Imperial Spain

Imperial Spain


  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780141007038
  • 448 Pages
  • Penguin Books
  • Adult


Since its first publication, J. H. Elliott’s classic chronicle has become established as the most comprehensive, balanced, and accessible account of the dramatic rise and fall of imperial Spain.  Now with a new preface by the author, this brilliant study unveils how a barren, impoverished, and isolated country became the greatest power on earth—and just as quickly fell into decline.

At its greatest Spain was a master of Europe: its government was respected, its armies were feared, and its conquistadores carved out a vast empire. Yet this splendid power was rapidly to lose its impetus and creative dynamism. How did this happen in such a short space of time? Taking in rebellions, religious conflict and financial disaster, Elliott’s masterly social and economic analysis studies the various factors that precipitated the end of an empire.

Imperial Spain

Imperial Spain

J. H. Elliott


A major work on Spanish history (The Economist)”

Table of Contents

Imperial Spain 1469-1716Acknowledgments
1. The Union of the Crowns
1. Origins of the union
2. The two Crowns
3. The decline of the Crown of Aragon
4. Unequal partners

2. Reconquest and Conquest
1. The Reconquista completed
2. The advance into Africa
3. Medieval antecedents
4. Conquest
5. Settlement

3. The Ordering of Spain
1. The “new monarchy”
2. The assertion of royal authority in Castile
3. The Church and the Faith
4. The economic and social foundations of the New Spain
5. The open society

4. The Imperial Destiny
1. The foreign policy of Ferdinand
2. The Habsburg succession
3. Nationalism and revolt
4. The imperial destiny

5. The Government and the Economy in the Reign of Charles V
1. The theory and practice of empire
2. The organization of empire
3. The Castilian economy
4. The problems of imperial finance
5. The liquidation of Charles’s imperialism

6. Race and Religion
1. The advance of heresy
2. The imposition of orthodoxy
3. The Spain of the Counter-Reformation
4. The crisis of the 1560s
5. The second rebellion of the Alpujarras (1568-70)
6. The Faith militant and the Faith triumphant

7. “One Monarch, One Empire, and One Sword”
1. King and Court
2. The faction struggles
3. The annexation of Portugal
4. The revolt of Aragon (1591-2)

8. Splendour and Misery
1. The crisis of the 1590s
2. The failure of leadership
3. The pattern of society

9. Revival and Disaster
1. The reform programme
2. The strain of war
3. 1640
4. Defeat and survival

10. Epitaph on an Empire
1. The centre and the periphery
2. The change of dynasty
3. The failure
4. The achievement

Notes on Further Reading

Iberian Expansion in the 16th and 17th Centuries
1. The Iberian Peninsula. Physical Features
2. Habsburg Spain
3. The Conquest of Grenada
4. The Four Inheritances of Charles V
5. The Collapse of Spanish Power

1. The Union of the Crowns of Castile and Aragon
2. The Spanish Habsburgs
3. The Conciliat System
4. Imports of Treasure
5. The Portuguese Succession

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