Kings of Spain - Spain
Kings of Spain
When Goethe was asked his views on the Spanish, he said, “Oh, yes, those people who wanted to be more than they could be.” Spain's history is fraught with incredible achievements, but also with devastating failures. In Kings of Spain, we journey through time to meet the kings of the world’s most powerful empire.
Kings of Spain is the first documentary series that unveils the fascinating secret lives of the seventeen kings who ruled Spain from its unification by the Catholic Monarchs in 1492 to the arrival of the Second Republic in 1931. This is more than just the story of a royal family: it is the story of a nation.
The history of Spain is made of lights and shadows, of dizzying highs and abyssal lows. Kings of Spain is the history of an empire so massive that the sun never set on its territories. Watch as Spain battles for dominance in America, wrestles for its soul between religious wars, and delves deep into heresy with the mysteries of the infamous Spanish Inquisition.
As the Spanish philosopher Jorge Santaya said “people who forget their history are condemned to repeat it”. This series ensures that you will never forget.
This first part of the collection addresses the history of Spain from the unification of the kingdoms of the Iberia Peninsula by the Catholic Monarchs, until the end of the Austrians dynasty. The Austrians, also called the Habsburg dynasty, reigned over Spain during the 16th and 17th centuries, from the recognition of Philip I "The Beautiful" as sovereign consort of Castile in 1506, to the death without succession of Charles II "The Bewitched", in 1700.
During that period, the Spanish Crown became the greatest power on Earth. With the reigns of Charles I and Philip II, Spain reached its height with the addition of Portugal to the ever-growing empire. Soon, however, under the reigns of Philip III, Philip IV and Charles II, the Spanish empire began its long decline with the loss of European hegemony and a deep economic and social crisis.
This episode goes through the very particular story of Joanna the Mad (Juana la Loca) and Philip the Fair. Heir to an empire that began to form, she was a beautiful, educated, intelligent and apparently also gifted for music woman. Joanna of Aragon and Castile, the second daughter of the Catholic Kings of Spain, made history with the cruel nickname she was given: “Mad Love.” The nickname was given after unsociable acts such as grieving on her husband’s corpse for 19 years.
In the late fifteenth century, Europe experienced a time of change and euphoria. France and England were beginning to overcome the ravages of the Hundred Years War that pitted the houses of York and Lancaster. Italy began to flourish in a cultural movement that no longer have any comparison for centuries to come: The Renaissance.
Meanwhile in Spain, thanks to the resounding success of the campaign of the Catholic Kings against the Nasrid kingdom of Granada, the good news come from the other side of the Atlantic, Spain is ranked among the leading powers of Europe. This is the time for Charles I to become the King Emperor.
In the middle of the 16th Century, Charles V unified the territories belonging to the crowns of Castilla and Aragon, thus bringing all of Spain together. Soon after the Netherlands, along with French and Austrian territories, were annexed. The era of The Asturias was beginning. In just a century, Spain passed from medieval barbarism to the dominant world power.
In September 13, 1598, the 71-year-old Philip II died at his palace the Escorial. For nearly half a century, the son of Charles V had ruled the most powerful and extensive empire in the world. He left behind a legacy of uncertainty as doubts emerged about his heir's fitness to rule. "God has given me so many kingdoms but has denied me a son able to govern them" the king once said. At this time, the Spanish empire had spread across almost the entire known world: Europe, America, Asia and Africa.
In the late sixteenth century, Philip III and his minions struggled to keep Spain out of Europe's conflicts. Finally, circumstances forced the empire to get involved in the War of Thirty Years. The Spanish participation in this war was based primarily on defence of Catholicism in central Europe and to help the Austrian House of Habsburg face the French King Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu.
During the seventeenth century, international politics and the bankruptcy of the Spanish state under the reign of Philip IV, left Castilla, the main pillar of the country's economy, in disarray. Depopulation, collapse of the agriculture and industry, hunger, and continuous devaluation of the currency paralyzed the economy and plunged Spain into a mood of pessimism and despair.
When Charles II dies without any descendants, Spain finds itself in a very difficult situation: it's a big empire, but having no heir, becomes a priority objective for other European monarchies. Austria, France and Britain try to enforce their rights and try to claim the throne of Spain.
The image of Spain in the mid-18th century is of a renewed country with the advent to power of the Bourbons. Philip V reformed the antiquated state machinery of the Austrians, promoting and improving the ailing economy and optimizing the existing trade with the colonies.
In 1759 Ferdinand VI died without descendants. The widowed queen, Elizabeth Farnese, finally fulfilled her desire to see the firstborn of the children she had with Philip V, reign in Spain.
During the 18th century, the reigns of the three previous monarchs had been recovered a nation in a steep decline, the original intentions of the new king were to continue that policy. But one fact was going to change all the plans, not only for the Spanish king, but of all European monarchies, the French Revolution was due!
In the early nineteenth century Europe emerged in the figure of Napoleon Bonaparte. In the expansionist plans of the Emperor of France, Spain played an important role: first, as a primary ally to counter the growing British power and second as territory to be annexed.
In the late 18th century, the reign of Charles IV was dominated by fear that the effects of the French Revolution could cause in Spain. The weak character of the king, the strength of the queen and the absolute power held by Manuel Godoy, favourite of the king, made possible -for first and only time in history- to an heir to the throne, to militate in a political party and even to chair it.
Elizabeth II was born with the stigma of being a woman who, for the purposes of inheritance, was an insurmountable burden on the Salic law then in force. But Ferdinand VII, using the powers emanating from its authoritarian and absolutist form of government, repealed that law, paving the way for his daughter to the throne.
In 1868, The Glorious Revolution had triumphed Spain, forcing Elizabeth II to exile in Paris. From then on, for a period of six years in Spain she tried to create a new government system, known as the Revolutionary Sexenio that brought the moderates to the power.
The Spanish people lawlessness and madness had become policy; they deter Amadeo, who decided to work in simple maters rather than in stressful ones, returning to his native Italy.
Alfonso XIII was born on May 17, 1886 in Madrid. At the very moment of his birth he is proclaimed King of Spain however his mother, Maria Cristina held the regency until the new monarch reached adulthood. Alfonso XIII is educated to behave like a king soldier under rigid discipline and a Catholic liberal conscience.