In the Devil's Snare Book Report

1585 Words Nov 24th, 2012 7 Pages
Elliot, J.H., Imperial Spain: 1469-1716. London: Penguin Books, 1963. 423pgs. In Imperial Spain, J.H. Elliot examines the history of early modern Spain from the reign of the Catholic Monarchs, Isabella and Ferdinand, to the reformation of the Spanish government by the first member of the Bourbon dynasty. According to the author, at the start of the 15th century, Spain was internally weak, hopelessly divided and isolated from the continent by the Pyrenees. Yet, by 1492, Spanish society experienced a tremendous transformation which allowed Isabella and Ferdinand to unify the country, secure the largest transoceanic empire the world has ever known, and for a …show more content…
Aragon, the author states, was mostly left out of the affairs of empire and it turned its attention to its Mediterranean possessions.
While it is true that Ferdinand interfered little with Isabella 's handling of Castilian affairs, Elliot asserts in Chapter Four (“The Imperial Destiny”) that certain key issues were handled jointly by the monarchs. This was evident in the concessions that they were able to extract from the Vatican. Patronato Real, or the right of presentation to all ecclesiastical benefices in the Kingdom of Granada was granted to the sovereigns of Spain by Pope Innocent VIII while the Reconquista was still ongoing. Eventually, the author goes on to say, this right would be extended to all Spanish domains. This gave the rulers of Spain almost complete control of the Catholic Church in their territories and in time, the clergy would become the most efficient of bureaucrats and administrators of the Spanish empire.
Chapter Five is entitled “The Government and the Economy of the Reign of Charles V” and in it Elliot argues that after Ferdinand 's death in 1516, his successor Charles I of Spain, V of the Holy Roman Empire, inherited a thriving, pacified, quasi-united kingdom that had access to the incredible wealth of the Americas. The problem, the author suggests, was that Charles and his successors did not fully understand the complexity of the Spanish system they inherited.

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