Philip II of Spain

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Philip II of Spain
Felipe II de Espana
King of Spain & Sardinia
King of Portugal
King of Naples and Sicily
King of England and Ireland
Philip II of Spain (1527–1598).jpg
Philip II of Spain (1527–1598) by Alonso Sánchez Coello (c.1531–1588) Pollok House Photo credit: Glasgow Museums
Style:His Majesty
Reign:16 January 1556 – 13 September 1598
(5 years, 121 days)
Predecessor:Charles V Holy Roman Emperor.
Successor:Philip III of Spain
Spouse:Philip III of Spain
Born:Philip Habsburg
21 May 1527
Palacio de Pimentel
Valladolid, Castile
Died:13 September 1598 (aged 71)
El Escorial
San Lorenzo de El Escorial
Burial:14 December 1558
El Escorial
Royal House:House of Habsburg
Father:Charles V of Spain
Mother:Isabella of Portugal

Philip II of Spain also known as Felipe II de Espana (May 21, 1527 – September 13, 1598) was, his reign began in 1556, he was King of Spain and Sardinia from 1556 to 1598, King of Portugal as Philip I, or Filipe I from 1581 to 1598, King of Naples and Sicily from 1554 to 1598, and King of England and Ireland from 1554 to 1558. He was also Duke of Milan, from 1555 to 1598 and Lord of the Seventeen Provinces of the Netherlands and head of state of the Spanish Empire.

He was born in Valladolid, and was the only son of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and his wife Isabella of Portugal.


Coat of Arms of Philip of Spain (1580 to 1598).

Prior to ascending to the throne Philip was Prince of Asturias. The son of Emperor Charles V and Isabella of Portugal, Philip inherited his father's Spanish Empire, including territories on every continent then known to Europeans. The Philippines were named in his honor by Ruy López de Villalobos. During his reign, the Spanish kingdoms reached the height of their influence and power, sometimes called the Spanish Golden Age.

Deeply devout, Philip saw himself as the defender of Catholic Europe against the Ottoman Empire and the Protestant Reformation. In 1584 Philip signed the Treaty of Joinville funding the French Catholic League over the following decade in its civil war against the French Calvinists. In 1588 he sent an armada to invade Protestant England, with the strategic aim of overthrowing Elizabeth I and re-establishing Catholicism there, but his fleet was defeated in a skirmish at Gravelines (northern France) and then destroyed by storms as it circled the British Isles to return to Spain. The following year Philip's naval power was able to recover after the failed invasion of the English Armada into Spain.

Under Philip, an average of about 9,000 soldiers were recruited from Spain each year, rising to as many as 20,000 in crisis years. Between 1567 and 1574, nearly 43,000 men left Spain to fight in Italy and the Low Countries (modern-day Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands). Philip was described by the Venetian ambassador Paolo Fagolo in 1563 as "slight of stature and round-faced, with pale blue eyes, somewhat prominent lip, and pink skin, but his overall appearance is very attractive. ... He dresses very tastefully, and everything that he does is courteous and gracious." Philip was married four times; all his wives predeceased him.

Philip led a highly debt-leveraged regime, seeing state defaults in 1557, 1560, 1569, 1575, and 1596. This policy was partly the cause of the declaration of independence that created the Dutch Republic in 1581.


Philip I was Head of State of the Kingdom of Spain and he controlled the Government of Spain through the Council of State of Spain. His principal secretary was the Chief Secretary of State and War of Spain. In his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the Spanish Armed Forces or Comandante en Jefe de las Fuerzas Armadas Espanolas his principal commanders were the the Captain General of the Navy or Capitán General de la Armada commanded the Spanish Navy or Armada Espanola on his behalf.