A-Level Notes > The Belvedere Academy A-Level Notes > The Emergence of a Great Power? Spain 1492-1556 Notes
Dual Monarchy In Action Notes
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The Emergence of a Great Power? Spain 1492-1556 Section Two - Strengthening the state 1500-16 Topic One - The Dual Monarchy in action Personal Rule
Dual Monarchy is the term to describe the partnership of F+I
Term emphasised that their authority was more than just their individual, personal authority in their states. They would not tolerate any limitations to their rule
Belief that Monarchical power extended by the belief that their authority came from God and therefore it might be divinely sanctioned
F+I were both pious people and anxious to promote faith = however did not want a third party in their partnership = not prepared to tolerate papal interference in politics
Aragon and Castile could have remained separate states, as F+I were entitled to rule in their own right in their own kingdoms
The fact that F+I married did not mean that the two states would be united
Dual monarchy - emphasises that the old system of organisation that had been through the activity of nobility and the church was in decline
Power and authority were focused on F+I rather than shared with other powerful groups
After the death of Isabella 1504, focus on the monarchy in the form of Ferdinand became more noticeable ie nobles could attend council of Castile but not able to vote
Administration was carried out by gentlemen (gentry) higher clergy and large number of letrados
Both states had different laws/traditions/institutions.
These differences would not be easy to reduce and F+I did not plan to deliberately unify their kingdoms
Indeed, their marriage statements did indicate that their territories were different and separate
Both wanted the restoring of law and order following the Civil war. In Aragon there was an attempt to get rid of feudal dues. In Castile they had the peacekeeping role of the Hermandad
Both wanted to improve the judicial (legal) system. There were attempts to ensure laws common through Castile: Permanent law courts established in Castile. However, the same laws did not operate throughout the two kingdoms.
Both had no intention of creating one body/institution to govern both states. Council of Aragon was created to govern in Ferdinand's absences. There was not body to oversee foreign affairs
Both wished for an all catholic Spain, a strong devotion to Catholicism and appropriate standards for ordinary people to follow Royal Justice
In the beginning authority in legal matters was weak - the power and influence of the nobility and church was stronger EG// In Salamanca 60% of population owned their primary
Kamen noted that changes in the system in the reign of F+I were 'at the heart of the policy of pacification'
Allegiance to the nobility. Also nobles of Castile were the main Authority in 258 towns, they chose the public officers who governed the towns Kamen noted that the firm use of personal authority, was the essential aspect of power of the monarchs
Hunt also agrees that F+I were firm and decisive in this period of their rule and the establishment of the Santa Hermandad 'ended many opportunities for noble brigandage'
In the long term as the responsibilities of F+I grew, they travelled less and permanent courts established
The Royal council met regularly as the highest court of appeals
The Cortes were used to deal with specific issues
F+I began to bring all the laws together
However, because of Ferdinand later involvement in wars = meant greater reliance on nobles to help both in person and through financial contributions = as a result nobles were less likely to be severely punished for ignoring laws EG// monarchs were unable to prevent villages in north of Spain being taken by predatory nobles.
The traditional view was that - F+I strengthened the financial situation
Although their financial affairs were largely separate
Similarities were that: Gonzalo Chacon was the chief accountant and the coinage although different in name, was the same worth in both states
Total income had increased dramatically to 26 million meravedis by 1504
BUT-although revenue had doubled by 1500, the policies of F+I became more costly Difficulties:
They had different currencies = did not make joint financial policies easy to implement and control
Fraud and corruption
Increase in money spend on ambassadors to extend their influence
Elliot remarks that 'economically and politically, spain existed only in embryo'
Limited taxation imposed on nobles
Debts = due to the pacification in the early years
Income from overseas was not enough generate profits
Nevertheless, neither F+I were in debt at the end of their reign = their treasuries were organised efficiently with officials handling different aspects of the collection.
the monarchs appeared to remain in credit = suggesting the increased expenditure could be met by increased income
Improvement in law and order assisted the collection of revenue.
The payments from the mesta = increased their income
However, the increase in sheep farming continued to have bad effects on arable farming = need to export corn eventually incurred more expense.
Increase in prices from 1501 (inflation)
Inflation was caused by: Population growth created a higher demand for goods and pushed up prices Failing harvests increased the price of grain High spending of aristocracy The crowns borrowing
Elliot remarks that government dealt with shortage by importing vast amounts of grain and setting a maximum price of grain
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