Old And New Spain Under Philip Ii
Philip's inheritance.—Charles V's stormy reign came to a close in 1556, when he abdicated in favor of his son, Philip II, who inherited Spain with its colonies, Naples, Milan, Franche Comté, and the Netherlands. The imperial office and the Hapsburg possessions went to Charles's brother, Ferdinand I.
The Protestant movement.—The Protestant movement, which began in Germany and Switzerland, spread into France, England, Scotland, the Netherlands, and the Scandinavian countries. The Catholic church saw itself in danger of losing the religious supremacy in Europe, and put forth all its power to check it. Its three great agencies in the Counter-Reformation were the Council of Trent, the Jesuits, and Philip II.
The Revolt of the Netherlands.—The Spanish king devoted all his resources to stamping out Protestantism in the Netherlands, France, and England. To the wealthy Dutch burghers Philip was a foreigner; they resented the quartering of his soldiers and they objected to his regent, the duchess of Parma, the king's half sister. The Inquisition had been introduced into the Netherlands by Charles V. and it became more active under his son. In 1566 the Dutch nobles headed a revolt, which was furthered by the Protestant preachers. The Duke of Alva was sent with an army to suppress it. William of Orange and other leaders fled the country, as did many Flemish weavers. Alva established a special court which became known as the Council of Blood; a reign of terror followed, thousands being executed. William of Orange, known as the Silent, in 1568 collected a small army and began the struggle for independence. After many years of warfare the Protestant provinces in the north gained their autonomy.
The Defeat of the Armada.—In France the Protestant leader, Coligny, attempted to unite both Catholics and Protestants in a national war against Spain. This was frustrated by the Guises. Later, when they intrigued to place Mary Queen of Scots upon the English throne, Philip entered into their designs, but was prevented from giving much assistance by the revolt in the Netherlands. The English retaliated by raiding the Spanish Main. The culmination of the struggle was the defeat of the Spanish Armada, in 1588, which freed England from the danger of invasion. In Spain Philip carried out his policy of expelling the rest of the Moors, the most industrious and enlightened of his subjects, and by rigorously pushing the work of the Inquisition.
Spanish weakness.—The reign of Philip II had witnessed a vast change in Europe. England had become a Protestant country. In France the wars of religion had culminated by Henry IV ascending the throne. In the Netherlands the northern half had risen into an independent state. Portugal had become a Spanish province. In Spain the expulsion of the Moors, the constant drain upon the country to carry on Philip's foreign enterprises, and the commercial losses inflicted by the English, had weakened the country to such an extent that it could no longer be looked upon as preëminent in Europe. Nevertheless, the Spanish colonies continued to develop and expand. The story of that expansion is the subject of this chapter.
Luis de Velasco, second viceroy (1551-1564).—Viceroy Mendoza was succeeded by Luis de Velasco, a member of a noble Castilian family, who took possession in Mexico in 1551 and ruled till 1564. Velasco installed his rule by releasing 160,000 natives from forced labor in the mines. To put down disorder and protect the natives in 1552 he established in Mexico the Tribunal de la Santa Hermandad. A year later the royal University of Mexico was founded, the first in North America. During Velasco's rule the great canal of Huehuetoca for draining the City of Mexico was begun, 6000 Indians being employed in the work. Velasco was an expansionist, and vigorously promoted the colonization of Florida, the Philippines, and Nueva Vizcaya.
Martin Cortés, second Marquis of the Valley.—At the same time with Velasco came Martin Cortés, son of the conqueror, and second Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca. He possessed city property in Mexico, Oaxaca, Toluca, and Cuernavaca, and his estates were the richest in New Spain. Other encomenderos looked to him as their protector against the royal officials and induced him to conspire for an independent crown. He yielded, but with six others was arrested in 1568. Two of the conspirators were executed, Cortés and the rest being sent to Spain.
Expansion of the frontiers.—Having exploded for the time being some of the notions of great wonders in the far distant interior, the Spanish pioneers fell back on the established frontiers, and by a more gradual and rational process extended them northward, much as the English a century later slowly pushed their settlements from the Atlantic shoreline across the Tidewater and up into the Piedmont.
On the Atlantic seaboard Spanish outposts were advanced from the West Indies into what are now Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and, momentarily, into Virginia. In Mexico, missions, mines, farms, and stock ranches advanced northward in regular succession or side by side. Between the return of Coronado and the end of the century the frontiers of actual occupation moved forward, roughly speaking, from Guadalajara, Querétaro, and Pánuco, to a line drawn irregularly through the mouth of the Rio Grande westward to the Pacific, with many large spaces, of course, left vacant to be filled in by subsequent advances. The Spanish pioneers, like those of England and France, recorded their home attachments by the place names given their new abodes, and thus the whole northern district of Mexico was comprised within the three provinces of New Galicia, New Vizcaya, and New León. During the same period the Philippine Islands had been occupied as an outpost of Mexico.
The Adelantados.—The latter sixteenth century was still within the age of the adelantados, when the development of the Spanish frontiers was left largely to men of means, obligated to bear most of the expense of conquering and peopling the wilderness, in return for wide powers, extravagant titles, and extensive economic privileges. As types of these proprietary conquerors of the period there stand out Ibarra in Nueva Vizcaya, Menéndez in Florida, Legazpi in the Philippines, Carabajal in Nuevo León, and Oñate in New Mexico. The period likewise was still within the age of the encomienda, when the right to parcel out the natives was inherent in the privilege of conquest. With the turn of the century the custom practically ceased, a fact which sharply distinguishes Florida and New Mexico from the later frontier Spanish provinces of Texas, California, and Louisiana.
A new spirit.—The age of wanton bloodshed, too, had largely passed. The New Laws, promulgated in 1543, stood for a new spirit, and royal authority had by now become somewhat established on the frontiers. In proportion as the encomenderos were discredited for their abuses and as their power over the Indians was checked, a larger and larger place was found on the frontier for the missionaries, to whom passed much of the actual work of subduing and controlling the natives.
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