Europe in 16th Century
|1469||Crowns of Aragon and Castile are politically united|
|1478||Establishment of Spanish Inquisition|
|1492||Expulsion of Jews from Spain|
|1497||Juana marries Philip the Handsome of Ghent|
|1499||Expulsion of Muslims from Spain|
|1500||Birth of Charles of Ghent; will become Charles I of Spain in 1516 and Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in 1519|
|1509||Catherine of Aragon marries Henry VIII of England|
|1553||Mary Tudor becomes Queen of England|
|1558||Elizabeth Tudor becomes Queen of England|
|1588||Defeat of the Spanish Armada|
|1603||Death of Elizabeth I|
Europe in the 16th Century
The sixteenth century was a chaotic time in Europe. At the beginning of the century, monarchies were largely hereditary estates with monarchs who had to be constantly on the alert for assassination or invasion—either from within, by local rivals, or from without, by hostile neighboring countries. By the end of the era, most nations had taken important steps toward achieving modern centralized governments. Some nations succeeded much better than others.
The landowner of a hereditary estate could run his property as he pleased, with no interference from others. In the same way, the early monarchs believed that they had the absolute right to rule over their much larger properties— their kingdoms. However, monarchs had to maintain the loyalty of their subjects if they wanted to remain on their thrones. The nobility wanted privileges and power, the advisers and court officials wanted influence over policy, the courts wanted control over the justice system, the military wanted to fight, and the people wanted the monarch’s protection and a healthy economy in which they could support their families. Balancing all these elements called for skills in diplomacy and realism; if the monarch did not possess such skills, the kingdom could not be a dominant power.
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