Open main menu

PHILIP II. (15271598), king of Spain, was the son of the emperor Charles V. and Isabella of Portugal, and was born at Valladolid on 21st May 1527. He was brought up in Castile under the care of his mother, who died when he was twelve years old. As Philip grew up, his father, though he rarely saw his son, watched carefully over his education and strove to fit him for political life. In 1543 Philip married Mary of Portugal, who died in 1545, soon after the birth of a son, Don Carlos. In 1548 Charles V. summoned Philip to Brussels, that he might gain some experience of the peoples whom he would be called upon to rule. He was not, however, popular with his future subjects. He had already formed his character upon the model of Spanish haughtiness. He was cold, reserved, punctilious about decorum, and wanting in geniality. The Italians did not care for him ; the Flemings disliked him ; the Germans hated him. His appearance and manner did not further his father s plan of securing his election to the empire. The scheme failed, and Philip's presence was in no way helpful. In 1551 he returned to the more congenial task of governing Spain.

The death of Edward VI. of England opened out to Charles V. new prospects for his son. Queen Mary regarded the emperor as her only friend, and submitted herself entirely to his guidance. She received with joy a proposal for her marriage with Philip. The English opposition broke down with the failure of Wyatt's rebellion, and in 1554 Philip came to England to claim his bride. Charles V. resigned to him Naples and Sicily that he might not come as a needy prince. Philip was well supplied with Spanish gold, and was charged by his father to spare no pains in conciliating the English. He tried his best; but his cold, ungenial manner was a hopeless obstacle to his success. Mary was devotedly attached to her hus- Page:Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition, v. 18.djvu/778 Page:Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition, v. 18.djvu/779 tectural monument of his reign, the Escorial, built in the solitude of the Guadarrama hills. The mighty mass of buildings contained a monastery, a burying-place for the royal house, and a palace for the king. It was built in con sequence of a vow made at the battle of St Quentin. The battle was fought on St Lawrence s day 1557, and this fact was commemorated by arranging the building in the form of a gridiron. The cloister of the monastery supplied the bars, and the royal palace projected like the handle. Philip loved solitude. It harmonized with his habits of quiet industry. He governed his dominions by means of des patches, as a merchant seated in his office transacts com mercial business in different quarters of the globe. All that could be done by patient industry, without political insight, Philip II. did. His strength lay in his steady persistency. During his reign he was the foremost figure in European history, but the only work which he accom plished was the formation of the Spanish character into

the definite shape in which it influenced European culture.

Literature.—Cabrera, Filipe Scgitndo ; Leti, Vita di Filippo II. ; Sepulveda, DC Rebus Gestis Philippi II. ; Alberi, Relazioni Vencte ; Weiss, Papicrs d Etat de Cardinal Granvcllc ; Gachard, Com- spondance de Philippe II., and Don Carlos ct Philippe II. ; Calendar of State Papers, Mary and Elizabeth ; Documcntos incditos para la Historia de Espana ; Prescott, History of Philip II. ; Migni t, Antonio Perez et Philippe II. ; Motley, The Rise of the Dutch Re public, and The United Netherlands ; Froucle, History of England under Mary and Elizabeth ; Ranke, Gcschichte Frankrcichs, and Fiirstcn und Volker von Siid-Eurcyja , Raumer, History of the Six teenth and Seventeenth Centuries ; Forneron, Histoire de Philippe II. ; Stirling- .Maxwell, Don John of Austria.

(m. c.)