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

By E. W. Bovill | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 8
Ways and Means

M EANWHILE NOTHING was happening in Portugal to awaken martial zeal in Philip or to allay Alva's fears of the consequences of his master's irresolution. The immediate problems which Sebastian had to solve were the financing of the coming campaign and the raising of an army. His methods of tackling them did not encourage optimism.

Before an army could be raised means had to be devised for financing it. The revenue of Portugal itself was little over a million ducats, derived mostly from excessive duties on imports. These were already imposing a heavy burden on the people. The overseas possessions, San Thomé and San Jorge da Mina in West Africa, Brazil and the Indies yielded at the most another million ducats, which brought the total revenue up to say £700,000. Had the administration been efficient, or even honest, this would have been more than sufficient for the requirements of the state. But Sebastian was surrounded by ministers chosen by favour rather than merit, in whose improvident hands there was never any margin or reserves with which to meet unforeseen expenses, still less to finance what promised to be a costly war.

Recourse had therefore to be made to forced contributions from the people. The arbitrary exactions of the tax gatherers and their ruthless methods excited bitter resentment against the King's advisers, although to the King himself the people remained staunch. The Church was mulcted of a third of its reserves. The Moriscoes were allowed to purchase for 225,000 ducats freedom from confiscation of goods as a punishment for sinning against the Inquisition, a right which they had been granted long before but had never been allowed to enjoy.

In Spain and Portugal, as indeed in most of Europe at that time,

-62-

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vi
  • Preface vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Chapter I - The Fear of the Moor 1
  • Chapter 2 - Don Sebastian 7
  • Chapter 3 - Mulai Mohammed 19
  • Chapter 4 - The Kingdom of Fez 25
  • Chapter 5 - Mulai Abd El-Malek 36
  • Chapter 6 - Queen Elizabeth's Secret 43
  • Chapter 7 - The Meetinq at Guadalupe 53
  • Chapter 8 - Ways and Means 62
  • Chapter 9 - Lisbon 74
  • Chapter 10 - Africa Invaded 89
  • Chapter 11 - The Road to El-Ksar 100
  • Chapter 12 - On the Plain of El-Ksar 114
  • Chapter 13 - The Battle 127
  • Chapter 14 - Philip I of Portugal 141
  • Chapter 15 - Mulai Ahmed El-Mansur 158
  • Chapter 16 - The Moors Re-Arm 169
  • Chapter 17 - El-Mansur and Elizabeth 175
  • Note on the Contemporary Accounts of The Battle of Alcazar 187
  • Bibliography 189
  • Index 192
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