Spain, 1469-1714: A Society of Conflict

Spain, 1469-1714: A Society of Conflict

Spain, 1469-1714: A Society of Conflict

Spain, 1469-1714: A Society of Conflict


Fully revised and updated to take account of the latest research by historians, the second edition of this popular volume remains the only textbook in English to give full coverage to both domestic and foreign policy in the period. Henry Kamen presents Spain as a poor nation thrust reluctantly into an imperial role for which it was never fully equipped, and which provoked deep internal divisions and conflicts. He observes that Spaniards continued to question and debate the unification of their country, the conquest of America, the wars in the Netherlands, the role of the Inquisition, the expulsion of the Moriscos and many other aspects of public policy.


I have written this book for students of Spain who may need a survey that takes account of the scholarship of the past twenty years. Constraints of space have created some omissions, and foreign affairs are discussed only briefly; the tired old image of a nation in perpetual decline has also been discarded. If my presentation helps to make readers think in a new way about the past, it will have served its purpose.

Individual chapters were very kindly read and criticised, but not necessarily agreed with, by Roger Highfield, Tony Thompson, Jim Casey and Nigel Glendinning. My particular thanks go to my friends and colleagues in the international Hispanist community whose researches have made possible the revaluation of Spain's history offered here.

For simplicity all terms and place-names are normally given in Castilian (e.g. Cortes of Catalonia, not Corts; Lérida not Lleida), with occasional exceptions where English usage (e.g. Saragossa) and familiarity (Roussillon, or some personal names like Pau Claris) dictated otherwise. Spanish terms used with frequency (e.g. juros, alcabala) are italicised when they first appear but not thereafter. Money in the fifteenth century is reckoned in maravedís; in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries it is reckoned for convenience in ducats (375 maravedís = 1 ducat), and in the eighteenth in escudos (roughly the same as a ducat). See the note on coinage on p. xi.

H. K.

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