Today in World History: September 17th

Philip IV of Spain, King of Spain, Portugal, and all of their overseas dominions, died on this day in 1665. Born in April of 1605, and was married to Elisabeth of Austria in 1615, at the age of ten. His father died six years later in 1621, and Philip was crowned soon after. With Elisabeth, Philip had seven children, although the only son, Balthazar Charles, died at the age of sixteen. Elisabeth held considerable influence over her husband, up until her death in 1646, two years before her son. He remarried, having five more children, the two surviving ones being Margarita Teresa, and Charles II of Spain, future king. Philip, although considered a good person, was not able to manage the huge kingdom, spreading over the entire world and over several continents, and under his rule Spain is considered to have begun its decline. He failed to institute military and diplomatic reforms, falling behind the rest of Europe, and causing the Spanish fall from European domination, as its treasuries began to empty and colonies became too expensive to manage. Despite this, Philip’s strong support of the arts caused them to flourish under his reign, and also led Spain during the Thirty Years’ War, in which Catholic and Protestant nations waged war across Europe, devastating the Holy Roman Empire. The end of the war led to the rise of France, the Franco-Spanish War, the loss of the Spanish Netherlands, and the beginning of the decline of the Ottomans. Philip IV died in 1655, distraught by his failures.


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