The Cambridge Modern History/Volume I/Chapter XI
|The Cambridge Modern History
Volume I: The Renaissance
Cut off from the world by the Pyrenees and the still unnavigated ocean, broken up into small kingdoms, largely absorbed in their quarrels and in the reconquest of the land from the Saracens, Spain for many centuries played a comparatively small part in the affairs of Europe. Down to 1479 the peninsula contained five independent kingdoms: Castile, with Leon, occupying 62 per cent, of the entire surface; Aragon, with the kingdom of Valencia and the principality of Catalonia, occupying 15 per cent.; Portugal 20; Navarre 1; and Granada, the last stronghold of the Saracens, occupying 2. The marriage (1469) of Isabel, daughter of John II of Castile, with Ferdinand, son of John II of Aragon, united the two branches of the House of Trastamara, and merged the claims of husband and wife to the Crown of Castile. Isabel succeeded her brother, Henry IV, in 1474. Ferdinand, who had already received from his father the Crowns of Sicily and Sardinia, inherited in 1479 the remaining dominions of Aragon. Aragon and Castile remained distinct, each keeping its separate laws, parliaments, and fiscal frontier. Isabel, as queen in her own right, retained the Crown patronage and revenues within Castile, but general affairs were transacted under a common seal. In Aragon Ferdinand's authority was not shared by his queen. The Spanish possessions in Italy belonged to Aragon exclusively, as America afterwards belonged to Castile. A common policy, and the vastly increased resources of a kingdom uniting under its sway 77 per cent, of the peninsula, at once gave preponderating weight at home. During the greater part of the sixteenth century Spain was the chief Power in the world. The half century from 1474 to 1530, which witnessed the rise of this Power, may be subdivided into periods distinguishable as that of organisation and reconstruction, 1474-1504; that of lawlessness and revolution, 1504-23; that of absolute monarchy, 1523-30.
The reforms of Ferdinand and Isabel, "the Catholic Kings," put an end to anarchy, and formed the bridge between the division of power of the Middle Ages and the absolute monarchy of the sixteenth century. To understand them, we must briefly recall some peculiarities of the institutions of the larger States of the united kingdom. The organisation of the kingdom of Castile was the direct result of its gradual reconquest from the Saracens. Including in its population Asturians, Galicians, and Basques, as well as Castilians and the mixed peoples of Andalucia, the land is divided ethnologically and geographically into well-marked districts, never thoroughly welded together. Castile was governed by traditional municipal usages and local charters, rather than by national laws. Conquered lands were retained by the Crown, or granted to lords temporal or spiritual, or to corporations. The Crown in some cases retained feudal rights, but in others alienated the whole authority. The owners in the latter case became almost independent princes. Lands conquered without his help owed nothing to the King. Their conquerors divided them, and elected a chief to rule and defend them. Thus were formed behetrias (benefactor ia), independent communities boasting that they could change their lord seven times a day, and distinguished according as the lord might be chosen among all subjects of the Crown or only among certain families. At the end of the fifteenth century the behetrias were disappearing. Their factions made them an easy prey to their neighbours, the great nobles or the Crown. Unclaimed lands became the property of those who settled on them. The great estates of the Crown and titled nobles were subdivided among the free men (hidalgos) of their following. Those who settled on owned lands became the vassals of the owner. The power of a lord over his vassal was unlimited, unless defined by charter: down to the thirteenth century the law ran "he may kill him by hunger, thirst, or cold." Under these conditions it was impossible ta attract settlers to newly conquered and dangerous lands near the frontier. King and noble vied with one another in the attempt to attract population by grant of charter (fuero). To grant &juero is to define the obligation of vassals to their lord. Under the local fueros sprung up the municipalities, electing their magistrate to administer public lands and to carry out the laws of the Juero. As the power of the municipalities increased, that of the nobles or the Crown shrank within the district. The municipalities were the basis of political organisation of the commons. By siding with the Kings in their long struggle with the nobles they increased their liberties as against the nobles, but fell more under the authority of the Crown. The royal judge and tax-gatherer replaced the officers of the overlord or municipality. The King interfered in local matters, nominating the magistrates and appointing a president over them, the corregidor, whose vast and undefined powers gradually superseded municipal authority.
The legal and political classification of persons corresponded to the division of the land. The three Estates were formed by ecclesiastics; nobles, including the titular nobility, and the minor free or feudal holders (hidalgos); and commons, in many cases the descendants of the serfs of the soil.
The privileges of the first two Orders were enormous. They were exempt from direct taxation: their lands were inalienable: they were liable neither to arrest for debt nor to torture. The nobles were bound to the King only by the lands they held from him. The law recognised their right of formally renouncing their allegiance and making war upon the King. Their rights, like those of the municipalities, had been granted to settlers on the frontier. When the frontier moved forward, the right remained undiminished; and the result was anarchy. Under weak Kings the nobles extended their authority over the municipalities, and extorted large grants of lands and incomes guaranteed on the royal patrimony. Strong Kings exacted restitution.
The commons, while still paying as vassals certain dues to the Crown or to nobles, had, by the middle of the fifteenth century, won the right of changing lords, and the ownership of the land on which they lived, with right of transferring it by sale or bequest. Their condition was notably better under the Crown than under the nobles. In order to check desertion, the nobles were forced to follow the more liberal policy of the Kings. Slaves were rare, consisting in the main of foreigners, captives in the Saracen Wars, or negroes imported through Portugal. Jews and Moslems enjoyed the special protection of the Crown.
The Castilian Cortes originated in a Council of prelates and nobles advising the King on all matters civil and religious. In the thirteenth century the commons of the municipalities won the right of assisting, by deputies, at the Council. At first, neither the number of municipalities represented, nor the number of their deputies was limited; for they had no vote. They assembled merely to receive communication of royal decrees, to swear allegiance to the successor to the throne, and to receive confirmation of their charters at the beginning of a new reign. Later, the representatives of the municipalities won the control of direct taxation, to which their Order alone was subject. But by this time many of them, by delegating their powers to their neighbours, or through neglecting the royal summons, had lost the right of representation. Thus by the middle of the fifteenth century the right of sending two deputies to parliament belonged only to the cities of Burgos, Toledo, Leon, Seville, Cdrdova, Murcia, Jaen, Segovia, Zamora, Avila, Salamanca and Cuenca, and the towns of Toro, Valladolid, Soria, Madrid and Guadalajara. Granada was added after the Conquest. The privileged municipalities successfully resisted any addition to their numbers. Large districts remained practically unrepresented; the little town of Zamora spoke in the name of the whole of Galicia. The Proctors were chosen among the municipal magistrates, by vote or lot according to local custom. In some towns the choice was restricted to certain families. At first the Proctors were merely mandataries commissioned to give certain answers to questions set forth in the royal summons. If further matters were proposed, they were obliged to refer to their electors. No law prescribed the interval at which Cortes should be called; but extraordinary supply was generally voted for three years, and at the end of that time parliament was summoned to vote a fresh supply. When the King was in no need of money and the succession was secured, the intervals were longer; no parliament met between 1482 and 1498. The time, place, number of sessions, and subjects for discussion were fixed by the King. .
Cortes were general or particular, according as the three Estates, or the commons alone, were summoned. The three Orders deliberated separately. General Cortes met to take the oath of allegiance, and to receive confirmation of privileges. When supply was the only business, the commons alone attended. As exempt from taxation, the nobles and clergy finally ceased to attend after 1538. The King swore to maintain the liberties of his subjects only after receiving their oath of allegiance; nor was it till after voting supply that the commons presented their petition demanding redress of grievances, extension of privileges, and fulfilment of promises. The articles of these petitions ranged from the widest reforms to trivial local matters; they were severally granted, refused, or evaded by the King according to his own judgment or the advice of his Council. The only remedy of the Cortes was to refuse or reduce supply on the next occasion. In order to secure their subservience, the Kings sought to usurp the right of nominating Proctors; to dictate an unlimited commission in a prescribed form; to win over the Proctors themselves by bribes; and to impose an oath of secrecy with regard to their deliberations.
The Cortes had no legislative power. Their suggestions, if accepted by the King, at once became law. But the King was the sole lawgiver, and consent of parliament was not necessary to the validity of his decrees.
Besides being lawgiver, the King was the sole fountain of civil and criminal justice. His powers were delegated (1) to his Council, as supreme Court of Appeal; (2) to the alcaldes de corte, a judicial body, part of which held irregular assizes, while part accompanied the royal Court, superseding local tribunals; (3) to the Chancery, or Court of Appeal, of Valladolid (a second for Spain south of the Tagus was founded in 1494 and established at Granada, 1505; in the sixteenth century these audiencias or High Courts superseded the adelantados and merinos); (4) to the corregidores; (5) to municipal judges locally elected under \hejuero. Besides these there existed ecclesiastical Courts partially independent of the Crown.
Since its feudal oligarchy had been broken down (1348) Aragon had enjoyed a constitution capable, under an energetic King, of securing good government. It differed from that of Castile in its more aristocratic theory and more democratic, or rather oligarchic, practice. The free population was divided into four Estates,—the clergy, the greater nobility, the petty nobility, and the citizens or commons. Each of these Orders was represented in parliament. The numbers of their deputies varied; in 1518 we find the clergy with fifteen; the greater nobles (ricos homes) with twenty-seven; the petty nobility (infanzones) with thirty-six; and the commons with thirty-six. The parliament thus formed had far greater power than that of Castile. Custom demanded that it should meet every two years, and that the King should attend all its sessions. Absolute unanimity was required to give validity to its decisions. It exacted confirmation of liberties before swearing allegiance, and redress of grievances before voting supply. So exorbitant did its claim seem to the Castilian Isabel, as to cause her to declare that she would rather conquer the country than suffer the affronts of its parliament. When parliament was not sitting, its place was taken by a permanent commission of two members of each Estate, which jealously watched over the public liberties and the administration of the public moneys. Below the four Estates stood the serfs of the Crown and of the nobles, who formed the majority of the population. They were little more than chattels, without legal or political privileges.
The Justicia was originally an arbiter between King and the nobles. He afterwards came to be regarded as the personification and guardian of the liberties of the Aragonese. He was appointed by the Crown, but after the middle of the fifteenth century held office for life. His powers consisted of the right of manifestation, or removal of an accused person to his own custody until the decision of his case by the proper Court; and of that of granting Jirmas, or protection of the property of litigants until sentence was given. The office ofjusticia, the importance of which has been greatly exaggerated, was similar to that of "inspector of wrongs" among the Arabs. The municipal liberties were of high significance. Some communities had the right of owning vassals and administering public revenues, as well as that of jurisdiction. The municipalities elected their magistrates, generally by lot; but privileges differed locally, and in some districts the powers of the nobles were almost unlimited.
The constitution of Catalonia bore traces of the ancient and close connexion of this principality with France, and formed the most complete type of feudalism south of the Pyrenees. As such it resembled that of Aragon more closely than that of Castile. The preponderance of the nobles was very great, though the three Estates were represented in parliament. The vassals remained in a condition of the harshest serfdom, until it was ameliorated by John II in his struggle with the nobles (1460-72). The "evil customs" under which they groaned were finally swept away by King Ferdinand (1481). Valencia at the time of its conquest in the thirteenth century received a constitution modelled on that of Catalonia. The land was shared among the great nobles: its Saracen cultivators became their vassals, and the main source of their wealth and power. In the towns a mixed and busy Christian population sprang up, drawn from Italy and France as well as from Catalonia and other provinces of Spain.
Of the three Basque provinces Biscay was a semi-independent principality until the end of the fourteenth century, when marriage made the King of Castile its Sefior. Alava and Guipuzcoa were originally behetrfas; the Kings of Castile became their overlords after the beginning of the thirteenth century. The former was incorporated as a province of Castile in 1332. While the local liberties of other provinces were sacrificed to the centralising policy of Ferdinand and Isabel, the Basques of Biscay and Guipuzcoa, owing partly to respect for tradition, and partly to the necessity of securing the loyalty of a frontier people, obtained the confirmation of their privileges and the right of self-government. Their contribution to the revenue was a "free gift" granted only after redress of grievances. In royal decrees they are called "a separate nation"; as such they upheld their freedom from direct taxation and their right of bearing arms,—the special marks of nobility. It is to be noted that certain Castilian towns enjoyed a similar privilege.
The first two years of Ferdinand and Isabel's reign were occupied by a war of succession. Many of the Castilian grandees, supported by the Kings of Portugal and France, maintained the claim of Juana, called la Beltraneja, whom Henry IV had acknowledged as his daughter and successor, but whose legitimacy was doubtful. Aragon took no share in the war; for in this kingdom Ferdinand had not yet succeeded his father. The Portuguese and the Castilian malcontents overran the western frontier, and seized Burgos and strong positions in the Douro valley. The battle of Toro (1476) put an end to the danger, and left leisure for reforms. During the two preceding reigns Castile had been given up to anarchy; the municipalities had become almost independent; the nobles had usurped the privileges of royalty and devastated the country by their private wars. Centralisation, repression, and assertion of the supremacy of the Crown, were the remedies applied. The primary need was personal security. Outside the walls of the towns all men were at the mercy of the lawless nobility, or of robber bands. As far back as the thirteenth century the municipalities of Castile had formed leagues or "brotherhoods" for defence in time of war, or to resist encroachments by Kings or nobles. Isabel's first parliament (Madrigal, 1476) revived and generalised this practice by founding the Holy Brotherhood. Throughout Castile each group of a hundred houses furnished a horseman for the repression of crimes of violence in the open country and for the arrest of criminals who fled from the towns. Judges of the Brotherhood resided in all important towns and summarily tried offenders. Their sentences, of mutilation or death, were carried out by the troopers on the scene of the crime. The whole organisation was placed under a central assembly appointed by the municipalities, whose president was a bastard brother of King Ferdinand. The nobles at first objected to this curtailment of their right of exercising justice; but their opposition was overcome. A few years later the Hermandad was extended to Aragon. Lawlessness disappeared, and the 2,000 trained troops of the Brotherhood, together with its treasury, were made use of in the Conquest of Granada. So well had the Holy Brotherhood fulfilled its purpose, that within twenty years of its foundation it had become unnecessary. In 1492 the Cortes of Castile complained of its cost. The Crown hereupon took over its troops, and in 1495 it was reduced to the standing of a country constabulary; in Aragon it was abolished in 1510.
The resources of the Crown were outweighed by the enormous wealth and power of the nobility. The danger of a combination between the grandees had been proved by the War of Succession, when a mere section of them came near to imposing its will on the country. The reduction and humiliation of the whole Order was undertaken and made easy by its continual feuds. The grandees had wrested from Henry IV almost the whole of the royal patrimony, adding Crown lands to their own, trespassing upon common lands, and extorting huge pensions guaranteed upon the revenue. It was urgently necessary to set free the royal revenues; and in accomplishing this the Crown was sure of the support of the people, which groaned under the burden of taxation made necessary by the loss of these resources. As soon as Ferdinand and Isabel felt their position assured, they revoked the whole of the grants made by their predecessor (Cortes of Toledo, 1480). All titles were subjected to review, and only property held on ancient tenure, or as a reward for .public service, was left to the nobles.
The power of the grandees was still excessive. One of its chief sources was the wealth of the Crusading Orders, at once military and religious, which had long neglected the vows of poverty and obedience, imposed at the time of their foundation in the latter half of the twelfth century. The purpose of that foundation itself, the work of reconquest, was wellnigh forgotten. The Grand Masterships conferred on their holders the independent command of an army, and the disposal of many rich commanderies; nor had they been wrongly called the chains and fetters of the Kings of Spain. Instead of crushing them, as the Templars had been crushed, Isabel took over their power. In 1476 she brought forward her husband for the Grand Mastership of Santiago. On this occasion she allowed the election to go against him; but afterwards, as vacancies occurred, he became successively Grand Master of Santiago, Alcantara and Calatrava. The Pope granted investiture on each occasion, with reversion to Isabel. Adrian VI (1523), and Clement VII (1530), attached the Grand Masterships perpetually to the Crown. The King gained the respect due to their semi-religious character, as well as their riches and authority.
Many of the great offices of State, such as those of Constable, Admiral and Adelantado, were hereditary. Shorn of their powers, these titles now became merely honorary in families of proved loyalty. The grandees were compelled to lay aside the insignia of royalty which they had usurped, and their mutinous spirit was checked by a few startling examples of royal justice. Their children were educated under the eye of the Queen, and learnt to respect the Crown. Careers were found for them in the Moorish and Italian wars or as officers of a stately Court. The class which had broken the power of Alvaro de Luna, deposed Henry IV, and disputed Isabel's succession, ceased in a few years to be formidable. Isabel revived the custom of administering justice in person. During a progress through Andalucia (1477) she stamped out the great factions whose wars had devastated the land. A royal commissioner, accompanied by an army, suppressed the lawlessness of Galicia, and razed the castles of its robber barons.
At the time of the War of Succession the only regular force at the disposal of the Crown was a bodyguard of 500 men-at-arms and 500 light horse. During the war against Granada this was increased, and received the addition of the trained troops of the Holy Brotherhood. The rest of the army was made up of feudal contingents and local militias, arrayed each under its own banner and commanded by district governors, Grand Masters, grandees, or captains chosen by the municipalities. The period for which these militias could be kept in the field was limited by law and by the scanty royal revenues. Accordingly, they could not be moved far from home, and wars were local in character. The burden as well as the reward of the Conquest of Granada fell chiefly to the Andalucians. At its close, a guard of 2500 horse was retained in the royal service, and the powerful force of artillery that had been brought together was carefully kept up. When the troops of the Holy Brotherhood were disbanded, this force was found insufficient, and the local militias were revived upon a better plan. The old law binding all citizens to provide themselves with arms according to their condition having fallen into disuse, a decree was promulgated (at Valladolid in 1496) declaring one-twelfth of the males between the ages of twenty and forty-eight liable to military service at home or abroad. Captains were appointed, and the militias were mustered and drilled on holidays. But victories abroad made soldiering popular, and volunteers in abundance were found to submit to the discipline and learn the new tactics of the Great Captain. The militia was neglected; taxation had taken the place of personal service, and the municipalities refused to bear a double burden.
The Castilian navy dates its origin from the Moorish Wars, when the Cantabrian sailors sailed round the coast and cooperated with the land forces. Together with the Catalans they were afterwards employed in stopping communications between the Moriscos and their African brethren. The connexion with Italy, Flanders and Africa, increased the importance of the service, and the convoys required by the trade of the Indies rapidly developed a formidable fleet.
The vast powers centred in the Crown were exercised through the royal Council. Originally a deliberative assembly of members of the royal family, prelates, and nobles, it was entirely reformed by Ferdinand and Isabel (1480). Its former members were not excluded, but their votes were taken from them, and their places supplied by lawyers nominated by the Crown. The president, generally a bishop, was the second person in the kingdom. The new Council was organised into departments, the chief of which were the Council of State, controlling the public forces and foreign affairs, and the Council of .Castile, the supreme Court of justice, and the centre of the executive. The royal authority was no longer shared by grandees and prelates of noble rank; a professional class, midway between nobles and people, and entirely dependent on the Crown, had sprung up. The lawyers of the Council formed the real legislature; their education had steeped them in Roman law, and their efforts were directed to the unification and centralisation of authority. As the powers of the Council rose, those of the Cortes dwindled.
Over the clergy too the royal authority was extended, and the civil and the ecclesiastical power were united to such a degree, that the separation of Church and State even now remains inconceivable to Spaniards. The morals and discipline of the clergy had become much relaxed. Preferment in Spain was obtained by intrigues at Home; and those who obtained it often neglected to visit their sees or benefices. Public opinion supported the Crown in its desire for reform. In 1476 the Cortes protested against the abuses of the ecclesiastical Courts, which usurped jurisdiction in civil matters and enforced their sentences by religious penalties. The enormous and ever-increasing estates held by the Church in mortmain had now come to be looked upon with jealousy and anxiety. The revenues of the great sees were immense; the Archbishops of Toledo and Santiago nominated the governors of their provinces. Little by little they were shorn of part of their wealth, and of the whole of their civil jurisdiction and military power. The annexation of the Grand Masterships of the Military Orders by the Crown weakened the Church as well as the nobles. At the same time the sees were filled by men of learning and piety, and ceased to be an appanage of the nobility. At Toledo the turbulent Archbishop Carillo was succeeded by the soldier and statesman Mendoza, known from his influence as "the Third King" (1483). The next Archbishop, the Franciscan Ximenes de Cisneros, though still a statesman and a warrior, was a crusader instead of a leader of faction, a prelate of saintly life, and a lover of learning, as is proved by his foundation (in 1508) of the University of Alcald ( Complutum). By a diligent reform of the mendicant orders, he purified and strengthened the Church. In 1482 Ferdinand and Isabel wrested from the Pope the right of supplication in favour of their nominees to bishoprics. This right at a later date, Adrian VI, urged by Charles V, converted into one of presentation. In the kingdom of Granada and in the Indies, ecclesiastical patronage, together with part of the tithes, was reserved by the Crown. In 1493 a decree forbade the publication of bulls without the royal exequatur. In general, it may be noted that after the death of Isabel, the attitude of the Spanish Kings towards the papacy became more and more independent. Ferdinand and Charles, when opposed, openly threatened to break with Rome; and the latter obtained large assignments of ecclesiastical revenues. The Inquisition was an ecclesiastical instrument in the hands of the civil power; and when, in 1497, the Pope abandoned the right of hearing appeals, this power became supreme. Thus religious was added to civil despotism; indeed, the majority of Spanish clergy were always found to side with the King against the Pope.
The natural products of Spain are as varied as her climates, but her chief riches have always been cattle, corn, wine, and minerals. Cattle breeding was specially favoured by legislators, because of the ease with which its stock could be put beyond reach of invaders. Climate made a change of pasturage necessary in spring and autumn. So long as the land was thinly populated this was an easy matter. When agriculture became general, the rich owners of the migratory flocks formed a guild for the protection of their traditional rights, and obtained many privileges injurious to cultivators. The enclosure of waste lands was forbidden, and broad tracks were reserved, even through the richest valleys, to provide pasturage for the travelling flocks. In spring and after harvest they ranged at will through corn-lands and vineyards. Nevertheless, at the end of the fifteenth century Castile still exported com, while Aragon, and even Valencia, in spite of the fabulous richness of its irrigated fields, were forced to import from the Balearic Islands and Sicily. In 1480 the export duty on food passing from Castile to Aragon was abolished. The result was a revival of agriculture, particularly in Murcia; but the flocks diminished, and the policy of protecting them was resumed. For many years the Spaniards in America, intent upon nothing but the finding of gold, imported the necessaries of life from the mother-country. Until 1529 the trade with the Indies was reserved exclusively to Seville, and the result was a great development of corn and wine growing in parts of Andalucia. But agriculture was ruined by the alcabcda, a tax of one-tenth on all sales. Bread paid three times over, as corn, as meal, and as manufactured. To remedy this the alcabala was assessed at a fixed sum levied by districts (1494); but now a larger horizon was beginning to dawn, brilliant actions took place in the New World and in Italy, and agriculture still remained neglected. Gold began to be imported in large quantities, and prices trebled. The evil was further increased by disturbances among the industrious Moriscos, by bad seasons, and by the ruinous policy of fixing a maximum price, which still further depressed the greatest national industry and drove the country population to the towns, which overflowed with beggars.
Spain's position made her a natural half-way-house for sea-borne trade between the Mediterranean and Atlantic. Her exports were chiefly raw products-silk, fruit, and oil from the south; iron, wool, wine, and leather from the north. By prohibiting the export of gold and silver, and by the imposition of heavy export and import dues, it was sought to encourage manufactures and to prevent the necessity of buying back home products manufactured abroad. In spite of repeated protests of the Cortes, the settlement of foreign artisans was encouraged by the Kings. Manufactures, chiefly wool and silk, increased tenfold in the course of a century; the great fairs drew buyers from foreign lands; it seemed as though the inborn Spanish dislike of commerce and industry had been overcome. But the progress which thus manifested itself was not destined • to endure. The Revolt of the Comuneros, to be noticed below, ultimately resulted in the partial ruin of a rising middle class; the most enterprising of the population emigrated as soldiers or settlers; and the great discoveries of precious metals in America raised prices to such a pitch that Spanish goods could no longer compete in foreign markets. A mistaken economic policy led to a neglect of the objects in favour of the means of exchange, and encouraged the accumulation of unproductive wealth. Nevertheless, a fictitious prosperity was for a time maintained. The period of Spain's greatest commercial energy falls within the reign of Charles I.
It has been supposed that Spanish population sank rapidly during the first half of the sixteenth century. The data on which this calculation was made have, however, been proved to be misleading. It is probable that population remained nearly stationary at about eight millions, or somewhat less than half its present amount.
Trade was hampered by a coinage made up of foreign pieces of various values, and of debased money issued from local and private mints. Ferdinand and Isabel asserted their exclusive right of minting, and established a high standard in their ducats (1476). These ducats were coined at the rate of 65^ from a mark of gold of the standard of 23£- carats. The silver coin of these sovereigns was the real (67 to the mark of silver, the standard being 67 parts out of 72). The maravedi (3 fa of the ducat) was the basis of calculation; there was, however, no actual coin of this value or name, but the real was worth 34 maravedis. In 1518 the money of Aragon was made uniform with that of Castile.
The chief sources of revenue were the dues and rents of the Crown lands, and the cdcabala. The last-named, a tax of a tithe on all sales, was in 1494 commuted for a fixed sum assessed on districts. Isabel's will forbade alteration of its amount, but a new assessment was made in 1512. To these sources of revenue has to be added extraordinary supply,—the one direct impost. In Castile this amounted to 50 millions of maravedis yearly. Under Charles, an additional supply was demanded. The total supply received by the Crown of Aragon amounted to less than one-fifth of that received by the Crown of Castile, and the whole sum was less than a quarter of that produced by the alcabala. Customs-dues, the sale of indulgences under a constantly renewed Bull of Crusade, the revenues of the Grand Masterships, the tax of two-ninths on ecclesiastical tithes, and the King's fifth of the gold of the Indies, brought up the revenue at the beginning of Charles' reign to about 600 millions maravedis. Almost the whole of this was farmed by Jews and Genoese, and above all by the Fuggers. When it proved insufficient, fines were levied for a renewal of the assessment of the alcabala, and loans were raised at high rates of interest. The law forbidding alienation of the royal patrimony was constantly infringed. Charles sold royal and municipal offices, letters of naturalisation and legitimacy, and patents of nobility. Though the sum produced by the taxes increased thirtyfold within sixty years, the burdens on the people were not augmented in like proportion. Much alienated revenue was recovered; the value of gold sank to less than a third; industry and commerce had vastly increased. The exemption of the nobles and of certain districts and towns from direct taxation was, financially, not very important.
A source of much injustice was the lack of a recognised code of laws. Since the promulgation (1348) of the Partidas and Ordenamiento de Alcala as supplementary to municipal law, a great number of statutes had been enacted, while others had fallen into disuse without being repealed. Isabel sought to remedy the confusion by ordering the scattered decrees to be collected and printed in the Ordenamiento de Montalvo (1485). But neither this nor a further collection (1503) proved satisfactory. Montalvo's book left many important matters doubtful, and the laws it cbntained were not faithfully transcribed. Isabel's will (1504) provided for the continuation of the work of unification. The result was the Laws of Toro (1505), a further attempt to reconcile conflicting legislation. The Cortes of 1523 still complained of the evil; nor was it remedied until the publication of the Nueva Recopilacion (1567).
Under firm government the country recovered rapidly from its exhaustion, and reconquest was again taken in hand. For ten years (1481-91) it was carried on untiringly by the heroic resolution of Isabel and the stubborn valour of Ferdinand. In spite of disasters, like that of the Axarquia (1483), and obstinate resistance, like that of Baza (1489), and notwithstanding the enormous difficulties of transport, the slender resources of the Crown and the unserviceable nature of their feudal army, the kingdom of Granada fell piecemeal into the hands of the Catholic Kings. Owing to internal feuds and the treachery of the last of its Naserite dynasty, not more than half of its natural defenders were ranged at one time against the Christians. Some cities, like Malaga, were treated with great harshness, while others capitulated on favourable terms; for the victor was eager to press forward and it lay with him to decide whether or not he would be bound by his word. At last the city of Granada, isolated and helpless, submitted almost without a struggle (1492). The terms of capitulation included a guarantee of the lives and property of the citizens, with full enjoyment of civil and religious liberty, the right to elect magistrates to administer the existing laws, and exemption from increase of the customary taxation. Ferdinand thus sought to gain time to establish his authority over the excitable and still formidable population.
Even before the fall of Granada the problem of the alien races had presented itself. Living under the special protection of the Crown, the Jews in Spain, in spite of occasional massacres and repressive edicts, enjoyed great prosperity and were very numerous. They controlled finance, and had made their way even into the royal Council. The noblest families were not free from the taint of Jewish blood, and it was known that many professing Christians shared their beliefs. In 1478 a bull granted at the request of Ferdinand and Isabel established in Castile the Inquisition-a tribunal founded in the thirteenth century for the repression of heresy. Its object was now to detect and punish Jews who had adopted Christianity, but had afterwards relapsed. Two years of grace were allowed for recantation. In 1481 the Inquisition began its work at Seville; in 1483, in spite of protests on the ground of illegality, it was extended to Aragon, where the first Inquisitor, St Peter Arbues, was murdered in the cathedral of Saragossa (1485). Under the presidency of Torquemada (1482-94) the Inquisition distinguished itself by the startling severity of its cruel and humiliating autos and reconciliations.
Sixtus IV made several attempts (1482-3) to check the deadly work, but was obliged by pressure from Spain to deny the right of appeal to himself. The Inquisitors were appointed by the Crown, which profited by their ruthless confiscations. Their proceedings checked instead of promoting conversion, and a large body of professing Jews remained isolated and stubborn among the Christian population. Against these was turned the religious and national enthusiasm that greeted the fall of the last stronghold of the Infidel. The achievement of political unity made the lack of religious unity more apparent. It was rumoured that the Jews were carrying on an active propaganda; old calumnies were revived; they were accused of plotting against the State, of sacrificing Christian children, and of torturing and insulting the Host. In 1478 an edict expelled them from Seville and Cdrdova; the severest repressive measures were renewed in 1480; and in March, 1492, in spite of Ferdinand's protest, the Jews of Castile were bidden to choose within four months between baptism and exile. On the strength of an existing law prohibiting the export of precious metals, they were stripped of a great part of their wealth, and many hundred thousands quitted Spain. The treasury seized their abandoned property; but Spain was the poorer for the loss of a thrifty and industrious population. The work of the Inquisition now increased. Many of the exiles returned as professing Christians, while many suspected families of converts had been left behind. Pedigrees were subjected to the closest scrutiny; not even the highest position in the Church, or the most saintly life, secured those whose blood was tainted from cruel persecution. Even if their faith was beyond suspicion, they were made social outcasts. Statutes as to purity of blood excluded them, in spite of the protests of the Church, at first from universities, Chapters, and public offices, and later even from religious Congregations and trade guilds. Torquemada died in 1498; but the persecution went on until Cdrdova rose against the fierce and fanatical Lucero (1506-7). Ximenes became Grand Inquisitor (1507), and the tribunal became less savage, while its sphere of activity widened. At the beginning of the century the baptised Saracens had been placed under its authority. When Islam was proscribed throughout Castile (1502), the Inquisition stamped out its last embers, by methods hardly less rigorous than those directed against the Jews; afterwards, it was employed to further absolutism in Church and State. Such are the passions roused by the very name of the Inquisition, that it is difficult to judge its work. The Jesuit Mariana, a bold and impartial critic, calls it "a present remedy given by Heaven against threatened ills." He admits, however, that the cure was a costly one; that the good name, life, and fortune of all lay in the hands of the Inquisitors; that its visitation of the sins of fathers upon children, its cruel punishments, its secret proceedings, and prying methods caused universal alarm; and that its tyranny was regarded by many as "worse than death."
For nearly eight years after its conquest the kingdom of Granada was ruled with firmness and moderation by its Cap tain-general, the Count of Tendilla, and by Talavera, Archbishop of the newly-created see. The capitulation had been respected; men's minds were reassured; and many, who had at first preferred exile to submission, had returned. Talavera, a man of earnest but mild temper, devoted all his energies to the conversion of the Muslims; he secured their confidence and respect, and, by encouraging the study of Arabic, partly broke down the barrier of language. Already the results of his good work were apparent, when his persuasive and forbearing policy was abandoned.
To the religious advisers of the Queen the results attained seemed paltry: shocked at what they considered a stubborn rejection of evident truths, they regarded the respect shown to the religious and social peculiarities of the Muslims as impious trafficking with evil, while the salvation of thousands was at stake. Ximenes shared the fanaticism of his age and country. Having obtained a commission to aid the Archbishop in his work, he assembled the Muslim doctors, harangued, flattered, and bribed them till many received baptism (1499). Still unsatisfied, he adopted more violent measures. He began to ill-treat the descendants of renegades and to tear their children from them; he imprisoned the more obstinate of his opponents, and confiscated and publicly burned all books treating of their religion. A savage revolt within the city was quelled only by the influence of the Captain-general and the Archbishop. Ximenes, when recalled to Court to be reprimanded for his high-handed action, succeeded in winning over the Queen to his views. A commission was sent to punish a revolt provoked by the infraction of guaranteed rights. It was evident that the capitulation was no longer to be respected, and while thousands, cowed but unconvinced, received baptism, others quitted Spain for Africa. The districts round Granada showed none of the submissive spirit of the city. On hearing of the injustice done to their fellow-countrymen the mountaineers of the Alpuj arras revolted, and the Count of Tendilla, with Gonzalo de Cdrdova, then a young soldier, undertook a difficult and dangerous campaign in an almost inaccessible region. In the spring of 1500 Ferdinand himself assumed the command, and the rebellion was crushed out by irresistibly superior forces. Each little town perched upon its crag had to be stormed. Men taken with arms in their hands were butchered as rebels; the survivors were punished by enormous fines, and cajoled or forced to receive baptism.
No sooner was this rising repressed, than a still more formidable one broke out in the Sierra Bermeja on the western side of the kingdom. Christians were tortured and murdered, and the alarm was increased by the belief that the rebels were in communication with Africa. A splendid force, hastily raised in Andalucia, marched into the fastnesses of the mountains; but, becoming entangled among passes where the heavy-armed horsemen were helpless, it was nearly exterminated at Rio Verde (March, 1501). The rebels, however, were terrified by their success; the revolt spread no further; and when Ferdinand hurried to Honda, prepared for a campaign, they sued for peace. Again the choice between baptism and exile was offered, and thousands quitted the country.
In July, 1501, the whole kingdom of Granada was declared to be Christian; and the only Muslim element left within the realms of Castile consisted of small groups settled in cities even as far north as Burgos and Zamora, under the protection of the Crown. These Mudejares were now forbidden to communicate with their newly converted brethren of the south. Six months later, all who refused to become Christians were banished. In Aragon and Valencia the Mudejares were allowed, for a time, the private exercise of their religion. The harsh treatment of the Saracens seemed justified by fear of their numbers and of their intrigues with the African corsairs. They sank into a state of serfdom, being left dependent for protection upon the landowners who throve on their industry. Even so they clung to their faith, and the Inquisition found a hundred years insufficient for rooting it out. The results of intolerance are still to be traced in the wide wastes, once rich in corn, vine, and olive, of central and southern Spain. While the rest of the land had been won back in a half-ruined and desolate state, Granada was seized in full prosperity, but even she was not spared.
Profiting by the eagerness of the King of France to settle outstanding differences before invading Italy, Ferdinand in 1493 recovered by negotiation the counties of Roussillon and Cerdagne, which had been pledged by his father to Louis XI.
In 1494, following the traditions of the Crown of Aragon, he began actively to interfere in European politics by forming the League of Venice for the purpose of driving the French out of Italy. A period of peace followed the death of Charles VIII (1498). When the War was resumed the Crown of Naples was added by the Great Captain, Gonzalo de Cordova, to those of Castile, Aragon and Sicily (1503). The New World had been discovered, but its supreme importance was misunderstood; Spain was embarked upon the current of European politics, which was to drag her to her ruin. Defeated in Italy and baffled in negotiation, the French King decided to carry the war into the enemy's country. In the autumn of 1503 two armies set out to invade Spain, one through the western passes of the Pyrenees, and the other, supported by a fleet, through the eastern. The former never reached its destination. The latter entered Roussillon unopposed; but wasted time in besieging the castle of Salsas near Perpignan, until Ferdinand marched to its relief. The French retreated to Narbonne without fighting. The loss of the fleet in a storm completed the disaster of the French, and a humiliating peace ended the War.
In 1496 were negotiated the marriages which eventually gave the Crown of Spain to the House of Austria. Juan, only son of Ferdinand and Isabel, married Margaret, daughter of Maximilian, Archduke of Austria and King of the Romans. His sister, Juana, married Maximilian's son Philip the Fair, who had inherited (1493) from his mother, the Netherlands, Flanders, Artois, and Franche-Comte. The death of the Infante Juan left his sister, Isabel, Queen of Portugal, heiress apparent to the throne of Castile (1497). By her death (1498) and that of her infant son (1500) the hope of the union of the whole Peninsula under one Crown was defeated. The succession fell to Juana and her husband Philip. From the first their marriage had been an unhappy one. Philip gave his wife abundant cause for jealousy, and repressed her violent outbreaks by making her a prisoner within her palace. Her mind became disordered, and she soon showed signs of the intermittent insanity which later overtook her. It became necessary for Juana and Philip to visit Spain to receive the oath of allegiance as heirs to the Crown. But Philip delayed till the end of the year 1501, and caused additional displeasure by seeking the friendship of Louis XII and doing formal homage to him as he passed through France. The Cortes of Castile swore allegiance to Juana and her husband at Toledo (1502). The Cortes of Aragon, which had previously refused to acknowledge her sister Isabel, alleging that females were excluded from the succession, now took the usual oath. At the beginning of 1503 Philip quitted Spain, leaving his wife with her parents. He again passed through France, and concluded a peace with King Louis. But this peace Ferdinand, on hearing news of the victories of the Great Captain, repudiated, alleging that Philip had exceeded his instructions. The War in Italy went on as before.
After the birth of Ferdinand, her second son, Juana's insanity increased. In March, 1504, she quitted Spain against her mother's will, leaving her in feeble health. Isabel was broken by long years of toil, and by family sorrows. She died of dropsy at the end of the year. The character of the great Queen is well described in the simple words of Guicciardini: "a great lover of justice, most modest in her person, she made herself much loved and feared by her subjects. She was greedy of glory, generous, and by nature very frank." Her will named Juana as her successor; but a codicil directed "that Don Fernando should govern the realm during the absence of Queen Juana, and that if, on her arrival, she should be unwilling or unable to govern, Don Fernando should govern." Ferdinand proclaimed Juana and Philip, and undertook the regency; but Isabel's death marks the beginning of a period of anarchy which lasted until Charles established his rule (1523).
The year 1505 was spent in plots and counter-plots. Philip, supported by a strong party in Spain, attempted to drive out Ferdinand. Instigated by Don Juan Manuel, he intrigued with Gonzalo de Cdrdova, and with the King of France. Ferdinand, on his side, was ready to sacrifice the union of Spain to private ambition: his first plan was to marry and revive the claims of Princess Juana, la Beltraneja. When this failed, he married Germaine de Foix, niece to the King of France (October, 1505). King Louis made over to her as dowry his claims on the disputed portions of the kingdom of Naples, with reversion to the French Crown should the union prove childless. In this way Ferdinand broke up the dangerous alliance between Louis, Philip, and Maximilian; but he also alienated from his cause a large portion of the Castilians, who regarded his hasty marriage as an insult to the memory of their Queen. At the same time Philip's agents in Spain were undermining Ferdinand's authority, and had won over many of the nobles of Andalucia; for he was still regarded as a foreigner in the land which he had so long ruled, and his harsh, suspicious and niggardly nature increased his unpopularity.
By the Treaty of Salamanca (November, 1505) it was agreed that Ferdinand, Juana, and Philip should rule jointly, and divide the revenues and patronage. In the following spring Philip was obliged by stress of weather to land at Corunna. It had been his intention to sail round to Seville and collect his partisans, since neither party meant to abide by the agreement. Ferdinand hastened to meet his son-in-law; but Philip evaded an interview, for every day more grandees joined him, and he would soon be able to dictate his own terms. When the meeting actually took place (June), Ferdinand's following was reduced to three or four old friends, and he was compelled to declare that, owing to Juana's infirmity, her interference would be disastrous to the kingdom. In consideration of a pension he gave up the regency, and sulkily withdrew into Aragon with his young wife, and otherwise unaccompanied, "holding it unworthy to exercise delegated powers in realms over which he had been absolute King." He was welcomed by the Aragonese, who rejoiced to have shaken off the union with the preponderating power of Castile. Shortly afterwards he sailed for Naples, where the conduct of Gonzalo de Cdrdova had excited his suspicions.
In July Philip met the Castilian Cortes at Valladolid. Aided by Ximenes, he attempted to have his wife declared incapable of governing; but he was successfully opposed by a party led by the Admiral of Castile. Juana was acknowledged as Queen in her own right, Philip as King by right of marriage, and their infant son Charles as heir to the throne. Acting in his wife's name, Philip hereupon conferred the offices of State and wardenships of the royal castles on members of his own party. The malcontents began to draw together to liberate the Queen, whom they believed to be sane and a prisoner in the hands of her husband. The threatened rebellion was, however, for the moment arrested, and Philip was called away northward to watch the frontier. He evaded the danger of invasion by means of a treaty with the French King, from which Ferdinand was excluded. In September, 1506, Philip died suddenly at Burgos leaving Spain in a ferment of rival factions. Within Castile no authority existed; for Juana refused to act. The grandees nominated Ximenes with six members of the Council to carry on the regency until the guardianship of the infant heir to the throne should be decided. They summoned the Cortes; but their summons was disregarded as unconstitutional. Ferdinand had already reached Italy, when the news overtook him. He sent a commission to Ximenes to carry on the government during his absence. On his return to Spain (July, 1507) he crushed the party, headed by Juan Manuel, which supported the claim of Maximilian to act as regent for his daughter-in-law and grandson. Ferdinand's position was a strong one, for the event foreseen in Isabel's will had come to pass: Juana, wandering from village to village with the weird procession that bore her husband's corpse, stubbornly refused to sign papers of State. Most of the Flemish party fled; then Burgos and Jaen, held for a time in Maximilian's interest, submitted, and "calm fell upon Castile"; for the majority welcomed the prospect of speedy repression of the disorder which had broken out during Ferdinand's absence. After a meeting with Juana, who refused to lend herself to his schemes by marrying Henry of England, he gave out that she had resigned the government to him, and thus remained undisputed master of the kingdom. Ferdinand showed no wish to avenge himself upon those who had driven him with ignominy from the kingdom, but bore himself ruthlessly towards those who now questioned his authority. Don Juan Manuel had fled. The Duke of Nagera refused to deliver up his fortresses; but, when an army was sent against him, he submitted, and his lands and titles were given to his eldest son. At Cdrdova the Marquis of Priego revolted. Ferdinand called out all Andalucia to crush him. He threw himself on the King's mercy, but was condemned to death. The interest of the Great Captain, his kinsman, availed only to obtain a commutation of his sentence to confiscation, fine and banishment.
Although the suspicions against him were probably groundless, the Great Captain felt the weight of Ferdinand's jealousy. They had returned from Italy together, and Ferdinand had shown him all deference and had promised him the Grand Mastership of Santiago. But the promise was never fulfilled; he was treated with marked coolness, and withdrew to his estates near Loja, where he ended his days in haughty and magnificent retirement. Once only-after the battle of Ravenna (1512), when it was believed that he alone could save Spain's possessions in Italy, he received a commission to enlist troops. Thousands had already joined his banner, when the danger passed away, and Ferdinand, alarmed and jealous, withdrew his commission.
The Barbary pirates not only rendered the sea unsafe, but acting in concert with the Moriscos, made frequent descents upon the Spanish coast, spreading terror and devastation far inland. In 1505, at the instigation of Ximenes, Mers-el-Kebir, one of their strongholds, had been captured. The disturbed condition of Spain made it impossible immediately to follow up this success, but Ximenes had not lost sight of his policy of African conquest. A war against the Infidel always stirred the crusading spirit of the Spaniards, and Ferdinand saw in it a way of turning public attention from late events. In 1508 a small expedition under Pedro Navarro captured Penon de la Gomera. In the following year a larger one was prepared. Ximenes lent money out of the vast revenues of his see, and himself accompanied the army of 14,000 men to Oran (May, 1509). The city was captured, and many Christian captives were set free; but the glory of the victory was stained by a brutal massacre of unarmed inhabitants. Within a month Ximenes was back in Spain. He had quarrelled with Pedro Navarro, the general in command of the expedition, and was moreover alarmed by reports that Ferdinand was plotting to deprive him of his archbishopric in favour of his illegitimate son, the Archbishop of Saragossa. Pedro Navarro remained behind, and in a few months effected a series of brilliant conquests. Bugia fell after a siege; Algiers and Tlemcen surrendered; Tripolis was stormed. Grown overbold, Navarro fell into an ambuscade among the sandhills of the waterless island of Gelves; the greater part of his army perished; and the tide of Spanish conquest in Africa was stayed for a time (August, 1510).
The recovery of Roussillon and Cerdagne gave Ferdinand command of the eastern passes of the Pyrenees; but Spanish unity was still incomplete, while the kingdom of Navarre lying astride-of the western end of the range held the keys of Spain. Torn by the continual wars of her two great factions, the Beaumonts and Grammonts, and crushed by the neighbourhood of more powerful States, Navarre could not hope to preserve her independence. She was, moreover, ruled by a feeble dynasty that had not taken root in the soil. Navarre had belonged to Ferdinand's father in right of his first wife, but had passed by right of marriage to her great-grandson Fra^ois Phebus Count of Foix, and, later, to his sister Catherine. Ferdinand sought to secure the prize by marrying his son to Catherine. The scheme was frustrated by her mother Madeleine, sister of Louis XII; and Catherine married Jean d'Albret, a Gascon nobleman whose large estates lay on the border of Lower Navarre. Nevertheless Ferdinand found means of frequently interfering in the affairs of his neighbours. He protected the Beaumont faction and the dynasty against King Louis, who supported the claims of a younger branch of the House of Foix, represented first by the Viscount of Narbonne, and later by Gaston Phebus, brother of Ferdinand's second wife.
In 1511 Pope Julius II, the Emperor, the Venetians, Ferdinand, and Henry VIII of England formed the Holy League for the purpose of crushing France. Bent on his scheme of recovering Guyenne Henry sent an army to Guipuzcoa to cooperate with the Spaniards (1512). Ferdinand's opportunity had now come. He demanded a free passage for his troops through Navarre, and the surrender of fortresses as a guarantee of neutrality. Jean d'Albr'et tried to evade compliance by allying himself with the French. Ferdinand retaliated by a manifesto declaiming against his faithlessness and ingratitude, and by ordering the Duke of Alva to invade Navarre (July, 1512). Five days later the Spaniards, aided by the Beaumontais, encamped before Pamplona, and Jean d'Albret fled to seek help from the French army encamped near Bayonne. Pamplona surrendered on receiving guarantees of its liberties, which it held dearer than its foreign dynasty.
Failing to get help from the French, Jean d'Albret, though his capital was already in the enemy's hands, attempted negotiation, professing his readiness to accept any terms that might be dictated. Ferdinand, however, insisted on his claim to hold Navarre until he should complete his holy enterprise against France. Most of the Navarrese towns and fortresses now surrendered; Tudela was besieged by the Aragonese under the Archbishop of Saragossa. Early in August Ferdinand renewed his promise to give up the kingdom at the end of the war. His messenger was seized and imprisoned, and on the 21st of the month he published at Burgos the bull Pater ille coelestis, excommunicating all who resisted the Holy League, and declaring their lands and honours forfeited to those who should seize them. Although Jean d'Albret and Catherine were not named, the bull specially mentioned the Basques and Cantabrians, and dread of its threats brought about the surrender of the few places that still held out in Upper Navarre. Ferdinand now threw off the mask and took the title of King of Navarre. Meanwhile Alva had crossed the mountains, and summoned the Marquis of Dorset from his camp near San Sebastian to aid in the conquest of Lower Navarre. The English, however, declared that they had come to conquer not Navarre but Guyenne; and since it was now too late in the year for that purpose they sailed home after plundering a small part of the frontier. A French army advanced against Alva, who recrossed the mountains without fighting and shut himself up in Pamplona. But, after two fierce assaults, the French in turn withdrew on the approach of Spanish reinforcements. The whole of Upper Navarre and the district of Ultrapuertos north of the mountains remained in Ferdinand's hands. In 1513 the Navarrese Cortes swore allegiance to him, and the French King abandoned his allies by concluding a truce. Navarre was incorporated with Castile (1515); Ultrapuertos was however afterwards abandoned on account of the expense of keeping up an outpost beyond the mountains (1530).
The last three years of Ferdinand's life were uneventful, so far as Spain is concerned. Although he was involved in the tangled skein of alliances and plots by which the fate of Italy was decided, his interest in politics was no longer active. His chief anxiety was to leave a son to succeed to his patrimony. One had been born of his second marriage, but had died shortly after birth. Although he was eager to become a father once more, he was not destined to undo his life's work,—Spanish unity. He fell ill (1513), and with the restlessness of a dying man, wandered through the mountain villages of Castile pursuing his favourite occupation of hunting. A strong Spanish party, led by Don Juan Manuel and supported by France, still opposed him, scheming in favour of Maximilian's claim to govern Spain as regent for his grandson. King Ferdinand held them in check, and set up against Charles his younger brother Ferdinand, who had been brought up in Spain and was now regarded as the probable successor to the united Crowns, or, at least, to that of Aragon. In 1515 King Ferdinand visited Aragon for the last time, and held Cortes at Calatayud. His arbitrary temper had grown upon him, and, when supply was refused, he struck a last fierce blow at his country's liberties by angrily dismissing the deputies and imprisoning their president. When his end was known to be near (September, 1515) the Flemish party sent to Adrian of Utrecht to act in the name of his former pupil, the Infante Charles.
King Ferdinand died in the village of Madrigalejo (January, 1516) leaving behind him a reputation for political wisdom, astonishing when it is remembered that he was an unlettered man. But it was his unscrupulousness that left the deepest mark upon the age. During Isabel's lifetime he had screened his grasping policy behind her religious enthusiasm, and had used her haughty and upright spirit as an instrument for attaining his selfish ends. He had never sought to be loved, and after her death his character stood revealed in its native harshness. "No reproach attaches to him," says Guicciardini, "save his lack of generosity and his faithlessness to his word." Shortly before his death he revoked a will which favoured his younger grandson and namesake, and now bequeathed to him only a pension so modest as to preclude all chance of rivalry with his brother. He left the Crowns of Aragon and the two Sicilies to his daughter Juana, Queen of Castile, appointing her son Charles regent in her name. To Ximenes he entrusted the government of Castile, and to his bastard son, the Archbishop of Saragossa, that of Aragon.
Ximenes, although more than eighty years old, undertook the charge with his wonted energy. Acting under instructions from Flanders, and disregarding the protests of the Castilians, he proclaimed Charles as King conjointly with his mother (May, 1516). He reformed the household of Queen Juana, who had been ill-treated by a brutal governor. He fixed the seat of government at Madrid, on account of its central position. He secured the person of the Infante Ferdinand, whose discontent was being fomented by interested advisers. By sheer force of character he set aside Adrian of Utrecht, who had been sent to share the regency. He revoked all grants of lands and pensions made since Isabel's death; when a commission of grandees waited upon him to enquire by virtue of what power he had taken this step, he pointed to the artillery massed below his palace.
Not content with the regular forces of the Crown, he attempted to revive in more efficient form the old militia, and sent commissioners to enrol a force of 31,000 men. Exemption from taxation was promised to all who gave in their names. A certain number in each district were to be armed and drilled, and to receive pay when called out. The nobles took alarm, and stirred up the municipalities to resist what was represented as a new burden and an encroachment on their liberties. Valladolid and other cities rose in revolt, and forwarded a protest to Charles in Flanders. The matter was ordered to stand over until his arrival. Four years later, the municipalities had reason to regret their lack of military organisation.
Thinking to profit by the unsettled state of Spain Jean d'Albret invaded Navarre and laid siege to St Jean Pied-de-Port. He was supported by native exiles, who broke in through the pass of Roncal, hoping for a rising within the country. They were met before effecting a junction with the King, and were utterly defeated (March, 1516). Jean d'Albret gave up the enterprise; he died three months later, leaving his claims to his son Henri. Ximenes began to fortify Pamplona as a stronghold for the Castilian garrison, while he dismantled a number of outlying castles which might give protection to invaders.
In pursuit of his policy of African conquest Ximenes sent an expedition against Algiers, which had been seized by Barbarossa, the famous renegade corsair (September, 1516). In consequence of the incapacity of its leader, the expedition met with a crushing defeat, and was almost annihilated.
Ximenes' schemes were everywhere thwarted by Charles' Flemish councillors. With their chief, William de Croy, Seigneur de Chievres, he had tried unsuccessfully to establish a good understanding. Flemish interests required alliance with France, and in pursuit of this object they were ready to sacrifice Spanish interests in Italy and Navarre. For a time they were successful. By the Treaty of Noyon (October, 1516) Charles became betrothed to Francis1 infant daughter, promising to satisfy the claims of the Albrets in Navarre and to give up Queen Germaine's dowry. Moreover, a growing feeling of discontent was provoked in Spain by the shameless traffic in Spanish offices of dignity and profit carried on by Flemish courtiers. The grandees, who writhed under Ximenes1 strong hand, flocked with their complaints to Flanders and obtained a ready hearing. The people were persuaded that Juana was sane and shut out from her rights by a cruel plot. Ximenes, surrounded by difficulties, wrote repeatedly urging Charles to come to Spain, and warning him of the rising discontent of the municipalities. At last, in September, 1517, Charles landed on the Asturian coast. He was only seventeen years old; his health was delicate; and his diffidence had been increased by his being brought up under such masterful spirits as Chievres and his aunt Margaret. He found himself in a strange country seething with half-repressed rebellion; he could not speak a word of Spanish. The grandees hastened to welcome the King; but access to his presence was barred by the Flemings. Ximenes too journeyed northward to meet the prince whom he had so manfully served. He wished before his death to explain the policy by which the mutinous spirit of Castile might be appeased and the anarchy of Aragon quelled. The Flemings, foreseeing that their influence would be at an end, if Charles fell under the influence of the Cardinal's powerful will, did their utmost to prevent a meeting. Ximenes was accordingly checked by a letter in which Charles thanked him for his services and invited him to an interview, after which he was ordered to retire to his diocese and take such rest as his health demanded. Ximenes did not survive his political downfall. His death (November 8) left Spain entirely in the hands of the foreigners, among whom his honours were speedily divided. Adrian was made Cardinal, Chievres became chief minister of the Crown; his youthful nephew, William de Croy, Archbishop of Toledo; and Jean le Sauvage, Chancellor. Ximenes' policy had been directed to assure the supremacy of the Crown while giving to the people such rights and cohesion as should balance the power of the nobles. He had also attempted to found a Spanish empire in Africa. The latter scheme was intermittently prosecuted after his death; but its special importance was lost sight of amid dreams of universal empire. .The natural development of the political rights of the people was checked, and their hardly-won municipal liberties were crushed, in the struggles that followed. Charles aimed from the first at the absolute power which in the end swallowed up the liberties of nobles and commons alike.
After a brief visit to his mad mother at Tordesillas, where she passed fifty years of her life, Charles made a triumphal entry into Valladolid (November, 1517). Here, in the following spring, the Castilian Cortes assembled. The grandees were disgusted to find that all favours fell to foreigners. The sessions opened stormily; for Spanish jealousy had been aroused by the appointment of a Fleming to preside in conjunction with the Bishop of Badajoz, a known ally of the foreign party. Two legal assessors watched the proceedings on behalf of the Crown. The commons had hoped to profit by the inexperience of the prince in order to extend their rights. Led by Dr Zumel, proctor of Burgos, they adopted a haughty tone, reminded Charles of his duties as King and actually addressed him as "our hireling." They claimed, contrary to custom, that he should swear to observe their liberties before receiving the oath of allegiance, and should hear petitions before they granted supply. Charles submitted to the former demand, and was acknowledged as sovereign in conjunction with his mother. This was a disappointment; for he had hoped to rule alone. The Cortes voted a supply of somewhat more than the usual amount, spread over three years. In answer to a long list of petitions, the King promised to learn to speak Spanish; to forbid illegal exportation of gold and silver; to grant no further offices or letters of naturalisation to foreigners; to keep his brother in Spain till the succession should be assured; not to alienate Crown property; and not to give up Navarre.
Charles then hurried on to hold Cortes at Saragossa. The Aragonese proved more stubborn. Freed from Ferdinand's strong hand, the nobles had shaken off all respect for the Crown, and moreover, Charles was thoroughly distrusted. Regardless of his late promises, he had sent his brother Ferdinand to Flanders, and, on the death of Jean le Sauvage, had appointed another foreign Chancellor (Arborio de Gattinara). The Aragonese first disputed Charles' right to call Cortes; they next demanded proof of Juana's incapacity; and when, finally, they consented to acknowledge him as King in conjunction with her, they insisted on declaring that, if she should recover, she alone would be Queen in Aragon. Charles was forced to adopt a submissive attitude; he sought to win over the people by breaking down the usurped privileges of the nobles; but it cost him eight months, and he had to undergo many affronts, before he could obtain a grant of money so small that it was insufficient for paying his expenses. In order to replenish the treasury, the supply voted by the Castilians was farmed; offices were sold; and the Inquisition was urged to ruthless confiscation. The tide of discontent rose higher than ever.
At Barcelona objection was again taken to swearing the oath of allegiance to Charles during his mother's lifetime. Only after ten months were bribery and flattery able to break down opposition and elicit a moderate grant. Charles was preparing to meet the Parliament of Valencia (January, 1520), when news was brought of his election as King of the Romans in succession to his grandfather Maximilian. The report that the King was about to quit Spain roused the indignation against him to the highest pitch. The Castilian cities were jealous of the time he had spent in Aragon and Catalonia, haggling to obtain small supplies, while loyal Castile, which had voted an extra sum, was neglected. There was now reason to fear that Spain would sink to the level of a mere province of the Empire. Already in November, Toledo had sent a circular letter to the cities possessing votes in the Cortes, urging them to combine in order to prevent the departure of the King, the export of gold, and government by foreigners. Some made no reply; others, like Salamanca, joined eagerly in the protest. A commission was appointed to lay before Charles the demands of the kingdom, whereupon he sent to Toledo a new and more energetic corregidor to check the spirit of mutiny. Wishing to obtain money and at the same time to tranquillise the public mind by explanations and promises, he summoned Parliament to meet him at Santiago de Compostela (February, 1520). As he hurried northward, he was overtaken at Valladolid by the commissioners from Toledo and Salamanca, who insisted, in spite of his orders, on fulfilling their charge. He bade them follow the Court until he could find time to attend to them. A report that Queen Juana was to be carried out of the country provoked a riot and a rash attempt to check the King's departure from Valladolid. The cruelty with which these excesses were avenged still further irritated the people. At Villalpando the promised audience was granted to the commissioners of the cities; but Charles was in no mood for yielding. He harshly bade them await the meeting of Parliament to lay their wishes before him. Meanwhile the Court party was doing its utmost to secure submissive deputies. A royal decree directed that an unlimited commission should be given to the proctors according to a prescribed form. Toledo refused to comply; her proctors were instructed merely to hear and report on the proposals of the King. Other cities, while granting a commission in the prescribed form, limited it by secret instructions to resist all demands for money.
It was amid the gloomiest forebodings that the Cortes met at Santiago (March, 1520). The selection of a place so far removed from the centre of Spain was suspicious; even if promises were wrung from the departing King, their fulfilment was unlikely: at such a distance from their electors deputies might easily be bribed or intimidated. The chief cause of complaint, however, was the demand for further supply, while the grant of 1518 had still a year to run. An attempt was made to soothe irritation by the appointment of a Spanish president; and a conciliatory speech from the throne was read by the Bishop of Badajoz in the presence of Charles himself. Toledo was unrepresented, having refused to grant the prescribed commission; the deputies of Salamanca were excluded for refusing to take the oath before petitions had been heard. The nobles, disgusted at their exclusion from the royal favour, had quitted the Court. Charles hurried on to Corunna, in order to be able to embark at a moment's notice and reach England (April). The remaining deputies followed, and were cajoled and threatened until, by a narrow majority, they voted a supply of 300 millions of maravedis. They petitioned for a Spanish regent; for the speedy return of the King; for the better administration of justice; against the nomination of deputies by the Crown, and the exaction of unlimited commissions; that the Cortes should meet every three years; that the summons should contain a list of the matters to be discussed; and that deputies should be compelled to render an account to their electors within a stated time. Most of these petitions were refused, or left unanswered; the Cortes were dismissed; and in May Charles set sail, leaving nobles and people equally discontented. Adrian of Utrecht was appointed by him regent in his absence.
The return of the deputies from Corunna was the signal for rioting in many cities. Some who had voted supply contrary to instructions were murdered by the mob. Led by Toledo, the cities, from Leon to Murcia and from Burgos to Jaen, formed a league under the name of the Santa Comunidad, and expelled their corregidores to the cry of "Long live the King; down with the bad ministers!" Avila was chosen on account of its central position as the meeting-place of their Junta (July, 1520), which included nobles and ecclesiastics as well as commons. It began by declaring itself independent of the Regent and Council, and organising the levies of the cities under the command of Juan de Padilla, a nobleman of Toledo. Adrian's attempts to check the revolt were feeble and unsuccessful. A small body of troops, sent with Ronquillo, a judge of notorious severity, to punish Segovia, where the outbreak had been specially violent, was easily beaten off. An attempt made by Fonse'ca, one of the royal captains, to seize the artillery which Ximenes had kept in readiness at Medina del Campo, not only failed, but resulted in the destruction by fire of the town, one of the richest in Spain. Adrian was obliged to disband Fonseca's army and disavow his action. A more serious blow to the royal cause followed. Padilla seized Tordesillas, and with it the person of Queen Juana (August 29). The Santa Junta now removed to Tordesillas, and proclaimed that the Queen was sane and approved its actions. Valladolid, the seat of the regency, was captured; some members of the royal Council were imprisoned; others, among them Adrian himself, fled (October 18). The Great Seal of the kingdom and the State papers fell into the hands of the rebels. Led by Adrian, who despaired from the first, the friends of Charles in Spain wrote to him that all was lost, unless he returned at once and came to terms with the Comuneros. But Charles never yielded. His cause was aided more by the incapacity of its opponents than by the energy of the royalists. Instead of setting up a government in the place of that which it had overthrown, the Junta continued to declare its loyalty; unable to conceive any authority other than that of the monarchy, it wasted its time in trying to persuade the imbecile Queen to confirm its acts. Juana had received its members, when they broke into Tordesillas, with some show of favour; but her steady refusal to sign documents was not to be shaken. The main theory of the revolution-that the Queen was sane, and that her faithful commons were to deliver her and shake off the hated yoke of the foreigner-had broken down. Juana's obstinacy acted as a physical obstacle. Disheartened and irresolute, the Junta betook itself to the only other source of legitimate authority, and sent a deputation to Flanders to assure the King of its loyalty and beg confirmation of its acts. At the same time it forwarded a long list of petitions. These included Charles1 return to Spain and marriage; the reform of the Court on the model of Ferdinand and Isabel's; the reduction of taxes to the standard of 1494; the better administration of justice; together with demands that corregidores should not be appointed without a request on the part of the municipality concerned, and then only for two years; that municipalities should elect their proctors without interference; that the commission of the proctors should not be prescribed, and that death should be the penalty for accepting bribes; that the Cortes should meet every three years, and that the three Orders should be represented; that nobles should be excluded from municipal and financial offices, and from the exclusive use of waste and common lands; that such lands as they had seized should be restored within six months; that Isabel's will and Charles' own oath forbidding the alienation of any part of the royal patrimony should be observed, so as to obviate the necessity for extraordinary taxation. These petitions never reached Charles, for the messengers' hearts failed them, and they turned back; but they show that the Junta utterly misunderstood its position and the character of the King. The last two clauses mark a change of spirit; they are directed against the nobles, some of whom had acquiesced in or favoured the insurrection. So soon as their usurped privileges were threatened, they began to rally round the throne. This tendency was furthered by a masterly stroke of policy. Urged by Adrian's despairing appeals for help, Charles nominated two Spanish grandees, the Constable and the Admiral of Castile, to share the regency: he bade them temporise and dissimulate, call Cortes in his name if advisable, but sanction no curtailment of the royal authority. The Constable raised an army in the north under the command of his son, the Count of Haro; and, aided by Zumel, who a year before had figured as a champion of popular rights, but had been brought over by a bribe, he recovered the city of Burgos, where jealousy of Toledo's leadership was strong. The Admiral joined Adrian at Rioseco, which forthwith became the rallying-place of the royalists, and began to treat with the Comuneros. These appointments silenced the complaints of the grandees as to the neglect of their order; nor could the popular party any longer complain that the land was left to the government of strangers.
Internal quarrels still further weakened the Comuneros. Flattered by the adhesion of Pedro Giron, a nobleman with a private grievance, they made him captain in place of Padilla (November). This was considered as a slight by the Toledans, and their contingent marched home. The loss of Padilla and his men was compensated by the arrival of Alonso de Acuna, Bishop of Zamora, one of the boldest and most skilful captains of the time. Giron marched against Rioseco; but, either betraying the cause he served or fooled by sham negotiations, he let his opportunity slip. His army melted away; the Count of Haro relieved Rioseco and recaptured Tordesillas together with the Que_en and some members of the Junta (December 5). The cry of treachery was raised, and Giron became a fugitive.
An amnesty and a few conciliatory measures would now have put an end to the movement; but the Regents were hindered by Charles' obstinacy. He not only sternly forbade further concession, but disavowed the moderate conditions under which Burgos had returned to its loyalty. He seemed utterly reckless, leaving his agents to fight alone, and even allowing their letters to remain unanswered. But the Regents had now the nobility on their side, for the Comuneros became daily more democratic and radical.
When the Junta reassembled at Valladolid, its disorganisation was more than ever apparent; its authority was lost; it had not even a definite rallying-cry. Now that his rival was gone, Padilla returned with his troops from Toledo. Though his unfitness for command was known, he was elected captain by popular acclaim. A French army was on the point of invading Navarre, and a powerful noble, the Count of Salvatierra, had revolted in the north. But again the forces of the Comuneros were divided; for Bishop Acuna, hearing that the see of Toledo was vacant, marched southward, hoping for the second time in his life to win a mitre by force of arms. The royalist party was not more united; Adrian wrote "that any one of the grandees would gladly lose an eye, in order that his fellow might suffer the same." The Constable and the Admiral had fallen out as to the proper course of action; the former advocated force, the latter the continuation of negotiations.
In the spring of 1521 Padilla led out his ill-equipped forces and, by a stroke of fortune, captured the strong castle of Torrelobaton. Instead, however, of following up his success, he lingered while the Constable, after defeating the Count of Salvatierra in the north, marched with a fresh army to join his son at Tordesillas. Fear, and a suspicion that their leaders were busy making terms, spread confusion in the Comuneros' ranks. Many of the soldiers deserted, others betook themselves to indiscriminate plunder. Convinced that to risk a battle with the remainder of his disheartened force would be madness, Padilla retired as the Count of Haro advanced. While making his way down the valley of the Douro to the protection of the castle of Toro, he was overtaken at Villalar (April 23, 1521); his troops were easily dispersed, and, though he sought death, he was himself captured alive. On the following day he was put to death, together with his second in command. An enthusiastic but not unselfish supporter of the popular cause, he had devoted his valour to its service; but his jealousy and incompetence unfitted him alike for command and for the rank of hero to which latter-day liberals have raised him. Bishop Acuna, after one or two skirmishes in the neighbourhood of Ocana, wasted his time and popularity in an attempt to compel the Chapter of Toledo to accept him as Archbishop. On receipt of the news of the disaster of Villalar he fled. Padilla's widow, whose family connexions and high spirit gave her great authority, held out at Toledo for a few months. After a useless struggle she escaped to Portugal, and the War of the Comuneros was at an end.
When Charles returned to Spain (July, 1522) he was received, as he states, "with much humility and reverence." But he came accompanied by a foreign guard, and determined to punish ruthlessly. At Palencia the Regents laid before him their proposals for amnesty. Not only were these rejected, but pardons granted in his name were withdrawn. On All Saints' Day at Valladolid he mounted a dais and declared that he would be justified in punishing all who had shared in the late rebellion, -the municipalities by deprivation of their liberties, and individuals by confiscation and death; nevertheless, he promised to pardon all save three hundred. This proscription in the 'form of an amnesty was mercilessly carried out. The list contained the names of many members of noble families. The supplications of relatives who had fought on the royalist side availed nothing; and the sum brought into the treasury by confiscation amounted to two million ducats. Many executions followed, and even as late as 1528 the Cortes still prayed for mercy on fugitives.
The revolt of the Comuneros originated in indignation against particular acts of misgovernment, and hatred of foreigners, rather than in any meditated scheme for winning popular liberties. It has been represented as an attempt to resist the encroachments of the Crown, but was really an attempt to limit its traditional privileges. Under the weak Kings of the fifteenth century, the Castilian Cortes had neglected to secure the abolition of the antiquated forms which represented the King as everywhere paramount. Under strong Kings the strict letter of the law was enforced. Ferdinand and Isabel were despots with the consent of their subjects; Charles was strong enough to disregard the popular will. The movement never spread beyond Castile. The Andalucians offered to suppress it, but their aid was not required; it was crushed by Castilian troops. So soon as its democratic character became pronounced, it was opposed by the nobles, whose aid, or acquiescence, was essential to its success. It failed through local jealousy, respect for tradition, and lack of a leader, and of a plan. It was not openly directed against the Crown. The Junta denied the accusation of disloyalty, asserting that "never did Spain breed disobedience save in her nobles, nor loyalty save in her commons" (January, 1521). The failure of the movement so depressed the popular cause, that until the beginning of the nineteenth century the Spanish commons but rarely again raised up their heads beneath the sceptre of their absolute Kings.
While the rising of the Comuneros stirred Castile into a ferment, a distinct and much more violent rebellion was in progress in Valencia. This was entirely social in character. The city population was composed of restless and turbulent artisans, descendants of the adventurers who had settled here, when the land was won back from the Saracens. The country population was chiefly made up of Saracen peasants, vassals of the nobles. Between nobles and people stood the rich burgesses, despised by the former and envied by the latter. The industry of the Saracens, stimulated by a heavy burden of taxation, pressed hard on the Christians. In the autumn of 1519, while most of the magistrates were absent on account of the plague, the forty-eight trade-guilds of the city took up arms to resist an expected attack of the Barbary pirates. The contemplation of their own strength gave rise to a feeling of independence among the commons; they began to claim a larger share in the government, and appointed a Junta of thirteen members to rule over them. The nobles sought to interfere, but the guilds formed a brotherhood (Germania) to resist them, and petitioned Charles to present the dispersion of their forces. On receipt of a favourable reply the movement spread to such an alarming degree, that the nobles called upon the King to come in person and check the disorder. A commission was sent to examine the situation, and, in accordance with its report, the Germama was ordered to lay down its arms. By this concession Charles thought to persuade the Valencian nobles to take the oath of allegiance, and to vote supply without insisting on his presence at their Cortes. On their refusal he again changed his policy, favouring the Germanfa and sending Adrian of Utrecht to enquire into its grievances (February, 1520). In view of their danger the nobles, when Charles was on the point of quitting Spain, consented to receive his oath by deputy; and, in answer to their appeal, he sent Diego de Mendoza, -a nobleman of haughty temper, to restore order (April, 1520). After an interval of quiet riots broke out again. In June the city was left in the hands of the Germania by the flight of the governor. Shortly afterwards he was driven from Jativa to Denia, while all the cities of the kingdom of Valencia, with the exception of Morella, rose against their magistrates and appointed Juntas like that of the mother city. The movement spread as far as the Balearic Islands, and now began to show itself in its true light. The grievances originally put forward were, that the people were deprived of their rightful share in the government, that taxes were excesssive, and that justice was badly administered. But when the rabble gained the upper hand, instead of attempting political reforms, they plundered the houses of the nobles, and called upon them to produce the titles by which they held their estates. This attack on property alienated the burgesses, who henceforth sided with the nobles; and the action of the Germania became more violent and fanatical than before. Despairing of help from the regency, the nobles armed their vassals. The army of the Germania marched out against them, but was crushingly defeated at Oropesa and Almenara (June and July, 1521). The governor, however, was again routed at Gandia and driven to seek refuge at Peiiiscola. Meanwhile, owing to the frantic excesses of the populace, which now openly avowed its intention of exterminating nobles and infidels, the moderate party was increasing. At its head was the Marquis of Zenete, a nobleman of well-known benevolence and impartiality. Negotiating between the opposing factions he succeeded in obtaining the submission of the city and bringing back the governor. But the more violent members of the Germanfa were still encamped at Jativa. Having imprudently put himself into their power he was treacherously imprisoned, but escaped to Valencia, rallied all the moderate citizens, seized and executed the ringleaders of the mob, and after a fierce fight remained master of the city. Jativa and a few outlying towns were not subdued until after Charles' return. In March, 1523, the Queen Dowager, Germaine, was sent as regent to punish the guilty. The pardons granted in return for submission were revoked; a ruthless proscription and many executions followed; thousands fled; and the guilds were ruined by heavy fines. Like the Comuneros the Agermanados never ceased to proclaim their loyalty. The two revolts were simultaneous, and were at all events directed against the same enemy; but cooperation was never attempted. Local jealousy and traditional hatred were still strong; the Castilian in the eyes of a Valencian was, nay, is to this day, a foreigner.
The rebellion of the Comuneros had hardly been suppressed, when Navarre was invaded by Henri d'Albret with the connivance of Francis I. Charles had engaged to restore Navarre to the House of Albret; but negotiations had failed to bring about fulfilment, or confirmation of the promise. Henri d'Albret entered into communication with the Comuneros, with a view to combined action; but his army came too late. It was commanded with more courage than discretion by a scion of the exiled family, Andre de Foix d'Asparros, or Lesparre. The garrison of Navarre had been greatly weakened by the withdrawal of troops to crush the revolt in Castile. St Jean Pied-de-Port was easily captured, the fortifications of Pamplona were not yet sufficiently strong-to offer more than a feeble resistance. Henri d'Albret was welcomed by his partisans within the kingdom, and the whole of Navarre was overrun. Elated by his easy conquest, Asparros crossed the frontier of Castile and laid siege to Logrono. The Duke of Nagera, viceroy of Navarre, had hurried south to obtain assistance from the Regents. Logrono made a heroic defence, while he marched to its relief with the troops lately victorious at Villalar. Meanwhile Sangiiesa had been recaptured in the rear of the French, who now retired towards Pamplona fearing to have their retreat cut off. They were overtaken by the Spanish army, two leagues from the city; the garrison which they had left for its defence was unable to join them. Driven to bay, Asparros ordered an immediate attack while the Spaniards were resting after their long march. He was utterly defeated and taken prisoner at Noain (June, 1521). The Albrets never again attempted to win back their kingdom by force of arms.
Charles returned to Spain (1522), no longer a diffident and delicate young man, passive in the hands of his advisers. His views had broadened, and his temper was haughty and autocratic. Spain was now part of a larger whole. The accident of the possessions of the Aragonese Crown in Italy, the election to the Empire, and the inheritance of the House of Burgundy checked and warped her development as an African and Atlantic Power; but foreign courtiers were no longer allowed to treat her as a conquered country. The Emperor learnt to know and respect the Spaniards; Spanish statesmen sat in his Council; Spanish soldiers formed the mainstay of his power abroad. The overthrow of the Comuneros had compelled their fear and respect; association in world-wide schemes of universal monarchy and championship of the Church endeared him to them, and roused them from their natural lethargy and absorption in provincial and class differences. Military glory turned away attention from the burden and sufferings of the land and increased the national contempt for all professions save that of arms. The middle class which under the Catholic Kings was struggling into existence almost disappeared. But Charles attempted to found his world-wide power on submission, and not on political, social, and economic well-being. Spain was indeed formally united, and political unity was based on religious unity as Isabel had intended; but the vigorous provincial and municipal life, checked by harsh centralisation, became a source of weakness instead of a reserve of strength.
A memorable intellectual, literary, and artistic development accompanied the political expansion and the growth of military glory. The striking originality of the new generation contrasts with the effete imitation that sufficed for its predecessor. The predominance of the Castilian dialect was already secured; but even in the fifteenth century poets sought models in Provencal, Gallegan, and Italian. Ausias March (who died in 1466), the most notable among them, wrote in his native Lemosin. Literature was an exotic cultivated at Court; hardly a poem of the hundreds collected into the Cancioneros of Baena, Stuniga, and Hernando del Castillo (published in 1511) possesses more than historical interest. The frivolity, artificiality, and disorder of the reigns of John II and Henry IV were reflected by their poets, and their tragedy by the chronicles,—probably, too, by ballads now modernised beyond recognition.
The introduction of printing coincides with the accession of the Catholic Kings, and the next half century produced translations of the Latin and Italian classics in abundance. Though the Revival of Learning influenced Spain, it bore no fruit there till later. The scholars who brought the new learning to the Peninsula were mostly foreigners, or Spaniards trained abroad. Peter Martyr of Anghera, the two brothers Geraldino and Marineus Siculus, were Italians; Arias Barbosa, a Portuguese, taught Greek by the side of Fernan Nuiiez de Guzman, a Spanish nobleman; but Spain produced no Hellenists of note. Luis Vives, the humanist, tutor to William de Croy, the boy Archbishop of Toledo, and to Mary of England, was Spanish only by the accident of his birth. Antonio de Nebrija, or Lebrija, the most distinguished native scholar of his age, was educated at Bologna, though his teaching was, like his Latin Dictionary (1492) and Spanish and Latin Grammars, addressed to his fellow-countrymen. His daughter Francisca was one of a company of learned women who carried their teaching even to the universities and the Court. Ferdinand himself was all but illiterate, but Isabel had a taste for learning. After her accession she acquired some knowledge of Latin; so carefully were her children educated, that Queen Juana could make impromptu speeches in the learned tongue. Isabel's schemes of reform included the education of the nobility; by her command Peter Martyr opened a school at Court. His success exceeded his hopes, and learning became so fashionable that the sons of grandees lectured at the universities. The Church, though impoverished, aided the cause with splendid benefactions. Schools were founded at Toledo (1490); the decayed studium generate of Valencia was revived (1500); Barcelona followed suit (1507). The noble college of Santa Cruz at Valladolid was finished in 1492; that of Santiago at Salamanca some thirty years later. Both were founded by Archbishops of Toledo. As a patron of learning no less than as a statesman Ximenes de Cisneros led the way. In 1508 he founded the University of Alcala (Complutum), alma mater of • so many famous Spaniards, with professorial chairs of grammar, philosophy, and medicine. Its chief purpose, however, was the study of the Holy Scriptures, and its first-fruits were the earliest Polyglot Bible (of which the First Part was published in 1514). The Semitic text is the work of converted Jews; a Greek cooperated with Spanish scholars on the Latin and Greek texts. The level of education was raised, and foundations were laid from which the Golden Age of Spanish Literature could take its rise.
But the notable books of the period owe little or nothing to classical or foreign influence. Play-acting did not become popular till the time of Lope de Rueda (about 1550) and even then its methods were rude and simple; but the secular drama emerged from the religious early in the century. In the annus mirabilis 1492 the first drama was publicly acted by a regular company. The "representations" of Juan del Encina (1468-1534), the "comedies" of Torres de Naharro (published in 1517), and those of Gil Vicente (1470-1534), are much more than mere dialogues without action, like the one in which Princess Isabel had taken the part of a muse on a birthday of her brother Alfonso (who died in 1468). Gil Vicente was a Portuguese, and the other two lived long in Italy; but, although there the drama was already established, the Spaniards took their own line. Encina calls his simple plays "eclogues'1; Torres de Naharro cites Horace for method, and awkwardly divides drama into fact (noticia) and fiction (fantasia); but these classical reminiscences are merely superficial. Figures of everyday life were put upon the stage, and dialogue was cast in Castilian octosyllabic verse instead of in foreign hendecasyllables.
A book that may be read for its own sake as well as for its historical importance is the Tragicomedy of Calixto and Melibea (published in 1499), generally known as La Celestina. The authorship of the first part is disputed; but probably the whole is the work of Fernando de B,ojas. La Celestina is a story told throughout in dialogue, and divided into twenty-two acts. Its length is only one of the circumstances that unfit it for acting; but its vivacious and natural dialogue furnished a model for the drama. Its hero and heroine are the typical lady and gallant, the stock romantic characters of the comedy "of cloak and sword," the primitive Romeo and Juliet. Celestina, witch and go-between, with her train of thieving lackeys, low women and bullies, more than foreshadows the realistic and comic characters of the drama and novel, the rogues (picaros) and buffoons (graciosos) who in later days were to play so prominent a part. The book was translated into many tongues; its influence at home and abroad is incalculable.
Another masterpiece solitary in its kind, and contrasted in its noble earnestness with the artificiality of the other poems of its author and his generation, is the Coplas de Manrique,—verses by Jorge de Manrique on the death of his father (which occurred in 1476, two years before his own). Longfellow has done all that a translator can do for this unsurpassed elegy; but half its beauty is lost with the language in which it is written. Its stately pageant of mourning and final resignation realise Christian chivalry as poets have dreamed of it, and the solemn knell of the majestic verse is worthy of "the noblest daughter of Latin." At the beginning of the sixteenth century the knightly chronicle degenerated into the romance of chivalry. Amadis of Gaul, the first and best of the kind, perhaps originated in a French fabliau. More than one allusion to it is found in Spanish writers, before it was published (1508) by Garcia Ordonez de Montalvo as a translation from the Portuguese. The success produced many imitations and "continuations" dealing with exploits of "the innumerable lineage of Amadis." These heroes of the romances of chivalry are impossible beings, living in a shadowy and impossible world. The first of them exhausted the capability of the species; the others surpass it only in absurdity, while the abuse of the supernatural makes their stories tame and uninteresting. A Cervantes was hardly needed to dispel this fantastic dream of a debased chivalry.
The advance from chronicle to history due to the Revival of Learning was not made in Spain till the middle of the sixteenth century. The story of the reign of the Catholic Kings down to 1492 was written by their official chronicler Hernando del Pulgar in the form of annals. Despite some graphic descriptions and florid speeches, it is in general heavy and arid, lacking in the simple dignity of its kind, and inferior to the Claras Varones de Castilla, a gallery of contemporary portraits drawn with skill and energy by the same pen. Andres Bernaldez, curate of Los Palacios, expanded his memoirs into a history of his time. He is at his best, when he forgets the gravity of his subject and is content to gossip about the events of which he was an eyewitness. Nebrija condensed Pulgar's Chronicle; Peter Martyr left a collection of letters on contemporary events, a rich but untrustworthy and puzzling mine of information. These books, like the De Rebus Hispaniae of Marineus Siculus, are Latin exercises upon historical subjects.
Spain has never lacked learned men; but, except perhaps in theology, the Spaniards have never been a learned nation. The foreigners who came with Charles V were struck by the ignorance and contempt of letters prevalent in Spain, as well as by the semi-savagery of the bulk of its people. The Revival of Learning -could not at once produce fruit on soil so scorched and seamed by centuries of war. Moreover the richest fruits of Spanish genius are indigenous. Inspiration for the noblest poetry of Spain was found in the Bible and in her own history rather than in Latin and Italian writers; her novel and drama sprang from her own rough but teeming soil.
With the exception of painting, which was still in its infancy, the arts had already reached the fullest expression to which they have at any time attained in this country. In architecture, in sculpture, in pottery, in gold, silver and iron work, and in embroidery Spain never improved upon the skill of the Saracens and the masterpieces of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The influences which moulded her art are to be found partly in race, partly in climate, and partly in history. Possessing great power of adaptation, she set her mark upon all that she produced. In the northern and central regions design and initiative in architecture are mostly French; but the influence of the Saracens leavens this northern style and informs it with richer beauty, "the songs and shrines being equally tinged with the colouring of northern piety and oriental fancy." Introduced at first as a mere accessory in vestments and jewelry, and in Moorish caskets which guarded the relics of saints, little by little this more gorgeous ornamentation permeated the whole building. It was still a Christian cathedral; yet the lavishness with which the minor arts were used in decoration produced a result that is not to be found elsewhere, and is known as the plateresque or silversmith's style. Typical examples are the Puerta del Perddn of Seville Cathedral, the horseshoe arch of a mosque overlaid with Christian emblem and decoration (1519), and, in less mixed form, San Marcos of Leon (1514). To this period belong some of the choicest works of expiring Gothic and dawning renaissance building. The Church of San Juan de los Reyes at Toledo perpetuates the memory of the battle of Toro. Cathedrals were planned for Salamanca, Segovia, Plasencia, and Granada; but the most valuable work of the age was the completion and decoration of the splendid designs of an earlier time at Burgos, at Toledo, and at Seville. To it belong also the church set down in the midst of the great mosque of Cdrdova, and the splendid but incongruous palace of Charles V on the Alhambra Hill.
Sculpture in Spain is usually associated with religious architecture. It is often in bolder relief and of more intense expression than elsewhere, and attains its greatest perfection in altar-pieces and sepulchral monuments. Such are the marvels of marble and wood created by Philip de Vigarny or de Bolona (about 1500-43), Alonso de Berruguete, a Spanish pupil of Michael Angelo (about 1520), and Damien Forment of Valencia (about 1511-32), the tombs of King Juan II in the Cartuja de Miraflores, that of the Infante Don Juan at Avila, those of Inigo de Mendoza and his wife at Burgos, and the kneeling statue of Padilla. They are, it must be confessed, delicate and gorgeous rather than grand. Marble and alabaster are treated like metal and lace; beauty is sought in details and no longer in grand and simple lines. To the Spanish Saracens belongs the invention of a dwelling combining with convenience and suitability to their climate a high degree of beauty. Nowhere else has a fortress been made a home of strength and beauty like the Alhambra (mainly fourteenth century) and the other alcazars of Spain. The semi-oriental domestic architecture adopted by the Christians of Andalusia is seen at its best in the so-called Casa de Pilatos at Seville (1521). Here there is no need to guard against the weight of snow, no cold to be kept out, no smoke to blacken; so the roof becomes a terrace, the arch is reared in fairy lightness, the glaze and colour of brilliant tiles replace the heavy wainscot and arras; stucco moulded into geometrical designs and harmoniously coloured makes up for the lack of pictures and for the scantiness of the furniture. The Lonja or Silk-Exchange at Valencia (1482) is an example, not without parallel, of the successful wedding of late Gothic design to Saracen detail of window (ajimez) and decoration. As a subject race the Saracens continued almost to monopolise the more delicate industrial arts. Theirs are the pottery of metallic sheen, and the exquisite designs of lace and filigree, damascening and inlaying-which with the rich silks and velvets testify to their skill as handicraftsmen and to their exquisite taste in form and colour.