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Spain, 1469-1714: A Society of Conflict Paperback – 15 Apr 1991

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Product details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Longman; 2 edition (15 April 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0582067235
  • ISBN-13: 978-0582067233
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 473,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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 "highly professional...a very useful and up-to-date account of the most interesting period in Spanish history"Times Literary Supplement

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 May 2002
Format: Paperback
It is a must for any historian studying the period. It does, however, tend to focus more on the religious aspects and concerns of Spain and her monarquia throughout the period though. The Spainish Inquisition is covered in detail. His lastest publication on the issue is, understandably, more focused but this gives you a detailed summary. A good and worthwhile Read.
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By Gazza on 10 Aug 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 1 review
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
How conflicts shaped Spain 15 Jun 2000
By Tim Kavulla - Published on
Format: Paperback
Henry Kamen's Spain 1469-1714, a Society in Conflict is a political history spanning the growth and length of Spain's Imperialism and colonial empire. It is also a study of how religious conflict created among Catholics, Jews and Muslims shaped the political agenda of the crown. At the same time there were internal conflicts, Spain both as an alliance of Argon and Castile and later as a part of the Habsburg empire, then the Bourbons, was thrust into a global role in the new world, the Netherlands and Italy. It is a narrative/exposition approach that uses religious and economic strands as well as politics to explore the conflicts that shaped Spain as it passed from individual kingdoms into a modern state. Kamen provides an extensive bibliography including many Spanish sources, none of which appears to include original source material.
Part one of the book focuses on the period from 1469 to 1516, which Kamen calls "The Catholic Kings." It is a time period that is often looked upon as Spain's golden age. The marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella united the kingdoms of Argon and Castile. Both kingdoms evolved in different ways which created potential sources of conflict. It was to Isabella and Ferdinand's credit that their major focus remained the pacification of Spain. Kamen investigates their pacification efforts through seven venues: hermandades, aristocracy, the municipalities, the Military Orders, the councils of state, justice and the Cortes. One of the contributing factors to conflict cited by Kamen throughout this period and all succeeding reigns was the crown's need to raise money. In spite of the wealth that came in from the America's, the Spanish treasury was always in need of money. Kamen, in effect, built as case for self-perpetuating conflict -conflict needs armies that needed money that created more conflict as the crown tried to raise it.
The kings that followed Isabella/Ferdinand set different agendas. Charles V and his descendants committed themselves to Castile and their center of government. They financed their activities by tapping four major sources: Argon, Castile, the church and the Americas. However, the Americas never became the cash cow that the kings and councilors had hoped because the trade business was dominated by foreigners with Spain functioning only as a conduit. Consequently, the government periodically declared bankruptcy to cancel its debts.
Religion was one of the other strands Kamen uses to develop his society in conflict themes. Phillip II, an extremely religious monarch, instituted the Inquisition. This required a nationalized church and its purpose was to reconvert the general population back to Catholicism. It coincided with the expelling of all the Moriscos which in itself created demographic problems and a lower tax base with its corresponding economic consequences.
Kamen continues with the economic, religious and political conflict themes through the reign of Philip V who finally unifies the country and ends the power of the old aristocracy. The empire also came to an end. The book concludes with Kamen arguing that the debate over the future is as uncertain today as it was in 1714.
The book is an outstanding portrait of Spain during the empire days. Although it had a colonial empire during this period and was recognized as a world power, Kamen's thorough analysis reveals the weakness inherent in all phases of society. It was truly a society in conflict.
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