The Battle of Alcazar: An Account of the Defeat of Don Sebastian of Portugal at El-Ksar El-Kebir

The Battle of Alcazar: An Account of the Defeat of Don Sebastian of Portugal at El-Ksar El-Kebir

The Battle of Alcazar: An Account of the Defeat of Don Sebastian of Portugal at El-Ksar El-Kebir

The Battle of Alcazar: An Account of the Defeat of Don Sebastian of Portugal at El-Ksar El-Kebir

Excerpt

Three great powers helped to shape the fortunes of Europe during the score of years that came before the battle of Alcazar which is the subject of this book. Of these by far the strongest was Philip II of Spain, whose armies were reputedly invincible, whose fleet -- or mainly his -- had sunk that of the Turk at Lepanto (1571), whose wealth in American silver was reputedly inexhaustible and whose dominions were the most extensive in recorded history. In Europe he possessed in addition to Spain the Netherlands, Franche Comté and -- directly or indirectly -- the greater part of Italy and many Mediterranean islands such as Sicily, Sardinia and the Balearics. In other regions of the World he possessed -- among other lands -- all America except Brazil.

With such a vast aggregation of power he was facing a France dominated at times by the House of Guise. The accidental death of Henry II in a tournament (1559) placed on the throne a series of the young sons of his widow Catherine de' Medici -- a woman whose maternal instincts and desire for power were almost pathological in their intensity. Francis II, Charles IX, and Henry III were mentally and physically incapable of ruling a France whose monarchy depended for its power upon the personal qualities of its kings. The misguided attempts of Catherine to rule in her children's name gave the House of Guise the opportunity to fight for power against the Huguenot House of Bourbon. Though Catholic they were bitterly anti-Spanish, and though foreigners (Lorrainers) they had risen to power in France by their appeal to French patriotism.

Their hostility to Queen Elizabeth of England, the third power that concerns us, was also intense. Regarding Anne Boleyn's . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.