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King Philip III had taken over the throne in Spain during the year of 1598. At the time that Spain was changing King’s, Spain was bankrupt, and the Spanish army was outdated. The Spanish government had become corrupted and useless. At this point in time, however, Spain still had the largest empire in the world, which consisted of most of the South and Central America, a fairly large portion of North America, the Philippines, and settlements in Asia and Africa. Spain had collected great riches from the Americas. However, Spain’s new wealth began to diminish, due to Europe becoming flooded with Spanish gold and silver.King Philip III was not the type of king that his father was, he did not care for politics, and therefore he had his ministers run the country of Spain. The Roman Catholic Church proved to be more powerful than King Philip III or his ministers, and consequently King Philip III had lost control over every aspect of Spanish life. The Roman Catholic Church controlled the armies, but not the armies of Spain, as well as the policing in the streets. In fact, as stated in The Cambridge Modern History Volume 4, “at the time of the Cardinal’s death in 1642, France had won little compensation for seven years of exhausting warfare.”As, religious issues became more important than any economic interests of the country, Spain continued to steadily grow more and more poor. According to The Cambridge Modern History Volume 4, “The religious as well as the political differences that were distracting the Empire had by no means only brought Catholics and Protestants in to mutual opposition. The Catholics themselves were not unified either. Outside Italy the struggle between the Reformed and the Catholic Church was dividing Europe into great groups, France, England, the Dutch, and the Protestant Princes of the Union, against Spain, Austria, the Jesuits, and the Church.” King Philip III tried to bring peace between the countries, but was unsuccessful. In my opinion, King Philip III was unsuccessful, because he did not have control over Spain, the Catholic Church did. Therefore, when he was attempting to keep the peace, the churches were fighting underneath him.During the year 1618, Europe broke out in a devastating war, a war that was considered to be more destructive than any other war in the history of Europe. The Holy Roman Empire sustained substantial loss in the Netherlands, Italy, France, and Spain. Despite the efforts of King Philip III to prevent the war from taking place, many lives were lost and property was destroyed.During 1621, King Philip III no longer was the king of Spain, he had become extremely ill and was dieing. His son Philip IV had taken over the throne. King Philip IV did not prove to be a successful ruler for Spain either. He and his ministries ended up spreading the Spanish military to thin; Spain was involved in many little wars during the time of the Thirty Years’ War. Spain had gone to war with Richelieu’s France, which inevitability proved too costly for Spain. The flow of riches from America had begun to dwindle. While at this time, Spain had gained little.According to, The Cambridge Modern History Volume 4, “Under this head of Richelieu contrived to raise the questions of the recognition of Dutch independence.However, with the United Provinces similar methods were employed; but here the difficulty was less, since Spain would not consent to the recognition of Dutch independence—the indispensable condition of peace in this quarter. The Dutch were slow and cautious, and their conception of war was a series of laborious sieges.” The Dutch had succeeded in driving the Spaniards from the sea.Spain had declined because the country refused to grow with the changing times. The Catholic order in Spain did not modernize itself, and therefore, Spain continued to keep power in the hands of the nobles, bishops, and kings. For one century, Spain had the wealth and brilliance over all the other countries. However, Spain had refused to recognize that there was a new order in northern Europe, which involved great economic developments which were led by the Protestants. As a result of this, Spain failed to develop after 1492; the other countries had begun and continued to surpass Spain, which brought one century of decline for the country of Spain.

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