The Spanish Empire 1580–1700

By 1580, the main political, administrative, and economic foundations of the Spanish Empire – established by Charles V – had been laid. The Spanish Empire (also known, especially with reference to the 16th and 17th centuries, as the Hispanic monarchy or the Catholic monarchy) was the part of the European, American, and Asian empire that Philip II inherited from his father Charles V in 1556: the Hispanic crowns of Castile and Aragon; the Italian territories of Naples, Sicily, Sardinia, and Milan; the Franche-Comté; the Low Countries; the northern African enclaves of Melilla, Oran, Bujia, and Tripoli; and the American viceroyalties of Peru and New Spain (which included the General Captaincy of the Philippine Islands in Southeast Asia).
José L. Gasch-Tomás

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