Events in Spain underwent great changes during these years. On the 25th of October, 1555, Charles V., executed an instrument by which he ceded to his son, Philip II., the sovereignty of Flanders. It was in Brussels that the ceremony took place, with all the pomp and solemnity suited to it. On the following 16th of January, in the presence of such of the Spanish nobility as were at the court, the emperor gave up also the sovereignty of Castile and Aragon, and then retired to the Convent of Yuste, weary of the cares of government.
By this act, Philip became master of the most widely extended and powerful monarchy in Europe. He was king of Spain, comprehending under that name Castile, Aragon, and Granada, which, for centuries independent states, had been brought under one sceptre in the reign of his father, Charles V. He was king of Naples and Sicily, duke of Milan, lord of Franche Comté and the Low Countries; he had important possessions in Africa; in the true Indias he owned the Philippine and Spice Islands; and in America, besides his possessions in the West Indies, he was master of Mexico and Peru.
In all this multiplicity of affairs entailed upon the