to him for expenditure for public charities or pious
works, such as the building of churches, although the kings did not
always so employ it.[37]

[Sidenote: Advance of the middle class.]

The same causes which had conduced to the development of the middle
class in the preceding era were accentuated to procure a corresponding
advance in this,--such as the increase in population, the growth of
industry, commerce, and agriculture, the freedom of the servile classes,
the prominence of the jurisconsults and secondary nobility, or
_caballeros_ (proceeding usually from the towns, and living there allied
with the middle class against the greater nobles), and the great
political importance which the towns acquired. The basis of the middle
class was the town, partisan of the centralizing, absolutist tendency of
the kings so far as it related to the nobles and clergy, but strenuously
insistent on the retention of its own local charter. The middle class
had control of production and was the nerve of the state, but was
virtually the only element to pay taxes, despite the fact that the great
bulk of territorial wealth was in the hands of the nobility and the
church. The term “middle class” began to refer more and more clearly to
the wealthier, free, but untitled element, for the laboring class became
more prominent in the towns, sharing in the charter privileges of their
richer neighbors, but with certain limitations on their economic
liberty. There was no social conflict of consequence between the two
classes, however, for the laborers were not yet very numerous, and the
evils of their situation were not so great as they later became, besides
which, self-interest united them with the middle class against the
nobles and clergy. Such strife as there was between them was of a
political, and not of a social, character. The so-called popular element
of the _Cortes_ represented the middle class only. The practice of
forming leagues (_hermandades_) of towns and _caballeros_ against the
abuses of the higher nobility was much indulged in, for it was not safe
to rely solely on the king. The victory in the end lay with the towns,
although they were far from obtaining their specific aims at this time.
Nevertheless, the fourteenth century was characterized by the
transformation of society from its earlier basis of chivalry and war,
when the scene had been laid in the castles of the country, to the
bourgeois life of the towns, devoted to industry and commerce.

[Sidenote: Improved basis of rural society.]

[Sidenote: Slavery.]

The rural servile classes, which had all but won complete personal
liberty in the preceding period, attained both that and nearly complete
economic liberty at this time. Thus the ordinance of Valladolid, in
1325, prohibited the lords from retaining either the realty or the
personalty of any man who should move from seigniorial to royal lands,
preserving the owner’s right to cultivate or sell his lands, and to
make any use he saw fit of his personal effects. The ordinance of
Alcalá, of 1348, took a step backward, limiting the owner’s freedom of
sale, lest the lands fall into privileged, non-taxpaying hands, and
requiring him to keep somebody on the land, so that there might always
be a taxpayer there. Finally, the ideal of the ordinance of Valladolid
prevailed. At the same time, the old servile relation whereby the lord
procured the cultivation of his own lands changed to one of landlord and
tenant, based on the payment of a stipulated rent. The fact that there
were no social struggles in Castile in the fourteenth and fifteenth
centuries is evidence of the comparatively satisfactory condition of the
rural classes. Naturally, there were abuses of an extra-legal character
by the nobles, such as the forced loans exacted by them, the compulsory
marriages of rich widows to members of a lord’s following, and outright
robbery, but the real interests of the lords called for them to use
conciliatory measures to attract population, and some of them at least
did follow that policy. Personal slavery still continued, but the number
of slaves was very greatly diminished and gradually got smaller,--a
tendency which was favored by the laws.

[Sidenote: Treatment of the Mudéjares.]

The free Mudéjares continued to receive lenient treatment, and their
numbers increased greatly; many of the Moslem faith preferred to leave
Granada and live in Christian Castile. The legislation of Alfonso X put
them under the royal protection and allowed them to have their own
courts and their own law. They were permitted to retain the mosques they
already had, but were forbidden to build new ones; they could not
worship in public in places settled chiefly by Christians, but otherwise
no objection was made; the obligations of former times as regards
taxation, mode of dress, and dealings with Christians were also
retained; and the gathering of Mudéjares into the cities, despite the
greater number of restrictions imposed upon them, went on, caused by the
abuses of an unofficial character to which they were subjected at the
hands of the Christian population in the country. In later reigns the
restrictions were increased, but many of them were not enforced. In
fact, the Mudéjares enjoyed greater prosperity in the last reign of the
era than at any other time of the period, being a wealthy and important
social element, represented at court even, and enjoying a number of
advantages which for a long time had been denied them.

[Sidenote: Harsh measures against the Jews.]

[Sidenote: The Marranos.]

For a while the legal situation of the Jews was comparable to that of
the Mudéjares, but the Christian clergy was particularly vindictive
against the former, and popular sentiment was bitterly hostile to them,
due not only to the influence of the church, but also in part to hatred
of the Jewish tax collectors, and partly to the avarice awakened by the
wealth of the Jews (fabulously exaggerated as a rule). This enmity was
evidenced in more and more restrictive laws and in the open insults and
violence of the Christian populace. Popular feeling began to make itself
more rigorously felt from about the year 1391. In 1391 a great massacre
of the Jews took place in Seville, and this was a signal for similar
massacres in other parts of Spain. Shortly afterward the Jews lost their
separate law courts; they were forbidden among other things to engage in
commerce with Christians, to rent the taxes[38] or hold public
positions, to be artisans, to carry arms, or to have intimate relations
with Christians; and they were even compelled to listen to sermons
preached with a view to their conversion. These laws were not always
enforced, but the position of the Jews was far from equalling that of
the Mudéjares. Great numbers of them were converted, but it was
believed, probably with truth, that they continued to practise the
Jewish faith in secret. The converts were insulted by their Christian
brethren, even in the name “Marranos” (pigs) applied to them as a class.
They were also envied because of their industry and wealth, and were
accused of diabolical practices of which they were almost certainly not
guilty. In the last years of the reign of Henry IV the massacres of Jews
began to be extended to them as well as to the unconverted element.

[Sidenote: Changes in the laws of marriage, the family, and property.]

Two forces combined to change the former type of family life: the Roman
civil law (of tremendous importance); and the doctrines of the church,
which indeed in their judicial expression were influenced profoundly by
the Roman law. They were able to strike a death-blow at the marriage _á
yuras_; henceforth the law required the sanction of the church.
_Barraganía_ still maintained a legal though restricted standing. Cases
of marriage and divorce were taken away from civil jurisdiction and
turned over to the ecclesiastical courts. As an illustration of the
individualistic tendencies springing from the influence of Roman
jurisprudence it may be noted that up to twenty-five years of age a
daughter had to have her father’s consent in order to contract marriage,
but could dispense with his permission after that time. The most
important reform in family life was the establishment of the rule of
primogeniture, a practice which rapidly became customary. The Roman law
was equally influential in its effects upon property. Whereas formerly
the wealth of Castile had been based on agriculture and stock-raising,
with the land concentrated in few hands and cultivated by serfs, now
urban lands and personalty, based on industry and commerce and adapted
to Roman principles, became the more important; and despite the
_latifundia_ of the era a large part of the former seigniorial lands was
now given over in small lots to free proprietors protected by the law.
The Roman formalism appeared to some extent also in the law of property,
contract, and wills, especially in the legislation of Alfonso X.

[Sidenote: Survivals of medieval collectivity.]

The collectivity of medieval times had a survival in the lands common of
the towns, and appeared also in the industrial guilds and the
semi-religious _cofradías_, or fraternities. The latter included various
classes of people organized into a group for the accomplishment of some
social object, such as to perform acts of charity or hold funerary
dinners, as well as to provide mutual aid; the law forbade associations
for political, immoral, or illegal purposes. The guilds were far more
important, and were greatly favored by the laws. At first they were
closely dependent on the municipalities, which intervened to regulate
the trades, even in technical respects, but at length the guilds began
to receive charters directly from the king. The new charters, too, in
keeping with the practices of the era, were minute in their directions
with regard to the conduct of the various industries. By the fifteenth
century the guilds were paying little attention to the social matters
which formerly were their most important function,--these had passed
over to the _cofradías_,--and had become almost wholly economic and
professional, although their members marched together in processions,
and the guilds as a body rendered public service of one kind or
another,--as, for example, maintaining some public charity. They were
also a factor in the political life of the towns.

[Sidenote: General social customs.]

[Sidenote: Dress.]

[Sidenote: Superstition.]

[Sidenote: Sports.]

In general social customs, so far as they relate to the upper classes,
for the practices of the humbler elements are less well known, this era
was marked by great immorality, license in expression (even when
referring to matters of religion), luxury, a desire for honors and noble
rank (even to the point of falsely pretending to them), the mixture of
an appetite for knowledge with the pursuit of superstitions, and the
exaggerated practice of chivalric principles (professed more as an
affectation than with sincerity). The luxury of the times manifested
itself in the usual ways, and it is worthy of note that members of the
middle class were now able to vie with the nobles. Women painted and
powdered and used exaggerated effects in their dress, and men wore
high-heeled boots, employed various devices to correct the natural
defects of the body, and used perfumes. Foreign influences entered to
modify clothing so that it tended more to fit the body than before, with
a resulting abandonment of the flowing garments of earlier times. Men
often wore stockings of different colors, a feather in their hat, and a
much-adorned, variegated cape. Color, too, was equally prominent for its
diversity in women’s dress, but the dress itself allowed greater freedom
of movement than the earlier styles had done. Superstitions were
prevalent, from the alchemy and astrology of the learned, to the various
forms of divination and ancient practices--such, for example, as the
mass for the dead dedicated to living persons--of the common people.
Jousts and tourneys and attempts to imitate the warlike feats of the
heroes of fiction in such works as _Amadís de Gaula_ (of which later)
formed a part of the chivalric customs of the day. Bull-fighting was
clearly in existence by the time of Alfonso X, and thenceforth enjoyed
great popularity.[39]

In social and political institutions Aragon proper, Catalonia, and
Valencia still differed from one another sufficiently to merit separate
treatment. While in many ways their customs were like those of Castile
there were certain variations worthy of record.

_Aragon proper_

[Sidenote: Social differences in Aragon proper.]

Prior to the reign of Pedro IV the nobles increased their authority both
with respect to their rights over the lower classes and in the exercise
of political power, but if Pedro reduced their privileges in the latter
respect neither he nor his successors did anything to prepare the
emancipation of the servile classes. The nobles retained their social
privileges even to the extent of procuring a law in 1451 doing away with
the royal practice of granting titles of nobility of the lower grades.
Feudalism continued, though in a modified form, for if the nobles could
receive lands from the king and reissue them to vassals of their own
they were obliged to return them to the king whenever he should ask them
to do so, and were not allowed to build castles without his consent;
moreover, there were various other limitations on their former nearly
absolute sway. They collected taxes for themselves, and were exempt from
paying them to the royal treasury, but were under the necessity of
rendering military service when called upon. The clergy gained increased
social importance just as it did in Castile, and the middle class became
a prominent factor with the development of the towns, though far from
attaining to the high place of the same element in Castile. The towns
followed a divided policy, for those of the north were feudal in type
and allied with the nobility, while those of the south were more
democratic and royal. The condition of the servile classes was even
worse than before, and no serious attempt was made either by them or
the _Cortes_ to relieve their hard lot.[40] The laws continued to
recognize the lord’s right to deal with them as he pleased, and even to
kill them, and lands were still sold with the men and women both
Christians and others who dwelt thereon. The history of the Jews and
Mudéjares followed the same course that it did in Castile. Not merely in
Aragon proper but in all the dominions of the crown the Jews were
subjected to exceedingly harsh treatment. The Mudéjares of both Aragon
and Valencia were protected by the kings and the nobles with a view to
keeping their lands occupied so that they might not fail to yield rents
and taxes, and in both regions the rural population was principally
Mudéjar. The Roman law exercised a powerful influence in Aragon as
elsewhere. Thus freedom of testament was introduced, and primogeniture
attained to a predominant place. The guilds did not advance to the point
reached in Castile, existing rather for purposes of mutual aid, and
lacking the technical regulations of the Castilian guilds.


[Sidenote: Revolts of the serfs.]

There are two prime facts in the social history of Catalonia in this
period: the uprising of the serfs; and the outstanding importance of the
cities, especially Barcelona. The first marked the decline of the
nobility and the appearance of a new social factor; the second indicated
the direction which modern social organization was to take. Having lost
their political power the nobles concentrated their interest on getting
wealth out of their lands, especially through the tributes of their
serfs. In this respect they had the enormous advantage of possessing the
greater part of Catalan territory.[41] The serfs were subject to a great
number of annoying personal services, and (in a typical case) to as many
as thirty different tributes, most of them in kind, besides the
ordinary rental for the land. They had already won a right to redeem
themselves for money, and Juan I, Martín I, and María (the wife and
regent of Alfonso V), as well as many jurisconsults, made some more or
less ineffectual attempts to better their condition. The plagues which
swept Europe in the fourteenth century were a greater aid, since
laborers became scarce and therefore more desirable. By the time of
Alfonso V the serfs had become sufficiently emboldened to formulate
demands, on the threat of a general uprising. Alfonso accepted a sum of
money from them, granted what they asked, and then withdrew his promises
when the nobles also bribed him. The revolt was delayed, however, to the
year 1462 in the next reign, when it formed one of the complications in
the wars of Juan II against the deputation of Catalonia and the city of
Barcelona. Both sides sought the aid of the serfs, but Juan was able to
win them to his support, although their military operations were
directed primarily against their own lords. The peace of 1472 did not
solve the social question; so there was another uprising in 1475, and it
was still going on at Juan’s death, in 1479, being left for solution to
the reign of his son, Ferdinand.

[Sidenote: Decline of the nobility.]

[Sidenote: Persecution of the Jews.]

As a result of these troubles the nobles declined even in social
prestige, for they had received very little in the way of tributes from
the serfs since the reign of Alfonso V, and had aggravated the situation
by their wars with one another or against the towns. Meanwhile, the
_caballeros_ and others of the secondary nobility, natural enemies of
the great lords, had advanced in importance, and in the reign of Pedro
IV had won a right to law courts of their own, free from the
jurisdiction of nobles of the upper grades. On the other hand, the great
nobles continued to receive donations of land from the king, with more
or less complete jurisdiction, since the existing needs of the royal
treasury usually seemed greater than the ultimate evil of the grants;
often the kings gave away towns which they had previously pledged their
word never to alienate. It is to be noted that the mere ownership of
land did not entitle the lords to exercise civil and criminal
jurisdiction without a specific grant of those powers from the king. In
addition to the serfs and the kings, the nobility had a third element
against it, the very powerful bourgeoisie, or middle class, which in
this period attained to the greatest splendor. The history of the
Mudéjares at this time was unimportant, for there were not many in
Catalonia. The Jews suffered as they did in Castile. The year 1391,
which witnessed the massacre in Seville, was marked by a similar event
in Barcelona, where the Jewish quarter completely disappeared. From that
time on, harsh measures were taken in Catalonia, and as a result the
Jews came to be regarded as sharing with slaves (of whom there were
still a considerable number) the lowest level in the social hierarchy.

[Sidenote: Catalan guilds.]

The modifications of family life arising from the influence of the Roman
law were as notable in Catalonia as in Castile and Aragon. The guilds
were developed to a point even surpassing that of Castile. As early as
the fourteenth century they were already organizations for technical
objects related to their trade. Every trade had its guild, from the more
important associations of weavers, bakers, and the like, down to the
more humble blind beggars’ guilds.

[Sidenote: Transition from medievalism to modernity in social customs.]

All that has been said of Castile as regards the immorality, luxury,
dress, superstition, and chivalric pursuits of the aristocracy and
middle class applies generally, not only to Catalonia, but also to
Aragon and Valencia. The nobles endeavored to emulate the king in
extravagances, with the result that many were ruined, and their attempts
to avoid paying their debts to the Jews were one cause of the massacres
of the latter. The luxury in dress brought in its train the development
of tailoring to such an extent that the Catalan modes were well-known
even in foreign countries. In many of the amusements of the
period,--dances, illuminations, pantomimes, processions, masquerades,
and others,--one sees the influence of Renaissance tastes, which were to
lead to modern civilization, although these same diversions were also
tainted with the rudeness of earlier times.[42] In fine, the customs of
the period were made up of a curious mixture of passing medievalism and
coming modernity. For example, while some seigniorial castles were
centres of luxury and entertainment, others retained the austere,
military customs of the past. Again, at the same time that there
appeared a veneer of literary and scientific culture, ideas as regards
sanitation, both public and private, were still rudimentary. Laws
continued to be passed forbidding people to wash clothes in public
fountains, to throw water and filth in the streets, and to loose pigs
therein, but they were not very generally obeyed. Even the public baths
which had existed formerly fell into disuse. Thus epidemics were
frequent, but aside from prayers and sequestration of cases not much was
done to check their progress.


[Sidenote: Victory of Catalan civilization in Valencia.]

The majority of the Christian settlers of Valencia were both bourgeois
and Catalan, while the nobles were mostly Aragonese. Down to the time of
Pedro IV, the latter exerted themselves to deprive the former of the
power which Jaime I had given them, and they were successful to the
point of sharing in administrative posts which had formerly been denied
them, and also procured the application of the Aragonese law in the
land. After their defeat by Pedro IV they declined rapidly, hastening
their fall by partisan quarrels among themselves. The history of the
Mudéjares and Jews followed the same course as in Aragon; here, as
elsewhere, the terrible year 1391 was a time of massacres of the Jews,
followed by increasingly harsh legislation. The influence of the Roman
law in modifying family institutions and the development of the guilds
proceeded on lines analogous to the same factors in Catalonia.



[Sidenote: General character and importance of the era in political

In the relations of the seigniorial elements and the monarchy this was a
critical period for the latter, deciding as a result of the virtual,
though not at the time apparent, victory of the kings that Castile was
to become a power in the world. For that very reason the evolution of
political institutions in this era was important, for on the development
of monarchy depended the conquest of America, but they were also
important because the institutions which were set up in the new world
had noteworthy antecedents at this time. Influenced largely by the
principles of the Roman law the kings aspired to absolute monarchy in a
centralized state, with a view to overcoming the social and political
strife resulting from the diffusion of power inherent in the seigniorial
system. Their most dangerous enemies were the nobles, whose spirit of
independence and self-esteem and whose vast wealth in lands and fighting
men made them a powerful factor in themselves. They were yet stronger
because the kings had to depend on them for military service since there
was no large standing army, and because they in a measure developed a
class consciousness in opposition to absolutism, becoming a nobility
rather than remaining a mere aggregation of nobles. While the
seigniorial ideal was not lacking in the towns, they were not nearly so
dangerous to the monarchy, because they were usually as hostile to the
nobility as the kings were. Often, however, they fought against the
kings, or exacted concessions for their services. The task for the
fulfilment of royal ideals was therefore a difficult one, requiring a
sagacious type of monarch, such as in fact rarely appeared in the
period. Circumstances fought better than the kings, and nowhere does
this show forth more clearly than in a review of the political
institutions of the era.

[Sidenote: Internal decline in the power of the nobles.]

The external vicissitudes of the strife between the nobles and the kings
have already been traced, and it would appear from them that the former
gained the upper hand. In fact, however, their cause was already
internally dead. One symptom of their approaching dissolution was the
change in the practices of the nobles whereby they became more and more
a court nobility, plotting in the shadow of the king (like the
chancellor López de Ayala) instead of being semi-independent potentates
on their own estates as formerly. Despite their class consciousness,
parties arose within their ranks with distinct ideals, apart from
personal ambition, dividing them against one another. Thus in Seville
the Guzmán faction represented conservatism, while the Ponces were
radical. Most important of all were the blows resulting from the social
and economic changes which deprived the nobles of their serfs and
created a new form of wealth in the hands of the middle class, an
element better fitted than the old nobility to acquire and develop the
new resources. The eagerness with which the nobles took up the practice
of primogeniture, leaving their estates nearly intact to their eldest
sons so that their house and their name might not be lost, showed that
they realized the force of the new order of things and were taking
thought for the future. In earlier times, when wealth was territorial
and serfs were numerous, the land-rich nobility had been secure, but
that day had passed.

[Sidenote: The absolutist ideal of Alfonso X.]

The great representative of absolutism was Alfonso X, not that he
invented the idea or was the first to attempt its achievement, but
because he formulated the program more clearly than any of his
predecessors, embodying it in his legislation, and because he received
the first shock in defence of these principles. He enacted that the
legislative, judicial, and military powers and the right to coin money
were fundamental, inalienable rights of the king, who could not give
them away for a period longer than his own life, and declared that the
lords could not exercise any judicial or other sovereign powers on their
estates except those which had been granted to them by the king, or
which they had enjoyed by immemorial custom. His laws also prescribed
certain forms of etiquette which should be employed in treating with the
king, establishing the ceremonial which has always served as such a prop
for monarchy. The divine origin of royal power was asserted.
Independence of the Holy Roman Emperors was specifically proclaimed, but
a measure of subjection to the pope was admitted. The absolutism of
Alfonso X did not pretend, even in principle, that the king might
exercise arbitrary or tyrannical authority; Alfonso declared that the
king was bound to observe the law and deal justly with the people,
acting as their guardian and administrator, and granting them certain
rights to inspect his conduct. Those who wrongly possessed themselves of
the royal power, or made bad use of it, were declared to be tyrants and
not legitimate kings. The people, on the other hand, owed respect,
obedience, and loyalty to the legitimate king, and even a species of
guardianship to prevent his non-fulfilment of obligations. Alfonso X was
not able to sustain his principles in open conflict, but they remained
as the ideal of future kings, even though some of them were modified by
the legislation of later reigns; thus Alfonso XI declared that sovereign
rights might be acquired from the crown by prescription, except the
taxing power and high justice (or the hearing of cases on appeal), and
that the kings could alienate any of their sovereign powers except those
of high justice, coinage, and war.

[Sidenote: Establishment of hereditary succession and development of
court officialdom.]

Two fundamental results of the centralizing, absolutist policy of the
kings were the final establishment of hereditary succession and the
development of consultive and other bodies about the king, the
forerunners of modern bureaucracy. The former has already been referred
to. Alfonso himself was the first to break his own law in this respect,
but after his reign the principle was definitely recognized. The pomp
and ceremonial of royalty increased the number of officials whose
principal functions were those of adding splendor to the court,--such,
for example, as the king’s cup-bearer, butler, and chamberlain. Great
nobles also sent their sons to court to be educated under the protection
and with the favor of the king, and these young men formed a special
royal guard. In addition there began to be an infinity of servants,
notaries, doctors, and others occupying posts of a less ornamental
character. The most important novelty of the period was the development
of the _Consejo Real_.

[Sidenote: _The Consejo Real._]

The kings had long been surrounded by a body of nobles and prelates
called the _Consejo Real_, or Royal Council, which advised them in
matters of government, or sat as the _Cort_, or supreme court, in
appeals from lower jurisdictions, but its membership and functions had
not been very clearly established, for it dealt indiscriminately with
any subject upon which the king might want advice. One important reform
was the introduction of representatives of the popular element in this
body. Different kings, from Sancho IV on, decreed that a certain number
of the council should be “good men,”--or members of the untitled,
secular class,--although the practice did not become fixed. A law of
Juan I in 1385 provided that the council should be composed of twelve
men, of whom four should be plebeians. Two years later it was required
that the last-named should be _letrados_,--that is, men learned in the
law,--and shortly afterward they began to be called _oidores_ (hearers
of cases). Juan II divided the council into two bodies, one of
government, the other of justice. It was not until the time of Ferdinand
and Isabella, however, that the _Consejo Real_ acquired real stability.

[Sidenote: The hierarchy of officialdom.]

There were important developments, too, in the general administrative
and judicial hierarchy, although with a mixture of the two functions.
The hierarchy of officialdom, from the lowest grade to the highest, with
especial regard to comparative judicial authority, ran from the
_alcaldes_ of the towns through _merinos mayores_ or the _adelantados_,
the _alcalde del rey_ (royal _alcalde_) of the court, and the
_adelantado mayor_ (or chief justice of Castile) to the king himself. In
some jurisdictions cases in first instance came before _alcaldes del
rey_ (different from the above-named) with an appeal to _merinos
menores_[43] and _merinos mayores_, or directly to the latter, and
thence upward. The _merinos menores_ limited themselves to jurisdiction
in certain criminal cases. The _merinos mayores_ were, like the
_adelantados_, governors of large districts as well as judges in cases
of appeal, for which latter purpose they were assisted by men acquainted
with the law. They took the place of many of the former _adelantados_.
The _adelantado mayor_ also had administrative functions, as the superior
of the _merinos_ and other officials below him. Alfonso X employed the
old term, _cort_, in the new and more restricted sense of a royal judicial
tribunal which acted for the king. In later reigns this came to be known
as the _chancillería_ (chancery), or _audiencia_,[44]--which latter name
was eventually transmitted to the Americas for bodies exercising similar

[Sidenote: Diversity of jurisdictions and tendencies toward

Despite appearances, uniformity and order in the administrative and
judicial organization were far from being completely established. Not
only was there a great variety of jurisdictions, but there was also a
great diversity in the law, for one region would differ radically from
another. The towns, nobles, clergy, universities, and the great
corporation of stock-raisers (the _Mesta_) all had officials of their
own and exemption from royal jurisdiction. At the same time, great
_hermandades_, or leagues of cities, were formed for the maintenance of
public security against highwaymen or other disturbing elements, since
royal activity in this regard left much to be desired, and these also
had their separate jurisdictions.[45] The current toward centralization
was very strong, however, being aided by the education in the Roman law
of the _letrados_, whom the king employed as his officials (for these
men were pronouncedly monarchical in sentiment), and by the increase in
powers to which the _adelantados_ and _merinos mayores_ were attaining
at the expense of the semi-independent elements. The successors of
Alfonso X, especially Alfonso XI, furthered this policy of
centralization. Royal judges began to appear in the towns, either taking
the place of the formerly elected officials, or acting concurrently with
them, for the kings took advantage of one pretext or another to make an
opening for their own appointees. Another important reform was the
division of the _audiencia_ into two sections, one of which remained in
Segovia, while the other went on circuit for brief periods in Andalusia.
Under Juan II there appeared in the _audiencia_ the official known as
the _fiscal_, who at this time was a royal prosecuting attorney, but who
later was to become one of the most important all-round administrative
officials in Spanish and Spanish colonial government. As an example,
too, of the extension of royal jurisdiction may be mentioned the
so-called recourse of _fuerza_ in cases of usurpation (by force,--hence
_fuerza_) of lands or jurisdiction by the clergy. The trial of these
cases was ordered to be held in the royal courts.

[Sidenote: Judicial procedure.]

Punishments for crime continued to be atrocious, and torture was still
employed, but only in the case of persons of bad reputation or when the
accused bore the evidences of crime. Privilege still obtained to modify
the punishment of the upper classes. A very notable reform was the
introduction of the _pesquisa_, or inquisitorial investigation, for the
bringing of an indictment, or accusation, of crime. Formerly the state
had intervened when one individual charged another with crime, a process
which resulted to the detriment of the weak, who would not dare to
accuse the more powerful. The _pesquisa_ not only introduced the grand
jury function of an accusation by the state, without necessarily
involving any individual accusers, but it also made crime partake more
of the nature of a public offence than of a mere infringement of
individual rights. The vulgar proofs, with one exception, were
abolished, and the importance of written documents and the testimony of
witnesses became more generally recognized. This also caused the rise of
the lawyers, who, after a lapse of centuries, began again to be a
noteworthy element in judicial affairs. The _riepto_, or duel, a special
form of the wager of battle, was the only one of the vulgar proofs to
remain in existence. This was a special privilege enjoyed only by those
of noble blood. The duel was hedged in by a number of rules, one of
which was that it must take place in the presence of the king. If the
challenger were killed, the innocence of his opponent was proclaimed,
but if the latter were killed, still protesting innocence, he was in
this case, too, declared guiltless. The challenger could win by
defeating his opponent without killing him, in which event the latter
was banished, and half of his goods were granted to the king.

[Sidenote: The new system of taxation.]

Although the expenses of the state were greater than formerly, the
income was also greater. Many new forms of taxation were introduced: the
royal monopolies on salt and mines; the _alcabala_, or tax on sales,
which first became general in the reign of Alfonso XI; stamp taxes; and
the _consumo_, or tax on all merchandise entering the city. These taxes
fell upon goods or upon acts of individuals in connection with the state
(as distinguished from the king) differing radically from the services
of a feudal character, with a multitude of exceptions and privileges,
which had formerly been the basis of the public income. Owing to the
turbulence of the era and the excessive alienation of public wealth by
grants of the kings to the nobles, receipts did not equal the royal
needs, and resort was had frequently to loans, debasement of the
coinage, and arbitrary confiscations of property. Even under the new
system of taxation the nobles and clergy very rarely had to pay any of
the numerous taxes, and privileges and exemptions were granted, much as
before. Nevertheless, the methods employed contained the germ of a sound
financial system, which was to develop in succeeding centuries. The
collection of taxes was rented out as formerly, being given in charge
usually of Mudéjares, Jews, or Marranos. Complaints against these
collectors were so insistent that at one time churchmen were substituted
for them,--without diminishing the complaints, for the fault lay in the
system. There were royal financial officials for receiving the funds and
examining accounts, but no organized treasury department was as yet

[Sidenote: The army and navy.]

The principal military fact of the era was the increase in the number of
troops sustained by the king, but in other respects there was no
fundamental difference from the preceding period. Technically there were
advances in the art of war,--such as the development of a greater
variety in the branches of the service and the introduction of
powder,--but except for cannon of not very great utility the use of
firearms did not become general. Complete armor came in with the white
companies. The royal navy, initiated by Ferdinand III, was continued
throughout the era, and this was a period of brilliant victories against
the Moslems in the Mediterranean and the English in the north; on one
occasion the Castilian admiral, Pero Niño, ravaged the English coast. No
results of note seem to have proceeded from these victories, however.

[Sidenote: Greatness and decline of the towns in political authority.]

[Sidenote: Advance of the seigniorial towns.]

This was the most flourishing epoch in the history of the free Castilian
towns: their numbers and political importance increased; they received
new privileges; and they made their presence felt in national affairs
through their representatives in the _Cortes_. The most extreme example
of municipal independence was provided by the towns of the north coast,
which recognized the sovereignty of the Castilian king, but in fact
governed themselves, even intervening in foreign affairs through the
agency of their league. In the interior the towns were less independent
politically and administratively, and in the fourteenth century their
authority began to wane. The entry of royal judges into the towns has
already been mentioned. In administration the kings were also able at
length to exercise influence. This came about as a result of a number
of political changes, such as the substitution of a life term in office
for one of a period of years, the usurpation by the _ayuntamiento_ (or
body of municipal officials) of powers formerly exercised by the general
assembly, the limitation of the right to hold office to the _caballeros_
or to specified families, the disturbances at times of election, and the
corruption which occasionally manifested itself in municipal
administration. In the interests of internal peace the towns themselves
often sought intervention by the kings, who did not fail to profit by
the situation. Under Alfonso XI some towns began to be ruled by
officials appointed by the king, and that monarch also created the post
of _corregidor_,[46] a royal agent placed in many towns to watch the
course of local affairs and represent the king, acting with the local
_alcaldes_. The _corregidores_ gradually acquired considerable
influence, thereby reducing the power of the popularly elected
officials. Internal municipal strife continued, but now the great
families fought, not for the favor of the electorate, but for that of
the king, since this had become the surer route to public office. The
greater towns or cities suffered through the breaking away of the
villages and rural districts which had formerly been subordinate to
them. These villages were desirous of local autonomy, because the
municipalities on which they depended were wont to exploit them or to
exclude them from a share in government. The kings granted their
petitions, thus weakening the greater towns, even if they did extend the
institution of chartered municipalities. It should be said, however,
that this decline of the towns, with the incidents accompanying it, was
not uniform, for a number of them still retained their earlier
liberties, including popular election, at the end of the period. In the
seigniorial towns, especially those under ecclesiastical domination,
there were frequent struggles with a view to reducing the lord’s
intervention in local affairs, and these ended almost everywhere in a
victory for the towns, which won a right to name their own officers and
to possess much the same degree of liberty enjoyed by the royal towns.
Here, too, the kings intervened, not only through the practice of
judicial appeals to the royal courts, but also in other ways, even with
armed forces, in order to reduce the power of the lords. The victory of
the seigniorial towns lessened the power of the lords to an appreciable
extent; the struggles of the lords with the kings were thenceforth
maintained only through combinations of nobles, often with Mudéjar
levies, joined at times by some of the towns.

[Sidenote: Great age of the Castilian _Cortes_.]

The institution which most clearly represented the different factors of
Castilian political life, but especially that of the municipalities, was
the _Cortes_, which grew in importance until the fifteenth century, when
it began to show signs of decline. The _Cortes_ was hardly mentioned in
the legislation of Alfonso X, for it did not comport well with his
theories of absolutism, but the later kings paid it great consideration,
seeking the aid of the popular branch against seigniorial anarchy. Its
principal function continued to be economic, rather than legislative,
through the grants of subsidies by the representatives of the towns.
While these were not the only source of royal revenue they were so
urgently needed that the _Cortes_ was able to procure legislation from
the kings in response to its petitions. The fourteenth century was
particularly rich in ordinances of the _Cortes_, especially those
arising from the meetings of 1329 (Madrid), 1348 (Alcalá), 1351
(Valladolid), 1366 (Burgos), 1371 (Toro), 1373 (Toro), 1377 (Burgos),
1379 (Burgos), and 1380 (Soria). In most cases the kings did not put the
ordinances (which should rather be considered petitions) into effect,
wherefore many of them were repeated time and again,--such, for example,
as the legislation requested against the Jews, against the granting of
Castilian benefices by the pope, against the abuses of royal officials
and renters of taxes, and against the royal donations to the lords. In a
number of instances the _Cortes_ got what it asked for, even in cases
affecting the king’s personal authority, such as a law in 1329 which
prohibited the issuing of royal letters, or orders, in blank (whereby
the possessor of the letter might insert anybody’s name he chose,--a
practice which usually served to promote unjust ends, just as in the
case of the _lettres de cachet_ in France prior to the French
Revolution), and another of 1348 extending the prohibition to letters
which the kings were in the habit of granting to individuals empowering
them to marry designated persons, with or without the latter’s consent.
The kings also accepted petitions of a more general character, such as
those asking that steps be taken for the suppression of banditry, the
specification of the powers of royal officers, the correction of various
abuses, the lowering of certain taxes, the regulation of disputes
between the stockmen and the farmers, and the reform of judicial
procedure. It was also affirmed several times,--in 1348, for
example,--that there could be no new tax without a grant of the
_Cortes_. The laws of Alfonso X insisted upon the king’s sole right to
legislate, however, and this principle was maintained by the later
kings, for despite the fact that a law of 1387 declared that the
ordinances of the _Cortes_ were irrevocable, unless by the act of a
_Cortes_ itself, the kings proceeded according to their own pleasure,
apparently regarding the concession of 1387 as purely theoretical. The
ordinances of the various _Cortes_ appeared without method or plan, and
lacked the full force of law, but they demonstrated the enormous
activity of this body, and were in fact a basis for much legislation,
both at the time and in later years. In organization the _Cortes_
followed the general practices of the preceding era. Among the
comparatively few novelties may be mentioned a law of Juan II, fixing
the number of representatives from a town as two, and a law of 1351
granting immunity from arrest to members of the _Cortes_ while that body
was in session. Up to 1301 Castile and León had a separate _Cortes_,
although there were a number of joint meetings before that date. After
1301 there was but a single _Cortes_ for the entire kingdom.

[Sidenote: Diversity in the laws and tendencies toward unification.]

Not only in the ordinances of the _Cortes_, but also in the general laws
of the king without intervention of the _Cortes_, in grants of municipal
charters, and in the innumerable private grants (often modifying the
general law) this period was exceedingly rich in legislation. The fame
of the laws of Alfonso X and of Alfonso XI has obscured the legislation
of other reigns, but the output of the other kings was great in
quantity, if less in importance than that of the two Alfonsos. Diversity
was still a leading characteristic of the legislation. For example, from
Alfonso X to 1299 at least 127 local charters were granted; in the
fourteenth century at least 94; and in the fifteenth, at least 5,
although many were reproductions or slight modifications of certain
typical charters. The _Fuero Juzgo_ continued to be the general law, but
there was very little of it which was not contradicted or changed by
other legislation. A tendency toward unification of the laws manifested
itself in many ways, however. Alfonso X issued a municipal charter in
1254, variously named, but usually called the _Fuero Real_ (Royal
Charter), which was a new model, more complete and systematic than those
which had preceded it, but based on those already in existence and on
the _Fuero Juzgo_, preserving the Visigothic and early Leonese and
Castilian principles of law. The _Fuero Real_ was adopted as
supplementary law for use in cases of appeal to the royal courts, but
was also granted as the local charter of a great many towns, being the
most extensively used of the typical charters, although by no means in a
majority of the municipalities. To bring about unification at one stroke
it is believed that Ferdinand III and Alfonso X projected a code to
apply in all the land. Ferdinand is said to have begun the drawing up of
the _Setenario_ (or Septenary, so-called because it was to be in seven
parts), which was completed by Alfonso after the former’s death. This
code, if such it may be called, was never promulgated, and may rather
have been intended as an encyclopedia of law. A similar compilation of
the reign of Alfonso X was the _Espéculo_ (or _Espejo_) _de todos los
derechos_ (mirror of all the laws), but it, too, never became law,
although used as a reference book by jurisconsults. Yet another such
compilation appeared in this reign, the famous _Leyes de las siete
partidas_ (laws of the seven parts), or simply the _Partidas_, and this
was to attain to a very different lot from the others just named.

[Sidenote: The code of the _Siete Partidas_ and the revival of Roman

The _Partidas_ was the work of a number of jurisconsults under the
inspection, and with more or less intervention, of Alfonso himself;
these men began work in 1256 and finished it in 1265. Some of the laws
and customs of Castile,--for example, the _Fuero Juzgo_ and the _Fuero
Real_,--were used as sources, but the preponderant influences were those
of the canon law and the codes of the Roman emperor Justinian,--so much
so that the _Partidas_ amounted to an encyclopedia of these two sources
of law, both of which were Roman in origin and very different from the
customs, Visigothic and otherwise, at that time prevailing in Castile.
Whether Alfonso intended that the _Partidas_ should become the general
law, or merely that it should serve as an encyclopedia, it was not
promulgated in his day, and there were many later laws directly
contradicting it. Nevertheless, it constantly gained ground, favored
especially by lawyers and university men (both of which elements were
strong partisans of the Roman law), being used as a book of reference
and as a text-book. Finally the current in its favor became so strong
that so far as it was not inconsistent with certain specified
compilations it was declared to be law in the reign of Alfonso XI by the
important ordinance of the _Cortes_ of Alcalá (1348). This set forth
that the decisions of that _Cortes_ should be the principal fountain of
Castilian law, followed in order of precedence by the _Fuero Real_, the
other municipal charters, and finally by way of supplement by the
_Partidas_, which was not to be enforced in such parts as it
contradicted the privileges of the nobility, for these also were
confirmed. Despite this lowly position of the _Partidas_ and despite the
vast quantity of later laws which took precedence of the above-mentioned
hierarchy of sources, the ultimate victory of Alfonso’s code was assured
from the time of its official promulgation. Without any statute to that
effect it gradually became recognized, not as a mere supplementary
source, but as the principal law of the land. Reformations of its text
were undertaken to make it conform with the necessities of later times,
but in substance the ideas of the original remained.

[Sidenote: Leading factors in ecclesiastical history.]

[Sidenote: Papal intervention in the Castilian church.]

[Sidenote: Wealth of the church.]

[Sidenote: Pilgrimages.]

Next to the state the church was the most powerful and influential
factor in Castile. This period was one of serious internal disturbance
in the Castilian church and of relaxation in discipline. Despite the
efforts of the popes and some Castilian prelates, the practice of
_barraganía_ continued. There also occurred such incidents as
competitions in beauty between the nuns of Seville and Toledo, such
instances of lack of discipline as the armed resistance of the dean of
Sigüenza to the pope’s appointee as bishop, such turbulent intervention
in politics as that of the bishops of Seville and Toledo in the time of
Henry IV, and such cases of strife and violence as the attack of the
monks of Melón on those of Armenteira, and that of the bishop of
Mondoñedo on the Cistercians of Meyra. The disorder was enhanced owing
to the appearance of the Great Schism in the church at large, in which
Spanish countries were particularly interested, since several of the
popes and anti-popes were of Spanish blood. On the other hand, the popes
intervened more than ever in the affairs of the Castilian church. The
ideas of Gregory VII of the supremacy of the papacy over temporal rulers
did not fail to produce results in Castile. In the _Partidas_ of the
absolutist Alfonso X it was recognized that one legitimate way of
acquiring the crown was by a grant of the pope, and that the latter
might also absolve Castilian subjects from obedience to the king in
certain cases. The election of bishops, normally the act of the
cathedral canons, provoked many disputes between the kings and the
popes, for the latter frequently intervened to impose their candidate,
or even to make direct appointments, while the former claimed that no
election was valid until it had their approval. One of the most
unpopular practices of the popes was the appointment of foreigners to
Castilian benefices, and frequent protests were made against it, but
usually without avail. Although the popes got rather the better of the
dispute over appointments to bishoprics, the kings manifested their
prerogative in other respects, as by banishing prelates who worked
against royal interests, by prohibiting the publication of papal bulls
which might do harm to the state, and by employing the already mentioned
process of recourse of _fuerza_ in cases of ecclesiastical usurpations
of jurisdiction. The _Partidas_ named certain cases where clergymen lost
their right of resort to ecclesiastical courts,--for example, suits
between clerical and lay individuals over lands and inheritances. Even
Alfonso XI, who (though somewhat immoral in private life) was very pious
and notably generous with churches and monasteries, was very strict in
guarding the rights of the state against the intrusions of the church.
On the other hand, he confirmed the jurisdiction of the church courts in
spiritual and related matters, including such cases as those arising out
of church taxation, marriage, births, divorce, adultery, usury, and
robbery in a sacred place, as well as those of a more purely religious
or ecclesiastical character. The wealth of the church in lands increased
greatly, both as a result of royal donations, and through the gifts of
individuals, especially in the fourteenth century when the terror of the
plagues which were sweeping Europe caused many to seek divine favor
through benefactions to the church. There were a number of protests in
the _Cortes_, especially in the case of the monasteries. The objections
were based on social and financial, rather than anti-clerical, grounds,
since the accumulation of landed wealth in the hands of the church
tended to reduce the agricultural classes to a perpetual condition of
mere usufruct or rental of lands, and resulted in vast tracts remaining
uncultivated. Furthermore, these lands as a rule became exempted from
taxation. The _Partidas_ recognized the right of the church to receive
such gifts, and no effectual steps were taken to check them. It may be
mentioned here that this was the golden age of pilgrimages to holy
places, due to religious devotion, or in fulfilment of vows, or from
pure love of travel and adventure. Naturally, Santiago de Compostela was
the chief objective of pilgrims in Spain, and to that place went not
only Spaniards but also many thousands of persons from all parts of
western Europe.



_Aragon proper_

[Sidenote: Victory of the royal authority in Aragon proper.]

The struggle of the kings against the seigniorial elements of Aragon and
Valencia (in furtherance of their policy of absolutism and
centralization) has already been traced up to the point where royalty
gained the upper hand in the reign of Pedro IV. One result of Pedro’s
victory was the reduction of the power of the _Justicia_, no longer a
creature of the nobility (to mediate between them and the king) but a
royal appointee, exercising strictly judicial powers as chief justice of
the realm. Even in this respect his authority was limited by the
founding of a tribunal to accompany the king. Attempts continued to be
made to establish the independence of the _Justicia_, and the _Cortes_
declared him irremovable, but the kings compelled their appointees to
give them a letter of resignation, with the date left blank, or
disregarded the prohibition of the _Cortes_ altogether, deposing a
_Justicia_ if it suited them to do so. Pedro IV enacted that no person
of higher rank than that of _caballero_ should be governor in Aragon,
thus removing another factor which had formerly contributed to civil
strife. Aside from the abolition of the Privilege of the Union and the
reforms just mentioned (together with others of lesser note), the kings
did not modify the political organization of Aragon, but became in fact
the principal element in the state, working their will even to the point
of acts at variance with the laws. Great diversity in charter rights and
jurisdictions continued to exist, although a number of general
compilations of legislation like those in Castile were made. These
became supplements to the already-mentioned code of Jaime I.[47] Other
volumes were prepared of the customs of the realm, and the agreements of
the _Cortes_ were also an important legislative source. The abolition of
torture and of the vulgar proofs may be mentioned among the reforms in
judicial procedure. The nobles remained almost wholly exempt from
taxation, even with respect to the lands which they might acquire in
royal territory.

[Sidenote: Relations of church and state in Aragon.]

[Sidenote: Benedict XIII.]

The relations of the state and church in Aragon were more acute than in
Castile, because of the consequences of Pedro II’s act of vassalage and
the wars in Italy, and because of the Great Schism, in which Aragon
played a leading part, since one of the anti-popes, Benedict XIII, an
Aragonese, fixed his court in Aragon for a time, causing a divided
allegiance of the clergy. The matter of the election of bishops was
settled early in favor of the popes when Jaime II enacted that the pope
himself should appoint them. This occasioned a number of disagreeable
results, especially at the time of the schism, when there were two or
more popes. Some appointments were manifestly improper. Clement V
appointed his nephew, a mere boy at the time, as archbishop of
Saragossa, and even Benedict XIII, though a man of the highest
character, made a similar appointment to the archbishopric of Toledo. In
other respects the kings often insisted on the rights of the state, and
intervened in matters of an ecclesiastical character. Alfonso V was the
first Aragonese ruler to pronounce for the retention of papal bulls when
their publication was against the interests of the monarchy, availing
himself of the _pase regio_ (royal permit), on which the kings based
their claims to prevent documents which displeased them from being put
into effect or even from reaching their intended destination. Pedro de
Luna had for a long time been influential in Spain before he became Pope
Benedict XIII; he it was who persuaded Juan I of Castile and Juan I of
Aragon to recognize Clement VII of Avignon instead of the pope at Rome.
He himself succeeded Clement VII, and because of his upright character,
piety, intellectual capacity, and Spanish blood received the adhesion of
most of the peninsula prelates. It was largely through his support that
Ferdinand of Antequera was crowned king of Aragon instead of Jaime of
Urgel. When a general church council was called to elect a pope to
replace the three then in power, Benedict XIII alone of the three
refused to abdicate. Ferdinand, who for a time endeavored to support
him, felt obliged at last to deny him obedience. Benedict maintained
himself in the fortress of Peñíscola until 1422 or 1423, when he
died,--almost certainly poisoned by a friar. His cardinals elected Gil
Muñoz, a canon of Barcelona, but in 1429 Muñoz renounced the title and
the schism ended.


[Sidenote: Importance of the Catalan towns.]

The most marked feature in the political life of Catalonia in this
period was the rise of the towns, and especially the vast power
exercised by the city of Barcelona. The towns became veritable lords,
buying jurisdictions, privileges, immunities, castles, and lesser towns
from the king, just as the nobles were in the habit of doing. Important
cities got to be protectors of villages and towns, granting the right of
_carreratge_, which entitled them to be considered a street of the city.
As a rule the kings favored this increase in the power of the
municipalities, and the latter might have made themselves an
irresistible force, had it not been for their internal party strife, and
for the armed struggles of rival cities. There began to be a certain
uniformity in the organization of royal towns in the thirteenth century,
and in the fourteenth it became more marked under the influence of the
centralizing policy of Pedro IV. The general assembly was the basis of
government at first, but its place was taken later by a council elected
from the wealthy citizens; at times, the officials themselves were the
only ones to vote, and they too chose the representatives to the
_Cortes_. This aristocratic form of government did not please the
kings, since it tended to create a force which would be hostile to them
and led to social strife in the municipalities, wherefore matters were
adjusted at the close of the fourteenth century by the entry of the
popular element into the council. Just as in Castile, the nobles and
churchmen were forced to grant privileges to their towns almost equal to
those enjoyed by the royal municipalities, in order to retain the
people. They still collected certain taxes, exercised judicial powers,
and appointed some officials, but the greater part of local
administration was in the hands of the towns themselves, which developed
along lines similar to those of the royal towns.

[Sidenote: Greatness of the city of Barcelona.]

The most accentuated representation of municipal life was to be found in
the city of Barcelona. The administrative organization of the preceding
era did not change fundamentally, but the power and privileges of the
city increased greatly, due to the concessions of the kings. The council
of five was at first composed only of _honrats_, or members of the
bourgeois aristocracy, but by the year 1455 only two were of this class,
a third was a merchant, a fourth an artist, and a fifth an artisan. The
classes of lower grade than the _honrats_ were admitted to the _Consell_
in 1387, and by the end of the period the popular element had become
preponderant. The five councillors, though subject to the _Consell_,
formed an administrative commission for the government of the city. It
was also their privilege to advise the king, something which they
frequently did, and they were charged with the duty of maintaining the
charter rights of the city, a matter to which they attended most
zealously, even to the point of war with the king. Through purchase,
annexation, royal donations, and the extensive application of the
institution of _carreratge_ Barcelona acquired a great part of Catalonia
and other portions of the realm; the possession of Elche and other towns
in Valencian territory illustrates the far-reaching authority of the
great Catalan city. The subject towns had a right to protection and to
the privileges and exemptions of Barcelona, in return for which the
latter had more or less complete control of the administration of
justice, was supposed to have their coöperation in matters of general
interest, and was entitled to contributions of soldiers and the payment
of certain tributes. The vast power of Barcelona was not always
exercised for the best interests of the state, as in the case of the
blow inflicted on the commerce of Valencia, through the influence of
Barcelona, whereby no merchandise was allowed to be shipped from that
port in foreign vessels. At times, the governing authorities of
Barcelona equalled, or even exceeded, the power of the deputation of the
_Cortes_ of Catalonia, and sustained disputes with it. On the other
hand, Barcelona repeatedly intervened in the struggles of _caballeros_,
towns, and social classes to impose peace. The authority of the city was
reflected in the pride of its aristocracy, the _honrats_. They enjoyed
the right of _riepto_, or duel, the same as members of the nobility, and
vigorously protested against measures which seemed to place them on a
lower level than any other class of society,--for example, when the
order of St. John proposed to admit only the descendants of nobles.
Anybody might become an _honrat_ if he combined certain prerequisites,
such as wealth, with an election by the council.

[Sidenote: Struggle between absolutism and seigniorial society in

The same struggle of absolutism against the seigniorial elements
appeared in Catalonia as in Castile and Aragon, although the monarchy
was more consistently victorious there than elsewhere. The nobles
opposed the kings, though somewhat weakly, for they were more concerned
with the social problems of the era. The cities and towns, especially
Barcelona, also constituted a feudal element which was not always in
accord with the king. Although during most of the era there was no armed
conflict between these forces, there were a number of symptoms of
discontent which at length broke forth in the civil wars of the reign of
Juan II. Some of the causes of dissatisfaction were the following: the
belief that their Castilian sovereign, Ferdinand I, and his successors
had an exaggerated ideal of absolutism; the employment of foreigners in
public offices, especially Castilians, by the same monarchs,--a
demonstration also of the lack of Spanish national feeling; and the
absence of Alfonso V in Italy and his expensive wars there, although the
Catalans were as a rule partisans of the policy of Mediterranean
expansion. Fundamentally, however, the strife at the end of this period
was a conflict between centralized absolute monarchy and
decentralization based on charter rights. Neither Juan II nor his
predecessors varied the charters or the political organization of the
principality, but nevertheless the blow was struck, and the downfall of
the sovereign rights of the lords and towns was already at hand.

[Sidenote: The Catalan _Cortes_.]

The _Cortes_ continued to meet separately from that of Aragon and to be
chiefly important for its grant or refusal of taxes. The third estate
(representatives of the towns) endeavored to establish its right to
participate with the king in legislation, but the latter made laws
independently of the _Cortes_ as before. When the _Cortes_ was not in
session, it was represented by the general deputation, or _Generalitat_,
usually made up of three members, or one for each branch of the
_Cortes_. In addition to keeping watch to see that the laws were
strictly observed, the deputation had certain police powers, including
the defence of the principality, and other less notable administrative
functions. The general _Cortes_ of the entire realm held occasional
meetings, as did also a new _Cortes_ for the Mediterranean possessions
of the kingdom (Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, and Naples).

[Sidenote: Legislation in Catalonia.]

[Sidenote: Administration in general.]

Legislation was characterized by the variety of jurisdictions of former
years, but the number of grants of new municipal charters diminished
greatly, and the general decrees of the kings increased. If this
manifested a tendency toward unity, the citation of the principles of
the Roman law did so even more. This had already proved influential in
the preceding era, but it did not establish itself securely until the
fifteenth century. There was a strong sentiment in its favor in
Catalonia, and Pedro IV ordered its study and its use in cases at law.
Finally it was established in the _Cortes_ of 1409 that the Roman and
canon law might be cited as supplementary law after certain other
specified legal sources. Like the adoption of the _Partidas_ in Castile
(in 1348) this meant an ultimate, complete victory for the Roman
principles. In most other respects the administration of justice in
Catalonia followed the course already described for Castile. In
financial history the only features worthy of note were the development
of a system of taxation by the deputation of Catalonia, whereby it met
its own expenses and provided funds for the grants to the king, and the
growth of a system of municipal finance in Barcelona on a scale in
keeping with its extensive power. In both military and naval affairs the
authority of the deputation was the most striking element. This body
merely loaned the army and navy to the king, specifying the cases when
the loan was allowable. The principal military force was that of the
municipal militia, although the seigniorial levies still formed part of
the army. In addition to the flotilla of the deputation there were the
navies of the king, of the corporation of merchants of the city of
Barcelona, and of private individuals or towns. The most persistent
enemies in the Mediterranean were pirates, both the Moslems of northern
Africa, and the Christians from Majorca, southern France, Italy, and
Catalonia itself. Towers were built and a messenger service developed to
advise of the presence of pirates, but the evil was not eliminated.

[Sidenote: Power of the great prelates.]

The general relaxation in the customs and discipline of churchmen
already mentioned in the case of Castile and the course of
ecclesiastical history described for Aragon apply equally to the church
of Catalonia. The most noteworthy characteristic in the relations of the
church and state was the continuation of the feudal authority of the
more powerful prelates. Principal among them were the bishops of Gerona,
whose dominions and wealth in personalty were greatly increased in this
period. As they were virtual monarchs on their lands, they were able to
challenge the authority of neighboring nobles or of the kings
themselves, and they oppressed the people. Their scant respect for the
royal power was often displayed; on one occasion they compelled two of
the highest officials of the kingdom to walk through the streets of
Gerona in the garb of criminals, submitting all the while to a beating,
and made them ascend the long stairway fronting the cathedral on their
knees, wearing only a shirt, and carrying a candle. Several of the
bishops were banished, and even the nobles joined the kings against the
ecclesiastical lords. The Franciscans and Dominicans opposed the bishops
and abbots, but although they had popular sympathy in their favor they
did not have an equal political influence, since they were not
represented in the _Cortes_. The power of the great churchmen was not
materially diminished, but the last bishop of Gerona in the era was a
strong partisan of the king.


[Sidenote: Distinctive features in Valencian political life.]

In some parts of Valencia the law of Aragon applied, but the usual rule,
especially after the victory of Pedro IV, was the jurisdiction of the
laws, or _furs_, granted by Jaime I, added to, or modified by, the
grants of different kings and the ordinances of the _Cortes_. The law of
Barcelona applied in a number of towns which were joined to that city by
the institution of _carreratge_. In general administration the practices
were much the same as those mentioned for Castile. The extreme harshness
of judicial punishments, possibly surpassing other regions, may be
noted. The death penalty was habitually given, and various cruel methods
of execution were employed. A sentence of imprisonment was rarely
inflicted. The greatness of the city of Valencia was almost as
noteworthy in this part of Spain as that of Barcelona in Catalonia.
Valencia put itself at the head of the Union which fought Pedro IV, only
to go down in defeat.




[Sidenote: General factors of Castilian economic life.]

A continuation in this era of the factors which had tended in the
preceding period to develop material resources brought about progress in
agriculture, stock-raising, mining, industry, and commerce, although it
was not great enough to cause general economic prosperity. The
stock-raisers, as before, received more favors than their rivals, the
farmers, and it was at this time that the powerful corporation of
sheepmen, the _Mesta_, was formed. Alfonso X granted charters to various
of these corporations, entitling them to elect _alcaldes_ with special
jurisdiction in the affairs of the _Mesta_ and its disputes with the
farmers. The different organizations were united in the reign of Alfonso
XI to form a single Castilian _Mesta_, a body which possessed immense
power. Gold, silver, quicksilver, and lead mines were worked to some
extent; these, with salt mines and fisheries, constituted a royal
monopoly, but were exploited by private individuals who paid rent to the
kings. The advance in industry was particularly marked. Santiago de
Compostela no longer enjoyed a unique position as a manufacturing
centre, for every important town now had its industries devoted to
supplying the needs of daily life and the exigencies of a growing
artistic refinement, as evidenced by the wealth in jewelry, arms,
architecture and its appurtenances, furniture, rich embroideries, and
other articles far superior in quality and quantity to those of the
preceding era. The towns conquered from the Moslems, especially the city
of Seville, were particularly noteworthy for their industrial life.
Among the principal commercial outlets for Castilian products were the
ports of the Basque provinces; their exports seem to have been chiefly
raw materials, but there were also such items as cloth, wine, oil, and
sugar. It is probable, however, that most of the manufacturing done in
the Castilian towns was for the consumption of the towns themselves and
a very limited neighboring area. Distribution within Castile was not
well developed, for many of the same (or similar) products as those
exported were also imported. Industry and commerce were very largely in
the hands of foreigners, Jews, and Mudéjares.

[Sidenote: Legislative helps and hindrances to economic progress.]

Legislation showed the double tendency of encouraging economic
development and of checking it by laws looking to the temporary needs of
the royal treasury. The _Partidas_ urged the cultivation of the soil,
the building of bridges and repair of roads, the prevention of frauds in
customs houses, and the exemption of certain imports from the payment of
duty when they seemed likely to aid in material progress,--such as
farming utensils when destined for use by the importer himself and not
intended for resale. Commercial treaties with foreign countries began to
be made in the fourteenth century, although often by merely a portion of
the kingdom, particularly the north coast ports; thus there were
treaties of 1351 and 1366 with England. On the other hand there were the
royal monopolies, the _alcabala_, and the rigid maintenance of customs
duties,--for the exemptions, after all, were few in number. Not only was
there the obstacle of different state boundaries, but also there were
the duties collected by many, if not most, of the towns. No distinction
was made as to the source of goods, and those of Castile paid equally
with foreign products. Another hindrance to economic advance was the
well-intentioned, but mistaken, policy of excessive governmental
regulation of the industries. Both the state and the guilds themselves
made laws fixing wages, the hours of labor, prices, methods of contract,
amount of interest, and even the way in which goods should be made.
These regulations were not uniform for all Castile, but varied according
to the special circumstances of the different regions. The
municipalities also intervened to fix prices for goods of prime
necessity or of general use. At times they granted an exclusive right of
sale, or established municipal shops.

[Sidenote: Progress in commerce.]

To facilitate commerce fairs and general markets were greatly resorted
to, being established by law, or, if already in existence, favored by
grants of new privileges. The insecurity of the roads and the civil wars
prevented the royal grants from having their full effect, and other
circumstances, such as the popular attacks on Jewish districts, the
variety and uncertainty of coins and of weights and measures, the
debasement of the coinage by the kings, and the prevalence of
counterfeiting (despite the penalty imposed,--burning to death), tended
to interfere with commerce. Nevertheless, notable progress was made.
Bills of exchange first appeared in this era. Foreign merchants visited
Castile, and Castilians went abroad, especially to England and Flanders;
there were Castilian consuls in Bruges. The Jews figured prominently in
foreign trade, as money changers and makers of loans, while their
international relations due to the solidarity of their race enabled them
to act as bankers.

[Sidenote: Public works.]

Something, though little, was done to assist in economic betterment by
the building of public works. The lords, both lay and ecclesiastical,
resisted many of these projects, notably the building of bridges, since
it deprived them of the tolls which they were in the habit of collecting
for ferrying goods, animals, and persons across the rivers. Men
travelled on horseback, or on a litter, and goods were carried by
pack-animals or carts, although the latter could rarely be used because
of the bad condition of the roads. Measures to improve the highways were
frequently taken, however. The greater part of the revenues devoted to
public works was still applied to the building or repair of

_Aragon, Catalonia, and Valencia_

[Sidenote: Economic factors in the kingdom of Aragon, especially in

The economic history of this region, based on the natural differences of
the three principal sections, followed much the same lines as before,
but the principal note was the all-round development in Catalonia.
Grain in that region was scarce, on which account large quantities were
imported from Aragon and from foreign countries, but some other
agricultural products, such as rice, grapes, and olives, were cultivated
with success. Stock-raising was also a prominent occupation. The most
important source of Catalan wealth continued to be in manufacturing,
especially in Barcelona. A great variety of cloths and fabrics was made,
as also pottery, barrels, rope, glass, and many other articles of
practical utility. Aragon was less important in commerce, as in other
respects, than the other parts of the realm. Something was done there by
royal legislation to favor trade, and enough of it existed to warrant
the founding of a _consulado_ in Saragossa (1391) with mercantile
jurisdiction. Catalan commerce was so great in volume that it rivalled
that of the Italian cities. From the Scandinavian lands in the northwest
to the extremes of the Mediterranean, Catalan ships might be seen, and
if there were many Italian vessels which visited the ports of Catalonia,
so too the Catalans carried their trade to the cities of Italy, where
many Catalan consuls resided. Kings, lords, and towns endeavored to
build up Catalan industry and commerce, by favorable legislation, by
extending the institution of the _consulados_, and by making commercial
treaties. Nevertheless, not a few obstacles were also raised, largely as
a result of the false economic ideas of the era. Thus, prices were often
fixed; a precise order, or sequence, of sale might be required,--for
example, in La Bisbal the crop of the bishop had to be sold first; the
technical regulation of industries was carried to excess, far beyond the
rules established in this respect in the other lands of the peninsula;
taxes were numerous in kind, and some were very heavy; and the policy of
protection was carried to extremes in favor of some municipalities as
against others. Furthermore there were dangers of piracy and the
insecurity of the roads. Valencia was commercially prosperous in only
less degree than Catalonia. Both regions were represented principally,
in industry and commerce, by their great capital cities.

[Sidenote: The industrial and mercantile system of Barcelona.]

Barcelona was easily the greatest industrial and mercantile centre in
Spain, and was also the leading exponent of the Catalan policy of
protection. Foreign goods like those produced in Catalonia were either
prohibited from entry or charged with excessive duties. On the other
hand, the importing of goods which had no counterpart in Catalonia, such
as fine cloths, or which existed in small quantity, such as grain, was
encouraged. In the case of grain, premiums were granted to importers,
and heavy export duties were collected, or its exportation entirely
prohibited. From 1249 to 1347 the _Consell_ exercised mercantile
jurisdiction through the medium of two consuls of the sea (_consules de
mar_), but in the last-named year a _consulado_ was created to perform
that function and to provide for the protection of commerce against
pirates. Both the deputation of the _Cortes_ and the two local councils
occasionally intervened, however. The local authorities appointed the
consuls to represent Catalan interests in foreign countries. This was a
post of high consequence, and was rewarded by a grant of a certain
percentage of the purchases and sales of merchandise in the entire realm
of Aragon. The consuls acted as judges, mercantile agents, and guardians
and defenders of the persons and property of their compatriots. The
councils of Barcelona concerned themselves with the introduction of new
industries, bringing in foreigners skilled in such manufactures.
Financial and technical experts were maintained at municipal expense.
Not only do these facts evidence the attention paid by the people of
Barcelona to mercantile life, but they also demonstrate a surprising
modernity in point of view. It is no wonder that the merchants of that
city were notably wealthy, proud, and given to luxury.

[Sidenote: Economic prominence of the city of Valencia.]

Favored by the rich agricultural productivity of the Valencian kingdom,
the industrial traditions of the Moslem population, and the energy of
its Catalan bourgeoisie, the city of Valencia became a veritable rival
of Barcelona in industry and commerce, and enjoyed a wide fame in
Mediterranean lands, especially in Italy. A _consulado_ was founded as
early as 1283, and the first bills of exchange known in the peninsula
(from 1376) were drawn up in Valencia. Legislation favoring Barcelona at
Valencia’s expense caused a considerable damage to the latter’s
commerce, although it continued to be important.

[Sidenote: Public works.]

In the erection of public works this was a notable era in all the
kingdom of Aragon. A number of bridges were built, and tolls were
collected to provide for their preservation and repair. The Catalans
were particularly mindful of improving their ports. That of Barcelona
was enlarged in the fourteenth century, and in the fifteenth an
artificial port was begun and completed. The fifteenth century also
marked the beginning of work on the artificial port of Valencia. Old
roads were improved and new ones built. A considerable advance was made
in works of irrigation in all parts of the realm. In this respect
Valencia took the lead, making use of the canals dating from the Moslem
period, but amplifying and improving them. A mail service developed at
this time. The kings and the municipalities had their separate mails,
but in Catalonia there was also a private mail-carrying industry as
early as the latter part of the thirteenth century.




[Sidenote: Beginning of Castilian intellectual superiority in the

[Sidenote: General characteristics of the era.]

With the advance of the Christian conquest against the Moslems the
political centre had passed from the northern coast to the Castilian
table-land, and thence to Andalusia, where for a time the court was set
up in Seville. There was a tendency, however, to return to Castile
proper, since the people of that region were the principal element in
the conquest and in internal political affairs. The political
preponderance of the Castilian part of the realm was so clearly
established that it transformed that region in many ways, and caused it
to have for the first time a civilization superior to that of the
coastal plains, overcoming the geographical handicaps which hitherto had
held it back. The predominance of Castile in intellectual life was to
become yet more marked in later centuries. In earlier times the rude
Asturians and Galicians had joined with the no less rude Leonese and
Castilians against the Moslems, but they had become modified by contact
with the conquered people themselves and with the various foreigners who
joined them in the conquest. The indigenous people did not lose their
own individuality, however; rather they assimilated the new influences,
and paved the way for the brilliant and original manifestation of
intellectual culture of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The
principal characteristic of this epoch was the desire for knowledge,
leading to the incorporation into indigenous civilization of many other
elements. The conquest of Andalusia brought Castile into more intimate
contact with Moslem civilization, which reached its culminating point
in science and in art in the fourteenth century. French elements
continued to affect polite literature and didactic works. Especially
noteworthy was the great prominence of the influences coming out of
Italy, giving a new direction to Castilian literature, and substituting
for the Moslem scientific element the direct study of classical texts
and the use of observation and experiment as a means to knowledge. The
entry of western European culture into Castile was accelerated by those
Castilians who went to France and Italy at this time to study in the
great schools and universities of those lands. The two capital moments
of the era were the reigns of Alfonso X and Juan II.

[Sidenote: University and other education.]

The universities increased in number and influence to the point of being
a vital factor in the intellectual life of the period. In the
_Partidas_, Alfonso X distinguished between the “general studies”
founded by the pope, emperor, or king, and the “particular studies,” the
creation of an individual or town. The former combined secondary and
higher education, for the old _trivium_ and _quadrivium_ were retained,
with the addition of the Roman and canon law.[48] Gradually the higher
studies began to predominate, and associated themselves with the term
“university.” The “particular studies” were usually conducted by a
single master with a few students, and were confined to some one or two
branches of learning. Some of these subjects, when they differed from
the fundamental courses of the “general studies,” tended to be adopted
by the latter. Thus theology was added to the university curriculum in
the fifteenth century. Other subjects were also studied in the
universities, even though not common to all, such as medicine and
surgery at Salamanca. Primary education was neglected, although the
church schools still continued and some towns or individuals founded
such schools. The universities received considerable government aid, but
were autonomous, and depended in part on other sources of income, such
as their own fees and the gifts by individuals or corporations other
than the state. The students and teachers together formed a _cofradía_,
or fraternity, which elected its own rector, or president. A bishop,
dean, or abbot was usually constituted a kind of guardian by royal
mandate. This official was gradually replaced by the “schoolmaster of
the cathedral,” who came to be judge in cases affecting university
students, and even arrogated to himself the right to confer degrees,
rivalling the president of the university in authority. All members of
the university were granted special legal privileges (approximately
those of the clergy) with respect to their persons and goods. The method
of teaching employed was the reading of a text by the teacher, who
commented upon and explained it. Examinations were held for the granting
of the bachelor’s and doctor’s degrees. Not only did each university
possess a library, but there were also many other public and private
libraries, and the trade of the copyist and the manufacture of books
were markedly more prominent than before. In the universities texts were
loaned (not sold) to students to enable them to correct their
notes,--which shows that books were still comparatively scarce. Some
time before 1475, at an uncertain date, the art of printing was
introduced into Castile,--with effects which belong to the following

[Sidenote: Moslem, Jewish, and other influences on Castilian thought and

The oriental influence on Castilian thought and science, or rather the
classical influences transmitted through Moslem and Jewish writers,
advanced for a time, and continued to be preponderant until the
fifteenth century, when European ideas, principally Italian, became the
more important. There was a change in direction of the Moslem influence,
however. Philosophy dropped back from the leading place, and was
substituted by juridical and moral studies, while the physical and
natural sciences, including their superstitious derivations, acquired a
remarkable vogue. Christian writers imitated Moslem philosophers and
moralists, or translated their works; many Castilian writers were of
Moslem or Jewish origin, or still continued to belong to those peoples
and faiths; many Arabic works were included in the libraries of the
time; and the oriental form of scientific exposition, the encyclopedia,
was frequently used. The oriental influence manifested itself especially
in the natural sciences. Books of mathematics, physics, chemistry,
medicine, and astronomy were almost the only ones to be translated from
the Arabic, and these branches were also the ones to which Mudéjar
scholars of the period most frequently devoted themselves. Moslems and
Jews continued to be the most famous physicians of Castile. The
deductive method and dialectic forms were still employed by them, rather
than personal observation and experiment. The most marked characteristic
of the cultivation of the natural sciences was in their extravagant
applications with a view to a knowledge of the future or to obtain vast
wealth through supernatural agencies. Thus chemistry tended toward
alchemy, with the aim of finding the philosopher’s stone, whereby base
metals might be turned into gold, or with the object of producing
mysterious elixirs endowed with wonder-working virtues. Chemists and
alchemists came to be considered as practicers of magic arts in more or
less intimate communion with the Devil, a belief in which the
individuals themselves often shared. Men of high attainments were
credulous exponents of these superstitions,--for example, Archbishop
Alonso de Carrillo and the learned Enrique de Villena; the latter
attained to a legendary fame which has endured even to the present day.
Similarly, astronomers were at the same time astrologers. Both alchemy
and astrology served a useful purpose, however, in stimulating the study
of the true sciences, with a resulting advance in knowledge. The age of
the Moslem and Jewish philosopher was past, and very little that was
original in the realm of philosophy appeared in Castile in this period;
even theological writings were not prominent, despite the study of
theology in the universities and schools. Moral and political literature
abounded, such as discussions of the wiles or virtues of women on the
one hand, and works on the relations between church and state on the
other. In the latter respect ecclesiastical writers maintained the
superior authority of the pope over the king, but were in the main
defenders of monarchy, although distinguishing the legitimate king from
the tyrant, and sustaining the ultimate dependence of the monarch on
his people. The Italian influence appeared in philosophy through
translations of classical (Aristotle, Plato, Cicero, Seneca) and
contemporary Italian (Colonna, Petrarch, Boccaccio) texts. The most
influential manifestation of Castilian thought was in the field of
jurisprudence, to which references have already been made in dealing
with the _Partidas_ and other legal volumes. The entire period abounded
in this type of literature, not only in compilations of an official
character, but also in those of private individuals, all of them greatly
influenced by the legal works of Justinian.

[Sidenote: The triumph of Castilian in polite literature.]

[Sidenote: External influences upon Castilian literature.]

The same factors which affected the literary history of the preceding
period continued to exist in this, although occupying different
positions, and in addition competing with the Classical Renaissance and
Italian elements, which almost overwhelmed the others. Just as in the
scientific works, so in literature, these factors were assimilated and
made over to produce the original Castilian product of succeeding
centuries. Castilian became the language of poetry and of didactic
works, routing its Galician and Latin rivals. Latin works were
translated to Castilian, and from the middle of the thirteenth century
the latter began to be used instead of the former in public documents.
Galician-Portuguese lyric poetry, half erudite, half popular, born of
the Provençal, which it had assimilated and transformed, advanced to its
highest point, and seemed to have won a victory over Castilian. About
the middle of the fourteenth century it commenced to decline, and by the
end of that century Castilian lyric poetry was already predominant; in
the fifteenth century Galician ceased to be a literary language, and
even Portuguese writers frequently used Castilian. Besides satire and
even more sensuality than its Provençal prototype the Galician
literature often included ethical and religious sentiments in the same
poem. The Provençal influences proper also affected Castile, but did not
take root as in Catalonia, because of the difference in language. When
Galician poetry lost its place it was the Castilian which became its
successor, manifesting in one of its forms the same curious mixture of
ethics and satire. At length a satirical element of a free and sensual
type prevailed, and brought about a degeneration of this kind of
literature. With the fourteenth century the powerful Classical and
Italian Renaissance influences made themselves felt in Castile both in
poetry and in prose. Works of the classical poets (Homer, Virgil, Ovid,
Lucan) and writers of prose (Livy, Sallust, Cæsar, Plutarch, and others)
were translated, and served to enrich Castilian literature both in form
and in content. The Italian influence proper (Dante, Petrarch,
Boccaccio) was by far the greatest, however, especially that of Dante,
which vanquished the former French influence in poetry, and in part the
Galician, and banished the earlier Castilian literary forms. The Italian
influence was most deeply felt in its effects on lyric poetry. Epic
poetry and prose were not altogether uncultivated, however, and in this
field French influence continued to exist. Many of the older unwritten
poems were reduced to writing, and French poems of chivalry and French
novels of adventure, telling of the fantastic deeds of King Arthur,
Charlemagne, the magician Merlin, and others, were repeated or
reconstructed in Castilian. The fabulous element became predominant,
leading to the books of _caballería_, or chivalry, based on the
extraordinary adventures of wandering knights (_caballeros andantes_),
full of the extravagant exaggeration of unbridled imagination. The first
great work of this sort in the peninsula, and the best of its kind, was
a novel by Vasco de Lobeira called _Amadés de Gaula_, written originally
in Portuguese, but already known in Castile in the later fourteenth
century. In the fifteenth century amatory novels began to appear.

[Sidenote: Historical literature.]

[Sidenote: The drama.]

The advance of the preceding period in historical literature was
continued in this. One of the principal names was that of Alfonso X, who
was also a writer of note in other branches of literature and learning.
His principal work was a history of Spain, compiled probably by a number
of men under his direction, just as the _Partidas_ was. Various sources
were employed, Spanish, French, Latin, and Arabic, and a certain spirit
of criticism, superior to that of the earlier histories, was displayed.
On the other hand the work was defective from the historiographical
standpoint because of its lack of proportion, its inclusion of epic
poems in the body of the narrative, and its manifestation of an ardent
patriotism. Perhaps the best historian of the era was the many-sided
chancellor and litterateur, López de Ayala, author among other
historical works of a chronicle of the reigns of Pedro I, Henry II, Juan
I, and part of that of Henry III. López de Ayala wrote in direct
imitation of classical writers, especially Livy. Pérez de Guzmán, as
author of a collection of biographies reaching down to the fifteenth
century, made use of a psychological interpretation of human events.
Dramatic literature did not change from the religious dramas and popular
representations of jugglers of the preceding era, but progress was made
in both of these forms, and each attained to greater favor, preparing
the way for the rapidly approaching inauguration of the national

[Sidenote: The developed Castilian Gothic architecture.]

[Sidenote: Mudéjar architecture.]

Gothic architecture had its most brilliant expression in the early part
of this period, degenerating later largely through an exaggeration of
its elements. At the end of the thirteenth century Castilian Gothic may
be said to have differed from that of the other European countries in
the following respects: its maintenance of classical proportions, with
scant difference between the length and width of an edifice, reducing
the height; less development in the use of windows; greater robustness
of walls, columns, and piers, diminishing the importance of buttresses;
more nearly flat roofs; and the general use and ample size of cloisters
in convents and churches. The structural basis and sober character of
early Gothic began to be lost sight of in the fourteenth century, and,
in particular, ornamentation was used without any relation to structural
needs. The corruption of Gothic became more and more marked in the
fifteenth century, when proportions and structural ideals were
forgotten, and adornment, notably in the use of pinnacles, was employed
in excessive degree. It was at this time that the choir of Spanish
cathedrals was moved to the centre of the nave, in front of the high
altar. This was the greatest age of Gothic civil and military art,
especially of the latter. Castles were more solidly and more richly
built, with handsome towers and other exterior defences and with
embattled walls. Towers and battlements also appeared on the walls of
cities. Mudéjar architecture continued to develop, notably in Toledo and
Seville, in both religious and civil edifices, and some of the best
specimens of this art date from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.
It was especially employed in the interior decoration of palaces and
private houses,--in panelling, handsomely worked wooden roofs, painted
and sculptured friezes, and the use of tiles. On the outside it appeared
in eaves and beams of brightly colored woods.

[Sidenote: The lesser arts.]

Sculpture remained, as before, an adjunct of architecture, but was
employed more than formerly in the ornamentation of buildings. In form
it became more and more affected by Italian influences. The comparative
wealth and luxury of the era, as well as the needs of religion, led to
an advance in metal work and the making of jewelry and rich
embroideries. The illumination of manuscripts reached a higher level
than before, but declined before the end of the period, partly because
of the invention of printing. The painting of windows in cathedrals
attained to a greater richness and variety in scene, and wall painting
acquired an independent position. The Italian influence of Giotto was
apparent in the fifteenth century, although it did not get beyond the
point of mere copying. The Flemish influence was more important, dating
from Van Eyck’s visit to Spain in 1428, after which date paintings in
the Flemish style abounded in Castile, especially altar-pieces. Music
turned upon singing, usually of one part, although occasionally other
parts were sung. Musical instruments were employed solely for
accompaniments of songs and dances.


[Sidenote: General characteristics of intellectual culture in the
kingdom of Aragon.]

In intellectual culture Aragon proper, Catalonia, Valencia, and Majorca
may be considered together. The same general line of progress was in
evidence as that already described for Castile. There was the same
eagerness for learning among the upper classes, the same development of
educational institutions, an analogous penetration of foreign influences
(especially French and Italian), and an identical practice of going to
other parts of Europe to study. The landmarks in intellectual history
were the reign of Pedro IV in didactic literature, that of Juan I for
the Provençal troubadour literature, and that of Alfonso V for the
Classical Renaissance.

[Sidenote: Education and printing.]

The most noteworthy university founded in the period was that of
Barcelona, which evolved from an academy in the opening years of the
fourteenth century to the rank of a university in 1450, with courses in
theology, civil and canon law, philosophy, arts, and medicine. In
addition to numerous other schools similar to those of Castile there
were two more or less distinct types here: the primary school, much more
frequently met with than in other parts of the peninsula; and the Lulian
schools (due originally to the initiative of Raymond Lull, but carried
on throughout the era), which devoted themselves primarily to
philosophy, but also to foreign languages, especially Arabic. Naturally
the invention of printing at the end of the period gave a fresh impulse
to intellectual culture. The first book to be printed in this region was
published in Valencia in 1474. In 1478, or a little before, books began
to be printed in Barcelona.

[Sidenote: Leading currents in thought and science.]

Philosophy, medicine, nautical science, cartography, and cosmography
were the studies most cultivated. The influence of Raymond Lull
continued to be felt, both in the imitations and translations of Hebrew
and Arabic philosophers, especially Averröes, and in the reaction
against them. In the fifteenth century the Italian, and to a less extent
the French, influences began to be felt. The Neapolitan court of Alfonso
V was the great centre for the penetration of Italian and classical
thought. Theologians proper contributed little in this period, but there
were numerous writings on ecclesiastical subjects,--works of a
controversial or moral nature, translations, and histories of saints,
mystics, ascetics, and sacred orators. The extraordinary development of
the study of medicine was due primarily to Jewish and Moslem elements.
Toward the end of the fifteenth century a marked current of opinion
against the deductive method in medicine and in favor of experimental
studies became apparent. Chemistry, the companion study of medicine, was
much in favor, as also was alchemy, which counted King Juan I and Miguel
Jiménez de Urrea, bishop of Tarazona, among its devotees. The Catalans
and Majorcans were famous for their knowledge of cartography and the
related sciences. To the Catalans were due the first map of the Danish
peninsula and the correction of the maps of the Norwegian and Swedish
coasts and the lands touching the Baltic Sea. Jaime Ferrer, a Marrano of
Majorca, was the leading nautical and geographical scholar of those whom
Prince Henry attracted to Portugal to prepare the Portuguese for their
rôle in the history of maritime exploration. In addition to the kindred
sciences of mathematics and astronomy the pseudo-science of astrology
was also much pursued. Just as in Castile, so in Aragon, juridical
studies in both the civil and canon law had a great vogue.

[Sidenote: Struggle of the Catalan, Latin, and Castilian languages for
predominance in polite literature.]

At the close of the preceding era Catalan was already being employed in
prose works in Catalonia, while the Provençal predominated in poetry. In
this period the Catalan, which also found support in Valencia and
Majorca, invaded all types of literature. Against this current there
appeared two powerful forces which made themselves most felt in the last
century of the era,--Latin and Castilian. Latin was much more firmly
rooted in Catalonia than in Castile, and the Latin tradition was greatly
reinforced by contact with the Classical Renaissance influences
throughout the period, owing to the intimate political relations of the
kings with Sicily and Naples. These influences were at their height in
the reign of Alfonso V. Castilian had the support of Aragon proper,
since the Aragonese tongue was very similar to that of Castile, and it
was furthered by the Castilian dynasty of Ferdinand I, which began to
rule in Aragon in 1410. The same element appeared at the court of
Alfonso V, much frequented by Castilian and Aragonese poets, and even by
Catalans who chose to write in Castilian. As a result Catalan began to
decline as a literary language, although it did not disappear, but on
the contrary improved in its elements and forms. Catalan poetry of the
era never completely effaced the Provençal influence, as evidenced by
the subject-matter, which was predominantly amatory, although somewhat
erudite, artificial, conventional, mystical, allegorical, satirical, and
even moral. Catalan prose appeared principally in novels of chivalry and
in history. Castilian poetry and prose also had interesting
manifestations in the entire realm of Aragon. The history of dramatic
literature followed the same course as in Castile, although in some of
the choral representations at the court of Alfonso V an approach to the
modern theatre was made.

[Sidenote: The fine arts.]

With respect to architecture, sculpture, and the related arts the
general remarks about their development in Castile may be applied to the
kingdom of Aragon, subject to the observation already made[49] as to the
difference of Catalan Gothic from that of Castile. The Italian
influences were exceptionally strong in Catalonia and Valencia, and the
French were marked in regions near the Pyrenees and in Majorca. One type
of edifice peculiar to the eastern coasts was the defensive tower to
which the inhabitants resorted on the appearance of pirates or in times
of military danger. In painting, the Italian style of Giotto was more
completely assimilated than in Castile. Flemish influences were equally

[Sidenote: Mutual influence of Aragonese and other European

Despite the long occupation of the duchy of Athens by Catalan rulers,
who used Catalan speech and customs, the Catalan-Aragonese civilization
had no noteworthy effect in Greece, and, similarly, neither the
Byzantine nor the Athenian civilization reacted upon the kingdom of
Aragon. In southern France, however, the Catalan-Aragonese civilization
did produce effects, just as it was in turn affected. The same mutual
exchange of influences was also observable between Aragon and Italy, if
indeed the civilization of the latter was recognized as superior by the
Spanish conquerors themselves. The principal impulse came at the time of
Alfonso V and the contemporary papal reign of the Spanish pope, Alfonso
Borgia, as Calixtus III (1455-1458). There was a great influx of
Spaniards, especially from the realm of Aragon, and as they occupied
the highest official posts in southern Italy, they could not but make
their presence felt. Many Spaniards left Italy upon the deaths of
Alfonso V and Calixtus III, but others remained, and political relations
were maintained between the two kingdoms, since the Neapolitan ruling
family proceeded from the same trunk as that of Aragon, thus preparing a
new period of Spanish rule and influence with the reign of Ferdinand of



So far as they have not already been discussed, in dealing with Castile
and Aragon, the institutions of Majorca, Navarre, the Basque provinces,
and Granada may be dealt with here, especially in their original


[Sidenote: Outline of Majorcan history.]

By the will of Jaime I, Majorca and the Roussillon were constituted into
a kingdom apart from Aragon, but almost immediately afterward Pedro III
of Aragon compelled Jaime II of Majorca to acknowledge the overlordship
of the peninsula monarch. In 1349 Pedro IV of Aragon annexed Majorca,
but the political change was one of monarch only, for Majorca continued
to be a separate state with a history of its own. The political life of
Majorca centred about the workings of the municipal organization of
Palma, its capital city (on which the government of the island was
based), and was involved with social problems.

[Sidenote: The peculiar social bases of Majorca.]

After the conquest of the island by Jaime I nearly all of the great
nobles who had accompanied the king returned to the peninsula, granting
their lands to _caballeros_ of their following, or renting them to
plebeian cultivators, and Jaime I did much the same. Thus the
_caballeros_, or nobility of the second grade, were virtually the only
representatives of the feudal aristocracy in Majorca, and laws were
passed limiting the amount of land which they might hold, so as to avoid
the evil of vast estates. The _caballeros_ were reinforced by a Catalan
middle class element which constituted a majority of the Christians in
the island in the early years following the conquest. From these two
elements there emerged a new aristocracy, based on wealth, growing out
of Majorcan commerce, an aristocracy open to all, given to pomp and
luxury, and dwelling mostly in Palma. Some of the wealthy lived in the
country, where there was also a large number of free tillers of the
soil. A few of these became wealthy, but there was always a tendency for
the rich to migrate to Palma. The position of the rural classes was not
satisfactory at any time, but two causes appeared in the fourteenth
century to make it worse. One was the increase in taxation after the
reincorporation into the crown of Aragon, and the other a change in the
form of wealth with the decline of Majorcan commerce in the latter
fourteenth century, when the aristocracy of Palma began to buy lands and
rights to collect taxes. Thus the rural districts became economically
dependent on the absentee landlords at the capital, who were more
zealous over the collection of their rents and taxes than in cultivating
the land. Society divided itself largely on the lines of the country and
the city, with the inhabitants of the former bitterly hostile to the
aristocracy of the latter.

[Sidenote: Conversion of the Mudéjares and Jews.]

Of the despised classes the Mudéjares, as such, soon disappeared,
despite their great numbers at the time of the conquest. Upon conversion
to Christianity or emancipation from slavery they mixed with the lower
classes of the Christians, and were completely absorbed. The history of
the Jews was almost identical with that of their race in the peninsula,
but was involved with the peculiar social problems of Majorca apart from
race and religion. The kings collected heavy tributes from them, but
protected them, allowing them the free exercise of their business and
the practice of their faith, exempting them from all taxation (even
municipal) except the royal tributes, aiding them in the collection of
debts, and facilitating the entry of Jews and Marranos into Majorca.
Numerous attacks were made on them in the fourteenth century,
culminating in the sack of the Jewish quarter of the capital in 1391
(the year which was so disastrous to the Jews in other parts of Spain),
when some three hundred men and women were killed. In addition to the
usual animosities against them because of their religion and the
incitement of debtors this attack was in part an outgrowth of the
struggle of the rural classes against the landlords, to whom the sack of
the Jewish quarter was a severe financial blow, since much of their
wealth depended on their relations with the Jews, with whom also they
were wont to deposit their jewels. The rioters were able to obtain
decrees from the royal governor-general extinguishing debts and interest
due to the Jews, confirming the title of those who had taken part in the
attack to the money and jewelry they had stolen, pardoning all offences
committed, and ordering an immediate conversion of the Jews. The general
conversion took place at once, but had to be repeated in 1435.

[Sidenote: The municipal form of Majorcan government.]

Since the outlying settlements were unimportant at the time of the
conquest, the government of the city of Palma was extended over the
entire island. At length the administration at the capital was organized
on the basis of a magistracy of six persons (a _caballero_, two
citizens, two merchants, and an artisan), who served for a year and
appointed their successors. The attempt to maintain this organization
after the rural population had grown to appreciable numbers was one of
the causes of the social strife between the rural and city elements.
Within Palma itself there were also the disputes of different social
classes and of rival powerful families. By a reform of 1358 the rural
population obtained some financial independence whereby their
contributions were limited to those which were to be applied for
expenses in which they had an interest in common with the city, and a
portion was assigned to them to spend on matters of their own, for which
purpose a rural organization was formed to provide for the management of
their affairs. Another reform established a council subordinate to the
six magistrates, in which the rural population had a minority
representation, thirty in ninety-three in 1398. This did not satisfy
them, for they desired a complete separation from the city government.
Still other reforms were made, but they did not get at the root of the
evil, for the city remained dominant over the affairs of the country,
oppressing the people both economically and politically.

[Sidenote: The social wars of Majorca and Minorca.]

Shortly after the successful issue of the attack upon the Jews in 1391
the rural levies moved against their Christian enemies in Palma. This
time they failed, and a number of their chiefs were executed. No further
conflict of importance occurred until 1450, when a bitter civil war
broke out. Aided by the laboring classes of Palma the rural forces
besieged the capital, but were unable to take it. In 1452 the
insurrection was put down. In 1463 there was another uprising, and from
that date to the end of the era a state of affairs bordering on anarchy
prevailed, enhanced by the economic decline of Majorca, and by the
disorders on the mainland which filled the reign of Juan II. In the
island of Minorca a parallel situation existed throughout the era in the
conflicts of the capital, Ciudadela, with the rural districts.

[Sidenote: Greatness and decline of Majorcan commerce.]

Majorca had an excellent climate and a fertile soil which fitted it for
agricultural wealth, and the Moslems had furthered this by their use of
irrigation. They had also engaged considerably in manufacturing, and had
an already well-developed trade at the time of the conquest. Under
Christian domination Majorca soon attained to an extraordinary
commercial importance, trading in all parts of the Mediterranean and in
Flanders, and having consuls and commercial exchanges in nearly all
European countries. In the fourteenth century more than thirty thousand
sailors resided in Palma, and many foreign merchants dwelt there. The
wealthy trader was the veritable great lord in the island, with his
palaces, country estates, and his display of luxury. The decline set in
about the middle of the fourteenth century, due in part to the
annexation of Majorca to the kingdom of Aragon. Other causes hastened
the fall: disastrous plagues, earthquakes, and floods; the advance of
the Turks into Europe, cutting off a rich commercial field; the
increased importance of the Italian cities in the eastern Mediterranean
trade; the raids of pirates; the expensive wars of Aragon; and the
persistent social and political strife in Majorca itself. Nevertheless,
a considerable trade remained until the middle of the fifteenth century,
when a new series of misfortunes,--such as the fall of Constantinople in
1453, the prohibition of the entry of Majorcan cloths into Naples, the
competition of Rhodes and Portugal in the east, and hostilities with
the Moslem states of northern Africa (thus cutting off that avenue of
trade),--added to the continuing effect of some of the already-named
evils, brought about the complete downfall of the Majorcan mercantile
power. One advantage resulted, though not great enough to offset the
commercial loss: a beginning was made of a more intensive cultivation of
the agricultural wealth which the island was so well able to produce.


[Sidenote: Backwardness of Navarre.]

The institutions of Navarre at this time were affected by French
influences, but in the main resembled those of the rest of the peninsula
both in form and in their evolution, except that they displayed a
backwardness which was natural in a region so thinly populated. The
feudal régime persisted, although some gains were made by the servile
classes, the towns, and the kings. A corporate sense of society, as
manifested in the importance of the family as a whole and in the
associations of neighbors and citizens (especially marked in the rural
districts), still existed. The Mudéjares and Jews were comparatively
numerous, and their lot was the same as in other parts of the peninsula.
The marriage _á yuras_ was sanctioned in Navarre longer than elsewhere,
although at length it was banished. _Barraganía_ (much resorted to by
churchmen) survived, and received a measure of acceptance. The customs
of chivalry were greatly in vogue, and bull-fighting and ball-games[50]
were very popular. Agriculture, with the aid of irrigation, and
stock-raising were the principal occupations. In intellectual culture
and the fine arts Navarre was rather a continuation of France than a
part of Spain. The country was markedly backward in these respects,
however, as evidenced by the ignorance of the clergy, compared with
churchmen in other regions, and by the fact that the kings rarely had
any books other than those of prayer. Although Basque was the national
tongue, such books as were written usually appeared in Latin or in
Castilian,--one more demonstration of the intellectual predominance of
central Spain. French Gothic prevailed in architecture, sculpture, gold
work, and painting.

_The Basque provinces_

[Sidenote: Unique character of Basque institutions.]

The three Basque provinces of Álava, Vizcaya, and Guipúzcoa have always
been unique in their history and institutions, and are the subject of
many popular legends more or less founded on fact, such as the one
already discussed that the Basques have never been conquered, and
another that they are all nobles. In this period they were becoming more
and more Castilian in customs, but they still retained much that was

[Sidenote: The social and political system in Álava.]

In general social organization Álava did not differ from other Spanish
regions. It was technically a _behetría de mar á mar_ (free town from
sea to sea): made up of a group of small seigniorial estates, both noble
and ecclesiastical, whose rulers were free to elect a common lord
without being restrained to a determinate family. The untitled
inhabitants were rural laborers, who were either serfs or in a state but
little removed from serfdom, and the free, popular classes of the towns,
but neither of these elements exercised great influence. After the
incorporation of Álava into Castile in 1332, the older type of
government, based primarily on the _Cofradía_ of Arriaga and the elected
lord, underwent a radical change. The overlordship became fixed in the
crown of Castile, and the _cofradía_ disappeared, although a similar
body soon developed. The king was represented at times by an
_adelantado_ as well as by lesser royal officials, and reserved high
justice to himself, besides rights to military service and a certain few
taxes. Local government was carried on by various assemblies, reaching
in a hierarchy from the lesser regional institutions to the general
assembly for the entire province. The general assembly was both a
legislative and an administrative body, but its principal function was
the inspection of royal orders to see if they conformed to the regional
charters. A juridical difference existed between the towns and the
country, for the former were ruled by Castilian law and the latter by
ancient custom, resulting in the economic dependence of the rural
laboring classes, even after serfdom had disappeared.

[Sidenote: The social and political system in Vizcaya.]

Until its consolidation with the Castilian crown by inheritance in 1370,
Vizcaya was a _behetría de linaje_ (free town within a family), electing
its lord from a determinate family, but both before and after that date
there was a marked lack of regional solidarity, for various groups were
to a great degree autonomous. There were two principal types of
jurisdiction: the seigniorial estates, with the usual incidents found
elsewhere; and the indigenous Basque settlements, which pretended to the
nobility of their inhabitants, even to the point of refusing to permit
foreigners to dwell among them unless they too were of noble rank. The
indigenous element was to be found in rural districts, and was ruled by
customs, which were written down for the first time in 1452. The
patriarchal form of family life continued to exist here, as evidenced by
the requirement that lands should return to the family from which they
proceeded in case of a failure of direct heirs, and by the right to
leave virtually one’s entire estate to a single descendant. Custom
recognized a right of way over the lands of others, even when
enclosed,--which would seem to indicate backwardness in the development
of means of communication. In government the king was represented
principally by a _corregidor_. The inhabitants of Vizcaya were exempt
from any taxes of Castilian origin, but paid certain other contributions
to the king, were subject to both military and naval service, and
acknowledged the right of high justice in the royal officials. The
general assembly of Vizcaya, like that of Álava, had a right to inspect
royal decrees.

[Sidenote: The social and political system in Guipúzcoa.]

The people of Guipúzcoa claimed to be of noble rank, and this status was
legally recognized for most of them by laws enacted before, during, and
after this period. Nevertheless the customs of the land itself amounted
to a denial of their claim, and the familiar social differences existed,
even though the majority of the people were legally nobles. There was a
seigniorial class of the usual variety, with dependents in a more or
less servile relation. A middle class nobility existed, composed of
small proprietors or the industrial laborers and merchants of the towns.
This element was very insistent on its noble rank (which indeed carried
with it special privileges, such as the exclusive right to hold public
office and certain exemptions from taxation), and enacted laws excluding
those who were not of noble blood from a right to live in the towns.
These laws were not enforced, however, and a popular class grew up,
composed of Guipuzcoans whose noble rank was not recognized and of
foreigners, many of whom settled in the land. Politically Guipúzcoa was
a _behetría_ subject alternately to the kings of Navarre and Castile,
until in 1200 the overlordship became fixed in the Castilian crown. At
first the king was represented by an _adelantado_, who was customarily
ruler at the same time of Álava or of the county of Castile; later a
_corregidor_ for Guipúzcoa alone was named, while there were a number of
royal _merinos_ as well. There was no other organization for the entire
province until the fourteenth century, but each region dealt separately
with the royal government. Gradually, through the formation of groups of
settlements, a general league and at length a general assembly
developed, with much the same powers as the assemblies of Álava and
Vizcaya. The municipalities continued to be the principal centre of
regional autonomy, however, especially the more important towns, which
protected the lesser settlements through an institution similar to the
Catalonian _carreratge_. Like the other Basque provinces Guipúzcoa
enjoyed a number of privileges, of which the most prized was the
exemption from general taxation, although certain specified tributes
were regularly collected. More than once the province rose in arms to
resist the imposition of taxes of Castilian origin.

[Sidenote: Inter-relations of the Basque provinces.]

Despite community of race and language the three provinces never formed
a political unit. At times Guipúzcoa and Álava had the same
_adelantado_ or held general assemblies in common, and there were some
instances where the assemblies of all three provinces met to discuss
matters of common interest. Alliances were made between towns of the
same or different provinces, perhaps including towns in France, for such
purposes as the regulation of the use of lands common. In one respect
there was a certain amount of unity (in interest at least): in the
conflict of the towns against the great lords and their allies, the
rural population, in all three provinces. The lords were so turbulent
that the kings joined with the towns in attempts to suppress them, and
the lords even fought one another, wherefore their power was
considerably reduced, though not entirely broken.


[Sidenote: Social and political decadence of Granada.]

[Sidenote: Economic wealth.]

According to modern estimates Granada had a population of three or four
millions in its last days, which bespeaks a great density, due largely
to the migrations of Mudéjares from Christian lands. In social and
political organization Granada was a miniature of the early caliphate.
The Arabs reappeared as the principal element, and furnished the ruling
family. They had the same scornful and quarrelsome aristocratic pride as
in other days, and were opposed, as before, by the Berbers, who
outnumbered them. The most numerous element was that of the Renegados,
which was also next in importance to the Arabs. There were many
thousands of Christian slaves as well. Signs of social decay were
everywhere visible, especially in the passion of the wealthy for luxury
and futile diversions at vast expense, while on the other hand there
existed the poverty-stricken proletariat.[51] Internal political history
reduced itself to a series of riots, assassinations, rebellions, acts of
vengeance, and exhibitions of partisan rancor. The influence of
Christian Spain was more and more intense, manifesting itself in general
customs and dress; even the practices of chivalry were introduced. Given
the richness of soil and favoring climate and the great population of
Granada, it was natural that there should have been a considerable
measure of economic prosperity there. This became less as the period
advanced, as a result of political weakness and social decay, but
Granada was still wealthy at the time (in the next era) it disappeared
as a kingdom.

[Sidenote: Granadine architecture.]

In sciences and letters Granada continued the intellectual traditions of
Moslem Spain, but it cannot be said that its influence was great. In the
arts, however, Granada introduced features of general importance, and
especially in architecture, of which the outstanding example is the
palace of the Alhambra in the city of Granada. The most salient note in
Granadine architecture was richness in ornamentation, in which it is not
surpassed by any other style in the world. The walls were adorned with
relief work in stucco, and variegated azulejos tiles were also used in
great profusion. The decorative motives were geometrical or floral, and
the _tout ensemble_ was not only brilliant in color, but also
harmoniously appealing. In structural features, too, Granadine
architecture attained to great beauty.



[Sidenote: Transition from medieval to modern Spain.]

The joint reign of Ferdinand (1479-1516) and Isabella (1474-1504), known
as “the Catholic Kings,” witnessed the substantial fulfilment of the
aims of medieval Hispanic royalty, and at the same time began in
striking fashion that complexity of life and action which characterizes
the modern age. On the one hand the turbulent elements which had for so
long stood for decentralization and disorder as opposed to national
unity and internal peace were done away with or rendered powerless; on
the other, life in its various institutional phases approximated itself
in a considerable degree to that of our own times, and Spain stood forth
from the domestic bickerings which had formerly absorbed her attention
to enter upon the career and status of a world power. The greatest
single event in the period was undoubtedly the discovery of America,
from which came, directly or indirectly, Spain’s principal claims to the
recognition of posterity. Important only in less degree were the
conquest of Granada, the establishment of the Inquisition and the
expulsion from Spain of the non-Catholic elements, and Spain’s entry
into the maelstrom of European politics on a greater scale than ever
before, through the medium of Ferdinand’s intervention in Italy.
Measured by the success attained in their own day the Catholic Kings
prospered in nearly everything they undertook, but the ultimate result,
which could not have been foreseen at the time, was in many respects to
prove disastrous to Spain herself, if, indeed, there were
counter-balancing advantages and a glorious memory. The wealth and
greatness proceeding from the conquest of the Americas were to be
sacrificed in a fruitless attempt to gain a predominant place in
Europe,--which, indeed, Spain might have had, much as England acquired
it, if she had not pursued it so directly and insistently, but had been
willing to devote her attention to her colonies. On the other hand, the
Americas drained Spain of some of her best resources in manhood, while
the Italian wars brought her into the current of the highest European
civilization. These consequences, whatever attitude one may take with
regard to them, did not become manifest until a much later time, but
they had the most pronounced of their impulses, if not in all cases
their origins, in the reign of the Catholic Kings.

[Sidenote: Nature of the union of Castile and Aragon.]

Ferdinand’s accession to the crown of Aragon and the recognition of
Isabella as queen of Castile did not at that time bring about a
political union of the two kingdoms, and resulted in no radical change
in the separate institutions of either. They did mean the establishment
of consistent policies in each (especially in international affairs)
which were to bring about a more effectual union at a later day and
produce the Spanish nation. The first problem of the Catholic Kings was
that of the pacification of their realms. Aragon and Catalonia offered
no serious difficulty, but the violence of the Castilian nobility called
for repression of a vigorous type. Galicia and Andalusia were the
regions where such action was most imperatively needed.

[Sidenote: Overthrow of seigniorial anarchy.]

The real weakness of the seigniorial class is well illustrated by the
case of Galicia. The lawless conduct of the nobility and even of the
high functionaries of the church was traditional, besides which Juana la
Beltraneja had counted with many partisans there. Petty war, the
oppression of individuals and towns (through the medium of illegal
tributes or the collection of those belonging to the kings), and an
almost complete disobedience of royal authority were the rule. Resolved
to do away with such an evil state of affairs the Catholic Kings sent
two delegates there in 1480, the one a soldier, Fernando de Acuña, and
the other a lawyer and member of the _Consejo Real_, Garcí López de
Chinchilla, accompanied by three hundred picked horsemen. Without loss
of time and with praiseworthy energy they proceeded to carry out the
royal will. Forty-six castles were demolished, the tributes which the
nobles had been diverting from the king were collected once more for the
royal treasury, many individuals of greater or less degree (both nobles
and ordinary bandits) were put to death, and others were dominated or
compelled to flee the country. Similar action was taken in Andalusia and
Castile proper, wherefore within a few years the pacification of the
kingdom was achieved; the seemingly hopeless anarchy of the period of
Henry IV had been overcome.

[Sidenote: The conquest of Granada.]

At the same time that the Catholic Kings were engaged in the
establishment of good order in the realm of Castile, they were giving
their attention to another problem which may well be considered as of
domestic import,--the long delayed conquest of Granada. The last years
of the Moslem kingdom epitomized the history of that government during
its more than two centuries of existence, with the important difference
that it was no longer to escape the bitter pill of conquest which its
own weakness and decadent life had long rendered inevitable once a
determined effort should be made. There appeared the figure of the emir,
Abul Hassan, dominated by the passion which his slave girl, Zoraya, had
inspired in him. Other members of his family, notably his brother, El
Zagal (or Al Zagal), and his son, Abu Abdullah, best known as Boabdil,
headed factions which warred with Abul Hassan or with each other.
Meanwhile, the war with Castile, which had broken forth anew in 1481,
was going on, and to the credit of the Moslem warrior as a fighting man
was being sustained, if not with success, at least without great loss of
territory. Ferdinand, to whom treachery was only a fine art of kingship,
availed himself of the internal disorder of Granada to gain advantages
to which his military victories in open combat did not entitle him.
Twice he had Boabdil in his power as a prisoner, and on each occasion
let him go, so that he might cause trouble for El Zagal, who had become
emir, at the same time making promises of peace and of abstention from
conquest which he disloyally failed to observe. Another time, El Zagal
was similarly deceived. By these means, after ten years of war,
Ferdinand was able to enter the Granadine plain and besiege the Moslem
capital, courageously defended by Boabdil and his followers. The
military camp of Santa Fe was founded, and for months the siege went on,
signalized by deeds of valor on both sides. Overcome by hunger the
defenders were at length obliged to capitulate, and on January 2, 1492,
the Castilian troops occupied the Alhambra. Some time later Boabdil and
his household departed for Africa. It is fitting to observe that many of
the legends concerning this prince, notably those which reflect on his
courage and manliness, are without foundation in fact.

[Sidenote: Forced conversion of the Mudéjares of Castile.]

The terms of surrender had included numerous articles providing for the
security of the Moslem population. Virtually they amounted to a promise
that the Mudéjar, or Moslem, element would not be molested in any
respect, whether in Granada or elsewhere in Castile. Such a treaty could
not long be enforced in the face of the religious ardor and intolerance
of the age. The greatest men of the kingdom, and among them the most
notable of all, the archbishop of Toledo, Ximénez de Cisneros, confessor
of the queen, joined in urging a different policy. Pressure began to be
exerted in direct contravention of the treaty to bring about an enforced
conversion of the Mudéjares to Christianity. A Moslem uprising was the
result, and this was seized upon by Ximénez as justifying a complete
disregard, henceforth, of the terms of the capitulation, on the ground
that the Moslems had nullified the treaty by their rebellion,--a
convenient argument which did not enquire into the real causes of the
outbreak. Christianization by force, not without a number of serious
uprisings, now went on at a rapid rate, and was completed by a royal
decree of 1502 which ordered that all Mudéjares in the Castilian domains
should accept Christianity or leave the country. Many took the latter
course, but the greater number remained, Christians in outward
appearance if not so at heart. Officially there were no more Mudéjares
in Castile except slaves. The newly converted element became known,
henceforth, as “Moriscos,” thus attaching them by association of ideas
to their ancient faith, and since their Christianity did not inspire
much confidence they were made subject to the dread Inquisition.

[Sidenote: Castilian activities in northwestern Africa and the Canary

The discovery of America in 1492, together with other factors, directed
Castilian attention to the Canary Islands and northwestern Africa,
bringing the Spanish kingdom into contact and rivalry with the
Portuguese, who had devoted themselves to exploration, conquest, and
colonization in that region for nearly a century. It may suffice here to
say that in successive treaties of 1480, 1494, and 1509 Portugal
recognized Castile’s claim to the Canaries and certain posts in
northwestern Africa. The security of the American route was not the
principal motive of Castilian interest at that time in northwestern
Africa. The wars with Granada and the danger of fresh invasions, coupled
with the crusading zeal which had been aroused against the Moslems, and
aggravated by the activities of North African corsairs, were perhaps the
leading factors affecting the policy of the Catholic Kings. In 1494 the
definitive conquest of the Canary Islands was made, and at the same time
a post was established on the neighboring coast of western Africa to
serve as a centre for the resistance to the Moslems. Meanwhile, private
attacks by Spaniards on North African ports were being made, but it was
not until 1497 that the Catholic Kings formally embarked on that
enterprise. Bent upon checking piracy in that region they took
possession of Melilla, which thenceforth became an important Spanish

[Sidenote: Ferdinand’s European policy.]

While Ferdinand had much to do with the events which have thus far been
discussed, he and his subjects of Aragon and Catalonia were more
interested in other affairs. Ferdinand aimed at nothing less than a
predominant place for Spain in European affairs, to be preceded by the
establishment of Aragonese supremacy in the Mediterranean. The principal
stumbling-block was the power of the French kings. Ferdinand schemed,
therefore, to bring about the isolation and humiliation of France. The
entering wedge came through the French possession of the Catalan regions
of Cerdagne and the Roussillon which had been granted to the king of
France by Juan II. Charles VIII of France consented to restore the two
provinces, but in return exacted Ferdinand’s promise not to interfere
with the former’s designs respecting the kingdom of Naples. Ferdinand
readily agreed in 1493 to aid no enemy of the French king save the pope,
and not to form matrimonial alliances between members of his family and
those of the reigning houses of Austria, England, and Naples. With
Cerdagne and the Roussillon in his possession he proceeded with
characteristic duplicity to disregard the treaty. Marriage alliances
were projected or arranged, some of them to be sure before 1493, not
only with the ruling families of Portugal and Navarre but also with
those of Austria and England. Thus Ferdinand hoped to secure
considerable accessions of territory and to avoid any interference on
the part of the Holy Roman Empire and England, the only outstanding
powers which might be able to hinder his plots against France. It is
perhaps poetic justice that these plans, so cleverly made and executed
at the time, were to have an ultimate result which was quite different
from that which Ferdinand had reason to expect. Untimely deaths rendered
the various Portuguese alliances of no effect; the authorities of
Navarre would have nothing to do with Ferdinand’s proffer; and Spanish
Catherine in England was to figure in the famous divorce from Henry
VIII, precipitating the English Reformation. One marriage was productive
of results, that of Juana, heir of Ferdinand and Isabella, to Philip the
Handsome of Burgundy. Thus the Spanish kings were brought into the line
of the Hapsburg family and of imperial succession, which was to prove
less a boon than a fatality.

[Sidenote: The acquisition of Naples.]

Charles VIII wished to revive the Angevin claim to the Neapolitan
territory held at the time by the illegitimate branch of Alfonso V of
Aragon, related by blood to Ferdinand the Catholic. Alleging that Naples
was a fief of the pope and therefore excepted from the treaty of 1493,
Ferdinand resisted the pretensions of Charles, and formed an alliance
with the pope, the emperor, Venice, and Milan against him. The forces of
the league proving too much for him, Charles was forced in 1497 to
suspend hostilities, whereupon Ferdinand agreed with him in secret to
divide Naples between them, renewing the agreement with Louis XII, who
ascended the French throne in 1498. The division was carried into
effect, but a quarrel sprang up over a certain portion of the territory,
and war broke out. Thanks to the military genius of the great Spanish
leader, Gonzalo de Córdoba, Ferdinand was victorious by the year 1504,
and Naples came under his authority.

[Sidenote: Juana la Loca and Philip the Handsome.]

In the same year, 1504, Isabella the Catholic died, leaving her throne
to her elder daughter, Juana, and in case she should prove unable to
govern to Ferdinand as regent until Juana’s heir should become twenty
years of age. Since Juana had already given evidence of that mental
instability which was to earn for her the soubriquet “La Loca” (the
Crazy), it was the intention of both Isabella and Ferdinand that the
latter should rule, but Philip the Handsome, husband of Juana,
intervened to procure the regency for himself. This was a serious
set-back to the plans of Ferdinand, but fortunately for him there
occurred the unexpected death of Philip in 1506. On the occasion of the
latter’s burial Juana gave such ample proof of her mental unfitness that
it was now clear that Ferdinand would be called in as regent. In 1507 he
was so installed, and he now had the resources of Spain at his back in
the accomplishment of his ambitious designs. Leaving Cardinal Ximénez to
effect conquests in northern Africa and to carry into execution other
Castilian projects Ferdinand once again turned his attention to the
aggrandizement of Aragon in Italy.

[Sidenote: The aggrandizement of Aragon in Italy and the conquest of

In 1508 Ferdinand joined an alliance of the pope, the emperor, and Louis
XII of France against Venice, whereby he rounded out his Neapolitan
possessions. Seeing that the French were gaining more than he desired he
formed a new alliance, in 1511, with the pope, the emperor, Venice, and
Henry VIII of England against France. The French were defeated and
thrown out of Italy. Meanwhile, Ferdinand had taken advantage of the
French sympathies of the ruler of Navarre and the excommunication of
that king by the pope to overrun Navarre in 1512. The pope sanctioned
the conquest of that part of the kingdom lying south of the Pyrenees,
and it was definitely added to the Spanish domain. The French became
dangerous anew with the accession of the glory-loving, ambitious
Francis I in 1515. Ferdinand hastened to concert a league against him,
into which entered the pope, the emperor, Milan, Florence, the Swiss
states, and England, but war had hardly broken out when in 1516
Ferdinand died. For good or evil he had brought Spain into a leading
place in European affairs. If his methods were questionable they were in
keeping with the practices of his age; he was only worse than his rivals
in that he was more successful.

[Sidenote: The accession of Charles I.]

Juana was still alive, but was utterly incompetent to act as head of the
state. The logic of events and the will of Ferdinand pointed to her
eldest son, Charles of Ghent, as the one to rule Aragon and Navarre and
to act as regent of Castile (during his mother’s life), although he had
not attained to his twentieth year, a condition which had been exacted
by the will of Isabella. Until such time as he could reach Spain, for he
was then in the Low Countries, Cardinal Ximénez served as regent. With
two acts of doubtful propriety Charles I, the later Charles V of the
Empire, began his reign in the peninsula. He sent word to Ximénez,
demanding that he be proclaimed king of Castile, despite the fact that
the queen, his mother, was living. Notwithstanding the opposition of the
_Cortes_ and his own unwillingness Ximénez did as Charles had required.
In 1517 Charles reached Spain, surrounded by a horde of Flemish
courtiers. Foreseeing the difficulties likely to result from this
invasion of foreign favorites Ximénez wrote to Charles, giving him
advice in the matter, and hastening to meet him asked for an interview.
Instead of granting this request Charles sent him a note, thanking him
for his services, and giving him leave to retire to his diocese “to rest
and await the reward of Heaven for his merits.”



[Sidenote: Leading elements in the social history of the era.]

The most important events in Spain of a social character during the
period of the Catholic Kings were the expulsion of the Jews and the
conversion of the Castilian Mudéjares, with the relations of the new
Inquisition to both of these elements of Spanish society. Other events
of more than ordinary note were the deprivation of the nobility of some
of their former prestige, the settlement of the dispute between the
serfs and lords of Catalonia, the purification of the Castilian clergy,
and the definitive triumph of the Roman principles in private law.
Greater than all of these were the problems which were to arise through
the Spanish subjection of new races in the colonies overseas.

[Sidenote: Prestige of the nobility, despite their reverses.]

Though with diminished prestige the nobility continued to be the leading
social class in Castile, sharing this honor with the higher officials of
the church. Much of the former economic preponderance of the nobles was
gone, due to the development of personalty as a form of wealth as
distinguished from land, the fruit of the commerce and industry of the
Jews, Mudéjares, and middle classes. They suffered still further through
Isabella’s revocation of the land grants they had received at times of
civil war and internal weakness in former reigns, especially in that of
Henry IV. Few nobles or great churchmen, for the decree applied equally
to the latter, escaped without loss of at least a portion of their
rents, and some forfeited all they had. Naturally, the measure caused
not a little discontent, but it was executed without any noteworthy
resistance. On the other hand, through the continuance of the
institution of primogeniture and through new acquisitions of land in
return for services in the war against Granada, the greater nobles
still possessed immense wealth. The Duke of Medina Sidonia, for example,
offered Philip the Handsome two thousand _caballeros_ and 50,000 ducats
($750,000) if he would disembark in Andalusia. Not only in political
authority but also in prestige the nobles were lowered by the measures
of the Catholic Kings. Such practices as the use of a royal crown on
their shields and the employment of royal insignia or ceremonial in any
form were forbidden. On the other hand, the ancient privileges of the
nobility, both high and low, were confirmed to them,--such, for example,
as exemption from taxation and from the application in certain cases of
the penalties of the law. At the same time, the Catholic Kings offered a
new kind of dignity, depending for its lustre on the favor of the crown.
Nobles were encouraged to appear at court and strive for the purely
ornamental honors of palace officialdom. Many came, for those who
remained on their estates consigned themselves to obscurity, being
without power to improve their fortunes by a revolt as their ancestors
had done. In Aragon and Catalonia they still displayed tendencies to
engage in private war and banditry, a condition of affairs which endured
throughout this period and into the next, though it was by no means so
serious a problem as it had been in earlier times.

[Sidenote: Grades of nobility.]

The grades of nobility remained much as before, but with a change in
nomenclature. The old term of _ricoshombres_ for the great nobles
disappeared (though not until 1520 officially), and was substituted by
that of _grandes_, or grandees. Among the grandees the title of duke
(_duque_) and marquis (_marqués_) now became of more frequent usage than
the formerly more general count (_conde_). In the epoch of the Catholic
Kings there were fifteen grandees in Castile, but eight of them had been
created, with the title of duke, by Isabella. For the nobility of the
second grade, the terms _hijosdalgo_ (modern _hidalgo_) and _caballero_,
used in a generic sense to denote noble lineage, were employed
indiscriminately. Nobles without fortune lived, as formerly, under the
protection of the grandees, or took service in the military orders or
even in the new royal army.

[Sidenote: Advance of the rural masses.]

The situation of the former servile classes of Castile, aside from the
slaves, had been rendered very nearly satisfactory from a juridical
point of view in the previous era, but their new liberty was insecure
and was not freely accorded in practice. The Catholic Kings
energetically cut short the greater part of the abuses, and definitely
decided that a man adscripted to the land (a _solariego_) could sell or
carry away his personalty, and go wherever he willed. In Aragon proper
the problem was more serious, because of the social backwardness of that
region. The first step toward freedom from serfdom was taken at this
time, consisting in the frequent uprisings of the serfs. Ferdinand made
some attempts to modify the _malos usos_, or evil customs, of the
relation of lord and serf, but found the institutions too deeply rooted
in his day for remedy. In Catalonia, Ferdinand inherited the problem of
the warfare of the serfs with the nobles and the high churchmen, against
the latter of whom, particularly the bishop of Gerona, the wrath of the
rural classes was especially directed. At the outset he attempted, as
had Alfonso V and Juan II before him, to utilize the quarrel to serve
his own political and financial ends, accepting bribes from both sides.
Finally, an agreement was reached whereby the king was to serve as
arbitrator, without appeal, between the warring elements. The Sentence
of Guadalupe, so-called because the evidence was taken and the decision
rendered at Guadalupe in Extremadura, in 1486, was the judgment
pronounced by Ferdinand. It went to the root of the matter by abolishing
the _malos usos_ and declaring the freedom of the rural serfs.
Furthermore, the lords were deprived of criminal jurisdiction over their
vassals, this right passing to the crown, and the same privileges as
that just recorded in the case of the _solariegos_ of Castile was
granted to the rural masses of Catalonia. On the other hand, the now
freed serfs were obliged to pay a heavy ransom to their lords. The
decision satisfied neither party to the issue, but was accepted, and
proved in fact the solution of the evil. A rural class of small
proprietors soon grew up, while many other persons occupied lands for
which they paid rent instead of the former irksome services.

[Sidenote: Policy of the Catholic Kings toward the Mudéjares.]

If a policy of benevolent assimilation had been followed by the
Christians of Spain with regard to the other great elements of the
population, the Mudéjar and the Jewish, it is possible that the two
latter might have been made use of to the advantage of the peninsula,
for they were Spanish in most of their habits, and had intermarried with
Christians, even those of high rank. For centuries, however, a different
practice, based primarily on religious intolerance, had tended to
promote the adoption of an opposite course, and it was in the reign of
the Catholic Kings that the first steps were taken to bring the matter
to an issue. The measures by which the Mudéjares were compelled to
emigrate from Castile or become converted as Moriscos have already been
chronicled, and the same procedure was taken with regard to Navarre and
the Basque provinces. Ferdinand, who was less zealous in this
undertaking than his pious consort, did not go to the same lengths in
Aragon. On the petition of the lords, who had many Moslem vassals and
feared to lose them, he confirmed the privileges of the Mudéjares,
though forbidding the erection of new mosques, and permitted of
preaching to bring about their voluntary conversion.

[Sidenote: Expulsion of the Jews.]

The hatred of the Christians for the Jews was so great that the time was
ripe for the final step in the measures taken against them, and early in
the reign of the Catholic Kings it was decided to expel them from the
peninsula. While the religious motive was the principal one, Ferdinand
and Isabella were also actuated, as indeed also in the case of the
Mudéjares, by their ideal of a centralized absolutism, wherefore an
element which was not in sympathy with the religion of the state seemed
to them to constitute a political danger. Their action was hastened, no
doubt, by popular fanaticism, which expressed itself in numerous acts of
violence against the hated race. With Granada conquered the Catholic
Kings lost no time in promulgating a decree, dated March 31, 1492,
requiring conversion or expulsion, and applicable to both Castile and
Aragon. The Jews were granted four months to dispose of their affairs
and leave Spain. The blow to them financially was ruinous. Forced
sales, especially when there was so much to be sold, could not be
expected to yield a fair return, and this was aggravated by prohibitions
against carrying away any gold, silver, coin, or other kinds of
personalty, except what the laws ordinarily permitted to be exported.
The full effect of this harsh legislation was avoided by some through a
resort to the international banking agencies which the Jews had
established. A number preferred to become Christians rather than go into
exile, but thousands took the latter course. Some computations hold that
as many as 2,000,000 left the country, but a more careful estimate by a
Jewish historian gives the following figures: emigrants, 165,000;
baptized, 50,000; those who lost their lives in course of the execution
of the decree, 20,000. The exiles went to Portugal, North Africa, Italy,
and France, but were so harshly treated, especially in the two
first-named lands, that a great many preferred to return to Spain and
accept baptism. Portugal and Navarre soon followed the action of Castile
and Aragon, thus completing the cycle of anti-Jewish legislation in the
peninsula. In law there were no more Jews; they had become Marranos.

[Sidenote: Activities of the Inquisition in Castile.]

Not a few of the converts, both Mudéjar and Jewish, became sincere
Christians, and some of them attained to high rank in the church.
Hernando de Talavera, for example, at one time confessor of the queen
and one of the most influential men in the kingdom, had Jewish blood in
his veins. A great many, very likely the majority, remained faithful at
heart to the religion of their fathers, due partly to the lack of
Christian instruction, and even when they did not, they were suspected
of so doing, or maliciously accused of it by those who were envious of
their wealth or social position. This had led the Catholic Kings to
procure a papal bull, as early as 1478, granting the monarchs a right to
name certain men, whom they should choose, as inquisitors, with power to
exercise the usual authority of ecclesiastical judges. This was the
beginning of the modern Spanish Inquisition. Leaving aside, for the
present, its formal constitution and procedure, its activities against
converts may here be traced. The Inquisition began its work in Seville
in 1480, with the object of uprooting heresy, especially among the
Marranos. Afraid of being accused many fled, but enough remained for
scores to be apprehended. In 1481 the first _auto de fe_ (decision of
the faith) was held, and sixteen persons were burned to death. From
Seville the institution spread to other cities, and the terror became
general. There is no doubt that the inquisitors displayed an excess of
zeal, of which various papal documents themselves furnish ample proof. A
great many were put to death, especially while Juan de Torquemada was at
the head of the institution, 1485 to 1494. Some charge his inquisitorial
reign with the death of 8000 persons, but more dispassionate estimates
reduce the figures greatly, calculating the number to be 2000 for the
reign of Isabella, ending in 1504. Very many more were either burned in
effigy or put in prison, while confiscation of goods was one of the
usual concomitants of a sentence involving loss of life or liberty.
Books were also examined and burned or their publication or circulation
forbidden, and in every way efforts were made to prevent heresy as well
as to stamp it out. By far the greatest number of sufferers were the
Judaizantes, or those Marranos who practised the Jewish faith in secret.
It must be said that public opinion was not by any means on the side of
the Inquisition; in course of time it became universally hated, as also
feared, for nobody was entirely safe from accusation before the dread

[Sidenote: The Inquisition in Aragon.]

The Inquisition had existed in the kingdom of Aragon since the
thirteenth century, but Ferdinand now introduced the Castilian body. In
1485 the Inquisition became a single institution for all Spain, although
it was not until 1518 that this became definitive. The new organization
had not been welcomed in Castile, but it found even less favor in
Aragon, not only because of its excessive pretensions and rigors, but
also because it superseded the traditional Aragonese Inquisition, was in
the hands of Castilian “foreigners,” and interfered with business. The
city of Barcelona was especially resentful on this last account, because
its prosperity depended not a little on the trade in the hands of Jewish
converts, whom fear was driving away. On the first occasion of their
appearance, in 1486, the inquisitors were obliged to leave Barcelona,
and no less a personage than the bishop joined in the act of ejecting
them, but in 1487 they returned to stay. The fear of the Inquisition and
certain social and political disadvantages of being regarded as of
Jewish or Moslem descent occasioned the introduction of documents of
_limpieza de sangre_ (purity of blood), attesting the Catholic ancestry
of the possessors, although the development of this custom was more
marked in the reign of Charles I.

[Sidenote: Reform of the Castilian church.]

One of the most signal reforms of the period, to which the pious
Isabella, aided by Ximénez, gave her attention, was the purification of
the Castilian clergy. The church, like the great nobles, had suffered
from the revocation of land grants it had gained in times of stress, and
was obliged, furthermore, to restore the financial rights, such as the
_alcabala_ and certain rents, it had usurped from the crown.
Nevertheless, its wealth was enormous. The rents of the secular church
in all Spain are said to have amounted to some 4,000,000 ducats
($60,000,000), of which the archbishop of Toledo alone received 80,000
($1,200,000). The regular clergy were equally wealthy. Vast as these
sums appear, even today, their real value should be considered from the
standpoint of the far greater purchasing power of money in that age than
now. Whether or not the members of the clergy were softened by this
wealth and by the favors they received as representatives of the church
at a time of great religious zeal on the part of the Spanish people, it
is certain that ignorance and immorality were prevalent among them.
Despite the centuries of conflict against it, the institution of
_barraganía_ still had its followers, among others, Alfonso de Aragón,
archbishop of Saragossa, and Cardinal Pedro de Mendoza. Laws were passed
imposing fines, banishment, and the lash,--without avail. Church
councils met to discuss the various evils within the church. Ximénez at
length applied to the church of Castile the methods Isabella had used in
suppressing seigniorial anarchy. A Franciscan himself, he proceeded to
visit the convents of the order and to administer correction with a
heavy hand, expelling the more recalcitrant. It is said that some four
hundred friars emigrated to Africa, and became Mohammedans, rather than
submit to his rulings. From the Franciscan order the reforms passed on
to others. Isabella intervened more particularly in the case of the
secular clergy, exercising great care in the choice of candidates for
the higher dignities, selecting them from the lower nobility or the
middle class instead of from the families of great nobles as had
formerly been the practice. At the same time, she took steps with
considerable success to prevent the appointment of foreigners by the
popes to Castilian benefices. In Aragon the same evils existed as in
Castile, but the reforms did not come at this time to modify them.

[Sidenote: Triumph of Roman principles in Castilian private law.]

In private law, especially as regards the family, the long struggle of
the Roman principles to gain a predominant place in Castilian
jurisprudence ended in triumph. The victory came with the legislation of
the _Cortes_ of Toledo in 1502, but as it was not published until the
time of the _Cortes_ of Toro in 1505 it became known as the _Leyes de
Toro_ (Laws of Toro). For example, the complete emancipation of children
after marriage, the prohibition of the gift of all one’s possessions to
other than the heirs, the increase in the formalities required in the
case of wills, and the lengthening of terms of years on which to base
claims by prescription were all recognized in the new laws.

[Sidenote: General social customs.]

[Sidenote: Dress.]

In immorality and luxury the reign of the Catholic Kings differed little
from the preceding era; abundant evidence thereof appears in the
literary works of this period and the opening years of the next. The
most extravagant taste was exhibited both by men and women in matters of
dress. Clothing was made up of ruffs and puffs, ribbons and rings,
many-materialed and many-colored component parts, clothes which dragged
behind and clothes which were immodestly short, open-work waists and
cloaks which were not infrequently used to cover adventures, fancy
laces, daggers, purses, pouches, and a host of other accessories which
must have been considered ornamental, since they were only slightly
useful. Isabella herself, serious-minded and religious though she was,
liked to appear in public richly gowned and bejewelled. This lavish
magnificence seems only to have been on display for gala occasions; at
other times Spaniards lived and dressed soberly and modestly. As an
Italian traveller expressed it, the Spaniard was prodigal on holidays,
and lived sadly the rest of the year, for his occasional extravagances
demanded more protracted economies. This was true, even in the palace,
for, numerous as were the employes there, the annual expenditure was the
equivalent of only about $100,000. Other social customs, such as sports,
including bull-fighting, did not undergo any changes sufficient to
require comment.



[Sidenote: Tendency toward Spanish unity under Castile.]

It has already been pointed out that the union of Castile and Aragon
under the Catholic Kings lacked a real political or institutional basis.
Both monarchs signed papers applicable to the two kingdoms and exercised
personal influence, each with the other, but although Ferdinand assisted
his consort in Castilian affairs, Isabella was clearly regarded as ruler
in Castile, as Ferdinand was in Aragon. The latter’s will advised
Charles I to maintain the separation of the kingdoms and to conduct
their affairs through native officials. Nevertheless, the long
continuance of the same royal family at the head of both was bound to
produce a greater unity eventually. Castile was drawn into European
politics through the medium of the Aragonese wars in Italy. On the other
hand, she tended to become the centre of authority and influence on
account of the greater extent of her territory (especially with the
addition of Granada, Navarre, and the Americas), her greater wealth, the
royal practice of residing in Castile, and the more advanced social and
political condition of Castile as the result of Isabella’s reforms.

[Sidenote: Masterships of the military orders incorporated into the

Both sovereigns followed the policy of centralization in their
respective kingdoms. In Castile the major problem was the reduction of
the oligarchical nobility, for the middle classes had already been won
over in great part when Isabella ascended the throne. Her success in
reducing the lawless nobles has already been discussed; it only remains
to point out the significance of the act by which she completed this
task,--her incorporation of the masterships of the military orders into
the crown. The principal element in the three great orders of Santiago,
Calatrava, and Alcántara were the _segundones_ of great noble families
and members of the lesser nobility. Not only by their military power but
also by their numbers and wealth these orders constituted a potential
danger to the crown unless their action could be controlled. An estimate
of the year 1493 showed that there were 700,000 members and vassals in
the order of Santiago, and 200,000 and 100,000 respectively in those of
Calatrava and Alcántara. The first-named had annual revenues of some
60,000 ducats ($900,000), and the two last combined, some 95,000
($1,425,000). With the masterships in royal hands the probability of
civil strife was greatly lessened.

[Sidenote: Increase of the royal authority and tendency toward unity in
municipal life.]

[Sidenote: Decline of the Castilian _Cortes_.]

As regards the towns the Catholic Kings followed precisely the same
practices which had been employed with such success in the previous era.
It was rare, indeed, that they suppressed charters, but circumstances
like those already recorded[52] enabled the _corregidores_ and other
royal officers to exercise virtual control. Meanwhile, the process of
unification was going on through the ordinances of the _Cortes_ and
royal decrees, fortified by the unrecorded development of similarity in
customs in Castilian municipal life. This was furthered by the
representatives of the towns themselves, for royal and municipal
interests were usually in accord. Noteworthy extensions of royal
authority appeared in the subjection of local officials to the
_residencia_ (or trial during a number of days after the completion of a
term of office, to determine the liability of an official for the
wrongful acts of his administration) and in the sending of royal
_pesquisidores_, or enquirers (in cases of crime), and _veedores_
(inspectors), later more often called _visitadores_ (visitors), to
investigate matters of government, such as the accounts of financial
agents and the conduct of public officers. These institutions were later
transferred to the Americas, becoming an important means of sustaining
the authority of the mother country. In some instances the Catholic
Kings resorted to force to reduce municipalities which were too
autonomous in character, notably in the case of the _hermandad_ of the
north coast towns, whose decadence dates from this reign.

The royalist ideal was manifested strikingly in the relations of the
Catholic Kings with the Castilian _Cortes_. From 1475 to 1503 the
_Cortes_ was summoned but nine times, and during the years 1482 to 1498,
at a time when Granada was being conquered, America discovered and
occupied, the new Inquisition instituted, and the Jews expelled, it did
not meet even once. Its decline was evidenced still further in the
increasingly respectful language employed whenever it addressed the
monarch and its growing dependence on the _Consejo Real_, which body
subjected the acts of the _Cortes_ to its own revision and whose
president acted in a similar capacity for the _Cortes_.

[Sidenote: Decline of the Aragonese _Cortes_ and of the power of

Ferdinand followed the same policy in Aragon. The various _Cortes_ of
Aragon, Catalonia, and Valencia and the general _Cortes_ of all three
were infrequently called; the king acted in an arbitrary manner in his
methods of raising funds, without observing the spirit of the laws. It
was in his dealings with Barcelona that he most clearly manifested the
royalist tendency, for that city was the most powerful element in the
kingdom. Through his intervention the practice of electing the five
_concelleres_, or councillors, was suspended in favor of royal
appointment, and the _Consell_, or council of a hundred, was altered so
that it was no longer democratic but represented the will of the
monarch. The fact that these changes were made without provoking
resistance and almost without protest shows how utterly dead were the
political ideals of the past.

[Sidenote: The new bureaucracy.]

The concentration in royal hands of so many powers which were formerly
exercised by the lords and towns made necessary the development of a
numerous and varied officialdom to assist the monarch. As the basis of
the new bureaucracy in Castile the Catholic Kings had at hand the
_Consejo Real_, which with some changes was admirably adapted to the
purpose. The first step was to rid it of the great nobles. In 1480 the
untitled _letrados_ became a majority in this body. The counts, dukes,
and marquises were still allowed to attend, but were deprived of the
right to vote. Shortly afterward they were excluded altogether, and the
_Consejo Real_ now responded without question to the will of the king.
It served as the head of the various branches of the bureaucratic
organization, with the final decision, subject to the wishes of the
king, in all matters of government. Pressure of work led to the
formation of three additional councils, those of the Inquisition
(_Inquisición_), the military orders, (_Órdenes Militares_), and the
Americas, or Indies (_Indias_), while there were still others in the
kingdom of Aragon. Particularly important among the other officials was
the monarch’s private secretary, who came to have a very nearly decisive
influence, owing to the favor he enjoyed with the head of the state. A
horde of other officers, old and new, made up the ranks of the
bureaucracy. Among the older group it is to be noted that the
_adelantados_ were supplanted by _alcaldes mayores_, until only one of
the former was left. Among newer officials the important inquisitors and
_veedores_, or _visitadores_, should be noted.

[Sidenote: Administration of justice.]

A similar development to that of the executive branch was experienced in
the administration of justice. The fountain-head was the _chancillería_
at the capital, Valladolid, to which were subordinate in a measure the
several regional _audiencias_, which were now established for the first
time, besides the hierarchy of the judiciary of lower grades. In
addition to unifying and regulating the judicial system the Catholic
Kings gave attention to the internal purification of the courts, with a
view to eliminating the unfit or undesirable and to checking abuses. The
corrupt practices of those outside the courts were also attacked,
especially powerful persons who attempted to overawe judges or procure a
miscarriage of justice. One of the principal difficulties encountered
was that of conflicts of jurisdiction, notably in the case of the church
courts. Good Catholic though she was, Isabella was determined in her
opposition to ecclesiastical invasions of royal jurisdiction, but
despite her energetic measures the issue was far from being decided in
her day. In line with the royal policy of settling disputes by law
rather than by force the use of firearms was prohibited, gambling was
persecuted, and the _riepto_ (or judicial duel, the last survival of
medieval procedure) was abolished. Good order in the present-day sense
was far from existing, and this led to a revival of the medieval idea
of the _hermandades_ for the punishment of crimes committed in
uninhabited places or small villages as well as for the pursuit and
execution generally of those guilty of felony. The _Santa Hermandad_,
with its capital at Toledo, was created as a kind of judicial body,
sustained by the groups of citizens who formed part of it, employing a
militia of mounted men, and making use of summary methods and extreme
penalties in its procedure. Its life as an effective body was brief,
although it continued to exist for many years. On the other hand the
medieval _hermandad_ of Toledo enjoyed a revival of life and

[Sidenote: Reforms in Aragon.]

It is hardly necessary to trace the administrative and judicial reforms
of Ferdinand in Aragon. Suffice to say that they followed the Castilian
pattern much more closely, indeed, than in the matter of social

[Sidenote: Procedure of the Inquisition.]

The Castilian Inquisition, first created in 1478 for specific and
temporary objects, underwent considerable modification when retained as
a permanent body to combat heresy in general. The popes refused to allow
it to be in all respects a royal instrument, and retained the right of
appointing or dismissing inquisitors, permitting the kings to recommend
candidates. The expansion of the institution from Seville to other
cities in Spain and the creation of a supreme council of the Inquisition
have already been mentioned. Ximénez, who became head of the Inquisition
of Castile in 1507, extended its operations to Africa and the Americas.
The methods of trial were harsh, though less so if gauged by the
standards of that time. Torture was used as a means of obtaining
confessions. The accused was kept utterly apart from his family and
friends, who did not learn what had become of him until his liberation
or his appearance in an _auto de fe_. The same secrecy was employed in
dealing with the prisoner, who was informed of the general charge
against him, without the details and without knowing his accuser’s name.
He was allowed to indicate those in whom he lacked confidence, and if he
should chance to hit upon an accuser that person’s evidence was
eliminated. Two witnesses against him were sufficient to outweigh any
testimony he might give. He might have a lawyer, but could not confer
with him in private. He might also object to a judge whose impartiality
he had reason to suspect, and could appeal to the pope. Penalties varied
from the imposition of a light penance to imprisonment or burning to
death. Burning in effigy of those who escaped or burning of the remains
of those who had died was also practised. The _auto de fe_ represented,
as the words imply, merely the decision in the given case, and not the
imposition of the penalty as has often been stated. The general rule was
for the executions to take place on holidays, which in Spain are indeed
“holy days,” or days in celebration of events in church history. A
procession was held, in which the functionaries of the Inquisition took
part. A public announcement of the decisions was made, and those who
were condemned to death were turned over to the civil authorities, who
carried out the execution in the customary place. As has already been
said, the imposition of sentences was accompanied by confiscations or
the levy of fines. Since the Inquisition was supported by these
amercements there were numerous scandals in connection therewith.
Certain royal orders implied, and complaints by men of such standing as
Juan de Daza, bishop of Cordova, directly charged, that the Inquisition
displayed a too great eagerness to insure its financial standing by
confiscations. On one occasion it seems that the estate of a wealthy
victim of the Inquisition was divided between Cardinal Carvajal, the
inquisitor Lucero, the royal treasurer Morales, and Ferdinand’s private
secretary. The funds did not belong in law to the Inquisition. That body
collected them and turned them over to the king, who granted them back

[Sidenote: Financial administration.]

The new Castilian and Aragonese states required greatly increased funds
and a royal army, and both of these matters received the careful
consideration of Ferdinand and Isabella. In financial affairs their
activities were twofold: to procure more revenues; and to bring about
greater economy in their collection and administration. The revocation
of earlier land grants was one measure productive of income, since the
taxes from them now went to the crown rather than to the lords. Two
sources of revenue of a religious character were procured by papal
grant. One of these was the _cruzada_, or sale of indulgences, based on
the crusade (_cruzada_) against the Moslems. Designed for a temporary
purpose it became an enduring element in the royal income. The other was
the _diezmo_, or tithe, presumably for the same objects as the
_cruzada_, although it too was diverted to other uses. Great attention
was paid to the administration of the remunerative _alcabala_, and to
stamp taxes and customs duties. The treasury department as a modern
institution may be said to date from this era. In addition the Catholic
Kings corrected abuses in the coinage of money. The final result is
shown in the increase in the revenues from about 900,000 _reales_[54] in
1474 to well over 26,000,000 in 1504. Expenses were so heavy, however,
that more than once a resort to loans was necessary.

[Sidenote: Modernization of the army.]

[Sidenote: The royal navy.]

The army kept pace with other institutions in the advance out of
medievalism into modernity. The seigniorial levies, unequal in size and
subversive of discipline as well as a potential danger, were virtually
done away with after the Granadine war, although such bodies appeared
occasionally even in the next era. In their place were substituted a
larger royal army at state expense and the principle of universal
military service. One man in every twelve of those between twenty and
forty years of age was held liable, but did not take the field and was
not paid except when specifically called. The glory of the new
professional army attracted many who had formerly served the great
lords, including a number of the nobility and the adventurous element.
Under the leadership of Gonzalo de Ayora and especially of the “great
captain,” Gonzalo de Córdoba, noteworthy reforms in tactics were made.
The army was now an aggregation of equal groups, based on battalions and
companies, while the larger divisions were assigned a proportionate
number of infantry, cavalry, and artillery. From this period date many
current military titles: colonel, captain, and others. Arms and
equipment were much improved and military administration bettered. The
importance of firearms was just becoming recognized; cannon, firing
balls of stone, played a prominent part in the war with Granada. A
similar if less pronounced development appeared in the navy. The admiral
of Castile, who had enjoyed a semi-independent sinecure, now lost much
of his authority, for many of his powers were taken over by the crown.

[Sidenote: The Ordinance of Montalvo and other codifications of the

The reforms which have been chronicled were the result of a great body
of legislation, most of which emanated directly from the crown, although
some important laws were enacted in conjunction with the _Cortes_. Taken
with the variety of legislation in preceding years it caused not a
little confusion as to the precise principle governing a specific case.
This led to the compilation by Alfonso Díaz de Montalvo of the
_Ordenanzas Reales de Castilla_ (1484?), or Royal Ordinances of Castile,
commonly called the Ordinance (_Ordenamiento_) of Doctor Montalvo, in
which were set forth various ordinances of the _Cortes_ since that of
Alcalá in 1348 and certain orders of the kings from the time of Alfonso
X, together with some provisions of earlier date. In all, 1163 laws were
included, of which 230 belonged to the era of the Catholic Kings.
Although it is not certain, the _Ordenanzas_ seems to have been
promulgated as law, and in any event was very influential, running
through thirteen editions down to the year 1513. The compilation was far
from meeting the full requirement of the times, however. Besides being
incomplete, as was only to be expected, it contained various
inaccuracies of form and substance. Furthermore, with such varying
elements still in effect as the _Partidas_ and the medieval _fueros_,
besides the unwritten transformation and unification which had been
going on for two centuries (as a result of royalist policies), there was
need for a clear and methodical revision of Castilian legislation.
Various other publications covering special phases of the laws, such as
the _Ordenanzas de Alcabalas_ (1491), or Ordinances of the _Alcabala_,
the already mentioned _Leyes de Toro_ (1505), and the privileges of the
_Mesta_ (1511), date from this era, while there was a similar tendency
toward legislative publication in the Catalonian and Valencian parts of
the kingdom of Aragon.

[Sidenote: Relations of church and state.]

Although the piety of Ferdinand and Isabella earned them the sobriquet
of the “Catholic Kings,” particularly merited in the case of Isabella,
they did not let their regard for the church interfere with their
conceptions of the royal authority. Something has already been said
about their resistance to the intrusions of ecclesiastical courts and
their objection to appointments of foreigners to Spanish benefices. The
same conflict with the pope was maintained with regard to papal
appointments of Spaniards. In the case of Granada and the Americas the
crown gained the _patronato real_, or royal patronage, in such degree
that the monarch became the virtual administrative head of the church,
but the concession for the rest of Spain was not so complete.
Nevertheless, the royal nominees were usually appointed. The Catholic
Kings displayed great consideration for the church when the interests of
the latter did not run counter to the monarchical ideal, and in Castile
the confessors of the queen obtained a certain ascendency which made
them among the most powerful individuals in the state. They proved to be
well deserving of their influence, however, notably cardinals Mendoza,
Talavera, and Ximénez, of whom the last-named was, after the Catholic
Kings, by far the most important figure of the times.



[Sidenote: Economic medievalism.]

[Sidenote: Privileges of the _Mesta_.]

The Catholic Kings attacked the economic problems of their era with much
the same zeal they had displayed in social and political reforms, but
without equal success, for medievalism in material affairs was more
persistent than in social, political, and intellectual institutions. The
same false economic ideas of the past were still operative. Especially
was this manifest in the belief that legislation and state intervention
in business provided a panacea for all evils, when the real needs were
the development of the wealth at hand and the modification of
geographical conditions in such a way as to permit of additional
productivity. Protection and excessive regulation were the keynote of
the laws. As a result manufactures were stimulated on the one hand, and
various cities of the two kingdoms became notable industrial centres,
but on the other hand, these same industries were hindered by
inspections, by laws regulating the fashion and style of goods and
fixing prices, wages, and the hours of labor, and by a host of other
measures which killed initiative and hindered rapidity of work. In part
to promote this artificial industrial life, so that raw wool might be
readily procured, the Catholic Kings recognized and even extended the
privileges of the great corporation of the _Mesta_. Starting from La
Mancha and Extremadura in April, flocks of sheep annually ravaged
Castile, returning in September to the place whence they had come. The
_cañada real_, or royal sheepwalk, was set aside for their exclusive
use, and a prohibition was placed on clearing, working, or enclosing any
part of that strip. In fact the sheepmen ventured beyond the legal
limits, and although required by law to pay damages in such cases were
so powerful that they rarely did so. Withal, the stimulus to
manufacturing was almost purely artificial, and the Spanish cities, even
Barcelona, found competition with foreign cloths and other goods too
keen. In the main, Spain continued to be a raw material land, exporting
primary articles to foreign countries, in return for manufactures.

[Sidenote: Lack of progress in agriculture.]

Attempts were made to encourage agriculture, but the spirit of
legislative interference and the superior importance accorded the
grazing industry were not conducive to progress. The menace of the
_Mesta_ was responsible for the almost complete destruction of forestry
and agriculture in many regions which were suitable to development in
those respects, while the irrigation ditches of Andalusia and other
former Moslem lands were too often allowed to decay.

[Sidenote: Vicissitudes of commerce.]

The same royal solicitude appeared, to assist and to retard commerce.
Interior customs lines were to some extent done away with, notably on
the frontier of Castile and Aragon proper. Shipbuilding was encouraged,
but favors were shown to owners of large ships, wherefore the smaller
ship traffic was damaged, at the same time that the larger boats were
too big for the needs of the trade. A flourishing foreign commerce
developed, nevertheless, but it was in the hands of the Jews and, after
their expulsion, of foreigners of Italian, Germanic, and French
extraction. Many laws were passed subjecting foreigners to annoyances,
lest they export precious metal or in other ways act contrary to the
economic interests of the peninsula as they were then understood. It was
in this period that the commerce of the Mediterranean cities of the
kingdom of Aragon sank into a hopeless decline. Other factors than those
of the false economic principles of the day were primarily responsible,
such as the conquests of the Turks, which ended the eastern
Mediterranean trade, and the Portuguese discovery of the sea-route to
India, along with the Castilian voyages to America, which made the
Atlantic Ocean the chief centre of sea-going traffic and closed the era
of Mediterranean supremacy.

[Sidenote: Advance in wealth.]

Nevertheless, the net result of the period was a marked advance in
material wealth,--in part, perhaps, because the false economic ideas of
the Catholic Kings were shared by them with the other rulers of Europe,
wherefore they did not prove so great a handicap to Spain, and, in part,
because some of their measures were well calculated to prove beneficial.
At this time, too, the wealth of the Americas began to pour in, although
the future was to hold far more in store.

[Sidenote: Extension of intellectual culture and the triumph of

Brief as was the span of years embraced by the reign of the Catholic
Kings it was as notable a period in intellectual progress as in other
respects, bringing Spain into the current of modern life. This was due
primarily to the rapid extension of printing, which had appeared in the
peninsula in the closing years of the preceding period, and which now
came into such general use that the works of Spanish and classical
writers became available to all. Through private initiative many schools
were founded which later became universities, although this activity was
limited to Castile. Most notable of these institutions was that of
Alcalá founded by Ximénez. This undertaking was due to the great
cardinal’s desire to establish a Humanist centre of learning, where
Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and philology could be studied to the best
advantage. The most learned Spanish Humanists assembled there, together
with many foreigners, and works of note were produced, such as the
famous polyglot Bible in Hebrew, Greek, Chaldean, and Latin, with
accompanying grammars and vocabularies. Not a little of the advancement
in intellectual manifestations was due to the encouragement of the
Catholic Kings, especially Isabella. Books coming into Spain were
exempted from duty; ordinances were made regulating university life, and
ridding it of much of its turbulence and abuses; and the court set an
example in showing favor to distinguished scholars, who were engaged as
teachers of the royal children. The great nobles imitated royalty, and
invited foreign savants to Spain, among whom was the Italian, Peter
Martyr of Anghiera, celebrated as the author of the first history of the
Americas, the _De orbe novo_ (Concerning the new world). The most marked
impulse to the spread of Humanist ideals came through Spaniards studying
abroad, and these men returned to give Spain her leading names in
intellectual production for the period. The greatest of them was
Antonio de Nebrija, educated in Italy, a man of such encyclopedic
attainments that he left works on theology, law, archæology, history,
natural science, geography, and geodesy, although particularly
noteworthy as a Latin scholar. Cardinal Ximénez is deserving of a high
place in the achievements of the era for his patronage of letters, for
it was through his aid that some of the most valuable work of the period
was accomplished. Education was a matter for the higher classes only;
people had not even begun to think, yet, of popular education.

[Sidenote: Progress in the sciences.]

Although the extension of intellectual culture and the triumph of
Humanism were outstanding facts of the period, there were notable
cultivators, too, of the sciences, moral, social, and natural,
especially the last-named. Studies in geography, cosmography, and
cartography received a great impulse through the discovery of America,
and many scientific works along these lines were due to the scholars
connected with the _Casa de Contratación_ (House of Trade), or India
House. Medical works were even more prominent, not a few of them on the
subject of venereal disease. A number of these works were mutilated or
condemned altogether by the Inquisition, in part because of their
doctrines, but also because of the anatomical details which they
contained, for they were considered immoral.

[Sidenote: Polite literature.]

[Sidenote: La Celestina.]

[Sidenote: History.]

[Sidenote: The theatre.]

In polite literature the leading characteristics were the complete
victory of the Italian influence, the predominance of Castilian, the
popularity of the romances, and the beginning of the Castilian theatre.
The Italian influence manifested itself both in the translation of
Classical and Italian Renaissance works and in an imitation of their
models and forms. Castilian was employed, not only in Castile and Aragon
proper, but even in the literary works of Portuguese, Catalans,
Valencians, and not a few individuals (Spaniards in the main) at the
court of Naples, although Catalan and Valencian poetry still had a
vogue. The poetry of the era often exhibited tendencies of a medieval
character,--for example, in its use of allegory. It is curious to note
also the prevalence of two somewhat opposed types of subject-matter,
religious and erotic; in the latter there was a vigorous school which
often went to the extreme of license. The romances of love and chivalry
gained even greater favor than in the preceding period. The _Amadís de
Gaula_ (Amadis of Gaul) of Vasco de Lobeira was translated from the
Portuguese by Garcí Ordóñez de Montalvo, and many other novels on the
same model were written. One of these was _Las sergas de Esplandián_
(The deeds of Esplandián) by Ordóñez de Montalvo himself, references in
which to an “island California” as a land of fabulous wealth were to
result in the naming of the present-day California, once believed to be
just such an island. Much superior to the amatory or chivalric novels
was a remarkable book which stood alone in its time, the _Tragicomedia
de Calixto y Melibea_ (The tragi-comedy of Calixtus and Melibea), better
known as _La Celestina_ (1499), from the name of one of the characters,
believed to have been the work of Fernando de Rojas. In eloquent Spanish
and with intense realism _La Celestina_ dealt with people in what might
be called “the under-world.” This was the first of the picaresque novels
(so-called because they dealt with the life of _pícaros_, or rogues),
out of which was to develop the true Spanish novel. History, too, had a
notable growth. The outstanding name was that of Hernando del Pulgar.
His _Crónica_ (Chronicle) and his _Claros varones de España_
(Illustrious men of Spain), besides being well written, noteworthy for
their characterizations of individuals, and influenced by classical
Latin authors, showed a distinct historical sense. The already mentioned
_De orbe novo_ of Peter Martyr and the letters of Columbus were the
chief contributions to the history of the new world. As to the theatre,
while the religious mysteries continued to be played, popular
representations in dialogue, some of them religious and others profane
in subject-matter, began to be written and staged. The most notable
writer was Juan del Enzina (1468-1534), who has been called the “father
of Spanish comedy.” His compositions were not represented publicly in a
theatre, but only in private houses or on the occasions of royal or
aristocratic feasts.

[Sidenote: Plateresque architecture.]

[Sidenote: Sculpture and the lesser arts.]

The transitional character of the age was nowhere more clear than in the
various forms of art. The principal architectural style was a
combination of late Gothic with early Renaissance features, which,
because of its exuberantly decorative character, was called plateresque,
for many of its forms resembled the work of _plateros_, or makers of
plate. Structurally there was a mingling of the two above-named
elements, with a superimposition of adornment marked by great profusion
and richness,--such, for example, as in the façade of the convent of San
Pablo of Valladolid. At the same time, edifices were still built which
were more properly to be called Gothic, and there were yet others
predominantly representative of the Renaissance, characterized by the
restoration of the later classical structural and decorative elements,
such as the slightly pointed arch, intersecting vaults, columns,
entablatures, pediments, and lavish ornamentation. Sculpture displayed
the same manifestations, and became in a measure independent of
architecture. Noteworthy survivals are the richly carved sepulchres of
the era. Gold and silver work had an extraordinary development not only
in articles of luxury but also in those for popular use, and as regards
luxury the same was true of work in rich embroideries and textures.

[Sidenote: Advance in painting.]

[Sidenote: Music.]

The contest between the Flemish and Italian influences on Spanish
painting resolved itself decidedly in favor of the latter, although a
certain eclecticism, the germ of a national school, made itself apparent
in the works of Spanish artists. Characteristics of a medieval type
still persisted, such as faulty drawing, color lacking in energy and
richness, a sad and sober ambient, and a disregard for everything in a
painting except the human figures. Like sculpture, painting began to be
dissociated from architecture, and was encouraged by the purchases of
the wealthy. It was not yet the custom to hang paintings on the walls;
they were kept in chests or otherwise under lock and key except when
brought out for temporary display. Music, employed principally in song
as the accompaniment of verse, enjoyed a favor comparable with that of
the plastic arts.



[Sidenote: Historical setting of the era of the House of Austria.]

From the standpoint of European history the period of the House of
Hapsburg, or Austria, covering nearly two centuries, when Spain was one
of the great powers of the world, should be replete with the details of
Spanish intervention in European affairs. The purposes of the present
work will be served, however, by a comparatively brief treatment of this
phase of Spanish history; indeed, the central idea underlying it reduces
itself to this: Spain wasted her energies and expended her wealth in a
fruitless attempt, first to become the dominant power in Europe, and
later to maintain possessions in Italy and the Low Countries which were
productive only of trouble; what she took from the Americas with the one
hand, she squandered in Europe with the other. Internally there were
changes which were to react on the Spanish colonial dominions, wherefore
a correspondingly greater space must be accorded peninsula history than
directly to the wars in Europe. The greatest feature of the period was
the conquest of the Americas, accomplished in part by the spectacular
expeditions of the _conquistadores_, or conquerors, and in part by the
slower advance of the Spanish settlers, pushing onward the frontier of
profits. Not only was this the most notable achievement when considered
from the American angle, but it was, also, when taken from the
standpoint of Spain, and possibly, too, from that of Europe and the

[Sidenote: Vast empire of Charles I of Spain, the Emperor Charles V.]

The Italian venture of the Aragonese kings had yielded probably more of
advantage than of harm down to the time of Ferdinand, and it may be that
even he did not overstep the bounds of prudence in his ambitious
designs. When his policies were continued, however, in the person of
Charles I, better known by his imperial title as the Emperor Charles V,
the results were to prove more disastrous to Spain than beneficial. The
circumstances were in fact different for the two monarchs, although
their aims were much the same. Some writers have supposed that Ferdinand
himself recognized the danger of a union of the Austrian, Burgundian,
and Spanish dominions under one king, and they assert that he planned to
make Charles’ younger brother, Ferdinand, ruler of Spain and the Two
Sicilies in case the former should be elected emperor. In his will,
however, he respected the principle of primogeniture, and left all to
Charles, eldest son of Philip the Handsome and Juana la Loca. Through
his mother and Ferdinand, Charles inherited Castile, Aragon, and
Navarre, the Castilian dominions in Africa and America (where the era of
great conquests was just about to begin), the Roussillon and Cerdagne
across the Pyrenees, and Sardinia, Sicily, and Naples in Italy; through
his father he had already become possessed of the territories of the
House of Burgundy, comprised of Flanders and Artois in northern France,
Franche-Comté and Charolais in the east, Luxembourg, and the Low
Countries. This was not all, for Charles was heir of the Emperor
Maximilian, and in addition to inheriting the latter’s Austrian
dominions might hope to succeed to the imperial title as ruler of the
Holy Roman Empire. To be sure, the system of electing the emperors by
the electoral princes still obtained, but the Germanic states of the
empire were almost certain to prefer a powerful Hapsburg, with such
dominions as Charles had, to any other candidate, if only to serve as a
counterpoise to the ambitions of France. Nevertheless, the electors did
not miss the opportunity to make a profit out of the situation, and
encouraged the candidacy of Henry VIII of England and especially of
Francis I of France as well as that of Charles, receiving bribes and
favors from all. In the end, following the death of Maximilian in 1519,
they decided in favor of Charles. He was now ruler, at least in name, of
one of the most vast empires in the history of the world.

[Sidenote: Inherent weakness of his empire.]

The mere possession of such extensive domains inevitably led to an
imperialistic policy to insure their retention. Each of the three
principal elements therein, Spain, Burgundy, and the Austrian dominions,
was ambitious in itself and especially hostile to France, and all of
these aspirations and enmities were now combined in a single monarch.
Charles himself was desirous not only of conquest but also of becoming
the most powerful prince in the world, thus assuring the Hapsburg
supremacy in Europe, and making himself the arbiter in European
political affairs and the protector of Christianity; he may even have
dreamed of a world monarchy, for if he did not aspire to such a state
for himself he believed its attainment possible of realization. In the
achievement of a less vast ideal, however, Charles was certain to
experience many difficulties, and at some point or other was bound to
encounter the hostility not only of France but also of the other states
of Europe. If this were not enough there came along the unforeseen
dilemma of the Reformation. Finally, his own dominions were none too
strongly held together, one with another or within themselves. They were
widely separated, some indeed entirely surrounded by French territory,
leading to a multiplicity of problems of a military and a political
nature. The imperial rank carried little real authority in Germany, and
the Burgundian realms were not a great source of power. It appears,
therefore, that the empire was more a matter of show than of strength,
and that Spain, who already had a surfeit of responsibility, what with
her conquests in Italy, Africa, and the Americas, must bear the burden
for all. The reign of Charles would seem to be the parting of the ways
for Spain. If she could have restricted herself to her purely Spanish
inheritance, even with the incubus of her Italian possessions, she might
have prolonged her existence as a great power indefinitely. A century
ahead of England in colonial enterprise, she had such an opportunity as
that which made the island of Britain one of the dominant factors in the
world. Even as matters were, Spain was able to stand forth as a first
rank nation for well over a century. Whatever might have happened if a
different policy had been followed, it hardly admits of doubt that
Spain’s intervention in European affairs involved too great a strain on
her resources, and proved a detriment politically and economically to
the peninsula.

[Sidenote: Dissatisfaction over foreign favorites and increased

Charles had been brought up in Flanders, and, it is said, was unable to
speak Spanish when he first entered the peninsula as king of Spain. His
official reign began in 1516, but it was not until his arrival in the
following year that the full effect of his measures began to be felt.
Even before that time there was some inkling of what was to come in the
appointments of foreigners, mostly Flemings, to political or
ecclesiastical office in Castile. At length Charles reached Spain,
surrounded by Flemish courtiers, who proceeded to supplant Spaniards not
only in the favor but also in the patronage of the king. The new
officials, more eager for personal profit than patriotic, began to sell
privileges and the posts of lower grade to the highest bidders. Such
practices could not fail to wound the feelings of Spaniards, besides
which they contravened the laws, and many protests by individuals and
towns were made, to which was joined the complaint of the _Cortes_ of
Valladolid in 1518. To make matters worse Chièvres, the favorite
minister of the king, caused taxes to be raised. The amount of the
_alcabala_ was increased, and the tax was made applicable to the
hitherto privileged nobility, much against their will. In like manner
the opposition of the clergy was roused through a bull procured from the
pope requiring ecclesiastical estates to pay a tenth of their income to
the king during a period of three years. Furthermore it was commonly
believed, no doubt with justice, that the Flemish office-holders were
sending gold and other precious metals out of the country, despite the
laws forbidding such export. Nevertheless the _Cortes_ of 1518 granted a
generous subsidy to the king, but this was followed by new increases in
royal taxation. Opposition to these practices now began to crystallize,
with the nobles of Toledo taking the lead in remonstrance against them.

[Sidenote: Charles’ manipulation of the _Cortes_ in Galicia.]

The situation in Castile was complicated by the question of the imperial
election. Between the death of Maximilian in January, 1519, and the
election of Charles in June of the same year it was necessary to pay
huge bribes to the electoral princes. Once chosen, Charles accepted the
imperial honor, and prepared to go to Germany to be crowned, an event
which called for yet more expenditures of a substantial nature. So,
notwithstanding the grant of 1518, it was decided to call the _Cortes_
early in 1520 with a view to a fresh subsidy. Since all Castile was in a
state of tumult it was deemed best that the meeting should take place at
some point whence an escape from the country would be easy in case of
need. Thus Santiago de Compostela in Galicia was selected, and it was
there that the _Cortes_ eventually met, moving to the neighboring port
of Coruña after the first few days’ sessions. The call for the _Cortes_
provoked a storm of protest not only by Toledo but also by many other
cities with which the first-named was in correspondence. Messengers were
sent to the king to beg of him not to leave Spain, or, if he must do so,
to place Spaniards in control of the affairs of state, and complaints
were made against the practices already recounted and numerous others,
such, for example, as the royal use of the title “Majesty,” an unwonted
term in Spain. From the first, Charles turned a deaf ear, refusing to
receive the messengers of the towns, or reproving them when he did give
them audience, and he even went so far as to order the arrest of the
Toledan leaders. The _Cortes_ at length met, and gave evidence of the
widespread discontent in its demands upon the king. In accordance with
their instructions most of the deputies were disinclined to take up the
matter of a supply for the king until he should accede to their
petitions. Under the royal eye, however, they gradually modified their
demands, and when Charles took it upon himself to absolve them from the
pledges they had given to their constituents they voted the subsidy
without obtaining any tangible redress of grievances. The king did
promise not to appoint any foreigners to Spanish benefices or political
holdings during his absence, but broke his word forthwith when he named
Cardinal Adrian, a foreigner, as his representative and governor during
his absence. This done, Charles set out in the same year, 1520, for

[Sidenote: War of the _Comunidades_ in Castile.]

Meanwhile, a riot in Toledo, promoted by the nobles whom Charles had
ordered arrested, converted itself into a veritable revolt when the
royal _corregidor_ was expelled from the city. This action was stated
to have been taken in the name of the _Comunidad_, or community, of
Toledo, and served to give a name to the uprising which now took place
in all parts of Castile. Deputies to the _Cortes_ who had been faithless
to their trust, some of whom had accepted bribes from the king, were
roughly handled upon their return home, and city after city joined
Toledo in proclaiming the _Comunidad_. In July, 1520, delegates of the
rebellious communities met, and formed the _Junta_ of Ávila, which from
that town and later from Tordesillas and Valladolid served as the
executive body of the revolution. For a time the _Junta_ was practically
the ruling body in the state; so complete was the overturn of royal
authority that Cardinal Adrian and his advisers made no attempt to put
down the rebellion. Time worked to the advantage of the king, however.
The revolt of Toledo had begun as a protest of the nobles and clergy
against the imposition of taxes against them. The program of the _Junta_
of Ávila went much further than that, going into the question of the
grievances of the various social classes. At length many of the
_comuneros_ began to indulge in acts of violence and revenge against
those by whom they regarded themselves as having been oppressed, and the
movement changed from one of all the classes, including the nobles,
against the royal infractions of law and privileges, to one of the
popular element against the lords. Thus the middle classes, who objected
to the disorder of the times as harmful to business, and the nobles, in
self-defence, began to take sides with the king. City after city went
over to Charles, and late in 1520 the government was strong enough to
declare war on the communities still faithful to the _Junta_.
Dissension, treason, and incompetent leadership furthered the decline of
the popular cause, and in 1521 the revolt was crushed at the battle of
Villalar. Charles promised a general pardon, but when he came to Spain
in 1522 he caused a great many to be put to death. Not until 1526 did he
show a disposition to clemency. Moreover he retained his Flemish

[Sidenote: Social wars in Valencia and Majorca.]

During the period of the revolt of the _Comunidades_ in Castile even
more bitter civil wars were going on in Valencia (1520-1522) and
Majorca (1521-1523). The contest in Valencia was a social conflict from
the start, of plebeians against the lords, whereas the Castilian
conflict was fundamentally political. In Majorca the strife began over
pressure for financial reforms, but developed into an attempt to
eliminate the nobility altogether. Both uprisings were independent of
the Castilian revolt, although serving to aid the latter through the
necessary diversion of troops. As in Castile, so in Valencia and
Majorca, Charles took sides against the popular element, and put down
the insurrections, displaying great severity toward the leaders.

[Sidenote: Charles’ difficulties in Germany and war with France.]

While the civil wars were at their height Charles was having more than
his share of trouble in other quarters. The princes of Germany compelled
him to sign a document affirming their privileges, in which appeared
many paragraphs similar to those of the Castilian petitions to the king,
together with one requiring Charles to maintain the empire independently
of the Spanish crown. The acceptance of these principles by the emperor
is an evidence of the weakness of his authority in the subject states of
Germany, for not only was he a believer in the divine origin of the
imperial dignity, a doctrine which would have impelled him to establish
his personal and absolute rule in all of his realms if possible, but he
seems also to have intended to make Spain the political centre of his
dominions, because she was, after all, his strongest element of support.
At the same time, a fresh difficulty appeared in Germany with the
Lutheran outbreak of 1521. Charles himself favored reform in the church,
but was opposed to any change in dogma. Before he could confront either
the political or the religious problem in Germany, he found himself
attacked on another quarter. Francis I of France had seized upon
Charles’ difficulties as affording him a rich opportunity to strike to
advantage; so in 1521 he twice sent French armies into Spain through the
western Pyrenees on the pretext of restoring the crown of Navarre to the
Labrit family. With all these questions pressing for solution Charles
was in an exceedingly unsatisfactory position. Thus early in the period
lack of funds to prosecute European policies was chronic. Spain herself,
even if there had been no civil wars, was not united internally like
the compact French nation, and the other Hapsburg dominions could give
but little help. Finally, Charles could not depend on the alliance of
any other power, for his own realms were neighbors of all the others,
and his designs were therefore generally suspected. Nevertheless,
Charles brought to his many tasks an indomitable will, marked energy, a
steadfast purpose, and an all-round ability which were to do much toward
overcoming the obstacles that hindered him.

[Sidenote: Wars with France, the pope, the Italian states, and German

[Sidenote: The outcome.]

It is profitless, here, to relate the course of the wars with France and
other European states. In the years 1521 to 1529, 1536 to 1538, and 1542
to 1544, France and Spain were at war, and at other times, down to the
death of Francis I in 1547, the two countries enjoyed what was virtually
no more than a truce. Meanwhile, Charles was usually in conflict with
the popes, whose temporal dominions in central Italy were threatened by
the growing power of Spain and the empire in the Italian peninsula.
Other states in Italy fought now on Charles’ side, now against him,
while the princes of Germany were an equally variable quantity. England
favored each side in turn, but offered little effective aid to either.
As affecting the history of religion these wars gave Protestantism a
chance to develop. Neither Charles nor Francis disdained the aid of
Protestant princes, and the former had little opportunity to proceed
against them on religious grounds. Francis even allied himself with the
Moslem power of Turkey. On the whole, Charles was the victor in the
wars, and could point to the occupation of Milan as a tangible evidence
of his success,--about the only territorial change of consequence as a
result of the many campaigns. Perhaps the most noteworthy fact as
affecting the history of Spain and Spanish America was the financial
drain occasioned by the fighting. Time and again lack of funds was
mainly responsible for defeats or failures to follow up a victory. Spain
and the Americas had to meet the bills, but, liberal as were their
contributions, more were always needed.

[Sidenote: Wars with the Turks and the Moslems of northern Africa.]

The wars with Turkey had a special significance because of the ever
impending peril from Moslem northern Africa. The pirates of the Berber,
or Barbary, Coast, as the lands in northwestern Africa are often
called, seemed to be more than ever audacious in the early years of the
reign of Charles. Not only did they attack Spanish ships and even
Spanish ports, but they also made numerous incursions inland in the
peninsula. Aside from the loss in captives and in economic wealth that
these visitations represented, they served to remind the authorities of
the Moslem sympathies of Spanish Moriscos and of the ease with which a
Moslem invasion might be effected. Furthermore the conquests of Isabella
and Ximénez had created Castilian interests in northern Africa, of both
a political and an economic character, which were in need of defence
against the efforts of the tributary princes to free themselves by
Turkish aid. The situation was aggravated by the achievements of a
renegade Greek adventurer and pirate, known best by the sobriquet
“Barbarossa.” This daring corsair became so powerful that he was able to
dethrone the king of Algiers and set up his own brother in his stead. On
the death of the latter at the hands of the Spaniards in 1518,
Barbarossa placed the kingdom of Algiers under the protection of the
sultan of Turkey, became himself an admiral in the Turkish navy, and
soon afterward conquered the kingdom of Tunis, whence during many years
he menaced the Spanish dominions in Italy. Charles in person led an
expedition in 1535 which was successful in dethroning Barbarossa and in
restoring the former king to the throne, but an expedition of 1541, sent
against Algiers, was a dismal failure. On yet another frontier, that of
Hungary, Spanish troops were called upon to meet the Turks, and there
they contributed to the checking of that people at a time when their
military power threatened Europe. The problem of northern Africa,
however, had been little affected by the efforts of Charles.

[Sidenote: Charles’ failure to stamp out Protestantism.]

Meanwhile, the religious question in Germany had all along been
considered by Charles as one of his most important problems. The first
war with France prevented any action on his part until 1529, since he
needed the support of the Protestant princes. The movement therefore had
time to gather headway, and it was evident that Charles would meet with
determined opposition whenever he should decide to face the issue.
Various factors entered in to complicate the matter, such, for example,
as the fear on the part of many princes of the growing Hapsburg power
and the belief that Charles meant to make the imperial succession
hereditary in his family. A temporary adjustment of the religious
situation was made by the imperial Diet held at Spires in 1526, when it
was agreed that every prince should decide for himself in matters of
religion. With the close of the war with France in 1529, Charles caused
the Diet to meet again at Spires, on which occasion the previous
decision was revoked. The princes devoted to the reform ideas protested,
giving rise to the name “Protestant,” but without avail. The Diet was
called for the next year at Augsburg, when Charles sat in judgment
between the two parties. The Protestants presented their side in a
document which became known as the confession of Augsburg. The Catholic
theologians replied, and Charles accepted their view, ordering the
Protestant leaders to submit, and threatening to employ force unless
they should do so. The international situation again operated to protect
the reform movement, for the Turks became threatening, and, indeed, what
with the wars with France and his numerous other difficulties Charles
was unable to proceed resolutely to a solution of the religious problem
until the year 1545. At last he was ready to declare war. In 1547 he won
what seemed to be a decisive victory in the Battle of Mühlberg,
resulting in the subjection of the Protestant princes to the Roman
Church. They protested anew, and, aided by the opposition to Charles on
other grounds,--for example, because of his introduction of Italian and
Spanish soldiery into what was regarded as a domestic quarrel,--were
able to present a warlike front again. This time they were joined by
Charles’ former powerful ally, Maurice of Saxony, through whose
assistance they successfully defended themselves. Peace was made at
Passau in 1552, ratified by the Diet of Augsburg in 1555, whereby the
Protestant princes obtained equal rights with the Catholic lords as to
their freedom in religious beliefs.

[Sidenote: Other failures of Charles and his abdication.]

Great as were to be the results of Charles’ reign on its European side,
it had nevertheless been a failure so far as Spain and Charles’ own
objects were concerned. Yet other disappointments were to fall to his
lot. He aspired to the imperial title for his son Philip. In this he was
opposed both by the Germanic nobility, who saw in it an attempt to foist
upon them a Spanish-controlled absolutism, and by his brother Ferdinand,
who held the Austrian dominions as a fief of the empire and aimed to
become emperor himself. Unable to prevail in his own policy Charles
eventually supported Ferdinand. For many years, too, he thought of
establishing an independent Burgundian kingdom as a counterpoise to
France, but changed his mind to take up a plan for uniting England and
the Low Countries, with the same object in view. For this latter purpose
he procured the hand of Queen Mary of England for his son Philip. The
marriage proved childless, and Philip was both unpopular and without
power in England. The death of Mary in 1558 ended this prospect. At last
Charles’ spirit was broken. For nearly forty years he had battled for
ideals which he was unable to bring to fulfilment; so he resolved to
retire from public life. In 1555 he renounced his title to the Low
Countries in favor of Philip. In 1556 he abdicated in Spain, and went to
live at the monastery of Yuste in Cáceres. He was unable to drop out of
political life completely, however, and was wont to intervene in the
affairs of Spain from his monastic retreat. In 1558 he gave up his
imperial crown, to which his brother Ferdinand was elected. Thus Spain
was separated from Austria, but she retained the Burgundian inheritance
and the Italian possessions of Aragon. The marriage of Philip the
Handsome and Juana la Loca was still to be productive of fatal
consequences to Spain, for together with the Burgundian domains there
remained the feeling of Hapsburg solidarity.

[Sidenote: Greatness of Charles in the history of Spain and Spanish

Charles had failed in Europe, but in Spain and especially in the
Americas he had done more than enough to compensate for his European
reverses. His achievements in Spain belong to the field of institutional
development rather than to that of political narrative, however. As for
the Americas his reign was characterized by such a series of remarkable
mainland conquests that it is often treated as a distinct epoch in
American history, the era of the _conquistadores_, and Spanish America
is, after all, the principal monument to the greatness of his reign. The
Emperor Charles V was a failure; but King Charles I of Spain gave the
Americas to European civilization.



[Sidenote: Resemblance of the reign of Philip II to that of Charles I.]

In underlying essentials the reign of Philip II was a reproduction of
that of Charles I. There were scattered dominions and family prestige to
maintain, the enemies of the Catholic Church to combat, the dominant
place of Spain in Europe to assure, the strain on Spanish resources,
and, as glorious offsets to general failure in Europe, the acquisition
of some European domains and the advance of the colonial conquests. Only
the details varied. Philip had a more compact nation behind him than had
fallen to the lot of Charles, although there was still much to be
desired in that respect; France was hostile, though less powerful than
formerly, but England and Philip’s rebellious Protestant Netherlands
more than made up for the weakness of France; issues in Germany no
longer called for great attention, but family politics were not
forgotten; on the other hand Philip achieved the ideal of peninsula
unity through the acquisition of Portugal, carrying with it that
country’s colonies; and, finally, his conquests in the new world, though
less spectacular than those of Charles, compared favorably with them in
actual fact.

[Sidenote: Education and character of Philip II.]

Historians have often gone to extremes in their judgments of Philip II.
Some have been ardently pro-Philip, while others were as bitterly
condemnatory. Recently, opinions have been more moderately expressed. In
addition to native ability and intelligence Philip had the benefit of an
unusually good education in preparation for government. Charles himself
was one of the youth’s instructors, and, long before his various
abdications, had given Philip political practice in various ways,--for
example, by making him co-regent of Spain with Cardinal Tavera during
Charles’ own absence in Germany. Philip also travelled extensively in
the lands which he one day hoped to govern,--in Italy (1548), the Low
Countries (1549), and Germany (1550). In 1543 he married a Portuguese
princess, María, his first cousin. One son, Charles, was born of this
marriage, but the mother died in childbirth. His fruitless marriage with
Mary Tudor, in 1553, has already been mentioned. He remained in England
until 1555, when he went to the Low Countries to be crowned, and thence
to Spain, of which country he became king in 1556, being at that time
twenty-nine years old. His abilities as king of Spain were offset in a
measure by certain unfortunate traits and practices. He was of a
vacillating type of mind; delays in his administration were often long
and fatal, and more than once he let slip a golden opportunity for
victory, because he could not make up his mind to strike. Of a
suspicious nature, he was too little inclined to rely upon men from
whose abilities he might have profited. A tremendous worker, he was too
much in the habit of trying to do everything himself, with the result
that greater affairs were held up, while the king of Spain worked over
details. Finally, he was extremely rigorous with heretics, from motives
of religion and of political policy.

[Sidenote: War with the pope.]

The principal aim of Philip’s life was the triumph of Catholicism, but
this did not hinder his distinguishing clearly between the interests of
the church and those of the popes as rulers of the Papal States. Thus it
was not strange that Philip’s reign should begin with a war against Pope
Paul IV. The latter excommunicated both Charles and Philip, and procured
alliances with France and, curious to relate, the sultan of Turkey, head
of the Moslem world. The pope was defeated, but it was not until the
accession of Pius IV, in 1559, that the bans of excommunication were

[Sidenote: Wars with France.]

There was a constant succession of war and peace with France throughout
the reign, with the campaigns being fought more often in northern France
from the vantage ground of Flanders than in Italy as in the time of
Charles. In 1557 Philip might have been able to take Paris, but he
hesitated, and the chance was lost. Many other times Philip’s generals
won victories, but attacks from other quarters of Europe would cause a
diversion, or funds would give out, or Philip himself would change his
plans. France was usually on the defensive, because she was weakened
during most of the period by the domestic strife between Catholics and
Protestants. When in 1589 the Protestant leader became entitled to the
throne as Henry IV, Philip and the uncompromising wing of the French
Catholic party endeavored to prevent his actual accession to power. At
one time it was planned to make Philip himself king of France, but, as
this idea did not meet with favor, various others were suggested,
including the proposal of Philip’s daughter for the crown, or the
partition of France between Philip and others. Henry IV settled the
matter in 1594 by becoming a Catholic, wherefore he received the
adhesion of the Catholic party. Philip was not dissatisfied, for it
seemed that he had rid himself of a dangerous Protestant neighbor. Had
he but known it, Henry IV was to accomplish the regeneration of a France
which was to strike the decisive blow, under Louis XIV, to remove Spain
from the ranks of the first-rate powers.

[Sidenote: War with the Granadine Moriscos.]

While Philip had no such widespread discontent in Spain to deal with as
had characterized the early years of the reign of Charles, there was one
problem leading to a serious civil war in southern Spain. The Moriscos
of Granada had proved to be an industrious and loyal element, supporting
Charles in the war of the communities, but there was reason to doubt the
sincerity of their conversion to Christianity. The populace generally
and the clergy in particular were very bitter against them, and procured
the passage of laws which were increasingly severe in their treatment of
the Moriscos. An edict of 1526 prohibited the use of Arabic speech or
dress, the taking of baths (a Moslem custom), the bearing of arms, the
employment of non-Christian names, and the giving of lodging in their
houses to Mohammedans whether free or slave. The Moriscos were also
subjected to oppressive inspections to prevent Mohammedan religious
practices; they were obliged to send their children to Christian
schools; and a branch of the Inquisition was established in Granada to
execute, with all the rigors of that institution, the laws against
apostasy. The full effect of the edict was avoided by means of a
financial gift to the king, but the Inquisition was not withdrawn. For
many years the situation underwent no substantial change. The clergy,
and the Christian element generally, continued to accuse the Moriscos,
and the latter complained of the confiscations and severity of the
Inquisition. In 1567, however, the edict of 1526 was renewed, but in
harsher form, amplifying the prohibitions. When attempts were made to
put the law into effect, and especially when agents came to take the
Morisco children to Christian schools, by force if necessary, an
uprising was not long in breaking out. The war lasted four years. The
Moriscos were aided by the mountainous character of the country, and
they received help from the Moslems of northern Africa and even from the
Turks. The decisive campaign was fought in 1570, when Spanish troops
under Philip’s half-brother, Juan (or Don John) of Austria, an
illegitimate son of Charles I, defeated the Moriscos, although the war
dragged on to the following year. The surviving Moriscos, including
those who had not taken up arms, were deported _en masse_ and
distributed in other parts of Castilian Spain.

[Sidenote: Wars with the Turks.]

[Sidenote: Juan of Austria.]

The external peril from the Moslem peoples had not confined itself to
the period of the Morisco war. Piracy still existed in the western
Mediterranean, and the Turkish Empire continued to advance its conquests
in northern Africa. Philip gained great victories, notably when he
compelled the Turks to raise the siege of Malta in 1564, and especially
in 1571, when he won the naval battle of Lepanto, in which nearly 80,000
Christians were engaged, most of them Spaniards. These victories were
very important in their European bearings, for they broke the Turkish
naval power, and perhaps saved Europe, but from the standpoint of Spain
alone they were of less consequence. Philip failed to follow them up,
partly because of the pressure of other affairs, and in part because of
his suspicions of the victor of Lepanto, the same Juan of Austria who
had just previously defeated the Moriscos. Juan of Austria was at the
same time a visionary and a capable man of affairs. He was ambitious to
pursue the Turks to Constantinople, capture that city, and restore the
Byzantine Empire, with himself as ruler. Philip withdrew his support,
whereupon Juan devised a new project of a great North African empire.
Juan even captured Tunis in pursuance of his plan, but Philip would give
him no help, and Juan was obliged to retire, thus permitting of a
Turkish reconquest. Philip was always able to offer the excuse of lack
of funds,--and, indeed, the expenditures in the wars with Turkey, with
all the effects they carried in their train, were the principal result
to the peninsula of these campaigns.

[Sidenote: Wars in the Low Countries.]

The greatest of Philip’s difficulties, and one which bulked large in its
importance in European history, was the warfare with his rebellious
provinces in the Low Countries. Its principal bearing in Spanish history
was that it caused the most continuous and very likely the heaviest
drain on the royal treasury of any of Philip’s problems. The war lasted
the entire reign, and was to be a factor for more than a half century
after Philip’s death. It got to be in essence a religious struggle
between the Protestants of what became the Netherlands and Philip, in
which the latter was supported to a certain extent by the provinces of
the Catholic Netherlands, or modern Belgium. Religion, however, was not
the initial, or at any time the sole, matter in controversy. At the
outset the causes were such practices as the Castilian communities had
objected to in the reign of Charles, namely: the appointments of
foreigners to office; the presence of foreign (Spanish) troops; measures
which were regarded as the forerunner to an extension of the Spanish
Inquisition to the Low Countries (against which the nobles and the
clergy alike, practically all of whom were Catholic at that time, made
strenuous objections); Philip’s policy of centralization and absolutism;
the popular aversion for Philip as a Spaniard (just as Spaniards had
objected to Charles as a Fleming); and the excessive rigors employed in
the suppression of heresy. The early leaders were Catholics, many of
them members of the clergy, and the hotbed of rebellion was rather in
the Catholic south than in the Protestant north. It was this situation
which gave the Protestants a chance to strike on their own behalf. The
war, or rather series of wars, was characterized by deeds of valor and
by extreme cruelty. Philip was even more harsh in his instructions for
dealing with heretics than his generals were in executing them. Alba
(noted for his severity), Requesens (an able man who followed a more
moderate policy), Juan of Austria (builder of air castles, but winner of
battles), and the able Farnese,--these were the Spanish rulers of the
period, all of them military men. The elder and the younger William of
Orange were the principal Protestant leaders. In open combat the Spanish
infantry was almost invincible, but its victories were nullified,
sometimes because it was drawn away to wage war in France, but more
often because money and supplies were lacking. On various occasions the
troops were left unpaid for so long a time that they took matters into
their own hands. Then, terrible scenes of riot and pillage were enacted,
without distinction as to the religious faith of the sufferers, for even
Catholic churches were sacked by the soldiery. The outcome for the Low
Countries was the virtual independence of the Protestant Netherlands,
although Spain did not yet acknowledge it. For Spain the result was the
same as that of her other ventures in European politics, only greater in
degree than most of them,--exhausting expenditures.

[Sidenote: The annexation of Portugal.]

In the middle years of Philip’s reign there was one project of great
moment in Spanish history which he pushed to a successful
conclusion,--the annexation of Portugal. While the ultimate importance
of this event was to be lessened by the later separation of the two
kingdoms, they were united long enough (sixty years) for notable effects
to be felt in Spain and more particularly in the Americas. The desire
for peninsula unity had long been an aspiration of the Castilian kings,
and its consummation from the standpoint of the acquisition of Portugal
had several times been attempted, though without success. The death of
King Sebastián in 1578 without issue left the Portuguese throne to
Cardinal Henry, who was already very old, and whom in any event the pope
refused to release from his religious vows. This caused various
claimants to the succession to announce themselves, among whom were the
Duchess of Braganza, Antonio (the prior of Crato), and Philip. The
first-named had the best hereditary claim, since she was descended from
a son (the youngest) of King Manuel, a predecessor of Sebastián. Antonio
of Crato was son of another of King Manuel’s sons, but was of
illegitimate birth; nevertheless, he was the favorite of the regular
clergy, the popular classes, some nobles, and the pope, and was the only
serious rival Philip had to consider. Philip’s mother was the eldest
daughter of the same King Manuel. With this foundation for his claim he
pushed his candidacy with great ability, aided by the skilful diplomacy
of his special ambassador, Cristóbal de Moura. One of the master strokes
was the public announcement of Philip’s proposed governmental policy in
Portugal, promising among other things to respect the autonomy of the
kingdom, recognizing it as a separate political entity from Spain. A
Portuguese _Cortes_ of 1580 voted for the succession of Philip, for the
noble and ecclesiastical branches supported him, against the opposition
of the third estate. A few days later King Henry died, and Philip
prepared to take possession. The partisans of Antonio resisted, but
Philip, who had long been in readiness for the emergency, sent an army
into Portugal under the Duke of Alba, and he easily routed the forces of
Antonio. In keeping with his desire to avoid giving offence to the
Portuguese, Philip gave Alba the strictest orders to punish any
infractions of discipline or improper acts of the soldiery against the
inhabitants, and these commands were carefully complied with,--in
striking contrast with the policy which had been followed while Alba was
governor in the Low Countries. Thus it was that a Portuguese _Cortes_ of
1581 solemnly recognized Philip as king of Portugal. Philip took oath
not to appoint any Spaniards to Portuguese offices, and he kept his word
to the end of his reign. Portugal had now come into the peninsula union
in much the same fashion that Aragon had joined with Castile. With her
came the vast area and great wealth of the Portuguese colonies of Asia,
Africa, and more particularly Brazil. If only the Spanish kings might
hold the country long enough, it appeared inevitable that a real
amalgamation of such kindred peoples would one day take place.
Furthermore, if only the kings would have, or could have, confined
themselves to a Pan-Hispanic policy, embracing Spain and Portugal and
their colonies, the opportunity for the continued greatness of the
peninsula seemed striking. The case was a different one from that of the
union of Castile and Aragon, however, for a strong feeling of Portuguese
nationality had already developed, based largely on a hatred of
Spaniards. This spirit had something to feed upon from the outset in the
defeat of the popular Antonio of Crato and in the discontent of many
nobles, who did not profit as much by Philip’s accession as they had
been led to expect. It was necessary to put strong garrisons in
Portuguese cities and to fortify strategic points. Nevertheless, Philip
experienced no serious trouble and was able to leave Portugal to his
immediate successor.

[Sidenote: Causes of the war with England.]

Philip’s relations with England, in which the outstanding event was the
defeat of the Spanish Armada, had elements of importance as affecting
Spanish history, especially in so far as they concerned English
depredations in the Americas. They were more important to England,
however, than to Spain, and the story from the English standpoint has
become a familiar one. From the moment of Protestant Elizabeth’s
accession to the English throne in 1558, in succession to Catholic Mary,
there was a constant atmosphere of impending conflict between Spain and
England. Greatest of the motives in Philip’s mind was that her rule
meant a Protestant England, a serious break in the authority of Catholic
Christianity, but there were other causes for war as well. English aid
of an unofficial but substantial character was helping to sustain the
Protestant Netherlands in revolt against Spain. In the Americas “beyond
the line” (of Tordesillas) the two countries were virtually at war,
although in the main it was a conflict of piratical attacks and the
sacking of cities on the part of the English, with acts of retaliation
by the Spaniards. This was the age of Drake’s and Hawkins’ exploits
along the Spanish Main (in the Caribbean area), but it was also the age
of Gilbert and Raleigh, and the first, though ineffectual, attempts of
England to despoil Spain of her American dominions through the founding
of colonies in the Spanish-claimed new world. Incidents of a special
character served to accentuate the feeling engendered by these more
permanent causes,--such, for example, as Elizabeth’s appropriation of
the treasure which Philip was sending to the Low Countries as pay for
his soldiers: the Spanish vessels took shelter in an English port to
escape from pirates, whereupon Elizabeth proceeded to “borrow,” as she
termed it, the wealth they were carrying. Hard pressed for funds as
Philip always was, this was indeed a severe blow.

[Sidenote: Why a declaration of war was delayed.]

Nevertheless, a declaration of war was postponed for nearly thirty
years. English historians ascribe the delay to the diplomatic skill of
their favorite queen, but, while there is no need to deny her
resourcefulness in that respect, there were reasons in plenty why Philip
himself was desirous of deferring hostilities, or better still, avoiding
them. In view of his existing troubles with France and the Low Countries
he drew back before the enormous expense that a war with England would
entail, to say nothing of the military difficulties of attacking an
island power. Though he received frequent invitations from the Catholics
of England and Scotland to effect an invasion, these projects were too
often linked with similar proposals to the kings of France, the leading
European opponents of the Spanish monarch. Philip wished to break the
power of Elizabeth and of Protestantism if possible, however, and gave
encouragement to plots against the life of the English queen or to
schemes for revolutionary uprisings in favor of Mary Stuart, a Catholic
and Elizabeth’s rival, but none of these designs met with success. Many
Spanish leaders urged a descent upon England, among them Juan of
Austria, who wished to lead the expeditionary force himself, dreaming
possibly of an English crown for his reward, but it was not until 1583
that Philip viewed these proposals with favor.

[Sidenote: Preparations for a descent upon England.]

Once having decided upon an expedition Philip began to lay his plans.
Mary Stuart was persuaded to disinherit her son, who was a Protestant
(the later James I of England), and to make Philip her heir. The pope
was induced to lend both financial and moral support to the undertaking,
although it was necessary to deceive him as to Philip’s intentions to
acquire England for himself; the pope was told that Philip’s daughter
was to be made queen of England. The proposed descent upon England was
no secret to Elizabeth, who made ready to resist. With a view to
delaying Philip’s preparations, Drake made an attack upon Cádiz in 1587,
on which occasion he burned all the shipping in the bay. This only
strengthened Philip’s resolutions with regard to the undertaking, and
tended to make him impatient for its early execution. Plans were made
which proved to be in many cases ill considered. The first mistake
occurred when Philip did not entertain a proposition of the Scotch and
French Catholics that he should work in concert with them, thus
declining an opportunity to avail himself of ports and bases of supply
near the point of attack; political reasons were the foundation for his
attitude in this matter. Against advice he also decided to divide the
expedition into a naval and a military section, the troops to come from
the Low Countries after the arrival of the fleet there to transport
them. The worst error of all was that of Philip’s insistence on
directing the organization of the fleet himself. All details had to be
passed upon by the king from his palace of the Escorial near Madrid,
which necessarily involved both delay and a faulty execution of orders.
Evil practices and incompetence were manifest on every hand; quantities
of the supplies purchased proved to be useless; and the officers and men
were badly chosen, many of the former being without naval experience. A
great mistake was made in the appointment of the Duke of Medina Sidonia
to lead the expedition; the principal recommendation of the duke was
that of his family prestige, for he was absolutely lacking in knowledge
of maritime affairs, and said as much to the king, but the latter
insisted that he should take command.

[Sidenote: Defeat of the Armada.]

At length the fleet was able to leave Lisbon, and later Coruña, in the
year 1588. Because of its great size it was termed the _Armada
Invencible_ (the Invincible Fleet), a name which has been taken over
into English as the Spanish, or the Invincible, Armada. In all there
were 131 ships, with over 25,000 sailors, soldiers, and officers. The
evil effect of Philip’s management followed the Armada to sea. He had
given detailed instructions what to do, and the commander-in-chief
would not vary from them. Many officers thought it would be best to make
an attack on Plymouth, to secure that port as a base of operations, but
Philip had given orders that the fleet should first go to the Low
Countries to effect a junction with the troops held in readiness there.
The story of the battle with the English fleet is well known. The
contest was altogether one-sided, for the English ships were both
superior in speed and equipped with longer range artillery.
Nevertheless, storms contributed more than the enemy to the Spanish
defeat. The Armada was utterly dispersed, and many vessels were wrecked.
Only 65 ships and some 10,000 men were able to return to Spain.

[Sidenote: Domestic troubles and death of Philip.]

The decisive blow had been struck, and Spain was the loser. The English
war went on into the next reign, and there were several spectacular
military events, not all of them unfavorable to Spanish arms, but they
affected the general situation only in that they continued the strain on
the royal exchequer. In the final analysis Philip had failed in this as
in so many other enterprises. This fact was clear, even at the time,
although the eventualities of later years were to make the outcome
appear the more decisive. Philip’s evil star did not confine its effects
to his international policies. His eldest son, Charles, proved to be of
feeble body and unbalanced mind. Getting into difficulties with his
father, he was placed in prison by the latter’s orders, and was never
seen again, dying in 1568. Charges have been made that Philip caused his
death, but he was probably blameless, although he did plan to disinherit
him. Philip had no other son until 1571, when his eventual successor was
born, by his fourth wife. Certain other domestic troubles, not divorced
from scandal (although the evidence is in no case conclusive), may be
passed over, except to mention the crowning grief of all. It early
became clear that his son and heir, the later Philip III, was a weak
character. “God, who has given me so many kingdoms,” Philip is reported
to have said, “has denied me a son capable of ruling them.” In 1598
Philip died. His last days were passed in extreme physical suffering,
which he endured with admirable resignation. Philip, like the Emperor
Charles, his father, had been indeed a great king, but he was a victim,
as Charles had been, of a mistaken policy. Nevertheless, they had ruled
Spain in her century of greatness, when Spain was not only the leading
power in Europe, but was planting her institutions, for all time, in the
vast domains of the Americas.



[Sidenote: Spanish defeats of the sixteenth century.]

The unfortunate policies of Charles I and Philip II were continued
during the seventeenth century in the reigns of Philip III, Philip IV,
and Charles II, but Spain was no longer able to hold her front rank
position in European affairs, especially after the buffets of fortune
which fell to her lot in the reign of Philip IV. Not only that, but a
decline also set in which affected Spanish civilization in all its
phases. The impetus of Spain’s greatness in the sixteenth century
carried her along to yet loftier heights in some manifestations of her
inner life, notably in art and literature, but even in these
characteristics the decline was rapid and almost complete by the end of
the reign of Charles II. Italy, France, and the Low Countries continued
to absorb Spanish effort, but now it was Spain’s turn to acknowledge
defeat, while France, the great power of the century, took toll for the
losses she had suffered at the hands of Charles I and Philip II. The
unsuccessful Catalan revolt and the victorious war of the Portuguese for
independence assisted to drain Spain of her resources, financial and
otherwise, while the last-named event destroyed peninsula unity,
carrying with it such of the Portuguese colonies as had not already been
lost. Spain yielded the aggressive to her strongest opponent, and
endeavored herself to maintain the defence. Nevertheless, great
achievements were still the rule in the colonies, even if of a less
showy type than formerly. Spain was still the conqueror and civilizer.
On the other hand, the efforts of other nations to found colonies in
lands claimed by Spain began to be successful, and this movement
gathered force throughout the century, together with the direct
annexation of some lands which were already Spanish.

[Sidenote: Philip III and Spanish relations with England, the Low
Countries, and the Empire.]

Philip III (1598-1621) was the first of three sovereigns, each of whom
was weaker than his predecessor. The fifteenth-century practice of
government by favorites was restored. Philip III turned over the
political management of his kingdom to the Duke of Lerma, while he
himself indulged in wasteful extravagances, punctuated by an equal
excess in religious devotions. He had inherited wars with England and
the Protestant Netherlands, but the first of these was brought to an end
in 1604, shortly after the accession of James I of England. The war in
the Low Countries was characterized by the same features which had
marked its progress in the previous reign. Philip II had endeavored to
solve the problem by making an independent kingdom of that region, under
his daughter and her husband as the rulers, with a proviso for a
reversion to Spain in case of a failure of the line. This measure was
practically without effect, for Spanish troops and Spanish moneys
continued to be the basis for the wars against the Dutch, or Protestant,
element. Before the end of Philip III’s reign the decision for a
reversion to Spanish authority had already been made and accepted. There
were two factors in the Dutch wars of the period worthy of mention. For
one thing the Dutch became more bold on the seas, and began a remarkable
career of maritime conquest which was to last well over half a century.
As affecting Spain this new activity manifested itself mainly in
piratical attacks on Spanish ships, or in descents upon Spanish coasts,
but a number of Philip’s Portuguese colonies were picked up by the
Dutch. The Dutch wars also produced a man who was both a great soldier
(a not uncommon type in that day of Spanish military importance) and a
great statesman, who sensed the evil course which Spain was following in
her European relations and argued against it, all to no avail. This man
was Ambrosio Spínola. Spínola won victory upon victory from the Dutch,
but was often obliged to rely on his personal estate for the funds with
which to carry on the campaigns; so when the Dutch asked for a truce he
favored the idea, and on this occasion his views were allowed to
prevail. A twelve-year truce was agreed upon in 1609, one condition of
which was the recognition of the independence of the Protestant states.
In 1618 the great conflict which has become known as the Thirty Years’
War broke out in Germany, having its beginnings in a dispute between the
Hapsburg emperor, Ferdinand, and the Protestant elector of the
Palatinate. Spain entered the war on the side of Ferdinand, largely
because of family reasons, but also in support of Catholicism. Spínola
was sent into the Palatinate with a Spanish army, where he swept
everything before him. Thus casually did Spain enter a war which was to
be a thirty-nine years’ conflict for her (1620-1659) and productive of
her own undoing.

[Sidenote: Relations with France, the Italian states, Turkey, and the
pirates of the Barbary Coast.]

Affairs with France were characterized by a bit of good fortune which
postponed the evil day for Spain. Henry IV had reorganized the French
kingdom until it reached a state of preparation which would have enabled
it to take the offensive, a policy which Henry had in mind. The
assassination of the French king, in 1610, prevented an outbreak of war
between France and Spain at a time when the latter was almost certain to
be defeated. Marie de Medici became regent in France, and chose to keep
the peace. Italy was a constant source of trouble in this reign, due to
the conflict of interests between the kings of Spain and the popes and
princes of the Italian peninsula. There was a succession of petty wars
or of the prospects of war, which meant that affairs were always in a
disturbed condition. The Turks continued to be a peril to Europe, and
their co-religionists and subjects in northern Africa were the terror of
the seas. Spain rendered service to Europe by repulsing the attempts of
the former to get a foothold in Italy, but could do nothing to check
piratical ventures. The pirates of the Barbary Coast plied their trade
both in the Mediterranean and along Spain’s Atlantic coasts to their
limits in the Bay of Biscay, while English and Dutch ships were active
in the same pursuits.

[Sidenote: Philip IV and Olivares.]

The storm broke in the reign of Philip IV (1621-1665). Philip IV was
only sixteen at the time of his accession to the throne. He had good
intentions, and tried to interest himself in matters of government, but
was of a frivolous and dissolute nature, unable to give consideration
for any length of time to serious affairs. The result was the rule of
another favorite, the Count-Duke of Olivares. Olivares was possibly the
worst man who could have been chosen, precisely because he had
sufficient ability to attempt the execution of his mistaken ideas. He
was energetic, intelligent, and well educated, but was stubborn, proud,
irascible, boastful, and insulting. He was able to make plans on a
gigantic scale, and had real discernment as to the strength of Spain’s
enemies, but lacked the practical capacity to handle the details. The
times were such as demanded a Spínola, but the counsels of Olivares
prevailed, and their keynote was imperialism in Europe and a centralized
absolutism in the peninsula.

[Sidenote: Spanish losses in the Thirty Years’ War.]

The truce with the Dutch came to an end in 1621. Spínola urged that it
be continued, but Olivares gave orders for the resumption of
hostilities. No advantages of consequence were obtained by Spain, but
the Dutch were again successful in their career on the seas. The Thirty
Years’ War continued to involve Spain. France, though Catholic and
virtually ruled by a Catholic cardinal, Richelieu, was more intent on
the development of the French state than upon the religious question,
and aided the Protestants against their enemies. Richelieu did not bring
France into the war until 1635, but, in the meantime, through grants of
money and skilful diplomacy, he was able to make trouble for Spain in
Italy and in the Low Countries. When at length it seemed as if the
Catholic states might win, due largely to the effectiveness of the
Spanish infantry, France entered the war on the side of the Protestant
princes. Spanish troops continued to win battles, without profiting
greatly because of the incessant difficulties from lack of funds. In
1643 the French, under Condé, defeated the Spaniards at Rocroy. The
moral effect of this victory was tremendous, like the surrender of the
ancient Spartans at the Island of Sphacteria, for it was the first time
in some two centuries that the Spanish infantry had been defeated in
pitched battle under nearly equal conditions. Henceforth defeats were no
novelty. The tide had turned; Rocroy spelled Spain’s doom as a great
power. The treaties of Westphalia in 1648 affected Spain only so far as
concerned the war with the Protestant Netherlands. Dutch independence
was reaffirmed, and the colonies which the Dutch had won, mainly from
the Portuguese in the East Indies, were formally granted to them. The
Catholic Netherlands remained Spanish. The war with France went on until
1659. In 1652 Cromwell offered Spain an alliance against France, but the
price demanded was high; one of the conditions was that Spain should
permit Englishmen to trade with the Spanish colonies,--an entering wedge
for an English commercial supremacy which might easily be converted into
political acquisition. Spain declined and Cromwell joined France. The
English conquest of Jamaica in the ensuing war was the first great break
in the solidarity of the actually occupied Spanish domain, marking a
turning point in colonial history, as Rocroy had done in that of Europe.
By the treaty of 1659 Spain gave up the Roussillon and Cerdagne, thus
accepting the Pyrenees as the boundary between herself and France. Spain
also surrendered Sardinia and large parts both of the Catholic
Netherlands and of her former Burgundian possessions. The most fruitful
clause in the treaty was that providing for the marriage of the Spanish
princess, María Teresa, with Louis XIV of France. The former was to
renounce for herself and her heirs any rights she or they might
otherwise have to the Spanish throne, while a considerable dowry was to
be paid by Spain on her behalf. The results of this marriage will be
mentioned presently.

[Sidenote: Catalan discontent.]

Intimately related to the wars just referred to was the Catalan revolt.
The Catalans had long been a nation so far as separate language and
institutions go, and their traditions compared well with those of
Castile, which had now come to dominate in the Spanish state. The whole
course of the revolt is illustrative of the difficulties under which
Spain labored in this era of European wars. The Catalans had objected
for centuries, even before the union with Castile, to the policy of
centralization and absolutism of the kings, alleging their charter
rights which were thus contravened. Such acts as the failure of the
kings to call the Catalan _Cortes_, the increases in taxation, or the
levying of taxes like those paid in Castile, and the introduction of the
Castilian Inquisition had been unfavorably received in the past. Now
came the monarchical designs of Olivares, coupled with the unavoidable
exigencies of the wars, to heighten the discontent. Aside from the
increased taxation there were two matters to which the Catalans were
strenuously opposed on the ground that they were against their legal
rights,--the maintenance of foreign troops (even Castilians and
Aragonese being so regarded) in Catalonia and the enjoyment of public
office by persons who were not Catalans. Furthermore they objected to
the employment of Catalan troops in foreign countries, holding that
their obligations were limited to defending Catalonia, and similarly
they maintained that funds raised in Catalonia should not be used for
wars outside that province. Philip IV tried to procure a subsidy from
the Catalan _Cortes_ in 1626, but the grant was denied. Another attempt
was made in 1632, on which occasion Olivares imprudently followed the
methods of Charles I at the time of the _Cortes_ of Santiago-Coruña. He
got the funds, but his action caused great dissatisfaction in the
province. Meanwhile the danger of an invasion from France had led to the
sending of troops to Catalonia, and constant friction followed their
arrival. The imperfect military discipline of that age, together with
the annoyances usually inseparable from the presence of armies, resulted
in many abuses, which were resented even to the point of armed conflict;
as early as 1629, eleven years before the outbreak, there was a bloody
encounter between the citizens and the soldiery at Barcelona. The
irksome requirement calling upon the towns to lodge the troops was also
productive of ill feeling. By law the most that could be demanded was
the use of a room, a bed, a table, fire, salt, vinegar, and service,
while all else must be paid for. Lack of funds was such, however, that
more than this was exacted. In addition to this there came an order from
Madrid calling for the imposition of the _quinto_, or fifth, of the
revenues of the municipalities. France took advantage of the situation
to fan the flame of discontent and to win certain Catalan nobles of the
frontier to her side. Nevertheless, when the French invaded the
Roussillon in 1639 the Catalans rushed to arms and helped to expel them
early in 1640.

[Sidenote: Beginning of the Catalan revolt.]

The questions of lodging the soldiers and of procuring additional funds
continued to provoke trouble. Olivares said in an open meeting of the
_Consejo Real_ that the Catalans ought to be made to contribute in
proportion to their wealth. Later he ordered an enforced levy of Catalan
troops for use in Italy, and stated in the decree so providing that it
was necessary to proceed without paying attention to “provincial
pettiness” (_menudencias provinciales_). The impulse for the outbreak
proceeded, however, from the conflicts between the soldiers and the
peasantry of the country districts, especially on account of the
excesses of the retreating royal troops at the time of the French
invasion of the Roussillon. Curiously enough, the peasantry acted very
largely from religious motives. Many of the soldiers were utter
foreigners to the Catalans,--such, for example, as the Italians and the
Irish, both of which elements were present in considerable numbers. To
the ignorant peasants these strange-mannered people, who were Catholics
in fact, seemed most certainly heretics. Attacks on the soldiery began
in the mountain districts early in 1640, and soon extended to the cities
as well. In June a serious riot occurred in Barcelona, during which the
hated royal viceroy was killed. That act marked the triumph of the
revolution and the beginning of the war.

[Sidenote: The war against the Catalans.]

It is possible that a policy of moderation might still have avoided the
conflict, but such action was not taken. The war lasted nineteen years,
and was fought bitterly until 1653. In 1640 the Catalans formed a
republic, and made an alliance with France, putting themselves under the
protection of the French monarchy. The republic was short-lived; in 1641
the monarchical form returned, with a recognition of the king of France
as ruler. French troops aided the Catalans in many expeditions, but in
this very fact lay the remedy for the grievances against Spain. The
Catalans found that French officials and French soldiers committed the
same abuses as those which they had objected to in the case of Castile.
Coupled with a statement of Philip IV that he had never intended to
interfere with the Catalan _fueros_, or charter rights (although
Olivares certainly had so intended), this proved to be the turning
point. Philip confirmed the charters in 1653, but the fighting went on
in certain regions until 1659, when Catalonia was recognized as part of
Spain in the treaty of peace with France. The war had one good result;
it occasioned the dismissal of Olivares in 1643. Nevertheless, the evil
had been done beyond repair, though the dispute had experienced a turn
for the better, dating from Olivares’ deprivation from office.

[Sidenote: Mildness of Spanish rule in Portugal.]

Meanwhile, Olivares had involved Spain in another direction. From the
time of the acquisition of Portugal by Philip II that region had been
exceedingly well treated by the Spanish kings: no public offices were
given to any but Portuguese; no military or naval forces and no taxes
were required for purely Spanish objects; the Portuguese colonies were
left to the Portuguese, and the route around Africa to the Far East was
closed to Spaniards; Lisbon continued to be the centre of Portuguese
colonial traffic, as Seville was for Spain; and even the members of the
House of Braganza, despite their dangerous claim to the throne, were
allowed to remain in Portugal, and were greatly favored. Furthermore,
Philip II abolished customs houses between Portugal and Castile, made
advantageous administrative improvements (among other things, reforming
colonial management, on the Spanish model), and attempted something in
the way of public works. The annexation weighed very lightly on the
country. The king was represented by a viceroy; there were a few Spanish
troops in Portugal; and some taxes were collected, though they were far
from heavy in amount. Spain has been charged with the responsibility for
the loss of many Portuguese colonies, on the ground that Portugal became
involved in the wars against the Spanish kings, and therefore open to
the attack of Spain’s enemies. There is reason for believing, however,
that the connection served rather as a pretext than a cause; this was an
age when the North European powers were engaging in colonial
enterprises, and it is worthy of note that the Dutch, who were the
principal successors to the Portuguese possessions, continued to make
conquests from Portugal after they had formed an alliance with that
country in the war of Portuguese independence from Spain. In fact, very
little passed into foreign hands prior to the Portuguese separation from
the Spanish crown as compared with what was lost afterward.

[Sidenote: The imperialism of Olivares and the uprising in Portugal.]

While the nobility and the wealthy classes favored the union with Spain,
there were strong elements in the country of a contrary opinion, for
whom leaders were to be found in the lower ranks of the secular clergy
and especially among the Jesuits. The masses of the people still hated
Spaniards; several generations were necessary before that traditional
feeling could be appreciably lessened. A current of opposition
manifested itself as early as the reign of Philip III, when the Duke of
Lerma, the king’s favorite minister, proposed to raise the prohibition
maintained against the Jews forbidding them to sell their goods when
emigrating, and planned to grant them civil equality with Christians.
This had coincided with a slight increase in taxation to produce
discontent. It was natural that the imperialistic Olivares should wish
to introduce a radical change in the relations of Spain and Portugal. He
early addressed the king on the advisability of bringing about a
veritable amalgamation of the two countries, and suggested that
Portuguese individuals should be given some offices in Castile, and
Castilians in like manner awarded posts in Portugal. When this purpose
became known it was used as one of the principal means of stirring up
opposition to Spain, on the ground that Portugal was to be deprived of
her autonomy. The renewal of legislation such as that proposed by the
Duke of Lerma with respect to the Jews and an increase in taxation added
to the dissatisfaction in Portugal to such an extent that there were
several riots. Spain’s financial difficulties arising from the European
wars led Olivares to turn yet more insistently to Portugal, and in the
year 1635 new and heavier taxes began to be imposed, together with the
collection of certain ecclesiastical rents which had been granted to the
king by the pope. This produced the first outbreak against the royal
authority. A revolution was started at Évora in 1637 which soon spread
to all parts of Portugal, but the nobles, the wealthy classes, and the
Duke of Braganza were not in favor of the movement, and it was soon
suppressed. The condition of affairs which had provoked it continued,
however, and was accentuated by new burdens and fresh departures from
the agreement of Philip II. Taxes became heavier still; Portuguese
troops were required to serve in the Low Countries; and the Duke of
Braganza, of whom Olivares was unreasonably suspicious, was appointed
viceroy of Milan, with a view to getting him out of Portugal. It was
this last measure which was to bring about a fresh and more determined
uprising than that of 1637. The duke refused the appointment, whereupon
Olivares completely changed front, possibly with a view to concealment
of his real suspicions, and made Braganza military governor of Portugal,
besides sending him funds with which to repair the fortifications of the
kingdom. The duke would almost certainly have been satisfied with this
arrangement, had it not been for his wife, whose ambitious character was
not duly taken into account by Olivares. This lady was a Spaniard of the
family of the dukes of Medina Sidonia, but she was desirous of being a
queen, even though it should strike a blow at her native land. She
conspired to bring about a Portuguese revolution headed by her husband,
who should thus become king of Portugal. The Catalonian outbreak of 1640
furnished a pretext and the propitious occasion desired. The Duke of
Braganza and the nobility generally were ordered to join the royal army
in suppressing the Catalans. Instead, the nobles rebelled, and the
revolution broke out on the first of December in the same year, 1640.
Fortresses were seized, and the Duke of Braganza was proclaimed as João
(or John) IV, king of Portugal.

[Sidenote: The war of Portuguese independence.]

The war lasted twenty-eight years, but, although it might well have been
considered as more important than any of the problems of the time, other
than the equally momentous Catalan revolt, it was not actively
prosecuted by Spain. Spain was engaged in too many other wars, to which
she gave perhaps an undue share of her attention, and was more than ever
beset by her chronic difficulty of lack of funds. France, England, and
the Protestant Netherlands gave help to Portugal at different times,
whereby the last-named was able to maintain herself against the weak
attacks of Spain. The decisive battle was fought at Villaviciosa in
1665, but it was not until 1668, in the reign of Charles II, that peace
was made. Portugal was recognized as independent, retaining such of her
former colonies as had not already been taken by the Dutch,--with one
exception; the post of Ceuta, in northern Africa, remained Spanish,--the
only reminder of Spain’s great opportunity to establish peninsula unity
through the union with Portugal.

[Sidenote: Other revolts and plottings.]

Still other difficulties arose in Italy and in Spain to harass the reign
of Philip IV. There were revolts in Sicily in 1646-1647, and in Naples
in 1647-1648, both of which were put down. An Aragonese plot was
discovered, and there was no uprising. A similar plot in Andalusia was
headed by the Duke of Medina Sidonia, captain general of the province
and brother of the new queen of Portugal. This too was uncovered in time
to prevent an outbreak. In Vizcaya there was a serious revolt, growing
out of an alleged tampering with local privileges, but it was eventually
put down. In fine, the reign had been one of disaster. Olivares had been
the chief instrument to bring it about, but, after all, he only
represented the prevailing opinion and traditional policies. The moment
of reckoning had come.

[Sidenote: Charles “the Bewitched.”]

[Sidenote: French aggressions.]

The reign of Charles II (1665-1700) was a period of waiting for what
seemed likely to be the end, unless fate should intervene to give a new
turn to affairs. The king himself was doubly in need of a regent, for he
was only four years old when he succeeded to the throne and was also
weak and sick in mind and body. He was subject to epileptic fits, on
which account he was termed Charles “the Bewitched” (_el Hechizado_),
and many people believed that he was indeed possessed of a Devil. This
disgusting, but pitiful, creature was expected to die at any moment, but
he lived to rule, though little more than in name, for thirty-five
years. The whole reign was one of plotting for the succession, since it
early became clear that Charles II could have no heir. There was a
pro-French party, a pro-Austrian party, and a very strong group which
favored a Spaniard, Juan of Austria, illegitimate son of a Spanish
king, as his predecessor of the same name had been. Juan of Austria
became virtual ruler in 1677, but died in 1679, thus eliminating the
only prominent claimant in Spain. France, at the height of her power
under Louis XIV, was unwilling to wait for the death of Charles II
before profiting by Spanish weakness, and therefore engaged in several
wars of aggression, directed primarily against Spain’s possessions in
the Low Countries and against the Protestant Netherlands. In many of
these wars other powers fought on the side of Spain and the Dutch,
notably the Holy Roman Emperor, many princes of Germany, and Sweden,
while England and the pope joined the allies against the French military
lord in the last war of the period. Four times Spain was forced into
conflict, in 1667-1668, 1672-1678, 1681-1684, and 1689-1697. Province
after province in northern Europe was wrested away, until, after the
last war, when Louis XIV had achieved his greatest success, little would
have remained, but for an unusual spirit of generosity on the part of
the French king. Instead of taking further lands from Spain, he restored
some which he had won in this and previous wars. The reason was that he
now hoped to procure the entire dominions of Spain for his own family.

[Sidenote: Plottings of the Austrian and French parties for the

The leader of the party favoring the Hapsburg, or Austrian, succession
in Spain was the queen-mother, María Ana, herself of the House of
Austria. After many vicissitudes she at length seemed to have achieved a
victory, when she brought about the marriage of Charles II to an
Austrian princess in 1689, the same year in which the king’s former
wife, a French princess, had died. The situation was all the more
favorable in that Louis XIV declared war against Spain in that year for
the fourth time in the reign. The very necessities of the war, added to
the now chronic bad administration and the general state of misery in
Spain, operated, however, to arouse discontent and to provoke opposition
to the party in power. Thus the French succession was more popular, even
during the war, than that of the allied House of Austria. After the war
was over, the French propaganda was established on a solid basis, for it
was evident, now, that Charles II could not long survive. Louis XIV put
forward his grandson, Philip of Anjou, as a candidate, and the Holy
Roman Emperor urged the claims of his son, the Archduke Charles. Not
only did Philip have the weaker hereditary claim, but he also had the
renunciation of his grandmother, María Teresa, wife of Louis XIV,
against him. The last-named objection was easily overcome, since Spain
had never paid the promised dowry of María Teresa, wherefore Louis XIV
held that the renunciation was of no effect.

[Sidenote: Success of the French party.]

The fight, after all, was a political one, and not a mere determination
of legal right, and in this respect Louis XIV and his candidate, Philip,
had the advantage, through skilful diplomacy. The French party in Madrid
was headed by Cardinal Portocarrero, a man of great influence, assisted
by Harcourt, the French ambassador. The imperial ambassador, Harrach,
and Stanhope, the representative of England, worked together; the union
of France and Spain under Bourbon rulers, who would probably be
French-controlled, represented a serious upsetting of the balance of
power, wherefore England desired the succession of the Archduke Charles,
who at that time was not a probable candidate for the imperial crown.
For several years Madrid was the scene of one of the most fascinating
diplomatic battles in European history. The feeble-minded king did not
know what to do, and asked advice on all sides, but could not make up
his mind about the succession. The Austrian party had his ear, however,
through his Austrian wife, and through the king’s confessor, who was one
of their group, but by a clever strike of Portocarrero’s the king was
persuaded that his wife was plotting to kill him, and was induced to
change confessors, this time accepting a member of the French party. To
divide his opponents Louis XIV proposed the dismemberment of Spain and
her possessions among the leading claimants, assigning Spain, Flanders,
and the colonies to a third candidate, the Prince of Bavaria. The French
king did not intend that any such division should take place, and in any
event the Bavarian prince soon died, but through measures of this type
Louis XIV eventually contrived to supplant in office and in influence
nearly all who opposed the Bourbon succession. Meanwhile, the
unfortunate king was stirred up and worried, although possibly without
evil design, so that his health was more and more broken and his
mentality disordered to the point of idiocy, hastening his death.
Strange medicines and exorcisms were used in order to cast out the Devil
with which he was told he was possessed, exciting the king to the point
of frenzy. In 1700 Louis XIV abandoned his course of dissimulation to
such an extent that it became clear that he would endeavor to procure
all the Spanish dominions for Philip. Henceforth it was a struggle
between the two principal claimants for exclusive rule. The wretched
Spanish monarch was at length obliged to go to bed by what was clearly
his last illness. Even then he was not left in peace, and the plotting
continued almost to the very end. On October 3, Philip was named by the
dying king as sole heir to all his dominions. On November 1, Charles II
died, and with him passed the rule of the House of Austria.



[Sidenote: Principal events in the social history of the era.]

As compared with the two preceding eras there was little in this period
strikingly new in social history. In the main, society tended to become
more thoroughly modern, but along lines whose origins dated farther
back. The most marked novelty in Spain was the conversion of the
Mudéjares of Aragon, Catalonia, and Valencia, followed less than a
century later by the expulsion of the Moriscos from every part of Spain.
The most remarkable phase of social history of the time, however, was
the subjection, conversion, and to a certain extent the civilization of
millions of Indians in the Americas. The work was thorough enough to
mark those lands permanently with the impress of Spain.

[Sidenote: Gradual approximation of the nobility to present-day

By a process of natural evolution from the practices current in the
reign of the Catholic Kings the nobles came to exhibit characteristics
very similar to those of present-day society. They now went to court if
they could, or else to the nearest large city, where they became a
bourgeois nobility. Those who remained on their estates were soon
forgotten. Through social prestige the nobles were still able to procure
not only the honorary palace posts but also the majority of the greater
political and military commands. Now and then, an untitled _letrado_
would attain to a viceroyalty or other high position, but these cases
were the exception. In this way, the great body of the nobles were able
to counteract the economic losses of their class occasioned by the new
importance of mercantile and industrial wealth. Nevertheless, the
wealthiest men of the times were nobles, with whom the richest of
middle-class merchants could hardly compare in material possessions.
The more extraordinary accumulations of wealth, based on vast lands and
the institution of primogeniture, were confined to a few of the greatest
nobles of the land, however. The vast horde of the _segundones_ and
others of the lesser nobility found service as before at court, or in
the train of some great noble, in the army, and in the church. The
nobles retained most of the privileges they had previously enjoyed, but
except in Aragon proper lost much of the political jurisdiction they had
formerly exercised over their own lands. The sentiment in favor of the
royal authority was now so strong that any limitation on the power of
the sovereign was viewed with disapproval. The jurisdiction which the
lords retained was limited by many royal rights of intervention, such as
the superior authority of the king’s law, or the royal institution of
the _pesquisa_. Some remnants of the lords’ former political and social
power over their vassals existed, but in general the relation was the
purely civil one of landlord and tenant. In Aragon, despite attempts to
effect reforms, the lords still possessed seigniorial authority,
accompanied by the irksome incidents of serfdom; required personal
services of their vassals; collected tributes of a medieval character;
exercised a paternal authority (such as that of permitting or refusing
their vassals a right to marry); and had the power of life and death.

[Sidenote: Hierarchy of the nobility.]

[Sidenote: Social vanity.]

[Sidenote: Survivals of medievalism among the nobles.]

The hierarchy of the nobility was definitely established in this period.
At the top, representing the medieval _ricoshombres_, were the grandees
(_Grandes_) and the “titles” (_Títulos_). The principal difference
between the two was that the former were privileged to remain covered in
the presence of the king and to be called “cousins” of the monarch,
while those of the second grade might only be called “relatives,”--empty
honors, which were much esteemed, however, as symbolic of rank. These
groups monopolized all titles such as marquis, duke, count, and prince.
Below them were the _caballeros_ and the _hidalgos_. The word _hidalgos_
was employed to designate those nobles of inferior rank without fortune,
lands, jurisdiction, or high public office. The desire for the noble
rank of _hidalgo_ and the vanity marked by the devising of family
shields became a national disease, and resulted in fact in the increase
of the _hidalgo_ class. The people of Guipúzcoa claimed that they were
all _hidalgos_, and received the royal recognition of their pretension.
Measures were taken to check this dangerous exemplification of social
pride, but on the other hand the treasury found the sale of rights of
_hidalguía_ a profitable source of income. In 1541 there were less than
800,000 taxpayers in Castile, but over 100,000 _hidalgos_. The nobles
did not at once forget their medieval practices of duelling, private
war, plotting, and violence. There were instances of these throughout
the era, and in Aragon and Majorca they were almost continuous.
Nevertheless, the situation did not become so serious as it had been in
the past; it merely represented the deeply rooted force of noble
tradition, which objected to any submission to discipline. Both the
hierarchy of the nobility, with all its incidents of broad estates,
jurisdictions, class pride, and vanity, and the irresponsible practices
of the nobles passed over into the Americas.

[Sidenote: Advance of the plebeian classes through the rise of the
merchants and the _letrados_.]

While there were many different categories of free Christian society the
essential grades were those of nobles (or members of the clergy) and
plebeians. There were many rich merchants of the middle class who aped
the nobility in entailing their estates and in luxurious display, and
there were learned men who received distinguished honors or exemptions
from duties to the state, but in social prestige they could not compare
with the lowest _hidalgo_. Many of them became noble by royal favor, and
especially was this way open to the learned class of the _letrados_.
These men provided lawyers and administrative officers for the state,
and, as such, occupied positions which put them on a level, at least in
authority, with the nobles. The advance of the merchants and the
_letrados_ represented a gain for the plebeian class as a whole, for any
free Christian might get to be one or the other and even become
ennobled. The economic decline of Spain in the seventeenth century was a
severe blow to the merchants, while the _letrados_ were unpopular with
nobles and plebeians alike; nevertheless, thoughtful men agreed that
the regeneration of the country must come from these two elements.

[Sidenote: Improvement in the legal condition of the masses.]

The masses were poor, as always, but their legal condition, except in
Aragon, had been improved. There were many social wars in Aragon
throughout the period, but the serfs, unable to act together, could not
overcome their oppressors. Something was done by the kings through the
incorporation into the crown of seigniorial estates where abuses were
most pronounced. The same state of chronic warfare existed in Catalonia,
where the rural population, though now freed from serfdom, was still
subject to certain seigniorial rights. By the end of the period the
victory of the plebeians was clear, and the ties which bound them to the
lords were loosened. The social aspects of the civil wars in Castile,
Valencia, and Majorca at the outset of the reign of Charles I have
already been referred to. These revolts failed, and there were no
similar great uprisings of the Christian masses in these regions, but
the tendency of the nobility to go to court and the expulsion of the
Moriscos were to operate to break down the survivals of seigniorial

[Sidenote: Slavery.]

[Sidenote: The gypsies.]

Although objections were raised to the enslavement of the Indians in the
Americas, the institution of slavery itself was generally recognized;
even charitable and religious establishments possessed slaves. Moslem
prisoners and negroes (acquired through war or purchase), together with
their children, made up the bulk of this class, although there were some
slaves of white race. Conversion to Christianity did not procure
emancipation, but the slaves were allowed to earn something for
themselves with which to purchase their freedom. Certain
restrictions--such, for example, as the prohibition against their living
in quarters inhabited by newly converted Christians, or against their
entering the guilds--were placed upon them once they had become free.
Only a little higher in status than the slaves were the Egipcianos, or
gypsies. About the middle of the fifteenth century they had entered
Spain for the first time by way of Catalonia, and, thenceforth, groups
of them wandered about the peninsula, stealing and telling fortunes for
a living, and having a government of their own. A law of 1499 required
them to settle down in towns and ply honest trades on pain of expulsion
from Spain or of enslavement, but the gypsies neither left Spain nor
abandoned their nomadic ways, and they were a continual problem to the
kings of the House of Austria. Various royal orders provided that they
must take up an occupation, although their choice was virtually limited
by law to the cultivation of the soil; they were not to live in the
smaller villages, were forbidden to use their native language, dress, or
names, or to employ their customs in marriage and other matters, and
were prohibited from dwelling in a separate quarter of their own. Fear
lest the Christian population become contaminated by gypsy superstitions
and a regard for public security were the guiding motives for this
legislation. Severe penalties were attached, but the evil was not
eradicated; similar laws had to be enacted as late as the eighteenth

[Sidenote: Forced conversion of the Mudéjares of the kingdom of Aragon.]

After the time of the Catholic Kings there were no free Mudéjares in
Castile, although there were many Moriscos, but in Aragon, Catalonia,
and especially in Valencia the Mudéjares were numerous. Many elements,
including the majority of the clergy (the officers of the Inquisition in
particular), the king, and the Christian masses were in favor of their
forcible conversion with a view to the establishment of religious unity
in the country, although other reasons were alleged as well. The nobles
were warmly opposed, mainly on economic grounds because the Mudéjares
formed the principal element among their agricultural workers. Many of
the higher clergy joined with them for the same reason, although some of
them voiced their objections on the ground that compulsory baptism would
only result in apostasy. During the social war in Valencia early in the
reign of Charles I the popular faction had forcibly converted a number
of the Mudéjares who had fought against them on the side of the lords.
The question arose whether these baptisms were valid. Charles decided
that they were, and ordered the children of the Mudéjares, who had thus
unwillingly become Moriscos, to be baptized also. This provoked a storm
of protest on the part of the lords, for the continuance of such a
policy might result in emigrations or uprisings, much to their
detriment. They cited the royal oath of Ferdinand and of Charles himself
to the _Cortes_ of Aragon not to compel the Mudéjares to abjure their
faith, but this difficulty was easily overcome. The pope was persuaded
to absolve Charles from his oath, and gave his consent to the forcible
conversion of the free Mudéjares, on pain of perpetual enslavement or
expulsion from Spain. In 1525 Charles published a decree in accordance
with the terms of the papal license. The objections of the nobles and
the _Cortes_ were overruled, and several isolated rebellions were put
down. While many Mudéjares went to Africa, thousands accepted
conversion, and, although it was clear that they did not do so of their
own free will, were at once made subject to the usual rules applying to
converts, including the jurisdiction of the Inquisition. Soon afterward,
however, Charles consented to exempt them from religious persecution for
a number of years.

[Sidenote: Failure of the attempts to Christianize the Moriscos.]

The problem of religious unity was now officially solved; all Spain
legally had become Christian. The Moriscos were the subject of grave
suspicions, however, as regards their orthodoxy, and with reason, since
most of them continued to be Mohammedans in fact. The harsh legislation
of other days was resurrected, and was applied with even greater
severity. Prohibitions extended to the use of anything reminiscent of
their former religion or customs, such as amulets, the Arabic language,
Arabic names, their special form of dress, their characteristic songs
and dances, and their habit of taking baths. The laws applying to
Granada were particularly harsh, provoking the already mentioned war of
1568-1571. After the suppression of that rebellion and the deportation
of the Granadine Moriscos to other parts of Castile, steps were taken to
prevent their return and to keep them under surveillance. The Moriscos
were not allowed to dwell together in a district of their own; they
might not stay out overnight, or change their residence without
permission; and their children were ordered to be brought up in the
homes of Christians of long standing, or at any rate to be sent to
Christian schools. Prohibitions against carrying arms and other
measures designed to prevent the Moriscos from endangering the peace
were general throughout Spain. Gradually the idea arose that the best
thing to do would be to get rid of the Moriscos in some way. In the
first place the attempt to convert them had been a failure. The Moriscos
were not altogether to blame, for no adequate steps had been taken to
instruct them in the Christian religion. Orders to do so had been
issued, but for many reasons they were difficult to execute. Such a task
would have been enormously expensive, and the funds were not at hand;
few Christian priests were competent to serve as instructors, since not
many of them knew Arabic; there existed the serious obstacle of the
hatred of the Moriscos for the Christian religion, due to the bad
treatment they had received and their fear of the Inquisition; and the
nobles threw the weight of their influence against molesting the
Moriscos in this way as in others. In the second place, the very hatred
of the Christian masses for the Moriscos had rendered their conversion
difficult. Some of the charges made against them would seem to indicate
that prejudice was the real foundation of this animosity. It was said
that the Moriscos ate so little meat and drank so little wine that
Christians had to pay nearly all of the _alcabala_, or the tax on their
sale; they were denounced because they monopolized the industrial arts
and trades, to the disadvantage of Christians; complaints were made that
they always married, never becoming monks, wherefore their numbers
increased more rapidly than those of the Christian population. Thus
their frugality, industry, and domesticity were made the subject of
accusations. Naturally there were more serious grounds of complaint than
these, such as the inevitable private conflicts of old Christians and
Moriscos, but differences in race, religion, and general customs were
enough to cause popular hatred in that day, when intolerance was the
rule. In the third place, it must be said in measurable justification of
Spanish policy that the Moriscos did represent a danger to the state.
They were numerous, and, naturally enough, hostile to the government;
time and again they were proved to have fostered or taken part in
uprisings and to have worked in conjunction with Moslem pirates;
finally, the likelihood of a fresh Moslem descent from Africa, assisted
by Spanish Moriscos, was not to be disregarded.

[Sidenote: Expulsion of the Moriscos.]

The failure of the attempts to convert the Moriscos had long been
recognized, and the question arose what to do with them. Some men
proposed a general massacre, or sending them to sea and scuttling the
ships. Others suggested that they be sent to the Americas to work in the
mines,--a solution which might have had interesting consequences. From
about 1582, however, the idea of expelling them from Spain became more
and more general, and was favored by men of the highest character,--for
example, by Juan de Ribera, archbishop of Valencia (canonized in the
eighteenth century). The expulsion was virtually decided upon as early
as 1602, but the decrees were postponed for several years. In September,
1609, the expulsion from Valencia was ordered. All Moriscos except
certain specified groups were required to be at various designated ports
within three days; they were allowed to carry such movable property as
they could, while the rest of their possessions was to go to their
lords,--a sop to the nobles, for whom the expulsion meant great economic
loss; they were informed that they would be taken to Africa free of
charge, but were told to carry as much food as they could. Six per cent
of the Morisco men and their families were excepted by the decree, so
that they might instruct the laborers who should take the place of the
expelled Moriscos. Various other groups, such as slaves, small children
(under certain specified conditions), and those whose conversion was
regarded as unquestionably sincere, were also exempted. The Moriscos
were unwilling to avail themselves of the exceptions in their favor, and
a general exodus began. The decree was cruelly executed, despite the
government’s attempt to prevent it. Murder, robbery, and outrages
against women went unpunished; even the soldiers sent to protect the
Moriscos were guilty of these abuses. Many Moriscos were sold into
slavery, especially children, who were taken from their parents. When
news came that the peoples of northern Africa had given a harsh
reception to the first of the Moriscos to disembark there, many
preferred to take the chances of revolt rather than submit to expulsion,
but these uprisings were easily put down. Decrees for the other parts of
Spain soon followed; the decree for Castile proper, Extremadura, and La
Mancha came in the same year, 1609; for Granada, Andalusia, and Aragon
in 1610; and for Catalonia and Murcia in 1611, although the execution of
the decree for Murcia was postponed until 1614. The terms of all, while
varying in details, resembled that of Valencia. More time was given,
usually a month; the permission to carry away personalty was accompanied
by a prohibition against the taking of money or precious metals; and in
some cases all children under seven were required to remain in Spain
when their parents elected to go to Africa. On this account many
Moriscos made the voyage to Africa by way of France, on the pretence
that they were going to the latter country, thus retaining their

[Sidenote: Failure of the expulsions to stamp out the Morisco and Jewish
elements in Spanish blood.]

Various estimates have been made as to the number of the expelled
Moriscos. It is probable that some half a million were obliged to
emigrate. Many remained in Spain, forming outlaw bands in the mountains,
or hiding under the protection of their lords, while thousands had long
since merged with the Christian population. Almost from the start a
current of re-immigration set in, for, after all, the Moriscos had in
many respects become Spaniards, and they found that conditions in the
lands to which they had gone were far from agreeable. Throughout the
seventeenth century laws were enacted against returning Moriscos, but
were of such little effect that the government virtually admitted its
powerlessness in the matter. Southern Spain and the east coast below
Catalonia remained strongly Moslem in blood, and the other provinces of
the peninsula were not a little affected as well, but as regards
religion the Morisco element was gradually merged, and this matter never
became a serious problem again. Similar questions arose over returning
Jews, who came back to Spain for much the same reasons the Moriscos did.
They were not nearly so numerous, however, wherefore their return did
not represent such a political danger as did that of the Moriscos.

[Sidenote: Influence of Roman principles on the institutions of the
family and private property.]

The legal status of the family underwent no striking change in this
period, except that the victory of Roman principles was more and more
confirmed. The decisions of the Council of Trent (1545-1563), a famous
general council of the Catholic Church, prohibited divorce, clandestine
marriage, and in general any kind of marital union not made according to
the solemnities and forms of the church, and these principles became law
in Spain, but they represented tendencies which had long before appeared
in the _Partidas_ and the _Leyes de Toro_. Unions lacking the sanction
of the law did not disappear; rather they were one of the prominent
features of the immorality of the times. It was in its economic aspects
that the family experienced its most marked change, and this was due to
the exceptional favor with which the institution of primogeniture had
come to be viewed, keeping pace with the vanity and the furor for
ennoblement of the age. The very extension of the practice was its
saving grace, for not only the great nobles but also persons of lesser
note, including plebeians with not too vast estates, were wont to leave
their properties to the eldest son; thus accumulation in the hands of a
very few was avoided. For the same reason the crown often favored the
custom for the smaller holdings, but restricted it in the case of the
_latifundia_,--for example, in the prohibition issued against the
combining of two such great estates. The individualism and capitalism of
the Roman law was most marked of all in matters of property. One
interesting attempt was made to get around the laws against usury
through the purchase of annuities, the _censo consignativo_. Popular
opinion, reinforced by the ideas of the moralists and jurisconsults and
even by a bull of the pope, opposed the practice, and it did not
survive. Despite the supremacy of the Roman ideas there were many
writings of a socialistic character citing the collectivism of the
Peruvian Incas or other such states of society as desirable of adoption
in Spain. The philosopher Luis Vives, for example, favored a
redistribution of natural resources and their equal enjoyment by all.

[Sidenote: Evolution of the guilds.]

While the law frowned upon the spirit of association, even prohibiting
the founding of new _cofradías_, the guilds enjoyed their greatest era
of prosperity. This was due in part to the intervention of the state,
which supplanted the municipalities in control of the institution. State
regulation, even in technical matters, went further than it had in the
fifteenth century. Despite government interest, as evidenced by the
according of numerous privileges, the germs of the decline of the guilds
were already apparent at the close of the seventeenth century. The
exclusive spirit of the guilds whereby they endeavored to keep trade in
the hands of their own members and their families, without admitting
others who were competent to belong, was one cause of this decline,
while their loss of liberty (due to government intervention) and the
strife within and without the guild were contributing factors. One
novelty of the era was the growing distinction between the manual arts
and the liberal professions, the latter of which rose to a higher
consideration. Thus lawyers, notaries, and doctors were rated above
those engaged in manual labors, while there was also a recognized
hierarchy among the last-named, from the workers in gold, silver,
jewelry, and rich cloths down to the drivers of mules. The great
association of the _Mesta_ still enjoyed wide powers, as did also that
of the carriers.

[Sidenote: Low moral tone of the era.]

In laxness of morals and in luxury this period was much like the two
preceding. It seems worse, but this may be due to the greater variety of
materials at hand for study, such as books of travel, novels, plays,
satires, letters, laws, and the frequently appearing “relations of
events,” which in that day took the place occupied by the modern
newspaper. A Spanish writer has characterized the practices of the time
in the following language: “The ideal of an exaggerated sense of honor,
chivalric quixotism, religious fanaticism, and the exalted predominance
of form over the essence of things ruled Spanish society of the
seventeenth century, absolutely and tyrannically. Duels and stabbings at
every moment to sustain the least question of etiquette or courtesy;
scandalous conflicts of jurisdiction between the highest tribunals of
state; absurd and ridiculous projects to make silver without silver,
fomented by the leading ministers; extremely costly and showy feasts to
solemnize ordinary events, while cities, islands, provinces, and even
kingdoms were being lost through bad government and worse
administration; frequent and pompous public processions; blind belief in
the miraculous virtue of some medal, stamp, or old rag of Mother Luisa
or some other impostor; politico-religious sermons within and without
the royal palace; the most abominable and nefarious sins scattered to an
almost unbelievable extent among all classes of Madrid society; the vice
of gambling converted into a profession by many persons; and, in fine,
the censure of our court, by those who formed part of it and by those
who did not, for its astonishing abundance and its depraved life of
strumpets and wenches.... It is true that there were men of high degree
who preferred the coarse sackcloth of the religious to the rich clothing
of brocade and gold, and military leaders who exchanged the sword for
the monkish girdle, but these were exceptions, which by the very fewness
of their numbers stand out the more strongly from the general stock of
that society, so accustomed to laziness, hypocrisy, routine, and
external practices as it was, removed from the true paths of virtue,
wisdom, and progress.” If to these characteristics there are added those
of the misery and ignorance of the common people, and if an exception is
made of the men devoted to intellectual pursuits, the above is fairly
representative of Spanish society in this period. Loose practices were
prevalent in excessive degree at Madrid, which had become the capital in
the time of Philip II. While such a state of affairs is not unusual in
all great capitals, immorality infected all classes of society in
Madrid, and little if any stigma attached in the matter. Philip IV had
thirty-two illegitimate children, and Charles I and even the somewhat
sombre Philip II were not without reproach. Much that is unspeakable was
prevalent, and gambling was generally indulged in. Lack of discipline
also manifested itself in frequent duelling, despite prohibitive laws,
and in the turbulence of the people on different occasions; university
students were somewhat notorious in this respect, indulging in riots
which were not free from incidents of an unsavory character. Other
cities were little better than Madrid, and those of the south and east,
where Moslem blood had been most plentiful, especially Seville and
Valencia, had a yet worse reputation; Valencia had even a European
notoriety for its licentious customs. These practices passed over into
the Americas in an exaggerated form. The Andalusian blood of the
conquerors and their adventurous life amidst subject races were not
conducive to self-restraint. These evils were not to be without effect
in the moulding of the Spanish American peoples. In the smaller Spanish
towns and villages there was probably less vice, but there was more
ignorance and greater lack of public security. Bands of robbers infested
the country.

[Sidenote: Royal extravagance.]

In luxury as in immorality the example was set by the kings themselves.
Some of its manifestations were meritorious (except that expenditures
were out of proportion to the resources and needs of the state),
especially the encouragement of art through the purchase of paintings
and the construction of palaces. But if Charles I and Philip II were
lavish, Philip III and Philip IV were extravagant. Both of these kings,
in addition to their fondness for the theatre, bull-fighting, dancing,
and hunting, were responsible for the most ostentatious display on
occasions of court celebrations. When Philip III went to San Sebastián
in 1615 to attend the double wedding which was to bind together the
houses of Austria and Bourbon, he was accompanied by a train of 74
carriages, 174 litters, 190 state coaches, 2750 saddle mules, 374 beasts
of burden (of which 128 had coverings embroidered with the royal coat of
arms), 1750 mules with silver bells, and 6500 persons, besides an escort
of 4000 Guipuzcoans. Equal pomp and extravagance marked the reception to
the Archduchess María Ana of Austria when she came to Spain as the
fiancée of Philip IV; similarly, the entertainment accorded the Prince
of Wales (the later Charles I of England) and the Duke of Buckingham
when they visited Spain early in the reign of Philip IV; and likewise
the various masquerades during the period of Olivares, one of which is
said to have cost over 300,000 ducats (nearly $5,000,000). It would seem
that war was not alone responsible for the drains on the Spanish
treasury. There was a decline in expenditures in the reign of Charles
II, due principally to the fact that there was little left to spend.

[Sidenote: Luxury in general.]

[Sidenote: Dress.]

Private individuals could not equal the kings in extravagance, but they
did the best they could. Houses often lacked comforts in the way of
furniture, but made a brave showing in tapestries and paintings.
Naturally, great attention was paid to dress. Under Charles I, just as
in art, so also in dress, clothing was in a stage which may be called
the transition from the “plateresque” to the “Spanish Renaissance.” For
example, influenced by German and Swiss fashions, men wore puffs on
their forearm or between the waist and hips, variegated oblong pieces in
their jackets, bright colors generally, and a tall conical hat. In
keeping with the greater sobriety of Philip II, styles became “Herreran”
in that the puffs were abandoned, obscure colors replaced gay, and a cap
superseded its more pretentious predecessor. Philip III inaugurated the
“baroque” in dress with a return to the styles of Charles I, but in an
exaggerated form.

[Sidenote: Sports and amusements.]

[Sidenote: General social customs.]

Men were much given to sports and outings. The duel as a sport passed
out at the beginning of the era, and jousts and tourneys lost their
vogue by the end of the sixteenth century, but a host of new games took
their place, such as equestrian contests of skill in the use of reed
spears, lances, or pikes, but, more than all, the game which has ever
since gripped Spanish interest, the bull-fight. Dances, parties,
excursions, picnics, and masquerades were also in high favor. Dancing on
the stage had a tendency to be indecent,--so much so, that it had to be
prohibited. Tobacco was introduced from America at this time. Bathing
was unpopular, partly because of the stigma attaching to that hygienic
practice as a result of Moslem indulgence therein, but it was also the
subject of attacks by writers on ethics, who complained of the immoral
uses to which bath-houses were put. Public celebrations of feast days
and carnivals were characterized by exhibitions of rough horse-play
which were far removed from modern refinement. People considered it
amusing to empty tiny baskets of ashes on one another, to trip up
passers-by with a rope across the street, to put a lighted rag or a
piece of punk in a horse’s ear, to pin an animal’s tail or some other
unseemly object on a woman’s dress, to loose harmless snakes or rats in
a crowd, to drop filthy waters on passers-by in the streets below, and
to hurl egg-shells full of odorous essences at one another, varying the
last-named missile with what the present-day American school-boy knows
as the “spitball.” These were not the acts of children, but of ladies
and gentlemen! Nevertheless, there was a beginning of refinement in
table manners. Napkins were introduced, first as an unnecessary luxury,
and later more generally,--replacing the use of the table cloth! It also
became a polite custom to wash one’s hands before eating. The same
progress is to be noted in another respect; Charles I indulged in the
somewhat “plateresque” custom of kissing all ladies who were presented
to him at court; Philip II in true “Herreran” style gave it up.

[Sidenote: Bad care of cities.]

Cities were badly cared for. Barcelona, Madrid, and Seville were alone
in being paved. Uncleanly human practices, despite efforts to check
them, led to the accumulation of filth and odors in the streets, and
this condition was not remedied, although there were officials charged
with the duty of street-cleaning. No city had a lighting system worthy
of the name; in Madrid the only street lights were the faintly
glimmering candles or lamps which were placed before sacred images. All
Europe exhibited the same social defects as those which have just been
detailed, but Spain seemed reduced more than other countries to a state
of poverty and misery, displaying every manifestation of mortal decay.



[Sidenote: The establishment of absolutism.]

Two outstanding features marked the history of Spanish political
institutions in the era of the House of Hapsburg, or Austria: the
absolutism of the kings; and the development of a modern bureaucratic
machinery. The Hapsburgs did not introduce absolutism into Spain, but,
rather, succeeded to a system which the efforts of their predecessors,
especially the Catholic Kings, had made possible. Nevertheless, it was
in this period that the kings, aided by greater resources than former
Spanish monarchs had possessed, by the prestige of ruling the most
extensive and powerful dominions in the world, and by the predominantly
royalist ideas of the age, including the theory of divine right, were
able for the first time to direct the affairs of state much as they
chose. To be sure, they were still supposed to respect the laws and to
rule for the good of their subjects, but in practice it was left to them
to interpret their own conduct. Instances have already been given of
Charles I’s infringements of the law,--for example, in his employment of
Flemish favorites. He also introduced a system of personal rule, making
himself the head and centre of all governmental action. It was Philip
II, however, who carried the ideal of personal rule to the greatest
extreme. Suspicion and direct intervention in state affairs were the
basic principles of his government, wherefore he gave no man his full
confidence, but tried to do as much as he could himself. If the methods
of Philip II, the most bureaucratic king in history, often had
unfortunate results,--for example, in the case of preparing the famous
Armada,--those of his successors were far more disastrous. Under Philip
III and Philip IV the royal authority was granted to favorites, while
the power of Charles II had necessarily to be exercised most of the time
by some other than the feeble-minded king himself. Thus these reigns
were a period of continual intriguing by different factions for the
king’s confidence, in order that the victors might rule Spain for their
own enrichment.

[Sidenote: Tendencies toward centralization.]

At first sight it would seem that the kings were not successful in their
policy of centralization. It was hardly to be expected that the
dominions outside the peninsula could be brought under the same system
of law and custom as governed in Castile, and the case was much the same
as regards Portugal when that kingdom was added to the monarchy. With
respect to the rest of the peninsula, however, Olivares expressed what
was at least a desirable ideal, when he wished to bring about an
amalgamation on the Castilian pattern, both in law and in common
sentiment, of the dominions of the crown. Some changes were in fact made
which tended to promote legal unification, but in essentials the ancient
customs of Navarre, Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia, and the Basque
provinces were left undisturbed. It is possible that the merger might
have been attempted with safety at almost any time before 1640, when
Olivares tried it,--quite probably so in the sixteenth century. That it
was not undertaken may have been due to the attention given to foreign
wars, but in any event the autonomy of the non-Castilian kingdoms of the
monarchy was more apparent than real. The nobility and many of the
people were intensely royalist, and even when they were not so in
principle they supported the kings because, like them, they were
profoundly Catholic. Furthermore, the organization representing the old
régime had declined internally to such an extent that it was a mere
shadow of its former self. Centralization had in fact been going on
without process of law, and for that very reason it was easy in the next
period to make it legally effective.

[Sidenote: Submissiveness of the Castilian _Cortes_.]

[Sidenote: Comparative independence of the other _Cortes_.]

Nowhere was the absolutism of the kings more manifest than in their
dealings with the Castilian _Cortes_. The principal functions of this
body had always been to grant or withhold subsidies and to make
petitions, which the kings might, or might not, enact into law. In this
period the deputies were so submissive that they never failed to grant
the required subsidy, despite the exhaustion of the country, while their
petitions received scant attention. Under the circumstances, since the
grant of a subsidy by the representatives of the towns was now the only
reason for calling a _Cortes_, the nobles and the clergy were not always
summoned. Charles I encountered some resistance of the _Cortes_ in the
early part of his reign, but in later years the kings experienced no
serious difficulty. The deputies themselves lost interest, and not
infrequently sold their privilege of attendance to some individual who
might even be a non-resident of the town he was to represent. The kings
procured the right to appoint many of the deputies, or else issued
orders to the towns, directing them how to instruct their delegates, and
also gave pensions to the deputies, thus insuring the expression of
their own will in the meetings of the _Cortes_. It is not strange that
the _Cortes_ was called frequently,--forty-four times down to 1665. In
1665 the function of granting subsidies was given directly to the
towns,--with the result that no _Cortes_ was held in the entire reign of
Charles II. The various other _Cortes_ of the peninsula were more
fortunate than that of Castile. Those of the kingdom of Aragon (Aragon
proper, Catalonia, and Valencia) had always participated more than that
of Castile in legislation, and had been more prone to voice their
grievances. The calling of a _Cortes_ in these regions involved
difficulties, especially in Valencia, where the king was obliged to be
present, in order to constitute a legal meeting. The need for funds was
such, however, that a number of _Cortes_ were summoned,--seventeen in
Aragon, thirteen in Catalonia, fourteen in Valencia, and seventy-three
in Navarre,--but the kings did not obtain a great deal from them. Often
the delegates refused to make a grant, or else gave so little that it
hardly covered the expenses of the king’s journey to the place of
meeting. No effort was made to join these bodies with that of Castile to
form a national _Cortes_; the force of particularism was as yet too
strong to attempt it.

[Sidenote: Subservience of the towns to the royal will.]

Just as in the case of the Castilian _Cortes_, so also in that of the
towns, the absolutism of the kings made itself felt to a marked degree,
for the way had been prepared in previous reigns, and in this instance
the royal authority was equally as noteworthy in Aragon, Catalonia,
Valencia, and Majorca as in Castile. This was brought about principally
through the decline of the towns in political spirit, a movement which
had been going on since the fourteenth century. As a result the
_ayuntamientos_ had usurped the powers which formerly belonged to the
general assembly of citizens, and now their functions became absorbed
more and more by the kings through their officials in the towns, such as
the _corregidores_ and others. So great was the authority of the kings
that they were able to make a profit for the treasury by the sale in
perpetuity of local offices, and when the evils which resulted became
too pronounced they gave orders abolishing all such positions acquired
before 1630. Furthermore, all local legislation of an important
character had to receive the sanction of the _Consejo Real_. Much the
same local officials as in the past administered the affairs of the
municipalities, and the methods of their acquisition of office continued
to be diverse, being in some towns by election, in others by lot, in
still others by inheritance, and in yet others by royal appointment; but
in all of the large royal towns (_realengos_) the king’s authority was
paramount. In fine, local autonomy was virtually dead, although the
forms of the period when the towns were a virile political factor still
persisted. In two classes of municipalities the royal victory was not
complete. One was that of the small villages, where the system of the
medieval _villa_, or _concejo_, obtained, but since these units were of
small consequence the retention of their earlier liberties had little or
no effect on the general situation. The other was that of the
seigniorial towns, most of them in Aragon, Catalonia, and Navarre, where
the struggles of past eras, of the citizens against the lords, were
repeated in this.

[Sidenote: Importance of the bureaucracy.]

With the advance both in royal authority and in the scope and extension
of government it was inevitable that the new bureaucracy, which had made
its appearance in the modern sense under the Catholic Kings, should
increase in the number of its officials and in power until it absorbed a
great part of the functions which the kings themselves had formerly
exercised in person. Aside from the royal secretaries, the
governor-generals (during the absence of the king), regents, and members
of the various administrative groups there were often individuals
without portfolios who exercised great power as private counselors of
the king. Some of the members of the _Consejo Real_ were also prominent
in this extra-official way. The importance of the royal secretaries, of
whom there were always more than one, was notably great in this period.
Whenever one of them became the favorite, the others were nevertheless
retained, grouping themselves around the one who had the ear of the
king. The office of the latter became a universal bureau and secretariat
of state (_Secretaría de Estado y del Despacho Universal_), presiding
over the others.

[Sidenote: Power of the _Consejo Real_.]

Meanwhile, the _Consejo Real_ advanced in power, and new councils were
added. The most notable reform in the _Consejo Real_ was its division in
1608 into four sections, or _salas_, respectively of government
(_Gobierno_), justice (_Justicia_), “fifteen hundred” (_Mil y
quinientos_), and the provinces (_Provincia_). The last three had to do
with affairs of justice, while the _Sala de Gobierno_, the most
important of the four, was supposed to concern itself mainly with
politics and administration. Nevertheless, the variety of functions
which had always characterized the _Consejo_ as a whole applied in like
manner to each of the _salas_. Thus the _Sala de Gobierno_ handled such
widely divergent matters as the extirpation of vice and sin, the
economic development of the country, the decision in cases of conflict
of laws or jurisdictions, cases of recourse of _fuerza_, the cleaning
and improvement of Madrid, questions of peace and war, together with a
great number of others. Moreover, many of its functions were judicial in
character. Important affairs, especially those on which the king
requested advice, were taken up by the _Consejo_ in full (_en
pleno_),--that is, by a joint meeting of the four _salas_. While the
_Consejo_ had been in origin a purely consultive body, it now acquired
the privilege of making suggestions to the king of its own volition and
of indicating its objections to any measures he might have taken. It
was natural that the decisions, or _autos_, of the _Consejo_ should have
great weight, both as affecting matters of justice, and as concerned
government and administration in general, since the _Consejo_ might make
new laws and annul or dispense with old ones, although of course
consulting with the king before publishing its decision. The _autos_ of
the _Consejo_ became, therefore, an important source of legislation, and
in 1552 it was decided that they should have the same force as the laws
of the king himself. Late in the sixteenth century it became customary
to call the _Consejo_ the _Consejo de Castilla_ (Council of Castile), by
which name, henceforth, it was more generally known.

[Sidenote: Importance of the Cámara.]

In like manner other councils were formed (in addition to those dating
from the era of the Catholic Kings) which relieved the monarch of many
of his responsibilities. The most important was the _Consejo de la Real
Cámara_ (Council of the Royal Chamber), more often called the _Cámara de
Castilla_, or simply the _Cámara_. This was founded by Philip II in 1588
to assist him in handling such matters as the kings had always retained
for themselves, apart from the _Consejo Real_, such as questions arising
in connection with the _patronato real_, or royal patronage, of the
church and appointments generally to the various councils, _audiencias_,
and other important posts in Castilian administration. Men of the
highest character were chosen to compose the _Cámara_, and secrecy as to
their discussions was imposed upon them. In 1616 the _Cámara_ advanced a
step further, in that certain affairs--such as pardons for crime,
authorizations for entailing estates in primogeniture, the
naturalization of foreigners, and the removal of civil and political
disabilities from individuals subject to them--were left for it to
resolve without consulting the king. The king still intervened in the
more important matters. Among the new councils of the era were those of
finance (_Hacienda_), war (_Guerra_), and indulgences (_Cruzada_), all
of Castilian origin.

[Sidenote: Expansion of the royal judiciary.]

The expansion of officialdom in the peninsula made its presence felt in
the judiciary as elsewhere. The three judicial _salas_ of the _Consejo
Real_ and in some cases the _Sala de Gobierno_ as well became the
fountain-head of justice, under the king. This was especially true of
the full _Consejo_, which met weekly. This body also named special
judges, such as _visitadores_, both to procure information for the
_Consejo_ and to inspect the tribunals of lower grade. The number of
_audiencias_ was increased until there were five in the peninsula and
one each in Majorca and the Canary Islands, besides a number in the
Americas.[55] Below these was the hierarchy of the lesser officials.
There were still various outstanding jurisdictions, such as those of the
towns, the military orders, the Inquisition, and the church, but one of
the keynotes of the era was the advance of the royal courts at the
expense of the others. The administration of justice left much to be
desired, however. As a result of the wars and civil conflicts and the
general state of misery and lack of discipline, public security was
almost non-existent. Banditry and crime went unsuppressed, and
legislation served for little in the face of the corruption of officials
and the lack of means to make the laws effective.

[Sidenote: Vastness of the royal expenditures.]

Frequent references have already been made to the desperate state of
Spanish finances in the era of the House of Austria and to its
importance as an ultimate factor affecting Spanish dominion in the
Americas. Vast sums were expended for political and military ends, the
only compensations for which were extensions of territory and power and
a satisfaction of the desire for glory, without reflecting themselves in
an increase of public wealth, the well-being of Spaniards, or even in
commercial advantage; on the contrary, economic development was checked
or hindered by the continual wars in which the kings engaged.
Expenditures very greatly increased over what they had been before. It
will be sufficient to explain this if some comment is made on two
noteworthy objects to which state revenues were devoted: the maintenance
of the court; and the cost of the wars. The ordinary expenses of the
royal family jumped under Charles I to about 150,000 ducats ($2,250,000)
a year,--more than ten times the amount required by the Catholic Kings.
To this should be added the vast sums granted to the princes; in 1550
Philip (the later Philip II) received 55,000 ducats (over $800,000) in
the course of four months. The expenditures of the court constantly
increased. In 1562 the ordinary court expenses amounted to 415,000
ducats (well over $6,000,000), and under Philip III they were 1,300,000
(nearly $20,000,000) annually. In addition there were the _fiestas_
(festivities) and royal marriages, on which tremendous sums were
squandered. As for military expenditures the war in Flanders alone
consumed 37,488,565 ducats (nearly $600,000,000) in the space of eleven
years, 1598 to 1609, and other campaigns were costly in proportion,--and
this in spite of the fact that supplies were often not provided and
salaries were left unpaid, leading to tumults on the part of the
soldiery. To gain an adequate idea of the vastness of these sums one
must bear in mind, not only the greater purchasing power of money in
that day and the comparatively small population of the peninsula,
especially the small number of taxpayers, but also the fact that the
resources of the Spanish state then were as little, as compared with
those of the present day, as they were great in comparison with those of
medieval Spain.

[Sidenote: Tremendous increase in taxation in Castile.]

It is no wonder that the people through their representatives in the
_Cortes_ began to ask for peace and the termination of military
adventures, even in the period when victories were frequent; the nobles
also favored an end of the wars,--when the kings endeavored to get them,
too, to grant a subsidy. One result of the greater financial
requirements of the state was an increase in taxation, both in the
collection of the existing taxes at a higher rate, and in the imposition
of new ones. The grants, or _servicios_, of the Castilian _Cortes_ were
frequent and large in amount. In 1538 there appeared the new tax of the
_millones_, so-called because it was calculated in millions of ducats.
This was an excise on articles of prime necessity,--meat, wine, oil, and
vinegar. It was extended soon to powder, lead, sulphur, red ochre,
vermilion, sealing-wax, and playing cards, which together were called
the _siete rentillas_ (seven little rents). Salt, gold, silver, mercury,
and many other materials were the subject of a state monopoly, and to
them were added in the reign of Philip IV the monopoly on tobacco, which
was to prove an exceptionally profitable source of revenue. The _diezmo_
and _cruzada_ (otherwise Bula) continued to be collected from the
church, together with several new rents which were authorized by the
pope. One of these was the _subsidio de galeras_ (subsidy of the
galleys), or _galeras_, so-called because it was theoretically designed
to assist in the expenses of the galleys used in fighting the Moslem
peoples. This was granted in 1561, and consisted of an annual subsidy of
420,000 ducats (over $6,000,000). The _alcabala_ and the various customs
duties were increased. Stamp taxes were extended to new types of
documents. The nobles were required to pay a tax called _lanzas_
(lances) in lieu of military service. Various offices and titles were
made subject to the _media anata_ (half annates), a discount of a half
year’s salary, or rents, in the first year of enjoyment. The
transmission of a title of nobility to one’s heir was also taxed. Vanity
was seized upon as likely to yield a revenue, and money was collected in
return for the privilege of using the word “_Don_” before one’s
Christian name. In like manner illegitimate children were pronounced
legitimate on payment of a specified sum. Other methods were employed to
obtain ready cash which tended ultimately to dry up certain sources of
revenue: the coinage was debased; portions of the government rents were
disposed of; public offices and royal towns were granted in perpetuity;
and the title of _hidalgo_ was sold to many persons, who thereby entered
the non-taxpaying class. Other ways of acquiring funds were made use of,
ranging from the high-handed to the shameless. Under the name of
_donativos_ (gifts) the government resorted to forced loans, or even
trickery, to exact money from the nobles and churchmen; confiscations of
goods for offences against religion and for other delinquencies were
frequently ordered; and most disgusting of all was the _limosna al rey_
(alms for the king), which was collected by gentlemen of the court, each
accompanied by a parish priest and a friar, in a house to house canvass
of the citizens, who were asked to give what they could spare. If the
kings and their favorites thought of the most obvious way to accumulate
funds, economy in expenditures, they at least did not try to put it into
practice; the court _fiestas_ were held, even if the king’s gentlemen
had to beg the money and the nation had to starve.

[Sidenote: Taxes in the other kingdoms.]

The above refers to taxes collected in Castile, but the other dominions
of Spain, peninsula and otherwise, produced considerable amounts for the
state. Aragon, Catalonia, and Valencia yielded much less than Castile.
The Low Countries were profitable for a time; Charles I procured 450,000
ducats a year (nearly $7,000,000) at the outset of his reign. Under
Philip II, however, they were the scene of heavy expenditures. The
Americas have often been considered as the principal financial resort of
the Spanish kings, and although this is not certain and may even be
doubtful they did yield vast sums. Prior to the conquest of Mexico the
annual revenues were only some 70,000 ducats (about $1,000,000), but the
conquests of Cortés, followed soon by those of Pizarro in Peru, resulted
in an enormous increase. Under Philip II they amounted annually to about
1,200,000 ($18,000,000) according to some writers, and to as much as
2,000,000 ($30,000,000) in the opinion of others. Castilian taxes were
applied in the new world, together with certain others arising out of
the special circumstances of colonial affairs, such as the royal fifth
on precious metals from the mines and the poll tax collected from the
Indians. Data are not at hand for an accurate estimate of the entire
revenues of Spain, but it seems clear that they increased enormously in
the period. They may have reached their highest point under Philip III,
when it was estimated that they were some 24,000,000 ducats
($360,000,000) a year, of which not more than half reached the Spanish
treasury. An estimate made toward the close of the century gave the
revenues as about 17,750,000 ($270,000,000), of which only a third was
actually available.

[Sidenote: Growth of the national debt.]

Despite these relatively great sums the national debt was a constant
factor, and advanced greatly in amount under Philip II, who is said to
have left a debt of 100,000,000 ducats ($1,500,000,000). This was
reduced in later reigns, but was still 70,000,000 (well over
$1,000,000,000) in 1690,--a huge sum as national debts went then, even
though creditors were frequently scaled down or not paid at all. One of
the important elements in the debt was that of the loans made by
Flemish, German, and Italian bankers, especially those of Genoa. The
frequency with which these loans were sought and the high rate of
interest required have caused Spain to be characterized, with accuracy,
as a mere bridge over which the wealth of the Americas (and, to be sure,
that of the peninsula itself) passed to other nations as interest and
part payment of the nation’s debts. In 1539 this form of indebtedness
amounted to about 1,000,000 ducats ($15,000,000), and in 1560, some
7,000,000 (over $100,000,000). When the Spanish kings were unable to pay
a note that had become due, as much as 33-1/3 per cent might be charged
for its renewal; indeed, the ordinary rate of interest ranged from 15 to
30 per cent. The inability of Philip II to meet his obligations caused
all but the Genoese bankers to refuse him credit, and they joined with
the others when he suspended the payment of interest on their notes.
Unable to get funds in any other way, Philip surrendered to the Genoese,
who exacted as part payment for fresh loans a share in various revenues
of the Spanish state, such as in that of the salt monopoly and in
certain of the taxes collected from the church,--thus belying the
original object for which the latter had been imposed. The _Cortes_,
though it had declined in other respects, was perhaps the most important
organ of public finance. It not only voted subsidies but also collected
them, a function which it had exercised in previous eras. It had charge
of several other taxes as well, such as the productive _alcabala_ and
the _millones_. For these purposes special committees of the _Cortes_
were formed. Nevertheless, the _Consejo de Hacienda_, founded in 1593,
grew rapidly in functions and in power, and by the close of the
seventeenth century is said to have had over 60,000 employes. This vast
number was due in part to the variety in the origin and character of the
various tributes. Without taking into consideration the inevitable
accompaniment of graft, such a horde of officials involved the state in
a heavy cost for the collection and administration of the revenues.

[Sidenote: The Spanish army in the days of its greatness.]

The principal element in the Spanish army was the volunteer soldiery in
the king’s pay. Foreign mercenaries were obtained for stated lengths of
time or for specific campaigns, but Spaniards enlisted for indefinite
service, and thus became the veterans of the army. Military life was
popular during the sixteenth century and the early part of the
seventeenth, and the army abounded in _hidalgos_ and others of yet
higher rank who did not disdain to serve as privates. Later the number
of Spanish recruits grew less, when the state began to fail in its
regularity of payments, and their withdrawal marked the era when defeats
became frequent. Among the noteworthy changes in tactics was the
appearance of the regiment. Firearms had now come into general use, and
cannon were greatly improved, but it was the pikemen of the Spanish
infantry who formed the principal branch of the army until near the
close of the period. Because of the inferiority of their weapons the
troops with firearms were regarded as a mere auxiliary to the pikemen.
Armies were small; 20,000 to 40,000 men was perhaps the usual rule. Even
in the century of Spain’s greatness many lands were left without
garrison, as occurred nearly always in the case of the Americas; one
report of the period of Charles I stated that there was not a port in
the colonies which could resist an attack of three hundred men. The
worst evils in connection with the army were those of bad administration
and a lack of regularity in paying the troops and in remitting funds for
munitions and other supplies. Fraud and graft accounted for a great deal
of the money which the state did apply to the army. These factors
contributed to a lack of military discipline; it was not unusual for
ragged and starving soldiers to beg from door to door, and it is not to
be wondered at that the troops occasionally took the matter of the
collection of their wages into their own hands. It was customary for
women of bad repute to accompany the armies, and it sounds strange today
that one of the military manuals of the time recommended that there
should be eight women, who should be common to all, for every hundred
soldiers. Nevertheless, the Spanish infantry, for more than a century,
enjoyed the reputation of being the most capable military unit in

[Sidenote: Naval warfare.]

Despite the frequency of naval warfare and the necessity of maintaining
communications with the Americas, comparatively little attention was
paid to the marine establishment, and properly speaking there was no
official navy in the entire period. The principal method employed to
assemble a fleet was by renting ships, whether from Spaniards or
foreigners. In addition a few were built by the state, or purchased, and
in times of stress merchant vessels were pressed into service, but this
proved ruinous to commerce and ship-building alike. So long as other
powers used the same methods Spain was not greatly handicapped, but with
the development of national navies in England, France, and the
Protestant Netherlands, she was placed at a disadvantage. Nevertheless,
considerable fleets were often assembled. In 1643 a special fleet called
the _Armada de Barlovento_ (fleet of the Barlovento, modern Windward,
Islands) was organized at colonial expense for the defence of the
Americas. It was soon withdrawn,--but the tax remained. The fleet of the
Catalonian deputation was maintained for a while, but disappeared early
in the seventeenth century. There were also a number of private fleets,
engaged principally in reprisals against the Moslems, a kind of piracy.
While privateering of this sort was forbidden by law the kings
frequently granted dispensations which enabled the traffic to be carried
on almost continuously. Greater strictness was employed in the Americas
lest the privateers should fail to resist the temptation to pick up
Spanish merchantmen, but the prohibition there was at length removed,
and the Spanish boats rendered great service against pirates and
national enemies. During the sixteenth century Spanish fleets were
manned by volunteer forces, but this was changed in the seventeenth to
compulsory service of the fishermen of the coasts. The heavier work,
especially the rowing of the galleys, was done by captives in war and by
criminals, who served terms in the galleys rather than in prison. During
most of the period the galley, with three banks of oars, was the
principal type of vessel. In ocean warfare, the _nao_, or light
sailing-vessel, soon came into use, and this was gradually supplanted by
heavier ships, until late in the era there developed the _fragata_, or
frigate, of over two thousand tons, capable of carrying as many as 120
cannon. While the artillery was the principal arm of the fleet, Spanish
tactics were at fault in depending on getting close to the enemy and
boarding him, making a military action out of the combat and paying
little attention to the use of cannon of long range. The same evils
which have been described in connection with the army--graft,
irregularity of payments, and laxity of discipline--obtained also in the
navy; in the expedition of Charles I against Tunis, room on board was
found for four thousand _enamoradas_ (sweethearts!) of the soldiers and

[Sidenote: Beginnings of diplomacy.]

In common with other European countries Spain developed a diplomatic
service in this period. The sending of special embassies and the making
of treaties had been customary since ancient times, but the practice of
appointing ministers to reside at foreign courts and that of receiving
those sent from abroad did not begin in Spain until the reign of Charles
I. The initiative had come earlier from the Italian republics. From this
time forward Spanish diplomacy, like that of other countries, took on a
modern form, and ambassadors sent reports about the state of the
countries to which they were accredited, strove to obtain advantages for
Spain, endeavored to check the intrigues of the ambassadors of other
nations, and made treaties. The use of spies as an auxiliary to
ambassadorial work was general. For a time Spanish diplomacy enjoyed a
high reputation for success, but in the later seventeenth century it was
quite overshadowed by the French.

[Sidenote: The _Nueva Recopilación_ and other codes.]

The absolutism of the monarchy, its bureaucratic character, and the
instinct of the _letrados_ for reducing everything to rules and
regulations produced an abundance of legislation, much of which was
exceedingly minute in detail and casual in subject-matter. It was
natural therefore that there should be a desire for a fresh
codification, and this at length took shape in a compilation by
Bartolomé de Arrieta in 1567 of the _Nueva Recopilación_ (New
Compendium, or Compilation), so-called with reference to the code of
Montalvo, its predecessor, of the period of the Catholic Kings. The new
collection, which was for Castile only, filled nine volumes, and
amounted to little more than an elaboration of the _Ordenanzas_ of
Montalvo, with the addition of laws enacted since 1484. It contained the
same defects, omitting many royal orders or petitions of the _Cortes_
which had been granted, neglecting to eliminate obsolete laws, and
failing to correct others whose text contained errors. Furthermore, in
perpetuating the hierarchy of legal sources which had been established
in the _Leyes de Toro_ it failed to distinguish between laws in the
so-called supplementary codes (such as the _Partidas_) which were indeed
supplementary or obsolete and those which had in fact come to be in
force as the principal law. As a result the _Nueva Recopilación_ was
generally discredited, and the Roman law of the _Partidas_, or even of
the code of Justinian, was cited in preference. The force of government
maintained the new code, however, and it ran through four more
editions,--1581, 1592, 1598, and 1640,--and in each case added
legislation since the preceding publication. The zeal for codification
found expression also in Aragon, Catalonia, Vizcaya, and Guipúzcoa,
while the laws with regard to the Americas were gathered together, after
various lesser publications had been made in earlier times, in the
_Recopilación de las Leyes de Indias_, first issued in 1680. The
tendency toward the legal unity of the peninsula was not systematically
striven for by the kings, since the variety in private law did not
greatly affect their political sovereignty. Nevertheless, something was
accomplished along these lines, and within each separate unit a great
deal was effected. Thus, in Castile many of the former privileges which
made for a division into classes and for consequent differences in the
law were done away with, and the same process, though on a smaller
scale, made itself felt in the other kingdoms of the peninsula.

[Sidenote: Underlying discontent of the people over the Spanish
political system.]

The submissiveness of the Spanish peoples under absolute rule has often
been greatly exaggerated. In fact, neither then nor ever since were they
loth to criticise the “_mal gobierno_” (bad government). Evidences are
to be found on every hand of complaints against the bureaucratic
organization which was absorbing a great part of the national wealth
and of dissatisfaction with the system of government by favorites, the
evils of which were only too apparent. Not a few went so far as to
desire a republic. Nevertheless, as a general rule, people favored the
principle of monarchy, and did not object to the reigning house, but
they did desire a reform of the existing régime. The ideal of limited
monarchy found strong support among political thinkers, due in a measure
to the resentment of Catholics over the enforced apostasy of the
subjects of Protestant princes. On this account the _Cortes_ had
numerous defenders, some of whom urged its participation in legislation.
Many treatises also pronounced against such practices as the sale of
public offices or the grant of posts in perpetuity, and against others
which have been described as current in this era. In fine, Spaniards
were well aware of the evils of their political system and, though
patient, were keenly desirous of reform,--despite which, little
attention was paid to their wishes.



[Sidenote: Outstanding facts in the religious and ecclesiastical history
of the era.]

Prior to the era of the House of Austria it is possible to deal with the
ecclesiastical institutions in Spain at the same time with other
manifestations of a social, political, economic, or intellectual
character, but the period of Hapsburg rule was so replete with interest
on the religious side and so important in that respect in its ultimate
results on the Americas that this phase of Spanish life in the sixteenth
and seventeenth centuries is deserving of separate treatment. Two ideas
dominated the period: the struggle for the maintenance of the Catholic
faith against the inroads of Protestantism and other heretical beliefs;
and the efforts of the Spanish state to acquire a virtual political
supremacy over the church. Few periods of history more clearly
illustrate the distinction maintained in Catholic countries between
Catholicism as a religious faith and the Catholic Church as an
institution, a difference which people of the United States do not
readily grasp. Thus it was entirely consistent that the kings of Spain
should have been almost the most ardent champions in Europe of Catholic
Christianity, officers of the church not excepted, and also most
persistent in their endeavors to limit the ecclesiastical authority in
Spanish domains. The greatest exponent of the latter policy as well as
of the former was Philip II, one of the most devout monarchs who ever
occupied the Spanish throne. In both of these controversies the kings
were successful. Heresy made no headway in Spain or in the colonies, and
the king gained the upper hand in the management of the Spanish and
American church. Meanwhile Spanish missionaries were carrying on one of
the greatest campaigns of proselytism ever waged. The thoroughness of
the conversion of the natives in Spain’s colonial possessions has been
questioned, but there is no doubt that something of the external forms
and the glamour--so much, at least--of the Catholic religion was
implanted in the Americas in such a way that it has withstood the
experiences of centuries. Spanish American peoples, like Spaniards, were
to have their conflicts with the church,--very bitter ones in recent
years,--but never, since the Franciscan, Dominican, and Jesuit Fathers
first preached their doctrine, has favor been shown for any great length
of time to the other exotic faiths, or has any noteworthy success been
met with in the attempts, usually short-lived, at a reversion to the
earlier native creeds. The work of the Spanish missionary was indeed a
permanent factor of indisputable importance in the new world.

[Sidenote: Religious exaltation and the increase in the prestige and
wealth of the clergy.]

One of the effects of the attainment of religious unity by the
conversion or expulsion from Spain of the Jews, Mudéjares and Moriscos
was to exalt the feeling of religious sentiment in the peninsula. The
Protestant Reformation and the religious wars which accompanied it
tended to keep alive these emotions among Spaniards, partly because of
the spirit of controversy they excited, and partly because of the blows
and suffering they involved, and this spirit of religious exaltation was
sustained by the increasing vigor of the Inquisition and by the
activities of the Jesuit order, founded in this period. In consequence
the power and social influence of the clergy were materially enhanced.
The regular clergy was looked upon with especial favor, with the result
that both in riches and in membership they far surpassed the secular
branch. Many new orders were founded, while the older ones received
fresh stimulus. At the beginning of the seventeenth century there were
some 200,000 members of the regular clergy and over 9000 convents for
men, and in both cases the numbers increased thereafter, while the
population of the peninsula declined,--a factor which caused political
and economic writers, many of whom were churchmen, not a little
concern.[56] Despite this fact the clergy enjoyed the highest social
consideration, and intervened in all phases of Spanish life. This was
due not only to the religious sentiment of the people but also in great
measure to the superior intellectual attainments of some of the clergy.
Thus they distinguished themselves on the one hand as theologians,
students of the canon law, jurisconsults, men of letters, historians,
and university professors, and on the other as members of state
councils, or in high political positions in the Americas. The increase
in the landed wealth of the church, while it was the subject of numerous
unsuccessful petitions of the _Cortes_ to forbid the giving of lands in
mortmain, was largely responsible for the imposition of taxes on the
clergy, thus diminishing the immunities they had formerly enjoyed. The
church could well afford to pay, for if not the richest proprietor in
Spain it was certainly among the first; toward the middle of the
sixteenth century the combined rents of the clergy amounted to some
5,000,000 ducats ($75,000,000) a year, or half the total for the
kingdom, four-fifths of which amount was paid to the establishments of
the regular clergy. Part of the funds was expended in charities for the
benefit of the poor, such as the maintenance of asylums, hospitals, and
soup-kitchens, measures which (disinterested though they might be)
served also to augment their popularity with the masses.

[Sidenote: Prevalence of loose practices among the clergy.]

Despite the flourishing condition of the Spanish clergy and their high
standing in the peninsula the state of morality among them left much to
be desired. Abundant evidences on this score are at hand, not only in
the form of unsympathetic attacks and satires, but also in the works of
zealous and devout reformers. The fact that such writings were not
condemned by the Inquisition argues the need for reproof. The practice
of _barraganía_ was not unknown, even among bishops, some of whom
entailed estates to their sons. Among the lesser churchmen, more
particularly the secular clergy, the custom was more general.
Solicitation by confessors and the avarice of clerical collectors of
revenues were also frequently censured in the writings of the time.
Nevertheless, it is but fair to consider these evils from the standpoint
of that era. As compared with previous periods this age was one of
marked advance in the average of clerical rectitude, and there were even
writers who could claim that the Spanish clergy surpassed the churchmen
of other countries in moderation and chasteness of life. Meanwhile,
reforms like those instituted in the time of the Catholic Kings by
Ximénez were being pushed on vigorously and effectively, and were
reinforced by the decisions of the great church council of Trent

[Sidenote: Prominence of Spanish kings and prelates in church reform.]

The Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Reaction, or
Counter-Reformation, belong rather to European and church history than
peculiarly to that of Spain, although Spain played a leading part in the
events connected with them. Much in regard to them may therefore be
omitted, except in so far as they affected problems in the peninsula
itself and, by extension, the Spanish colonies. Charles I was an ardent
partisan of church reform, but was desirous that it should be effected
without change in dogma, and in this attitude he was joined by many of
the greatest Catholic churchmen of the day, including some of the popes,
who recognized the prevalence of abuses of which the Protestant leaders
were able to make capital in the furtherance of their reforms. One of
the principal policies of Charles I was the calling of a general church
council for the discussion of this matter, and despite the resistance of
several of the popes he labored to attain this end until he was at
length successful. In 1545 there began the series of congresses which
are called collectively the Council of Trent. Spanish prelates were one
of the most important elements at these meetings, and in accordance with
the ideas of Charles I and Philip II resisted the attempts made at a
suspension of the sessions and the efforts of certain popes and other
churchmen to bring about their failure. They were not only among the
most frank in their references to the need for reform, but were also
most rigid in their insistence upon disciplinary methods, even
suggesting the application of the Spanish institution of the
_residencia_ to officers of the church. The eventual success of the
council was due in no small degree to Spaniards, who also were among the
most active in executing the corrective measures which were decided

[Sidenote: Failure of Protestantism to gain a substantial footing in

The kings of Spain combated heresy within the peninsula to the fullest
extent of their ability, supported by the general opinion of Spanish
Christians, who were almost unanimously opposed to the new ideas.
Measures were taken to prevent the dissemination in Spain of the works
of Martin Luther or other heretical thinkers. In 1546 Charles I caused
the first _Index_, or list of prohibited works, to be published, and
this was reproduced, with the addition of some other volumes, by the
Inquisition. Later the Bible was included in the _Index_, except the
authorized Latin version, on the ground that the reading of the
scriptures by uncultivated persons might result in misconceptions as to
the true religion. Nevertheless, Protestantism gained devotees in the
various cities of Spain, more particularly in Seville and Valladolid.
The number of heretics was at no time great, but it was recruited from
the highest ranks of society. Churchmen, more often friars, were the
principal element, and they found converts in not a few members of noble
families. Foreigners from northern lands frequently cast in their lot
with the Protestant groups. As was natural, proselytism on a wide scale
could not be carried on; the Valladolid group numbered only about fifty
and that of Seville one hundred and thirty (although there is some
evidence to the effect that the latter body attained a membership of
eight hundred), while those of other cities were still fewer in numbers.
The greatest name in the Sevillian movement was that of Constantino
Ponce de la Fuente, whom a modern writer has ventured to compare with
Martin Luther for his high qualities, within the Protestant movement.
Ponce, who was at one time the confessor of Charles I and Philip II, was
the author of various heretical works. Discovered, at length, he was
imprisoned, and shortly afterward was found dead. In the year 1559 great
activity was displayed by the Inquisition in ferreting out and punishing
the Protestant communities. Some individuals escaped to foreign
countries, but many were condemned to die at the stake, meeting their
fate, almost without exception, with admirable fortitude. The most
celebrated case was that of Bartolomé Carranza, archbishop of Toledo.
Head of the Spanish secular church though he was, only the efforts of
Pope Pius IV saved him. After more than seven years of imprisonment he
was allowed to go to Rome. Some years later he was required to forswear
some of his writings which had figured in the original proceedings
against him in Spain, shortly after which he died. In all of this
vigorous persecution of Protestantism, Charles I and Philip II took the
lead. By the end of the sixteenth century the new faith was no longer a
problem in Spain. Under Philip IV a degree of toleration which would not
have been dreamed of in earlier years began to be allowed. By that time
Catholic France was Spain’s principal enemy, and this tended to soften
the attitude of Spaniards toward Protestants, although the restrictions
of the laws were still enforced. In 1641 a treaty was made with Denmark,
permitting Protestants of that country to enter the peninsula. From this
time forward Spain was to evolve toward a more lenient policy still. A
discussion of Spanish Protestantism would not be complete without a
reference to the numerous Spaniards who took refuge in Protestant lands,
and even for a time in Italy and France. They wrote a number of works
which were remarkable for the excellent literary qualities of the
Castilian they employed and for the scientific value of their content.
While most of their writings were of a controversial, religious type
they also made translations into Castilian or even wrote volumes of a
scientific character dissociated from religion. Juan de Valdés and Juan
Díaz were outstanding names among them. Miguel Servet and Pedro Galés,
whose heresies were equally in disfavor with Catholics and Protestants,
were also men of great distinction.

[Sidenote: The Illuminist and Quietist heresies.]

Protestantism was not the only heterodoxy to menace the religious unity
of the peninsula. The conversion of the Mudéjares of the eastern
provinces and the expulsion of the Moriscos have already been mentioned.
The Jews also gave occasional trouble. Of the other sects the most
noteworthy was that of the _Iluminados_ (Illuminati). The origins of
this faith are obscure. Many believe it to have been purely Spanish, a
conclusion to which the peculiar mystical character of the creed lends
color. Others hold that it was of German extraction. In any event,
though the time of its founding is not clear, it antedated the Lutheran
outbreak, for it was in existence at least as early as 1512. Many of the
doctrines sustained by Luther were a part of its creed, and indeed it
paved the way for the entry of Protestantism into Spain. In addition it
upheld the following tenets: the abdication of one’s own will in that of
the divine; and the capacity of the faithful, by means of ecstacies, to
put themselves in personal communication with the divine essence, on
which occasions it was impossible for them to commit sin. The practical
result of these beliefs was an indulgence in all manner of licentious
practices while in the sinless state. As in the case of Protestantism,
so in this, the devotees were usually members of the clergy, especially
friars and nuns. The Inquisition attacked the new faith with vigor, but
found it difficult to extirpate in entirety. A notable derivation from
Illuminism was that of _Quietismo_ (Quietism), or _Molinismo_, founded
in the seventeenth century by Miguel de Molinos, a member of the clergy.
This creed, though similar even in its licentiousness to Illuminism, was
not at first considered unorthodox, wherefore it gained many converts,
but in the end it was condemned.

[Sidenote: Spanish Mysticism.]

Similar in some respects to the two heretical creeds just mentioned was
a peculiarly Spanish religious philosophy, that of Catholic Mysticism.
It traces back through the ideas of Raymond Lull to those of the Arabic
philosophers, but in the main it was a product of the Spanish religious
thought of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The fundamental idea
was that of direct communication with God through prayer, love of God,
and the renunciation of earthly things, which enabled the purified soul
in a state of ecstasy to appear in the divine presence. The whole
process was accompanied by miracles, but without any loss to the
individual of his spiritual existence or of his intelligence for an
understanding of God. At first the ecclesiastical authorities were
suspicious of it, prohibiting the writings of the mystics and conducting
investigations into the conduct of those who professed a belief in it.
At length, however, it was accepted as orthodox, and its devotees were
not molested. They produced a rich literature, in which they set forth
not only the fundamental bases of their belief but also the experiences
they had in journeying to God. One of the mystics, María de Jesús de
Ágreda, is famous as “the Blue Lady” of the American (United States)
southwest and Pacific coast, for she is said to have visited these
regions while in a state of ecstacy and to have converted many of the
natives, recounting her travels in her published works. She is also
famous for her correspondence with Philip IV. The greatest names,
however, were those of Santa Teresa de Jesús[57] and San Juan de la
Cruz, the former notable in literature for the excellence of her prose,
and the latter equally noteworthy as a poet. The writings of these and
other mystics also displayed a profound psychological study, such, for
example, as was required by their ability to distinguish between the
processes of the soul on the way to communication with God, and as was
evidenced by their skill in differentiating between the various elements
in religious sentiment.

[Sidenote: The Inquisition as an instrument of the kings and an agency
to suppress heresy.]

The two principal instruments employed to combat heresy were the
Inquisition and the Jesuit order. So far as the former concerned itself
with matters of the faith, it had the support of the Spanish people, who
equally with the kings were desirous of the establishment and
maintenance of religious unity. The Inquisition had acquired various
powers and privileges, however, which were not directly connected with
its principal office. Papal bulls had been procured giving it
jurisdiction in cases of usury, crimes against nature, and improper
solicitations of confessors; it claimed exemption for its officers and
servants from the operation of the civil law courts; and its relations
with these courts, made necessary by the legal incapacity of the
Inquisition to execute its own sentences, often gave rise to conflicts
and misunderstandings. The people of Spain were perfectly able to
distinguish between the Inquisition as an instrument of the faith and
the Inquisition in these extra-jurisdictional phases, and protested
vigorously against that body in the latter sense. The various _Cortes_
of Castile, Aragon, and Catalonia presented many a petition on this
score to the kings, and it was a prominent factor in the Catalan revolt
of 1640. Nevertheless, the kings consistently sustained the Inquisition.
When the Aragonese _Cortes_ secured a papal license reducing the
Inquisition to the same footing as the other ecclesiastical courts,
Charles I procured the withdrawal of the license. Philip II prohibited
all appeals from or complaints against the Inquisition before the
_audiencias_ or the _Consejo Real_. The decisions of the Inquisition
thus became final, although it is true that cases of appeal and the
recourse of _fuerza_ (also forbidden by Philip) were occasionally
allowed to go beyond that body. When there seemed to be a likelihood
that the Council of Trent might deprive the Inquisition of some of its
authority, Charles I used every effort to cause a failure of the
project. In fact the Inquisition was virtually an instrument of the
kings, who did not hesitate to direct its action as if it were legally
subject to them, and who were always able to procure the appointment of
members of the _Consejo Real_ to the Council of the Inquisition. As
regards heresy the period, naturally, was exceedingly fruitful in
prosecutions and was marked by an excess of suspicion, such that
individuals whose purity of faith was hardly open to question were not
infrequently brought to trial,--among others, Ignacio de Loyola (Saint
Ignatius), and Teresa de Jesús, who, like Loyola, was later canonized.
Extreme rigor was displayed in placing the ban on unorthodox books and
in expurgating those which were allowed to circulate. Charles I required
all books to have the authorization of the _Consejo Real_ before they
could be published. Foreign books were also scrutinized carefully, and
libraries were made subject to inspection. The grant of a license by the
_Consejo Real_ did not mean that a book might not be placed on the
Inquisition’s _Index_ of forbidden works. It is worthy of note, too,
that the Spanish _Index_ and that of the Inquisition of Rome often
varied from each other in their lists; thus a book condemned at Rome
might circulate in Spain, and vice versa, but this of course was not
the general rule. The Spanish Inquisition did not make its way to
Spain’s Italian possessions, but was established in the Low Countries,
where it was very active, and in the Americas.

[Sidenote: Ignacio de Loyola and the founding of the Jesuit order.]

The other important agency of the Spanish Counter-Reformation, the
Jesuit order, was the creation of a Spaniard, Ignacio de Loyola (1491 or
1495-1556), who became Saint Ignatius (San Ignacio) with his
canonization in 1609. As a youth Loyola led the somewhat wild life of a
soldier. Wounded in 1521 during the defence of Pamplona from an attack
of the French, he was a long time in recovering his health, devoting the
period of his convalescence to the reading of religious works. He
thereupon resolved to dedicate his life to religion, and as soon as he
was restored to health made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Upon his return
he pursued religious studies at the universities of Barcelona, Alcalá,
Salamanca, and Paris. While at Alcalá, where he and several companions
made a practice of wearing sackcloth and preaching in the streets, he
was arrested by the Inquisition, but was set free without other penalty
than an order to give up his sackcloth and his preaching. A similar fate
befell him in Salamanca. Eventually Loyola and his companions found
their way to Rome, where they continued their street preaching, despite
the opposition of the Augustinian order and some of the cardinals. They
applied to themselves the name “Company of Jesus” (hence Jesuits), and
in 1539 organized an order in military form, vowing implicit obedience
to their superiors,--especially to the pope,--prescribing the rule of a
general for life, and pledging themselves to the founding of colleges.
The new order was formally approved by the pope in 1540, and Loyola
became the first general.

[Sidenote: Characteristics of the Jesuit order.]

While an extended discussion of the characteristics of the Jesuit order
is not necessary, some of the respects in which it differed from the
others should be pointed out, in order to make clear the effect of the
Jesuit appearance in Spain and the Americas. Great emphasis was placed
on the military side; Loyola was wont to say that he had never ceased to
be a soldier,--he had merely become a soldier of God. Obedience to
superiors and to the pope was not a new idea, but with the Jesuits it
was as rigidly literal as in an army. They became one of the principal
supports of the popes at a time when many church leaders were advocating
the reform of the papacy with a view to limiting the powers of the head
of the church. Like soldiers, they attacked the enemies of the pope,
church, and the Catholic religion, and were charged with employing
methods which gave rise to the term “Jesuitry” in an opprobrious sense.
They did not stay in convents, but went forth among the people to fight
for the principles for which they stood. There was no election of their
leaders; the attainment of office came through appointment by the
general, who even chose his own successor. Education was their principal
weapon,--education of the high and the low. In other respects the
Jesuits were at the same time more simple and more mundane in their
exterior practices--at least in the beginning--than the other orders.
They opposed choral singing, the wearing of a distinctive habit,
participation in religious processions, the monastic life, and
asceticism. They believed in the individual poverty of their members,
but were willing that the order and its separate institutions should
prosper in a material way. In other words they were going into the
world, not away from it, and were desirous of the best equipment for the
struggle which lay before them.

[Sidenote: Spanish opposition to the Jesuits.]

The influence of the new order soon made itself felt throughout the
world. At first Spaniards were in the majority, and it was natural that
the Jesuits should establish themselves in Spain’s dominions. By 1547
they had five institutions in Spain, and by 1566 sixteen. Soon afterward
they began to appear in the Americas, where they became one of the
principal agencies of the Spanish crown in the conversion and subjection
of the natives, being perhaps the most effective of the missionary
orders. Not only as missionaries but also as theologians, scientists,
and men of letters the Spanish Jesuits were among the most distinguished
men of the age. They were not welcomed by their fellow-countrymen in
Spain, however; rather, they had to contend against some of the most
powerful elements in the peninsula. Members of the clergy, both regular
and secular, were opposed to them,--notably the Dominicans, Franciscans,
Augustinians, and the officers of the Inquisition, the first named
especially,--while the universities and at the outset the kings were
also hostile. Melchor Cano, a Dominican and one of the most influential
men of his day, charged the Jesuits with heresy, claiming that their
vows savored of the doctrines of the _Iluminados_. The archbishop of
Toledo, Cardinal Siliceo, forbade them to preach, confess, say mass, or
administer sacraments, but was obliged by the pope to retract his
decrees. Arias Montano attacked them in the preface of his polyglot
Bible, asserting that the Jesuits claimed that they alone had knowledge
and that they were the nearest of all men to Jesus. These are but a few
instances out of many, showing the difficulties encountered by the
Jesuits in establishing themselves in Spain. It seems likely that
jealousy may have entered into much of the resistance to them, for they
early began to outrank and even supersede other elements in teaching and
in learning. Charles I and Philip II objected to them because they
placed the pope ahead of the king, not acknowledging the latter’s
authority over them, and this was not altogether in accordance with the
royal ideal of centralization. Furthermore, the Jesuits were such an
aggressive factor that they were hard to manage. The Inquisition took
exception among other things to the Jesuit claim of a right to absolve
their own members from the charge of heresy, and imprisoned the Jesuit
_provincial_, or commanding official, in Spain, together with other
members of the order. Philip II took sides with the Inquisition, but the
pope sustained the Jesuits. By the seventeenth century the Jesuits had
succeeded in overcoming their rivals, although they never ceased to have
enemies. Their success was due in the first place to the continued
support of the popes; in the second to the change of heart experienced
by Philip II late in life, when he began to realize that they were one
of the most effective instruments for the religious unification of his
dominions, and in so much furthered his ideal of centralization; in the
third place to the backing of the opponents of their enemies, especially
those who were hostile to the Inquisition; and, finally, and perhaps
most of all, to their own superior attainments, whereby they were able
to win a devoted following among all ranks of society. The successors of
Philip II followed the later policy of that king, with the result that
the seventeenth century was the most prosperous era in the history of
the Jesuit order.

[Sidenote: _Limpieza de sangre_ and the fervor of Spanish Catholicism.]

One thing Spanish kings failed to do elsewhere in Europe they achieved
in Spain,--their ideal of religious unity. At the same time that they
were suppressing heresy they were giving a welcome to Catholics fleeing
to Spain from Protestant persecution, notably to the Irish, who came to
the peninsula in great numbers. The ideal of Catholic unity was carried
to an excess which transcended unity itself through an extension of the
institution of _limpieza de sangre_. Certificates of _limpieza de
sangre_ (that is to say, sworn statements that the bearer had no Jewish,
Moslem, or heretic antecedents) now began to be required for the holding
of various church offices or for entry into religious orders and often
also for admission to the guilds. As a matter of fact there were few
families which could have withstood a close examination of their
ancestry; the upper classes would almost surely have been found to
contain Jewish blood, and the masses, certainly in the east and south,
would have had a Moslem admixture in their veins. The attainment of
religious unity and the extreme suspicion in which non-Catholics were
held did not succeed in making the Spanish people respond to the moral
code of their faith. Not only such licentious practices as have already
been alluded to were in vogue, but also a surprising lack of reverence
was displayed, as exemplified by the improper use of sacred places and
sacred objects and the mixture of the human and the divine in
masquerades. Nevertheless, it is not too much to say that the principal
preoccupation of Spaniards in the sixteenth and the seventeenth
centuries was the salvation of their souls. The worst of men would want
to confess and seek absolution before they died, and many of them no
doubt believed themselves to be good Catholics, even though their
every-day life would not have borne inspection. One notable religious
manifestation of the era was the ardent insistence of Spaniards on the
mystery of the Immaculate Conception at a time when Catholics of other
countries were not yet ready to accept that view.

[Sidenote: Conflict of the kings with the popes in matters of temporal

In distinguishing between the spiritual and the temporal phases of papal
authority the kings of the House of Austria followed the policy of the
Catholic Kings, but surpassed the latter in their claims of the
superiority, or independence, as the case might be, of the royal power.
Various factors contributed to this attitude in Spain. The monarchical
ideal of a centralized absolutism, now that it had triumphed over the
nobility and the towns, sought out the church in its civil aspects as
the next outstanding element to dominate; the interests of the Spanish
kings in Italy continued to bring them into opposition to the popes as
sovereigns of the Papal States; and the problems of ecclesiastical
reform often found the kings and the popes widely, even bitterly, apart.
Charles I had frequent conflicts with the papacy, but Philip II had even
more serious contests, in which he displayed yet more unyielding
resistance than his father to what he regarded as the unwarranted
intrusions of the popes into the sphere of Spanish politics. When in
1556 it seemed likely that Philip would be excommunicated and his
kingdom laid under an interdict, Philip created a special council to
exercise in Spain such functions as were customarily in the hands of the
pope. In this as in his other disputes of a political nature with the
papacy he was able to count on the support of the Spanish clergy. One
document reciting Philip’s grievances against Pope Paul IV, applying
harsh epithets to him, and expressing doubt as to the legitimacy of his
election, is believed to have been written by a member of the clergy.
Another document, the _Parecer_, or opinion, of Melchor Cano, a
Dominican, argued the lawfulness of making war on the pope, and said
that in such cases, when communication with Rome was insecure, the
bishops might decide ecclesiastical questions which were ordinarily left
to the pope.

[Sidenote: Interference of Charles I and Philip II in papal elections.]

To avoid such disputes and to assure Spain of an ally in Italian affairs
Charles I and Philip II bent their efforts to procure the election of
popes who would be favorable to them. Charles had much to do with the
choice in 1522 of Adrian VI, who as a cardinal had been one of his
principal administrative officers during his own absence from the
peninsula in the early years of his reign. Philip was successful in the
same way when in 1559 he was able to cause the elevation of his
candidate to the papal throne. This pope, Pius IV, proceeded to annul
the action of his predecessor, Paul IV, against Charles and Philip, and
condemned to death two members of the deceased pope’s family, one of
them a cardinal. At the election of 1590 Philip was again fortunate, but
the new pontiff, Urban VII, lived only thirteen days. A fresh conclave
was held, at which Philip went to the extreme not only of excluding the
candidates whom he opposed but also of naming seven Spanish churchmen as
the only ones from among whom the cardinals were to choose. One of the
seven was elected, taking the name Gregory XIV, and no pope of the
century was more unconditionally favorable to the wishes of a Spanish
king. This constant intrusion of Philip ended by exasperating the high
authorities of the church, who a few years later under another pope
condemned Philip’s practices and declared him _ipso facto_
excommunicated. This proved to be a decisive blow to the influence of
the Spanish crown.

[Sidenote: The _pase regio_ as an aid to the kings in the conflict with
the popes.]

One of the principal struggles between the popes and the kings was the
royal claim of the _pase regio_, or the right to examine papal bulls and
pontifical letters and, if deemed advisable, to retain them, prohibiting
their publication and therefore their execution in Spanish domains. The
origin of this claim on the part of the Spanish monarchs seems to date
from the period of the Great Schism, when Urban VI (1378-1389) granted
such a privilege to the princes allied with him. It was not officially
decreed in Spain until the early years of Charles I, when provision for
the _pase regio_ in all Spanish dominions was made in a document drawn
up by Cardinal Ximénez. According to this arrangement papal
communications were to be examined in the _Consejo Real_, and if found
to be contrary to the royal prerogative or otherwise objectionable their
circulation was to be postponed and the pope asked to change or withdraw
his dispositions. Usually the retention of such documents took place
without giving official notice to the pope,--which in the case of a
hostile pontiff would have been in any event unavailing. If the popes
insisted on their point of view the royal prohibitions were nevertheless
continued. If any subjects of the king resisted his will in this matter,
even though they were churchmen, they might incur the penalty of a loss
of goods or banishment or both, and notaries or attorneys might even be
condemned to death. When Paul IV excommunicated Charles I and Philip II,
the latter put into effect the _pase regio_. Unable to procure the
publication of his bull in Spain, Paul IV summoned to Rome two Spanish
bishops who were intensely royalist in their sympathies. Philip II
protected them by retaining the papal order, so that the individuals did
not learn officially of the summons. Not only in serious contests of
this character but also in matters of comparatively little moment the
kings exercised the right of retention,--for example, in the case of a
bull of Sixtus V about the dress and maintenance of the clergy. The
above are only a few instances out of many. One of the most bitter
conflicts was waged by Philip II in opposition to a bull of Pius V
excommunicating those who retained papal dispositions. Philip II
retained this bull, and punished some bishops of Spain’s Italian domains
who had published it within their dioceses. The pope threatened to put
Spain under an interdict, but Philip declined to yield. The bull was
never published in the peninsula, and the pope did not make use of the

[Sidenote: The case of Cardinal Borja.]

[Sidenote: Interference of Charles I and Philip II in matters of church

The successors of Philip II were equally insistent upon the royal
prerogative in their relations with the church. One of the most curious
incidents in the disputes of the kings and the popes occurred in the
reign of Philip IV. Cardinal Borja and several other Spanish cardinals
were sent to Rome to present the king’s grievances against the pontiff
arising out of matters connected with the wars against the Protestants.
Borja was roughly handled on making his protest; it is said that
Cardinal San Onofre punched him in the face by direction of the pope.
When this event was reported in Spain a general meeting of royal
councillors was held, in which it was even discussed whether it would
be lawful to challenge the pope to settle the matter by means of a duel!
In this and other matters there was talk of an appeal from the pope to a
church council. As the royalist attitude toward the popes was often
defended in books, many of them by churchmen, a practice sprang up at
Rome of placing such works in the _Index_ as writings which the faithful
were forbidden to read, but these volumes did not appear in the _Index_
of the Spanish Inquisition. Finally the attitude of superiority on the
part of the monarchs made itself evident, as already indicated, in
questions of the reform of the church. Charles and Philip II labored to
establish their views at the Council of Trent not only in matters of
administration but also in those of doctrine. Indeed, many Catholics
believed that it was the duty of the kings to remedy the evils of the
church. With the conclusion of the Council of Trent, Philip II hesitated
for a year before publishing its decisions, because of his belief that
some of the provisions of the council diminished, or might diminish, his
royal authority. When he at length did publish them, he did so with the
reservation that they were not to be considered as introducing any
variation from the usual jurisdiction of the king. Consequently, various
canons of the council remained without effect in Spain and her

[Sidenote: Royal restrictions on the powers of papal nuncios and the

The same conflict of authority between the church and the monarch
manifested itself in the relations of the kings with papal nuncios, who
in the reign of Charles I began to reside at the Spanish court as
permanent ambassadors. In 1537 Charles I obtained a license from the
pope for the creation of the tribunal of the nunciature, or court of the
papal embassy in Spain. This court, composed in part at least of Spanish
officials, was to hear the numerous cases in ecclesiastical law which
had customarily been settled at Rome. At the same time, the nuncio was
empowered to grant the benefices which formerly lay within the
jurisdiction of the popes. The nuncio also collected the considerable
sums which went to the popes from ecclesiastical prebends, or livings,
from the _expolios_ of deceased bishops and archbishops (accretions in
their benefices which they had procured out of rents), and from the
income of _vacantes_, or vacant benefices (that which accrued between
the death of a bishop or archbishop and the appointment of his
successor). Once having transferred authority from the pope to the
nuncio and nunciature the kings proceeded to attack these elements near
at hand so as to reduce their power of interference with the royal
authority. In this they were aided by all classes. The churchmen were
royalist and at the same time opposed to papal intervention in
ecclesiastical administration in Spain. People generally objected to
such wide jurisdiction being in the hands of a foreigner, for the
nuncios were usually Italians. There were frequent complaints that the
nunciature was guilty of the advocacy of lawsuits and the collection of
excessive costs, with the result that the court was sustained out of
Spanish funds instead of by the popes. All of these matters were the
subject of criticism in both the _Cortes_ and the _Consejo Real_, and
the inevitable result was the employment of restrictive measures. The
_pase regio_ was applied to the directions by the popes to the nuncios,
and the intervention of the nunciature in ecclesiastical cases in first
instance was prohibited. There were times when the relations of the
kings with the nuncio were indeed strained; Philip II went to the
extreme of expelling a nuncio who had endeavored to publish a papal bull
which the king had decided to retain; the same thing happened under
Philip IV, who closed the papal embassy. Matters were arranged in 1640
by the Fachenetti concordat, or agreement of the nuncio of that name
with the king. This document reduced the procedure of the nunciature and
the attributes of the nuncio to writing, and although it did not remove
all the causes of dispute served as the basis for diplomatic relations
with the papal embassy until the middle of the eighteenth century.

[Sidenote: Subjection of the ecclesiastical organization in Spain to the
royal will.]

The relations of the kings with the popes and nuncios formed only part
of the former’s royalist policy with the church. The same course was
followed with the ecclesiastical organization in Spain. The gradual
reduction of the clergy to a tributary state as regards payment of taxes
has already been referred to. Charles I procured various grants of a
financial nature from the popes, such as the right to sell certain
ecclesiastical holdings (whose proceeds were to be devoted to the war
with the Turks), the collection of various church rents yielding over
1,000,000 ducats (some $15,000,000), and finally the gift of _expolios_
and _vacantes_. On the other hand, despite the petitions of the _Cortes_
and the opinions of leading jurisconsults, the kings declined to prevent
the giving of lands in mortmain, or in other words the acquisition of
estates by the church. The most serious conflicts arose over questions
of immunities, growing out of the survival of ecclesiastical
jurisdictions of a seigniorial character and out of the relations of the
church courts to those of the king and to the royal authority in
general. Many of the seigniorial groups were incorporated into the
crown, especially by Philip II. As regards the legal immunity of
churchmen it came to be accepted as the rule that it could be claimed
only in cases within the jurisdiction of the ecclesiastical courts. This
was diminished still further by royal invasions of ecclesiastical
jurisdiction, as by limiting the scope of the church courts, prohibiting
(under severe penalties) the intrusions of their judges in civil
affairs, and intervening to correct abuses, real or alleged. The king
reserved a right of inspection of the ecclesiastical courts, exercised
for him by members of the _Consejo Real_ or the _audiencias_, and if
anybody were unduly aggrieved by a decision of the church courts he
might make use of the recourse of _fuerza_ to bring an appeal before the
Consejo Real, the _Cámara_, or the _audiencias_. The effect of this was
to suspend the execution of an ecclesiastical sentence, subordinating
the church courts to the royal will. Many matters of a religious
character were taken over into the exclusive jurisdiction of the
_Consejo Real_ or the _Cámara_, such as the inspections of convents of
the regular clergy and the action taken as a result thereof and the
execution of the decisions of the Council of Trent. Laws relative to the
recourse of _fuerza_ were amplified so as to prohibit ecclesiastical
judges from trying cases which were considered by any of the litigants
concerned as belonging to the civil law; other laws forbade the
summoning of Spaniards before foreign judges; and still others
diminished the number of appeals to Rome. Even churchmen took advantage
of the recourse of _fuerza_ to have their cases removed to the royal
courts when it suited their convenience, despite the attempts of the
popes to check the practice. In such instances, as in so many others,
the _pase regio_ was employed to prevent effectual action by the popes.
Even in the case of the provincial councils of the Spanish church the
king sent delegates, on the ground that no conventions or congresses of
any sort could be held without the consent of the king and the
attendance of his representatives. In 1581 Pope Gregory XIII ordered the
archbishop of Toledo not to admit anybody to a council about to be held
at that time who was not a member of the clergy. Philip II sent his
delegate, nevertheless, and his successors followed his example. In like
manner religious processions were forbidden unless authorized by the
civil authorities.

[Sidenote: The _patronato real_ as a source of royal authority over the

The royal authority over the Spanish church is largely explained by the
institution of the _patronato real_, or royal patronage. Charles I early
gained a right to make nominations to most of the bishoprics and
abbacies in Spain, although the pope had to approve before the
appointment should take effect. Even in the case of benefices still
reserved by the pope the kings insisted that the appointees should be
Spaniards. As regards the Americas the church was yet more completely
under the king’s control, thus giving still other lucrative posts into
his power to grant. Under these circumstances it is not surprising that
the Spanish clergy should favor the king, to whom they owed their rents
and dignities, rather than the pope, and should even consent to
diminutions in the privileges of Spanish churchmen. Indeed, faithful
service as a councillor might be the stepping-stone to a bishopric.
Nevertheless the kings did not allow churchmen to intrude in political
affairs without being asked, and instances of official reproof on this
score were numerous, despite which fact the clergy took a prominent part
in political intrigues, and were possibly the principal factor in the
Portuguese war of independence from Spain. Furthermore, the solicitation
of inheritances by churchmen was insistently forbidden by the king; on
one occasion when accusations of this character were made against the
Jesuits of Flanders the Duke of Alba annulled all testamentary
dispositions to that order and provided for the inheritance of the legal



[Sidenote: Comparative backwardness of Spain in economic development.]

While this era was marked by a brief period of prosperity, and while
there was a noteworthy advance out of medievalism in the evolution of
mercantile machinery, the keynote of the times was the failure of Spain
to keep pace in material welfare with her high standing in other aspects
of life. Spain continued to be a raw material country, although
artificial attempts were still made to create a thriving industrial
development. These efforts, when they did not fail altogether, accrued
to the advantage of foreigners or resulted in establishments which were
of slight consequence in comparison with those of other European lands.
A combination of evils at length sank Spain to such a state of economic
degradation and misery as comported ill with her political reputation in
European affairs and with the opportunities she had had and failed to
employ to advantage. Nevertheless, Spain’s decadence, overwhelming
though it was, is to be viewed from a relative standpoint. Medieval
Spain at its best, except possibly during the Moslem era, did not attain
to an equally flourishing state with the Spain of the seventeenth
century, which marks the lowest point to which she has fallen in modern
times. On the other hand, with relation to other countries in the
seventeenth century and with due regard to the needs which an expanded
civilization had by that time developed, Spain came to be economically
about the most backward land in western Europe. This occurred, in spite
of the fact that Spaniards found and developed such extraordinary wealth
in their new world possessions that their colonies were the envy of
Europe. Spain did indeed get rich returns from her overseas investment,
but these funds and others were squandered in the ways which have
already been pointed out.

[Sidenote: Relative prosperity in the early years of the era.]

[Sidenote: The American trade.]

[Sidenote: Industrial wealth of Seville.]

[Sidenote: Grazing.]

[Sidenote: Fishing.]

[Sidenote: Mining.]

At the outset there was a period of undoubted prosperity, due in part to
a continuation of the favoring legislation of the era of the Catholic
Kings, but more particularly to the enormously increased demand
resulting from the rapid and extensive colonization of the Americas,
whose commerce was restricted by law to favored regions of the Spanish
kingdom. The American trade and to some extent the considerable fortunes
gained in the colonies themselves provided capital for a yet further
expansion of the industrial wealth of the peninsula. The effects were
felt principally in Castile, but were reflected also in Aragon and
Valencia. Seville, as the sole port of the American trade, became
extraordinarily rich in its industrial life, and many other cities
shared in the general prosperity. Woollen goods and silks were
manufactured on a large scale, and many other articles, such as hats,
gloves, soap, leathers, arms, and furniture were also made. Grazing and
fishing were notably productive industries. When Philip II ascended the
Spanish throne in 1556, it is said that the corporation of the _Mesta_
possessed seven million sheep. Part of the wool which they produced was
supplied to Spanish manufacturers, though other sources were also drawn
upon by the makers of woollen goods, but vast quantities of wool were
sent abroad. In 1512 about 50,000 quintals were exported; in 1557 some
150,000; and in 1610 the amount had reached 180,000 quintals. The
whale-fisheries off the northern and northwestern coasts of Spain, at
that time a rich field for this occupation, and the catching of
tunny-fish in the Mediterranean furnished profitable employment to the
people of the coasts, who also made voyages to distant waters, even to
Newfoundland, on fishing ventures. The wars of the reign of Philip II
and the scarcity of boats soon tended to check this phase of economic
expansion. Mining produced but little, in part because the possessors of
_latifundia_--nobles and churchmen--did not care to develop their
estates in this respect and in part because private individuals
generally could not be certain that they would be allowed to enjoy any
profit they might make. Philip II, desirous of remedying this situation,
incorporated all mines into the crown, and encouraged prospecting for
mineral wealth, though exacting certain tributes from those who should
discover and work mines, but even under these circumstances little was

[Sidenote: Relative character of Spanish industrial prosperity.]

[Sidenote: Its duration in time.]

There has been a tendency to exaggerate the state of prosperity to which
Spain attained and to treat it as if it suddenly collapsed. In fact
Spain’s industrial wealth was only great by comparison with what it once
had been and with what it was presently to be in the period of decline.
The manufacture of cloth in the entire kingdom in the most flourishing
epoch did not equal the output of the single city of Bruges. That the
growth of manufacturing was only ephemeral and did not take root in the
peninsula is attested by the fact that it was usually necessary, even in
the era of greatest industrial expansion, to depend upon imports to
supply Spain’s needs, while the considerable exports of raw materials,
especially wool, show that the domestic demand could not have been
great. Undoubtedly a good industrial beginning was made, which might
have resulted in the economic independence of Spain. It did not
continue, however, and the question arises: How long did the era of
relative industrial prosperity endure? A precise answer is impossible,
because some industries flourished longer than others, or the same
industry prospered in one place after it had ceased to do so in another.
Conflicting accounts began to appear about the middle of the reign of
Charles I, and even in the first half of the seventeenth century there
were documents which testified to instances of prosperity. Speaking
generally, the decline may be said to have made itself felt in the reign
of Philip II and to have become clearly apparent by the middle of the
reign of Philip IV.

[Sidenote: Handicaps on agriculture.]

Agriculture did not advance much from its wretched state of the previous
era. The economists, giving undue importance to the accumulation of
specie, and obsessed by a desire to develop manufactures, did not
appreciate the fundamental value of agriculture; grazing was favored at
the expense of farming; agricultural labor, never plentiful, was still
more scarce after the expulsion of the Moriscos; and the evil of
_latifundia_ tended to reduce the amount of land cultivated. The laws
encouraged agriculture only when it did not interfere with what were
considered the more important industries. Legislation was frequent
forbidding the cultivation of lands which had ever been devoted to
grazing and compelling their restoration to that industry, and the old
privileges of the _Mesta_ were maintained to the detriment of the
farmers. The scarcity of agricultural labor caused an immigration from
other countries, especially from France, and this increased after the
expulsion of the Moriscos. It did not solve the problem, as the
foreigners were wont to return home, after they had accumulated savings.
Under the circumstances it is not surprising that agricultural
production did not meet the needs of the peninsula. Something was done
to protect farm laborers, and some government projects of irrigation
were undertaken, but not enough was done to offset the handicaps which
the state itself imposed. Intensive cultivation by small proprietors was
one of the needs of the time, and one attempt to bring this about in
Granada was made. Some 12,500 Castilian, Asturian, and Galician families
were sent there to replace in a measure the several hundred thousand
expelled Moriscos. The experiment was successful, and the colonization
took root, but it was not repeated. Nevertheless, eastern and southern
Spain had their period of relative prosperity, especially through the
cultivation of the vine and the olive. The Americas offered a rich field
for the export of wine, since the growing of vines was prohibited there,
and the soil, climate, irrigation canals, and Morisco labor (prior to
the expulsion) of Valencia, Granada, and Andalusia were well adapted to
provide the desired supply. Even this form of agriculture suffered a
serious decline in the seventeenth century, due largely to the loss of
the Moriscos.

[Sidenote: Comparative prosperity of Spanish commerce.]

[Sidenote: Prosperity of Seville and Medina del Campo.]

Spanish commerce had its era of splendor and its period of decline, but
the former was prolonged much more than in the case of the manufacturing
industry, because of Spain’s serving as a medium for distribution
between foreign countries and the Americas, and because of the continued
exchange of raw materials for the foreign finished product after Spain
herself had ceased to be a serious competitor in manufacturing. Seville
was by far the most prosperous port in the country, since it had a
monopoly of the American trade, which also necessitated the sending to
that city of goods from the other parts of Spain and from foreign
countries for trans-shipment overseas. Mercantile transactions on a
great scale, involving the modern forms of credit and the establishment
of branch houses in all parts of the world, were a natural outgrowth of
Seville’s great volume of trade. The wealth of the city continued until
well into the seventeenth century. The transfer of the _Casa de
Contratación_ (which handled Spain’s commerce with the Americas) from
Seville to Cádiz occasioned a decline of the former and a corresponding
prosperity of the latter. Possibly next in importance to Seville in
mercantile affairs was the inland city of Medina del Campo, site of the
greatest of Spanish fairs and, except for the east coast provinces, the
contractual centre of the entire kingdom. Purchases, sales, and
exchanges of goods entering or leaving the various ports of Spain were
usually arranged there. Numerous other cities shared with Seville and
Medina del Campo in the commercial activity of the sixteenth century,
even those of the east coast, although the forces which had occasioned
their decline in preceding eras were still operative and were to renew
their effects before the sixteenth century had much more than passed the
halfway mark. The Mediterranean trade of Spain remained largely in the
hands of the Catalans, however. North European commerce, of which that
with Flanders was the most important, was shared generally by Spain’s
Atlantic ports, although those of the north coast had in this case a
natural advantage.

[Sidenote: The _consulados_ and other mercantile machinery.]

The inevitable result of the commercial activity of the sixteenth
century was the development of a mercantile machinery to handle the
trade. This occurred, in Spain, on the basis of institutions already in
existence, the _consulados_, merchants’ exchange buildings (_lonjas_),
and fairs. To the earlier _consulados_ of Valencia (1283), Barcelona
(1347), Saragossa (1391), Burgos (1494), and Bilbao (1511) there were
added those of Seville (1543) and Madrid (1632). Although the
_consulados_ of the ports differed in some respects from those of the
interior the same principles applied to both,--so much so, that the
ordinances of the _consulado_ of Burgos were the model for that of
Bilbao. The _consulado_ of Burgos served as the type, indeed, upon which
the ordinances of many of the later _consulados_ were founded, wherefore
its description may suffice for all. Strictly speaking, the _consulado_
was only the tribunal of the body of merchants, who together formed the
_universidad_, or association, for purposes of trade, although the term
_consulado_ came eventually to include both. Many cities lacked the
tribunal, but did possess the _universidad_ of merchants. The tribunal,
or _consulado_, of Burgos exercised jurisdiction in mercantile cases,
and also had charge of such important matters as maritime insurance,
charter-parties, and the patronage of certain pious foundations. The
_universidad_ met annually to elect the officers of the _consulado_,--a
prior, two consuls, and a treasurer. The jurisdiction of the _consulado_
as a court was not limited to cases arising in Burgos, but extended to
other towns and cities for many miles around it. There was an appeal in
criminal cases to the _corregidor_ of Burgos, but in civil cases the
_consulado_ was independent of both the royal and the municipal courts.
The _consulado_ of Madrid introduced some novelties, principal among
which was its close attachment to the national bureaucracy through the
intervention in its affairs of the _Consejo Real_. Various cities
founded merchants’ exchange buildings, including some which had no
_consulado_. As for the fairs, the great importance of Medina del Campo
has already been mentioned. Two fairs a year, in May and October, were
held at that city, on which occasions merchants, bankers, and brokers
from all parts of the world gathered there. By the end of the sixteenth
century the fairs of Medina del Campo were already in a state of
decline, and they received a death-blow when by royal mandate Burgos
replaced Medina del Campo as the contractual centre of Spain. Burgos
did not greatly profit, however, for the general mercantile decadence
had begun to affect all commercial institutions in the country.
Mercantile machinery survived after the period of prosperity had passed,
and thus it was only to be expected that a central institution should at
length be founded. Such was the case, for the _Junta de Comercio y
Moneda_ (Junta, or Council, of Commerce and Coinage) came into existence
in 1679. During the remainder of this era it was of slight consequence,

[Sidenote: Medieval character and inconsistencies of mercantile

The legislation of the period reflected the prevailing economic ideas,
such as the exceptional importance attached to precious metals, the
insistence that the balance of trade should favor exports (lest imports
should result in specie going out of the country), the favor shown
toward the policy of protection, and in a measure the continuance of the
medieval penchant for government regulation of industry. The state was
not consistent, however, varying its laws according as the needs of the
treasury or of European diplomacy or of any passing crisis might direct.
Thus prohibitions against foreign goods were often maintained, while at
other times the greatest freedom of entry was allowed. In the treaties
of peace of the sixteenth century care to safeguard the commercial
interests of Spain was employed, but in the seventeenth century they
were often sacrificed through the indiscretions of ministers or for
political reasons. Thus Spain’s need of allies against France occasioned
the grant of a right for the free entry of goods into Spain (but not
into the colonies) to the Protestant Netherlands, England, Denmark, and
Portugal, with reductions in duties. Treaties of 1665 and 1667 with
England abolished Spain’s right to inspect English boats or to search
the houses of British subjects, amounting to a virtual invitation to
smuggling, which was in fact the result. Smuggling in connivance with
Spanish officials became so general (not altogether by Englishmen) that
it was regarded as a necessary evil. The government displayed a tendency
to facilitate internal commerce,--as by the suppression of interior
customs lines,--but the protective and regulative spirit of the Middle
Ages was too often apparent. Thus prices were fixed and exclusive
rights of sale granted. A curious instance of the latter (though not out
of keeping with the age) was the permit given to the religious orders of
Madrid to open taverns for the sale of beverages accruing from their
crops. When certain abuses and some scandal resulted the privilege was
withdrawn, but was later renewed subject to certain conditions, one of
which was that friars should not serve the wines to customers.

[Sidenote: Difficulties over coinage.]

Legislation with relation to money was particularly abundant. One grave
error of the past was constantly committed from the time of Philip II to
the close of the era, the debasement of the coinage with a view to
relieving the difficulties of the treasury, but the results were not
more favorable than in former years. Despite governmental care in the
matter of coinage, diversity of coins was still a problem. In addition
to the national moneys there were regional pieces and numerous foreign
coins. Attempts were made to fix the relation between them, but without
great success. One factor which was not appreciated at the time was that
of the cheapening of money through the enormous importation of precious
metals from the Americas, resulting in a corresponding advance in
prices. The high prices were ascribed to the exportation of precious
metals from Spain, and stringent laws were passed to prevent it. It was
difficult, however, to keep the gold and silver in the country.

[Sidenote: Scant attention to public works.]

The national record of the House of Austria in public works cannot be
said to have been good. The need for more and better roads was generally
recognized, but unless they suited military purposes or were to be made
use of in a royal progress, or journey, the state would rarely build
them. Municipalities and groups of merchants (especially the
_consulados_) did something, but were hampered by the centralizing
spirit of the government. A license from the _Consejo Real_ was
required, even though the state were not to pay. There were too few
roads, and existing highways were as a general rule in a bad state of
repair. Many bridges were constructed by the government in the sixteenth
century, but only a few in the century following. Plans were also
discussed for deepening the channels of Spain’s great rivers, but that
of the Tagus alone received attention, and the work to that end by
Philip II was destroyed by the negligence of his successors. In like
manner irrigation on a large scale was planned, but scarcely anything
was accomplished. On the other hand this period marked the beginning of
a mail service as an auxiliary of economic life; it was due to the state
only in that the government granted a monopoly of the privilege to a
private individual. Between 1580 and 1685 the extension of the service
to foreign countries was brought about. Naturally the whole system was
as yet defective from the modern standpoint. The government did expend
moneys, however, for military objects and state buildings. Forts were
built the length and breadth of the Spanish world, although many of them
were allowed to decay in the seventeenth century. Royal palaces and
houses of recreation and several splendid churches for royal use, all of
which added to the glamor of monarchy, were built at state expense. The
municipalities also erected public edifices, such as merchants’ exchange
buildings and city halls.

[Sidenote: Foreigners in Spain and legislation concerning them.]

One of the most controversial questions of the era was that of the entry
of foreigners into the economic life of the peninsula. This had begun to
be a factor (without referring now to the earlier arrival of Moslem and
Jewish elements) in the reign of the Catholic Kings, but it was a much
more prominent issue in the period of the House of Austria. It was
complicated by the fact that certain groups of foreigners might be
welcomed (laborers for example), while others (merchants and
manufacturers in particular) were not, but all elements would be both
wanted and opposed by some class of the Spanish people at any given
time. In general, popular opinion whether of rich or poor was adverse to
foreigners. At times the kings yielded to the complaints of the people
and passed restrictive laws, but at other times, urged on by financial
needs and political aims, they took the contrary course. Dependent as
they were upon foreign money-lenders the kings could not refuse to grant
the privileges and monopolies which their creditors exacted as security.
It would seem, however, that by far the greater number of the
foreigners were engaged in the less remunerative occupations. A writer
of the seventeenth century says that there were 120,000 foreigners in
domestic service, and goes on to say that they also engaged in such
occupations as street hawking, the keeping of retail shops of all
varieties (sellers of meat, wine, cakes, etc.), and the mechanical
trades, including even those of porter and vendor of water. In 1680 the
French ambassador estimated that there were 77,000 of his countrymen in
Spain, many of whom were farm laborers, but there were considerable
numbers in various other occupations, ranging from the wealthy merchant
down to the lowly shepherd or peddler. Other nationalities were also
prominent. Laws were passed limiting the number of trades in which
foreigners could engage, but they seem to have been without avail, for
both the complaints and the legislation were often repeated. The victory
of the foreign element began to be more apparent by the middle of the
seventeenth century. Philip IV enacted laws to encourage immigration,
because of the scarcity of labor, and permitted a foreigner who had
lived for many years in Spain and married a Spanish woman to enjoy
privileges little short of those of a native. Similar laws were made in
the reign of Charles II.

[Sidenote: Statistics of population.]

[Sidenote: Prevalence of vagabondage.]

The economic status of Spain in this era could be more clearly set forth
if it were possible to have fairly reliable data as to population. In
the middle of the sixteenth century there may have been about six and
three quarter millions of people in Spain. By the end of the century
some estimates hold that the numbers had increased to perhaps eight and
a half millions, but there is ground for doubting these assertions.
Figures for the seventeenth century are even more uncertain, but there
is a general agreement that the population declined. One estimate makes
the population of Spain 5,700,000 at the end of the era. Misery,
idleness, and vagabondage were characteristic of Spanish life in the
late sixteenth and throughout the seventeenth century; it has been
estimated that there were 150,000 vagabonds at the close of the
sixteenth century whose principal occupations were begging, thieving,
and prostitution. It is true that a like state of affairs existed in
other countries, and that many foreigners were included in this element
in the peninsula, but conditions were probably worse in Spain than
elsewhere in western Europe.

[Sidenote: Causes of vagabondage.]

Much has been written about the causes of vagabondage in Spain. The
principal causes undoubtedly were economic. Foreign writers have charged
it to Spanish pride and scorn of manual labor as well as to a certain
native laziness. These allegations are true to some extent, flowing
naturally from the circumstances of the history of Spain. Slavery had
been perhaps more general and long-continuing in the peninsula than in
other parts of Europe, and the slaves had usually been Moslem in faith;
thus Spaniards might naturally be disinclined to do the work of slaves
and infidels, and the same spirit would be present on its religious side
to make them object to working in company with the questionably orthodox
Moriscos. The general desire of Spaniards to be regarded as of noble
blood also tended to make manual labor unpopular, since there was a
strong class prejudice that nobles should not engage in such work.
Finally, the ease of entry into religious orders had rendered escape
from toil possible for a great number, and had increased the sentiment
against laboring with one’s hands. The only way out for a great many was
the life of a vagabond. The sudden wealth acquired by individuals in the
Americas reacted psychologically to make the necessarily slow accretions
of property in Spain an irksome prospect. The exaltation of military
glory had the same general effect, but as the Spanish armies were small
this occupation was not open to everybody, and its perils and
irregularities in pay made not a few hesitate to enter it. Furthermore,
there were many contemporary writers, Cervantes among them, who pointed
out that the life of a vagabond had a certain appeal for many Spaniards;
young men of good family not infrequently joined bands of gypsies.

[Sidenote: Inability of the government to cope with the situation.]

The poverty of Spain was general by the middle of the seventeenth
century, and the state of the country got steadily worse thereafter.
Bread riots frequently served as a reminder to the authorities, who
indeed made many attempts to remedy the situation. Their measures to
attack the root of the evil were worse than useless, however, being
based on economic misconceptions or being discontinued (when they might
have proved beneficial) if they ran counter to governmental policies.
Direct legislation against vagabondage was frequent, but was evaded as
often as enacted. When people were forbidden to remain in the country
without working, the vagabonds made a showing of becoming porters or of
engaging in other like occupations, under the guise of which they
continued their loose practices. When these occupations were limited
they were to be found as theoretically in the service of the noble or
wealthy, whom social pride induced to have as many in their following as
possible. When this custom was attacked direct evasion of the laws was
rendered possible through charitable institutions, especially through
the free soup-kitchens of the religious orders. On the benevolent side
the problem was also approached through the founding of poor-houses,
although this method was not yet greatly developed, and through the
conversion of the former public granaries (_pósitos_), in which stores
of grain were kept to guard against the possibility of famine, into
pious institutions for the gift or loan of food supplies to the poor.

[Sidenote: Contemporary opinions as to the causes of Spain’s economic

The fact of Spain’s economic decline has perhaps been pointed out with
sufficient clearness. It is now pertinent to sum up the causes which had
produced it. According to Altamira there was “a great variety of causes,
accumulated upon a country which entered the modern age with weak and
incipient economic energies, a country whose governments let themselves
be dragged into an imperialistic policy (in great part forced upon them
by problems traceable to Ferdinand the Catholic and the fatal
inheritance of Charles I), neglecting, more for lack of means than
intentionally, those measures which could best contribute to better the
productive power and well-being of the country.” This is an epitome not
only of the causes for Spain’s economic decline in this period but also
of modern Spanish history. It places the fault where it belongs, on
Spanish imperialism with its train of costly wars, a policy which Spain
might have followed so far as the Americas were concerned, but which
proved an impossible strain on her resources when carried beyond the
Spanish peninsula into Europe. This was one of the principal causes
assigned at the tune. Some others may also be enumerated. The increase
in the _alcabala_ and in other taxes was often mentioned as a principal
cause, although it is easy to see how this might have been a result of
the warfare. In like manner another group of causes set forth at that
time might well have been results of the economic decline, such as the
following: emigration to the colonies; the lack of government aid to
industries; the invasion of foreign goods and foreigners into Spain; and
the decline in population. Other causes alleged by contemporaries and
deserving of prominent mention, though less important than that of the
European wars, were these: the repugnance of Spaniards for manual labor;
bad financial administration by the government; the prodigality of the
kings in granting favors and exemptions; the governmental practice of
fixing the prices of agricultural products; the evil of absentee
landlordism, especially in the case of the _latifundia_, which were not
developed to the extent of their resources; waste of the means of
production in luxury; the great number of convents and monasteries; and
the exemptions enjoyed by a vast number of individuals.

[Sidenote: Causes assigned by later writers.]

Later writers have put emphasis on other matters. Some present-day
historians assign the expulsion of the Moriscos as the principal cause
of the economic decline. It did leave many trades without hands, and
temporarily depopulated whole districts, but it seems hardly accurate to
regard it as anything more than one of many contributory causes. Writers
of the seventeenth century were impressed by its religious and political
advantages, and do not seem to have regarded it as of serious economic
import. The economic effects of the conquest of the Americas have also
been set forth to account for Spain’s decline. That conquest induced the
already-mentioned get-rich-quick spirit among Spaniards, and encouraged
the false economic idea that precious metals are the basic form of
wealth, leading to the assignment of an undue importance to them. More
serious, perhaps, was the fact that the Americas drained Spain of some
of her best and most virile blood. The number of Spaniards who went to
America, however, was not excessive,--little more than the number of
Englishmen who crossed the seas in the seventeenth century. Furthermore,
Spain most certainly secured a vast financial profit out of the
Americas, not only from precious metals, but also from commerce and the
employment which thousands obtained both in Spain and in the colonies.
Spanish soil was indeed not fertile enough to support a policy of
European imperialism, and that argument has been put forward, but the
fault was less in the land itself, which in other days had produced more
richly, than in the methods (or lack of them) employed to develop its
capacities. Foreign commercial vicissitudes, which are also alleged to
account for Spain’s economic fall, did indeed help to bring it
about,--such, for example, as the disastrous consequences of the silting
in of the port of Bruges, which city had been one of the best purchasers
of Spain’s raw materials. While it is indeed impossible to assign any
single event or condition of affairs as the _sine qua non_ of Spain’s
decadence, one factor stands out from the rest, however, as the most
important,--that of the oft-mentioned policy of Spanish imperialism in



[Sidenote: Causes of Spain’s intellectual greatness in this era.]

The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries represent the highest point in
the history of Spanish intellectual achievement in science, literature,
and art. Two manifestations characterized the era: an abundant
productivity which was as high in quality as it was great in amount; and
the diffusion of Spanish learning in the other countries of the
civilized world, so that for the first time (except for the transmission
of Moslem culture) Christian Spain became a vital factor in European
thought, whereas in former years she had merely received the instruction
of others. The reasons for this intellectual outburst were various. For
one thing the natural evolution from the past seemed to render
inevitable a high degree of attainment. For another, the general effects
of the Renaissance in Europe made themselves felt in Spain. In the third
place, this seems to have been the era of the ripe maturity of the
Spanish people, when they were at the height of their capacity in every
walk of life. Finally, as has happened so many times in the history of
other nations, the very fact of the establishment of a great empire was
bound to react both materially and psychologically to produce an
unwonted expansion intellectually. Spanish imperialism in Europe
undoubtedly contributed much to the civilization of the peninsula, but
it is not too much to say that the greatest influence came from Spain’s
conquests in the new world. These operated directly to make Spain an
innovator in scientific thought, and provided the first noteworthy
material for mental stimulus in the era. If the better known
manifestations of polite literature and painting were not directly
traceable to the attainment of a colonial empire, other achievements
were, and the indirect effect of the overseas conquests should not be
left out of consideration even in the case of those factors which
acknowledged Italy as their principal source of inspiration.

[Sidenote: Social manifestations of Spanish intellectuality and its
duration in time.]

There were many social manifestations of Spanish intellectuality, such
as the eagerness with which men sought an education, the honors paid to
men of letters in an age when military glory might tend to absorb
attention, the encyclopedic knowledge demonstrated by scholars who were
at one and the same time proficient in widely divergent fields, the
circumstance that women won marked distinction (together with the fact
that their achievements were well received), and the fondness of the
upper classes for social functions of a literary character,--not a few
of which developed from a simple gathering at some noble’s house into
the formation of clubs or academies of an intellectual character. This
flourishing state of affairs endured a much shorter time than might have
been expected from the force of its initial momentum; in a broad sense
the intellectual decadence of the country accompanied, or perhaps
resulted from, the political and economic decline, but just as in the
case of these factors it was not equal in celerity or in completeness in
all of the many-sided aspects of Spanish intellectual life. Furthermore,
the fall was so rapid in some respects, and from such a high point in
all, that the ultimate degradation, though deep enough, seemed by
comparison to be worse than it was. At any rate, the state of
intellectuality at its best was sufficiently great to deserve the title
which has been applied to the period of its expression, that of the
_siglo de oro_ (golden century) in Spanish science, literature, and art.

[Sidenote: Application and duration of the _siglo de oro_.]

A question arises as to the application of the term and the duration of
the period of the _siglo de oro_. The seventeenth century has usually
been regarded as the golden age, for it was then that the greatest names
in polite literature and painting appeared. In fact, however, the era of
intellectual brilliance dates from an early point in the sixteenth
century in the reign of Charles I, lasting for about a century and a
half, past the middle of the seventeenth century. The general desire for
knowledge, which was so marked in the first half of the sixteenth
century, had already ebbed away by the end of the reign of Philip II.
The greatest achievements in didactic and scientific literature belong
to the sixteenth century, and, indeed, most of the great writers and
painters who won fame in the reigns of Philip III and Philip IV got
their start, or at least were born, in the time of Philip II. Great
results were obtained in both periods, but the stimulus came for the
most part in the sixteenth century.

[Sidenote: The universities.]

The aristocratic character of intellectual attainments in the _siglo de
oro_ was reflected in that of the institutions of learning which were
founded. In addition to the eight universities existing in 1516,
twenty-one were added in the sixteenth century, and five in the
seventeenth, making a total of thirty-four in all. Salamanca and Alcalá
stood forth as the leading universities, although outranked in legal
studies by Valladolid. Salamanca had the more ample curriculum, with
some sixty professorships, but Alcalá, with forty-two professorial
chairs, was distinguished for the scientific labors of its faculty.
Salamanca was more largely attended, having 6778 students in 1584, a
number which had declined to 1955 in 1682, while Alcalá had 1949 in
1547, 2061 in 1650, and 1637 in 1700. The medieval type of internal
management remained as the essential basis of university administration,
characterized by the close connection between the university and the
civil authorities (to which latter the former were in a measure
subjected), by an intimate relationship with the cathedral or other
local churches, and by the ecclesiastical origin of many of the
university rents. The universities did not become religious
establishments, however, even though churchmen founded the greater
number of them. As time went on, the kings displayed a tendency to
intervene in university life, as by the sending of _visitadores_, or by
imposing their candidates for professorships upon the universities, but
they did not go so far as to deprive the universities of their economic,
legal, and scientific independence.

[Sidenote: Jesuit colleges.]

[Sidenote: Other schools of higher education.]

[Sidenote: The _Casa de Contratación_ as a maritime university.]

There were also various other institutions of higher education. One of
them, the Estudios Reales de San Isidro of Madrid, founded early in the
reign of Philip IV for the education of the sons of the greater
nobility, ranked with the universities. Jesuit teachers were installed.
This was not the first instance of Jesuit instruction in the peninsula.
By their vows the Jesuits were obliged to found “colleges,” but this
term meant houses for study, only in that the members of the order
living in these institutions pursued investigations there. Gradually,
outside pupils began to be accepted by the Jesuits, who soon won a great
reputation for their efficiency as teachers. Their teaching was markedly
influenced by Renaissance ideals, for the study of classical authors
formed one of the principal elements in their curriculum. They devoted
themselves to the education of the wealthy classes, leaving the field of
vocational preparation to the universities. Apart from the Jesuit
colleges there were various schools, both religious and secular,
primarily for the study of Latin. They were in essence schools of
literature, at which students were given practice in the writing of
poetry and the reciting of verses, both Latin and Castilian. It is said
that there were more than four thousand of these institutions in 1619,
although their numbers declined greatly with the advance of the century.
In addition there were many schools of a purely professional character,
such as those for the study of religion, war, medicine, and nautical
science. The school of nautical science of the _Casa de Contratación_ of
Seville merits special attention. Among the manifold functions of the
_Casa_ in its relation to the Americas was that of the pursuit of
scientific studies to facilitate overseas communication, and this was
carried out to such an extent that the _Casa_ was a veritable maritime
university. Mathematics, cosmography, geography, cartography,
navigation, the construction and use of nautical instruments, and
military science (in so far as it related to artillery) were taught at
the _Casa_, and in nearly all of these respects that institution not
only outranked the others in Spain but was able also to add materially
to the sum total of world knowledge. Primary education continued to be
neglected. The current belief was that it was unnecessary unless one
intended to pursue a professional career. The education of the masses
for the sake of raising the general level of culture, or even for
technical advancement, was a problem which was not as yet comprehended.
Such primary schools as there were, were usually ecclesiastical or
private foundations. Reading, writing, arithmetic, and Christian
doctrine were the subjects taught. Taken as a whole it will be seen that
the number of teaching establishments had vastly increased over that of
the preceding eras. An understanding of the superior facilities
available for the upper classes would not be complete without a
reference to the extraordinary diffusion of printing in this era.
Although the publication of works was subject to various conditions,
printed books fairly came into their own, for the first time in the
history of the peninsula. A number of great libraries were formed. It is
worthy of mention, too, that it was at this time that care began to be
taken in the accumulation of public documents in archives. In 1558
Philip II founded an archive at Rome, and in 1563 made a beginning of
the famous state archive at Simancas.

[Sidenote: Neglect of primary education.]

[Sidenote: Great age of printing.]

[Sidenote: Beginnings of public archives.]

[Sidenote: Luis Vives and Spanish originality in philosophical studies.]

The revival of classical studies, which made available the writings of
many Greek philosophers whose works had been unknown to the medieval
scholars, and the complex movement of ideas engendered by the Protestant
Reformation and the Catholic Reaction were the fundamental causes of the
flourishing state of theological and philosophical studies in this
period, especially in the sixteenth century. While this was by no means
confined to Spain, the peninsula furnished its quota to the great names
of the period. The philosopher Luis Vives (1492-1540) may be mentioned
by way of illustration. Vives, who spent most of his life in Flanders
and in England,--in which latter country he was the teacher of Mary
Tudor, the later queen of England,--was regarded by contemporaries as a
philosopher of the first rank, on a plane with Erasmus. Nearly a century
before Francis Bacon (1561-1626) suggested the necessity for the
observation of nature as the basis of knowledge rather than the blind
following of classical texts, Vives had pronounced the same idea. Of
importance, too, were his pedagogical doctrines, which profoundly
influenced Comenius. The case of Vives was not unique, for the ideas
which were later to be made famous by Reid, Descartes, Montaigne,
Charron, and others had already been expressed by Spaniards of the
sixteenth century. The common note in all their works was that of great
liberty of thought in all things other than the Catholic faith, and in
particular that of a reaction against submission to consecrated
authority, which brought them into opposition to the slavish acceptance
of classical writings so much in vogue among the Humanists. In so doing,
the Spanish philosophers were only expressing their national traits, for
the Spaniards have always been able to reconcile their support of
absolutism in government and of the principle of authority in religion
with a degree of individualism that cannot be found in lands whose
political and religious ideas have been more democratic. Partly on this
account Spanish thought has not received due credit, for, though there
were Spanish philosophers, there was no school of Spanish philosophy.
Furthermore, sweeping originality of thought on a universal basis was
precluded by the necessity of subordinating all ideas to Catholic
doctrine, while the philosophers who have attained to the greatest fame
in modern times expressed themselves with independence in that respect,
or at least without the preoccupation of not departing from it. That
Spaniards were capable of originality within the field of religion
itself was proved by the development of Spanish mysticism, already
alluded to.

[Sidenote: Important character of Spanish writings on jurisprudence,
politics, and economics.]

In jurisprudence and politics Spanish writers gained an indisputable
title to originality of thought, of positive influence on the
civilization of other countries. This was due in part to the continuous
warfare, the grave religious problems, and the many questions arising
out of the conquest, colonization, and retention of the Americas, but it
was also a result of a natural tendency in Spanish character to occupy
itself with the practical aspects of affairs, directing philosophical
thought toward its applications in actual life,--for example, in the
case of matters to which the above-mentioned events gave rise. Spanish
jurists achieved renown in various phases of jurisprudence, such as in
international, political, penal, and canonical law, in the civil law of
Rome and of the Spanish peninsula, and in legal procedure. Not Grotius
(1583-1645), but his Spanish predecessors of the sixteenth century laid
the foundations for international law, and the great Dutch jurist more
than once acknowledged his indebtedness to Spaniards, who, like Vitoria
and Vázquez, had provided him with rich materials for the thesis he set
forth. Among the writers on political law may be mentioned Solórzano,
whose _Política indiana_, or Government of the Indies (1629-1639), was a
noteworthy exposition and defence of the Spanish colonial system. In
economics, too, the Spaniards were necessarily outstanding figures in
their day, since the Spanish empire was the greatest and for a time the
most powerful of the period. National resources, the income and
expenditures of the state, and the method of the enjoyment of landed
property were the three principal questions to engage the attention of
the Spanish economists. When Martínez de la Mata declared that labor was
the only true source of wealth, he was in so much the precursor of Adam
Smith (1723-1790). Some economists expressed ideas which sound strangely
like those set forth by Spencer, Wallace, Tolstoy, and others in the
nineteenth and twentieth centuries, such as the following: that
immovable property should be taken away from the private individuals
possessing it, and be redistributed under the control of the state; and
that society should be considered as having legal title to lands, giving
only the user to individuals. Luis Vives was one of the representatives
of these ideas. The principles of these economists found little support
in practice, and cannot be said to have attained general acceptance
among the Spanish writers on these subjects.

[Sidenote: Páez de Castro and the new sense of historical content.]

The advance of historical studies in this period, especially in the
sixteenth century, was nothing short of remarkable. For the first time
history won a right to be considered apart from polite literature. Two
novelties marked the era, one of them relative to the content of
history, and the other concerning the methods of investigation and
composition. Formerly history had reduced itself to little more than the
external political narrative, dealing with wars, kings, and heroes,
being more rhetorical in form than scientific. The new sense of content
was represented principally by the philosopher Luis Vives and by the
historian Páez de Castro, one-time chronicler of Charles I. Vives gave
his opinion that history should deal with all the manifestations of
social life. Páez de Castro stands forth, however, as the man who most
clearly expressed the new ideas. According to him the history of a land
should include the study of its geography, of the languages of its
peoples, of the dress, laws, religions, social institutions, general
customs, literature, arts, sciences, and even the aspects of nature of
the land in so far as these things affected the actions of men. Páez de
Castro was also a follower of Pérez de Guzmán and Hernando del Pulgar in
his appreciation of the psychological element in history. The most
exacting methodologists of the present day do not require more than did
Páez de Castro nearly four centuries ago. Incidentally, it becomes clear
that the credit ordinarily assigned to Voltaire (1694-1778) and Hume
(1711-1776) as innovators in this respect belongs rather to Spaniards of
the sixteenth century. Vives and Páez de Castro were not alone in their
concept of history. On the other hand they were not able to put their
ideas into practice, and were not followed by the majority of the
writers on methodology. Nevertheless, all were agreed that the education
of the historian should be encyclopedic in character,--an ideal which
necessarily involved a measurable attainment of the plan of Páez de

[Sidenote: Zurita and Morales and the advance in historical
investigation and criticism.]

If these concepts as to historical content were not fully realized,
those with regard to the methods of investigation and criticism found a
worthy representation in the majority of the historians of the era. To
be sure, some of the great writers, like Florián de Ocampo and Mariana,
displayed too much credulity or a disposition to imagine events for
which they lacked documentary proof. Furthermore, this was a thriving
period of forgeries, when writers invented classical authors,
chronicles, letters, and inscriptions with which to support their
narratives. Still, the evil brought about the remedy; the necessity for
criticism was so great that its application became customary. In
addition, men sought documents, if only to disprove the forgeries, with
the result that the employment of source material and the use of the
sciences auxiliary to history were a factor in the works of the numerous
great historians of the time. The highest representatives of the new
sense of historical analysis were the official chroniclers of Charles I
and Philip II. First in point of time was Florián de Ocampo, whose
_Crónica general_ (General chronicle) was published in 1543. While
giving too free rein to the imagination, his _Crónica_ had a fairly
complete documental basis in some of its parts. Far superior was the
_Anales de Aragón_, or Annals of Aragon (1562-1580), of Jerónimo Çurita,
or Zurita, which in its use of archive material was the greatest
historical work of the sixteenth century. Of equal rank with Zurita was
Ambrosio de Morales, the continuer of Ocampo, whose _Crónica_ was
published in 1574-1575. Morales, who was a distinguished palæographist
and archæologist, made a notable use of inscriptions, coins,
manuscripts, ancient books, and other ancient evidences. While the
influence of Gibbon (1737-1794) on historiography in these respects is
not to be denied, it is only fair to point out the merits of his
predecessors of the Spanish _siglo de oro_ in precisely those qualities
for which the great Englishman has won such signal fame.

[Sidenote: The historian Mariana.]

[Sidenote: The bibliographer Nicolás Antonio.]

[Sidenote: Historians of the Americas.]

The historian of this era who attained the greatest reputation, though
far from equalling Vives and Páez de Castro on the one hand or Zurita
and Morales on the other, was the Jesuit Mariana. In 1592-1595 he
published his history of Spain in Latin (_Historia de rebus Hispaniæ_),
which he brought out in Castilian in 1601 under the title _Historia
general de España_ (General history of Spain). This work, which is still
one of the most widely read of all Spanish histories, was remarkable for
its composition and style, in which respects it was superior to others
of the period, though otherwise inferior to the best works of the time.
It was intended to be popular, however, on which account it should not
be judged too critically from the standpoint of technique. Mariana’s
history was an external political narrative, from the Castilian point of
view, of the events which had developed the national unity of Spain. His
own bias, politically and otherwise, was only too apparent, besides
which he displayed the faults of credulity and imagination already
alluded to. Nevertheless, Mariana made use of manuscripts and the
evidence of inscriptions and coins, though not to the same degree as
Zurita, Morales, and others. His style was tinged with the Humanistic
ideals of the period, being strongly influenced by Livy. Many other
students of history or of the sciences auxiliary to history are
deserving of recognition, and at least one of them demands mention,
Nicolás Antonio, the greatest bibliographer of his time. In 1672 he
published his _Bibliotheca hispana_ (republished in 1788 as the
_Bibliotheca hispana nova_, or Catalogue of new Spanish works) of all
Spanish works since 1500, and in 1696 completed his _Bibliotheca hispana
vetus_, or Catalogue of old Spanish works (published in 1788), of
Spanish books, manuscript and printed, prior to the sixteenth century.
Deserving of special notice was a remarkable group of historians of the
Americas, such as Fernando Colón (Ferdinand Columbus), Fernández de
Oviedo, López de Gómara, Bernal Díaz del Castillo, Bernabé Cobos,
Gutiérrez de Santa Clara, Juan de Castellanos, Acosta, Garcilaso de la
Vega, Herrera, Cieza de León, Zárate, Jerez, Dorantes de Carranza,
Góngora, Hevía, León Pinelo, Mendieta, Pizarro, Sahagún, Suárez de
Peralta, Alvarado, Torquemada, Solís, Cortés, Las Casas, Cervantes de
Salazar, López de Velasco, the already cited Solórzano, Pérez de Ribas,
Tello, Florencia, Vetancurt, and many others. The works of some of these
men were written in Spain as official chronicles of the Indies, while
those of others were prepared independently in the Americas. Religious
history was abundantly produced, as also were books of travel,
especially those based on the expeditions and discoveries in the Indies.
In all of the historical production of the era, not merely in the work
of Mariana, the influence of classical models was marked.

[Sidenote: The conquest of the Americas and resultant Spanish
achievements in natural science, geography, and cartography.]

If the output of Spaniards in the domain of the natural sciences was not
so great as in the realm of philosophy, jurisprudence, and history, it
was nevertheless distinctively original in character,--necessarily so,
since the discovery of new lands and new routes, to say nothing of the
effects of continuous warring, not only invited investigation, but also
made it imperative, in order to overcome hitherto unknown difficulties.
In dealing with the Americas a practice was made of gathering
geographical data which for its completeness has scarcely ever been
surpassed. Explorers were required by law to make the most detailed
observations as to distances, general geographical features, character
of the soil, products, animals, and peoples, with a view to the
collection and the study of their reports at the _Casa de Contratación_,
for which purpose the post of cosmographical chronicler of the Indies
was created. Equal amplitude of data was also to be found in books of
travel. To enumerate the contributors to geographical knowledge it would
be necessary to name the hundreds of Spanish voyages and explorations in
the new world of which accounts were written by their leaders or by
friars accompanying the expeditions. A noteworthy compendium of these
reports has recently been published, although it was compiled in the
sixteenth century, the _Geografía y descripción universal de las Indias_
(Geography and general description of the Indies) for the years 1571 to
1574 by Juan López de Velasco. Something of a like nature was achieved
for the peninsula itself in the reign of Philip II. As was inevitable,
Spaniards were prominent in cartography. Aside from the men who
accompanied the expeditions in the new world, the most famous
cartographers of the time were those of the _Casa de Contratación_, many
of whom made contributions to cartographical science, as well as
additions to the mapping of the world. One interesting instance was the
use of maps with equi-distant polar projections years before Mercator in
1569 first employed this method, which was henceforth to bear his name.
Spanish innovators have not received the credit they deserve,
principally because their results were in many cases deliberately kept
secret by the Spanish government, which wished to retain a monopoly of
the information, as well as of the trade, of the new world. Spanish
achievements, it will be observed, were designed to meet practical ends,
rather than to promote universal knowledge,--unfortunately for the fame
of the individuals engaged in scientific production.

[Sidenote: Similarly, Spanish achievements in the mathematical and
physical sciences.]

Naturally, these accomplishments in geography and cartography
necessitated a solid foundation in the mathematical and physical
sciences, and such a basis in fact existed. The leading scholars,
especially those of the _Casa_, who always stood out from the rest,
displayed a remarkable conjunction of theory and practice. At the same
time that they were writing doctrinal treatises about cosmography,
astronomy, and mathematics, they were able to make maps and nautical
instruments with their own hands, and not infrequently to invent useful
appliances. Problems in connection with the variations of the magnetic
needle, the exact calculation of longitude, the observation of eclipses,
and the perfection of the astrolabe were among those which preoccupied
students of that day. The advancement of Spaniards is evidenced by the
facility with which the theory of Copernicus (that the sun, and not the
earth, is the centre of the solar system) was accepted in Spain, when it
was rejected elsewhere. It is noteworthy, too, that when Pope Gregory
XIII proposed to correct the calendar, he sought information of Spanish
scholars, whose suggestions were followed. In the same year (1582) that
the Gregorian calendar went into effect in Rome, it was adopted also in
Spain. In nautical science, as might have been expected from the
practical character of Spanish studies, Spaniards were preëminent. Among
the more important names was that of Alarcón, better known for his
voyage of 1540 in the Gulf of California and along the western coast of
the California peninsula. Advance in naval construction accompanied that
of navigation proper. The new world provided Spaniards with an
opportunity, of which they did not fail to avail themselves, for
progress in the sciences of physics and chemistry, always with practical
ideals in mind. Theories were set forth as to such matters as cyclones,
terrestrial magnetism, atmospheric pressure, and even telegraphy, while
mechanical inventions were made, because these things were related to
specific problems. The most remarkable example of the heights to which
Spaniards attained in physics and chemistry was in the application of
these sciences to metallurgy. When the mines of the Americas were first
exploited, it was necessary to resort to German methods, but it was not
long before Spaniards easily took first rank in the world. A work by
Alonso Barba, for example, published in 1640, was translated into all of
the leading European languages, and served as the principal guide of
metallurgists for more than a century. As engineers Spaniards lagged
behind other European peoples; engineering works were not greatly
involved in the colonization of the Americas. It is interesting,
however, to note the numerous studies of projects by Spaniards of the
sixteenth century,--among them, Cortés, Saavedra, Galván, López de
Gómara, Gil González Dávila, Salcedo, Esquivel, and Mercado,--with a
view to the construction of a canal at the Isthmus of Panamá to
facilitate communication with the Pacific.

[Sidenote: Progress in medicine.]

Finally, the science of medicine, which had already entered upon an
experimental stage in the reign of the Catholic Kings, advanced to a
point which enabled it to compare, not unfavorably, with the
achievements in other branches of precise knowledge. Medicine, too, had
the Americas to thank for much of its progress, owing to discoveries of
botanical and mineralogical specimens of a medicinal character. The
universities of Salamanca, Valencia, and Barcelona took the lead in
medical studies, and furnished most of the great names of the era. In
the seventeenth century medical science experienced a marked decline,
due among other things to a return to an imitation of classical methods.
Hippocrates and other Greek writers were regarded as incapable of
mistake, wherefore investigation and experiment ceased to hold the place
they had won in the sixteenth century. Some men endeavored to continue
the experimental tradition, but, as indeed elsewhere in Europe, they
were despised by the classical element, who arrogated to themselves the
honor of possessing the only real medical knowledge, charging their
opponents, usually with truth, with employing experimentation because
they were unable to read the accounts of classical remedies set forth in
Greek and Latin. Nevertheless, it was to experimental methods,
principally in the sixteenth century, that the discovery of many
hitherto unknown cures was due.



[Sidenote: Victory of Castilian over foreign tongues in polite
literature and remarkable outburst of productivity.]

The general conditions affecting literature and art in the _siglo de
oro_ have already been alluded to in the preceding chapter. The
influence of Humanism and the impulse of the Renaissance were more
directly felt in polite literature than in didactic and scientific
works. Furthermore, this type of literature was more easily understood
by people at large than the more special studies, and it is not
surprising that Spain’s intellectual greatness should have been
appreciated by the majority of the educated classes in terms of poetry,
the novel, and the drama, together with the manifestations of the age in
the fine arts. The very men who contributed works of a scientific
character could not resist the appeal of _belles lettres_, and wrote
books which not infrequently demonstrated their double right to homage.
Knowledge of Latin, Greek, and various modern languages, especially
Italian and French, was more or less general among the educated classes,
giving an opportunity for the satisfaction of one’s wishes to delve into
a varied literature, and opening the way to foreign influences upon
Castilian work. The day of French influence seemed for a time to have
passed, however (although it returned with the decline in the later
seventeenth century); rather, a current against it had set in. The
effect of the other three languages was so great, however, that
Castilian temporarily lost some of its prestige, which passed over
especially to Latin and Italian. Most works of an erudite character now
appeared in Latin, and that language was the official tongue of most of
the courses in the universities. The church, too, lent its weight to
Latin. Nevertheless, Castilian was at no time in real danger. Anything
intended for popular consumption found its way into Castilian, and not a
few notable scientific works employed that language. Save for a few
inefficacious attempts of the Humanists to use Latin, the field of
polite literature was captured wholly by the native tongue. This victory
for national sentiment carried with it an exuberant outburst of
productivity which affected all classes. Prior to this time the clergy
had provided almost the only representatives to win fame in _belles
lettres_; now, they were joined and rivalled, even outdone, by laymen,
both soldiers and civilians. The noble families caught the enthusiasm
and made their houses centres for gatherings, and the kings themselves
were carried along in the current. Charles I was exceptionally fond of
the novels of chivalry, which he used to have read aloud to him; Philip
II, himself little affected, tolerated the tastes of his daughters which
led them to make poetry form a part of the palace distractions; but it
was under Philip IV that the royal love and patronage of literature
attained to its highest point. Philip IV himself wrote comedies, and
filled the palace with poets, dramatists, and writers of prose.
Meanwhile, the general public got its first real opportunity to attend
the theatre, and bought meritorious books (which printing now rendered
available), while men discussed their favorite authors with the same
ardor that they might their favorite bull-fighters.

[Sidenote: Spanish contributions to philology.]

One of the principal studies of the Humanists was that of grammar, Latin
and Greek chiefly. The classical authors and the patristic writings of
the medieval period occupied their attention, together with allied works
in other languages, such as ancient Hebrew or modern Italian. The
Spanish Humanists held a noteworthy place in the development of this
movement in Europe. While many individuals might be named, Arias Montano
was perhaps the greatest of Spain’s representatives. Interest in
language study carried Spaniards far afield among contemporary tongues,
and in one respect led to a remarkable contribution to knowledge. As
conquerors and as missionaries Spaniards came in contact with a variety
of peoples hitherto unknown, or little known, to the world, from the
numerous tribes of the Indians in the Americas to the Chinese and
Japanese of the Far East. Many valuable data were accumulated in Spanish
about these peoples and their customs, and their languages were studied
and in many cases written down by Spaniards, who systematized them for
the first time. Much of this material has only recently become
available, but it ranks as an achievement of the _siglo de oro_; perhaps
the more valuable parts were prepared in the sixteenth century.
Meanwhile, the process of purifying Castilian grammar was constantly
going on, and it is interesting to note the strong nationalistic
tendency in favor of a phonetic spelling as opposed to the expression of
the etymological form. Rhetoric was regarded as a part of grammar, and
it is easy to understand that in an age of Humanism the question of
style should be a favorite topic.

[Sidenote: Lope de Rueda and the development of the national theatre.]

It was in this period that the national theatre developed, and Spaniards
displayed such originality and forcefulness as to make a profound
impression on the dramatic literature of the world. At the outset of the
reign of Charles I, Gil Vicente and Torres Naharro were continuing the
tradition of Juan del Enzina with crude farces and allegorical religious
plays. Despite the fact that these were generally acted in convents,
they were so frequently of a licentious character that in 1548 their
publication was forbidden. Meanwhile, classical plays and compositions
written in imitation of the Latin and Greek masters were proving
difficult competitors to the weakly groping Spanish stage. The
regeneration of the national theatre was due to Lope de Rueda of
Seville, whose name first appears in 1554. The greatness of Rueda was
due primarily to his own acting, which gave him an opportunity to
re-introduce Spanish plays and make a success of them. While staging
translations of Latin and Italian works, Rueda wrote and played short
acts of a dramatic and episodical character. Others carried on the task
begun by Rueda until the machinery for the Spanish theatre was fairly
well prepared for the works of the great masters,--for example, the
three-act comedy had developed, first employed by Francisco de Avendaño.
Cervantes wrote a number of plays, between 1583 and 1587, but while
they were not without merit they were completely overshadowed by those
of the great writers of dramatic literature.

[Sidenote: The great masters of the Spanish theatre.]

First of the great masters, chronologically, was Lope de Vega
(1562-1635), who was also one of the most prolific writers of all time.
It is said that he wrote 1800 comedies and 400 religious, allegorical
plays (one of the leading types of the era), besides many shorter
dialogues, of which number 470 of the comedies and 50 of the plays have
survived. His writings were not less admirable than numerous, and marked
a complete break with the past. An inventive exuberance, well-sustained
agreeability and charm, skill in the management of fable and in the
depiction of character, the elevation of women to a leading place in the
dramatical plot (a feature without precedent), an instinct for
theatrical effects, intensity of emotional expression, wit, naturalness
and nobility of dialogue, and realism were the most noteworthy traits of
his compositions, together with a variety in subject-matter which
ventured into every phase of the history and contemporary customs of
Spain. His defects were traceable mainly to his facility in production,
such as a lack of plan and organization as a whole, wherefore it has
been said that he wrote scenes and not complete plays, although his best
works are not open to this charge. In the meantime, the paraphernalia of
theatrical presentation had been perfected. In 1579 the first permanent
theatre was built in Madrid, followed quickly by the erection of others
there and in the other large cities. Travelling companies staged plays
in all parts of Spain, until the theatre became popular. If Lope de Vega
profited from this situation, so also did the stage from him, for he
provided it with a vehicle which fixed it in public favor at a time when
the balance might have swung either way. The fame of Lope de Vega
eclipsed that of his contemporaries, many of whom were deserving of high
rank. In recent years one name has emerged from the crowd, that of Friar
Gabriel Téllez, better known by his pseudonym, Tirso de Molina
(1571-1658). In realism, depiction of character, profundity of ideas,
emotion, and a sense of the dramatic he was the equal and at times the
superior of Lope de Vega. The successor in fame and popularity of Lope
de Vega, however, was Pedro Calderón de la Barca (1600-1681), whose
compositions faithfully represented the devout Catholicism and chivalric
ideals (exaggerating the fact) of his contemporaries. Calderón was above
all a writer of religious, allegorical plays. In the domain of the
profane his plays were too grave and rigid to adapt themselves to the
comic, and they were characterized by a certain monotony and artifice, a
substitution of allegory for realism, and an excess of brilliance and
lyrical qualities, often tinged with rhetoric and obscure classical
allusions. Not only were these three masters and a number of others
great in Spain, but also they clearly influenced the dramatic literature
of the world; it would be necessary to include most of the famous
European playwrights of the seventeenth century and some of later times
if a list were to be made of those who drew inspiration from the Spanish
theatre of the _siglo de oro_.

[Sidenote: The three types of the sixteenth century novel.]

The history of the Spanish novel in this era reduces itself to a
discussion of three leading types, those of chivalry, love, and social
customs, the last-named an outgrowth from the picaresque novel, and more
often so-called. The novel of chivalry, descendant of _Amadís de Gaula_,
was by far the most popular in the sixteenth century, having almost a
monopoly of the field. Like the reprehensible “dime novel” of recent
American life its popularity became almost a disease, resulting
occasionally in a derangement of the mental faculties of some of its
more assiduous readers. The extravagant achievements of the wandering
knights ended by proving a bore to Spanish taste, and the chivalric
novel was already dead when Cervantes attacked it in _Don Quixote_.
Meanwhile, the amatory novel had been affected by the introduction from
Italy of a pastoral basis for the story, which first appeared in the
middle of the sixteenth century and endured for about a hundred years.
This novel was based on an impossible situation, that of country
shepherds and shepherdesses who talked like people of education and
refinement. Only the high qualities of the writers were able to give it
life, which was achieved by the excellence of the descriptions, the
lyrical quality of the verse, and the beauty of the prose style. The
true Spanish novel was to develop out of the picaresque type, which
looked back to the popular _La Celestina_ of 1499. About the middle of
the sixteenth century and again just at its close there appeared two
other works, frankly picaresque, for they dealt with the life of rogues
(_pícaros_) and vagabonds. The name “picaresque” was henceforth employed
for works which did not come within the exact field of these earlier
volumes, except that they were realistic portrayals of contemporary
life. Such was the state of affairs when Cervantes appeared.

[Sidenote: Cervantes and _Don Quixote_.]

[Sidenote: The _Novelas exemplares_.]

Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra (1547-1616) had a long and varied career
before his publication of the book which was to place him at a bound in
the front rank of the literary men of all time. He was a pupil of the
Humanist Hoyos in 1568; a chamberlain of Cardinal Acquaviva at Rome in
1569; a soldier from 1570 to 1575, taking part in the battle of Lepanto;
and a captive in Algiers from 1575 to 1580. A devotee of _belles
lettres_ from youth, he produced many works between 1583 and 1602 in
poetry, the drama, and the pastoral novel, in none of which did he
attain to real eminence, though a writer of note. In 1603 he wrote the
first part of the _Quixote_, and published it in 1605. The book leaped
into immediate favor, ran through a number of editions, and was almost
at once translated, at least in part, into all the languages of western
Europe. It is easy to point out the relationship of _Don Quixote_ to the
many types of literature which had preceded it. There was the influence
of Lucian in its audacious criticism, piquancy, and jovial and
independent humor, in its satire, in fine; of Rojas’ _La Celestina_ or
of Rueda in dialogue; of Boccaccio in style, variety, freedom, and
artistic devices; of the Italian story-writers and poets of the era;
even of Homer’s _Odyssey_; and especially of the novels of chivalry.
Nevertheless, Cervantes took all this and moulded it in his own way into
something new. The case of the novel of chivalry may be taken for
purposes of illustration. While pretending to annihilate that type of
work, which was already dead, Cervantes in fact caught the epic spirit
of idealism which the novelists had wished to represent but had drowned
in a flood of extravagances and impossible happenings, raising it in
the _Quixote_ to a point of sublimity which revealed the eternal
significance in human psychology of the knightly ideal,--and all in the
genial reflection of chimerical undertakings amid the real problems of
life. On this account some have said that the _Quixote_ was the last and
the best, the perfected novel of chivalry. Withal, it was set forth in
prose of inexpressible beauty, superior to any of its models in its
depth and spontaneity, its rich abundance, its irresistibly comic force,
and its handling of conversation. The surprise occasioned by this
totally unlooked for kind of book can in part be understood when one
recalls that in the domain of the real and human, the public had had
only the three picaresque novels already alluded to, before the
appearance of _Don Quixote_. In his few remaining years of life
Cervantes added yet other works in his inimitable style, of which the
two most notable were the second part of the _Quixote_ (1615), said by
many to be superior to the first, and the _Novelas exemplares_, or Model
tales (1612-1613), a series of short stories bearing a close
relationship to the picaresque novels in their dealings with the lives
of rogues, vagabonds, and profligates, but as demonstrably different
from them as the _Quixote_ was from the novels of chivalry, especially
in that Cervantes was not satirizing, or idealizing, or even drawing a
moral concerning the life he depicted, but merely telling his tale, as
an artist and a poet. Well might he say that he was the first to write
novels in Castilian. There were many writers of fiction after him in the
era, but since the novel had reached its culminating point in its first
issue, it is natural that the art did not progress,--for it could not!

[Sidenote: Lyric and epic poetry.]

While the Spanish theatre and the Spanish novel were of world-wide
significance, furnishing models which affected the literature of other
peoples, Spanish lyric poetry had only national importance, but it has a
special interest at this time in that it was the most noteworthy
representative of the vices which were to contribute to destroy Spain’s
literary preëminence. In the first place, lyric poetry was an
importation, for the Italian lyrics overwhelmed the native product and
even imposed their form in Castilian verse. Much excellent work was
done, however, notably by Garcilaso de la Vega (1503-1536). Eminent on
another account was Luis de Argote y Góngora (1561-1627), commonly
referred to by the name of his mother, Góngora. Góngora affected to
despise popularity, declaring that he wished to write only for the
cultivated classes. To attain this end he adopted the method of
complicating the expression of his ideas, making violent departures from
the usual order of employing words (hyperbaton), and indulging in
artificial symbolism. This practice, called euphuism in English, for it
was not peculiar to Spain but became general in Europe, won undying fame
of a doubtfully desirable character for Góngora, in that it has ever
since been termed _gongorismo_ in Spanish, although the word
_culteranismo_ has also been applied. Similar to it was conceptism,
which aimed to introduce subtleties, symbols, and obscurities into the
ideas themselves. It is natural that the lyric poetry of the later
seventeenth century should have reached a state of utter decline. Epic
poetry did not prosper in this era; its function was supplied by

[Sidenote: Achievements in satire, panegyrics, and periodical

In addition to the various forms of prose writing already discussed,
there were many others, and great distinction was achieved in them by
the Spaniards of the _siglo de oro_. Among the many who might be
mentioned was Francisco de Quevedo, especially famous as a satirist and
humorist. One interesting type of literature was that of the panegyrics
of Spain in answer to the Hispanophobe works of foreigners, who based
their characterizations of Spaniards in no small degree, though not
wholly, on the exaggerated condemnation of Spain’s dealings with the
American Indians by Bartolomé de Las Casas, himself a Spanish Dominican.
The _Política indiana_ of Solórzano belongs in this class of literature,
as a refutation, though a reasoned one, of the indictment of Las Casas
and others. In addition to the already-mentioned “relations of events,”
forerunner of the modern newspaper, it is to be noted that the _Gaceta_
(Gazette), the official periodical, began to be published in the
seventeenth century. With regard to the non-Castilian parts of Spain it
need only be said that Castilian triumphed as the literary language,
although works in the vernacular continued to be published in Catalonia,
Valencia, and Majorca.

[Sidenote: Influence of Spanish intellectual achievements upon western
European thought.]

In dealing with the various phases of the _siglo de oro_ much has
already been said about the diffusion of Spanish thought in Europe and
its influence in foreign countries. Two factors tended to bring Spanish
intellectual achievements to the notice of the world. In the first
place, Spanish professors were to be found in many foreign universities,
while Jesuit teaching, very largely Spanish, profoundly affected
Catholic Europe. In the second place, Spanish works were widely read and
translated, although not equally at all times or equally in all places.
In general, Italy was the centre for the dissemination of Spanish
thought in the sixteenth century, though often by a double translation,
from Spanish to Italian and from Italian to a third tongue, and France
was the distributing point in the seventeenth century. In addition there
were the works in Latin, which were equally available to all. Spanish
philosophical writings were comparatively little read, abroad, but those
concerning theology and religion were seized upon by friend and foe,
while the offerings of the Spanish mystics were also widely translated.
An even greater diffusion fell to the lot of the works on jurisprudence,
politics, and international law, and the essential importance of Spanish
writings in geography, cosmography, natural science, and kindred
subjects has already been pointed out. The works of the historians
crossed the frontiers, though more particularly those dealing with the
Americas, together with the narratives of American travel. The power of
Spanish arms was sufficient to induce wide reading of military writings
emanating from the peninsula. Naturally, the greatest number of
translations was in the field of polite literature. Every type of the
Spanish novel found its way to other countries, and the novel of
chivalry was almost more admired, abroad, and certainly longer-lived,
than in Spain. Cervantes became a veritable cult in Germany and England,
and in this special case England became the centre for the diffusion of
Spanish genius. In like manner the great dramatists were famous in all
of Europe. While the mere knowledge by Europeans of Spanish works would
not be a sufficient basis to predicate a vital Spanish influence beyond
the peninsula, such information was a condition precedent to its
effectuation, and important modifications of western European thought
did in fact follow. It would be possible to trace this in every branch
of literature and study which has been discussed, but a number of
indications have been given already, and the task is one which does not
fall within the field of this volume. To those who actually produced an
effect should be added the names of those who deserved to do so, but who
were prevented by fortuitous circumstances from so doing; the
achievements of many of these men are only now being brought to light by
investigations in Spanish archives, and in some cases,--for example, in
that of the anthropological group of writers about the Americas,--their
works still represent contributions to universal knowledge. Toward the
close of the seventeenth century Spain’s hegemony in the world of
letters began to be supplanted by the rising power of France.

[Sidenote: Causes of the decline in Spanish intellectual productivity]

All peoples who have had their period of intellectual greatness have
sooner or later fallen from their high estate, and it was inevitable
that this should occur in the case of Spain. The decline in the
peninsula was so excessive in degree, however, that historians have
enquired whether there were not certain special causes to induce it. The
baleful effect of the Inquisition, exercising a kind of religious
censorship on all works, has usually been regarded as of the first
importance in this respect. Yet the Inquisition existed during the
period of greatness as well as in that of decadence, and to assert that
the prohibitions placed upon the expression of even such important ideas
as those having a religious bearing could dry up the native independence
and freedom of Spanish thought is to confess a lack of knowledge of
Spanish character. The Inquisition was one of a great many factors
having some influence to check production, but it was not responsible to
the degree that has been charged. The same thing is true of the
government censorship independent of the Inquisition. Another factor of
some importance was that the manifestations of the _siglo de oro_ had no
solid foundation in the education of the masses, who remained as
ignorant as in preceding centuries. If any set of causes can be singled
out from the rest, it is probable that those having to do with the
political and economic decline of the country as a whole affected, also,
the intellectual output of the country. A natural aptitude in the
Spanish people, together with the national expansion in resources and
power, had enabled them in the sixteenth century to develop an all-round
intellectual productivity, more especially of a scientific order, and
when this phase of the Golden Age was already dead, private wealth,
refinement, and tradition remained to encourage expression in the realm
of polite literature. Even this prop was removed by the end of the
seventeenth century, and the final decline became inevitable.

[Sidenote: Great era of the fine arts.]

The general conditions affecting the history of art were the same as
those already pointed out in dealing with literature. Spain produced
painters whose works were to serve as among the greatest models of all
time, and her attainments in other phases of art, if less inspiring,
were of a distinguished order. Spanish architecture, though rarely
approved by modern critics, was to become a force in the world through
its transmission to the Americas. The so-called “Mission style” of
California is nothing more than a reminiscence of the art forms of Spain
in this period and the next.

[Sidenote: Spanish Renaissance architecture.]

[Sidenote: The Herreran style.]

[Sidenote: Baroque architecture.]

A continuation of the evolution begun in the preceding era, from Gothic
to Renaissance architecture, resulted in the banishment of the former.
The Renaissance edifices were in three principal styles, which did not
succeed one another rigorously in turn, but which were mixed together,
or passed almost imperceptibly from one to another, although roughly
representing a certain chronological order. The first of these was
characterized by the predominance of Renaissance factors over those
which were more properly plateresque. The façades of San Marcos of León
and of the _ayuntamiento_ (city hall) of Seville are good examples. By
far the most noteworthy style was that of the second of this period,
called variously “Greco-Roman,” “second Renaissance,” and “Herreran”
(after Juan de Herrera, its principal exponent), and employed most
largely in the second half of the sixteenth and the first part of the
seventeenth century. The edifices of this group were noteworthy for the
attempt made in them to imitate the Roman architecture of the later
empire through the suppression of adornment and the multiplication of
flat surfaces and straight lines, achieving expression through great
size and massiveness of structure, together with the use of rich
materials. In the matter of embellishment the classical orders were
superimposed, Doric being used in the lower story, Ionic in the next,
and finally Corinthian. The pyramid capped with a ball was the favorite
style of finial, while gigantic statues were also placed in niches high
up in the façade. The whole effect was sombrely religious, often
depressingly so. The greatest example of this type of art is the
Escorial, the famous palace of Philip II, built by Juan de Herrera,
possibly the most noteworthy single edifice of Christian Spanish
architecture in existence, and certainly the most widely known. In the
reign of Philip IV there was a pronounced reaction against the sobriety
of the Herreran style, and the pendulum swung to the other extreme.
Adornment and movement of line returned, but were expressed in a most
extravagant way, as exemplified by the excessive employment of foliage
effects and by the use of broken or twisted lines which were not
structurally necessary and were not in harmony with the rest of the
edifice. Variety and richness of materials were also a leading
characteristic. This style, usually called “baroque,” also
“churrigueresque” (from Churriguera, its leading architect), has
numerous examples, of which the façade of the palace of San Telmo in
Seville may be taken as a type.

[Sidenote: Vigorous development of sculpture and the lesser arts.]

Sculpture developed into a vigorous art, though still employed mainly as
auxiliary to architecture or in religious statuary. Gothic sculpture in
both the pure and the plateresque form struggled against Italian
influences until the middle of the sixteenth century, when the latter
triumphed. Berruguete, Montañés, and Alonso Cano, the first-named
largely responsible for the just-mentioned Italian victory and the two
latter flourishing in the time of Philip IV, were the leading names of
the era. A peculiarity of the Spanish sculptors was that they worked in
wood, being especially noteworthy for the images (many crucifixions
among them) which they made. The realism of the image-makers saved
Spanish sculpture from the contamination of baroque art, which took root
in other countries. The decline came, however, with the introduction
later in the seventeenth century of the practice of dressing the images,
so that only the head, hands, and feet were in fact sculptured. From
this the sculptors went on to attach false hair and other false
features, going even to the extreme of affixing human skin and finger
nails. Other factors combined with this lack of taste to bring on the
decay of the art. The excellent work in this period of the
_artesonados_, or ceilings of carved woodwork, should not pass
unnoticed. Meanwhile, work in gold, silver, iron, and bronze was
cultivated assiduously, of which the principal manifestations of a
national character were the shrines and gratings. In general, the
Renaissance influences triumphed in these arts, as also in the various
allied arts, such as the making of tapestry. The gold workers enjoyed an
expansion of output springing naturally from the surplus wealth in
secular hands, and a similar lot fell to the workers in silks and
embroideries; both industries produced materials of a high artistic
quality. In ceramic art Arabic tradition had one noteworthy survival in
the azulejos, or varnished bricks painted by hand in blue and white and
used as tiles. Renaissance factors at length appeared to change the
geometric designs, reminiscent of the Moslem past, to the more prevalent
classic forms. Aside from azulejos proper other tiles of many colors,
often gilded, were employed.

[Sidenote: Appearance of an independent Spanish school in painting.]

In the early years of this period the Italian influence on Spanish
painting held full sway. The leading factors were the Florentine school,
headed by Raphael, and the Venetian school, of which Titian was the most
prominent representative. The latter, notable for its brilliant coloring
and effects of light, was by all odds the more important of the two.
Spaniards went to Italy to study, and not a few Italian painters came to
Spain, while many works of the Italian masters, especially those of
Titian, were procured by Charles I and Philip II. Nevertheless, the
signs of a truly Spanish school began to appear about the middle of the
sixteenth century, and before the close of Philip II’s reign the era of
Spanish independence in painting and the day of the great masters were
at hand, to endure for over a century. With characteristic
individuality, Spaniards did not separate into well-defined local
schools, but displayed a great variety, even within the same group.
Still, in a general way the Andalusians may be said to have accentuated
the use of light and a warm ambient, while the Castilians followed a
more severe style, employing darker tones. All devoted themselves to the
depiction of religious subject-matter, but with no attempt at idealism;
rather, the mundane sphere of realism, though in a religious cloak,
preoccupied them, with attention, too, to expression and coloring more
than to drawing and purity of form.

[Sidenote: El Greco, first of the great masters in painting.]

[Sidenote: Ribera.]

[Sidenote: Zurbarán.]

[Sidenote: Velázquez, greatest of the masters.]

[Sidenote: Murillo.]

[Sidenote: Coello.]

[Sidenote: Other notable painters.]

The era of splendor began with Domenico Theotocopuli (1545?-1625),
better known as “El Greco.” As indicated by his name this artist was not
Spanish in origin, but Greek. The character of his works, however, was
so original and its influences were so powerful in the formation of the
Spanish school that he may truly be claimed for Spain, where he lived
and worked. He established himself at Toledo in 1577, which city is
still the best repository of his paintings. His early style was marked
by a strong Venetian manner, with warm tones, great richness, firm
drawing, and an intense sentiment of life. Toward 1581 he began to
change to a use of cold, gray, shadowy tones, and the employment of a
kind of caricature in his drawing, with long and narrow heads and
bodies. By this method, however, he was able to attain wonderful results
in portraiture. Aside from his own merits no painter so profoundly
influenced the greatest of the masters, Velázquez. Chronologically next
of the great painters was Ribera (1588-1656), called “Espagnoletto” in
Italy, where he did most of his work in the Spanish kingdom of Naples.
Naturalism, perfect technique, and the remarkable bodily energy of the
figures he depicted were the leading qualities of his work. The
diffusion of his paintings in Spain tended to make him influential in
the Spanish school, to which his individuality, as well as his birth,
entitled him to belong. Zurbarán (1598-1663) was the most rigorous of
the realists, including all the accessories in his paintings, even to
the minute details of a person’s dress. Less vigorous than Ribera he was
best in his portrayal of monks, in which subject-matter his sombrely
passive, exceedingly religious atmosphere found a suitable vehicle. He
was nevertheless a brilliant colorist. Next in point of time came Diego
Velázquez de Silva (1599-1660), greatest of Spanish masters and possibly
the greatest of all painters. Velázquez had various periods and various
styles, in all of which he produced admirable works. Unlike his
predecessors and those who succeeded him as well, he was as diverse in
subject-matter as it was possible to be, within the law, and was far
less notable for his religious works than for his many others. He
depicted for all time the court life of Philip III and Philip IV,
including the portraits of those kings and the other leading figures of
the court. Some of his greatest work appeared in these portraits, which
he knew how to fit into a setting of landscape, making the central
figure stand out in a way that no other painter has surpassed or perhaps
equalled. He also painted common people (as in his _Los borrachos_, or
Intoxicated men) and queer people (as in his paintings of dwarfs), and
drew upon mythology (as in his composition entitled “the forge of
Vulcan”) and upon contemporary wars (as witness the famous “surrender of
Breda”). Once only, during a lapse of the prohibitory law, did he paint
a nude,--the celebrated Venus of the mirror, now in London, one of the
greatest works of its kind. In many of his paintings he revealed himself
as a wonderful landscape painter. His landscapes were characterized by
the use of a pale, yet rich, pervading blue, and by effects of distance
and atmosphere. No painter is more inadequately set forth by
photography. To know Velázquez, one must see his works.[58] After
Velázquez came Murillo (1618-1682), an Andalusian, who well represented
the traits of southern Spain. His leading characteristics were a
precise, energetic drawing, fresh, harmonious coloring, and a religious
sentiment which was a remarkable combination of imaginative idealism, or
even supernaturalism, of conception with realism of figures and scenes.
His biblical characters were represented by the common people of the
streets of Seville. Few painters have more indelibly stamped their works
with their own individuality. Last of the masters was Coello
(1623?-1694), who maintained the traditions of the Spanish school,
though under strong Venetian influence, amidst a flood of baroque
paintings which had already begun to corrupt public taste. Other names
might well be included in the list of great Spanish painters in this
era, such as Pacheco, Roelas, Herrera, and especially Valdés Leal and
Alonso Cano. Indeed, it would be difficult to overestimate the
importance of the Spanish school. It is not unthinkable that a list of
the ten greatest painters in the history of the world would include the
names of Velázquez, El Greco, and Murillo, with a place reserved for
Goya (of the eighteenth century), and with the claims of Ribera
deserving consideration.

[Sidenote: Noteworthy character of Spanish music.]

Spanish music, though not so important in the history of the world as
that of Italy or Germany, had a notable development in this period, and
displayed an individuality which distinguished it from that of other
lands. For the first time it came into a place of its own, apart from
recitation or the merely technical presentation of medieval church
ceremonial, and was characterized by a certain expressiveness,
approaching sentimentality and having a flavor which has led many to
assert that its roots were to be found in the song and dance of Spanish
Moslems. To be sure, the influence of Italy was greatest at this time.
The _siglo de oro_ in Spanish music was the sixteenth century, in the
time of the four great composers of the era, Morales, Guerrero, Cabezón,
and Victoria. The greatest works were in the field of religious music,
in which various parts were sung to the accompaniment of the organ.
Music of the court occupied a half-way post between church and popular
music, displaying a combination of both elements, with song to the
accompaniment of the viola, which filled the rôle of the modern piano.
At the close of the sixteenth century the viola was replaced by the
guitar, which became the national instrument of Spain. Popular music
found its fullest expression in the theatre. It got to be the fashion
for the entire company to sing as a preliminary to the play, to the
music of the viola, the harp, or the violin. This song had no necessary
connection with the play, but song in dialogue soon began to be employed
as an integral part of one-act pieces of what might be termed a
vaudeville type. In the seventeenth century, song invaded the legitimate
stage, and some operas were sung in which the dialogue was entirely in
music or else alternated with recitation. The last-named type, the
_zarzuela_, became particularly popular. Unfortunately, none of the
examples of this music which would have been most interesting, such as
that employed in the _zarzuelas_ of Lope de Vega and the other masters,
has survived. Its true character therefore remains unknown, although its
use in theatrical representation is an important fact in the history of
the art.



[Sidenote: Basis and consequences of Spanish reforms of the eighteenth

The eighteenth century in Spain was of intense import as affecting the
ultimate interests of the Americas. It was an era of regeneration, of a
somewhat remarkable recovery from the decadent state which Spain had
reached by the time of the reign of the last Hapsburg monarch. It was
accompanied, however, by Spain’s engaging in a series of wars, due in
some cases to unwise ambitions of an imperialistic character in European
affairs and in others to unavoidable necessity as a result of the
aggressions of foreign powers. It was a period when international
morality with its attendant diplomatic intrigue and unprovoked attacks
was in a low state, and Spain was often a sufferer thereby; indeed, many
interesting parallels might be drawn between European diplomatic
practices in the eighteenth century and those of William II of Germany
in the twentieth. England, Austria, and France were at various times the
opponents of Spain, but the first-named gradually emerged as the most
persistent, aggressive, and dangerous of her enemies. If the prospects
of wars were the principal motive force which induced the life-giving
reforms,--so that Spain might acquire wealth and efficiency which could
be converted into military strength,--the wars themselves tended to
increase the needs of the state. Thus in the case of the Americas the
very improvements which were introduced were to contribute to bring
about the eventual separation of Spain from her colonies, in the first
place because they occasioned a development in resources and capacity
which gave prospects of success when the revolts should come, and in the
second because Spain drew too heavily upon the colonies in promoting
European objects without giving an adequate return, wherefore discontent
was fostered. Nevertheless, her efforts were at least to have the merit
of saving those colonies to themselves, thus conserving the influence of
Spanish-speaking peoples in the world, with indirect effects on the
history of the United States.

[Sidenote: Causes of the War of the Spanish Succession.]

With the exception of Austria, whose candidate for the Spanish throne,
the Archduke Charles, was unwilling to recognize the validity of the
document which had chosen the grandson of Louis XIV, the European
nations were disposed to view the accession of Philip V (1700-1746) with
favor, especially since the French monarch consented to the conditions
imposed in the will of Charles II that the crowns of France and Spain
should be independent and never be united in a single person. This
seemed to insure a maintenance of the equilibrium in Europe almost more
certainly than the crowning of the Archduke Charles would have done,
wherefore most of the powers recognized Philip V. It was at this time
that the autocratic Louis XIV, whose many victorious wars had given him
an undue confidence, made one of the serious mistakes of his life. In
certain formal letters he recognized in Philip V such rights of
succession to the French throne as he would ordinarily have had but for
the terms of his acquisition of Spain, and caused these documents to be
recorded before the Parlement of Paris. Other events also tended to show
that Louis XIV meant to dispose of Spain as if that country belonged to
him. When he presented the Spanish ambassador at Versailles to Philip V
the Castilian envoy exclaimed: “God be praised! The Pyrenees have
disappeared! Now we are all one!” This remark was indicative of the
opinions which by that time had become current. This new element in the
situation, together with certain other impolitic acts of the French king
against the interests of England and the Protestant Netherlands, caused
the countries just named to join with Austria and the Holy Roman Empire
in 1701 in an alliance for a war against Louis XIV and Philip V. Austria
wished to acquire the crown of Spain for the archduke, while the
English and the Dutch were primarily desirous of avoiding a
Franco-Spanish union, wherefore they insisted on the dethronement of
Philip V, accepting the pretensions of Charles. England was particularly
inspired by a fear that her commerce and expansion in the new world
would be prejudiced, or even crushed, by the joint power of France and
Spain. Furthermore, the profits of contraband trade with the Spanish
colonies were likely to be cut off under the energetic rule of the king
of France, then the most powerful monarch in Europe, and direct
indications to that effect occurred in 1701, when the _asiento_
(contract), or right to introduce negro slaves into America, was granted
to a French company and several South American ports were occupied by
French ships.

[Sidenote: The war in Spain.]

[Sidenote: The Catalan espousal of the archduke’s cause.]

[Sidenote: The capture of Gibraltar by the English.]

[Sidenote: Events leading to peace.]

The War of the Spanish Succession, as the great conflict beginning
actively in 1702 has been called, had Spain as one of its principal
battle-grounds, since both Philip V and the archduke were there. The
struggle was one of great vicissitudes, as evidenced by the number of
times Madrid itself changed hands. Most of the people in the peninsula
favored Philip V, but the Catalans early displayed a tendency toward the
other side. Their resentment over the injuries received at the hands of
their French allies in the revolt of 1640 had not yet cooled, and they
especially objected to being governed by a king who represented the
absolutist ideals of the French Bourbons, for it was logical to expect
that it might mean a danger to their much cherished _fueros_, or
charters. Certain conflicts with royal officials seemed to indicate that
the government of Philip V intended to insist on the omnipotence of its
authority, thus increasing the discontent, to which was added the
encouragement to revolt arising from the greatness of the forces aligned
against the Bourbons, for in addition to the powers already mentioned
Savoy and Portugal had cast in their lot in 1703 and 1704. An allied
attempt of 1704 to land in Catalonia having proved a failure the Bourbon
officers employed rigorous measures to punish those Catalans who had
aided in the movement. The principal effect was to rouse indignation to
such a point that in 1705 a determined outbreak took place. Henceforth,
Catalonia could be counted on the side of the allies. In the same year
an alliance was contracted with the English, who made promises to the
Catalans which they were going to be far from fulfilling. Meanwhile, the
allied failure to get a foothold in Catalonia in 1704 had been
compensated by an incident of that campaign which was to be one of the
most important events of the war. On its way south from Catalonia in
that year the English squadron, under the command of Admiral Rooke,
seized Gibraltar, which happened to be poorly defended at the time.
Numerous attempts were made to recover it, but neither then nor since
were the Spaniards able to wrest this guardian of the strait from
English hands. In 1708 the island of Minorca was captured, to remain in
the possession of England for nearly a century. In 1711 the Holy Roman
Emperor died, as a result of which the archduke ascended the imperial
throne as the Emperor Charles VI. This event proved to be decisive as
affecting the war, for it made the candidacy of Charles for the Spanish
crown almost as unwelcome as had been the earlier prospect of a
Franco-Spanish union. Other factors contributed to make the former
archduke’s allies desirous of peace, chief of which was that Louis XIV
had been so thoroughly beaten that there was no longer any danger of his
insisting on the rights of Philip V to the crown of France.

[Sidenote: The peace of Utrecht.]

[Sidenote: Abandonment of the Catalans by the allies.]

England (in which country a new government representing the mercantile
classes and the party of peace had just come into power) took the lead
among the allies in peace negotiations, and was soon followed by all the
parties engaged, except Charles VI and a few of the German princes.
Between 1711 and 1714 a series of treaties was arranged, of which the
principal one was that of Utrecht in 1713. As concerned Spain the most
noteworthy provisions were: Philip V’s renunciation for himself and his
heirs of any claim to the French throne; the cession of Gibraltar and
Minorca to England; the grant of the negro slave-trade _asiento_ in the
Americas to the English, together with accompanying rights which made
this phase of the treaties a veritable entering wedge for English
commerce in the Spanish colonies; and the surrender of the Catholic
Netherlands, Milan, Naples, and Sardinia to Austria, and of Sicily to
Savoy. In 1720 Austria and Savoy exchanged the two islands which had
fallen to their lot, and the latter took on the official title of the
kingdom of Sardinia. On the above-named conditions Philip V was allowed
to retain the Spanish dominions of the peninsula and of the Americas. If
Spain could have but known it, the treaties were altogether favorable to
her, but ambition was to undo their beneficial effects. One troublesome
point in the various peace conferences was the so-called case of the
Catalans. It had been generally believed that England in accordance with
her earlier treaty with the Catalans would insist on the preservation of
the much mooted _fueros_ and that Philip V would make the concession, as
had Philip IV before him. Philip V showed himself to be obstinate on
this point, for, not once, but several times, he positively refused to
yield. Furthermore, the English government, desirous of peace, the
prospective advantages of which for England were already clear,
repeatedly charged its ambassadors not to hold out for the Catalan
_fueros_. Some attempts to secure them were made, but when they failed
to overcome the persistent objections of Philip V provision was made for
a general amnesty to the Catalans, who were to enjoy the same rights as
the inhabitants of Castile. The rights of Castilians, however, together
with the duties which were implied, were precisely what the Catalans did
not want. The conduct of Charles VI was equally unmoral. He did, indeed,
make repeated attempts to save the _fueros_, and declared that he would
never abandon the Catalans. Yet he signed a convention withdrawing his
troops from Catalonia, and left the people of that land to their fate.
The latter were not disposed to yield without a struggle, and sustained
a war against Philip V for more than a year. The fall of Barcelona in
1714 put an end to the unequal conflict.

[Sidenote: The French influence in Spain during the War of the Spanish

[Sidenote: Madame des Ursins.]

[Sidenote: Instances of resistance by Philip V to domination by Louis

One of the interesting factors of the era of the war was that of the
French influence in Spain, which was to have a pronounced effect on the
internal development of the country, and, by extension, on that of the
colonies. Philip V was seventeen years of age when he ascended the
throne, but, though he many times proved his valor in battle, he was in
other respects a weak and irresolute character, without striking virtues
or defects, fond of hunting, and exceedingly devout,--in fine, of a type
such that he was inevitably bound to be led by others. These traits
fitted in with the policies of Louis XIV, who fully intended to direct
the affairs of Spain in his own interest. He charged Philip V never to
forget that he was a Frenchman, and, indeed, with the exceptions
presently to be noted, Philip was quite ready to submit to the will of
his grandfather. From the first, Louis XIV surrounded the Spanish king
with French councillors, some of whom occupied honorary positions only,
while others filled important posts in the government of Spain, and
still others, notably the French ambassadors and French generals,
exercised actual authority without having any official connection with
the country. One of the most important of all was Madame des Ursins,
maid of honor to the queen, sent to Spain by Louis XIV because as the
widow of the Duke of Braciano, a Spanish grandee, she was familiar with
the customs of the country. This lady won the complete confidence of the
queen, who in turn was able to dominate her husband. It may be said for
Madame des Ursins that she was faithful to the interests of the Spanish
monarchs, though promoting the entry of French influences, at that time
much to be desired in Spain. Indeed, she not infrequently sided with
Philip V against the wishes of Louis XIV, which on one occasion led to
her recall by the French monarch. Finding, however, that he could not
control Spanish affairs without her aid, Louis allowed her to return to
Spain. Despite the enormous pressure exercised against him in favor of
France, Philip V occasionally rebelled. One instance of his obstinacy
has already been cited respecting the case of the Catalan _fueros_. A
more important issue arose out of the presumptions of Louis XIV to
dispose of Philip’s crown, as an avenue of escape for himself. In every
year from 1706 to 1712 Louis XIV endeavored to sacrifice the interests
of Spain or of Philip V in order to propitiate the allies into a grant
of peace. In particular he was desirous of procuring the resignation of
Philip from the throne of Spain in favor of the House of Austria, saving
to Philip the Spanish dominions in Italy. Philip was obdurate when
suggestions were made of his abandoning Spain, and more than once, even
when the situation looked hopeless, declared his intention of dying at
the head of his troops, rather than abdicate the throne to which he felt
divinely entitled. Louis XIV was even disposed to compel him by force of
arms to acquiesce, and several times withdrew his military support, but
the Spanish king would not yield. Fortunately for Philip the allies
played into his hands by demanding too much, with the result that Louis
XIV on such occasions would renew his support of Philip. Nevertheless,
it was the urgings of Louis XIV which prevailed upon Philip to surrender
the Spanish dominions in Italy and the Low Countries as well as to
renounce his claim to the throne of France. In all of these tribulations
of the Spanish king credit should be given to María Luisa of Savoy, the
spirited young queen of Spain. Not yet fourteen at the time of her
marriage, in 1701, she at all times displayed a courage and ability
which endeared her to the Spanish people. Though her father, the Duke of
Savoy, joined the allies against France and Spain, she did not waver in
her attachment to the land of her adoption. Inspired by her the Spanish
people (except the Catalans) displayed an ardent spirit of nationalism
for the first time in history, and were loyally devoted to the king and
queen. Nevertheless, despite Spanish patriotism and Philip’s obdurate
resistance to Louis XIV’s plans concerning the peninsula, there was the
underlying truth of a profound French influence over Spain. This was
best represented by men who, like Orry and Amelot, were responsible for
far-reaching reforms, the effects of which will be discussed in the
chapters on institutions.

[Sidenote: The popular young queen, María Luisa of Savoy.]

[Sidenote: Isabel Farnesio and the resumption of a policy of imperialism
in Italy.]

Unfortunately for Philip and for Spain the queen died, early in the year
1714. A young Italian abbot named Alberoni happened to be at court in
that year and he suggested to Madame des Ursins that a certain Isabel
Farnesio (Elizabeth Farnese) of Parma would make a suitable wife for
Philip V. According to him the sweet gentleness of her character would
enable Madame des Ursins to maintain her power at the Spanish court. In
December of the same year the wedding took place. Thus did the lady who
has received the sobriquet, the “Termagant of Spain,” become the wife of
Philip V. On her first meeting with Madame des Ursins she dismissed her,
and proceeded to become herself the dominant influence near the crown.
Isabel Farnesio was in fact a woman of extraordinary energy and force of
character, besides being so attractive as to be irresistible to the weak
king, who was so violently and capriciously attached to her that he even
chastised her with blows, at times, in a kind of jealous fury.
Nevertheless, she submitted to anything, provided she could retain a
hold on her husband, for she was ambitious for her children and for
Italy, and meant to utilize Spanish power in furtherance of her aims.
Early in 1715 she procured the elevation of Alberoni (soon to become a
cardinal) to the direction of affairs in the Spanish state, as the
instrument to procure her objects. The chief tenets in her policy were
the breaking of the intimate relation with France and the recovery of
the Italian possessions, based on the twofold desire of throwing the
Austrians out of Italy (a patriotic Italian wish, possibly more
attributable to Alberoni than to the queen) and of creating
principalities for the children of her own marriage with Philip. These
aims were furthered by playing upon the wishes of Philip to recover his
rights to the French throne. Philip V had not willingly renounced his
claim at the time Louis XIV had persuaded him to do so, and many of the
events for the next few years are explained by his aspirations to obtain
that crown for himself or for one of his sons. The Italian ambitions of
Isabel Farnesio, however, were the enduring keynote of Spanish policy
for some thirty years.

[Sidenote: Diplomatic intrigue and war in the first period of the
Italian pretensions of Isabel Farnesio.]

The break with France was not long in coming. In 1715 Louis XIV died,
and, contrary to the expectations of Philip, not Philip V, but the Duke
of Orleans, whom the Spanish king regarded as a personal opponent, was
named as regent for the sickly Louis XV, who was not expected to live
very long,--though in fact he was to reign for fifty-nine years. The
breach was widened by a series of treaties between England, the
Protestant Netherlands, and France in the next two years with a view to
the execution of the treaty of Utrecht. To assure the peace of Europe it
was necessary to procure the adhesion of Philip V and Charles VI, who
alone of the parties to the War of the Spanish Succession had not made
peace with each other, although no hostilities had taken place for some
time. Such a peace did not fit in, however, with the plans of Isabel
Farnesio, and when the emperor furnished a pretext in 1717 for the
renewal of hostilities a Spanish army was suddenly dispatched to
Sardinia which overran that island. England as guarantor of the
neutrality of Italy protested, and endeavored to effect a peace between
the two contestants by an offer to Philip of Charles’ renunciation of
his claims to the Spanish crown, together with a promise of the duchies
of Parma and Tuscany and a vague suggestion of England’s willingness to
restore Gibraltar and Minorca. The English proposal was rejected, and in
1718 an expedition was sent into Sicily (then in the possession of
Savoy, although the already mentioned exchange with Austria had been
discussed). The Spaniards were received with enthusiasm, and soon had a
mastery of the island. Meanwhile, Austria entered the triple alliance,
which thereby became quadruple, on the basis of the emperor’s offers to
renounce his pretensions to the throne of Spain and to consent to the
succession of Charles, son of Isabel Farnesio and Philip V, to the
duchies of Parma, Plasencia, and Tuscany in exchange for Philip’s return
of Sicily and Sardinia and his renunciation of all dominion in Italy and
the Low Countries. These terms were offered to Philip, who refused them,
despite the English ambassador’s insinuation of his country’s
willingness to return Gibraltar and Minorca if Philip would accept.
While the British government was thus negotiating for peace through
diplomatic channels it also took steps in another way to insure Spanish
acquiescence in the allied proposals. An English fleet under Admiral
Byng was ordered to attack the Spanish fleet without previous
announcement of a warlike intent, managing the affair, if possible, so
as to cast the blame on the Spanish commander. Byng found the Spanish
fleet in Sicilian waters, destroyed it, and landed Austrian troops in
Sicily. Several months later, in December, 1718, England declared war on
Spain, which was followed in January, 1719, by a declaration of war
against Philip V on the part of France. Hopelessly outnumbered, Spain
nevertheless displayed a surprising capacity for resistance. Defeat was
inevitable, however, and late in 1719 Alberoni, whose extraordinary web
of intrigues was deemed responsible for the existing situation, was
dismissed from power, a condition exacted by the allies, and in 1720
peace was made on the basis of the earlier proposals of the quadruple
alliance. Philip was ready to comply with these terms, but the emperor
was now unwilling to grant what had been required of him. The result was
a new alliance in 1721 of England, France, and Spain, of which the most
noteworthy terms were England’s definite promise to restore Gibraltar to
Spain and an agreement for a double matrimonial alliance between the
French and Spanish courts; a Spanish princess aged three was betrothed
to Louis XV, then eleven years old, while a French princess was to marry
Philip’s eldest son, Luis. In addition the rights of Isabel’s son
Charles to the Italian duchies were reaffirmed. The marriage of Luis and
the French princess was duly celebrated in 1722, and the Spanish
princess was sent to the French court to be educated.

[Sidenote: Abdication of Philip V and reasons therefor.]

[Sidenote: Brief reign of Luis I and Philip’s resumption of the throne.]

For several years Philip had been expressing a desire to abdicate. In
January, 1724, he carried his previously announced intention into
effect, declaring that he proposed to consecrate the remainder of his
life to the service of God and the important work of maintaining his own
health. There has been much speculation as to whether these were his
real designs,--all the more so, since the ambitious queen at no time
protested against this step. Although there is no direct evidence to
that effect, it is more than probable that Philip and Isabel wanted to
be ready to take advantage of the situation which might arise if Louis
XV should die, as was expected. At any rate Philip’s eldest son was
proclaimed king, as Luis I, but the reign was of brief duration. In the
same year 1724 Luis contracted smallpox and died. As there was a
general disinclination to the succession of Philip’s second son,
Ferdinand, then a minor, the former king was asked to accept the crown
again, and despite certain compunctions he felt in the matter he at
length agreed to do so.

[Sidenote: Ripperdá and the Austrian alliance.]

The second reign of Philip V was dominated as before by the Italian
ambitions of Isabel Farnesio, with the French aspirations of the king
remaining a factor. By this time the Baron of Ripperdá, an adventurer
who had previously been the Dutch representative at the Spanish court,
had become the agent through whom Isabel hoped to achieve her ends. Few
more unconscionable liars and intriguers are recorded in history than
this audacious courtier, who was able to deceive even Isabel Farnesio.
It occurred to the queen that the vexed question of the Italian duchies
might be settled through an embassy to Vienna. Accordingly, Ripperdá was
sent, with the principal object of procuring the betrothal of two
Austrian archduchesses to Isabel’s sons, Charles and Philip. Ripperdá
found Charles VI disinclined to consent to the betrothals, but lied both
to the emperor and to Philip, telling each that the other accepted his
petitions. His deceptions would certainly have been unmasked, had it not
been for an unexpected turn in events. In 1725 the French regent,
fearful lest Louis XV might die without issue, sent back the Spanish
princess who had been betrothed to him, because she was still too young
to marry. The natural consequence was a rupture between France and
Spain, facilitating a treaty between Charles VI and Philip V. The matter
of the marriage was now secondary to the political need of support.
Charles and Philip agreed to the terms proposed to the latter in 1718 by
the quadruple alliance. In addition Philip guaranteed the Pragmatic
Sanction, whereby the succession of Charles VI’s eldest daughter to his
Austrian estates was to be secured, and gave extensive commercial
privileges to Austria, particularly to the Ostend Company of the
Catholic, or Austrian, Netherlands, enabling that company to secure
trading rights in Spain and the Americas. A defensive alliance was
arranged, one feature of which was the emperor’s agreement to use his
good offices to cause England to fulfil her promised restoration of
Gibraltar and Minorca to Spain. Finally, Charles VI definitely abandoned
his oft-repeated demand for the recognition of the Catalan _fueros_. For
his triumphs of 1725 Ripperdá was made a grandee of Spain, owing his
promotion, in part at least, to his assurance that the marriage
alliances were practically secure. He became first minister at the
Spanish court, a post which he asked for, falsely asserting that Charles
VI desired it. Such a tissue of lies could not be sustained
indefinitely. His duplicity having been discovered he lost his position
in 1726, and was imprisoned when he seemed to confess guilt by taking
refuge in the English embassy. Escaping in 1728 he went to northern
Africa, where he passed the remaining nine years of his life.

[Sidenote: The acquisition of Naples for Isabel’s son Charles.]

The Austrian treaties of 1725 were to have important consequences.
England, France, the Protestant Netherlands, Prussia, Sweden, and
Denmark immediately formed an alliance, and war seemed imminent. Spain
desired it, but Austria declined to engage, much to the resentment of
the Spanish court. Spain made a fruitless attempt to recapture
Gibraltar, however, in 1727, but consented to peace in the same year
without attaining her ends, although the definitive treaty was not
signed until 1729. One factor in the agreement was the desire of Isabel
Farnesio to avenge herself on Charles VI, not only for his failure to
join in the recent war, but also to requite his refusal to accept the
marriage projects she had proposed. Even when the emperor consented to
the attainment in 1731 of Isabel’s ambitions for her son concerning the
three duchies of northern Italy, she did not put aside her vengeful
plans. Charles of Bourbon in fact landed in Italy in that year to take
possession of the duchies. A fresh step in the plans of Isabel was the
treaty of 1733 with France, often called by analogy with the later
treaty of 1761-1762 the “first Family Compact.” The opportunity to
strike at Austria, which both France and Spain desired, was now at hand,
for Austria was in the meshes of a war over the Polish succession. Spain
declared war on Austria late in 1733, and in the next year overran
Naples and Sicily. In 1734, too, Prince Charles was brought from his
duchies to be crowned king of Naples, or the Two Sicilies. Thus had
Isabel Farnesio restored the questionably desirable Italian inheritance
to Spain, but the duchies were lost. France was ready to make peace in
1735; so she calmly offered Charles VI the three duchies in exchange for
a recognition of Spanish Charles as king of the Two Sicilies. Spain
protested, but could do nothing more than submit. These terms were
accepted in 1735, although peace was not signed until three years later.
It is interesting to note that the Catalans had not yet given up hope of
their _fueros_. A body of Catalan patriots visited England in 1736 to
ask for the fulfilment of the earlier English promise to maintain the
_fueros_, but the British government paid no attention to the petition.

[Sidenote: The War of Jenkins’ Ear.]

War was not long in making its reappearance on the Spanish horizon. For
a long time there had been various causes of dispute with England, the
most important of which arose out of the English contraband trade in the
Spanish colonies. The _asiento_ treaty had been used by English
merchants as the entering wedge for British commerce, and their
violations of the law had met with reprisals at times, especially when
English smugglers were caught by the more faithful of the Spanish
officials in the colonies. One Englishman, named Jenkins, brought home
his ear preserved in alcohol, claiming that the Spaniards had cut it
off. Such acts as this, whether of actual occurrence or not, fitted in
with English conceptions of Spanish cruelty, and furnished a pretext for
war to the rising party of British imperialists, headed by William Pitt.
Indemnities were demanded by England and agreed to by Spain, but when
the latter put in a counter-claim the British government threatened war,
which was soon declared, late in 1739. This conflict, called in English
histories the War of Jenkins’ Ear, demonstrated that the internal
reforms in Spain had not been without effect. The West Indies were the
principal field of the struggle, but Spain was able to defend
herself,--as witness the successful defence of Cartagena, which Admiral
Vernon was so sure he was going to capture that he had commemorative
medals struck off in advance. In Europe the most noteworthy events were
the Spanish attempts to capture Gibraltar and Port Mahón, Minorca, both
of which ended in failure. France soon came into the war on Spain’s
side, and the conflict became European when it merged into the great War
of the Austrian Succession (1740-1748).

[Sidenote: The War of the Austrian Succession and the acquisition of the
North Italian duchies for Isabel’s son Philip.]

The various princes of Europe had guaranteed Charles VI’s Pragmatic
Sanction one or more times, but when the emperor died, in 1740, each of
them proceeded along the line of political interest. Urged on by Isabel
Farnesio, Philip V renewed his pretensions to the duchies in northern
Italy and to other Italian territories in Austrian hands which had
formerly belonged to Spain. France, Prussia, and other states of lesser
importance also made certain claims. England’s interest lay with the
opponent of France and Spain, wherefore she joined with Austria. In a
military way the war was very nearly indecisive, and there was a general
desire for peace by the year 1746. This attitude received a fresh
impulse by the accession of Ferdinand VI to the Spanish throne in that
year, for he was a determined partisan of peace. The treaty of 1748 was
entirely favorable to Isabel Farnesio in that she obtained the duchies
of Parma, Plasencia, and Guastalla for her son Philip; Tuscany was no
longer available, having been in other hands since the agreement of
1735. The dispute with England was settled by a recognition of
commercial advantages in favor of that country, especially those growing
out of the _asiento_; two years later the _asiento_ was annulled in
exchange for a heavy payment by Spain. Meanwhile, the voyage of Anson
around the world, 1739-1742, had in fact dealt a blow to Spain in
America, revealing the Spanish secrets of the Pacific. The peace of 1748
marked the culminating point in the aspirations of Isabel Farnesio.
After more than thirty years of effort she had almost completely
attained her ends. Spain had paid the bills, with little to compensate
her except glory and at the cost of losses in the colonies, which though
not translated into cessions of territory were to have ultimate effects
to the disadvantage of Spain.

[Sidenote: Importance of the peaceful reign of Ferdinand VI.]

The reign of Ferdinand VI (1746-1759) looms little in external
narrative, because it was an era of peace, but on that very account it
was important in institutions. The achievements of Charles III were made
possible by the policies of economic regeneration which were so strongly
to the fore in the reign of Ferdinand VI. Ferdinand, who may have been
deficient enough in some respects, who took very little part himself in
affairs of government, and who displayed tendencies to melancholia and
even insanity, was firmly of the opinion that Spain needed peace, and at
a time when Europe was engaging in another great conflict, the Seven
Years’ War, he declined the overtures of both France and England, the
leading opponents in the struggle, even when accompanied by such
tempting bait as the latter’s offer of the restitution of much-desired
Gibraltar and Minorca. In 1759 he died without issue, and his
half-brother, Charles, son of Isabel Farnesio, came to the throne of
Spain, after a long experience as a ruler in Italy. Thus did the
“Termagant of Spain” achieve yet a new victory to reward her maternal
ambition,--and meanwhile the Two Sicilies were not lost to her line, for
that kingdom passed to her grandson Ferdinand, the third son of



[Sidenote: Greatness of the reign of Charles III and principal factors

Under Charles III, Spain reached the highest point she has attained
since the sixteenth century. In many respects the internal situation was
better at this time than in the great days of the _siglo de oro_, but
Spain’s relative authority in Europe was less, because of the striking
advances which had been made by the other powers. One of them, England,
was particularly dangerous, and it will be found that Spain’s foreign
policy in this reign was directed primarily toward meeting the
possibility of war with that country. Other difficulties, such as those
with Portugal and Morocco, particularly with the former, were cogent
factors because of the relations which England bore, or was believed to
bear, to them. Contrary to the impression usually to be derived from the
histories of the American Revolution, Spain was intensely hostile to
England throughout this reign. To oppose that country the Family Compact
with France was formed, and continued to be the basis of Spain’s foreign
policy, although it early became manifest that France would honor the
treaty only when it suited her purposes. In the end the policies of
Charles III were crowned with success,--not so great as Spain could have
wished, but sufficiently so to make this reign the most pleasingly
satisfactory to Spaniards of any since the days of Isabella, next to
whom Charles III has some claim to rank as the greatest Spanish monarch
of modern times. This becomes the more worthy of belief when one
investigates the sweeping character of and the success attained in the
social, political, and economic reforms of the period. These were at the
basis of Spain’s victories in European councils, for they provided the
sinews of war. Nevertheless there was one drawback. The reforms in the
Americas, following the precedent of nearly three centuries, were
undertaken more with a view to the production of revenues for Spain than
for the contented development of the colonies themselves. Spain also ran
counter to a new force in world history, which she herself was obliged
by circumstances to assist in establishing itself. The spirit of world
democracy was born with the American Revolution, and appeared in France
soon afterward. This meant that the autocratic basis of Spanish
greatness was presently to be destroyed. The success of the American
Revolution was to be related in no small degree to the loss of Spain’s
colonial empire. The failure of the French Revolution was to produce a
powerful despot who was to bring Spain, under Charles IV, to the lowest
point she had reached since the days of Charles II. Nevertheless, the
reign of Charles III is to be considered as something more than a
brilliant moment in history without ultimate effect. The internal
reforms were of permanent benefit to Spain and even to the Americas,
capable of utilization under the more democratic systems of the future.
Finally, the part played by Spain in the successful issue of the
American Revolution deserves to bulk large, even though she could not
look with sympathy upon a movement which, she clearly saw, might bring
about her own ruin.

[Sidenote: Causes of Charles III’s policy of opposition to England.]

Many writers have ascribed Charles III’s policy of opposition to England
to his hatred of that country, growing out of certain humiliations
forced upon him by an English fleet while he was king in Naples. There
is no reason to believe, however, that this feeling, if indeed it did
exist in unusual degree, dominated his political action, and in fact
Charles was always a partisan of peace; far from plunging into war he
had rather to be convinced of its necessity. There were reasons in
plenty to induce him to such a course, irrespective of any personal
spite he might have felt. Prior to the reign of Charles, Spain had
already engaged in four wars with England (1702-1713, 1718-1720,
1727-1729, 1739-1748) in the course of half a century, and at no time in
the Bourbon era had the two countries been on nearly cordial terms. The
gist of the trouble lay in the British ambition to possess the greatest
colonial empire and the richest commerce in the world. For the
realization of these aims it seemed necessary to destroy the colonial
importance of France and Spain, and any advances in wealth or military
power on the part of either of those countries was regarded as
detrimental to the imperialistic designs of England. With respect to
Spain, British contraband trade in the Americas under the cover of the
_asiento_ treaty had tended to break down the Spanish commercial
monopoly, and the annulment of the _asiento_ had not put an end to the
smuggling. While no territories in the Americas had been wrested from
Spain under the Bourbons, the previous century had recorded many
conquests by England in the Caribbean area, principal of which was that
of Jamaica, and along the Atlantic coast strip of North America, the
southern part of which had been not only claimed but also occupied by
Spain in earlier days. Meanwhile, the losses of France and the
aggressive character of English foreign policy under Pitt made it appear
that Spain might expect to be deprived of her colonies whenever the
opportunity to secure them should seem ripe to England.

[Sidenote: Continuance of England’s affronts to Spain.]

[Sidenote: The Family Compact and Spain’s entry into the Seven Years’

From the outset of the reign of Charles III there occurred many
incidents to heighten Spain’s suspicion or anger with respect to
England. The exigencies of the war with France led the English to adopt
many arbitrary measures against the as yet neutral power of Spain.
English vessels stopped Spanish ships on the high seas, claiming a right
of search, and seized many of them, often without justification in
international law; the English government occupied a bit of Spanish
territory, and did not abandon it with a good grace; and there were
instances when Spanish merchants in England were treated badly.
Meanwhile, British acts of aggression and smuggling in the Americas
continued to take place; the English placed difficulties in the way of
Spanish fishing off the coast of Newfoundland, though beyond the
territorial waters of the British domain; they founded establishments in
Honduras without authorization from Spain, and began to cut the valuable
dyewoods there; and Gibraltar and Minorca still remained in English
hands, a standing affront to Spanish pride and a danger to the
peninsula. Nevertheless, the underlying factor which influenced Spain
was the imperialism of England, backed up as it was by her vast
resources and her almost invincible navy. Charles did not wish to bring
Spain into the war, but it was clear that an overwhelming defeat for
France would be almost equally disadvantageous to Spain, who might
expect to receive the next shock from the English arms. France had
gotten much the worst of it in the Seven Years’ War when Charles III
ascended the Spanish throne, wherefore Charles endeavored to mediate
between that power and England. The British government’s arrogant
rejection of his proffer tended only to make him the more disposed to
consider an alliance with France. When, therefore, the French
authorities approached him with the proposal for an alliance he resolved
to join with them if England should refuse to meet Spain’s demands
relative to the release of captured Spanish ships, the free use of the
Newfoundland fisheries, and the abandonment of the English settlements
in Honduras. England not only refused to give satisfaction, but also
asked for an explanation of the naval preparations Spain was making.
Thereupon, Charles prepared for war. Two treaties, called jointly the
Family Compact, were made with the Bourbon king of France. The first of
these, signed in August, 1761, was a defensive alliance against such
powers as should attack either of the two crowns. The second, dated in
February, 1762, was an offensive and defensive alliance directed
specifically against England. War, meanwhile, had already been declared
in January.

[Sidenote: Spanish losses in the Seven Years’ War.]

In the ensuing campaign France and Spain were badly beaten. Manila and
Havana were taken by the English, although Spain won a notable success
in the capture of Sacramento, a Portuguese colony on the Río de la
Plata,--for Portugal had entered the war on the side of England.
Twenty-seven richly laden English boats were taken at
Sacramento,--significant of the profits which the English merchants were
making in contraband trade, using Sacramento as a base. In 1763 a peace
which was in many respects humiliating to Spain was signed at Paris.
England restored Manila and Havana, but required the cession of Florida
and all other Spanish territories east of the Mississippi; Sacramento
was returned to Portugal; Spain gave up all rights of her subjects to
fish in Newfoundland waters; questions arising out of the English
captures of Spanish ships prior to Spain’s entry into the war were to be
decided by the British courts of admiralty; and the English right to cut
dyewoods in Honduras was acknowledged, although England agreed to the
demolition of all the fortifications which British subjects might have
constructed there. France, who had lost practically all her other
colonies to England, now gave the scantily settled, ill-defined region
of French influence west of the Mississippi, all that remained of French
Louisiana, to Spain. According to the terms of the grant it was to
compensate Spain for her loss of Florida, but in fact it was in order to
ensure the continued alliance of Spain with France.

[Sidenote: Preparations for a renewal of the war.]

[Sidenote: Pretexts for war.]

[Sidenote: The Falkland Islands affair.]

The peace of 1763 was looked upon by France and Spain as a truce, for if
England had been dangerous before, she was doubly so now. France wished
revenge and the restoration of her overseas domains, while Spain’s
principal motive was a desire to save her colonies from conquest by
England. Both countries therefore bent their energies to preparations
for another war; in Spain the next decade and a half was a period of
remarkable economic reforms tending to the regeneration of the peninsula
as the basis for an army and navy. Meanwhile, steps were taken to avoid
the possibility of an English descent upon the Spanish West Indies,
which were regarded as the principal danger-point, both because of the
strength of England’s position in the Caribbean area, and because that
region was the key to the Spanish mainland colonies of the two Americas.
Pretexts for trouble were not lacking. The English dyewood cutters of
Honduras did not observe the restrictions placed upon them by the treaty
of Paris, and the British government neglected to satisfy Spain’s
complaints in that regard; the French settlers of Louisiana refused to
acknowledge their transfer to the Spanish crown, wherefore it was
necessary to employ force against them, and it was believed that
English agents had instigated them to resist; on the other hand England
repeatedly demanded the payment of a ransom which the English conquerors
of Manila had exacted from that city, but Spain refused to pay the
claim. The principal diplomatic interest down to 1771, however, was the
so-called question of the Falkland Islands (called Malouines by the
French, and Maluinas by Spaniards). This group, lying some 250 miles
east of the Strait of Magellan, seems to have been discovered by Spanish
navigators of the sixteenth century, for a description of the islands
was in the possession of the Spanish authorities at an early time. The
first English voyage to this group was that of Captain Cowley, as late
as 1686, but no claim could be made on this basis, for in 1748 England
formally recognized the rights of Spain. Not much attention was paid to
the Falklands until after the Seven Years’ War, although various
navigators visited them, but in 1763 a Spanish pilot, Mathei, made the
first of a series of voyages to these islands. In 1764 a French
expedition under Bougainville landed at one of them, and formed a
settlement, and in the next year the English captain, Biron, touched at
a place called Port Egmont by him, took formal possession for England,
applying the name Falkland to the group, and proceeded on his way to the
Pacific Ocean and around the world. Not long afterward an English
settlement was made at Port Egmont, and the governor no sooner heard of
the presence of the French than he ordered their withdrawal. Meanwhile,
the Spanish government had lodged a complaint at the French court
against the occupation of the islands by France, and an agreement was
reached, whereby the French should abandon the group and a Spanish
settlement there should be formed. This was done, and the English and
Spanish governors began mutually to demand each other’s withdrawal, the
Englishman setting a time limit of six months. The Spanish government
directed the captain-general of Buenos Aires to expel the English
settlers, and accordingly, though not until June, 1770, these orders
were carried out. When the news reached England the British Parliament
voted funds in preparation for war, and made excessive demands for
reparation for what was considered an insult to England as well as for
the restitution of the colony. Spain, in reliance upon the Family
Compact, was not inclined to avoid the issue, and matters even went so
far as the retirement of the Spanish and English ambassadors, when an
unforeseen event occurred, changing the whole aspect of affairs. This
was the fall of Choiseul, the French minister who had negotiated the
Family Compact and who was believed by Spain to be ready to bring France
into the war. It was on this occasion that Louis XV is reported to have
said “My minister wanted war, but I do not,” thus calmly disregarding
the treaty with Spain. Consequently, Spain had to yield, and in 1771 the
Spanish ambassador to London signed a declaration disapproving the
removal of the English colonists and promising to restore Port Egmont,
although without prejudice to Spain’s claim to the islands.[59]

[Sidenote: Revival of the Family Compact as a force in European

Spain might justly have abandoned the Family Compact after the Falkland
incident, and for a time that treaty did suffer a partial eclipse.
Charles III felt that in future he could count only on his own forces,
but he continued to increase and equip them, for the danger from England
was as great as ever. Self-interest inevitably brought Spain and France
together, and with the appearance of the warlike Aranda in France, late
in the year 1773, as Spanish ambassador to that court, plans with a view
to meeting the common enemy were again discussed. The death of Louis XV,
in May, 1774, brought matters still more to a head, for it resulted in a
change of ministry in France, whereby Vergennes, believed to be an
enthusiastic partisan of the Family Compact, became minister of foreign
affairs. Vergennes was in fact an ardent supporter of the Franco-Spanish
alliance, although his enthusiasm was tempered in moments of crisis by a
clear view of what most favored France, and he did not fail to see that
he might employ it as the basis for trade concessions from Spain, the
better to build up the resources of France. Nevertheless, the opinion
was general that Vergennes intended to adhere to the Family Compact, and
consequently England planned to occupy Spain with other affairs, so as
to separate her from France, or at least divert her from pursuing a
common policy with the last-named country against England. Two matters
were at hand, of which they might avail themselves: Spain’s disputes
with the sultan of Morocco; and her quarrels with Portugal over
boundaries in South America.

[Sidenote: Relations with the Moslem states of the Barbary Coast.]

The never-ending wars with the Moslems of northern Africa were inherited
from the preceding era, and continued to occupy Spanish troops and
fleets down to the reign of Charles III. In 1767 satisfactory relations
between Spain and Morocco seemed to have been reached when the latter
agreed to abandon piracy and recognized Spain’s title to her
establishments on the North African coast. Late in 1774, however, the
sultan announced that he would no longer tolerate Christian posts in his
empire, and commenced a siege of Melilla. The attack was beaten off, and
it was decided to strike what was hoped might be a decisive blow against
the dey of Algiers, the ally of the Moroccan sultan. An expedition of
some 18,000 men was prepared, and placed under the command of General
O’Reilly, reformer of the Spanish army and a man of tremendous
reputation, but in the ensuing operations before Algiers O’Reilly was
crushingly defeated with a loss of several thousand men. Rightly or
wrongly, England was believed to have instigated the Moslem rulers to
attack Spain. Years later, Charles came to an understanding with the
Moslem states of the Barbary Coast. Between 1782 and 1786 treaties were
made, whereby the rulers of those lands agreed once again to give up
piracy and also the institution of slavery, besides granting certain
religious and commercial privileges to Spaniards in their lands. This
was not the last of piracy and warfare in North Africa, however; the
former endured for another generation, and the end of the latter, even
in the restricted Spanish area, is not yet.

[Sidenote: Disputes with Portugal over boundaries in South America.]

There was a much stronger case against England with regard to Portugal,
whose exaggerated claims were supported by the British government. The
boundaries between the Spanish and Portuguese colonies in South America
had been an unending source of dispute, ever since the treaty of
Tordesillas in 1494, and the question was complicated by that of British
and Portuguese smuggling into Spain’s colonies. The principal scene of
conflict was the Portuguese post of Sacramento, founded in 1679 on the
eastern bank of the Río de la Plata. The Spanish-owned region of
Paraguay was also a field for Portuguese aggressions. Domestic animals
to the number of hundreds of thousands were driven off from the Spanish
settlements, while thousands of Indian families were captured and sold
into slavery. Ferdinand VI endeavored to solve these problems through a
treaty which he made with Portugal, in 1750, according to which Spain
acquired Sacramento in exchange for territories in the Paraguayan
region. The treaty met with the spirited opposition of leading Spanish
ministers, and with that of the Jesuit missionaries, the Indians, and
the Spanish settlers in the regions affected, and after many
vicissitudes, including a war in Paraguay, it was annulled in 1761, but
the troubles on the border continued. One of the underlying difficulties
was the ambition of Portugal. Under the direction of the Marquis of
Pombal, Portuguese minister of state, she was desirous of making
conquests in South America, for which purpose Pombal was willing to go
to any length in bad faith to achieve his end, relying upon the support
of England in case Spain should declare war. Pombal secretly directed
the Portuguese officials in the Sacramento region to seize desirable
Spanish territories, and when reports of these captures came to Europe
pretended that they were false, or that they were nothing more than
inconsequential affrays between the Spanish and Portuguese soldiery. He
promised to order his troops to desist from such actions, and asked
Charles III to do the same. The Spanish king complied with his wishes,
while Pombal on the contrary continued to give orders for hostilities
and to send reinforcements, hoping that the Portuguese might secure
posts from which it would be impossible to dislodge them by the time his
duplicity should be found out. Not only did he deceive Charles III for
a while, but he also misled the English ministers, pretending that
Portugal was a victim of Spanish ambition when the facts were quite the
contrary. England supported Pombal with vigorous diplomatic action. By
the close of the year 1775, however, England was so busily engaged in
the disputes with her own colonies that she was far from desiring a war
in Europe. The British Cabinet announced that it would take no part in
the quarrel between Spain and Portugal, provided Charles III should make
no attempts on the territorial integrity of Portugal and Brazil. Pombal
now made peaceful overtures to Charles III, hoping to delay the sending
of Spanish troops to South America, but the proofs of Pombal’s perfidy
were by this time so clear that the king of Spain would not trust him.
In fact, a Portuguese fleet in South America attacked the Spanish fleet,
in February, 1776, and shortly afterward the Portuguese captured the
Spanish post of Santa Tecla. In November a Spanish expedition left
Cádiz, and on arrival in South America put a check to the Portuguese
aggressions, and captured Sacramento. Fortune played into Spain’s hands
in another respect when María Victoria, sister of Charles III, became
regent of Portugal on the death of the king in 1777. This occasioned the
dismissal of Pombal, and in October of that year a treaty was arranged
between Spain and Portugal entirely favorable to the former. The
much-disputed Sacramento colony was awarded to Spain, while Paraguay was
retained. This treaty, supplemented by another in 1778, put an end,
after nearly three centuries, to the disputes between Spain and Portugal
with regard to their American boundaries.

[Sidenote: Disputes of England with her American colonies as a factor in
Spain’s foreign policy.]

In the midst of Spain’s preparations for a war against England there
loomed up a new factor, the troubles between England and her American
colonies. Down to 1774 Spain had proceeded without reference to these
disputes, ardently desirous of war whenever France should be ready,
although Charles III himself was conservative with regard to a
declaration. Until late in the year 1774 France and Spain, together with
most Englishmen, believed that the colonial situation was merely a Whig
device against the Tories. The first inkling of the seriousness of the
situation seems to have come in a report of the French ambassador, in
June, 1774, quoting a remark of the British minister, Lord Rochford,
that the Boston rioters were descendants of Cromwell’s Puritans,
implying that they would fight. Both France and Spain welcomed the news,
believing that it would keep England engaged until the Bourbon powers
could get ready to strike. In December, 1774, Garnier, the French
_chargé d’affaires_ in London, had become convinced that the American
dispute was the most important event in English history since the
revolution of 1688, and he suggested that France should give secret aid
to the Americans. In January, 1775, he reported that an army of 9000 men
was being sent to the colonies, and sounded a warning lest they make a
descent upon the French West Indies, whether in the flush of victory, or
in order to gain a recompense in case of defeat. The Spanish court was
informed of this opinion, and in March, 1775, received a similar message
from Escarano, the Spanish minister in London, who stated that England
had 11,736 soldiers in America (a great force as colonial armies went)
and could easily attack Spain’s possessions, both because they were
near, and because the British had so many transports at hand. He was of
the opinion that England could not defeat America with her “three
million souls, guided by the enthusiasm of liberty, and accustomed to
live in a kind of independence,” a people “who had given so many proofs
of valor.” The danger of a return to power of William Pitt, the
imperialist, now Lord Chatham, was also alluded to. Spain at once
consulted with France whether it would not be advisable to break with
England immediately, but Vergennes was not ready. So the matter was
dropped, although a remark attributed to Lord Rochford that the
Americans could be won back to allegiance by an English declaration of
war against France did not tend to allay the Bourbon feeling of

[Sidenote: Disadvantages to Spain of a victory by either the United
States or England and effect on Spain’s policy.]

At about this time the Spanish authorities began to be impressed by the
idea, first expressed by Aranda in July, 1775, that the American
outbreak would endanger Spain’s colonial empire. According to Aranda an
independent America would be a menace, as her population was increasing,
and consequently she needed lands, which she would be apt to seek in a
region with a temperate climate like New Spain, rather than by expansion
northward. Thus the Anglo-Americans might eventually dominate North
America, or help Spain’s colonies to become independent. On the other
hand, if England should defeat the colonists, the latter would join with
her in her wars as in the past, and the danger would be equally great.
Thus Spain seemed to be between two horns of the dilemma. Up to this
time she had been ready for a declaration of war whenever France should
announce her willingness. Henceforth there was a more conservative note
in Spain’s attitude, while France, who had everything to gain and
nothing to lose, threw off her former conservatism and became
increasingly enthusiastic. Up to the close of the year 1776, however,
Spain still leaned toward war, and France remained undecided as to the
moment to strike. During this period Spain was influenced largely by the
question with Portugal. In September, 1776, Vergennes informed Aranda
that in his opinion the war ought soon to be begun, before England
herself should declare it and make an attack on France and Spain.
Spain’s attitude was expressed by Grimaldi, the Spanish minister of
state, in a letter to Aranda in October. The war was inevitable, he
said, and it would be an advantage to begin it several months before
England was ready to undertake it. Spain would leave it to the decision
of France whether the declaration should be made at once. Incidentally,
Spain hoped to conquer Portugal in course of the war. This frank
statement found Vergennes less enthusiastic. Moreover, he objected to
Spain’s designs on Portugal, lest other European powers should be
unfavorable to them. Once again the matter was dropped. Some of the
higher Spanish officials were disappointed over these continued refusals
by France, but Charles III said that for his part he believed the right
moment had not come. Meanwhile, since June, 1776, Spain had been aiding
the Americans secretly with money, arms, and ammunition, much of which
was made available through shipment to New Orleans by way of Havana,
and thence to destination. Nevertheless, Vergennes’ refusal, in
November, to begin the war marked the turning point in the attitude of
both France and Spain. The disadvantages, henceforth, loomed larger and
larger in the eyes of Spain, while the successful resistance of the
Americans to England made the way more and more easy for France.

[Sidenote: Spain’s divergence from France over the American Revolution.]

The new attitude of Spain was represented by both Charles III and
Floridablanca, who succeeded Grimaldi early in 1777. According to
Floridablanca the most immediate advantages which Spain might hope to
gain from the war were the recovery of Florida and the expulsion of the
English from Honduras. War ought not to be declared, however, until both
France and Spain should have considerable forces in the West Indies.
Furthermore, if the rebellious English colonies should establish their
independence, Spain ought to contrive to keep them divided in interests,
so that there might not grow up a formidable power near Spanish America.
Clearly there was no enthusiasm in Spanish governmental circles on
behalf of the Americans. This appears also from the cold reception
accorded Arthur Lee, the American representative, who at about this time
arrived in Spain, but was not received by the Spanish court. The breach
between the respective courses of France and Spain was still further
widened as a result of Burgoyne’s surrender to the Americans at
Saratoga. The British government began to make offers with a view to
conciliating the colonists. France acted quickly to prevent it, for it
was believed that a reconciliation would mean a loss of the commercial
favors France hoped to get and perhaps a war with England in which the
colonies would join on the English side. In December, 1777, therefore,
France declared herself ready to enter into a treaty of commerce and
alliance with the American government, specifically stating that her
willingness was due partially to a desire to diminish the power of
England by separating her from her colonies. In February, 1778, a treaty
was signed. All of this was done, in violation of the spirit of the
Family Compact, without any official notification to Spain. Spain’s
opinion of this procedure was voiced by Floridablanca, who recommended
to Charles III that Spain should continue her preparations, as if war
were inevitable, but should avoid a declaration as long as possible, for
under existing circumstances, one of which was the inconstancy of
Spain’s allies, the war could not result favorably for Spain.
Henceforth, Spain pursued an independent policy. The English government
was informed that Spain’s attitude would depend upon England; Spain
neither wished war nor feared it. France, meanwhile, had entered the

[Sidenote: Failure of mediation and Spain’s entry into the war.]

Charles III now began to attempt the part of a mediator, in hopes that
he might get Gibraltar and Minorca as the price for bringing about
peace. In May, 1778, Escarano suggested to Lord Weymouth, a member of
the British ministry, that Gibraltar would be a fair equivalent for
Spain’s services, but was told that the price was too high, and that
affairs had probably gone beyond the point where mediation would serve;
England wanted no more from Spain than that she remain neutral. In
making this reply Lord Weymouth rather brusquely thanked Charles III for
the magnanimity of his offer,--a type of answer which was not calculated
to be pleasing to the Spanish ear, as Floridablanca very plainly
intimated to the English ambassador. To add to Spain’s displeasure
England’s conduct on the sea gave cause for complaint. Nevertheless,
Charles still hoped to serve as arbitrator,--all the more so, when news
came of French naval victories over the English. He prevailed upon Louis
XVI to submit the terms upon which he would make peace. The conditions,
which included an acknowledgment of American independence and the recall
of England’s land and sea forces, were presented to Lord Weymouth, who
haughtily rejected them. Late in the same year, 1778, Spain’s proposal
of a twenty-five or thirty year truce between England and her colonies
was also rejected. Nothing could exceed the patience of Charles III, who
then offered Weymouth an indefinite armistice, to be guaranteed by a
general disarmament. Again the Spanish king’s proposals were arrogantly
rejected. To make matters worse, England had delayed her reply from
January to March, 1779, and her ships had continued to attack those of
Spain. On April 3, Charles renewed his offer of a suspension of
hostilities, this time in the form of an ultimatum. England did not
answer for nearly two months, and in the meantime, seeing that war was
inevitable, planned attacks on the Spanish colonies. On May 28 the
ultimatum was rejected, and on June 23 war was declared.

[Sidenote: The war with England and its favorable issue.]

Spain was well prepared for the war, besides which the favorable state
of her relations with Portugal, and indeed with other countries, was a
source of strength. France and Spain planned an invasion of England
which did not materialize, but it did cause the retention of the English
fleet in British waters and a diminution in the military forces sent to
America,--a factor in the American war not to be overlooked. The
attempts to retake Gibraltar were unsuccessful, but in 1782 Minorca fell
into Spanish hands. In America, Florida was reconquered from the
British, the establishments in Honduras were taken, and the English were
expelled from the Bahama Islands of the West Indies. Meanwhile, England
displayed great eagerness to remove Spain from the list of her enemies.
Late in 1779 she offered to restore Gibraltar for the price of Spanish
neutrality, and to add Florida and the right to fish in Newfoundland
waters if Spain would aid her against the United States. Not only this
time but also on two other occasions when England endeavored to treat
separately with Spain her offers were rejected, even though they
embodied favorable terms for withdrawal from the war. In an age when
international faith was not very sacred, Spain preferred to remain true
to France, with whom she had renewed her alliance, although to be sure
England’s promises never equalled Spain’s hopes. It is also interesting
to note, not only that the Americans had a representative in Spain (John
Jay), but also that there were agents of Spain in the United States
(Miralles and Rendón), besides which Bernardo de Gálvez, the conqueror
of Florida, had dealings with American agents at New Orleans. The
general relations of the two governments cannot be said to have been
cordial, however, and at no time was there anything approaching a
veritable alliance; Bourbon Spain could not possibly approve of the
democratic United States. By the treaty of 1783, which ended the war,
Spain got Florida and Minorca, and limited the dyewood privileges of the
English in Honduras to a term of years. On the other hand Spain restored
the Bahamas to England. An interesting period of relations between Spain
and the United States, having to do primarily with the regions of the
lower Mississippi valley, began in the closing years of the reign of
Charles III, but the story belongs rather to the colonial side of the
history of Spain.

[Sidenote: Death of Charles III.]

In December, 1788, Charles III died. As will be made more clear in the
chapters dealing with institutions, he had brought Spain forward to the
position of a first rank power again,--even though her enjoyment of that
high station was to be of brief duration.



[Sidenote: Dominating character of relations with France and their
effects upon Spain]

IF the reign of Charles III, despite the close union of the Bourbon
crowns, had been characterized mainly in its external manifestations by
the hostility of Spain to England, that of Charles IV (1788-1808) was
dominated by relations with France. Unaffected for a while by the
principles underlying the French Revolution, Spain was toppled from her
position as a first-rate power by the Emperor Napoleon, whose designs
for world power and whose methods in seeking it were not unlike those
followed over a century later by William II of Germany. Meanwhile, the
ideas of the American and the French revolutions were permeating the
Spanish colonies, and as the wars with England continued during much of
this reign, shutting off effective communication between the colonies
and Spain, a chance was offered for putting them into effect in the new
world. The way was well prepared in the reign of Charles IV, though the
outbreak was postponed until after his fall. The blow struck by Napoleon
was not without its compensations, which in the long run may be
considered to have outweighed the loss of prestige. Napoleon, quite
without intention, gave Spain an impulse to national feeling, in the
uprising against French domination, which was greater than any she had
formerly experienced, and of sufficient force to endure to the present
day. In the same roundabout way Napoleon gave the Spain of the _Dos de
Mayo_, or Second of May (the date of the revolt against Napoleon, and
the national holiday of Spain), her first opportunity to imbibe
democratic ideas.

[Sidenote: The Nootka affair and the virtual repudiation of the Family

To cope with the great forces of the French Revolution and the
Napoleonic Empire, Spain had to rely on the leadership of the weak,
timid, vacillating Charles IV. His predecessor had left him a legacy of
able ministers, but these were not long sustained by the king. At the
outset Floridablanca still ruled as first minister of state. He was
liberal-minded as concerned social and economic institutions, but was
profoundly royalist in his political ideas and an enemy of anything
which represented a diminution in the prerogatives of the crown. He was
alarmed by the ideas which were being spread broadcast in France, and
took steps to prevent their introduction into Spain, becoming recognized
as an opponent of the French Revolution. In the midst of this situation,
there occurred the Nootka affair, which obliged him for a time to change
his policy. A Spanish voyage of 1789 to the northwest coast of North
America had resulted in the discovery and capture of two English ships
at Nootka, on the western shore of Vancouver Island. Floridablanca
informed the English government of this event, in January, 1790,
complaining of the frequent usurpations of Spanish colonial territories
by British subjects, and asking for the recognition of Spain’s ownership
of Nootka, which had been discovered by a Spanish voyage of 1774. What
followed was very nearly a duplicate of the Falkland incident, twenty
years before. England claimed that the British flag had been insulted,
and demanded satisfaction, which Floridablanca refused to give, as it
involved the acknowledgment of a doubt concerning Spain’s ownership of
Nootka. War seemed imminent, and the French government was invoked to
stand by the Family Compact. The National Assembly, then in actual
control in France, acknowledged the obligation, but attached conditions
(having to do with the revolution) to their willingness to declare
war,--with the result that Charles IV and Floridablanca decided that it
was better to avoid a rupture with England. A series of three treaties,
from 1790 to 1794, arranged for the payment of an indemnity by Spain,
and among other matters agreed that the ships of both nations should
have a right to sail the waters and make landings freely in regions not
already settled by either power. In effect, therefore, the lands north
of the Spanish settlements were thrown open to the entry of England.
These treaties had a significance which was wider than that of the
matters directly involved. They marked a new spirit in the direction of
colonial affairs. In the early years of the conquest Spain had played an
aggressive part, followed soon by the adoption of what might be termed
an aggressive defensive, or a willingness to fight for the retention of
what she had, leading also to further conquests in order to ward off
foreign attack. The Nootka affair was the beginning of a spiritless,
waiting kind of defensive, the inevitable outcome of which was

[Sidenote: Floridablanca and Spanish opposition to the French

The Nootka treaties left Spain free, however, to stand in opposition to
the French Revolution. Louis XVI of France had written secretly to
Charles IV, in 1789, that he had been compelled to agree to measures of
which he did not approve. Other European monarchs were also acquainted
with the perils of Louis XVI’s position, and in the general interests of
kingship, all desired to save him, although in the case of Spain there
was the strong bond of family ties as well. In 1790 Floridablanca
directed a note to the French Assembly requesting greater freedom of
action for Louis XVI, making thinly veiled threats in case of a refusal
to comply. This action only served to enrage the French government. In
1791 Floridablanca ordered the taking of a census of all foreigners in
Spain, about half of whom were Frenchmen, compelling them to swear
allegiance to the king, the laws, and the religion of the peninsula. A
subsequent order prohibited the entry of any literature of a
revolutionary bearing, even going so far as to forbid foreigners to
receive letters. When Louis XVI accepted the constitution of 1791
Floridablanca announced that Charles IV refused to recognize that the
French king had signed the document of his own free will, and asked that
Louis XVI and his family be allowed to go to a neutral land, threatening
war if the French government should fail to accede to Charles’ wishes.
Here was a direct challenge to the revolution, but instead of accepting
the gauntlet France sent an agent to Spain who was able to persuade
Charles IV that Floridablanca’s policy was in fact contributing to the
dangerous position of Louis XVI. Floridablanca was therefore relieved
from power early in 1792, and Aranda became first minister in Spain.

[Sidenote: Brief ministry of Aranda.]

Aranda, who sympathized to some extent with the revolutionary ideas,
placed the relations with France on a more cordial basis, although
without relinquishing the efforts which were being made in company with
other European sovereigns to save Louis XVI. When the news came of the
revolutionary excesses of the summer of 1792 Aranda, who had not
expected such a turn of affairs, became more stern, and began to
consider the advisability of joint military action with Austria,
Prussia, and Sardinia. Meanwhile, the French government demanded the
alliance of Spain or offered the alternative of war. Induced in part by
a doubt with regard to the best policy to pursue for the sake of Louis
XVI, Spain hesitated, and suggested a treaty of neutrality. France
imposed conditions which it was impossible for Spain to accept, among
them the recognition of the French Republic, which had just been
proclaimed. Before Aranda could meet the problem in a decisive manner he
was dispossessed of his post as the result of a palace plot in favor of
Manuel Godoy.

[Sidenote: Godoy and the significance of his relations with the queen.]

At the time of his accession to the headship of the Spanish ministry in
1792 Godoy was a mere youth, twenty-five years of age. Formerly a
soldier of the royal guard, he had been selected by Charles IV with the
specific idea of training him to be his leading minister, for the king
believed that the plebeian Godoy would, out of necessity, be devotedly
attached to the royal interests. The queen, María Luisa, was influential
in the choice of Godoy, for there is little doubt that she was already
the mistress of this upstart youth. Godoy’s abilities have perhaps been
condemned too harshly. He was a man of ambition and some talent, and had
studied assiduously to fit himself for his eventual post. Nevertheless,
his sudden rise to high rank in the nobility (for he had been made Duke
of Alcudia) and in political office, together with the notoriety of his
relations with the queen, caused an indignation in Spain which was to
result in the forming of a party opposed to him,--a group which the
enemies of Spain were able to manipulate to advantage.

[Sidenote: War with France and the treaty of Basle.]

[Sidenote: Difficulties with England and alliance with France.]

Godoy continued the efforts of his predecessors to save Louis XVI,
without more success than they, and when he declined to accede to the
conditions imposed by the French Convention, then ruling in France, that
body early in 1793 declared war on Spain. The war against France was
joined by most of the countries of western Europe. One by one, however,
the continental princes fell away, and urged Spain to do the same. The
war itself, so far as Spain was concerned, was not decisive either way,
although France had a little the better of it. In 1795 negotiations were
undertaken which resulted in the treaty of Basle. The Pyrenean boundary
was maintained, but Spain ceded that portion of the island of Hayti, or
Santo Domingo, which still belonged to her, thus acknowledging the
French title to the whole island.[60] The government of England, with
which Spain had allied for the war with France, was exceedingly annoyed
by Spain’s acceptance of peace, and very soon began to act in a
threatening manner. Even as an ally in the recent war England had not
been altogether cordial toward Spain. On one occasion a Spanish treasure
ship which had been captured by the French was retaken by the English,
and retained as a prize; Englishmen had continued to engage in
contraband trade, not only in Spanish America, but also in the peninsula
itself; they had been responsible for encouraging separatist feelings in
Spanish America, well knowing that the independence of Spain’s colonies
would result in advantages to British commerce; and England had refused
to grant Spain a subsidy for the 1795 campaign,--a factor with a bearing
on Spain’s action, whatever the merits of the case. The resentment of
the Spanish court was now provoked by insults which were offered to the
Spanish ambassador to London and by attacks on Spanish ships, just as
formerly in the reign of Charles III. The natural effect was to drive
Spain into the arms of France. An alliance was formed in 1796 which was
followed by a declaration of war against England. It is highly probable
that Charles IV was induced to form this union by a belief, fostered
perhaps by French intrigue, that the French Republic was about to
collapse, in which event it seemed likely that a Spanish Bourbon might
be called to the throne of France.

[Sidenote: Unsatisfactory results from the French Alliance.]

Spain’s experience as an ally of France was not more happy than her
previous union with England. France excluded her from representation at
several conferences looking to treaties of peace between France and her
enemies, and made slight efforts to secure the interests of Spain, going
so far as to refuse her sanction to many of the pretensions of her
Bourbon ally. Most annoying of all was the dispossession of the Duke of
Parma, a relative of Charles IV by descent from Isabel Farnesio. The
French government endeavored to calm Spanish feelings on this point by
offering to make Godoy the Grand Master of the Knights of Malta,--an
honor he was disposed to accept, subject to certain conditions, one of
which was that he be absolved from the vow of chastity. In fact,
however, the French authorities were suspicious of Godoy, believing that
he was secretly plotting with England, because he did not insist on
Portugal’s refusing to allow the English fleets to remain in Portuguese
ports. A French representative was sent to Spain in 1797, and the
dismissal of Godoy was procured from Charles IV. Nevertheless, Godoy
continued to be the principal force at the Spanish court, backed as he
was by the powerful influence of the queen. The policy of truculence to
France went on, however, due in part perhaps to Charles’ continued hopes
of acquiring the Bourbon crown, but even more, very likely, to his
pusillanimity in the face of the threats of the French Directory. In
1799 his hopes were dashed when Napoleon Bonaparte overthrew the
Directory and became first consul of France, a title which a few years
later he converted into that of emperor.

[Sidenote: Early relations with Napoleon and the war with Portugal.]

The change of government in France was welcomed at the Spanish court,
for it was believed that Spain would receive more consideration at the
hands of Napoleon than she had obtained from the Directory. Events
proved that Spain was to be even more an instrument in French hands than
formerly, and that Napoleon was to be more powerful and despotic and
less courteous and faithful in international affairs than the French
rulers who had preceded him. One of his earliest acts was an attempt to
employ the Spanish fleet to conserve French ends. When the Spanish
admiral refused to carry out the wishes of Napoleon, a matter in which
he was sustained by his government, the French ruler brought about the
dismissal of Urquijo, at that time first minister of state in Spain, and
shortly afterward the offending admiral was relieved from his command.
Meanwhile, a treaty had been arranged in 1800 whereby Napoleon agreed to
enlarge the dominions of the Duke of Parma (who had regained his duchy)
in exchange for the recession of Louisiana to France and the gift of six
ships of war. By a treaty of 1801 Tuscany was granted to the family of
the Duke of Parma, whose whole domains were now called the kingdom of
Etruria. It was provided that in case of a lack of succession of the
reigning house a Spanish prince of the royal family should inherit the
Etrurian throne, and this was to be the rule forever. Another treaty of
1801 required Spain to issue an ultimatum to Portugal demanding an
abandonment of the English alliance. The name of Godoy was signed to the
later treaties in the series of which the above have been mentioned. He
had not ceased to be influential during his absence from power, but
henceforth until 1808 he was definitely in the saddle. Though his
military experience was slight he was appointed general of the Spanish
army which was to invade Portugal, and when war was presently declared
he entered that country. The campaign, although comparatively
insignificant, resulted in victory. Portugal agreed to close her ports
in return for the Spanish king’s guarantee of the territorial integrity
of Portugal. A celebration was held at Badajoz, at which the soldiers
presented the queen with branches of orange trees taken from Portuguese
groves, resulting in the application of the name “war of the
oranges,”--which fittingly described its inconsequential character.
Napoleon was furious over such a termination of the war, and went so far
as to threaten the end of the Spanish monarchy unless the campaign were
pursued. At length he decided to accept the result, after Portugal had
consented to increase the indemnity which she had originally agreed to
pay to France. This marked a beginning, however, of the French ruler’s
distrust of Godoy. Shortly afterward it suited Napoleon’s purposes to
make peace. In 1802 a treaty was signed with England, and, naturally,
Spain too made peace. Minorca, which had been occupied by the English,
was restored to Spain, but the island of Trinidad was surrendered to
England,--another bit chipped off Spain’s colonial empire.

[Sidenote: Difficulties of neutrality and declaration of war against

Godoy had emerged from the Portuguese campaign as general-in-chief of
the armies of the land and sea, and was again the dominating power at
court. By this time a strong opposition had grown up around Ferdinand,
the eldest son of the king, directed by an ambitious canon, named
Escoiquiz. Napoleon now had a political force at hand, to employ
whenever he should desire it, against Godoy. Early in 1803 Napoleon was
again at war with England, and proceeded to woo Spain’s support by
charges that she was favoring England and by threats of war. In the same
year, too, he sold Louisiana to the United States, although he had
promised Spain at the time of the recession that France would never
transfer that region to any country other than Spain. Spain protested,
but soon accepted the situation. Later in 1803 Napoleon compelled Spain
to consent to a so-called treaty of neutrality, which in fact amounted
to the paying of a monthly tribute to France. England objected, and
followed up her complaints by capturing three Spanish frigates and
stopping merchantmen, without a declaration of war. England announced
that she was holding the frigates as a guarantee of Spanish neutrality.
Thus courted with equal roughness by France and England, Spain was again
under the necessity of choosing which of her enemies to fight. England
was selected, and in 1804 war against that country was declared.

[Sidenote: Napoleon and Godoy, and the project to partition Portugal.]

In 1805 there occurred the great battle of Trafalgar, in which the
French and Spanish navies were virtually destroyed by the English under
Nelson. The immediate results of this defeat as affecting Spanish action
was the decision of Godoy, who had never enjoyed cordial relations with
Napoleon, to seek an alliance with England. Through this agency he
hoped to bolster up his own power as against the rapidly growing body of
his enemies in Spain. In the midst of his plans came Napoleon’s great
victory over Prussia at Jena in 1806, which, following that of
Austerlitz over Austria in 1805, once again made the French emperor
dangerously predominant on the continent of western Europe. Godoy, who
had already compromised himself, made haste to explain. Napoleon
pretended to be satisfied, but decided then that he would make an end of
the Bourbon monarchy. The unpopularity of Godoy and the strength of the
party of Ferdinand, who was now a popular favorite, were among the means
of which he availed himself; Ferdinand even wrote him letters in which
he alluded freely to his mother’s adulterous relations with Godoy.
Meanwhile, Napoleon profited by Godoy’s willingness to do anything to
win the favor of the emperor by arranging for the conquest of Portugal.
A partition of that territory was projected whereby the Bourbon monarch
of Etruria was to have northern Portugal, Godoy (as Prince of Algarve)
was to have the south, and the centre was to be exchanged for Gibraltar,
Trinidad, and other colonies which England had taken from Spain. The
usual ultimatum having been sent and rejected, the war began for what
seemed a brilliant objective for Spain,--if Napoleon had had any
intention of his keeping his word.

[Sidenote: Plottings of Napoleon and the abdication of Charles IV.]

The campaign of 1807 resulted in a rapid, almost bloodless conquest of
Portugal by the French general Junot, placing Napoleon in a position to
fulfil his treaty obligations. Nothing was further from his plans,
however, and, indeed, Godoy and the king had recently had cause to
suspect his sincerity; action had been taken against Ferdinand and his
party, resulting in the exposure of the prince’s correspondence with
Napoleon. Napoleon occupied Etruria,--and gave the queen of that country
to understand that she need not look for compensation in Portugal.
Godoy, meanwhile, remained without Algarve, although hoping against hope
that he might yet get it. All this time, French troops were pouring into
Spain, and through deceit were possessing themselves of the Spanish
strongholds in the north. To the credit of Godoy it must be said that
he divined the emperor’s intentions, and favored a demand for the
withdrawal of the French troops, with the alternative of war. Charles IV
and his other leading advisers were opposed to this idea; the king was
frightened at the very thought of fighting Napoleon. The emperor now
began to unmask himself. The Spanish ambassador to France returned to
Madrid as the bearer of a message from Napoleon, asking for the cession
of certain Spanish provinces in the north as far as the Ebro, or else
for the recognition of the emperor’s title to Portugal, together with a
military road thereto across Spanish territory; the ambassador added
that he believed Napoleon intended to possess himself of the northern
provinces and perhaps of all Spain, though possibly not until the death
of Charles IV. It was now perfectly clear to Godoy and the king what
Napoleon meant to do, but the party of Ferdinand, unaware of all the
facts, was wedded blindly to the emperor, believing that his sole desire
was to get rid of Godoy and assure the succession of Ferdinand. Charles,
Godoy, and the queen thought of escaping to the Americas, and as a
preliminary step moved the court from Madrid to Aranjuez. A riot
followed at Aranjuez in which Godoy was captured by the followers of
Ferdinand, and was with difficulty saved from death. Realizing that the
army and the people were almost wholly on the side of Ferdinand, and
unable to see any way out of his difficulties, Charles IV decided to
abdicate, and accordingly on March 19, 1808, did so. All Spain rejoiced,
for Godoy had fallen, and the idolized prince had now ascended the
throne as Ferdinand VII.

[Sidenote: Duplicity of Napoleon and the journeys of Ferdinand VII and
Charles IV to Bayonne.]

Napoleon was much displeased at the course of events in Spain. The
flight of Charles would have fitted in with his plans, whereas the
accession of Ferdinand placed him under the necessity of exposing his
hand. Temporarily he saved the situation by one of the most remarkable
exhibitions of successful duplicity in history. On March 23 General
Murat entered Madrid with a French army, and the next day Ferdinand made
his royal entry, and was received by the people with delirious joy. The
foreign diplomats at once recognized him as king,--except the French
ambassador. Uncertain yet what to do, Napoleon was on the one hand
giving indications of an intention to restore Charles IV, and on the
other planning to set up one of his own brothers as king of Spain.
Charles IV gave the emperor the opening he desired. In order to obtain
some material advantages from his abdication and to save Godoy, who was
still in prison, he entered into communication with Murat, and as a
result secretly retracted his abdication, placing himself entirely in
the hands of Napoleon. Meanwhile, Murat told Ferdinand that the emperor
was coming to see him, and suggested that Ferdinand should go to Burgos
to meet him. When Ferdinand decided against the journey, lest it produce
a bad effect in the minds of the people, Napoleon sent General Savary
with orders to bring Ferdinand whether he wanted to come or not. Savary
succeeded in persuading the young prince to go to Burgos, and when
Napoleon was not found there to Vitoria. Beyond this point Ferdinand was
at first not disposed to go, but, urged on both by Savary and Escoiquiz,
who still believed in the French emperor, the party proceeded across the
boundary line to Bayonne. There indeed they found Napoleon,--and
Ferdinand was informed that he must abdicate the throne. A few days
later, on April 30, Charles IV, María Luisa, and Godoy arrived; they had
been easily persuaded to go there by Murat. The reunion of the royal
family at Bayonne was accompanied by disgraceful quarrels of the parents
and the son and by the humiliating weakness of all in the presence of
Napoleon. Charles IV was again induced to abdicate, and was given a rich
pension and estates in France to which he and his family, Godoy, and the
royal servants might repair. Ferdinand was also granted rents and lands.
To Napoleon was given the right to name a king of Spain.

[Sidenote: Uprising of the Dos de Mayo against Napoleon.]

Meanwhile, the French troops in Madrid and elsewhere had been conducting
themselves like conquerors, and had aroused considerable hostility in
the people, who were not so easily deceived and dominated as their
rulers had been. After the departure of Ferdinand from Madrid the French
officers did not hesitate to say that Napoleon would not recognize
him,--which only increased the popular discontent. The climax came when
an order was received from Napoleon for the young Bourbon prince,
Francisco de Paula, and for the queen of Etruria with her children to be
sent to France. The departure from Madrid was set for the morning of the
second of May. A crowd gathered to see the royal party off, and heard
rumors which excited it to a feeling of frenzy,--for example, that the
young Francisco (then only thirteen) had protested in tears against
going. Insults were offered the French soldiery, and the harness of the
coaches was cut. These scenes were interrupted by the appearance of a
French battalion, which fired without warning into the crowd. The crowd
scattered, and spread the news over the city. This was the signal for a
general uprising against the French. The Spanish troops were under
strict orders from the government to stay in barracks, but a number of
them declined to obey. Prominent among those joining the people against
the French were Captains Pedro Velarde and Luis Daoiz, the heroes of the
day. When the people were driven out of the central square of the city,
the Plaza del Sol, by the French artillery, Velarde hastened to the
battery commanded by Daoiz. Convincing the latter that the interests of
the country were superior to discipline he joined with him and a certain
Lieutenant Ruiz in directing the fire against the French troops.
Superior in numbers and armament, the French were successful after a
battle lasting three hours in which Velarde and Daoiz were killed. The
dramatic events of the _Dos de Mayo_, or the second of May, were the
prelude to a national uprising against the French. Without a king or a
government Spain began the war which was to usher in a new era in
Spanish history,--for, just as Americans look back to the Fourth of July
in 1776, so the Spaniards consider the _Dos de Mayo_ of 1808 as the
beginning of modern Spain.



[Sidenote: Social characteristics of the era.]

FUNDAMENTALLY, there was no change in the classes of Spanish society in
this period as regards their legal and social standing, except in the
case of the rural population of Aragon. One of the characteristic notes
of the era was a certain democratic sentiment of a philanthropic kind,
exhibiting itself vaguely in a desire for the well-being of mankind, and
practically in the social, economic, and intellectual betterment of the
masses, without any attempt being made to improve their juridical
position. This ideal, which was not confined to Spain, became more and
more widespread with the increase in influence of the French
encyclopedists, and got to be a fad of high society, being encouraged by
the kings themselves. Many of its manifestations will be taken up later
in dealing with economic institutions, but the sentimental discussion of
the ideal may be remarked upon here; this at length went so far as to
result in the formulation of political doctrines of a democratic
character, but they were not yet translated into law. Such social
reforms as were made came for the most part in the last three reigns of
the era, especially in that of Charles III.

[Sidenote: Pride, wealth, and privileges of the nobles.]

[Sidenote: Real decline of their power.]

The description of the nobility in the period of the House of Austria
might almost be repeated for this era. The nobles had long since lost
their political power, but the wealth of the grandees and the privileges
and the prestige of all ranks of the nobility were so great that this
class was a more important factor in Spanish life than it is today.
Pride of noble rank continued to be almost an obsession, despite the
attempts to check it; with a view to diminishing petitions for the
recognition of rights of _hidalguía_, a law was passed in 1758 calling
for the payment of a large sum of money when the petitioner’s title
dated back to the fourth or fifth grandfather. On the other hand, the
kings were responsible for acts which tended to encourage the eagerness
for noble rank. Ferdinand VI officially recognized that the people of
Vizcaya were all of _hidalgo_ rank; Charles III created the order which
bears his name, and Charles IV founded that of the “noble ladies of
María Luisa”; various societies of nobles for equestrian exercises, in
imitation of the military orders, were formed, and they were given
certain privileges in criminal jurisdiction. To be sure, the grant of
these honors was a source of revenue to the state. The recognition of
the privileged character of the nobles was manifest, even in the case of
the more degraded members of that class; a law of 1781 provided that
nobles who were arrested as vagabonds should be sent to the army with
the rank of “distinguished soldiers.” The grandees and the other nobles
possessed of seigniorial estates still controlled the appointment of
many municipal functionaries; in 1787 there were 17 cities, 2358
_villas_, and 1818 _aldeas_ and _pueblos_ in seigniorial hands, in some
of which the king shared jurisdiction with the lords. Similarly, the
military orders had the right to appoint the clergymen of 3 cities, 402
_villas_, 119 _pueblos_, and 261 _aldeas_. Many monopolies of a medieval
type still survived in favor of the lords, such as those of hunting,
fishing, the baking of bread, the making of flour, and the use of
streams and forests, and in some cases the lord’s vassals were subject
to medieval tributes and services. It is rather by comparison with
matters as they are today, however, that these incidents loom large;
they were but the survivals of a system which was already dead. The
worst of these seigniorial rights, the Aragonese lord’s power of life
and death over his villeins, was abolished by Philip V. The kings did
not dare to suppress all of the seigniorial privileges, but took steps
to overcome them, as by submitting the rights of certain lords to
rigorous proofs, by hindering sales of jurisdiction, by subjecting the
appointments of the lords to the approval of the _Cámara_, by naming
special royal officials for the various seigniorial holdings, and in
general by facilitating the reincorporation in the crown of such
estates. By this time the lesser nobility enjoyed few exemptions of a
financial character, but the great nobles still possessed such
privileges. The kings employed indirect methods to cause them to submit
to taxation. Thus payments were demanded in lieu of military service,
and the _media anata_ (half annates) was required for the recognition of
the title of a successor to landed estates; certainly the immensely
wealthy grandees were able to pay these tributes without serious
economic loss to themselves. Furthermore, the great nobles continued to
be a court nobility, and were jealously proud of the special privileges
of an empty character which marked them off from the classes below them.
For example, a grandee had the right to keep his hat on and to sit down
in the presence of the king; to be called “cousin” by the king; to have
a private guard; to preside over the sessions of the noble branch of the
_Cortes_; to be visited and saluted by _ayuntamientos_, viceroys, and
other authorities; to have a better place than others, both indoors and
out; and to be free from imprisonment except by a special decree of the

[Sidenote: Slight gains of the working classes.]

There was no essential change in the composition and character of the
middle classes in this era. The working classes of the cities attained
to a little more liberty than formerly, as a result of the decline of
the guilds, while those of the country, if they had improved their
juridical position, continued nevertheless in a state of misery and
poverty. The rural wars of past reigns were missing, however. The evil
lot of the rural classes was due more to the backwardness of
agriculture, the vast extent of unworked lands common, and the
widespread practice of entailing estates, than to bonds of a social
character. An interesting attempt, at once to raise the urban laborer,
and to break down the sharp dividing line between the nobility and the
plebeian classes, was a law of 1783, which declared that the trades of
artisans--such as those of the carpenter, tailor, and shoemaker--were to
be considered honorable, and since municipal offices were usually in the
hands of the _hidalgo_ class it was also enacted that the practice of
these trades did not incapacitate a man from holding positions in the
local government or even from becoming an _hidalgo_. This well-meant
law was not able to overcome social prejudices, however, and when an
endeavor was made to interpret it in the sense that it authorized the
entry of artisans into the military orders, which had always been
composed only of nobles, it was decreed in 1803 that it had never been
intended to raise them to that degree, for the military orders were
founded on the necessity of maintaining the lustre of the nobility.

[Sidenote: Benevolent legislation affecting gypsies, descendants of
Jews, and slaves.]

A spirit of racial tolerance for the despised classes made its
appearance in this era. Laws placing prohibitions on the gypsies were
repeatedly enacted until the time of Charles III, but in 1783 that
monarch declared that the gypsies were not to be considered a tainted
race, and ordered that they be admitted to the towns and to occupations
on the same basis as other Spaniards, provided they would abandon their
dress, language, and special customs. Similarly, in 1782 Charles III
endeavored to free the descendants of Jews from the stigma of their
ancestry by enacting that they should not be obliged to live in a
separate quarter or wear any device indicative of their origin. A law of
1785 permitted them to serve in the army or navy,--a right which had
previously been denied them. These generous laws for the gypsies and the
descendants of Jews were as little capable as those just mentioned
concerning artisans of overcoming social prejudices, wherefore they
failed of their objects. In matters of religion the laws affecting the
despised classes were more in keeping with general sentiment. In 1712 it
was ordered that Moslem slaves who had been set free must leave the
country; in 1802 the prohibition against Jews returning to the peninsula
was reaffirmed as absolute in the case of those who retained the Jewish
faith. Slavery continued to be legal, but laws were passed that slaves
escaping to Spain from other lands, except from the Spanish colonies,
became _ipso facto_ free. The treaty of 1779 with Morocco provided that
prisoners of war should not henceforth be enslaved. The institution of
slavery existed on a great scale in the Americas, though Charles III
alleviated the rigors of the situation by his beneficent legislation.

[Sidenote: Tightening of the bonds of family.]

[Sidenote: Influence of the physiocratic school on legislation affecting

Legislation affecting the family aimed to tighten the bonds between
parents and children, which had become loosened as a result of the
increasing spirit of individualism. Thus a law of 1766 ordered that the
prior consent of parents should be obtained before children could marry,
although a remedy was provided for an unreasonable withholding of
consent; in the preamble it was stated that the law was due to the
frequent occurrence of “unequal marriages.” Several later laws upheld
the same principle. Legislation concerning property was characterized by
the ideas of the physiocratic school of thinkers, who referred all
social and economic problems to the land as the fundamental basis. Among
the Spanish physiocrats (for the physiocratic ideal was widespread in
western Europe) were Campomanes, Floridablanca, and Jovellanos, who were
among the greatest of Spanish reformers in the reign of Charles III and
the early years of Charles IV. In keeping with physiocratic views the
laws tended to the release of realty from incumbrances and to the
distribution of lands among many persons. The practice of entailing
estates in primogeniture was one of the institutions attacked by the
physiocrats. It was admitted that it was necessary in the case of the
great nobles, in order to maintain the prestige of the family name, but
it was held to be desirable to check the extension of the institution in
other cases and to facilitate the extinction of entails. Thus a law of
1749 permitted of the sale of entailed estates for an annuity in the
case of financially ruined houses; a law of 1789 prohibited the founding
of new entails, and facilitated the sale of realty already so held; a
law of 1795 imposed heavy taxes on existing entails; and a law of 1798
authorized the sale of entailed estates, provided the funds should be
invested in a certain loan announced at that time. Still other laws were
passed in this period, with the result that many entails disappeared and
others were diminished in size. The nobles resisted the change, and the
greater number of the entails remained in existence, although reduced in
income. In the same way municipal and ecclesiastical holdings were
attacked. In the case of the former (_propios_), laws were passed
repeatedly--for example in 1761, 1766, 1767, 1768, and especially in
1770--for the partition of the cultivable and pastoral lands and for
their assignment to a number of individuals. Nevertheless, the majority
of this type of municipal lands continued in the possession of the
towns, for the laws were not fully executed. As concerns lands utilized
for the promotion of religious objects, pious foundations were attacked,
and either compelled or else permitted to sell their real property, but
there was considerable hesitancy about applying the same practice to
lands held in mortmain by the regular and secular clergy, although the
prevailing opinion of jurisconsults was opposed to these holdings. Some
steps were taken, however, to free these lands, as well as other
measures to hinder the giving of realty in mortmain. In the various
colonization schemes of the century it was customary to forbid the
transfer of lands to ecclesiastical institutions. A law of 1763
prohibited further conveyances to the church, and a law of 1798 called
for the alienation of lands owned by charitable institutions, even
though they might belong to the church, and some estates accordingly
were sold. The resistance of the clergy, together with a certain
repugnance to laying hands on the property of the church except in case
of extreme necessity, operated to prevent these laws from having their
full effect. It will be noticed that all of these measures were markedly
individualistic, in accord with Roman principles as opposed to those of
medieval society, and favorable to the change in ownership of landed
estates and to their division into small holdings. This spirit was
manifested even more insistently in attacking titles of a medieval
character. Thus the right of farmers to fence lands for their own use
was sustained, serving as a check upon the abuses of the _Mesta_, and
the various methods of tribute from vassals to a lord (_censos_,
_foros_, etc.) were the subject of legislation tending to relieve the
former from their burdens. To this epoch, also, belong laws requiring
the registry of titles to land. Nevertheless, the spirit of collectivism
was still alive, as expressed in doctrines favoring the condemnation of
individual property and the establishment of communal inclosures with
the drawing of lots for land, but the followers of Roman principles
were victorious in the controversy.

[Sidenote: Triumphs of Roman principles.]

[Sidenote: Decline and fall of the guilds.]

The spirit of individualism appeared, also, to give a deathblow to the
guilds, even though they actually increased in number; there were ninety
guilds in Barcelona at the close of the eighteenth century. Among the
factors contributing to the decline were the following: the continuance
of the exclusive spirit of the past, making entry into the guild a
difficult matter; the accentuation of social differences within the
guilds, such that certain elements had special privileges based on rank
in the guild,--for example, a right that their sons might enter the
institution without serving as apprentices; the failure of the guilds to
observe their own ordinances; the frequency of lawsuits between guilds,
or even between a guild and its own members; and especially the
continued intervention of the state, taking over the former municipal
control of the guilds and unifying the ordinances of each trade
throughout the country. The relation of the state to the guilds
facilitated the application of the new economic ideas which were
favorable to the freedom of labor and hostile to the guilds. Thus in
1772 foreign artisans were permitted to establish themselves, without
paying a special tax and without having to undergo examinations; in 1782
a general law introduced reforms facilitating apprenticeship, freeing
applicants for entry into a guild from the necessity of proving the
Christian faith of their ancestry (_limpieza de sangre_), permitting of
the sale of masterships, and abolishing the distinction between the sons
of masters and those of the other members; in another law of the same
year painters, sculptors, and architects were authorized to work
independently of guilds; in 1783 the _cofradías_ attached to the guilds
were suppressed, and their place was taken by benefit societies
(_montepíos_); in 1784 women were given a general permission to engage
in any trade they wished; in 1790 it was enacted that any artisan of
recognized ability could work at his trade without the need of an
examination; and in 1793 a law dissolving the guilds of the silk
manufacturers announced that it was neither necessary nor fitting that
persons should be grouped together in guilds for carrying on such an
industry. From this point it was only a step to the death of the
institution. The great name in the legislation against the guilds was
that of Campomanes.

[Sidenote: Dull routine of daily life.]

If the social customs of the two preceding eras may be said to have
represented the virile youth of the Spanish peoples, followed by a
seemingly mortal sickness resulting from a too great indulgence in “wild
oats,” this period stands for the recovery of the race (just as occurred
in other aspects of peninsula life) in a conventional, outwardly
respectable, and on the whole fairly wholesome, if also somewhat
monotonous, middle age. Simplicity, regularity, and subordination to
principles of authority (as represented by king, church, and parents,
checking initiative and making long-established custom the guiding rule
in daily life) were the dominating social characteristics. Both in the
city and in the country, people arose early; the _Consejo de Castilla_
met at seven in the morning from April to September, and at eight from
October to March. It was the custom also to go to bed early, to perform
one’s daily tasks in precisely the same way each day, to hear mass
daily, to have family prayers each day, to salute one’s parents
respectfully on the same daily recurring occasions, and to display a
like respect in the presence of official personages or of clergymen. If
people now and then indulged in gossip about their neighbors, they gave
little thought to persons or events beyond their immediate circle; they
were in no hurry to learn the news of the world, waiting tranquilly for
the arrival of the mails, which were usually infrequent and meagre.

[Sidenote: Monotony of the life at court and among the nobles.]

The kings themselves helped to make this monotonous type of life
fashionable. Philip V was domestically inclined, retiring, and
melancholy, and from the time of his marriage with Isabel Farnesio was
nearly always at the side of his wife, who even accompanied him when he
received his ministers before he had arisen from bed. His daily life was
passed in pious exercises and in hunting, with music to vary the
monotony. Ferdinand VI, also domestic, retiring, and God-fearing, was
very fond of music, with the result that the court was brightened by
frequent concerts, operas, and theatrical representations, on which vast
sums of money were expended. Charles III was a man of very simple
tastes, an enemy of the theatre and of music, but passionately devoted
to hunting. He was so methodical that every moment of the day within the
palace was regulated by royal ordinances, and the annual journeys and
changes of residence of the royal family took place each year on the
same day. In monotonous regularity of life Charles IV resembled his
illustrious predecessor, but passion for hunting amounted in his case
almost to a disease; after having breakfast and hearing mass he would
hunt until one o’clock, and would return to that sport after having
partaken of dinner. The sameness of court life in this period was broken
by various receptions and royal feast days, but even these were cold and
formal, following prescribed courses, although celebrated with great
pomp. In 1804 there were eight greater gala days and seventeen lesser
ones, besides those arising from unforeseen events, such as the
reception of a foreign ambassador. Furthermore, royal journeys
necessarily involved festivities and heavy expense. Balls, banquets, and
other diversions found no place at court, and the accession of Charles
III put an end to concerts and plays. The ordinary life of the nobles
followed that of the kings. Comparing it with that of France, a French
duke who came to Spain in the reign of Philip V said that it was
tiresome, almost unsociable, and lacking in comforts, despite the fact
that great sums of money were often spent for entertainments of a formal
nature. Toward the close of the century the more genial practices of
other European countries began to percolate into Spain. Godoy was one
who took pleasure in giving balls. Others followed his example, and the
austere simplicity of Spanish life began to yield to comforts,
diversions, and dissipation. Nevertheless, the old conventions still
ruled, especially in the country districts, where the poorer nobility
resided, occupying themselves in hunting and in local politics and
intrigues. The penurious nobles of the _hidalgo_ class continued to be
found at the capital in the train of the greater representatives of the
titled element.

[Sidenote: Simplicity of domestic life.]

Some clue to the modesty of life in general may be obtained from the
cheapness of rents and the scantiness of furniture in the houses of the
capital. The average annual rental was 1504 _reales_ ($94), and there
were many houses of an inferior type to be had for 45 _reales_ ($2.81) a
month, although, of course, money values were much greater then than
now. House decorations and furniture were poor to the point of
shabbiness. Walls did not begin to be papered until the close of the
eighteenth century. Usually they were white-washed and hung with a few
pictures of a religious character or with brass candlesticks. The floor
was of unpolished wood, covered over in winter with mats, and there was
a like simplicity in chairs. Writing-desks were often present, but were
opened only when visitors were being received. Candles were employed for
lighting, and the odorous, scantly warming brazier was the principal
resource against cold. The same sobriety manifested itself as regards
the table. The _puchero_, or _cocido_, made up primarily of chickpeas
(_garbanzos_), was the basis of the meal, and usually was the only
element. Inns were equally uninviting, and it was not until the close of
the era that the example of foreign countries prevailed upon the
Spaniards to introduce somewhat more comfortable hostelries.[61]

[Sidenote: Struggle between the French and the native styles in dress.]

The simplicity and severity of Spanish customs were not maintained in
matters of dress. There was a century-long conflict between the French
and the native styles, the former represented by the military cut of
clothing more in keeping with that of the present day, and the latter by
the slouched hat and long cape, as symbolic of the indigenous modes. On
grounds of morality and public safety the government opposed the native
type, which lent itself too easily to the facilitation of disguise, and
the methodical Charles III even considered the imposition of a national
dress which should omit the traditional features. A law of 1766 ordered
their abandonment and the adoption of a short cape or riding coat and
the three-cornered cocked hat. The decree was the occasion of riots
throughout Spain, and had to be recalled, while Squillace, the minister
who had proposed it, lost his post. Aranda, his successor, achieved the
desired end by indirect methods. He caused the slouched hat to be made
the official head-piece of the hangman, wherefore it began to lose
prestige, and the French styles were soon decisively victorious. It is
to be noted, however, that the three-cornered cocked hat and other
French styles of the Bourbon era were retained in Spain after they were
no longer in fashion in republican and imperial France. Women’s dress
was also reformed in a similar direction. Three outstanding features
characterized the well-dressed woman: the skirt of silk or velvet; the
_mantilla_, or veil, worn over the head instead of a hat; and the fan.
Fans of a most luxurious type were used, with ribs of shell,
mother-of-pearl, or ivory, and with ornaments of gold, while the
principal part was hand-painted, often by artists of note, to represent
scenes of a mythological, pastoral, or historical character. Even among
the common people, especially among the so-called _majos_, or low-class
dandies (both male and female) of Madrid, there were special types of
elegant dress. Ladies’ dress-combs of unusual size, not infrequently
half a foot or more in height above the hair, may be mentioned as one
phase of the _majo_ styles, which stood for a reaction against French
modes, though with scant knowledge or regard for ancient Spanish
customs. _Majismo_, both in dress and in customs, invaded the
aristocracy, and has been immortalized in some of the paintings of Goya.
The common people of the country were much more conservative in
maintaining the earlier styles of dress, which have survived to the
present day, although the uniformity of modern life has tended to make
them peculiarities, rather than the prevailing modes of the different
regions in which they are found.

[Sidenote: Fondness of the general Spanish public for diversion and

The monotony of Spanish life did not prevent Spaniards from being fond
of diversions. On the contrary they seemed to welcome a chance to escape
from the narrow course of their humdrum existence. Public feast-days
were numerous and very popular; events in Christian history were the
occasion of most of them. People generally, unlike the monarchs, the
nobles, and their imitators among the wealthy bourgeoisie, were very
fond of dancing, the theatre, and bull-fighting. Dances to the
accompaniment of the guitar were held on every possible occasion; on
Sundays they took place in the public square of the city. The days of
the waltz, onestep, and other dances now in vogue in many lands (though
not in Spain) had not yet come; rather, the dances were very largely
national or regional, such as the _seguidillas_ or _boleros_, the
_fandango_, _guaracha_, _zorongo_, _arlequín_, _chacona_, _zarabanda_,
the Aragonese _jota_, the Valencian _dansetes_, and the Catalonian
_sardana_, all of which gave great play to the individual and
represented harmonious action of the entire body. Many of these dances,
or their derivatives, survive in Spain today. Professional dancing girls
were popular favorites--and not infrequently the mistresses of the great
gentlemen of the court. Charles III detested dancing, but neither he nor
his successor could check it, though they did regulate it to some
extent. In like manner the theatre continued to be a national passion,
despite the disapproval of certain great churchmen as well as of Charles
III. Three great theatres were built in Madrid in the reign of Philip V.
Governmental regulations were as unavailing in this as in the case of
dancing. The popularity of bull-fighting got to be greater than ever,
though Philip V and Charles III disliked the sport. Ferdinand VI was a
devotee, and Charles IV was not unfriendly. The repugnance felt by
Philip V had the effect of causing the withdrawal of the nobles from
taking part in the contests, with the result that a professional class
of bull-fighters developed. Charles III went so far as to prohibit the
sport in 1785, but Charles IV, in 1789, consented to its return. Godoy,
however, was opposed to bull-fighting, and procured its abolition in
1805. The period from 1789 to 1805 is a famous one in the history of
this game. Just as happens today, so then, the names of the favorite
bull-fighters were on everybody’s lips. This was a period when many of
the feats of the bull-fighters which still form a part of the contest
were invented. Possibly the most widely known name was that of Pepe
Illo, or Hillo (great bull-fighter and writer of a treatise on the
so-called art of bull-fighting), who was killed in the bull-ring at
Madrid in 1801, an event which Goya reduced to canvas in one of his
most famous paintings. Madrid, Aranjuez, Granada, and Seville were the
only cities which had bull-rings (_plazas de toros_), but fights were
held in all parts of Spain by utilizing the principal square of the
city. Certain athletic exercises were very popular, among which the
Basque game of ball, still played in Spain, is especially worthy of
mention.[62] Performances of professional acrobats, jugglers, and
magicians were frequent, as well as the playing of pantomimes.

[Sidenote: Marked advance in the care of cities.]

The policing of cities for the first time became worthy of commendation.
At the opening of the eighteenth century Madrid was ugly, extremely
dirty, without architectural monuments, driveways, or promenades, and
lacked a good water system. The great reforms of Aranda under Charles
III and of Godoy in the next reign transformed the city, resulting in
the opening of new streets, the organization of an efficient
street-cleaning system (despite opposition on the ancient ground that
the filthiness of the streets was a preventive of epidemics), the
completion of the work of paving begun in the previous era, the
development of a good water supply, the inauguration of a lighting
system, the building of noteworthy edifices, the bettering of old
promenades (_paseos_) and the opening of new ones, and the issue of
numerous ordinances intended to preserve the good order and public
health of the city. It was at this time, too, that the institution of
the _sereno_ (night-watchman in Spanish streets) was introduced from
abroad; contrary to the usual opinion the _sereno_ is not Spanish in
origin, but of foreign importation. The walk, or drive, along the great
_paseos_, just at evening before nightfall, became more popular among
all classes than ever, and has remained a Spanish custom to the present
day. Barcelona, Seville, and Cádiz were also much improved.

[Sidenote: Continuance of loose practices and bad habits.]

But the dances, masked balls, the theatre, evening parties, and
promenades furnished occasion for vicious practices. Immorality was not
so brazen and unashamed as formerly, but was very nearly as prevalent.
In vain were laws passed with a view to checking the evil. The lax
practices continued, and received a kind of sanction during the reign of
Charles IV from the example set by the queen, of which everybody except
the king seemed well aware. Gambling was also the subject of restrictive
legislation which failed of its design. In this respect the state was
morally estopped from making complaint, because it was in this period
that the national government lottery was founded. This institution,
which still exists, was established, strange to say, by Charles III, in
1763, following the example of the court of Rome. Gambling, and
especially the lottery, soon became the passion it has ever since
remained. Smoking had long before gotten to be general among the lower
classes, particularly among the already mentioned _majo_ element; but
the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie had been little inclined to the
habit. They were soon to surrender to the influence of _majismo_,
however, with the result that Spaniards and their Hispanic kinsfolk have
come to be enumerated among the most inveterate smokers in the world, so
far as the men are concerned. Drunkenness was not a very prevalent vice,
any more than it is today, although the same could not be said with
respect to the Spanish colonies.

[Sidenote: Influence of Spanish customs on the Americas.]

It only remains to add that these social practices were to be found in
much the same form in the Americas. Fondness for showy feast-days was
even greater there, and it is also to be noted that the improvements in
Spanish cities had their counterpart in the embellishment of several of
those overseas.



[Sidenote: Overwhelming success of the absolutist ideal.]

The Bourbon kings aimed to complete the long evolution, dating from
centuries before, toward the personal authority of the monarch in a pure
absolutism. This movement had gone farther in other countries, although
the current had set the other way in England. France under Louis XIV, if
not the most extreme example of an absolute government, was certainly
the most influential, and the phrase “I am the state!” attributed to the
great French monarch, was (whether in fact uttered by him or not)
symbolic of his ideal. It was in the atmosphere of the court of
Versailles that Philip V spent his youth, wherefore it was the most
natural thing in the world for him to desire the establishment in Spain
of a system which he had always been accustomed to believe was the only
true method of rule. Even had Philip ever doubted it, Louis XIV took
care to inculcate in him the concept of absolutism. Philip showed on
various occasions that he understood the French ideal of kingship,--as
in his opposition to the calling of the Castilian _Cortes_, his denial
of the right of the _Consejo_ to share in certain governmental
functions, and his habitual employment of such phrases as “for such is
my will” in royal decrees. The same criterion was followed by his
successors. Charles IV ordered certain laws which were inconsistent with
the absolutist ideal to be stricken out of the _Novísima Recopilación_,
or Latest Compilation of the Laws (1805), before he would allow that
code to be published, stating that those acts (which had been
incorporated in the _Nueva Recopilación_ of 1567) were representative of
a time when the weakness of the monarchy had compelled the kings to make
concessions which were inconsistent with their sovereign authority. The
laws referred to concerned the intervention of the _Consejo_ in royal
donations, the obligation of the king to consult with the three estates
of the _Cortes_ in dealing with momentous affairs, and the injunction
that no new taxes should be levied without the grant of a _Cortes_. In
the statement of their ideal the kings met with little opposition, for
this view was generally supported by all classes of society. Men who
were liberal reformers in other ways were rigid in their maintenance of
the principle of absolutism, and the people themselves, not only
Castilians, but others as well, even including the Catalans, were
intensely royalist.

[Sidenote: Democratic manner and philanthropic rule of the Bourbons.]

Nevertheless, the Bourbons were more democratic in their manner than the
less autocratic kings of the House of Austria. It is said that Philip V
was the first to inaugurate the practice of allowing his higher
government officials to be seated while talking business with him,
whereas the Hapsburg custom had been to require them to remain on their
knees. The kings’ advisers now became veritable ministers, with a more
frank participation in government than had been the case with the
secretaries and favorites of the preceding era. Furthermore, the
Bourbons represented the “enlightened despotism,” which had so many
remarkable manifestations in eighteenth century western Europe. In
keeping with this ideal the kings showed marked interest in social,
economic, and intellectual reforms of a philanthropic character, without
yielding an iota of their political prerogative. A great revolution took
place, having a fundamental groundwork of democracy in it (which was to
find expression at a later time in the field of politics), but which was
accomplished wholly from above. The idea might have been expressed:
“Everything _for_ the people, but nothing _by_ them.” The only exception
to this rule was the royal program whereby the popular element gained an
entrance to the _ayuntamientos_, or municipal governing bodies.

[Sidenote: Unimportance of the Cortes and the suppression of democratic

Naturally, all machinery of a democratic character was viewed with
suspicion, and such was the case with the _Cortes_. Only at the
accession of Luis I was a _Cortes_ called to swear in the new king,
although that body was several times asked to acknowledge the princes of
Asturias. The _Cortes_ of Castile was summoned four times by Philip V
and once each by Charles III and Charles IV, but in two of the meetings
under Philip not all of the elements were called, and in the dismissal
of the _Cortes_ of Charles IV it was made apparent that the nobles and
clergy had no necessary inclusion in that body. Furthermore, the
_Cortes_ was called to perform some specific act,--such as the
recognition of the princes above-named, the making and later the
revocation of the so-called Salic law, and the approval of Philip’s
renunciation of his rights to the French throne,--after which it was
dismissed, without having an opportunity to discuss other matters. When
the _Cortes_ of 1789 was retained in session to treat of certain
economic questions, some of the deputies formulated petitions concerning
affairs of government,--whereupon the authorities hastened to bring the
sittings to a close. The _Cortes_ of other regions were equally lacking
in importance. The _Cortes_ of Aragon met once, and that of Valencia not
at all; both were incorporated into the Castilian _Cortes_ in 1709. The
_Cortes_ of Catalonia met twice, but after 1724 it followed the course
already taken in the case of Aragon and Valencia, and the same was true
of the representatives from Majorca. The _Cortes_ of Navarre continued
to meet separately, being called eleven times, but it took no action of
conspicuous importance. Nevertheless, the memory of the former power of
the _Cortes_ was not dead, and many persons saw in its restoration,
possibly with new functions, a means for the reform of the country. In
addition to having rendered the _Cortes_ completely innocuous the kings
took other steps to check popular intervention in national affairs. It
had been the custom for the municipalities to send special commissioners
to the capital to negotiate for them with the crown. This practice
(which reminds one of the colonial agent of American history) was
forbidden by a law of 1715 (repeated in 1804), on the alleged ground of
avoiding unnecessary expense to the towns. A law of 1777 allowed the
sending of special agents, however, for one purpose,--that of witnessing
the births of royal children! Thus did the kings contribute both to the
security and to the glamour of royalty.

[Sidenote: Royal opposition to the entry of the encyclopedist and
revolutionary ideas from France.]

If the Spanish kings were so careful to avoid any diminution in their
authority through the restoration of the former powers of the _Cortes_,
it may well be imagined that they were alarmed over the political ideas
of the French encyclopedists of the later eighteenth century and still
more so over those of the French revolutionaries after 1789. The works
of such French writers as Diderot, Voltaire, Rousseau, Montesquieu, and
Mirabeau, or of the Englishmen Hobbes, Locke, Hume, and others were in
many libraries of Spain, and some of them were translated. The
Encyclopedia itself found its way into the peninsula. High Spanish
officials, like Aranda, maintained correspondence with some of the
French reformers, as did also some of the great Spanish nobles,--for
example, the Duke of Alba with Rousseau, and the Marquis of Miranda with
Voltaire. It was the fashion, too, for Spaniards to get part of their
education in France, or for French professors, French laborers, and,
later, French revolutionary propagandists to cross the Pyrenees. Thus
the new ideas gained a footing in Spain, where they were taken up at
educational institutions, especially at the University of Salamanca, and
by some newspapers (for that type of periodical had begun to appear),
although expressions were naturally somewhat guarded. With the outbreak
of the French Revolution, Floridablanca sent troops to the northern
frontier to prevent the entry of political agitators. The Inquisition
issued edicts against the introduction of prohibited books, and
published a new index in 1790, followed by a supplement in 1805, for the
rationalist ideas of the French reformers were not in accord with those
of the church. The civil authorities took similar action; the
Encyclopedia was barred in 1784, and many other works at other times; in
1792 officials were placed at customs-houses to examine all writings,
whether printed or manuscript; and in 1805 a tribunal of printing
(_Juzgado de Imprenta_) was created, independent of the _Consejo_ and
the Inquisition. These measures failed to prevent the dissemination of
French literature and thought, but were successful in checking any
effective expression of democratic or republican ideals during this
period. While men of influence approved the philanthropic side of the
new ideas, very few of them accepted their political tenets. It was
quite the usual thing for men to say that the contract between monarch
and people was equally binding on both, or to express admiration for the
freedom of thought permitted in England, while they opposed the forming
of deliberative assemblies in Spain, and stood solidly behind the
principle of absolutism. Some of the younger men went completely over to
revolutionary ideas, and in 1795 some republican clubs were discovered,
while many of the inhabitants of Guipúzcoa gave substantial aid to the
French army of invasion in 1794. The reaction came quickly, as a result
of the tyrannical conduct of the French military authorities. Thus the
spirit of democracy in Spain seemed crushed, but it was not in fact
destroyed, as was amply proved a few years later in the radical outburst
of the _Cortes_ of Cádiz.

[Sidenote: Pronounced acceleration of the tendencies toward a
centralized state.]

Side by side with the development of absolutism there had been an effort
on the part of the kings for many centuries to promote the
centralization of political and administrative authority in the state as
represented by the crown, and to bring about uniformity in the law.
These tendencies were accelerated by the Bourbons, whose first
opportunity came as a result of the War of the Spanish Succession, when
Philip V was opposed by many of the non-Castilian parts of Spain. In
1707 the special statutes and privileges of Aragon and Valencia were
abolished and their place taken by the laws and practices of Castile. In
both regions a royally appointed _audiencia_ and captain-general were
set up. This action was not taken for Catalonia until 1716. In that year
it was provided by the so-called decree of the “new plan” (_Nueva
Planta_) that the laws and customs of Castile were to apply in
Catalonia; that the Catalan language was not to be used in the
administration of justice; that an _audiencia_ and captain-general of
royal selection were to serve as the principal governmental agencies of
the region; that Catalonia was to be divided into twelve districts, over
which _corregidores_ named by the king should rule; and that the
twenty-four _regidores_ (councilmen) of the _ayuntamiento_ of Barcelona,
which city had been deprived of its former type of government, should
also be royally appointed. The decree of 1716 did not attempt to
establish complete unification with Castile, however. Many former
Catalan rights continued to exist until the nineteenth century,--such,
for example, as the Catalan system of criminal law and the issue of
Catalan coins. Furthermore, there was no appeal from the decisions of
the _audiencia_ to the central government,--an exceptional case.
Nevertheless, the principles of centralization and unification had been
in the main attained, and later measures tended to secure these ends
still more completely. Philip’s opponents in the War of the Spanish
Succession were persecuted, and the royal ideas were furthered by the
acts of the influential partisans of the king; in 1717 the bishop of
Gerona, Taverner, summoned a provincial council with a view to
“threatening with the wrath of God and the excommunication of the
church” whoever should be unfaithful to Philip V and to ordering
confessors to treat such infidelity as a sin. In Majorca the king placed
an _audiencia_ and a commandant-general, appointing also the local
councillors of Palma and Alcudia, while the _audiencia_ named those of
the other towns. The special privileges of the Basque provinces were
respected in theory, but, without apparent change in the laws, the
central government gradually obtained control through the inspection or
the intervention of ministers of state and the _Consejos_. Much the same
course was followed with Navarre, in which the former agencies of
government were left apparently undisturbed. The policy of
centralization was also manifested in other respects than those of a
purely regional application. Thus exemptions from military service were
limited; the reversion of seigniorial rights to the king was
facilitated; and, in fine, the tendency was to reduce all forms of
jurisdiction, territorial or otherwise, to the king or his
representatives in the central administration. Many regions continued to
have at least the vestiges of their former institutions, but enough was
done so that the Spanish kingdom may fairly be said to have become
unitary for the first time in history.

[Sidenote: Changes in administrative machinery.]

The most notable change in the machinery of government concerned the
development of the secretariats. There got to be five of them,
corresponding to the more important of the _Consejos_ under the _Consejo
de Castilla_, as follows: state (_Estado_); grace and justice (_Gracia y
Justicia_); war and finance (_Guerra y Hacienda_); navy (_Marina_); and
the Indies (_Indias_). There were variations from this arrangement at
different times; for example, the navy and the Indies were often a
single secretariat in the first half century of the era. Gradually it
became the custom to call the secretaries ministers, and these officials
began to absorb the powers formerly confided to the _Consejos_,
presaging the disappearance of the latter and the development of modern
ministries. As already pointed out, they also acquired a greater liberty
and initiative in the performance of their duties, especially in the
reigns of Ferdinand VI and Charles III. It was customary for them to
consult with the king every morning, however. No new _Consejos_, or
councils, were added in this period, and the _Consejo de Aragón_, last
of the councils of the former crown of Aragon, was suppressed in 1707.
Essentially, the _Consejos_ continued to exercise the same functions as
formerly, although losing ground to the rapidly advancing secretaries,
or ministers. The _Consejo de Castilla_ retained its importance,
however, and its president, or governor, was the leading officer of
state. It is to be noted that both the _Consejo_ and the _Cámara_,
despite their retention of the name Castile, dealt with the affairs of
other regions of the peninsula, quite as much as did the councils with
more general names. Except for Navarre, which continued to be a
viceroyalty, the other regions of Spain apart from New Castile (Aragon,
Catalonia, Valencia, Majorca, Granada, Andalusia, Old Castile, Galicia,
Asturias, Extremadura, and the Canary Islands) were placed under
captain-generals or commandant-generals with military and administrative
powers. A number of _audiencias_ were added, until now there were eleven
such bodies (Valladolid, Granada, Galicia, Seville, the Canaries,
Majorca, Valencia, Saragossa, Barcelona, Asturias, and Extremadura),
exercising both civil and judicial functions. In 1718 the institution of
the intendancies was created to take over financial administration in
the various regions, although this reform was not put into effect
definitely until 1749. There were twenty-three intendants, of whom six
were military. Under the captain-generals there were smaller districts
ruled by _corregidores_, most of whom were civilians. The judicial
functions of the _corregidor_ were gradually taken over by _alcaldes
mayores_, who ranked under the _corregidores_, leaving the executive
power in the hands of the latter. In some cases these lesser districts
were ruled over by officials called military governors. The term
“province” was applied to districts of very unequal size. While there
were only eight in the combined realms of Aragon, Navarre, and the
Basque provinces, there were twenty-four in Castile. Charles III planned
to divide Spain into a number of provinces of about the same size, but
did not carry out his idea.

[Sidenote: Increased royal control over the towns and the
democratization of local political machinery.]

While municipal life as a virile factor which might withstand the king
had long since been dead, there was too much local authority still in
existence to please the autocratic Bourbons. Furthermore, abuses in
administration had developed which caused the kings to be
philanthropically desirous of a remedy. To accomplish these ends they
aimed at a more complete subjection of the towns to the royal authority
and the democratization of the _ayuntamientos_. The principal difficulty
in the way of these objectives was the fact that many municipal offices
were held as a perpetual right by specific families, especially in the
case of the _regidores_,--for which state of affairs the kings of the
House of Austria had not infrequently been responsible by their sales of
such privileges. This resulted in an aristocratic control of the
municipalities, with consequent usurpations of land by the rich and the
placing of the burdens of taxation on the poor. Unable to buy up these
hereditary rights the royal government chose to follow what was in
effect a policy of legal confiscation. This was easily accomplished for
Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia, and Majorca; as already pointed out, the
king took advantage of the outcome of the War of the Spanish Succession
to take all of these appointments into his own hands or into those of
the _audiencias_. As for Castile, laws were passed requiring the
approval of the central authorities before an heir to municipal office
could succeed to such an inheritance. As a result the government was
enabled to refuse its assent in a number of cases. Meanwhile, the
_alcaldes_ continued to be appointed by the king or by the lord,
according as they were royal (_realengos_) or seigniorial (_señoríos_)
towns. Even the seigniorial towns were attacked, for a law of 1802
provided with regard to them that the servants or dependents of the lord
could not exercise jurisdiction in his place; that the royal institution
of the _residencia_ was never to be dispensed with; and that the
_alcaldes mayores_ of the large towns must be lawyers who had been
licensed to practice by the royal _consejos_ or _audiencias_. No attempt
was made to disturb the composition of the _ayuntamientos_ of Navarre
and the Basque provinces, although these regions, like the rest of
Spain, were subject to laws of a general character concerning
municipalities. One such general law, in 1751, required all
municipalities to send their accounts annually to the _Cámara de
Castilla_ for inspection, and this was supplemented by a law of 1764,
ordering them to deposit their surplus funds with the royal intendant of
the province. Another decree, dated 1760, assigned the direction of
municipal finance to the _Consejo_. Yet other laws were enacted, the
total effect of which, together with those just mentioned, was to place
the whole question of municipal income and expenditures in royal hands.
The initiative for the democratization of the _ayuntamientos_ came in
the reign of Charles III. In 1766 he created the post of deputy of the
common people (_diputado del común_), which official was empowered to
examine the financial accounts of the towns. These officers, of whom
there were to be two in the smaller towns and four in the larger, were
chosen by a body of men who had previously been elected by the people.
In like manner a popular syndic (_síndico_) was elected who represented
the masses before the _ayuntamiento_, with a right to take part in
deliberations and to propose reforms. At the same time, the office of
_regidor_ was thrown open to plebeians. This law was a blow at the
_caballero_ class of the nobility, which had monopolized the holding of
municipal office. There was much dissatisfaction over the enactment,
and the Basque provinces went so far as to protest. Nevertheless, there
was no outward resistance; the aristocracy of the towns limited itself
to opposing the election of plebeians and to hindering their action in

[Sidenote: Important ministers of the first half century of Bourbon

Despite the thoroughgoing nature of the Bourbon absolutism, it is
fitting for the first time to award special credit to the secretaries of
state, or ministers, although the kings were responsible for their
selection as well as for their acts. This was an age of great reformers.
The initiative came from France on the accession of Philip V, and the
first great name is that of a Frenchman, Orry. When he came to Spain, in
1701, he found that the income of the state was about 142,000,000
_reales_ ($8,875,000) while expenditures were 247,000,000 ($15,437,500).
The outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession made the situation
still worse. Yet he displayed such ability that national receipts
actually advanced in course of the war, and were some 160,000,000
($10,000,000) at its end. Amelot, another Frenchman, was an even more
remarkable figure. He coöperated with Orry to increase the revenues, and
reorganized and bettered the administration of the army. The Italian
Alberoni and the Dutchman Ripperdá were less notable as reformers. With
the fall of the latter in 1726 there began an era of great ministers of
Spanish birth. First of these was Patiño, who, though born in Italy, was
of a Galician family. He was especially prominent for his financial
reforms, but was also noteworthy for his measures to develop commerce
and improve the army and navy. In an age when graft was general, and in
a country which has rarely been backward in this particular, Patiño was
able to achieve the distinction of dying poor; his death occurred in
1736. The next notable financial reformer was Campillo, an Asturian who
had been born poor, though of _hidalgo_ rank. More important, however,
was Somodevilla, a Castilian of very humble birth who became Marquis of
Ensenada, by which name he is more generally known. The period of his
power was from 1743 to 1754, and his reforms covered the same matters as
those mentioned above in the case of Patiño, although he was especially
remarkable in his endeavors on behalf of the Spanish navy. His fall in
1754 (as a result of his disagreement with Ferdinand VI with regard to
the treaty with Portugal concerning Sacramento and Paraguay) was
received with rejoicing in England; the English ambassador reported
exultingly that Spain would build no more ships. Ensenada was
responsible, also, for the construction of important public works, and
once suggested the idea of single tax as worthy of trial in Spain.

[Sidenote: Great reformers of the reigns of Charles III and IV.]

The greatest reformers, however, belonged to the reign of Charles III
and the early years of Charles IV. Earlier ministers had increased the
national revenues and cut down expenses, but the deficit had not been
wiped out. One of the great names of both of the above-named reigns was
that of the Count of Aranda, of a distinguished Aragonese noble family.
Aranda was obstinate, brutal in speech, aggressive, and energetic, but a
man of vast information and clear foresight,--as witness his prediction,
in 1775, of the future greatness of the yet unborn United States. Aside
from his connection with Spain’s foreign policies he particularly
distinguished himself while president of the _Consejo de Castilla_ by
the reforms, already referred to, whereby Madrid became a clean and
acceptable city. Yet more famous was José Moñino, son of an
ecclesiastical notary of Murcia, who was ennobled as the Count of
Floridablanca. An honorable man in every sense of the word, just,
intelligent, and solicitous for his friends, he was hot-tempered, and
unbending in his hostility to his opponents. His action made itself felt
in the improvement of the means of communication in the peninsula and in
his economic reforms of a commercial nature, such as the great free
trade decree of 1778, which abandoned certain phases of the narrowly
monopolistic policy which Spain had always followed in her trade with
the colonies. Campomanes was an Asturian and, like Somodevilla, of very
humble birth, but he rose to be, many hold, the greatest of the men who
labored for the social and economic regeneration of Spain in the
eighteenth century. He was also the most representative of his age, for,
in addition to his measures to develop a better system of internal
communications and to foster industry, commerce, and technical popular
education, he was a determined royalist,--the embodiment, therefore, of
the ideal of the enlightened despotism. Like Aranda and Floridablanca he
served for a time under Charles IV, although his greatest work belonged
to the reign of Charles III. Three names deserve mention for the reign
of Charles IV. Jovellanos was an Asturian of an illustrious family. He
distinguished himself by his reforms in finance in conjunction with one
Saavedra, but both were early deprived of their posts, as a result of
the hostility of Godoy. The third name is that of Godoy, who introduced
notable reforms in public instruction and in the organization of the
army and navy,--whatever may be the judgment with regard to his foreign
policy. The names of some of the great ministers of the Indies are also
worthy of record. In addition to Patiño and Ensenada the most noteworthy
were Julián de Arriaga (1750 or 1751-1776) and José de Gálvez
(1776-1787), especially the former. The results, in terms of revenue, of
the activities of the great ministers may serve to give some indication
of the effectiveness of their work. In 1766, receipts exceeded
expenditures by about 133,000,000 _reales_ ($8,312,500). In 1778
revenues amounted to 630,000,000 ($39,375,000); in 1784 to 685,000,000
($42,812,500); and in 1787 to 616,000,000 ($38,500,000). Though annual
expenditures were much less, the government was never able to overcome
the deficit, although the national debt reached its lowest point in the
reign of Charles III. In 1791 revenues were some 800,000,000
($50,000,000), but they fell to a general level of about 600,000,000
($37,500,000) in the years 1793 to 1795, while expenditures, which had
reached 708,000,000 ($44,250,000) in 1793, were 1,030,000,000
($64,375,000) in 1795. Thus the deficit began to increase again, and in
1808 it was over 7,200,000,000 _reales_ ($450,000,000), an enormous sum
as national indebtedness went then.

[Sidenote: Opposition of vested interests to the reforms.]

The efforts made by the great reformers appear the more commendable when
one considers the difficulties they had to overcome. Great changes
always run counter to vested interests, but this was more than usually
the case in Spain.

[Sidenote: Prevalence of graft.]

[Sidenote: Difficulties over questions of etiquette and of

The nobles and the church were the most powerful elements in opposition;
even though their authority was but little, as compared with that of
earlier years, they were still able to hinder the execution of laws
which damaged their interests. Nearly everyone seemed to have an
exemption from taxation, or desired it, but the reformers set themselves
resolutely against that state of affairs. Their success against the
force of vested interests was only fair, for that element was too great
to overcome; the very bureaucracy itself displayed a weakness in this
particular, for it insisted on the maintenance of a custom which had
sprung up that government officials might buy certain articles at a
fixed price, whatever the charge to others. This calls to mind the
overwhelming evil of graft, which it seemed impossible to eliminate;
indeed, high officials were altogether too prone to regard it as a more
or less legitimate perquisite, and did not hesitate to accept large
gifts of money from foreign diplomats. Difficulties over questions of
etiquette, inherent in a centralized bureaucratic government, also stood
in the way of the proper execution of the laws. For example, a serious
dispute arose in 1745 between the bishop of Murcia and the Inquisition,
when the latter claimed that the members of that body should have a
better place in church than others. It was at length decided that they
should not. In 1782 the commandant-general of Majorca complained that
the wives of the _oidores_ of the _audiencia_ had not called on his wife
on the occasion of the king’s birthday. He was sustained, and the
_regente_ (regent, or president) of the _audiencia_ was imprisoned for a
number of months by way of punishment. Several years later the ladies of
Palma complained that the wife of the commandant-general was in the
habit of going out in the street with an armed escort and demanding a
military salute. This time the ladies were upheld, and the escort was
prohibited. These are only a few instances out of thousands, and if
there was so much stir over such trifling matters it can well be
imagined how much more serious the problem was in the case of disputes
between officials as to jurisdiction. Official etiquette is an important
matter in all countries, but Spaniards have always been insistent on
the letter of their rights and very sensitive over the omission of any
act to which their position entitles them. Furthermore, these
controversies carried in their train vast files of papers, of charges,
answers and countercharges, and the evidence of witnesses. These
questions had to be resolved, causing great expenditure in both time and
money. No country was ever more diligent than Spain in the
multiplication of state papers over affairs which ranged from those of
vital importance to the most trivial incidents. The historian may have
cause to rejoice over the existence of so much material, but the nation
suffered,--although it is difficult to see how its contemporary
accumulation could have been avoided in an absolutism like that of the
Spanish Bourbons.

[Sidenote: Improvement of the army and ineffectual attempts at
additional reforms.]

One of the principal objects of the reforms was the rehabilitation of
the army and navy so that Spain might be in a better position in
international affairs. In the army the volunteer system was employed for
a while, but it was effective only in procuring contingents of foreign
mercenaries and in filling the ranks of the royal guard. Gradually the
idea of the draft came into favor, and it was tried several times,
becoming a definitive law in the reign of Charles III. The law of
Charles III provided that one man in every five--hence the term _quinta_
for this institution--should become subject to military service for a
term of eight years. This system was resisted in all parts of the
peninsula, but was allowed to stand, although it proved impossible of
enforcement. Through graft or favor, whether of the local officials
charged with administering the law or of doctors who examined the
individual drawn, practically nobody was required to serve except those
totally lacking in influence. It was customary to seize tramps and petty
criminals and send them instead of the legitimately drafted men. The
government itself adopted the principle of forced levies, or
impressment, of vagabonds and bad characters, but these men proved to be
poor soldiers and deserted frequently. Thus the number of troops was not
great, but in any event it would have been difficult to support more
numerous contingents, owing to the lack of funds; even as matters were
it was customary to grant a four months’ furlough at the season when
crops were gathered. In times of war, rigorous methods were used to get
the needed men, or else they came forward voluntarily, out of
patriotism. The reserve was formed by regional bodies of militia, which
did not draw back when their services were needed in war. At the
beginning of the era it is said that there were 20,000 poorly equipped
soldiers in the Spanish army; in 1737 the total of infantry and cavalry
was 42,920; in 1758 the total of all arms, 108,777. Numbers increased
under Charles III, but declined under Charles IV. In 1808, at the moment
of the outbreak against Napoleon, there were from 136,000 to 147,000 but
only about 100,000 effective troops, and even these were badly armed.
The situation becomes clear in the light of the expense involved; the
army of 1758, in a time of peace, cost some 205,000,000 _reales_
($12,812,500), a saving of 34,000,000 ($2,125,000) over the expenditures
required prior to the enactment of certain reforms by Ferdinand VI. It
will be seen that a considerable portion of the annual revenue was
needed. In this period the hierarchy of officials (from the
captain-generals down through the various grades of generals, colonels,
captains, and lieutenants) and of military units (such as brigades,
regiments, battalions, and companies) was established in, broadly
speaking, the form it has retained ever since. The gun with the bayonet
had now become the principal infantry weapon, and artillery had been
developed to a high point as compared with the previous era. Flags and
uniforms varied; the latter were picturesque, but adapted more to
encouraging the soldier’s morale than to developing his freedom of
action. A number of military schools were founded for the different
branches of the service,--the infantry, cavalry, artillery, and

[Sidenote: Birth of a real Spanish navy, but difficulties attending its

The eighteenth century marked the birth of a real Spanish navy. At the
outset, and during the great war which opened the era, there was
virtually none at all, but in 1714 Orry took steps, which were later
furthered by Alberoni, Patiño, and especially by Ensenada, to develop an
effective fleet. In 1761 there were 49 men-of-war (_navíos_), 22
frigates, and a number of smaller ships; in 1788, 64 men-of-war, 53
frigates, and 60 boats of other types, with 50,000 sailors, 20,000
infantry, 3000 artillerymen, and numerous officials of the navy
department. Each war with England during the century resulted in the
destruction of a considerable portion of the fleet, and the battle of
Trafalgar, in 1805, destroyed it as a fighting unit, even though Spain
still had 42 men-of-war, 30 frigates, and 146 other ships in 1806. The
man-of-war was the principal type of vessel employed in this era,
carrying from sixty to a hundred cannon, while the faster sailing
frigate had from thirty to fifty cannon. Many auxiliary
vessels--transports and smaller fighting ships, such as brigs and sloops
of war--were used. The galley went out of service, although one was
built as late as 1794. The Spanish navy suffered from a number of
defects, however, which made it distinctly inferior to the English, or
even to the French. The wood for the masts was fragile and the material
for the sails was of bad quality, while boats were so poorly taken care
of, that they deteriorated rapidly. The provision of food supplies and
effects for the men was faulty, and the men on board, especially the
artillerymen and the infantry, were of very poor calibre. Ensenada
remarked that the Spanish navy of his day was all appearances, without
substance, but set about to the best of his ability to rectify the
situation. He improved shipyards, sent officers of talent abroad to
study the methods employed elsewhere, gave inducements to English
shipbuilders to come to Spain, built shops for the making of rigging and
other equipment needed on ships of war, endeavored to improve the
personnel of Spanish crews, and surrounded himself with the most
competent naval men he could find. Ensenada and the other reformers did
a great deal, but they could not overcome the never-ending difficulties
in the way of obtaining men in sufficient numbers and of suitable
quality for the requirements of the navy. The fishermen of the Spanish
coasts continued to be drafted as sailors, and became less unwilling to
serve than formerly when efforts were made to be punctual in payments of
wages and to protect the families of the mariners. The recruiting of
marine infantry and artillerymen, however, suffered from the same evil
as the raising of the land forces, with one important result, which was
that Spanish cannon were badly served.

[Sidenote: Legislation of the era and the _Novísima recopilación_.]

Naturally, a period so rich in reforms as this was bound to have a great
body of legislation. In Castile this was almost exclusively in the
various forms of royal orders, recording the directions given by the
king and his ministers, and the decisions of the _Consejos_. Thus the
work of the _Nueva Recopilación_ of 1567 got to be out of date, although
five new editions were published in the eighteenth century, with the
addition of some of the recent laws. Finally, a proposal for another
codification was approved, and the compilation was made by Juan de la
Reguera, who brought it out in twelve books, under the title of the
_Novísima recopilación de las leyes de España_ (Newest, or Latest,
Compilation of the Laws of Spain). Reguera claimed to have solved the
problem of the concentration of legal material, but in fact his work
suffered from the same defects as the earlier codes of Montalvo and
Arrieta. His distribution of the laws was faulty, and he failed to
indicate many important acts which were still in force. Furthermore, he
reproduced the ordinance of Alcalá (1348), repeated in the laws of Toro
and the _Nueva Recopilación_, according to which the laws of various
earlier codes, such as the _Fuero Real_, remained in effect in so far as
they had not been repealed by later legislation, and the _Partidas_ was
valid as supplementary law. Thus the old evils of the lack of unity of
the law and lack of clearness subsisted. Nobody could be certain whether
a law was still in effect or not, and it remained the practice to cite
textbooks and the ancient codes of Justinian on the ground that they
might have a bearing as supplementary law, unless there was something
clearly stated to the contrary in the _Novísima Recopilación_. In
Catalonia there was a new codification in 1704, and in Navarre in 1735.
In most of the formerly separate legal jurisdictions, however, the laws
of Castile applied, henceforth, as a result of the changes brought
about, as already mentioned, at the close of the War of the Spanish

[Sidenote: Reforms in the Americas and their results.]

It remains to deal with the relations of the crown and the church, to
which the next chapter is devoted, and to allude to the important
reforms in the Americas. Much that was beneficial to the colonies at the
time was achieved, and much else which in fact helped them to be the
better prepared in the approaching combat with the mother country. In
the main, however, the policies of subjection and of the development of
the revenues in the supposed interests of Spain were followed, with the
result that resentments were kept alive and ultimate disaster invited.



[Sidenote: Pronounced zeal of the Bourbons in subjecting the church.]

[Sidenote: The elements in controversy.]

If the kings of the House of Austria had displayed zeal in diminishing
the range of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, the Bourbon monarchs, with
their accentuated ideal of absolutism, were even more insistent in that
respect. The kings were assisted by elements to which they themselves
were otherwise hostile, such as the Jansenists[63] and the
encyclopedists, whose partisans furnished arguments for the royal
authority, because they opposed the rule of the church. Nevertheless,
the monarchical ideal of the kings was sufficient to induce them to
attack the church, except as concerned the purely spiritual interests of
the Catholic religion, and the absolute patronage which the kings
enjoyed in the Americas became the model of what they wished to
establish in Spain. There were two principal angles to the problem, that
of overcoming the intervention of the popes in the affairs of the
Spanish church, and that of lessening the power and the privileges of
the Spanish clergy. As for the intervention of the popes, they exercised
the right of appointment to Spanish benefices which became vacant in any
of the so-called eight “apostolic months,” and also to those vacated in
the four “ordinary months” (March, June, September, and December) if the
death of the holder occurred at Rome; considerable sums of money were
also collected for papal dispensations to marry, papal pardons, and
other papal acts of an irregularly recurring character, although
government officials charged that a large part of these moneys remained
in the hands of Spanish and Italian intermediaries without reaching the
coffers of the pope; the tribunal of the nunciature, despite the
provisions of the papal brief of 1537, had come to be composed of
foreign priests, and besides exercising its judicial functions
independently of the royal courts administered the rents of vacant
benefices (_vacantes_), which gave rise to accusations of abuses in the
management of the funds; the tribunal of the _Cruzada_, for the
collection of the tax of that name, was still in papal hands, although
the income had frequently in the past been granted to the kings of
Spain; and finally, there existed the old question of the _pase regio_,
about the necessity for royal consent prior to the publication of papal
bulls and briefs, or in fact even for the delivery of pontifical
letters. As concerned the relations with the local clergy, the kings
were preoccupied with such matters as the great numbers of churchmen
(especially the regular clergy), the immunities they enjoyed, the
immensity of their landed estates held in mortmain, the extent of the
right of asylum in ecclesiastical edifices, and the power of the
Inquisition and, far more, that of the Jesuits.

[Sidenote: Conflict of the kings with the popes in the first half
century of the era.]

The conflict with the papacy began at the outset of the reign of Philip
V, for the popes favored the candidacy of the Archduke Charles to the
Spanish throne. Philip V expelled the nuncio, suspended the court of the
nunciature, and gave orders against the circulation of papal bulls in
Spain. These measures were only temporary, during the course of the war.
Nevertheless, Alberoni, who restored matters to their former basis, had
occasion, even though he was a cardinal himself, to banish the newly
appointed nuncio. Finally, an agreement was reached in the concordat of
1737 from which the crown obtained some advantages, such as the
suppression of the right of asylum in some cases and its restriction in
others, the limitation of the number of churchmen with rights of
personal immunity, and the giving of guarantees against false
allegations with a view to extending the immunities of church estates,
together with the derogation of this right for such properties as the
church should acquire in future. The concordat satisfied nobody, and
moreover most of its provisions were not observed. When Ferdinand VI
ascended the throne, he took steps to procure a more acceptable
arrangement, for though an exceedingly devout Catholic he was unbending
as concerned matters affecting the royal authority. The result was a
fresh concordat with the pope, dated 1753. Several important rights were
gained at this time: in return for a heavy money indemnity Ferdinand
obtained a recognition of the royal right of patronage in appointments
to all church offices, except some fifty-two dignities and the naming of
bishops to benefices vacated in the four “ordinary months”; various
kinds of papal taxes were renounced in favor of Spain; the tax of the
_cruzada_ was granted in perpetuity to the crown; and the right of
exemption from the taxation of lands held in mortmain was abolished.
Nevertheless, the partisans of royalty were not yet satisfied.

[Sidenote: Success of Charles III in the conflict with the popes.]

[Sidenote: Subjection of the Spanish church by Charles III.]

Charles III was a pious Catholic, but carried the reform movement
against the church further than any of his predecessors. The first step
was taken as a result of a papal brief against a book written by
Mesenghi, a French theologian. When the Spanish Inquisition was about to
publish the condemnatory document, the king issued a decree of
prohibition. This was followed by royal orders of 1761 and 1762 making
the following enactments: that no papal bull, brief, or other pontifical
letter should be allowed to circulate or be obeyed, whatever might be
its subject-matter, unless it should previously have been presented to
the king, or in certain cases of lesser moment to the _Consejo_, so that
a decision might be reached whether it interfered with the royal
prerogative, before a license to publish would be granted; that the
Inquisition should publish only such edicts as were forwarded to it by
the king; and that it should condemn no book without giving the author a
chance to defend himself. Through the influence of his mother, Isabel
Farnesio, Charles was persuaded to suspend these decrees, but they were
put into effect in 1768 when the pope issued a bull censuring the
Bourbon Duke of Parma, a relative of Charles III, for his application
of the _pase regio_ in his domain. A further step was taken in 1771,
when the pope consented to the reform of the nunciature, whereby that
tribunal, henceforth called the _Rota_, was to be composed of six
Spanish judges nominated by the king and appointed by the pope. A great
many measures were also undertaken in this reign to subject the Spanish
clergy to the royal authority, and to better economic and religious
conditions. The following enactments were representative of this phase
of the royal policy: the recourse of _fuerza_ was frequently employed in
cases of conflict of laws between the civil and the ecclesiastical
courts, and the jurisdiction of the former was favored; a law of 1766
required bishops to exercise vigilance to see that priests should say
nothing against the government or the members of the royal family, and
even the _alcaldes_ were given authority to assist in this regard in
conserving the good name of the state and its rulers; the rights of
asylum in churches and the personal immunities of churchmen were
limited, as by a law of 1774, according to which such rights were not to
obtain in the case of those guilty of participation in riots; in 1780 it
was ordered that the profits of vacant rural benefices should be applied
to the repair of churches of the diocese or to the repopulation of
abandoned districts; bishops were prohibited by a law of 1781 from
appointing vicars without the prior consent of the king; an attempt was
made in 1786 to do away with the custom of burying deceased persons in
churches, but the effort was unsuccessful, owing to the opposition of
the clergy; in the same year ecclesiastical judges were forbidden to
handle the temporal aspects of matrimonial cases, being restricted to
decisions affecting the canonical bonds established by marriage; and in
1787 all cases of smuggling were removed from the jurisdiction of the
ecclesiastical courts, even though a churchman were involved. In the
reign of Charles IV there were intervals when the church was less
rigorously dealt with, but the majority of the ministers followed the
tradition of their predecessors.

[Sidenote: Royal action diminishing the power of the Inquisition.]

There had been many complaints against the Inquisition in the period of
the Hapsburg kings, but they became more frequent in the far more
tolerant eighteenth century, and now that the monarchs no longer
regarded the danger of heresy as serious they were reinforced by the
royal policy of reducing all outstanding phases of authority. The
conflict with the Inquisition was fought out over the following issues:
questions of jurisdiction between the civil courts and that of the
Inquisition; abuse of power by the Inquisition, which was accused of
using its authority in matters of religion as a political arm; decrees
of the Inquisition inconsistent with those of the king, or failures to
observe the royal claims of a right to apply the _pase regio_; arbitrary
condemnations of books by the Inquisition; and the extraordinary
amplitude of cases falling within the purview of its tribunals, such as
those of usury, smuggling, the importation of coin into the kingdom, and
the raising of horses, all of which were far removed from the primary
objects of the institution. Not much was done until the reign of Charles
III. That monarch had already shown himself hostile to the Inquisition
while king of Naples, prior to his accession to the throne of Spain. One
of his earliest acts as king of Spain was the banishment of the
inquisitor general when the latter protested against the royal edict in
the already mentioned Mesenghi case, followed by the legislation of 1761
and 1762 referred to above. When the inquisitor was allowed to return,
Charles warned the other officers of the Inquisition not to disobey the
king in future. In 1770 many of the cases of a secular character were
removed from inquisitorial jurisdiction, and in 1784 it was ordered that
all processes against grandees or the ministers or employes of the king
should be submitted to the monarch. The reduction of the Inquisition was
carried still further under Charles IV. Godoy, Jovellanos, and Urquijo
thought of abolishing it, but fortunate turns in the political situation
intervened to postpone such action. It was provided in 1799 that no
subject of the king should be arrested by the Inquisition without royal
authorization, and the methods of trial employed by that institution
were modified in the interests of doing away with the former secrecy and
the seclusion of the accused. In 1804 the king banished several members
of the Inquisition who had opposed the freeing of an individual whom one
of the lesser branches of that organization had pronounced guiltless.
Its decline was also evidenced by the falling off in its revenues as
compared with the yield of earlier times. Many of its buildings were in
a state of bad repair, and its employees often died in poverty.
Nevertheless, its properties were said to be worth nearly 170,000,000
_reales_ (over $10,000,000) at the end of the era, and a state offer of
2,000,000 a year ($125,000), in exchange for its right to confiscate the
goods of persons convicted of crimes against religion, was refused. In
addition, there was the wealth of the Inquisition in the colonies; the
great German traveler and naturalist, Alexander von Humboldt, estimated
that the annual income of the Inquisition in New Spain alone was 800,000
_reales_ ($50,000). Although the Inquisition of the eighteenth century
had but a shadow of its former power, it was able to bring influential
persons to trial, including great churchmen, members of the higher
nobility, and ministers of state, but it did not always take effective
action in these cases. Godoy was accused on three occasions, being
charged with atheism, immorality, and bigamy, but the queen would not
consent to his arrest, and he was able to procure the banishment of
several of those who had intervened in this matter.

[Sidenote: Increased hostility against the Jesuits.]

The case of the Jesuit order was similar to that of the Inquisition, but
the result of royal action was even more decisive. The hostility to the
Jesuits in Catholic countries, already very great in the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries, was even more intense in the eighteenth. The
other religious orders and the secular clergy were almost a unit in
opposing them, for the Jesuits occupied a dominant place in church
affairs, and were charged with tyrannizing over the others both in
matters of theology and in questions of a temporal character. The ranks
of their enemies were swelled by the continued adhesion of the
universities to the Jesuit opposition and by the encyclopedists. The
former complained because the youth were attending the Jesuit colleges,
especially the nobility, from whom the leading ministers of state were
chosen, thus continuing the Jesuit influence, while those who were more
or less addicted to encyclopedist views were hostile to the order both
because of its power in the church and because of its partisanship in
favor of papal jurisdiction and authority. In defending themselves the
Jesuits had the support of many royal ministers and of the kings
themselves for over half a century; Philip V and Ferdinand VI as well as
Isabel Farnesio and the children of Charles III had Jesuit confessors.
Furthermore, the once hostile Inquisition became an instrument in Jesuit
hands when that order got control of the institution. Finally, the
Jesuits had achieved vast power as a result of their hold on the
affections of great numbers of the people, high and low, and in
consequence of the extraordinary wealth which they had accumulated.

[Sidenote: Expulsion and suppression of the Jesuits.]

It was not until the reign of Charles III that any effective action was
taken against them. While yet king of Naples, Charles had demonstrated
his lack of cordiality toward the Jesuit order, and had begun to feel a
suspicion, in common with other European monarchs, that the Jesuits
might prove to be a danger to the state; in view of the actual power
which the Jesuits possessed, it is not to be wondered at that the
ultra-absolutist statesmen and kings of the eighteenth century should
look upon them with disfavor. In the very year that Charles became king
of Spain they were expelled from Portugal, and in the years 1764 to 1767
similar action was taken in France. The accession of Charles was a blow
to the Jesuits in Spain, who now lost their influential place at court.
Four events of a political character tended to increase the feeling of
hostility toward them. One of these occurred in the reign of Ferdinand,
when the Jesuits of Paraguay opposed the cession of that territory to
Portugal in exchange for Sacramento. The Indians of Paraguay rose in
rebellion against the transfer, and it was believed that the Jesuits
were in some way concerned. The second of the events was the attempted
assassination of the kings of Portugal and France, which was attributed
to the Jesuit order on account of the hostility of those monarchs to the
Jesuits. Many were of the opinion that Charles might be in danger of a
like fate. In the third place friction arose between Charles and the
Jesuits as a result of the former’s advocacy of the canonization of Juan
de Palafox, a seventeenth century bishop of Puebla de los Ángeles in
New Spain. The Jesuits opposed the king in this matter, and even
procured the removal from the palace of the works of Palafox which
Charles had given to members of his family. The fourth matter was of far
more consequence,--the riots of 1766 at the time when the proposals of
Squillace with regard to the modification of Spanish dress were enacted
into law. On that occasion there was grave disorder in Madrid, including
an attack on the king’s guards, a number of whom were cruelly put to
death. The king was obliged to yield to the demands of the mob, and a
few days later unexpectedly left Madrid for Aranjuez,--a virtual flight,
taken as a measure of precaution. Not only in Madrid, but also in
Saragossa, Cuenca, Guadalajara, Alicante, Salamanca, Daroca, Tobarra,
Mombeltrán, Murcia, San Lúcar, Huesca, Borja, San Ildefonso, Azcoytia,
Villena, Ciudad Real, Jumilla, Coruña, Alcaraz, Quero, Las Mesas,
Aranjuez, Palencia, and Navalcarnero there were similar outbreaks, and
it seemed likely that Barcelona might also give trouble. In fine, there
appeared to be an organized attempt at rebellion, and Charles and his
ministers believed, or at least pretended to believe, that the Jesuits
were behind it. Most probably the order itself did not promote the
riots, although several of its members were compromised, but late in
1766 it was formally charged with responsibility by the _Consejo_. In
January, 1767, the _Consejo_ proposed the expulsion of the Jesuits from
Spain. The matter was submitted to a special _junta_, or council, which
concurred in the recommendation of the _Consejo_, after which the
decision was presented to various ecclesiastical personages, who
likewise expressed their approval. It was decided, however, to say
nothing of the motives, and the part of the proceedings concerning them
has disappeared. Nevertheless, a document of Campomanes is at hand
summing up some of the charges made at the meeting of the _Consejo_.
They were the following: responsibility for the Squillace riots; the
diffusion of maxims contrary to the royal and the canon law; a spirit of
sedition (of which some evidence was introduced); treasonable relations
with the English in the Philippine Islands; monopolization of commerce
and excess of power in the Americas; a too great pride, leading them to
support the doctrines of Rome against the king; advocacy by many Jesuit
writers of the right of tyrannicide; political intrigues against the
king; and aspiration for universal monarchy. While the evidence in
support of these charges is no longer available, it is clear that they
were exaggerated, or even without foundation,--at least in the case of
their supposed relations with the English. On the other hand, the
intensely royalist ministers of the era of the enlightened despotism
would have felt grave concern where a more democratic age might have
found no cause for worry. Some historians claim that Charles hesitated
to sign the decree, because the Jesuit general was said to have
threatened the publication of documents purporting to show that the king
was the illegitimate son of Isabel Farnesio and Alberoni, and others
assert that Charles was given reason to believe that the Jesuits planned
to assassinate him and the members of his family if the expulsion were
promulgated. Whatever the truth may be, he delayed only a few days,
signing the decree on February 27, 1767. The Count of Aranda was charged
with its execution, and proceeded to fulfill that duty with great
secrecy and despatch, so that the blow should fall simultaneously and
without warning in all parts of Spain’s dominions. Never was a decree
more carefully carried out. On the night of March 31 in Madrid, and on
the next night in the provinces, the Jesuits were surprised in their
establishments and told that they must leave Spain. There were at this
time 2746 Spanish Jesuits in 120 institutions, scattered through 117
towns. In the Americas the decree was carried out later in the same year
or early in 1768, and in some cases there was popular resistance to
their expulsion, although no untoward incidents of that character had
occurred in Spain. Without consulting the pope, Charles decided to send
the Jesuits to the Papal States, although on the eve of the expulsion he
informed the pope of his intention, promising also to pay the Jesuits
enough to permit them to live in a fitting manner. Despite the pope’s
entire sympathy with the Jesuits, there were reasons why he did not wish
them to land in his territory, and when the boats which were carrying
them arrived off Civita Vecchia, the port of Rome, Cardinal Torrigiani
ordered them to keep away, threatening to open fire on them if they
should not. Thereupon, they went to Corsica, where the Jesuits were
landed, being joined later by their American brethren. Finally, the pope
consented to their establishing themselves in Bologna and Ferrara, where
some ten thousand from Spain and the Americas found a haven,--much
against the will of the secular clergy of those places. Charles now set
about to procure the dissolution of the order, and in this he was aided
by the kings of Portugal, France, and Naples, from which last-named
country the Jesuits had also been expelled late in 1767. In 1773 their
efforts were at length successful, as a result, very largely, of the
skillful diplomatic achievements of Jose Moñino, Spain’s special
representative at the papal court. For his work in this matter Moñino
was rewarded with the title of Count of Floridablanca.

[Sidenote: Royal attempts to reduce the financial immunities of the

One of the leading preoccupations of the kings in dealing with the
Spanish clergy was to reduce the immunities of a financial character
which they enjoyed. Ever since the thirteenth century, efforts had been
made with that object in view, and considerable success had been
attained by the Hapsburg kings, while the attempts of the Bourbon
monarchs to check the acquisition of lands by the church or to render at
least a portion of them subject to taxation have already been traced in
the chapter on social institutions. A great deal remained to be done,
however, before the church would be reduced to the level of the
bourgeois class in the payment of tributes. For a proper appreciation of
this subject it is necessary to bear in mind the many sources of income
of the Spanish church. In addition to the profits from their lands,
cattle, and quit-rents (_censos_), churchmen received tithes
(_diezmos_), first-fruits (_primicias_), fees for masses, marriages,
funerals, and burials, alms for the mendicant orders, gifts, and still
other forms of contributions from persons and lands not under their
economic control. Their seigniorial rights were still extensive, for as
late as 1787 there were 3148 towns of one type or another under their
rule. To be sure, portions of these revenues were already being paid to
the crown, while many former ecclesiastical earnings had altogether
disappeared, or had been taken over by the state. In some places the
clergy were subject to certain taxes, and in others they were not; in
Castile churchmen paid part of the _alcabala_; in Catalonia they paid
all the royal tributes. The laws of the century displayed a consistent
intention on the part of the kings to reduce their financial immunities
still further. Thus in 1721 the clergy of Castile and the Canaries were
required to pay customs duties which had not previously been exacted
from them; in 1737 a tax of thirty-three per cent was levied on all new
landed possessions of the church in Valencia; in the concordat of the
same year the pope granted that all lands thenceforth coming into the
possession of ecclesiastical institutions might be taxed in the same
manner as those of lay individuals, if the king should so decide; when
Charles III was about to ascend the Spanish throne, Pope Benedict XIV
granted him the eventual subjection of the clergy to the same tributary
basis as laymen; in 1763 the clergy of the crown of Aragon were ordered
to pay the _alcabala_ from that time forth; in 1765 churchmen in general
were made subject to the military tax of the _milicias_ (militia), and
in 1780 the pope authorized the king to collect up to one third of the
income of benefices to which the king had the right of nomination. These
provisions were not carried out in full; there would no longer have been
any financial question between the kings and the church if they had
been. Aside from the royal gains of a legislative character the clergy
were often induced, or compelled, to make special grants to the state in
times of war, and occasionally they came forward of their own free will.
When the Jesuits were expelled in 1767, their properties were
confiscated, although the government announced that in applying the
proceeds it would bear in mind the objects of donors to the Jesuits, the
interests of religion, and public utility. Nothing definite is known as
to the amount of wealth this yielded to the state, although it must have
been considerable. Many writers have made fanciful estimates as to the
Jesuit properties, especially with regard to their holdings in the
Americas, some of them exaggerating their value, and others going to
the opposite extreme to make them appear inconsequential. Nevertheless,
despite the progress made by the Bourbons, the church was still
enormously wealthy at the end of the era; it is said that their annual
income reached 1,101,753,430 _reales_ (about $70,000,000).

[Sidenote: Reduction of the number of persons in religious service.]

The statesmen and economists of the Bourbon era gave considerable
attention to the problems arising from the great numbers of the clergy,
taking steps to prevent an increase in the membership of religious
orders and to bring about a reduction in the list of benefices and
chaplaincies. The reign of Charles III was especially notable in this
regard, and much was achieved. Still, though there were more churchmen
and religious institutions in the Hapsburg period at a time when the
population was not so great, there were 2067 convents for men and 1122
for women in 1787, with 61,998 who had taken vows and 71,070 others who
had not (though living at the convents), besides 70,170 members of the
secular clergy. Thus there were over 200,000 persons in religious
service in a total population of about 10,400,000, or one for every
fifty-two persons.[64] By 1797 the numbers had been materially lessened.
At that time there were 93,397 men and women connected with the
institutions of the regular clergy, in 2051 convents for men and 1075
for women, and 58,833 priests. In 1808 there were eight archbishoprics
and fifty-two bishoprics in Spain, sustaining 648 dignitaries, 1768
canons, 216 prebends, and 200 half prebends.

[Sidenote: Attempts at internal reform of the church.]

The question of the numbers of the clergy was closely related to the
never-ending problem of reform in the internal life of the church. While
matters were not so bad as they had been in earlier times, and while
Spanish churchmen compared very favorably with those of some other
countries,--for example, those of France,--the necessity for correction
was nevertheless clear. Despite the fact that the church furnished many
of the most distinguished names of the era in intellectual attainments,
the mass of the lower clergy was decidedly uncultivated. There was a
marked relaxation in discipline. Many churchmen absented themselves
from their livings to become hangers-on at court,[65] with the result
that the kings seven times in less than fifty years expelled all priests
from Madrid whose parishes were not in that city. It was also deemed
necessary to pass laws forbidding clergymen to wear lay dress, for it
was claimed that they used it as a disguise, enabling them the more
easily to indulge in immoral practices. Many clergymen were punished for
improper solicitations in the confessional. Steps toward reform were
taken by the popes in 1723, 1737, and 1753,--the two latter times in
connection with the concordats of those years. The measures of the pope
provided rules for the instruction and discipline of the clergy and
sought to diminish the numbers of clergymen and of benefices and

[Sidenote: Diminution in the rigor of religious persecutions.]

Outwardly there was little difference between this period and the one
before it in the persecution of heresy and the effort to attain
religious unity. Both of these ideals continued to be proclaimed in the
laws, and the Inquisition made its accusations and condemnations and
published its indices of prohibited books as formerly, but in fact a
great change had come over the spirit in which the laws were
interpreted. Such a rigorous policy to stamp out heresy as that employed
by Philip II in the Low Countries was no longer thinkable, and while the
Hapsburg kings had based their international policy on the
re-establishment of Catholic unity, cost what it might, the Bourbons
completely abandoned that idea. The treaties of Westphalia in 1648
seemed to have settled the question of religious warfare, with an
acknowledgment of the right of Protestant nations to exist apart from
the Catholic Church. Henceforth, wars were to be for various objects,
mainly political and economic in the eighteenth century, but not for

[Sidenote: Inter-relations of the different religious elements.]

The new spirit was manifested in, and was to some extent caused by, the
frequency of communications between Catholics and Protestants or between
Catholics and anti-church elements, such as the encyclopedists and
Jansenists. In earlier times, such a correspondence would have been a
serious religious crime which even the most prominent would have been
afraid to attempt; now, it was not generally regarded as seriously
reprehensible, though far from being looked upon with favor, and many
churchmen themselves might have been held guilty if charges on this
account had been brought. The quarrels of different factions in the
church among themselves, notably the opposition to the Jesuits, and the
intensely royalist policy of the kings tended in the same direction.
Some evidences of the new attitude toward religion were also to be found
in the laws. A treaty of 1713 with the Netherlands allowed Protestants
of that country having business in Spain to reside in the peninsula, and
a like privilege was granted to Spanish Catholics in the Netherlands.
The _asiento_ treaty with England in the same year did not, as had at
first been proposed, restrict to Catholics the privileges thereby
granted to Englishmen. A series of treaties with Morocco, Tripoli,
Tunis, and Turkey in the reign of Charles III allowed of Catholic
worship by Spaniards in those countries, and agreed that Moslems coming
to Spain should be respected in their religion. A general law of 1797
provided that any foreign artist or artisan could establish himself in
the peninsula, and in case he were not a Catholic he was not to be
molested in his religious opinions. The Jews were excluded from the
operation of the law, however. Charles III had been favorable to a
policy of toleration toward them as well, and had issued a decree in
1741, when he was king of Naples, permitting of their entry into his
kingdom, but public opinion was still too strongly opposed to them, and
he was obliged to recall his decree. Two ministers of Charles IV,
Urquijo and Varela, made a like proposal, but he did not dare to follow
their advice; rather, he expressly declared in a decree of 1802 that the
existing laws and practices with respect to the Jews should continue to
be observed. The Inquisition directed its activities in this period to
attacking the new philosophic and religious ideas and to defending
itself as well as it could from the inroads of royalism, while there
were still numerous processes against superstitious practices, Jewish
worship, and the crimes of bigamy and notorious immorality. The number
of cases before the Inquisition was not less than formerly, and not a
few persons, especially Jews and Illuminati, were put to death. In
general, however, greater leniency was displayed, and the Inquisition
was no longer the much feared institution it once had been.

[Sidenote: Underlying spirit of intolerance and Catholic fervor.]

Nevertheless, both the clergy and the great majority of the people
remained as intolerant as ever. Ignorance played no small part in this
feeling; thus French priests expelled from their country at the time of
the revolution were suspected of heresy, and the general opinion of the
Spanish common people with regard to Frenchmen was that they were all
not only heretics or atheists but also cannibals. The ideal of
toleration hardly passed beyond the narrow circle of the upper classes,
but it was they who decided the policy of the state; indeed, the
attitude toward religion in this period perfectly exemplified the
workings of the benevolent despotism. The very men who expressed
tolerant views and framed legislation to that end were pious in their
private life, furnishing numerous proofs thereof, every day. Thus
Spaniards still gave a multitude of Christian names to their children,
in order to procure for them the protection of many saints; they
observed religious ceremonies, such as processions, baptisms, and
saints’ days of individuals, as the most important events of social
life; they prayed daily, and at the sound of the Angelus all work
stopped, even theatrical performances, and every one bowed his head in
prayer; phrases with a religious turn were a part of everyday speech;
sacred images and chapels were as abundant as formerly; and in a
thousand ways, from the king to the lowest peasant, men continued to
manifest their devotion to the Catholic faith.



[Sidenote: Bases of the economic reforms of the era.]

[Sidenote: Economic reforms in the Americas.]

If a review of the political and ecclesiastical institutions of this
period displays the enlightened despotism on its despotic side, a study
of the economic reforms effected, or tried, reveals the benevolent or
enlightened attitude of the autocratic state endeavoring to improve the
lot of the people. In addition to the philanthropic aspect of these
attempts, they were influenced, also: by the general current of
eighteenth century thought, giving attention to economic problems; by
the very evident necessity for reforms in Spain, which country had found
itself in a condition of utter misery at the close of the preceding era,
with the result that a multitude of pamphlets had been written to
explain the decline and suggest remedies; and by the desire to attain
other ends, such as that of defence against the aggressions of England,
which had to be based in the final analysis on the economic recovery of
Spain. Not only in Spain but also in the Americas, and almost more
strikingly, this was an age of economic reform, based primarily on
Spain’s need of the colonial markets as a factor in her own
regeneration. Nevertheless, this was the period when the old monopoly
utterly fell, in part because of the entry of foreigners into the
colonies or their establishment in Spanish ports to take over the goods
coming from the Americas, and in part as a result of a deliberate
policy, throwing open the commerce of the new world, if not directly to
all nations, at least indirectly through the intervention of the many
Spanish cities which came to enjoy the privilege of the overseas trade.
The American situation cannot be dealt with here, but it must be held in
mind as one of the vital elements in Spain’s economic progress.

[Sidenote: The reformers and their achievements.]

[Sidenote: Statistics of population.]

The most genuine representative of the century’s political economists in
Spain was Campomanes. Although a follower of the French physiocratic
school, which maintained that agriculture was the principal sustain of a
nation’s wealth, he did not fail to recognize the importance of
manufacturing, and endeavored to foster that industry through the
dissemination of works of an educative character, the enactment of
protective laws, and the founding of model establishments. Of equal rank
with Campomanes, though not as effective in achieving reforms, was
Jovellanos, while there was hardly a minister of prominence in the
entire period who did not attain to some distinction as an economist.
The general effect of the reforms was beneficial, making itself felt in
all branches of the production, exchange, and consumption of goods, as
well as in an increase in population. Thus the 5,700,000 inhabitants of
Spain at the beginning of the era had nearly doubled by 1787, when the
total was 10,409,879 (or 10,286,150 by another estimate), and had still
further increased to 10,541,221 in 1797. The following table of
occupations for these two years is interesting both as showing the
economic distribution of the population and as indicating the direction
of the reforms.

                                 |    1787    |   1797
  Ecclesiastics                  |    182,425 |   168,248
  Nobles                         |    480,589 |   402,059
  Employees (of the government?) |     41,014 |    31,981
  Soldiery                       |     77,884 |   149,340
  Students                       |     50,994 |    29,812
  Farmers and (farm?) laborers   | 1,871,768  | 1,677,172
  Manufacturers and artisans     |    310,739 |   533,769
  Servants                       |    280,092 |   174,095
  Merchants                      | No figures |    25,685

The discrepancies between the two columns are in part accounted for by
the fact that Spain was at peace in 1787, and at war with England in
1797. In a total of some 3,000,000 workers it is notable that the
majority were devoted to agricultural pursuits (including about 100,000
engaged in pastoral labors), showing that the cultivation of the soil
was the principal basis of the national life. The vast number of
ecclesiastics, nobles, and servants, nearly a third of the total, is
eloquent of the social problem which the government had to face. In the
course of ten years they had fallen away to less than a fourth of the
whole. Statistics as to density of population showed Guipúzcoa,
Valencia, Asturias, Navarre, and Vizcaya in the lead, with respectively
eighty, forty-eight, forty-seven, forty-three, and forty-two inhabitants
to the square kilometer. Andalusia had thirty-nine, Granada and
Catalonia thirty-four each, Aragon only twenty-one, while Extremadura
with fourteen and La Mancha and Cuenca with thirteen each brought up the
rear. In total population Galicia led with 1,345,000. Catalonia had
814,412, Valencia 783,084, Andalusia 754,293, Granada 661,661, and
Aragon 623,308. Large urban groups were rare; there were fewer than
forty cities with a population of 10,000, and seventeen of them were in
Andalusia. The four largest cities were Madrid (156,000), Barcelona
(115,000), Seville (96,000), and Valencia (80,000). Economic prosperity
did not correspond exactly with these figures, for the factors of
climate, soil, irrigation, and nearness to the sea entered into the

[Sidenote: Wretched state of domestic life.]

[Sidenote: Obstacles in the way of economic reforms.]

Despite the great body of reforms carried out, the problem was
overwhelming, and much of the country was still in a backward state at
the end of the era. Aragon and Old Castile were in a miserable
condition, not nearly equalling their agricultural possibilities, and La
Mancha was in a far worse plight. The number of large-sized towns in
Andalusia gave that land an appearance of wealth and prosperity which
was not borne out by the facts, if the situation of the country
districts were taken into account. The character of Spanish houses at
this time was also expressive of the national economic shortcomings.
Cave houses and adobe huts with roofs of straw abounded in Castile. The
houses of Galicia were described as having walls of unpolished stone,
often without cement, reaching scarcely higher than a man’s head, with
great slabs of rock for a roof; the doorway and a hole in the roof
served as the only means for the penetration of light and for the escape
of smoke; and the domestic animals and the family made common use of the
wretched house. In the Basque provinces, Navarre, and Valencia the homes
were much better, besides being cleaner, although a lack of glass
windows, chimneys, and furniture was quite general in all parts of
Spain. Through French influences these defects were beginning to be
overcome as the era approached a close. If to this miserable state of
the domestic life there is added the ignorance of the people (who
resisted innovations designed to benefit them), the economic inequality
resulting from the concentration of vast landed estates in a few hands,
the difficulty of communications, the burdens of taxation, the
mismanagement of the administration (despite the efforts of enlightened
ministers), the frequency of wars, and the persistence of a spirit of
repugnance to labor (leading to a resort to mendicancy or vagabondage or
to a reliance upon a somewhat questionably desirable charity) it becomes
clear why the economic situation should have been considered perhaps the
most urgent problem which the Spanish ministers had to solve, and their
failure to overcome all of the difficulties can be understood. According
to Campomanes there was an army of 140,000 beggars and vagabonds in
Spain in his day, most of whom were able to work and might have found
something to do. He and the other ministers of Charles III endeavored to
solve the matter by putting the physically able women in workhouses, the
men in the army and navy, and the old and infirm in homes for the aged
and in hospitals, but owing to the lack of funds these projects could
not be carried out in entirety.

[Sidenote: Constructive attempts of the state and private individuals to
overcome economic evils.]

The evils of the economic situation being clear, efforts were made,
especially in the reign of Charles III, to correct them at their
sources. To combat the ignorance, indifference, and in some cases the
laziness and prejudice of the masses with regard to labor technical and
primary schools were founded and model shops and factories established;
prizes were awarded for debates and papers on various industrial
subjects; printed manuals, including many translated from foreign
languages, were scattered broadcast; teachers and skilled laborers from
foreign lands were induced to come to Spain, and Spaniards were
pensioned to go abroad to study; privileges, exemptions, and monopolies
were granted to persons distinguishing themselves by their initiative
and zeal in industry; and laws were passed to raise the dignity of
manual labor. In this campaign the government received substantial aid
from private individuals. In 1746 the first of the _Sociedades
Económicas de los Amigos del País_ (economic societies of the friends of
the country) was founded. In 1766 its statutes were published, serving
thenceforth as the model for other like institutions in Spain, all of
them devoted philanthropically to the encouragement of agriculture and
other phases of the economic life of their particular district. Nobles,
churchmen, and members of the wealthy middle class formed the backbone
of these societies, of which there were sixty-two in 1804. Many of them
published periodicals, or founded schools for the study of such subjects
as agriculture, botany, chemistry, the various trades, stenography, and
economics. To promote the cultivation of the soil the state itself
assisted in schemes for the colonization of waste lands. The most famous
instance was that of the government colonies in the Sierra Morena
country of northern Andalusia. In 1766 a certain Bavarian adventurer
offered to bring six thousand German and Flemish laborers to settle that
district. Charles III favored the project, and it was at once
undertaken. For a time it was successful; a number of settlements were
made,--there were forty-one in 1775,--and considerable crops were
raised. In the end the project failed, due to bad administration, lack
of funds, the imposition of heavy taxes, the opposition of the clergy to
the predominantly lay spirit of the undertaking, the jealousies arising
between the Spanish and foreign elements (for many of the colonists were
Spaniards), and the failure to provide adequate means of communication
whereby the colonists could export their surplus products. Some of the
towns continued to exist, however, and the project was influential in
causing private individuals to attempt colonizations, several of which
were successful. Among other constructive governmental measures were
the removal of the legal obstacles to the sale or division of waste
lands or lands common, the restriction of the privileges of the _Mesta_,
the betterment of the conditions surrounding leases (favoring the
prolongation of the period of the lease, and aiming to assist the
individual who actually cultivated the soil), and the reduction of
customs duties or a grant of complete freedom of entry in the case of
certain raw materials used in Spanish manufacturing establishments.
Public works were also undertaken, such as the construction of
irrigation canals, though many were not completed or were made so
imperfectly that they soon went to ruin; great highways to open up the
peninsula were planned, and under Charles III much work upon them was
done, though not enough to meet the needs of the country; an efficient
mail service was developed by Floridablanca; shipbuilding was
encouraged; banditry and piracy were to a great extent suppressed;
government support was given to commercial companies; and a national
bank was established by Charles III,--which failed in the reign of
Charles IV. The government also intervened in problems of local
subsistence, with a view to maintaining articles of prime necessity at a
low price and in sufficient quantity, but its action in this particular
did not always produce the desired result. Finally, the government
interested itself in charity. Benevolent institutions were founded, not
only with a view to checking mendicancy and vagabondage, but also to
provide homes for unfortunate women, insane persons, and orphans.
Private individuals gave liberally for these purposes, or founded
charitable organizations, which rendered service of a somewhat
remarkable character in succoring the poor, building hospitals, and
rescuing children. Mutual benefit societies were formed, reaching into
every walk of life, and some of these, termed _montepíos_ or _montes de
piedad_, were made compulsory for the employes of the government; thus
the _montepío_ for soldiers, dating from 1761, served as a pension
system whereby some provision was made for the widows and orphans of the
deceased. All of these reforms encountered the difficulties arising from
ignorance, conservatism, the resistance of vested interests, graft, and
bureaucratic cumbersomeness which have already been discussed. The very
immensity of the reforms projected was against their satisfactory
execution, for more was tried than could be done well. Other obstacles
already mentioned, such as bad administration, insufficiency of funds,
and lack of persistence, contributed to the same result. Nevertheless,
though plans outran accomplishment, a vast amount was done, especially
in the reign of Charles III, when the spirit of the era reached its
culminating point.

[Sidenote: Obstacles to agricultural development and attempts to
overcome them.]

To form a correct idea of the state of agriculture in this period it is
necessary to note how the lands of the peninsula were distributed. At
the beginning of the nineteenth century, after a hundred years of effort
directed to the release of realty, the church possessed 9,093,400
_fanegas_[66] of land, the nobles 28,306,700, and the plebeian class
17,599,000, but the greater part of the estates of both the nobles and
the plebeians was entailed, and therefore impossible of alienation,
closing the door to the growth of a class of small proprietors. The
proportion of proprietors to population was only one in forty. In Ávila,
for example, the church owned 239,591 _fanegas_, 157,092 were entailed,
and only 8160 were cultivated by owners who resided in the neighborhood.
The small proprietor was to be found principally in the north and east,
but he was far outnumbered, even in those regions, by the lessees of
lands, who were also the overwhelmingly strongest element numerically in
Castile. The forms of renting were various, both as to the type of
payment required and as to the length of term. Where the term was
practically hereditary, conditions were much better, approximating those
of the small proprietor. In Andalusia _latifundia_ were the rule,
cultivated in only a portion of the estate by day laborers, who were
employed at certain seasons of the year, living in a state of great
misery at other times. This evil was tempered in Extremadura by the
utilization of lands common. Despite the sincere attempts of the
government to encourage agriculture, that industry was still in an
extremely backward state at the close of the era, with only a little of
the cultivable ground planted, an insufficient development of
irrigation, and a lack of fencing. Valencia and the Basque provinces
were the most nearly prosperous regions; the others were in a wretched
state. In addition to the governmental reforms already referred to, the
following may be mentioned: several laws of Charles III forbade owners
to dispossess tenants arbitrarily, and even went so far as to prohibit
ejectments unless the owner should consent to reside on his lands and
cultivate them; attempts were made to procure reforestation, partly with
a view to conserving the water supply, but the national repugnance to
trees was so great that the laws were not carried out; and the abusive
privileges of the _Mesta_ were attacked by Charles III, and in the next
reign, in 1795, the separate jurisdiction of that organization was taken
away, but as the laws did not clearly authorize the enclosure of
cultivable lands the relief to agriculture was slight. Wheat was the
principal crop, supplying more than enough, in normal years, for the
needs of the peninsula. Grapes were also raised in large quantities, and
were made into excellent wines, many of which were exported. For the
rest there were fruits, vegetables, the silkworm, and other things of
the sort which had always been cultivated in the peninsula. Various
kinds of beans, and especially chickpeas (_garbanzos_), were grown in
large quantities, and furnished an important element in the nation’s
food. An estimate made in 1812 calculated the total value of farm
products as 72,476,189,159 _reales_ (about $4,500,000,000) yielding
annually some 3,600,000,000 _reales_ (about $225,000,000).

[Sidenote: Revival of manufacturing.]

[Sidenote: Mining.]

[Sidenote: Fishing.]

[Sidenote: Unsatisfactory state of the laboring classes.]

In their efforts to revive manufacturing the kings continued during most
of the period to follow the old ideal of state protection and state
initiative in placing industries upon a firm foundation, intervening,
also, to regulate the work on its technical side. In the second half of
the century, especially in the reign of Charles III, the liberal ideas
of the physiocratic school, hostile to all forms of government
regulation, brought about the employment of a new system, leaving
matters to the decision of the individuals concerned. Laws were now
passed removing the prohibitions of earlier years. Joined with the
educative measures already referred to, such as the establishment of
model factories and the importation of foreign workmen, the new methods
brought about a revived intensity of industrial life. Much the same
things as formerly were made; the textile factories of Catalonia and
Andalusia were the most prosperous. The chemical industries and those
having to do with the preparation of foods did not develop equally with
others. The Americas continued to be one of the principal supports of
Spanish manufacturing, as a purchaser of the goods made in the
peninsula. After centuries of scant productivity in mining, Spain began
again to yield more nearly in accord with her natural wealth. A great
variety of mineral products was mined, although very little of precious
metals. On the other hand the formerly prosperous fishing industry was
in a state of decline. In 1803 it was estimated that the total
industrial yield for that year was 1,152,660,707 _reales_ (about
$72,000,000). The revival, however, was of an ephemeral character, for
the social factors affecting labor were too grave a handicap.
Thoroughgoing popular instruction was necessary before there could be
any permanent advance; the Spanish laborer was able enough, but needed
to be rescued from his abysmal ignorance. Wages were low. In 1786 the
ordinary laborer of Seville earned four and a half _reales_ (about $.28)
a day; in Barcelona the average was eight _reales_ ($.50). Agricultural
laborers in Andalusia made from three and a half to five _reales_ ($.22
to $.33) a day; shepherds got two pounds of bread daily and 160 _reales_
($10) a year. To be sure, money was worth more than now. Work was not
always steady, with the result that famine and beggary were frequent.
There was no such thing as organized labor; to go on strike was a crime.
The only remedy of the laborer against his employer was an appeal to the
_corregidor_, but this was so ineffectual that it was rarely tried.

[Sidenote: Obstacles to Spanish commerce and efforts to overcome them.]

Attempts were made to combat the obstacles which hindered Spanish
commerce. Unable to compete with other European countries in the export
trade, except as concerned small quantities of certain raw materials,
Spain was hard pressed to maintain an advantage in her own domestic and
American field. At the beginning of the century many of the laws tended
in fact to discriminate against Spaniards, as witness the heavy export
duties, which were collected according to bulk, thus operating against
the type of products which Spain most frequently sent abroad. Charles
III changed this system, collecting duties according to the nature of
the goods as well as paying regard to weight, and charging a higher rate
against foreign cargoes. Taxes were numerous in kind and heavy in
amount, wherefore smuggling and graft overcame some of the beneficial
effects which might have been expected from this legislation. Protective
tariffs and prohibitions were also employed to encourage Spanish
manufactures and trade, but particular exigencies often caused a
reversal of this policy in the case of certain items of foreign make.
Thus the importation of foreign muslins was forbidden in 1770, but in
1789 the prohibition was removed when it was found that local
manufacture did not suffice for the country’s needs. A series of decrees
by Charles III endeavored also to reduce the coinage to systematic
order, but the multiplicity of coins and the retention of provincial
moneys militated against complete success. The prohibition against the
export of coin was maintained, but licenses to take out certain
quantities were granted on payment of a three per cent duty.
Practically, the prohibition was a dead letter, owing to the prevalence
of smuggling, and it