The Spanish line of the Habsburgs – “This seems Spanish to me”.

Philip ii hp

How did the Spanish line of the Habsburgs come about? Who founded them and who were their main rulers? When did this line die out? Why do we say, “That seems Spanish to me” to this day?

In the Iberian Peninsula, in the 15th century. through the marriage of the Catholic Monarchs – Ferdinand II of Aragon with Isabella I of Castile and Leon – a state that included most of modern Spain. Ferdinand also conquered the last Moorish territory, Granada, in 1492 and in the same year Christopher Columbus discovered America.

Maximilian’s first marriage to Mary of Burgundy had produced two children, Philip the Fair and Margaret of Austria. Philip married Joan the Mad, the daughter of the Catholic Monarchs, in 1496. She did not go insane, but suffered from depression after the early death of her husband Philip.

Their two sons were the later emperors Charles V (1500-1558) and his brother Ferdinand I (1503-1564). By a partition treaty Ferdinand took over the Austrian hereditary lands incl. the kingdom of the Holy Roman Empire. Tyrol while Charles V ruled over Spain and their worldwide possessions. The division into an Austrian and a Spanish line was completed.

Ferdinand was married to Anne of Bohemia and Hungary and from the marriage 10 children were born. He was the one who brought the Lipizzaner horses and many nobles to Vienna. The strict Spanish (originally Burgundian) court protocol was introduced in Vienna.

Initially, there were communication difficulties on both sides of the Austrian and Spanish nobles. That is why we still say “That seems strange to me” when something seems strange.

The imperial dignity of the Holy Roman Empire was to alternate continuously between the two lines. But what would happen in the event of the extinction of the Austrian line? Then the imperial crown of the Holy Roman Empire would have remained in Spain, which nobody wanted, least of all the electors who elected the emperor.

A princely revolt ensued, where Charles finally abdicated and handed over the Spanish territories to his son Philip II. The imperial crown was given to his brother Ferdinand in Austria. Philip II had four wives, but only with the fourth

wife – Anna of Austria – it came to the longed-for successor – Philip III. He was followed by his son Philip IV.

The end of the Spanish Habsburgs came in 1700 when the last King Charles II died childless and this eventually triggered the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714).

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