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Habsburg Spain is a contemporary historiographical term referring to the huge extent of territories (including modern-day Spain, a piece of south-eastern France, eventually Portugal and many other lands outside the Iberian Peninsula) ruled between the 16th and the 18th centuries (1516–1700) by kings from the Spanish branch of the House of Habsburg (also associated with its role in the history of Central and Eastern Europe). Habsburg Spain was a composite monarchy and a personal union. The Habsburg Spanish monarchs (chiefly Charles I and Philip II) reached the zenith of their influence and power ruling the Spanish Empire. Spain, or "the Spains", referring to Spanish territories across different continents in this period, initially covered the entire Iberian peninsula, including the crowns of Castile, Aragon and from 1580 Portugal. It then expanded to include territories over the five continents, consisting of much of Latin America and the West Indies in the Americas, the Low Countries, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italian territories and France in Europe, Portuguese possessions such as small enclaves like Ceuta and Oran in North Africa, and the Philippines and other possessions in Southeast Asia. The period of Spanish history has also been referred to as the "Age of Expansion".
|Capital||Madrid (1516–1601; 1606–1700)|
• 1516–1556 (first)
• 1665–1700 (last)
|Legislature||Cortes of Castile|
Courts of Aragon
Courts of Catalonia
Courts of Valencia
Cortes of Navarre
Cortes of Portugal
|Historical era||Early modern period|
• Accession of Philip I of Castile
|26 November 1504|
• Ascension of Charles I
|23 January 1516|
• Death of Charles II
|1 November 1700|
|Currency||Spanish real and others|
Part of a series on the
|History of Spain|
With the Habsburgs, Spain was one of the greatest political and military powers in Europe and the world for much of the 16th and 17th centuries. During the Habsburg's period, Spain ushered in the Spanish Golden Age of arts and literature producing some of the world's most outstanding writers and painters and influential intellectuals, including Teresa of Ávila, Pedro Calderón de la Barca, Miguel de Cervantes, Francisco de Quevedo, Diego Velázquez, El Greco, Domingo de Soto, Francisco Suárez and Francisco de Vitoria.
The marriage of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon in 1469 resulted in the union of the two main crowns, Castile and Aragon, which eventually led to the de facto unification of Spain after the culmination of the Reconquista with the conquest of Granada in 1492 and of Navarre in 1512 to 1529. Isabella and Ferdinand were bestowed the title of "Catholic King and Queen" by Pope Alexander VI in 1494, and the term Monarchia Catholica (Catholic Monarchy, Modern Spanish: Monarquía Católica) remained in use for the monarchy under the Spanish Habsburgs.
Spain as a unified state came into being de jure after the Nueva Planta decrees of 1707 had succeeded the multiple crowns of its former realms (except for Navarre). After the death in 1700 of Spain's last Habsburg king, Charles II, the resulting War of the Spanish Succession led to the ascension of Philip V of the Bourbon dynasty, which began a new centralising state formation.