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Philip II

Philip II., King of Spain (1527-98), son of the Emperor Charles V. and Isabella of Portugal, was born at Valladolid. His natural tendencies, the outcome of a cold and sullen disposition, were confirmed by the training he received from his ecclesiastical instructors. It was his fixed resolve to make his power absolute throughout all the dominions to which he was heir; and, without any genuine reverence for religion or virtue, he was ready on the first occasion to show himself a religious persecutor. His first wife, Mary of Portugal, died in 1545, after giving birth to the ill-starred Don Carlos (q.v.). From 1548 to 1551 he resided in the Netherlands, where he made himself extremely unpopular. In 1554 his father sent him to England to wed Queen Mary, presenting him at the same time with the kingdom of Naples and Sicily. Disappointed in his wife, who proved to be barren, and unsuccessful in his efforts to win the favour of the English, he remained in this country little more than a year. The abdication of Charles V. in 1556 made him ruler over Spain, the two Sicilies, the Duchy of Milan, the Netherlands, Franche Comte, Mexico, and Peru, besides colonies along the African coast and in the East and West Indies. A war against Henry II. of France, who was supported by Pope Paul IV., was terminated by the treaty of Cateau Cambresis (1559), restoring to Spain all the territory which had been won from Charles V. Negotiations for a marriage with the English queen Elizabeth having failed, he in 1559 espoused Isabella of France. Returning to Spain at the close of that year, he proceeded to carry out the policy to which he always adhered, stamping out every vestige of political liberty, and enforcing allegiance to the Church through the terrors of the Inquisition. His zeal on behalf of religion enabled him to take the place of the Pope as leader of the Catholic party in Europe. His methods were more congenial to his own subjects than they were to the Netherlanders, who rose in a revolt which led to the formation of the Dutch Republic. [Holland.] On the death of Henry of Portugal in 1580, Philip took possession of the kingdom, which he claimed through his mother. His expedition against England ended in utter failure [Aemada], and his French intrigues were brought to naught by the conversion of Henry of Navarre to the Roman Catholic religion (1593). Worn out by excessive toil and harassed by repeated failures, he fell a. prey to a disease brought on by his debaucheries, leaving as his heir Philip III. (b. 1578), son of his fourth wife, Anne of Austria.