Charles V of Spain ruled the Holy Roman Empire and other European countries.
As heir to Hapsburg lands, Charles V brought under Spanish rule large chunks of territory in Europe, including the Netherlands, parts of Burgundy, and Austria. In 1519, the German states were added when Charles was elected Holy Roman Emperor, and in 1535 he acquired the Duchy of Milan. In 1556, he left the throne and split his holdings. From: http://www.boisestate.edu/courses/reformation/germany/charlesv.shtml
Charles’ brother Ferdinand received Austria and the Holy Roman Empire.
Charles’ son, Philip II, got Spain and its colonies.
Philip II expanded his holdings by taking control of Portugal when the king of Portugal, his uncle died without an heir. Philip also got its global territories in Africa, India, and the East Indies.
By 1600, American mines supplied Spain with 339,00 pounds of gold. Because of this Spain was able to support an army of 50,000 soldiers.
Philip II With the gold and silver from the Americas, Philip II had a gray granite palace built to demonstrate his power. It was called the Escorial.
Philip, believing that it was up to him to defend Catholicism against the Muslims of the Ottoman Empire, sent his fleet of 250 ships (the Spanish Armada) to battle in Lepanto. After defeating the Ottomans, Philip II sent his fleet towards the English.
When Phillip II tried to invade England in 1588, though, he failed.
The defeat made Spain weaker. However, Spain still seemed strong because of the wealth-gold and silver--that flowed in from its colonies in the Americas.
Spain's new wealth led to some serious problems. The prices of goods constantly rose. Unfair taxes kept the poor from building up any wealth of their own.
In the middle of these troubles, Spain lost land. Seven provinces of the Spanish Netherlands. These provinces rose in protest against high taxes and attempts to crush Protestantism in the Netherlands. These seven provinces were Protestant, whereas Spain was strongly Catholic.
The Dutch had became tired of being ruled by Spain. Philip raised their taxes and tried to stomp out Protestantism. In 1566, protestant mobs went through Catholic churches and ransacked them. 2 yrs later, Philip II sent the Spanish duke of Alva to punish them. In one day he executed 1500 Protestants
William of Orange became a great leader for the Dutch during the struggle against the Spanish He wanted Spain out of the Netherlands
William lost many battles at the start. A turning point came in 1547, when the Spaniards had the city of Leiden under siege. He forced the Spanish out of the area by releasing floodgates which drove them from their camps.
In 1579, they declared their independence from Spain and became the United Provinces of the Netherlands. The ten southern provinces (present-day Belgium) were Catholic and remained under Spanish rule.
Though he lost his Dutch possessions, Philip continued to hold tight control over Spain. He wanted to control the lives of his people. Philip and others who ruled in the same way were called absolute monarchs.
Absolute rulers believed in holding all power. They also believed in divine right.
Divine right is the idea that a ruler receives the right to rule from God.
Absolute rule, or absolutism, and its restrictions caused widespread unrest in Europe in the 17 th century.
Some absolute rulers increased their power by forcing an end to conflicts within their countries. That is what happened in France.