- 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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Their only son, Balthasar, died two years later. That same year, Philip married Maria Anna, daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III. She was known by the Spanish version of her name, Mariana. Like his first marriage, this union was conceived in politics,
specifically Philip's desire to strengthen Spain's relationship with the Hapsburg Empire.
One of the major preoccupations of both Philip IV and his father was the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). During the first several years of Philip's reign, the war went well for Spain, but by 1630 relations with France became strained, and war between the two countries broke out in 1635. From 1640 onward, large-scale revolts across Spain's territories, some supported by the French, put a strain on already stretched resources. By 1646, Philip instructed Luis Méndez de Haro to seek a peace. The Peace of Westphalia ended the war with the Netherlands and Germany, but the war with France dragged on until 1659, when it ended with the Treaty of the Pyrenees and the marriage of Philip's daughter Maria Theresa to the young King Louis XIV.
During this difficult period, Philip seemed to have a crisis of faith. He believed that all his decisions were being judged by God and were being affected accordingly. Though he relied on Haro for advice on affairs of state, Philip also sought the counsel of Sister Maria de Ágreda, a mystic known for her religious writings. Letters between them that span over 20 years indicate that Philip believed Maria could intervene with God on his behalf and provide advice on what God wanted him to do.
In his final years, Philip IV believed he had failed as a monarch. He fell into a deep depression and died, leaving a 4-year-old son, Charles II, as heir to the throne. Modern historians point out that the decline of Spain was caused by many forces beyond the control of a single ruler. Philip's will made his wife, Mariana, regent on behalf of his young son, with instructions to heed the advice of a small committee of advisers who would run the country until Charles came of age.
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