- NAME: Philip IV
- OCCUPATION: Military Leader, Political Leader, King
- BIRTH DATE: April 08, 1605
- DEATH DATE: September 17, 1665
- Did You Know?: Philip IV of Spain traditionally was blamed for the decline of Spain, but in reality many of Spain's problems were beyond his control.
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Valladolid, Spain
- PLACE OF DEATH: Madrid, Spain
- AKA: Philip IV of Spain
- AKA: Philip III of Portugal
Best Known For
Philip IV was the king of Spain and Portugal during the decline of Spain as a great world power in the 1600s.
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Philip IV of Spain (also known as Philip III of Portugal) was the king of Spain and Portugal during the decline of Spain as a great world power in the 1600s. He succeeded his father, Philip III, in 1621 and left the throne to his son, Charles II. He is remembered for his failed struggle to revive Spain's prominence during the Thirty Years War and for his patronage of the arts.
Born on April 8, 1605, in Valladolid, Spain, Philip IV was the eldest son of King Philip III and his first wife, Margaret of Austria. Following a tradition of arranged marriages for political alliance, Philip was married by proxy to 13-year-old Elisabeth, daughter of Henry IV of France and Henry IV's second wife, Marie de' Medici, in 1615. Theirs wasn't a close relationship, though historical evidence shows that Philip was a good father to the seven children he and Elisabeth (who took the Spanish name Isabel) had over their 29-year marriage.
During the reign of Philip III, the royal Spanish court was dominated by the Sandoval family and its patriarch the Francisco Gómez, the Duke of Lerma, who served as the king's chief minister. In 1615, a rival noble coalition headed by Baltasar de Zúñiga emerged with designs on dominating Spanish policy. De Zúñiga introduced the future Philip IV to his nephew, Gaspar de Guzmán, the Count-Duke of Olivares. In time, the relationship between the two became very close. When Philip IV became king in 1621, the Spanish Empire was sliding into decline. Olivares was made his chief adviser and was determined to bring Spain back into prominence.
Until recently, historians characterized Philip IV as a pawn of the noblemen, especially Olivares, and held him responsible for Spain's decline. However, more recent scholarship portrays him as intellectually capable and actively engaged in policy. Both Philip and Olivares wanted to revive Spain's international hegemony and reform Spain from within. However, their relationship was rocky much of the time due to their different personalities. Philip was unsure of himself, while Olivares exuded confidence. Philip was pious and obsessive about proper decorum. Olivares was more pragmatic, making sure goals were accomplished no matter the method.
When Philip IV took power, Spain was a massive empire that spanned the world. However, the financial system within its European territories was in trouble. With Olivares' help, Philip instituted a system to circumvent the empire's bureaucracy. While this proved successful, it also generated strong resentment from local authorities. Spain's credit became stifled by its foreign creditors, and attempts to rely on indigenous bankers proved to be a disaster. All of Philip's domestic policies became increasingly impacted by the Thirty Years War and the increased tensions with France.
By 1643, the tension between Philip IV and the Count de Olivares had met its limit. Philip finally dismissed Olivares and replaced him with Don Luis Méndez de Haro, who would remain the king's chief adviser until Haro 's death in 1661. In October 1644, tragedy struck when Philip's wife, Isabel, died.
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