Publication Date

April 2015

Advisor(s)

Erik Grimmer-Solem

Major

History (HIST)

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

Ascending the throne of Spain after the glorious rule of his father, Charles V, King Philip II of Spain ruled over the largest empire since the Mongols. His possessions spanned the globe and encompassed the richest areas of Europe. This thesis studies his Italian territories: Milan, Naples, and Sicily in an attempt to judge the strength, efficiency, and power of Philip’s empire. These territories had long been tied, culturally and economically to Spain. The Italian States had developed mercantile capitalism long before the rest of Europe and already gone through the Renaissance by the time Philip took charge. By all accounts, these lands should have developed into the jewel of the Spanish Empire. However, by investigating the political, social, and economic framework of Philip’s Italy we find that the Spanish Empire was an emaciated one, even in its Golden Age.

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