Peter Russell, Prince Henry ‘The Navigator’ A life
(New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000).
Prince Henry of Portugal, Knight of the Gater
and universally but somewhat misleadingly known as ‘the Navigator.’
- Two older brothers, Duarte and Pedro, joined the
Order of Avis ( knights) and worked as translators and political
moralists. Younger brother, Fernando, is involved with the church.
- Henry’s formative years are not recorded, but he
mostly likely learnt astronomy, navigation ( Maritime cartography),
mathematics and liturgical.
- Henry’s mother made her son’s proud of their
Plantagenet ancestral heritage.
- Henry chose the motto talant de bien fere
which, in the English court language of those times, meant ‘a hunger to
perform worthy deeds’.
- 1411, given patrimony lands.
- 1415, at the age of 21 years-old he takes command
of position of public person – concerns of crusades for Christendom.
- 1415, July 26, Friday the largest fleet ( about
100 ships) and perhaps the largest army ever assembled ( in Lisbon) by
a Portuguese king said out of the Tagus on a southerly tack. They new
not where they were going. It was secret kept from Europeans in general.
Contradiction – Portugal was in a financial crisis. (19,000 men in all,
source; Ruy Diaz de Vega, a Castilian in service of Fernando).
- Project first floated after the peace with Castile
in 1411, by 1413 Henry been engaged in talks with John’s veteran general
about a crusade against Islam.
- Morocco had been the Visagothic province of
Mauretania Tingitana, ruled from Toledo. Christians wanted it back.
- Ceuta, in Morocco was the destination, despite the
huge effort of disinformation to keep it secret. In 1415 Ceuta was a
strong fortress city and commercial center. Claimed to control the
entrance to the Mediterranean.
- 1437, Henry is the Commander and Chief of the
Portuguese army sent to capture Tangier.
- Like elegant displays of pageantry, and dressed up
in fine clothes.
Henry was claimed in 1625 by geographer Samuel Purchas
to have been the first person to demonstrate the English genius for maritime
exploration. Purchas wrote that Henry was’ The true foundation of the
greatnesses, not of Portugal alone, but of the whole Christian World, in
Marine Affairs, and especially these Heroike endeavor of the English ( whose
flesh and bone he was)…”1
1385: the House of Avis, Pedro I.
4 March 1394 ( Wednesday), Prince Henry was born, the
third surviving son of John I and Philippa of Lancaster, in the northern
Portuguese city of Oporto on Ash Wednesday.
Henry believed that the science of Astrology (
Considered scientific in medieval times) provided a fixed destiny for him
with emphasis on Saturn’s natal position and mars. Saturn’s position was to
reveal secrets to mankind. Henrican horoscope, probably drawn up in 1394, or
at least a copy of it, put Mars in the 11th house ( According to
this information), “the House of Secrets.” 2 Henry’s horoscope
became a chronically, making others nobility aware of his chart. Historians
mostly have ignored the horoscope’s social importance and usually do not
mention the matter at all. 3 If mentioned it comes from the
Chronicle of Guinea. Henry was linked to mathematics and could have had
a deep interest in the stars, but according to most historians he didn’t
give much thought to his chart. He could have been interested in prediction
which leads him to take the path he took – but this most likely the people
who were around him that took astrology seriously. The mention of revealing
secrets not known to man yet could have played heavily on his consciousness,
when his court astrology enthusiasts made mention. As I chronicled the great
intellectual astronomers and scientists in late medieval period and early
renaissance of Europe, all taught astrology and knew it as a scientific
medieval functionary of society. Only recently have these revelations in
historiography have been revealed as a possibly social aspect, for whatever
it is worth. The question remains not how much it influenced these great
visionaries or how much they used it in their personal life, but in that
they in fact, were using it as was much of society in these later periods
before the dawning of modern times. It is better to reveal what is known,
than only reveal what you like and leave out what you do not like. Most
historians see no use for Astrology today, so they project their own views
onto history’s stage and re-write history as they saw these great figures.
There is no definitive proof that Henry took astrology
seriously or not at all. His inconsistent planning between his crusading
against the Moors in Africa and his explorations could suggest he utilized
elective astrology. However, it also could have been his character. No one
could foresee that between his birth and forty-years that Portugal would
raise to an international maritime civilization, except possibly the
De regimine principum, a princely educational
book in this period, called for nobles and princes to study astrology. In
the book it calls astrology a science ( as it was the first scientific
method of the medieval period: see science of middle ages section) and for
nobles and princes to study the work for a great concern. “Astrology
prediction was certainly used routinely at the Portuguese court as in other
European courts.” 4 The chief astrologer of Henry’s father’s
declining years was a Jewish Doctor, Mestre Abraham Guedelha – who called
some important astrological decisions in policy in the Duarte I’s court.
5 Duarte I was asked to be reigned in on a better day than he
established, on the Feast of the Assumption – the planets were not well
favored, and he refused to take the astrologer’s advice and so court nobles
cite his early demise for his hasty decision. The official channels tell us
there was no direct correlation.
1415 Henry proclaimed himself the defender of the
rights of all ranks of the Portuguese nobility form great lords to squires,
his mother charged him on her deathbed. 6
Hesitation of Portugal’s capturing Ceuta, would
actually help their enemy Castile conquer Grenada. Joao Alfonso, was
principle guardian of the royal finances. Portugal didn’t have enough
manpower to occupy Ceuta, or enough ships; they needed to borrow or rent
ships for the conquest; thus the first conquest of the Portuguese Empire.
- The Royal councils opposed the operation.
- The royal councils had vested interests with their
constituents, merchants, who had business dealings with the Moors,
Genoese, Valencians, and many traders in the Mediterranean.
- Prince Henry overcame the council’s objections to
- The capture of Ceuta wound up costing 280,000 gold
dobras ( 33,600,000 Florentine florins, or the New Portuguese money of
33,600,000 reais broncos) These figures do not factor in debts. Henry
- The kingdom at the time of the decision, was in a
- A pestilence broke out during the time the
expedition was to take-off, but was delayed, and Queen Philippe, died
from the pestilence, and her funeral played a political investment in
time management, actually delaying the exposition for one month, with
other factors including final preparations. Within this month man men
became sick as well, and the decision to leave then was decided.
- Friday 26, July 1415 the Portuguese with banners,
flags and sailed off in the Tagus River toward the Atlantic. It actually
took until August to reach the destination for the rendezvous. However,
half the ships were blown-off course and the attack was delayed, which
ended up alerting the Salah bin Salah, the Kadi and Emir of the fortress
city, and commercial center, to call for help.
- Many problems almost ruined the attack.
- 12 August, 1415, after 13 hours the Portuguese
- First historical account in Crónicà do
- Letter from John I to Fernando of Aragon, asked to
let Castile, Portugal and Aragon fight the Nasirid kingdom( Grenada) as
a proposal of a tripartite Crusade, but Fernando was fighting illness
and soon died.
- A new House of Trastámaran was getting into the
swing of things. The new rulers could not mount a major decision.
- the Council of Constance 1416 called Ceuta “ The
gateway and key to all of Africa.” But soon it became apparent that no
profits from the city came.
- All the trading vessels and nations ceased to do
business with Portugal. In order for the soldiers to survive they
ransomed Muslim soldiers, and seized contrabanned ships, according to
- Also, this was the time that Aragon had good
relationships with the Moors, in trading from Valencia and Granada.
- Soon Mirind Muslims and Grenada planned an attack
upon Ceuta to free it.
- Soldiers in Ceuta didn’t like their stations,
often asked to stay-on pass their terms of service; also, they were
mocked by other nations, being called prisoners who could only eat
millet and vinegar. Shortages of food plague the new city. Pirates on
the open seas, only allowed small-fast ships to bring emergency food and
supplies. This created a need in which Prince Henry asked the Monarchy
and set up the Casa de Ceuta, which would in turn into a major
commercial enterprise for Portugal. It was a provision storehouse for
Ceuta which then in-turn created many jobs.
- The Portuguese used the caravel a small, fast, and
highly maneuverable vessel to move food to Ceuta and to out-run and
maneuver the pirate ships in the Mediterranean. This proved successful
but usually only two ships per year made the trip from Lisbon to Ceuta.
- During the time that Ceuta was starving, they were
cut-off from Food supplies from the Mirind Muslims, and the local farms
– the Pope issued a three-month reprisal to allow muslins to sell food
to the 2,500 soldiers, but this was in reality not likely as the Muslims
were planning an attack at the same time.
- Soon as years passed fame of Ceuta fall to the
Christian Portuguese declined as it was a drain on the financial coffers
of the monarchy. Problems deprived it from the hinterlands, trade and
Moorish population, and Ceuta fell into steep decline.
- By 1419 there were two attempts to oust the
Portuguese from Ceuta by Grenada and Morocco. Attacks came by sea. Some
historian believed these attacks lead Henry to learn about the
land-roads of Africa and navigation, but this seems impossible. He
possible didn’t have contacts with Moorish experts as they were enemies.
- In the years to come, the only financial
conditions for Ceuta governors seize cargo from both Christian ships
they believed were trading with the Muslims, and Muslim ships.
- Henry is voted in by the Curia, and approved by
the pope to the Order of Christ ( military order, initially belonged to
the templar’s) . He cites this order as one of the main institutions
that helps him fund his explorations. The order founded in 1319
inherited lands and other properties that it could use to raise funds
from. Henry didn’t have to abide by the celibate laws of the freires (
Friars), who each were assigned lands for incomes. He became the lay
governor of this order.
- 1418, the Curia voted in D. Joao, who became the
lay governor of the Order of Santiago.
- 1424, Henry tries to conquer the grand Canary
island, but is pushed out by the natives, and is seen as a failure.
- The Portuguese crown took over the controls of
these orders preceded a similar decision by the Catholic Monarchs (
Ferdinand and Isabella) by some sixty years.
- Henry opened trade with Guinea and the remarkable
prosperity on the new island of Maderia, but he seemed not to pay his
debts he owed others, even when the crown gave him a large sum for
operating coasts in which he had plenty of extra money.
- Henry often used Ceuta’s garrison’s
crown-expenditures to be used for provisioning the caravels that sailed
to Guinea. He even in 1450 used a large sum of 2, 250,000 reais braoncos
( 16,804 gold escudos) for personal use when it was supposed to go to
the Ceuta garrison. When his debtors found out they ask for some of
their money and the prince made some excuse to use to for other
necessities. Large-scale and small indebtedness would plague Henry for
the rest of his life.
- Rumor had it he generally wore a hair shirt,
hardly drank wine and generally practiced asceticism in his personal
- Both administrating a large-powerful
semi-religious institution and supervising Casa de Ceuta kept him in
good stead when he turned into organizing his exploration and trade into
hitherto unknown regions of the African Atlantic.
- Wherever Henry went he tried to toss out the
Castilian element wherever he found it.
- The stories of the unsuccessful wars in the Canary
islands where Henry fought extended over some thirty-years.
- Henry’s efforts also brought in the Azores into
- Castile and Portugal would bicker and fight over
the property of these islets and Islands, which made Henry concentrate
more on colonizing the Canaries than to exploring the Guinea coastline.
- Zurara states that Maderia and Porto
Santo were first discovered in the 1420s by two of Henry’s squires,
João Gonçalves Zarco and Tristão Vaz, who were blown off course by a
storm. However it was a rediscovery as Maderia, Porto Santo and Deserta
were already on maps and seamen’s charts as early as 1351 onwards.
- In 1425 both squires reported the
‘[re]discoveries’ to John I and stated that the islands looked good
enough to colonize. John sent the supplies to colonize, but didn’t ask
for a title like he did for Ceuta. He didn’t treat the island like a new
- Questioned lingered in the late 15th
Century and early 16th Century of what to do now. The largest
fleet of treasury ships belonged to China who explored the Indian coast
and made trade contact with East Africa. However, after shortly
returning the Chinese court no-longer thought outside contact was
prudent and burnt half the fleet. These were the largest built ships on
the earth and the western seafaring nations could have had some great
technology if they only knew. In contrast Columbus’s ships were puny in
- Two factors appeared at these time phases.
- First, 1419-1520, or called phase
one, was Prince Henry the Navigators life and contributions to the
Portuguese. He set up at Sagre (Toward the south of Portugal) an
academy of scientists of navigation, cartography, and sailors.
- Henry’s interest lie in bring together the best
and seeing what could be explored. It was by divine providence that his
brother became king to free up his time for this agenda.
- Taking Ceuta taught the Portuguese a lot about
navigating the local waters. No one at the time believed that Africa had
a place that could be rounded en route to India.
- Most people believed that the further one went
south on the African coast the hotter the sea and climate would get and
one would burn up. A sea of fire was to be believed the culprit. As the
Portuguese fared further and further south, it did get hotter, but the
sailors didn’t die.
- In addition, Portugal could not go into Africa by
land and control it. They just didn’t have the manpower.
- The Germans at the time were crafting the highest
technology weaponry of the earth. These precision made cannons, were the
weapons of choice for the Portuguese and the reason they faired well
with whomever they met when setting up trade –fortresses once they began
to explore, then conquer.
- The first phase was the knowledge phase,
- Second, was the beginning of the
fortress-trade centers along the coasts of African, and later within the
nations they landed on in the eastern hemisphere, after Bartolomeu Dias
(February 1488) rounded south Africa ( later discovering the Cape of
Good Hope on his return), then ten-years later Vasco de Gama forged
passed the Cape of Good Hope, with Dias’ help and went to the lands of
- The usage of the cannons and advanced
technological weaponry, small contingents of soldiers could stay-off
large foreign populations. They built high-walls and used their guns.
These were rough-and-tumble men who were raised and the notion the world
was theirs. They were not too concerned with the finer pacifistic of
- Monetarism was their calling and not Christian
proselytizing of the likes that Spanish claimed in history.
- They had plenty of gunpowder, rifles and cannons
to forge ahead. At first they didn’t set up any sugar plantations, using
African slaves, in which they will do on the island of Madeira, where
sugarcane grew exceptionally well, and became a great commodity as
Europe only had honey as a major social sweetener. The Portuguese
believed the Africans could handle the growing of Sugar better then they
could. Growing sugar was a hard-labor and many Africans died before
their time, as this was back breaking work.
- The hardened battle soldier of the Portuguese
raised men was the number one reason they accomplished what they did.
These were not scholars or learned men, but conquistadors rose to fight
for their existence and to understand they owned the world.
- the Portuguese cannons even beat up on the
Ottoman Fleet where the losers received a reward by their officials a
beheading for the loss.
- Getting to India and making the sugar trade
take-off was a major goal for the Portuguese. Other nations will become
jealous and then began to cut-in on the action, but for now the
Portuguese reigned supreme as the first to begin to navigate the unknown
- 1580 the Spanish Monarchy take over the
Portuguese Empire by Dynastic measures.
- The Discovery of the west is now in the Spanish’s
hands as Columbus gets financial backing from Genoese merchant companies
and others – not Isabella who gave only a little, but in part gave the
- Henry waited until after his father’s death, John
, to ask for lordship of Madeira, Porto Santo and Deserta. He was not
allowed to temper the rights and privileges to the first colonists in
the original royal charter.
- 14th Century Madeira was named by
Italian and Majorcan cartographers as “ timber Island.” Portuguese
Madeira means ‘ wood.’ Notoriously scare in Portugal was timber.
However, the islands produced timber initially so building in Portugal
became a novelty, in which multi-story buildings were constructed.
- Canary and Porto Santo had valuable red-resin, “
Called dragon’s blood,” which dyeing trade became a money and investment
operation. Also, this resin was used in pharmaceuticals.
- The islands were known by maps prior to Henry’s
rediscovering missions. Why people didn’t inhabit Madeira may be seen
because there were not indigenous people to use as slaves. So not slave
- Henry introduced rabbits onto Porto Santo, which
then saw a proliferation because there were no natural predators; the
rabbits ate the agriculture, which was a problem.
- Father in law Bartolome Pallastrelli was in charge
to colonizer Porto Santo.
- Madeira grew cereals, including wheat and was
first settle probably by Zarco. At first there was much lumber, but when
claiming land reclamation, a fire actually burnt most of the forest.
- Royal charters were called Foro.
- Henry ordered vineulture, and wine became
marketable by 1455.
- Tiber taken off the islands were not subject to
biomass replacement, but by 1515, Manual I prohibited lumber felling ,
with penalties of public flogging, and two years of exile in Africa and
a fine of twenty cruzado.
- João Gonçalves Zarco ( historian recorder also)
got considerable power from John I – all islands after were molded like
- Land must be cultivated within 10 years.
- The use of the sesmaria system of
land-tenure. Introduced in the late-medieval era of Portugal. Money
for land grants must be used to produce agriculture and food
production in order for a permanent ownership of land in the future.
- No Private acquisition of land, forest,
pastures, springs, streams or the foreshore – these were to be held
- Soon after John I died, Madeira territory fell de
jour [ de is used in this era, in place of later usage of ‘du’]
as well as de facto into Prince Henry’s hands.
- This meant that Henry could grant land, administer
criminals, but could not order mutilations, or executions, as these were
authorities only for the king of Portugal.
- Soon there were no more direct postural crown
control, but territories were called donatories ( Donatory) as
the Roman Curia became involved in Portuguese politics. These were
semi-feudal-fiefs ( Hereditary), and colonist eventually disliked
donatories – these rules became identified with these territories, and
identification to an identity of its own, and not a national identity of
Portugal. These new autonomous identities, disfavored loyalty to varying
- Tristáo Vas Teixeira.
- Ideology: Overall Madeira brought Prince
Henry fame, power and wealth. After this he decides to further expand
Portugal. People now saw him not as a Muslim Crusader, but in a
different light. He will begin to think about future crusades, and it
will play a major aspect in Portuguese politics, and events. The
ideology of Henry established a method to sell to the papacy the notion
that settling lands by further settling the archipelagos, was to
Christianity’s favor, in that they were conquering territory that
initially belonged it Islam – which was not the case at all. Islam was
in Africa, and not on the islands. Did the Papacy really know what was
out there? No. However, This ideology crept into the mainland voyages
and Henry, who continued to ask for money from the Roman Curia to
continue these so-called crusades was in fact functioning as a
Portuguese expansionist, and some historians say for his own gain, and
some don’t but for Christian Portugal. The Catholic Church would
continue to finance him regardless of truth, which in all acted as the
same results. The Iberians were establishing their presence in
previously uncharted isles in that contemporary period.
- Policies of tenure: Henry’s tenure for the
de facto leader of these archipelagoes was only for a lifetime, but he
wanted to create these positions for ever, making them hereditary. His
brother would compose letters and speeches that stated the hereditary
appointments would damage Portuguese’s authority in the long-term, which
he was correct. But for the meantime, this meant Henry had strong and
stable supporters who believed he could get them permanent rights to
these new territories. It was always a Heneric policy to garner more
land and power for himself away from the crown. Possible understanding
he would never become king, this was a form of innocent rebellion.
- Courts on Islands: Legal issues between the
islands were directly associated with the main courts in Lisbon (
Casa de Civel). So law was quickly established as a means of justice
for its colonists’ rights.
- 1433 Deviding Madeira: Eventually Henry
with his hereditary ideology for the islands, separated two territories
(bandas) for political control, each having its own government;
one side for Tristáo and the other side for João.
- 1434 Zura’s Chronicles of Guinea.
- 1435 Council of Basel: The discussion led to
the sovereignty of Castile’s claims to the Canary islands, and other
islands, claiming since long ago, as proved on maps, the known islands
were cited by their retinue, even eyeing the Azores. Infante, D. João,
Henry’s younger brother and lay governor of the Order of Santiago,
argued well for Portugal disclaiming their rights to the islands. One
this Henry was doing, besides setting up charters and courts on these
islands was fine-detailing the coasts of Africa and the islands. This
included dangerous mapping of sandbars, rough-sea on beachfronts, and
reefs. Usually a squire of his house would spend over year out at sea
collecting data and logging these coasts and islands. No one else was
doing it so well, it had to come into the argument aspect, because it
benefited all European countries. This was one the legitimate things
Henry was doing on the behalf of Portugal, besides crusading as he keeps
telling the Roman Curia. Henry barely cared about the Muslim religion
of the lands he administered. This was a part of his complex
personality. Usually the Council of Basel was associated with Andrea
Bianco’s Atlantic Chart [arguments up till 1436]. However, one should
note that even thought there is a truce between Castile and Portugal,
the underlying motive of Castile still lay in overtaking Portugal
politically some day (Which of course would happen).
- 1444 no-more dizima: Henry asked for a
pardon the crown-tax, as things worsened for the colonists, as the
sesmaira system produced little results as the cultivation lagged behind
its initial hopes. Most notables colonized the lands, and there were no
many slaves to run the farms, usually didn’t want to work hard, but only
for themselves. This meant no large surplus for taxation. Also the
populations were not large as some would suspect for large cultivating
operations. .Therefore trade dwindled and monopolies grew – this was all
capped-off by Henry’s political rhetoric of hereditary – autonomous
settlements – meaning the crown would be left out of the money-fold.
- 1493 July: Prince Henry obtained permission
from the crown to start planting settlers” on the seven Islands of
- D. Fernando donatory: When Henry died
Alfonso V gives D. Fernando donatory to all the Prince Henry’s lands.
- Cape Verde Islands: the last islands to be
discovered by Prince Henry were made by his orders,, but he died first.
- Santiago Slave Ports: D. Fernando’s island
Santiago was the staging post for much of Guinea’s trade and slave trade
- 1434: Cape Bajodor, maeked the furthermost
southernly point on the coast of west Africa as far as which was safe to
navigate, 1413, Zurua’s Chronicles of Guinea claimed. Henry
demolished the myth by sending a house squire in search of the place.
The myth was that no one knew what to expect the further one went down
the coast of Africa. Although, Henry was looking for the end of Muslim
controlled lands, the myth claimed that one would burn up with heat and
eventually the further one traveled fire would enveloped the sea and
sailors would burn to death. This placed was dubbed the “point of no
return. ”The reality is that Henry knew that one could go further, and
that earlier maps showed that this was possible. The latitude was 26
degrees, and 7 minuets North, some 130 miles south of the Canary
- A French Document: Is probably what Henry
was using as it claimed two years prior that French took captives, and
they staged their landing form the Fuerteuertora island, and went to
Cape Bojador, cited in the book Le Canarien.
- 1443: Brother, regent, D. Pedro granted
Henry Guinea trading rights.
- The first accurate map of Cape Bojador was made by
Henry’s squires, but all credits go, of course, to the prince.
- La Canarien, spoke of crusades in the
Sub-Saharan parts of Africa, below Cape Bajodor in 1402. the French
conquest of Guinea, for Christ and exploration of France from the
- 1320s cartographers recorded gold-trade in Guinea,
called Black-West-Africa, of the trans-Saharan camel caravans.
- 14th Century maps lead Henry to know
about the inner Africa and to understand that sailing below 26˚ 09’ was
possible, and people actually lived there. The terms golden west Nile
also sparked the imagination of the Prince, which of course was below
Cape Bajodor, in the famed peninsula Polola and for its gold.
Furthermore, Price Henry fancied to hook up with Pastor John’s forces, a
legend in his time.
- Henry’s brother in-law, Alfonso V of Aragon, from
1428 onwards was involved with diplomatic relations with Zar’a Yâqob,
the real life Prestor John in east Africa.
- 1441 Prestor John asked the Portuguese to find
routs to India. Henry only knew of Indian as black-Christians living in
- Christian Publicists transferred the Christian
Empire names from Asia to Africa in the early 14th Century –
the area of the African Continent lying east of the Nile and south of
the Egypt, which had been known to cartographers as “ India Tertia.” It
is black-Christian inhabitants of Africa that was called Indians, in
which Henry understood the word to mean.
- 1441, Prestor’s people were at Florence and in
Castile, but other European nations were trying to figure out how to
sail up rivers to get to his fabled civilization, not knowing his
contacts were in the courts of Europe.
- 1437 August the 23d, Lisbon to Ceuta – Henry will
become a commander to fight in north Africa in an attempt to take
Tangiers. Henry wanted a viceroy position of Morocco, and he wanted to
campaign as long as 2 – 5 years for this, but the court and nobles was
not to fast to decided and thought it was unwise. There remains over
4000 letters addressing argument to either go to Tangiers or start a
joint-campaign with Castile against Granada.
- João’s arguments appear in letters which he states
that “Prudence is contrary to chivalry” and that the Pope didn’t
have any authority to conquer by force, but did have the authority to
proselytize. This might have been deemed at Henry’s insistence to get
more power and land. However, people’s attitudes were changing about how
far to go against Islam.
- Morocco, the “Kingdom of Fez.”
- Council of Basel argued the question of whether
Christian princes had the right 9 Any intrinsic right) to make war on
infidels or pagans simply because they were not Christians. Stating
this, to note that Portuguese kings always secured papal approval so to
cover their legal backs.
- At this time Italian cannons and lawyers
questioned these principles. D. Duarte asked Pope Eugenius IV to let him
have authority for the Morocco campaign.
- 15th century, people in general asked
the questin if the pope had temporal power, and this was much different
attitude from the 12 Cnetury.
- Parecers, letter of opinions circulated
during this decision process for the Morocco campaign. Over 4000 of
these were noted and Pedro’s response in one parecer was recorded by Rui
de Pina in his Crónica de D. Duarte.
- consultum: the Pope gives preliminary
decisions to cannons and lawyers to present to him their findings, on
João’s parecer produced an argument against war, and Henry threatened
the new King that he would make his younger brother D. Fernando emigrate to
England, or join the pope, of knights of France.
Duarte secured from the Pope Fernando’s take over of the
administration of the military Order of Avis.
1433 by pressure of Henry he made direct approaches to the Pope to
ask for –permission to fight the Moroccan war (tried to do it in person).
Portuguese princes had a custom or law that allowed all royal princes to
exercise their own rights.
Henry formed Santa Maria de Africa in Ceuta , so that the church had
a place to send financing so the prince could have full control.
Pedro’s parecer had among its complaints that of total lack of
secrecy surrounding the proposal to invade Morocco – in contrast to the
remarkable secrecy that had marked the plan to attack Ceuta in 1415.8
Prince Henry’s ideology of Honor: Henry’s paracer begins with
what he believes are the objectives of a man’s life. This foremost is honor.
But to have honor, his name, his lineage and his nation (Patriotism) must
be passed on from generation to generation and so concerns the very essence
of worldly existence. Henry believes man must think about his [ her] name
being remembered for the remainder of the history of the world. His deep
pessimism about such indulgences necessary to make life more tolerable, was
probably a ploy to win Duarte’s religious emotional feelings rather than to
his reason. Henry wrote against richness as an indulgence, but he was not
about to give up wealth or power form wealth. Henry went on to say that
people who went after wealth for their own sake were entirely condemned.
1436 march, a memorandum of D. Pedro’s indicates the Prince
had already secured the King’s provisional consent to the enterprise. Henry
would command the expeditionary army and that he should take his younger
brother Fernando with him.
Jaohn’s last words according to Daurte’s spokesman urged his sons to
continue the war against Morocco. Filial Piety, meant it was necessary to
not lose the warrior mentality gained under their father’s reign.
1436 Eugenium IV issued “crusading bull” Rex Regum.
The said any land conquered by Portugal is Portugal’s forever. So in
Guinea, Henry believed he had rights to all the land.
The initial plans were to have an army (regular army) totally 14,000
two consultum[s] by two jurist accompany the pope’s bull. One was
asked by Henry, for the legality on invading laws.
Antonio de Rosellis, a Bologna professor and jurist, and Antonio
Minucci da Pratovecchio, a professor of civil law at Bologna, both had
argued that Morocco once known as Tingitania had belonged to the
Visigothic provinces whose successors were the kings of Castile. Therefore,
it was the rights of the Portuguese to recover these lands.
It was permissible for the Pope to authorize punishment of infidel
rulers if they refused to allow Christian to enter their lands ( or begin
missionaries) to preach to the people. Morocco had its bishops and Christian
minorities which made the decision difficult.
Council of Basel, the big political question of where Christian
princes had the right ( any intrinsic right ) to make war on infidels or
pagans simply because they were not Christians. Portugal kings always
secured papal approval, so to be careful of their crusading purposes. By
definition the justification was by Rosellis: It was the duty of the ( Holy
Roman) Empire to concern himself with the recovery of the lost lands of the
once subjects of Rome. If the emperors proved negligent about performing
this duty, then the pope could , according to some authority, authorize
other Christians princes to undertake the task. However, overall, Antonio de
Rosellis’ consultum deprived Portugal of its right. This ruling was about
questions concerning pre-emptive strikes.
International Crisis: the Council of Basel becomes a nasty
affair as accusations fly. Castile fights back against Portugal’s claims of
have sole rights to the Canaries.
Pope initially favors the Portuguese, but changes his mind after the
Castilians show some type of evidence they were in the region of the
Canaries islands a long time ago.
For the Portuguese try to get rights over the canaries, the
Castilians fight back with outrageous demands:
- Give up Ceuta.
- Give up archipelagos of Canaries.
- Castile orders Portuguese to undertake the
- Ecclesiastical jurisdiction in dispute
- Demand Orders of Avis and the Portuguese
branch of Santiago, to control by the Castilians.
Duarte and Henry were upset; Portuguese said any of these demands are
met we cancel the Morocco campaign and we will fight you.
All these problems were caused by Henry’s insistence that the
Canaries were his.
Henry’s patent letter ( Alvará) not a will, he composed before the
campaign, and said that he had no son , nor would he, and that all
possession would go to his younger brother Fernando.
Shortage of men: Ships promised by both England and Basques
didn’t all arrive. This meant not all the men could travel at once to the
Possible only 7,000 (true number unknown) left Lisbon with the other
forces form other places making up a figure less than what was suspected.
Rui de Pina said, 8.000 men were missing or didn’t show up.
João Álvares said 7,000 men did show up ( not the 14,000).
Much of the blame was upon the shortage of shipping vessels. These
included the vessels to ship wheat, carry livestock, horses and other things
needed in the desert.
Objective of Henry was to conquer Tangier, Kgar-es-Seghr and Asilah.
What came to a surprise to him after he got there was his old Ceuta (
governor) enemy was now one of the heads of the Kingdom of Fez, Salah ben
Campaign Proper, September 9, 1437. As the forces arrive they quickly
found out that Henry’s arrogance that this would be an easy battler were all
wrong. The Granadians had showed up, during the Council of Basel and the
consultums, the campaign was not a secret like the attack upon Ceuta about
twenty years earlier.
Henry doesn’t listen to Duarte’s commands: Henry was ordered by
Duarte, the bookish leader) to take military books with him, but most
importantly to build a protective blockage between he shore were the
beachhead camp and the small ships were placed so to have protection going
to and fro. But Henry didn’t listen and the Moroccans had excellent sallies
and bowmen. Duarte had provided the wood to build this, but Henry was often
to haughty and arrogant, and emotion, when he was in his chivalric mode,
outdid his reason capabilities which were evident when he was in his
exploration mode. So the beach was left open which became a disaster.
Henry put the conquest of Fez at one week. If not then the army would
retreat to Ceuta for the winter and make a new siege for the cities in the
spring. He believed three assaults on the walls in one week were good
enough. Duarte gave orders for Prince to try for three-weeks. Henry
disobeyed many of the king’s orders.
No one bothered to make a reconnaissance of Morocco to figure out
what armaments and necessities were needed. Therefore, the cannons were not
strong enough to breach the walls, the latter were to short and many other
impracticalities dogged the army, who were not considering retreating and
leaving the Prince and his younger brother there alone.
Henry’s boasting not bit him in the behind. Moroccans were not weak
as he bragged at court. Instead of the Portuguese being the besiegers, then
became the besieged. Portuguese soldiers and even his own house members
Henry didn’t build a strong blockage, of the one he built and the men
had to fight their way to their boats to take them to their ships ( out at
ports in the sea).
Henry had to surrender. This was bitter because Salah ben
Salah was the negotiator, and Henry had to give up Ceuta or the men would
fight their ways to the ships and most likely die.
Henry gives Fernando as a guarantor to Salah ben Salah. This
was normal procedure for someone to keep their word in the Middle Ages (end
even then). Other demands made by Salah and the Moroccans in order to allow
the men to leave in peace would be a promises for no more campaigns on North
Africa and sign a promissory contract for a 100 years of peace between the
Moors and the Portuguese with the promise to free trading by land and sea.
One of the last and important measures were the med would leave with only
the clothes on their backs and leave their arms, cattle, livestock, and
These were conditions for the Portuguese Embarkation. The
embarkation most possible took place a day after the capitulation, while on
the beach order of the governor Salah ben Salah attacked the Portuguese ( As
Henry would claim) as they were getting into their ships. Henry possible
said after the attack “ all bets are off.”
The truth was that the men tried to take their arms and Christian
ornaments ( Church paraphernalia and eventually everything else they could
transmit) with them, breaking the agreement which started the skirmish that
killed many knights and squires. Some scholars say this was a minor act.
Henry goes to Ceuta to calm down. Since Henry disobeyed his brother
and lost Ceuta he couldn’t face them at court so he decided to take to bed
in Ceuta for several months. The anti-Moroccan pontificators said “ see I
told you so.” And Henry was now in his low point of his life. He knew then
but would not tell anyone he would not arrange to give Ceuta to the
Moroccans meaning he would leave his younger brother to die a martyr’s
death, and suffer immensely. Many people in Portugal said just why not give
back Ceuta because it is a drain on Portugal and has not made any profit for
many years. But, Ceuta was Henry’s first conquest and a sense of pride to
Hard Choice: What to do. The court was mocking Henry, and his enemies
were laughing at him. The position that he left his brother in was a real
issue with all. Things would by Fortuna change as the attention was
taken off this embarrassing subject when Duarte would sonly die of piles.
Even though Henry was the head commander of the expedition, it was Duarte’s
order that have the overall authority of the operation (royal prerogative) –
thus making him legally fully responsible. If Henry broke the agreement he
would be breaking international relations which would not garner him trust
by other nations in the future, which is against the words of that nation.
He also saw that in the Hero of his father’s lineage, the Plantagenet’s
(connected to his view on honor) military successes and heroism were not his
now – he was a loser. So Henry keeps his thoughts about leaving his younger
brother to a miserable fate. “ It must have looked to him as if the warnings
of his astrologer, Mestre Guedela, about the ill-omened hour he had chosen
for his proclamation as king were proving to be fully justified” 9
Henry telling fibs: In order to keep from facing the truth of his
faults, Henry keeps a low profile ( not going to Portugal to face his
enemies) and tells fibs to prolong the inevitable. The court eventually
learns by understanding Henry was telling fibs that he had intended to never
give Ceuta to the Moroccans. So Duarte, tried to arrange a large ransom and
all the Moroccan captives in Spanish territory for the return of Henry’s
younger brother. But, Salah ben Salah, after six-months became impatient and
moved Fernando into a jail at Fez and began to slowly starve him to death.
Henry summoned to court became an embarrassment when he refused to
show up. The Cortes court saw this as a serious matter. Henry eventfully
met Duarte half way to Lisbon, and nothing came form the meeting.
Fortuna for Henry: Duarte possible raked with so much pressure of
infighting ( I told you so) and for the gossip of the King’s brother sitting
in a Muslim prison suffering to death and not one was turning over Ceuta to
free Fernando caused the king’s health to fail and he died prematurely.
The Count of Arraiolos, Henry enemies actually changed side on the
issue to give up Ceuta. Ceuta was polled within the municipalities and many
said do not return the City for the release of one prisoner, yet others said
get rid of this financial burden. The Count also argued that Henry’s
signatory was not legal and only the signature of the king was obligatory.
Duarte, said for the time being let’s do nothing. He summoned again
Henry, who was now becoming an embarrassment to the crown. Henry’s testament
to his power made the king meet him half way. Henry suggested a new Morocco
campaign of 24,000 men (where to get them?) and to ask Castile to join them.
Duarte just suggested getting money to ransom him and free the entire
Moroccan captives in all Spanish lands. This was all just words, and was too
Abu Zakariya after six months moves Fernando to a cell in Fez and he
Surprise of Fortuna for the king. Duarte fell ill and died August
1438 at the age of forty-seven. Henry and his apologists re-wrote history by
saying the Moroccan debacle was not his, but Duarte, and this was all
because of his guilt, because he didn’t follow the practical orders of
Duarte, and was generally boastful, and arrogant.
Duarte left his will which appointed six-year of Afonso and nominated
his Argonese queen ( much disliked) to be regent of Portugal during
Afonso’s minority. This was a big political crisis.
Close to civil war: the kingdom came close to civil war because the
queen was pro-Castilian and all the feelings of being losers – which meant
being laughed at by Castile because they were friendly traders with the
Moroccans. D. Pedro, as John I’s eldest surviving son was elected by the
Cortes of Lisbon as the sole regent for the period of Afonso V’s minority.
D. Pedro never supported Henry’s African conquests or dreams of other
expansionist quests, so Henry would abandoned him as well just like he did
Lies of accepting martyrdom: Henry told everyone he met that
his younger brother wrote to him and asked to be martyred for the city of
Ceuta. By 1441 Fernando knew his brother had betrayed him, and so he just
wanted to die. This was RealPolitiks ( of that era). It was not Christian of
what Henry did. But the death of Duarte had taken this problem off the
attention of the people. This gave Henry the room to resurrect himself in
politics. He tried to play the mediator between the two rival camps vowing
for regency of Afonso V. Henry forced is biographer João Álvares to revise
history saying his little brother promoted the idea for his own accepted
martyrdom. Henry was arrogant and dishonest. By this time everyone accepted
the fate of the young prince and understood that keeping Ceuta was possible
the best resolve for the disaster at Tangiers.
Henry turns his attention to navigation again.
Caravels ships accredited to Portuguese master, had the preferred
wood of cork-tree and holm oak for the rudders and ribs. Pine was used
but a special kind. Other pine only lasted for a few round trips of s ship
before the wood began to rot, or take on worms, barnacles and deteriorate.
Caravels were outfitted with Flanders and German bombards, made
smaller for the caravels, and natives found these to be of little
In 1470s, Spain and Portugal fought a war over Portuguese trade
monopolies in Guinea.
Slave trade 1444:
Henry’s supposed school of navigation on Cape Sagres is now entirely
discredited. Henry’s navigational techniques up until the mid-fifteenth
century were common and ancient techniques, like everyone else used in the
past. Uses were the compass, the mariner’s chart ( When this was available),
the lead ( to take soundings) and on estimated latitudes. Much of his
navigation was intuition. Also, used were master astrologers and they were
taken on Portuguese ships which tells us that sailors were not trained in
Diogo Gomes claims to have used a quadrant in West African waters c.
1460. Portuguese would later employ the use of this instrument.10
The Chronicles of Guinea by Zurara describe the beginning of
the slave trade ran by the Portuguese. This was the beginning of the
institutional slavery. Zurara gives a date of August 6, 1444 when six
caravels reached Lagos form Cape Blanco with their human cargo. 11
Black-Africans were traded for horses.
Horses were the desired barter for human beings. This was
because horses were desired for military purposes and other domestic uses.
Caravels carried horses which then were bartered for slaves
sold by other tribes, or groups in West Africa.
Many of these facts come from letters preserved of the African
coast navigation era of Portugal.
Henry set up customs, and cargo-administrators, who rode on
the caravels but certainly were not liked by the crew. These were possibly
men of his household. He always demanded one-fifth of the booty.
Henry’s was proud that he made Portugal a slave-trade empire, and his
own letters and documents show this.
In the late Middle ages, slave trades were also a part of Genoese
tradition that “ With scant regard for any legal or ethical prohibitions,
they had long before set about enslaving members of the Orthodox Christian
Church as well as those from the pagan peoples of south-eastern Europe.”
(Russell 247) . “ By the fifteenth century, most of the white slaves` sold
by the Genoese at Chios were disposed of to Muslim purchasers in Turkey [
Anatolia, the Ottoman Empire at that time] , Syria, Egypt and North Africa
[by 1515 the all these areas will belong to the Ottoman Empire]. 12
In 1456 for several months Henry was in the Portuguese capital where
Afonso V was engaged in military preparation in response to a demand from
Calixtus III that Portugual should join the grand alliance the curia was
trying to organize against the onrush west of the Turks who had taken
Constantinople in 1453. Guinea commercial voyages didn’t cease. 13
In many letters for the work with the Order of Christ, Prince Henry
was concerned about vintena (a tax nominally equal to
one-twentieth, which was to be levied on all articles of value brought from
The Papal Crusade of 1457, a number of Italian states, the
Crown of Aragon and Portugal had committed themselves to battle Turkish
Armies ( the Muslims). The Muslims were now threatening Hungary and the rest
of the other Christian states of Europe. Afonso was 25 years-old and wanted
to convince people that he was a battle-warrior like his famous grandfather
and his as nearly famous uncle. 14
A fleet of some ninety-ships, large and small, finally set sail form
Setubal on 30 September 1458. On October 3 it reached Sagres, where the 64
year-old prince Henry, ready for what could well be his last military
campaign, was waiting to embark with his retainers. 15
An attack on Alcácer-Ceguer, was a change of plans. This place
between the Nasrid Kingdome of Granada and Morocco took on the traffic gape
left by Portugal’s Ceuta conquest in 1415. It had assumed the same
importance. This was a minor port and Portugal brought a big army. The fight
was not easy, and Afonsa was there with sword, but credit for success when
to the Prince. Henry saw that men could not breach the walls, so to save
lives he brought in a large bombard, and blasted the wall’s fortifications.
Once the walls were breached by the cannon-balls, the Muslims gave up and
asked Afonso V for safe passage of the people and they could have the port.
Pina wrote that Henry longed to take on Constantinople, because
people would see this victory as a minor one compared to Ceuta, and thus
remembering his tragedy at Tangiers. 16
Before leaving Alcácer, Henry made Afonso V make the place an
ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Order of Christ.
A few months before the Prince’s death he wrote against another war
against Morocco. Afonso wanted to take on the Muslims, he Henry strongly
Henry died in 1460.
What was accredited to Henry back then after his death? The
Portuguese people were indebted to him for their new economic lively hoods.
Ivory, gold, slaves, fine cotton cloth, and many other things
Henry is accredited with bring the Portuguese people.
Henry’s navigation voyages ended after his death with about forty
toponyms, and two famous names of Cadamosto and Pedro de Sintra.
They helped finish the mapping of what Henry set out to do in hid final
27 years earlier, since the rounding of Cape Bojador, the caravels
had explored about 2,000 miles of coastlines and countless rivers like the
Senegal and Gambia, which made it about a coverage of about 2,500 miles of
We must think of Henry’s explorations as sporadic. He surely
concentrated on the Chivalric Christian conquests, which was a part of his
desire for fame and his patriotic duty.
Henry’s captains and pilots gained invaluable knowledge of navigation
of west Africa. This also allowed the Portuguese to build trade-fortresses
and move further along in the eventual discovery of the passage to the
Indies from the rounding of the bottom of the Continent of Africa. After
this they shortly established a trading empire that in 1470 even reached
Tokugawa Japan’s leaders. The fall of the trade empire rests upon their
small numbers of men to regulate a large-vast-distance of control over their
forts. However, their significance is not lost to history.
1Peter Russell, Prince Henry
‘ the Navigator’ A life (New Haven: Yale University Press,
2 Ibid, 15.
3 Ibid, 16.
4 Ibid, 17.
6 Ibid, 26.
7 Ibid, 79.
8 Ibid, 155.
9 Ibid, 186.
10 Ibid, 237.
11 Ibid, 240 .
12 Ibid, 248.
13 Ibid, 317.
14 Ibid, 319.
15 Ibid, 321.
16 Ibid, 323.
Major Discovery Period 1488-1520
- New Migrations of people, new commerce in Europe
and historians begin to call this the new age of Globalism.
- In case of Portugal and Prince Henry the
Navigator, this title was an honor, and very unique. Most people receive
honorific titles bearing other common distinctions, but this is a
historical designation that underlines the importance of this Portuguese
and world era.
- Things would not happen this way if it wasn’t for
the new technologies and science arising in Europe at this time.
- More specifically it was Portugal then Spain that
ceased upon these new things and exploited them quickly and efficiently.
- One of the reasons for this was the reconquests.
- Why? The reconquests gave the Iberians much needed
practice in setting up quick administrations once they reconquered their
lands, and or began to set up trading forts on new European uncharted
- Iberia became the first because of these factors,
and thus they dominated the first rows of colonization for the
- One factor was the new slave labor imported from
- 1551 Slavery impacted 10% of the Lisbon populous.
- The first slaves were brought in year 1440 which
had changed the nature of the city and eventually turned them into
metropolis. In 1441 there were 800 slaves recorded.
- By the 1550s there were recorded 7,000 to 10,000
- In 1500 Cabral discovered Brazil, he had no
idea of the landmass, he thought it as an island and in the next
twenty-years the Portuguese understood it was a continent and
established major sugarcane plantations that also would became colonies.
This was the start of Spanish mercantilism, where raw materials flowed
out of Brazil, then to Iberia to be processed, refined and then re-sold
to colonies in Brazil.
- Spanish were the first to impose Caribbean
colonial systems that mimicked Hispanic cities. They quickly set up
judicial systems, political structures and commerce sections, including
churches wherever they went. The first major effort was Santo Domingo,
on the island of Hispaniola, becoming the first major urban center
modeled after Hispanic cities. By 1511 the first court in Santo Domingo
began to open its doors.
- Santo Domingo, a little piece of Spain, and soon
construction began on a Gothic Cathedral with became the first Christian
landmark in the new world.
- By 1503, only eleven-years after Columbus’ first
voyage, the first administration opened in the new world. This was
because of the centuries of warfare and quick decision-making when
re-inhabitation the once lands of their Visagothic ancestors. They took
this experience with them to the new world.
- Spanish cities in the new world were the real
objectives of the expansion - a hispanization carried out by the
- Spain issued their monopoly rights from Seville.
- Seville the first major imperial metroport.
- Portugal operated their monopoly rights from
- The experience of the reconquests played the key
role in the game plan and its track-record was a natural outcome and
outgrowth for the ideology of colonization, meaning it was a naturalité
and they felt comfortable as the new world leaders.
The Spanish Miracle 1492
- The (Re) Conquest of Granada, the Discovery of the
western Hemisphere ( known as the Indies to them) and the fact that
Iberia was mostly Spain’s now, 1492 appeared as a miraculous year.
- There was, however, an internal paradox.
Columbiums symbolized an outward reach to expand new horizons – new
people, new things, but the Spain was in essence closing itself inwardly
– to make itself a homogenous entity.
- 1492, was not all that celebratory and everyone
did not relaxed as a result. What to do with all the people left over
that ran Granada?
- Many conversos were in the Granada
administration that now fell de facto into the Catholic Monarch court
(administration). Many were rich or well to do, and many soldiers,
commoner became jealous of their positions.
- A latent anti-Jewish sentiment erupted to higher
reaches then before.
- A unique Dominican named Tojeda, convinced the
monarchy that these conversos were in fact, fabricating their
conversions and practicing their religions behind closed doors. There is
not factual case evidence for Tojeda’s claims, however, his smear
campaign seemed to be agreeable with the many anti-Semitic resonance
connected to a national feeling of Hispaniola unity.
- Tojeda managed to get a papal bull that
established the inquisition, which was only to function for less than
five-years. However, Ferdinand got the pope to extend it in 1483 as he
made this his special police force.
- At the same time old Jewish false-myths began to
enter the gossip alleys. Blood rituals, the sacrificial infant
ceremonies and all the horror literature made up of macabre
Black-Sabbath paranoia began to influence people’s feelings toward the
Jews in general. Even a bogus , albeit, notorious false case, was tried
and it falsely convicted three persons to death which facilitated the
myths. This was called “the Childcase of Guardia.”
- The inquisition could seize one’s house and
belongings while one was in their jails being interrogated. This was a
rough political scene in Spain, and eventually and soon the inquisition
would be set up in the new world and caused paranoia among even its own
citizens. The factor that its own administration required it remained
predominantly in the big cities where ever it was located and
ninety-percent of the Spanish population were in the suburbs or
countryside. Many of those people didn’t know that the institution
- This institution was an entity unto itself. It
brought along with it its own buildings, administrations and jail cells,
- The inquisition was established in Santiago in
- Growing imperial Iberia implemented tax
collectories, the major administration unit.
- Argonese Empire existed in Sicily with a loose
control from 1282, Peter of Aragon, to 1480 when Fernando went over to
battle the French.
- From 1282 – 1480 Sicily was basically feudal
zones, ruled by strong feudal lords in the areas of Palermo and Messina.
Ferdinand decided to impose more monarchal control so he suggested to
the pope that he place the inquisition over into Italy. It was an
effective arm of control. It also focused on resident jews living in
Spanish southern regions. The Pope did give Diaspora Jews from Spanish
lands a place in Rome to take refuge. Aragon also has the economic
control of Naples, which was second to that of Castile in annual federal
income. It brought in one million ducats per annum, during the 16th
century (Castile 14,000,000 ducats per annum) , so economic production
mattered to the Spanish.
- Ferdinand established a viceroy, a position that
would become a leading office in the new world. A viceroy is just a
stand-in king, which full powers appointed by the king.
- In Italy Ferdinand established Spanish judges for
his desire of hispanization policy in Italy.
- He sent soldiers to protect the raiders that took
slaves from southern Mediterranean areas, including Italy. This was one
reason the Pope allowed the Spanish of their presence in southern Italy.
This ties into the reason of the Spanish having the military dominance
at this point in time in the world. The Ottomans were supporting
Barbarous pirates and Tunics to raid the coasts of Italy at take
prisoners for ransom and for slavery. The Ottoman encourage this
behavior and the Spanish won victories against them, demonstrating to
Rome they were a valuable tool in the region.
- Gonsalvo de Cordoba, created the
most effective army of Europe of this time. Even the French with
Napoleon would utilize his infantry tactics. His revolutionary ground
warfare was established by attending the wars against France in Italy.
100 years of
Spanish Military World Dominance.
- The only reason the Spanish could continue as a
world dominance for this long was the money from the Mexican mines of
silver and gold, because to field an army of 25,000 men that became
their norm cost one-half a million ducats per month.
- 1540s, the mines were discovered, and soon gold
and silver poured into the Iberian coffers.
- The Tercio was a formation, type of a box
of 3000 men, with the perimeter consisting of javelin soldiers, and the
inside consisting of soldiers with firearms.
- Cordoba became the lead military leader and then
viceroy of Naples.
- Tercio tactics used piked-men to form the
perimeter of a square battalion which sallies in the middle. When a
cavalry approached the piked-men with their long-sharp lances subdued
the horses long enough for the riflemen to shoot them dead. The French
then everyone feared them.
- Naples was an important breadbasket, and was
three-times more economically sufficient then Sicily. It was Spain’s
second most important economic source.
- Bishops were established in Italy by Ferdinand’s
Patrone Real, the right to appoint bishops.
FOR TEST EDIT:
Alfonso X (November 23, 1221 – April 4, 1284) was
a Spanish monarch who ruled as the King of Galicia, Castile and León from
1252 until his death. He was elected Rex Romanorum in 1254. His nicknames
were "el Sabio" ("the Wise", more accurately translated "the Learned") and
"el Astrólogo" ("the Astronomer").
ID: Charles the
ruler of the Burgundian territories (1506-1555), King of Castile
(1516-1556), King of Aragon (1516-1556), King of Naples and Sicily
(1516-1554), Archduke of Austria (1519-1521), German King (1519-1530) and
Holy Roman Emperor (1530-1556). In Spain, he ruled officially as Carlos I
Consolidation of Iberia
Three major territories/zones of Iberia (outlooks of
(Portugal Castile - Leon and Aragon
Castile-Leon ⅔ of population, ⅔ of zone of Iberia.
A healthy population means a healthy man-force for an Army.
Castile-Leon, a landlocked position can only eye southern
Iberia as a frontier for conquest. Granada is what is left to conquer after
the Muslim / Arab invasions of the 8th Century.
Portugal, established its first set of boarders in
1240, boosts ¼ of the population.
Portugal’s Long period of stability creates a stable political
power by 1450.
Portugal eyes the western waters ( as a marine-frontier) of
trade expansion with England.
Aragon, not as large as the other two and less
population, boosts the political possession of Sicily, Majorca, Monarch and
soon Naples, taken over by Alfonso V of Aragon (He then leaves it to his
brother John). By 1504, Ferdinand will claim it and give it to his cousin.
So Aragon population sees its nation eyeing the Mediterranean (as a
marine-frontier) trade possibilities and future dominance.
Portugal and Castile –Leon sign peace treaty.
- Iberians begin to learn about dynastic
intermingling and the benefits from it. European nations have in general
used it for many centuries. Spain comes into the fold. About the
beginning of the peace treaty, the Spanish aristocracy are seen by the
world as a third-rate tier in amounts of political continental
- With dynastic intermingling, there is a dark-side.
If a line dies out then there becomes fights to see which nation or
country appoints the next ruler.
- By 1450 all three zones are in relative peace and
political sensibilities persist. Before this political bickering and
constant jocking for petty power created an unstable atmosphere for
unity in Iberia.
Change: Unification of Castile and Aragon.
- 1450s, Iberians kings change from static conflict
to warrior conquistadors.
- A number of inheritances need deciding. This is
- Castile’s king, Jaun II has two children, Henry II
and Isabella. Juan dies. ??
- Isabella's half-brother, Henry IV, became king of
Castile when their father, John II, died in 1454. Isabella was only
three years old, and her younger brother Alfonso was the expected heir.
Isabella was raised by her mother, Isabella of Portugal, until 1457,
when the two children were brought to court by Henry IV to keep them
from being used by opposition nobles.
- 1460-70 ( mostly after ’65) a number of
generational inheritances sees Heneric Iv, and his daughter Isabella.
- Isabella of Castile
- Isabella’s Father: Juan II (March 6, 1405 –
July 20, 1454) was King of Castile from 1406 to 1454. Juan seemed
amiable, weak, and dependent on those about him. His marriage to
Isabella of Portugal (1428-96) who was Queen consort of Castile and Leon
had a child the called Isabella
- Isabella of Castile, only a young girl, was wiser
than her brother who was seen as inept upon a possible thrown of a great
- Gossip and speculation drive politics.
first marriage ended without children and in a divorce. When his
second wife bore a daughter, Juana, in 1462, soon the opposition nobles
claimed that Juana was actually the daughter of Beltran de la Cueva,
duke of Albuquerque. (Thus, she's known in history as
When Isabella married
Ferdinand of Portugal in October 1469 without Henry's approval, Henry
withdrew his recognition and again named Juana as his heir. At Henry's
death in 1474, a war of succession ensued, with Alfonso V of Portugal,
prospective husband of Isabella's rival Juana, supporting Juana's
claims. The war was settled in 1479, with Isabella recognized as Queen
of Castile. Juana retired to a convent rather than marry the son of
Ferdinand and Isabella, Juan. She died in 1530.
- Isabella was born in Madrigal de las Altas Torres
on April 22, 1451.
- Her brother Alfonso was born three years later.
When her father, John II, died in 1454, her much older half-brother
Henry IV became king.
- Isabella was great-great-granddaughter of both
Henry II of Castile and his half-brother Peter I of Castile and their
respective wives (Joan of Villena and Maria de Padilla). She was also
great-great-granddaughter of Peter IV of Aragon and his wife Leonor of
Portugal, daughter of King Afonso IV of Portugal,
- Her paternal grandparents were King Henry III of
Castile and Catherine Plantagenet of the House of Lancaster, a half
sister of King Henry IV of England.
- Her parents were King John II of Castile and his
second wife Queen Isabella of Portugal.
- She was the last monarch of the Trastámara dynasty
established by Henry II of Castile.
- Ferdinand II of Aragon and she, laid the
foundation for the political unification of Spain under their grandson,
Carlos I of Spain (Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor).
- 1474, when a civil war erupts over who will take
the thrown, the Princess Isabella’s camp wins and clears the way for her
– she becomes a queen.
- Ferdinand becomes a king in 1479.
- Opposition to the marriage by Portugal, and Aragon
- Each had a motive either economic or otherwise for
apprehensions to the union.
- Isabella has advisors and she is young.
- She is smart about who she chooses for marriage.
- People didn’t like Henry IV, and this lead to the
promotion of Isabella to the thrown of Castile. For the marriage, a
peninsula significance, she had a choice to marry a 50 year-old King,
Alfonso V of Portugal, and she was 18 years-old. He thought she was
pretty, but his eyes were kept on the Castile power of the unity.
Another possibility was to marry Ferdinand who was one year difference
- Aragonese Prince Ferdinand get the Princesses’ nod
and Alfonso didn’t like it at all so he got mad. Castilian nobles
thought it also well to do that their possible Portugal alliance by an
Alfonso marriage would bring them economic privilege with England by way
of the Portugal marriage. The Castilian nobles thought a Argonese
Mediterranean economic was not as productive for them.
- The marriage was contested in 1469, but both
married, she 19 and he 18 years-old. The couldn’t afford the marriage
costs of a ceremony, so they had to barrow. They were poor.
- They eloped on horseback to escape intrigue.
Isabella married Ferdinand of Portugal in October 1469, and had to
escape on horseback through an alley to consummate the marriage.
- No one thought that this marriage would turn out
the way it did. They will become the most powerful monarchs in Spanish
history, and gain a first tier respectability from the rest of the
monarchs of Europe.
- This marriage signified a new rising power to
- Succession of the son of Portugal’s king Alfonso,
named Joao, in 1481 will become a new type of monarch.
- This consolidation of Spain was not seen since the
Roman times or the Visigoth times.
- 1474-1500 the two states grow close, and before
they were living side to side (they never fully integrate to absolve
national identity – even unto today).
Apparatus of Power
Ferdinand and Isabella coming from poor backgrounds understand
one key concept - to hold power one must find out how to retrieve funds,
hold on to them, and take control of all aspects of society to ensure their
survival from rivals. They were conscious of their poverty.
Both came from good political educations. For example, the
archbishop of Toledo, was an advisor to Isabella.
They understand to expand their power beyond their frontiers
they must appease the institutions at home and appeal to businesses.
Military orders controlled over 100,000 powerful men, and so
they take control of institutions by way of calling themselves the top
general/ commanders of these military orders. They took control of
corporations of military orders to control the men that could rise with
insurrection against them. This could be seen as a source of unrest to their
Santa Hermadad ( holy brotherhood of police), they
consolidated this social order in 1476 – the formalized it. They saw
problems with frontier robbers, like in the wild-west of America, where
people could assemble in the planes and begin a crime spree. Brigandage -
crime spree types of problems. This policy creates a modern police force.
Next control of towns, Restore the state orders.; establish a
structure for the state. The previous councils were agrarian councils, but
this seemed to modernize a system, not to the modern era standards, but to
early-modern era standards. This was the period of the rise of
administration. No actual big building projects saw excessive projects
undergo massive development, but council of orders formed councils, like the
Council of Argon, the Council of Italy and the Royal Council. This
established more royal control of towns.
Theses cities of Castile and Aragon usually made up of between
10,000-13,000 residents. These were considered large cities.
The cities were to provide citizens for war, but in the
heritage, they would ask if their side won the civil war( or war) they were
granted autonomous decision making, and or economic autonomy – no taxes.
Isabella and Ferdinand understood this would not make a nation work. So they
ended this privileged city-dealing with the monarchy.
Patronato real, the monarchy envied with an eye. This
papal policy stood for the rights of monarchs to delay appoints of church
personal after the office was vacant by a deceased appointee, which meant
the monarch could take up to five years to re-fill the vacancy meaning they
could collect the income of the lands or position. This was an economic
objective which the Monarch received permission to control.
Also, The patronato real (an agreement between the Catholic
Church and the Spanish crown) gave the Spanish throne and, by extension, the
colonial authorities significant powers in church affairs. Appointments of
clergy and bishops to frontier lands. This also helped in that appointing
the monarchy’s person they were in agreement and controlled.
1494, the Monarchy got the Church to agree to Tercia, church
land was taxed and went into the monarchy’s coffers.
Cruzadai, an indulgence tax was also issue to the
Monarchy, and these were profits of indulgences directly paid to the
Monarchy sanctioned by the Catholic Church. This policy was long lasting
ending in 1933.
1478 the Catholic Church grants Spain rights to the use
of the institution called The Inquisition was a temporal relief
institution set up in France and mainly Europe in the 13th
Century, which saw a quick demise when a problem was solved. The Monarchy
sought to make it a political stable institution that would not be absolved
and used for control.
A Dominican monk named Hojeda told Isabella that the
Jews were secretly practicing their religion behind closed doors.
1483 , new powers and agendas to see about taking back
Grenada from the Muslims. From 1280 onward Granada was a isolated
Islamic state that paid its dues for existence in Spain, and the rival
Spanish factions were too busy fighting each other to finish-off what
Isabella and Ferdinand decided to do after they unified much of Spain.
The Muslims called for help from North Africa and the
Ottomans, but after heavy fighting in 1492 the overthrow was complete and
the couple moved into the famous Alhambra Castle.
1492 was called the “ Miraculous Year”
because it was the same year that Columbus found the Spice Rout, and the
exile of the remnants of Islam were abolished in all of Spain, and the
consolidation of Spain was complete. They also will get the title of
Catholic Kings ( also implying Queen for Isabelle’s sake) of the likes of
titles of past national monarchies such as French’s Christian Kings, first
given to Charlemagne, and Holy Roman Emperor to the German kings. This was a
bid deal because it put Spain on an equal respectful field in politics with
the rest of Europeans’’ big players.
Now Spain became the talk of the continent, and most of the
The Prophecies of the 12-13th Centuries of the
Bat, were now attributed to Ferdinand, claiming he had arrived, and a
focus upon the conquest of Palestine, as the prophesy goes, took note.
People of Iberia actually thought the monarch was going to go after
Jerusalem, and this turned out to be a polemic thing in Spain.
Surmise: they beat Alfonso, consolidated power, took
Grenada, and discovered a new world. Spain became in overnight international
sensation in the year 1492.
Age of Charles I or V depending of which
Kingdom one refers too.
Historians try to ease the
confusion by just calling him Charles V. (Carlos V)
Charles V (Born at Ghent 24
February 1500 – died at Yuste, in Spain 21 September 1558). Charles was the
son of Philip, Duke of Burgundy, by Joanna, daughter of Ferdinand and
Isabella. He becomes heir to Castile after Isabella dies, and Ferdinand
becomes demoted but de facto ruler until he reaches the age to rule. The
four inherences of Charles make him one of the most important young rulers
in Europe. While young he is raised in a pan-European environment - his
aunt, Margaret of Austria, undertook the regency for him, and he was
schooled in Flanders.
Adrian of Utrecht, the
Humanist and professor of theology at Louvain, who was an Erasmus champion,
tutored him making him one of the most well rounded educated princes in this
time period. The Dutch humanist, Erasmus, was a superstar of his day, and
Utrecht schooled the prince in the new renaissance fashion, entitling the
young Charles to undertake five different languages – even more schooled
then Isabelle or most other kings of Spain before him.
His rise was a complicated
story. He did not live in Iberia, and thus was removed from the inner
politicking of that time. He would inherit five kingdoms without ever
raising a sword, conquering a land, or ordering an army to do it for him.
Charles is critical for the rise of the Spanish Empire, and even though
historians involuntarily miss-represent Ferdinand and Isabella, he was the
first to think of Spain as an imperial agent. Ferdinand and Isabella only
understood unifying their own sphere of influence which was Castile, Aragon
and the Italian protectorates (Naples, Sicily and Sardinia).
As son Juana and Philip the
Handsome, Juana the daughter of Isabella and Ferdinand, who could achieve a
healthy baby boy, was not seen as mentally capable to rule Castile after
Isabella’s death in 1504, for she was placed in a nunnery but this didn’t
stop the Juana supporters from trying to rescue her and place her rightfully
on the throne. She didn’t help much because she had a peculiar habit of
hauling around her dead husband where ever she went, but this was not for a
few months, but for years. Her supporters were the Spanish citizens who
sought not to get involved in pan-European politics. In fact, a movement
arose to isolate Iberia form its present course of colonizing localities
without its local borders. With an induction of Charles to the throne, they
believed local (or home) issues of Spain would be overshadowed by an
international policy of meddling in other state’s businesses. However, the
pro-Charles’s group, were basically nobles and business men who say a
distinct opportunity to make a lot of money quickly by having Charles’s
connections controlled so close to Spanish court. They saw job opportunities
of military positions, governorships; viceroy placements, appointments to
bishop and abbot positions and many other new job opportunities. With this
said, there was for sure an episode where this became a heated topic leading
to a battle of succession.
Some of the arguments were
related to the old myth discussed. The bat boy, the one that was prophesized
that would unit the old Roman lands under the Christian dominion. This of
course, played well into the hands of the pro-Charles supporters who
understood that if Charles were to succeed to the throne, he would inherit
the most land since the times of the Roman Empire and this all would be
under Spanish Control. The stakes were high and a battle lines formed and
Charles won out.
When he came to court he
could barely speak Spanish well. He brought Dutch, French and German
advisors. This didn’t look too well for his supporters. But one this is for
sure, he was steeped in knowledge of the Roman ancient texts, a renaissance
man in the making, and he surely received on the best educations that anyone
could receive. When Ferdinand dies in 1516, factionalizaton occurs, as
stated above. Juana’s group wants a local concerned monarch not an imperial
man and wanted their king to focus upon local issues. Why the deep sign of
reluctance to Spainish at this time? Many wanted isolation form the world an
liked that the Pyrenees mountains offered a natural boundary of relative
seclusion from the rest of Europe.
The battle of Comunero
revolt (1520 –’21) settled the deal. However, this showed the deep
factionalism still existed within the boundaries of Spain itself.
Imagine yourself about 20
years of and you just inherited four massive lands that make you the
top-tier player on the world political scene. Charles inherited Castile,
Aragon and the Italian lands under Aragon’s control. From his maternal
grandfather, Ferdinand II of Aragon, he inherited, the Kingdom of Aragon,
The Kingdom of Naples, the control of Sicily, and Sardinia. From his
maternal grandmother, Isabella of Castile, he controlled all of Spain’s
boundaries which included Granada, south to the Mediterranean Sea. From his
paternal grandfather Maximilian of Austria, he inherited the Kingdom of
Austria, including Vienna and lands bordering or spotting the later known or
modern German boundaries, and he soon he would become the Holy Roman
Emperor, a title that enthusiastically unified the Juana’s supporters for
his side as they saw Spain come out of nowhere to become the most dominate
hybrid- kingdom in Europe. Alfonso ‘el Sabio’ X, 13th
Century, tried to become Holy Roman Emperor, the very important position,
and to inherit the old Maximilian lands of Rome but could not achieve it.
This new pride skyrocketed Spain to a new found glory and prestige.
Not to only mention this good
fortune for the young monarch, but when he is just getting started there
appears a massive shipment of gold and silver to his throne that came form a
place he never heard of – Mexico. Cortez, who had burned his ships,
disobeyed a cleric in Cuba and went about with a do or die attitude to
conquer whatever was out in this new world, sent back a massive amount of
Aztec and collected gold and silver to the young king and said place help me
with support and men, I want to conquer this new massive land. People could
not believe the new luck of their new king, and gone was the old, he not our
boy mentality anymore.
Cortex was an example of this
hybrid Spanish mentality. We do not know the whole inner psychology of how
the attained this do or die mentality but we know for sure he was not just a
conquistador in the El Cid model of Catholic orthodoxy, or just a Prince
Henry explorer, or a renaissance man, but he as a hybrid of all of these
characteristics which happened to be the right time and right place in
According to Aztec legend, a
prophet of the utmost significance was due on the mainland of South America
( then not named as such), by the name Quetzalcoatl. When Cortez showed up
with cannons, men with armor, and firepower, the prophecy seemed to match.
To make a complicated story
short, or you could read my South American history of the Aztecs, Cortex
faces off with the Aztecs and kills many of them on June 30, 1520, and
conquers Montezuma’s lands; often called the “Sad Night of the Revolt of the
Aztecs.” 400 of Cortez’s men and a number of anti-Aztec forces who fought on
the Spanish side made this a dramatic scene. There is now evidence that
Cortez didn’t walk into Tenochitian and just take
control as many earlier historians have stated. Archeology findings of
recent show Spanish bones in pits associated with Aztec ceremony lands where
when they conquered an invader they scarified them and ate them. This showed
there was much resistance to his to his march to Tenochitian.
this affect the Spanish later on fifty-years later? Cortez was trained a
layer, who when he showed up on the Souther American continent showed a
falsified document giving him rights to rule the land. Regardless that the
indigenous people could read Spanish, nevertheless, Cortez tried to make it
seem he was on official business. He managed to get indigenous tribes to
help him first find out where any civilization was and if or where they had
priceless commodities. For the indigenous’ share they would also get rewards
for helping in any conquests campaigns. The 500 men that came with Cortez
didn’t know what he was going to do, and so they planned to escape, but
Cortex ordered all the ships burnt in the harbor, and they were then forced
to go with him or leave on their own, which would not be prudent.
the Sad Night of the Revolt of the Aztecs, he understood he needed to
make contract with Spain and he sent much of the gold and silver he found at
the Aztec capital as there were plenty of treasure to be found. The Spanish,
after receiving the gold, said “this must be manifest destiny”. The world
did fall into Charles V’s lap. However, the silver and gold mines of
Zacatecas, in Mexico, and Francesco Pizarro’s mines in Peru, would not be
discovered for decades later.
In 1535 Cortex was kicked out
of Mexico, and forced back to Spain, where Charles, by the consulting of his
advisors saw the danger of Cortez making his own state of Mexico breaking of
from the Spanish crown. After the gold was presented to Charles, Cortex was
made viceroy of Mexico. However, he started calling it the New Spain right
away, and eventually he understood that he could start an entire lineage of
Cortex rules as him as a founder of a new state. Instead his is given
titles, and a huge estate back home, and dies peacefully a few years later.
Cortex was a hidalgo, like Pizarro. Hidalgos were the lowest ranking nobles,
and to get into a noble class one had to be a soldier and fight in a war to
Pizarro was born in Trujillo,
(Extremadura), Spain. Many conquerors after Columbus came from
Extremadura. Charles didn’t want to leave Mexico in a conquistador’s
hands. In 1532 Pizarro received the title of governor of Peru, before he
plays a trick on Indian prince Atahuallpa ( Inca) kills his retainers, and
ransoms him for enough gold to fill the room (22 by 17 feet) Gold to the
amount of 4,605,670 ducats (15,000,000 pesos), according to Garcilaso de la
Vega. After Pizarro received the ransom, he goes ahead and kills the leader
anyway. This will come back to haunt the Spanish, as we will see shortly.
1545-6 Potosi, in Peru is
discovered, a mine for imaginable wealth. And in Zacatecas, Mexico, mines
were discovered. This will all be Charles V’s inheritance and this will held
fund Cordoba’s army and make them the most powerful nation on the earth for
100 years. The effects of the mines are felt as deep as Istanbul and the
provinces of the Ottoman Empire, and all the way eventually to the
filter-out in the regions of the east. The Europeans will see monetary
fluxations never witnesses before.
What did the Spanish Do to
manage all of this? In 1524 the Council of the Indies if formed.
Italian settings of state were used to manage these new lands. Form courts,
(audiencians sp?) to appointed officials. First viceroy of Aragon in the
Italian lands sees its migrations to the new lands. In 1561 the inquisition
comes to the New Spain ( the new world). There were no Italian models of
feudalism in Spain. There were no beginnings of hereditary right to land and
destiny. In Italy the Spaniards were privileged commoners, they were not the
majority of the populous so they didn’t mimic all the Italian institutions.
The New World raked in the
coinage, so to speak. 8,9 or 10 million ducats per year, compared to the 16th
Century annum total of the Kingdom of Naples of 1 million ducats. 2-3
million ducats went directly coffered to the crown and the rest went to
special interests and businesses of Charles’ empire.
The Spanish Empire
Charles V must manage all these regions.
Francis I and the Ottoman
Empire sandwich in the main foreign breadbasket for Spain, Naples. This
becomes a concern not only for Spain but for the Italians, who look for
protection from within and without of forces doing them harm. At this time
early modern bureaucracy forms, in Spain and in the Italian states, and old
dukes and rulers weaken now and monarchal interest descend upon Italy for
control. Alfonso Sabio X tried to be the Holy Roman Emperor, and be
the person to hold the old Maximilian lands. Spain will once again look to
Charles V to fulfill this role as great conqueror. Because Charles inherited
serious territorial clout, he becomes a ruler of a hybrid Empire. His first
job is to consolidate his position in Spain, as the Comunero revolt
(1520 –’21), showed that not everyone was on his side. His critics feared
that his European connections would force Castile to foot bills, and provide
soldiers for lands they were not concerned with. This undoubtedly happens,
but views change among many as he leads the charge against Tunis. Another
headache that Charles will encounter his first decade is the Martin Luther
question. Martin came on the scene in 1517, and Charles was one of the
people asked to go to Diet of Worms (1521). Charles was a Catholic Prince,
and the eventual rise of the Protestant Princes would depress him for the
rest of his life. They would keep on attacking his positions and influence
in the German areas. The Protestant Princes gave headaches to most Catholics
Princes in the northern Europe regions at this time.
The German part of Charles V
Empire was a distraction for him, financially and attention wise. It was a
dark space of Charles’ life. When he was closing his cycle of life on earth,
he had commented to someone about his preferences to each of the five
languages he spoke. All other four languages were garnered worthy honor in
international relations; but the point is, as Charles said, he only spoke
German to his horse. This was significance of how he felt toward the whole
German Protestant area he (once) controlled.
Another Aspect Begins
Under Charles V’s Period
The Spanish Renaissance
movement that begun under Ferdinand and Isabella, takes on further shape
under Charles V, and later his son Phillip II. It was an important
foundation and created a cultural confidence which promoted their imperial
The renaissance begun with
the proto-renaissance (1350-1500) in Italy with the excavation of old Roman
and Greek texts which facilitated a rebirths of sort to the lost knowledge’s
of the ancient Roman and Greek periods. However, Spain was not interested in
Roman republic government. This was a Florentine novelty. Of course,
Isabella truly believed monarchy was the superior form of human rule and in
the teleologics of history actually came after the foundation of Republican
rule ( Karl Marx would believe the opposite). Prince Henry ‘ the Navigator
‘ believed the same, and both were avid followers of the Italian
renaissance, Henry with the compilation of ancient maps, investigation of
texts of ancient navigational techniques and forming schools for the
instruction of sailors in the with this ancient knowledge to form a new
thought and knowledge. With out a doubt, Isabella with her husband,
Ferdinand, would typify the archetype of renaissance prince in which
Machiavelli used them as models for his masterpiece book “the Prince.”
What had the Spaniards done
so far to qualify for such a prestigious role alongside the Italians for a
part in the Northern Renaissance?
In 1499, La Celestina,
by Fernando de Rojas founds a new type of satirical novelty not seen sense
the Roman Times. ( I Guess). This resembles something based upon Greek
tragedy plays. Often comical, but serious, these plot circumstances doom the
lovers in search for happiness. Since this piece was not a common chivalric
literature, ( i.e. no heroes or happy endings) and the very fact
that comedy was frowned upon in the late midlevel ages, as far as public
literature goes, there were pressures not to write contrariness to chivalric
narratives. Therefore, these first editions were published anonymously.
Anything that would obscure the ethics of nobles was perceived to be
non-constructive to the society. This play rang in El Cid meets Monte Python
a likable menagerie of which allowed people to take-on a different view of
the world from whence they came. This dawning signified of a new epoch in
Architecturally Charles V
loved the old Roman styles. He could have lived in Alhambra ( the red
castle), but decided to build down the street, so to speak, a new place. He
never would even decorate the inside, but was his passion: His Roman Castle.
Alhambra provided the Catholic Monarchs with their southern home, and they
actually like it there. It was spacious, and decorated. But Charles didn’t
like the Muslim fittings and decorations so he decided to build something
more too his conformability. One must remember that the Catholic Monarchs
were always on the go, they had no capital, and so the Alhambra matter
really didn’t concern them at that time. They actually employed Italian
artists and architects to various spots around Castile and Aragon, as well.
They were fond of the Muslim mosque architecture. The Italian influence
would also color Spanish politics.
Charles wanted to create or
revitalize the past to energize the future for Hispania or for the modern
term of Spain. To do this he hired the renaissance scholars, the best he
could get and he looked to the east in Italy’s direction. Florián de
Ocampo, the most important writer to the patronage of Charles V, wrote
the “history of Spain.” This was not scribing the Catholic Monarch period,
but he focused upon Hispaniola’s famed period under Roman rule, and the
prestige it once had. This enflamed Charles’ heart as Ocampo begun from the
ancient times of Iberia, even before Roman occupation when in 209 BC Rome
annexed, during the Second Punic, under Augustus after two centuries of war
with the tenacious Celtic and Iberian tribes, then divided it into two
provinces: Hispania Citerior and Hispania Ulterior. The happened to copy the
short sword known as falcate which also took into account the prestige of
the old Iberian history.
Charles V established the
historiography for one reason, to tie high-Roman culture to the now Spanish
Renaissance. This historical identifier tied the comparison of the old Roman
soldier to the Chivalric Spanish soldier, albeit, by his syncretism
spin-misters. Also, he tied old Roman high-officials to Spanish lineage.
Eventually the an issue of Spanish superiority to the Roman culture becomes
an issue after the Tunisian and Naples campaigns. Charles V was commonly
called Caesar by his men. He led the attack upon Tunisia, a very contested
argument by his followers and court by the dangers involved of Barbarossa’s
military, and he determined through hard campaigning to prove to the Pope
and papal states that they should back Spain and never ally again with the
The Understanding that Spain
was the new Roman Empire reverberated even with Cortez over in Mexico. “We
are the new Romans.” What in fact Spain now had showed the world they had
arrived to a new plateau of respectability. They had Cordoba’s Tercio, the
world dominating military tactic; they had navigation expertise via
Portugal’s role, their neighbors, and new historical identity, new
literature, new architecture, and a new bureaucracy that Machiavelli used as
his model. Above all they had the conquests. Next they created the argument
that Spanish founded Rome, and it was not Romulus and Remiss. By the 1560s,
the breaking point from the Italian- Spanish renaissance emerge to a
full-fudged Spanish renaissance structured fully dressed under a Hispaniola
accouterment, but fully encompassing all facets of society.
First Ten Years of
Charles V’s reign in Spain
Between 1517-’27 Charles
dealt with consolidating his throne. He stayed mostly in Spain, absent a few
trips, and addressed various issues. Portugal was a big question. In 1480
Portugal agreed to offer a peace agreement with Castile. In 1494 Treaty of
Tordesillas solidified deal that would separate the new world into pieces,
one side for Castile & Aragon and one side for King John II’s Portugal.
However, at that time no one knew what was out there in the Pacific.
Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile not knowing what was
out there got the better of the deal. There would be a modification to the
demarcation line allowing Brazil to go to the Portuguese. But to make the
emphasis that Portugal was not warring with Spain at this time usually is
credited to Charles V’s marriage to a Portuguese Princess.
These aspects of peace with
Portugal calm the Argonese and Castilians fears that Charles will be the
wrong monarch for them. To further tie the thresholds of power, Charles
places his son not in Flanders to be schooled but puts him smack into the
Spanish realm. This moved appeased the cry for a monarch to be reared and
raised as a resident monarch. Charles’ quit success keeps Spain and
Portugal at peace.
What are Charles’
spheres of interest?
Italy was central to the
Spanish at this time. Italy provided sailors, from Genoa; soldiers form
Naples, which provided Spain with its second largest annual income and
opportunities of new alliances with the papal states.
Francis I, early in the 1520s
was at war with Charles. The Duchy of Milan, had
devolutionized and the dukes
had become weakened. Milan provided a road access to Venice, to the southern
Papal States to the northern access of Charles’ land in Austria. Both
Francis and Charles claim that Milan is under their control. Venice, the
Medici dukes, the Pope, Charles and Francis all get involved with this
issue. The papacy aligns initially with the French, a mistake, and
Charles’ forces force out the French form Milan. In 1526, Spain focuses on
the Papal States, and a leader is killed and leaves the men to fend for
themselves. The army instead of waiting for a new leader, sack Rome in 1527.
The Pope goes into hiding. Many back in Spain, being Catholic, fear for the
worst. The sack lasted for six months, and many people either fled or were
killed, and many things were smashed. How will this reflect on the Spanish?
It was a dilemma; Charles V was supposed to be a protector of the Church.
Humanists wrote against him. Juan de Valdes, who worked for Charles
writes a story about the sack of Rome, explaining the Church was corrupt.
The sack of Rome set a Spanish precedence. Spain demanded no more pope
allegiance with France. Spain demanded a tribute form the Pope, who told
them no. the Pope then allied himself with various allies and the wars were
The significance of the Rome
episode made the Pope succumb to their wishes, according to Spanish sources,
and it increased Spanish influence on Italy. The began to control the Duchy
of Florence. Charles manages to install Cosomo, a compliant Medici. In the
1530s, the Spanish began to build forts to show the pope they were serious.
Urbino ( a city in the Marche in Italy ) falls to the control of the
Spanish. Early in the 1520s, when Francis was claiming protectorate of
Naples, the Genoese (Andrea Doria (Dorias et al.)) understanding the tides
of political affairs switch their allegiance to the Spanish. Something that
Francesco Guicciardini saw a fortuna casual. These political winds of change
provided the important roles of the Genoese bankers, merchants and sailors
that now were sources for the Spanish. This was just another piece of the
Milan part III
In 1535 the French and
Spanish take up the third role in the war to control Milan. The Spanish win,
and the duchy of Sforza dies-off leading Charles to place his thirteen
year-old son in the position of Duke of Milan. France still claims
protectorate in 1536, but in 1540 Spain take complete control. France begins
to receive Ottoman envoys, and in 1542 they ally with the Ottoman Sultan
Süleyman to put pressure on Charles V. In order
to do this, France allows the notorious pirate Barbarossa to resupply,
including munitions in the port of Marseille. Venice, not in anyway a friend
to the Spanish, sign a neutral diplomatic treaty in 1536 with Charles V.
So what are the significances
of the conquests in the Spanish Eastern Empire?
Sicily, Naples and the duchy of Milan stay in Spanish control
up till the 1800s.
Genoa, Urbino, Florence and Papal States stay in the hands of
Spanish control up till around 1700s.
Pirates and the
In 1598 Charles V gets from
Venice the famous renaissance painter Titian (Tiziano Vecelli) who
represents the aesthetics of Spain with his commissions. Charles appoints
him the court painter, most notably because of his Roman style and Charles
fixation on ancient Rome’s heritage with Hispaniola. He paints Charles V
on Horseback, and Pievedi Cadore. Charles chooses the Italian
style of artistry which became the dominate expression in Spain. The entire
Italian connection to Spain continues with why did Italy like Spain?
Italy was sandwiched in
between France and the Ottomans. The most feared, however, were the
Ottoman’s support of Tunisian pirates, particularly of Barbarossa. He was a
Turkish governor of Tunis who also was a pirate and was funded by the
Ottoman Empire and in the Barbary Coast where he operated his hostage raids.
To the Italians he was the nastiest pirate who killed off the population of
an entire Italian island ( 11,000 estimated) . The people that he didn’t
kill he took and offered them as ransom. He would even boldly send his men
into the streets of places like Medina, in Sicily, to spread the word of
ransom recuperations. Charles’ significance is that he provided coastguard
ships to portal the coastal waters around Italy’s coastlines. There were 250
documented Turkish attacks on Italian villages. In effect, the Italians
needed something to be done.
Francis I had allied with
Sultan Süleyman who made Barbarossa a key player in the
Mediterranean to fight the Spanish. In the 1530s, the rights to Barbarossa
to harbor in Marseille really upset Charles. He asked to fight a war against
Barbarossa. After 1535, Charles said he had enough and launched a war
against Tunis and Barbarossa. His valiancy won his acclaim, charging into
battle at the dismay of his men and operation charges. He put his life into
danger. He took 15-20,000 military people with him. In 1535 Charles won
an important victory at Tunis. The Spanish people said, look he really
is like a Caesar, and he is doing well for us. After the heroic effort, he
set about parading around Italy, first in Sicily, and then Italy in a style
of the ancient Roman Empire. These types of events made Charles look
invincible to the Spanish and his Italian subjects. So this is part of the
reason why the pope falls into the influence of Spain at this time.
Flemish problems with
Luther’s arrival on the scene in 1517, created a disconnection eventually
with Charles. Charles had to go to Augsburg in the 1520s and address the
protestant question. New Protestant princes arose which made Charles,
already overreaching complex life and little more difficult. In the 1520s he
had many intermittent battles with the Protestants. Castilian critics had
remembered the warning of a European entanglements, and later in Charles V’s
life he would retire to a monastery while giving the throne to his son,
possibly exhausted form all the increasing problems in Germany and also
including his journeys and campaigns. On e factor is that the Holy Roman
Empire Diet usually voted against Charles’ funding programs for wars against
the Turks ( be it Ottoman or the Barbary coasts units). A non too happy fact
was the protestants’ hatred of the Catholics often saw many important
Protestant figures ( note not a general statement) side or hoping for
Ottoman victories against he Spanish and the Catholics in general. The
reason Charles claims in the northern regions he had govern fell to the
Protestants was that there were no inquisition outlets. This was of course,
was the main reason Spain itself did not follow in the northern European
shoes, so to speak.
These problems which many
were late in Charles life, made him tire and leave the throne to his son,
and he instead of going back to where he grew up in northern European is
decided to seek solitude in the safety net of Spain. Yet, a new headache
will arise with the morality of the Spanish circa 1550s..
Moral Crisis makes
Headache for the New Monarch, Charles V
See Las Cases:
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