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King of Spain, 1556-1598
Philip was born in the Spanish capital of Valladolid on May 21, 1527, the only son of King Charles I (aka Holy Roman Emperor Charles V) and Isabella of Portugal. Groomed for the throne from an early age, he was educated by private tutors, given private military training, and visited many of the lands within his father's realm. He was made Duke of Milan in 1540, and began serving as regent of Spain during his father's absences in 1543. His father abdicated and retired to a monastery in 1656, and Philip became King of Spain on January 16th of that year; he did not, however, assume his father's position as Holy Roman Emperor. He died at El Escorial September 13, 1598.
Major Events of His Reign
February 5, 1556 Signed the Truce of Vaucelles with King Henri II of France.
August 10, 1557 A combined force of Spanish and English troops defeated French troops at the Battle of St. Quentin.
April 3, 1559 Signed the Peace of Cateau-Cambresis with Henri II of France.
1567 Persecuted Christian Moors in Spain. Sent the Spanish Army to put down a Protestant uprising in the Netherlands.
1569 Formed an inquisition in South America.
1571 The Spanish Navy, along with an allied fleet of the Holy League, defeated the Turkish Navy at Lepanto, ending Turkish control over the Mediterranean Sea.
1580 Spain conquered Portugal.
1581 The Netherlands declared its independence. (Spain would not recognize that independence until 1648.)
August 8, 1588 The Spanish Armada of 132 ships was defeated by an English flet of 34 warships and 163 armed merchant vessels commanded by Lord Howard of Effingham, Sir Francis Drake, and Sir John Hawkins.
1590-1598 Spain waged war against the Huguenots in France.
Marriages and Children
Philip's first marriage was to Princess Maria Manuela of Portugal, a first cousin, in 1543. The union produced one son, Don Carlos, in 1545, but Maria died soon after giving birth; Don Carlos died in 1568.
In 1554 King Charles arranged for his son to marry Mary, Queen of England, in hopes of merging the Spanish and English crowns. The couple were married on July 25, 1554, but the English Parliament refused to crown Philip and he never officially held the title King of England. Mary's death in 1558 ended all hopes of a combined Spanish and English crown, and the two countries exchanged hostilities for centuries afterward.
On June 22, 1559, King Philip II married Elisabeth of Valois, daughter of King Henri II of France. This union produced two daughters, Isabella Clara Eugenia (1566-1633) and Catherine Micaela (1567-1597). Elisabeth died in 1568.
Philip's final marriage was to Anna of Austria, daughter of Emperor Maximilian II, in 1570. Son Philip was born to this union in 1570; he succeeded his father as King Philip III. Anna died in 1597.
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This page was last updated on September 13, 2017.