Historic aid for foreigners

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Historic aid for foreigners

Mensaje por Targul » Mié Abr 06, 2005 6:36 pm

Hi all.

I opened this thread with an a clear intention: Try to enlight non-spanish people about the world of Alatriste. I will accept any kind of historic question that I can answer (I'm historian, but anybody knows everything).

Let's start from the beggining:

Short summary about the Spanish Empire


1492. Granada, the last moorish kingdom in the spanish península, falls after a long war wich started in 1485, giving for first time the opornity for an spanish union since the fall of the goths, 711 b.c. The fall of Granada has a lot of significante more than the union of the kingdoms of Spain (the bride of Isabel I of Castilla and Fernando II of Aragon -the two mayor kingdoms of "the Spains"- was the crucial step for the birth of a nation who passed from the Medieval times to Modern Age). Granada was the final step of "the reconquest" (la reconquista), a war wich started in 721 b.c and dured 8 centuries, where the islamic invaders (the moors), were expelled of the Peninsula after centuries of convival and war. Spain will gain a lot in culture with the moors, and in so much other aspects of the spanish people.

This spirit of conquest and conquer of the non-christian will mark the mentality of the men in XVI and the first half of XVII century.

After the reconquest, the "Catholic Kings" (Isabel and Fernando), were able to organize a modern state, possibly the first (in second place goes England) in Europe, with an a power structure well defined, wich has his center in the crown and the councils. Meanwhile, the kings will do a good foreing policy too. A good example is the "conquest" of Italy, aiding local kings in his fight against the pope, the Sacred-Empire (Germany) and France, by sending troops under the command of Gonzalo Fernandez de Córdoba, "The Great Captain", possibly the best spanish general and XVIth century's best.

The discovery of America in 1492, let Spain gain riches for mantain the empire that were growing. The Caribbean islands were colonized and conquered from 1492 to 1512. And, soon, the conquistadors will conquer Central and South America.

The heritage of the Catholic Kings were increased by the bride of the princess Juana (nicknamed "The cracy") with prince Felipe ("The handsome"), grandson of the Sacred-Empire emperor Maximilian. In 1500, at Gante, Bruxelles, the prince of a unified spanish-imperial monarchy was born: Carlos, the future emperor Charles V. With the dead of king Felipe I in 1516, the young prince Charles came to Spain (he was born and educated in Flanders), taking the possession of the crown, wich simbolicaly shared with the mentally insane queen Juana.

Although the policy of king Charles was, at the beggining, depretative with Spain (collecting money for his candidacy for emperor), he will soon understand that Spain will be the "strong member" of his monarchy. Charles V mantain a policy of integrity between the luterans, fighting them untiringly all his life. The foreing policy was brilliant. Spain fougth the turk menace (aiding in the siege of Viena, 1532, and taking Tunis -1535-), winning the Italian wars against France (Pavía, 1525) and rebel luterans of the Sacred Empire (Mühlberg, 1547). Meanwhile, in the Americas, Hernán Cortés conquer the Aztec Empire (1519-1521) and Francisco Pizarro the Inca empire (1531-1535). Minor conquest succed, giving to the spanish crown the Central and South America (except Brazil).

At the dead of Charles V, achieved in Yuste, a place deep in the spanish geography, his son, Philip II, will not be emperor, but he'll be the most powefull king of the world. Phillip II continued with the policy of religious fighting (with the important paper of the inquisition, created in Spain -other countries had their own inquisitions- by the catholic kings in XV century), inside and outside Spain. It was the time of the plenty for the spanish empire, with his lights and shadows, were the "Tercios" (his army) were feared and respected (with reason), and the time of maximum territorial possesion, wich the conquest of Portugal and his empire in 1582.

Although, the final years of the reign of Phillip II were of economic decay. The wars were succesful in the Mediterranean, against the turks (with an epic victory in Lepanto, 1571), and with France (with the battles of Saint Quentin, 1557, and Gravelines, 1558), but disastrous in Flanders (1565-1598) and between England (1585-1604). This was were no defeats, but the were a draw, with victorys and defeats.

Phillip II died in 1598. The new king, Phillip III, was a man that loves the court's pleasures than to goberne, the first reason of decay. He mantained a policy of peace, signing treatys with England and the Dutch Rebel States. The power was gived to "validos", a figure of a high and full powered minister that really goberns the empire. The "validos" of Phillip III, the duke of Lerma and the duke of Uceda, were bad administrators. At the dead of Phillip III, the treaty of peace with the dutch were soon to expire.

Philiip IV, the king of Alatriste's books, were like his father, and gave the power to diferente "validos". The most important, the count-duke of Olivares (wich appear in Alatriste saga), was an intelligent man, possibly a pioneer in his times, who tryed to mantain the Empire, who was in his decay. War in Flanders respawn in 1622, and the Tercios fought well in the first years, under the command of the neopolitan general Ambrosio Spinola (Alatriste fought in a lot of battles with him: Julich, Maastritch, Fleurus, the siege of Breda, 1625 -who appears in the Alatriste's bool "The sun of Breda").

But, soon, the enemy's of the spanish crown grown fast and strong: Venice rebeled, war with France and England were a constant, and two territorys of the Peninsula, Portugal and Cataluña, rebelled to the crown, with foreing aid. Portugal gained his independence at 1665. Although Spain fight in a lot of fronts: France, Flanders, Portugal, Catalonia, Italia and in America against pirates, the empire were mantained till the defeat of the Tercios in Rocroy, 1643. Loosing battle after battle (with little numebered victorys), the exhaust monarchy signed the peace with his enemys in Westfalia, 1648, leting him to finalize the Empire. The primacy in Europe were, finally, non-spanish.


I will continue later with military history with a post about the Tercios. Excuses for my elemental english full of mistakes
Última edición por Targul el Dom Dic 11, 2005 7:07 pm, editado 2 veces en total.

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Mensaje por bradamante » Mié Abr 06, 2005 10:27 pm

Gracias Targul de una no hispanohablante, fue muy interesante. (puedo leer casi todo en castellano, pero hablarlo es otra cosa) Solamente una pregunta pequeña: se dice la palabra TERcio o terCIo?


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Mensaje por Targul » Mié Abr 06, 2005 10:59 pm

The correct pronunsiation is the first TERcio.


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Mensaje por Targul » Jue Abr 07, 2005 5:13 pm

The Spanish Tercios

"My sons. We have come to die, or to win, if heaven's dispose it. Don't let the enemy ask you with godless arrogance: ¿Were is your god? Fight in is holy name, because dead or victorious, you will gain the immortality" Don Juan de Austria's speech to the spanish troops fighting in the Batlle of Lepanto, 1571.

¿What were the "Tercios"?

The name "tercio" was given to the spanish royal troops fighting in Italy for first time at 1536, a year after the siege of Tunis. Spanish historians really don't know why Charles V gave the troops this denomination.

The beggining of the "tercios" (wich means "one part -of something divided in three parts-") were at Italy. In 1493, the king of Naples, Ferrante II, escape from his territoris, escaping from an a french invasion, commanded by Charles VIII of France himself. The overthrown Ferrante ask for help in the court of Fernando II, the catholic king (wich possesed Sicily and Cirdan). Ferrante promised that, in compensation for the spanish military help for restore him at the crown, Naples passed to the spanish crown at his dead.

King Fernando send a small force of spaniards under the command of the brilliant don (sir) Gonzalo Fernandez de Córdoba, distinguished at the war of Granada. The fleet arrived to Sicily, passing to Magnus Greece (south of Naples). The arrogance of the young king Ferrante let the french to present a pitch battle, with superiority in numbers. Despite the opinions of don Gonzalo, Ferrante commanded the army, loosing the battle. But, in the middle of the dissaster, when the french heavy cavalry (the gendarmes) smashed the italian mercenary right flanck, the spaniards tapped the breach, retiring of the battle ground with discipline and valour. The french learned soon that an a complete victory against the spanish will mean the destruction of his whole own army. Don Gonzalo said "One and no more". He will never loose another battle.

Soon, the reinforcements that king Fernando gave aid don Gonzalo to take the initiative. A guerrilla war started in the Apulia territory, wearing away the french army, trying to reach equal troops numer. The campaign of 1493-1496 finalized with a defeat of the french's swiss pikemen mercenaries at Atella (1496). The spaniards "rodeleros" (bucklerers) charge with valour this day, destroying the feared swiss. The nobility of Italy, wich watch the battle, gave don Gonzalo de title of "Great Captain" (Gran Capitán).

Another campaign were fought in Italy under the command of the Great Captain. In front of an a village named Chiriñola, the french army under the command of the duke of Nemours was defeated. The noble heavy cavalry an a gigantic square of swiss pikemen were smashed by the firepower of 500 german-spanish arquebusiers. In year later, the army of Louis XII was defeated in two occasions: the battle of the river Garellano and the siege of Gaeta. Naples remainded under spanish control even 1714. The fame of the spanish troops beginned, the legend of the Spanish Tercios started.


A "Tercio" was a unit of c.1.500 men, grouped in "capitanias" of 250 men. The mayor staff was composed by the "maestre de campo" (field commander), wich has a personal guard of 7 german halberdiers. Two or more tercios were commanded by a "capitán-general" or by the king. Other members of the mayor staff were the "mayor sargent", right arm of the commander, "high drummed", who transmited the orders and the "Lieutinent barrichel", a legal officer.

The first tercios recieved the name of the place that we were defending (Tercio de Nápoles, Tercio de Sicilia), but later, with the permission of the king to the noblemans, so many tercios recieved the name of his commander (Tercio de Valdés, Tercio de Figueroa).

The companies were composed by pikeman and arquebusiers (later musketiers), in a variable proportion of 1/3 of arquebusiers. The staff of a company was composed by the captain, a standar bearer (alférez), two or more sargents and a lot of corporals, who command little groups of 5 to 15 men named "escuadras" (in plural). Soldiers recieved a hard instruction and discipline in the bases of Italy after goining the army (sentar plaza). They learned horse ride, shooting, swordfight, swimming, movements and orders... At the end of the training, the new soldiers (bisoños) were sended to the front, or as guards in multiple fortresses spread along the empire.

The pikeman dressed with a partial plate body armor, a helmet (the most famous is the combed morrion) a pair of boots and civilian clothing under the shield. It was armed with the pike, of 5 meters tall, and the sword (1 meter long) and often a dagger of "left hand use". Pikemen formed at solid squares, breaking cavalry charges and infantry attacks. They were two type of pikemen: "coseletes", with body armor, and "picas secas", only with a helmet for protection. The "picas secas" fight inside the square, and the "coseletes" were at the first lines.

The arquebusier dressed lighter than the pikeman, often only with a helmet (morrion was reglamentary in this troopers). He was armed with the arquebus, the primitive musket, with flintlock ignition system and muzzle loading. Arquebusiers had a sword and a dagger too. Theyr fighting system has two modes: the "mangas", formations of thousands of arquebusiers protecting the pikemen square flanks and the "desbandada", guerrilla type war.


The Tercios fought in many campaings vy all Europe, gaining a reputation of invincible and terrible. Sacks, sieges, ptich battles and naval ones convert them in the iron arm of the king of Spain, the "loyal infantry of the catholic king" (la fiel infantería del rey católico), feared by alla the enemy's of the crown. This are some of his campaings and battles:

(extracted from Pierre Picouet's tercios web)

Italians Wars

The Italian wars were the major confrontation in Europe during half-century for the domination of the Italian peninsula. Briefly, the French Monarchy was confronted with the Spanish monarchy for the dominion of the Kingdom of Napoli and the Duchy of Lombardia. The result was the end of the italian dream for the French monarch and the domination of Italy by Spain for the next 200 years.

Battle of La Bicoca (Italy) in 1522: Imperial victory against the French.
The Provence (France) Campaign in 1524: French victory over a Imperial invasion.
Battle of Pavia (Italy) in 1525: Imperial victory against a French army.
Sac of Rome in 1527: Imperial victory against the Pope.
The battle of Cerisoles (1544): French victory against the Imperial army of Italy.

Balkanic and North African Wars

In the XVI century the Ottoman Empire under Sulaiman expanded strongly in Europe and in the west Mediterranean. The Struggle with the Holy empire was for the domination of East Europe (especially Hungary) and the North African coast. The Ottoman sent several campaigns in Hungary and the rest of East Europe and the culmination point was the siege of Vienna. In the Mediterranean, the Spanish tried to conquer Moorish strongholds (Tunis, Alger) in north Africa and to resist the Ottoman advance. It was a bitter and cruel wars which could cost heavy losses to the spanish infantry.
Siege of Vienna by the Turks in 1529: Imperial victory against a Turkish invasion army.
The expedition of Tunis in 1535: Imperial victory against the Moors and the Ottoman.
The expedition of Algiers in 1541 : Ottoman victory against a Imperial invasion.
Expedition to Tlemcen in Algeria in 1542: Spanish victory against a Moorish king and the Ottomans

German War

The Protestant reformation had changed the political situation in the Germanic Holy Empire. The Schmalkaldic league was formed in 1530 by the main protestant German princes and started to discuss the Emperor authority. Until 1544, Charles V was not able to turn his attention to the German problem. After futile discussion and negotiation the war broke up and the protestant rebellion was destroyed at Mühlberg in 1647. The religious struggle seemed to be solved with the unsatisfactory compromise of Passau in 1552, but the religious question was again the main problem during the thirty year war (1618 - 1648).

Battle of Mühlberg (Germany) in 1547: Imperial victory against the protestant princes.

6.2 Philip II King of Spain (1556 - 1598)

To maintain his heritage Philip II made a great number of campaigns. The main conflict was against the Dutch rebels in Flanders, the Netherlands' War of Independence from 1567 to 1648. But Philip had also to check the Ottoman advance in west Mediterranean (siege of Malta, battle of Lepanto) and fight in France to support the Catholic league against the French Huguenot during the French religious wars (1562 - 1598). Also at the Death of the King of Portugual in 1578, Philip II claimed the Portuguese crone and sent an army to occupy his new kingdom in 1580.
The number of Tercios was reduced. The army of Flanders had an average of 4 Tercios. To protect Italy and fight against the Ottoman Empire, the Spanish used to have a maximum of 5 Spanish Tercios of which 2 (Tercio de la galeras de Sicilia and Tercio nuevo de Napoles) were used in the Navy galleys. For the occupation of Portugal in 1580 and the operation of England in 1580, 4 new Tercios were raised, 1 stayed in Portugal and the rest was disbanded and the soldiers sent in Flanders in 1583 after the invasion of the Azores islands.

In 1588, an exceptional year when the monarchy was using all his resources for the english invasion, the Spanish had 4 Spanish Tercio in Flanders (8720 men), 3 Spanish Tercios in Italy (7000 men), 5 Spanish Tercios with 32 independent companies in the Armada (18 000 men), some 29000 men in independent companies to garrison Spain, Portugal and the North African presidios, at last with have some 8 000 men with the Armada of America and 5 000 men in Asia, well in total we find some 134 000 men of which 76 000 are probably Spanish or Portuguese.

In total, the number of Spanish infantrymen would oscillate between 15 000 - 30 000 men (in total the Spanish monarchy had between 75 000 and 110 000 infantrymen) and the Spanish cavalry around 9 000 - 10 000 men (for a total of less than 20 000 men).

Italian and French Wars (1495 - 1559)

From 1556 to 1559 Felipe II inherited from his father the end of the Italian wars against the French Monarchy. The battles of St Quentin and Gravelines, recognised the end of the French dream in Italy and the impossibility for the Spanish King to recover the Duchy of Burgundy, the peace was signed in Cateau Cambresis in 1559.

Battle of Saint Quentin in 1557: Spanish victory over France.
Battle of Gravelines in 1558: Anglo - Spanish victory over France.
The wars of Religious in France (1562 - 1598)
The conflict in France could be divided in 9 separate civil wars between the Huguenot (French protestant) and the Catholics for the control of the French crone. As a catholic King, Felipe II supported the Catholigue cause first with money, afterwards sending troops and at last sending the Army of Flanders in the 1590 decades.
Duke of Parma's campaigns in France (1590- 1594): Inconclusive campaigns against the French Huguenot.
Siege of Amiens in 1597: French victory over Spain.

Ottoman Wars

Now that the Holy empire was to his Uncle Ferdinand, Felipe II could concentrate his force to block the Ottoman advance in the west Mediterranean. After the battle of Lepanto the Ottoman did not tried (for non-military reasons) to challenge again the Christian fleet. In North africa the Spanish loose most of their stronghold like Tunis in 1575 and were able to keep only the city of Oran. The rest of the country was left to the authority of the Turks of Alger.
Expedition to Mostagaden (Algeria) in 1558: Ottoman victory against the Spanish
Siege of Malta by the Turks in 1565: Victory of the Catholic league against the Ottoman.
Battle of Lepanto (Grece) in 1571: Victory of the Holy League over the Ottoman Empire.
Losse of Tunis in 1575: Ottoman victory over the Spanish monarchy.

War in Flanders (The Netherlands' War of Independence)

This war was the main conflict of the Felipe II reign. In the XVI century, Flanders was divided in 17 different regions more or less united in the Duchy of Flanders. The war broke up with a widespread opposition to the Spanish Monarch governance practice. Also the diffusion of the protestant religion amongst part of the Flemish rulers, and the Spanish repression radicalised the opposition to the Catholic King, especially in the north provinces of the Duchy (mainly in the province of Holland, Zeeland and Utrecht). The war of Flanders was a series of sieges and skirmish in this wet country cut of by arms of sea, rivers, canals and marshes and full of well-protected cities and fortresses. The impossibilities to deploy large armies means that few pitch battles were fought.

Campaign against the Protestant rebels in Flanders 1568 - 1569 with the battle of Jemmingen in 1568: Spanish victory over the Protestant leaders.
The siege of Haarlem by the Spanish in 1572: Spanish victory over the protestant.
The siege of Alkmarr by the Spanish in 1573: Dutch victory over the Spanish.
Campaign in the Flanders in 1574 with the battle of Mook and the siege of Leyden: Spanish victory over the Protestant Leaders at Mook but defeat in front of Leyden.
Battle of Gembloux in 1578: Spanish victory over the protestant rebels.
Siege of Anvers by the Spanish in 1585: Spanish victory over the Protestant.
Dutch campaign of Maurice of Nassau in 1591 - 1595 (gain of Zutphen, Deventer, Nijmengen, Groningen ...): Dutch victory over Spain.
Battle of Turnhout in 1597: Dutch victory over the Spanish.
Dutch campaign of Maurice of Nassau in 1597 - 1599 (gain of Oldenzall, Lingen, Groenlo and Wachtendarck ...): Dutch victory over Spain.


In 1578 the Portuguese king Sebastian died in combat against Moorish Sultan in Morocco. Felipe II claimed the crone of Portugal (he was the grand son of Sebastian) to unify the Iberic peninsula.

Occupation of Portugal in 1580: Spanish victory over the Portuguese.
Invasion of the Azores islands in 1582 - 1583: Spanish victory over the
The Invincible Armada in 1588: English victory over a Spanish invasion force.

6.3 Philip III King of Spain (1598 - 1621)

After the death of the king Philip II, the Spanish Empire was exhausted and could not maintain the combat against the French, the Dutch and the English at the same time. The new king Philip III negotiated the peace with France in 1598 and with the English in 1604. In 1609 the two enemies the Spanish and the Dutch negotiated a truce of 12 years. The efficiency of the Tercios of Flanders was reduced by lack of funds and several mutinies. At that time the 4 Tercios of Flanders had around 7 000 men.

At his death, in 1621, Philip III infantry was composed of 7 Spanish Tercios (Iñigo Borja, Diego Luis de Olivares, Diego Mesia, Gonzalo Fernandez de Cordoba, Juan Bravo de Lagunas, Rodrigo Pimentel and Ramón Cordona), 13 Italian Tercios (Judici, Tito Bramaccio, Baglione, Caracciolo, Campo Lataro, Spinelli, Pece, Rhoo, Felix Brancaccio, Degli Monti and Cervellone), 11 Walloon Tercios (Fontaine, Bournoville, Gulsin, Hoquier, Bravanzon, Valanzon, Chimay, Buquoy, Verdugo, Henin), 2 Tercios from Burgundy (de Ville and de Vateville), 2 Irish Tercios (Count of Tyron and Count of Argile) and 9 German Regiment (Baur, Emden, Haer, Issembourg, Focker, Turdinghen, Schombergh, Sultz and Harschut). We can imagine a force of 50 000 - 65 000 infantrymen of which only 16% were Spaniards.

War in Flanders ( The Netherlands' War of Independence)

With new generals (Prince Albert and Spinola) and the peace with France, the Spanish were able to concentrated their force against the Dutch. The first move was Dutch and ended with the bloody battle of Nieuport, but soon after with the arriving of reinforcement with Spinola the Spanish took the offensive and conducted some successful campaign even if the Spanish could not conquered the dutch mainland.

First battle of the Dune or battle of Nieuwport in 1600: Dutch victory over Spain.
Siege of Ostende by the Spanish from 1601 to 1604: Spanish victory over the Dutch.
From 1600 to 1604, the dutch take San Andres fort (1600), Grave (1602) and Sluis (1604): Dutch victory over Spain
From 1604 to 1606, the Spanish retake Lingen, Groenlo, Oldenzall and Wacthendarck on the Rhine: Spanish victory over the Dutch.

Thirty Years War

In 1618, began one of the major conflicts of the century, the Thirty Years War. To help the Emperor, Philip III engaged some Tercios from Italy to fight with the Habsburg armies.

The White Mountain battle in 1620 gave end to the first part of the war.
Invasion of the Palatina (Germany) in 1620: Spanish Victory over the protestant Elector of Palatina Frederic.
Battle of the White Mountain (Check republic) in 1620: Catholic victory against the Bohemian protestant.

6.4 Philip IV of Spain (1621 - 1665)

The reign of Philip IV was characterised by the war in Flanders once more, the support of the Catholics League during the Thirty Years War, the repeated crisis in Italy, the war with France from 1635 and the uprising in Catalonia, Portugal and in the kingdom of Naples.

After two decades (1622 - 1642) of victories, the Spanish power met his limits. Again, the monarchy did not have the money to maintain a large army (bankrupt of 1627, 1647 and 1662). From 1640, the Spanish had to fight on 7 fronts: in Flanders against the Dutch, the French and the German protestant, in Franche - Conté and Italy against France and in the peninsula against the Portuguese, Catalan and French. Finally the English would support the Portuguese and attack the Spanish possessions of America. Defeats would arrive very soon and Philip IV would have to negotiate to save his Kingdom. In 1648 the independence of the Unite - Province (the Dutch) was recognised by Spain and in 1659, the Peace of Pyrenean would put an end to the war with France (The territory of Roussillon was given to France as well as some cities in the region of Artois).

In 1635, to face France, the Spanish had around 160 000 - 170 000 men in total: 70 000 men (88% infantry men and 12 % horsemen) in Flanders (44 000 men had to be maintained in garrisons), 30 000 in Germany, 23 600 in Milano, 10 000 in Napoles and 31 000 in Spain.
With the conflicts in the Iberic peninsula in 1640, more troops had to be raised in Spain and new type of tercios were created. In 1641, we had probably 90 000 men (6 Spanish Tercios) in the Flanders and Palatina, 30 000 in Italy (5 Spanish Tercios), 40 000 men in Catalonia (17 Spanish Tercios ?), in Extremadura 10 000 men (7 Spanish Tercios) and probably 10 000 - 20 000 men in the rest of Spain. In total a maximum of 190 000 men (cavalry and infantry), of which 50 000 were Spaniards infantrymen.
In 1652, after the surrender of Barcelona, the Spanish army was most reduced and only 77 000 men subdivided in 19 000 men in Flanders, 16 000 men in Italy, 4 000 men in Catalonia, 16 000 men in extremadura and 22 000 men in the rest of the peninsula.

War in Flanders (The Netherlands' War of Independence)

The 12 year truce ended in 1621 and neither parties wanted to settle a peace treaty. The war would give some victories, like the siege of Breda in 1625 or the battle of Kallo in 1638, unfortunately the lack of funds and the war with France and the disaster of the Dunes in 1639 would not permit to achieve the war. In 1648 the Spanish monarchy agreed to recognise the Dutch independence. The main weapon of the Dutch were the navy, but they had also an army of 70 000 - 80 000 men and by 1629 they could field an army of 20 000 - 30 000 men.

Siege of Breda by the Spanish in 1625: Spanish victory over the Dutch.
Siege of s'Hertogenbosch by the Dutch in 1629: Dutch victory over Spain.
Storm of the fortress of Scenkenschans by the Spanish in 1635: Spanish victory over the Dutch.
Siege of Breda by the Dutch in 1637 : Dutch victory over Spain.
Battle of Kallo in 1638: Spanish victory over the Dutch.
The Naval battle of the Dune in 1639: Dutch victory over a reinforment naval and terrestrial Spanish force.

Thirty Year War

Spain would participate in this war for example sending funds to the Emperor Ferdinand, but the main politics was to fight against the Dutch and the French and all the Spanish military or diplomatic movement in the Holy Empire was to reduce the naval supremacy of the dutch or to atract the Empire to fight with them.

Battle of Fleurus (Flanders) in 1622: Spanish victory over a Protestant army

Battle of Nordlingen (Germany) in 1634: Victory of the Catholics against the main Swedish/Protestant army.

French war (1635 - 1659)

Again the French monarchy was strong enough to challenge the Spanish. The war with France brought some victories (like Corbie in 1636, Salses in 1639, Honnecourt in 1642) at the beginning but none of these victories were decisive. At the end the French, with great difficulties managed to break the Spanish monarchy. France, for the next 70 years became the dominant power in Europe. From 1635 to 1659, the French had a maximum of 210 000 men (170 000 infantry men and 40 000 horsemen) in their armies (in 1640 they had 6 field armies).

The Battle of Avins (North of France) in 1635: French victory over the Spanish
The invasion of North France and the take of Corbie in 1636: Spanish advance to Paris.
Siege of Leucate by the Spanish (Roussillon) in 1637: French victory over the Spanish
Siege and Battle of Fuenterrabia (Spain) in 1638: Spanish victory over the French
Siege of Salses by the Spanish in 1639 (Roussillon): Spanish victory over France.
Siege of Arras by the French (Flanders) in 1640: Difficult victory of the French over the Spanish
Battle of Honnecourt (Belgium) in 1642: Spanish victory over the French.
Siege of Perpignan by the French (Roussillon) in 1642: French victory over Spain.
Battle of Rocroi (France) in 1643: French victory over Spain.
Battle of Lens (France) in 1648: French victory over Spain
Siege of Gravelines and Dunkirk by the Spanish (Flanders) in 1652: Spanish victory over the French
Battle and siege of Arras by the French (Flanders) in 1654: French victory over Spain
Battle of Valenciennes (Flanders) in 1656: Spanish victory over the French
Second Battle of the Dune (Flanders) in 1658: Anglo-French victory over Spain.

Wars in Italy (1620 - 1659)

At that time Italy was divided in a multitude of States, basically we had, the states (Duchy of Lombardy and the Kingdom of Naples) member of the Spanish crone; the duchies of Tuscany, Savoy and Mantua, the Papacy, the Republics of Venice and Genoa and some minor states. Some states, like the Duchy of Savoy, were part of the Holy Empire and thus affected by the thirty years war, but above all by the crisis between France, Spain and their Italian allies, maimly the cris in the Valteline passes (1620 - 1626) which connected Spanish lombardy with the Austrian Tyrol (the Spanish road), the Invasion of the Republic of Genova (1625), the Mantuan succesion war (1628 - 1631) and the Savoyard civil war (1638 - 1642). The crisis in the Italian peninsula affected strongly the strategy of the Spanish monarchy as well as their financial and military resources.

The Franco - Saboyan siege Genoa in 1625: Spanish - Genoese victory over a Franco - Saboyan invasion army.>
Campaign in the Duchy of Mantua in 1630: Spanish and Imperial victory over a pro-French Italian coalition.
The Battle of Tornavento in 1636: Costly victory of the French and Savoyard over the Spanish.
Battle of la Rota in 1639: French victory over the Spanish and Savoyard.
Siege of Casal by the Spanish in 1640 : French victory over the Spanish
The siege of Torino in 1640: French victory against the Spanish and the Savoyard.
Siege of Casal by the Spanish in 1652: Spanish Victory over the French
Iberic Campaigns
From 1640, these two regions, each with a strong individuality of history and of language, revolted themselves against the Spanish government who had the plan to extend the power of the monarchy by means of certain reforms.

Portugal (1640 - 1668)

In Portugal, the rising was due to the feelling by a part of the native aristocracy that the Government in Madrid was not doing enough for the Portuguese interests (especially to defend colony’s trading against the Dutch and English). On the contrary Portuguese thought that they could do better without the Spanish monarchy. The decision of the Spanish to crush first the Catalans and after the Portuguese saved probably the new elected king of Portugal Joâo IV. From 1659 to 1665, the Spanish would tried to concentrated their forces to invade Portugal, the results would be three disastrous expeditions. The Portuguese never had more than 30 000 men to face Spain, but strong reinforcement (7 000 - 8 000 men) would arrive from England and France.

Battle of Montijo in 1644: Spanish victory over the Portuguese.
Battle of Elvas in 1659: Portuguese victory over Spain.
Battle of Estremoz or Almeixial in 1663: Portuguese victory over Spain.
Battle of Villaviciosa in 1665: Portuguese victory over Spain.

Catalonia (1640 - 1652)

In Catalonia, the rebellion was against the Spanish monarchy a part of the ruler class as well as the attitude of the Spanish soldiers. Catalonian rebellion was directly connected with the war with France as the Catalonians decided to give the crone of the principally to the French king (even if the Catalonian discovered that to live under French rules was not easy). As we said before, for the Spanish this front was very important and strong forces and money was used to recover the country.

Battle of Montjuïc in 1641: Franco - Catalan victory over the Spanish
Battle of Lerida in 1642: Franco - Catalan victory over Spain.
Siege of Monzón by the Spanish in 1643: Spanish victory over the Franco - Catalan
Siege of Lérida by the Spanish in 1644: Spanish victory over France.
Siege of Lérida by the French in 1647: Spanish victory over France.
Siege of Barcelona by the Spanish in 1652: Spanish victory over the Franco - catalan forces.


Salutes to all
Última edición por Targul el Jue Abr 07, 2005 6:58 pm, editado 2 veces en total.

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Mensaje por doctor-Q » Jue Abr 07, 2005 6:45 pm

thanks for your hard work!

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Mensaje por Cathy » Jue Abr 07, 2005 7:58 pm

Yes! Thank you very much, very informative!

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Mensaje por Sachie » Vie Abr 08, 2005 3:14 am

Hi Targul!

Targul escribió:
¿What were the "Tercios"?

This is what I wanted to know!
I've been wondering 'What were the "Tercios"?' for long time.
Thanks a lot, Targul! :D

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Mensaje por Nefer » Sab Abr 09, 2005 4:04 pm

Dear Targul!

Thanks for your well-researched historical treatise! Gracias.
(If you are "generalaltargul", I have to thank you for your fine summaries of the Alatriste-novels too, on imdb in last autumn.)

Spanish historians really don't know why Charles V gave the troops this denomination.

Prof.Wohlfeil thinks that the name "tercios" comes from the formation of each troop: one third lancers with morion and cuirass (Pikeniere), one third (h)arquebusiers (Arkebusiere) and one third musketeers (Musketiere).
http://www.comunicarte.de/RainerWohlfei ... svz90.html

Sounds plausible to me, but I'm no historian (archeologist with some experience in medieval archeology). What do you think?

Saludos, Nefer

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Mensaje por Targul » Sab Abr 09, 2005 4:21 pm

Thanks Nefer.

Yes, I'm the same of IMDB. My nick is an antique and discharted character of one of my project historic novels, maestre de campo (general) Targul Frumos, an hispano-romanian (now the novel is about a spanishman called Alonso de Diego).

There are a lot of theoris about the word "Tercios". This one, for example, has a mistake. In 1536 the musket was not developed, and the armies didn't use it till 1550 and after (This is what I rembeber, but the theories about firearms are so confusing.. :? ). What I try to say is that this theories are confusing and, really, anybody knows.

Última edición por Targul el Dom Dic 11, 2005 7:11 pm, editado 1 vez en total.

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Mensaje por Nefer » Sab Abr 09, 2005 4:36 pm

Dear Targul!

Thanks for your answer. Well, Charles V. died in 1558 (rather a short time-window) ...
You're right, it's not THAT important. :wink:

Saludos, Nefer

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Mensaje por IndianMoon16 » Sab Abr 09, 2005 11:29 pm

Dear Targul,

Thanx so much for all these explanations, I learned a lot and hope to read more in the future! Have decided to get a book in the library about "our" side ot he story, heehee, I mean the Dutch parts.... If I find something interesting, I will let you know, okay? Am also reading the Spanish book of Alatriste, but that might take me some time, for I only took a couple of months of Spanish lessons.... But with the help of Doctor Q, I already begin to understand a lot of the story!

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Mensaje por Sindar » Dom Abr 10, 2005 6:51 pm

Just a few words to thank Targul for all your valuable comments and help to those who don´t feel the pleasure of speaking our wonderful castellano...

I teach English that´s why I appreciate your effort.

Thanks again and keep the information coming!! Don´t give up!! :wink:

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Mensaje por Minerva » Dom Dic 11, 2005 4:56 pm

Dear Targul:
My from is spain and i want thank to you all your work for the people abroad. It is a hard work. Thank you very much. And follow, please. :D

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Mensaje por IndianMoon16 » Dom Abr 16, 2006 10:12 pm

Some time ago Rogorn asked me if I wanted to post some information about how the Dutch learn about the time during Alatriste. I searched for the info, translated it all and than our PC crashed.... :roll: :twisted:
So here is some other info, because I got no clue where I found the other info. I hope it is what you were looking for, Rogorn.
I could try to tell you some more little stories about that time, which come from the cities like Breda and others too.... Let me know, okay?

The History of the Watergeuzen, of Den Briel:

1st of April

Alva lost Den Briel (Brielle) on the first of April in 1572. Den Briel was liberated from the Spanish occupation by the sea beggars. The people living in Brielle still celebrate this every year. They replay the fights between the Spanish army and Watergeuzen (the sea beggars). Brielle is quite near to where I live, about 15 kilometers, and it's always a pleasure to go to the celebration!




The Watergeuzen were pirates who operated in a big fleet. When they came a shore they usually robbed churches and monastries. They sold the stolen goods in harbours abroad.
The Watergeuzen fell out with England in March 1572. That is why they decided not to go back to English harbours. They headed for Egmond, but due to a strong north east wind they were forced to return. That is how they ended up in front of the Maas where they located some enemy ships. The sea beggars followed these ships for a while but they did not succeed in catching them. They decided to drop the anchor in front of Brielle because it was difficult to return to the open sea. This all took place on the first of April 1572.



They where updated about the situation in Den Briel by a guy named Coppelstock. He told them that Den Briel was no longer occupied by the Spanish. This was very interesting for them because they could use a harbour of their own. The Watergeuzen demanded Den Briel to surrender. When Den Briel´s major decided to surrender it was already too late. The Watergeuzen already started their attack after which Den Briel was taken over.

Alva (the Spanish general) heard that Den Briel was taken over and send an army to conquer Den Briel again. They would have succeeded if carpenter and flood gate keeper, Rochus Meewiszoon did not open the flood gate. The Spanish army was driven back by the rising water. That is why an attack at Brielle was prevented and Alva lost Den Briel.


The more serious stories:

The times in Holland during Alatriste:

The Watergeuzen (or simply Geuzen) were a fleet of privateers during the Eighty Years' War, the Low Countries' (or Netherlands') rebellion against the Spanish occupation, which began during the reign of Philip II of Spain (in the 1550s).
The name Geuzen is derived from the French gueux ("beggars"). When a league of nobles petitioned to Margaret of Parma to relieve the inquisition, one of her advisors, count Charles of Berlaymont advised her not to pay attention to them since: Ce ne sont que des gueux (they are nothing but beggars). The name 'geus' was taken up proudly by the rebels. The Dutch word 'Geuzennaam' still means taking up an insult as a name of pride.
The Watergeuzen consisted of a host of various nobles, intellectuals, merchants, fishermen and countless refugees. From 1568 the rebel Prince William I of Orange (William the Silent) tried to win the Watergeuzen for his cause. To this end he authorized them to conduct raids and pillage with a letter of marque (making them privateers, not pirates).
The salient moment in history for the Watergeuzen came when they succeeded in capturing Brielle on April 1, 1572, effectively sealing off the Meuse from the Spaniards.
The Meuse (Dutch: Maas) is a major European river, rising in France and flowing through Belgium and the Netherlands before draining into the North Sea. It has a total length of 925 km (575 miles).
Brielle, also called Den Briel, (population: 15,948 in 2004) is a town in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland. The municipality covers an area of 31.12 km² (of which 3.63 km² water).




Brielle is a very old, fortified town. It received city rights in 1306. During the Middle Ages, it had its own harbor and traded with the Baltic sea region. It even had a factory of its own in Sweden.

Brielle in 1575

During the Eighty Years' War between the Netherlands and Spain, the capture of Brielle on April 1st, 1572 by Protestant rebels, the Watergeuzen, marked a turning point in the conflict, as many towns in Holland then began to support William of Orange against the Spanish.

William the Silent

In 1568, William I "the Silent" of Orange, stadtholder of the provinces Holland, Zeeland and Utrecht, tried to drive the highly unpopular Alva from Brussels. He did not see this as an act of treason against Philip II, and his view is reflected in today's Dutch national anthem, the Wilhelmus, in which the last lines of the first stanza read: den koning van Hispanje heb ik altijd geëerd (I have always honoured the king of Spain). The Battle of Rheindalen on 23 April 1568 near Roermond is often seen as the unofficial start of the Eighty Years' War. The Battle of Heiligerlee, commonly regarded as the beginning of the war, was fought on 23 May 1568.
Despite the initial success of his brother Louis of Nassau in Heiligerlee, William received little support, and had to flee back to the Holy Roman Empire, in retaliation Alva had the counts of Egmont and Horne beheaded. Alva also introduced an unapproved tax (tiende penning in Dutch)

Unions of Atrecht and Utrecht

1645 - Siege of the city of Hulst (situated in the Dutch province of Zeeland) by Frederick Henry

On January 6, 1579, prompted by the new Spanish governor Alexander Farnese (Duke of Parma) and upset by aggressive calvinism of the Northern States, the southern states (today mostly in France and part of Wallonia) signed the Union of Atrecht (Arras), expressing their loyalty to the Spanish king.
On January 23, 1579, in response, William united the northern states of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelderland and the province of Groningen in the Union of Utrecht. Southern cities like Ghent, Brussels and Antwerp joined the Union. This union later (1581) led to the abjuration of the king, forming the United Provinces of the Netherlands, also known as the Dutch Republic, after they failed to find a new sovereign and the States General took his place.

Conduct of the War

The Eighty Years' War began with a series of classical battles fought by regular soldiers. While successes for both parties were limited, costs were high. As the revolt and its suppression centered largely around issues of religious freedom and taxation, the conflict necessarily involved not only soldiers but civilians at all levels of society. This may be one reason as to the subsequent successes of the Dutch rebels in defending cities. Given the involvement of all sectors of Dutch society in the conflict, a more-or-less organized, irregular army emerged alongside the regular forces. Among these were the Geuzen, who waged a guerrilla war against Spanish interests. At sea especially Geuzen troops were effective agents of the Dutch cause. Many of the characteristics of this war were precursors of modern "total war", most notably the fact that Dutch civilians were considered to be important targets.

War resumes

Following the death of Maurice in 1625, and in the absence of a permanent peace, his half-brother Frederick Henry resumed the conflict against the south.
In 1622, a Spanish attack on the important fortress town of Bergen op Zoom was repelled. In 1625, however, the Spanish commander Ambrosio Spinola succeeded in conquering the city of Breda (an episode immortalized by the Spanish painter Velasquez in his famous painting "Las Lanzas"). Then the tide started to change in favour of the Dutch Republic. The conquest by Frederick Henry, in 1629, of 's-Hertogenbosch, the largest town in the northern part of Brabant, which had been considered to be inexpugnable, was a serious blow to the Spanish. In 1632 the Dutch Stadhouder conquered Venlo, Roermond and Maastricht during his famous "March along the Meuse". Attempts in the next years to attack Antwerp and Brussels failed, however. The Dutch were disappointed by the lack of support they received from the local population. It was clear that by now a new generation had grown up in Flanders and Brabant, that had been thoroughly reconverted to Roman Catholicism and now distrusted the Calvinist Dutch even more than they loathed the Spanish occupants.
It became increasingly clear to all parties in the conflict that the Spanish would never succeed in restoring their rule to the territories north of the Meuse-Rhine delta and that the Dutch Republic did not have the strength to reconquer the South.
To assist a last attempt to defeat the northern "rebels", in 1639 Spain sent an armada bound for Flanders, with 20,000 troops, which was defeated by Lieutenant-Admiral Maarten Tromp in the Battle of the Downs. This victory had historic consequences far beyond the Eighty Years' War as it marked the end of Spain as the dominant sea power, though Dutch attacks on Spain's vital shipping had already been undermining that position after the war's resumption.

Spanish Inquisition

The Spanish Inquisition was a legally constituted court founded under Ferdinand and Isabella of Castile in 1478 to suppress heresies within the Catholic Church. After concerted efforts to induce Jews and Muslims to accept Christianity - through social and economic pressure and also through special events such as the Disputation at Tortosa in 1413 - it became apparent to the Spanish monarchy that many of the "converted" remained loyal to their pre-conversion traditions and practices. The Inquisition was formulated, primarily under control of the Spanish monarch, as a means of identifying and punishing such converts.
In the history of the Catholic Inquisition, the Spanish Inquisition is especially well-known, particularly in the nature of the auto de fe, or trials, of converted Muslims, Jews, and Illuminists. This Inquisition also gave rise to the Peruvian Inquisition and the Mexican Inquisition, which continued until those countries split off from Spain.
The Inquisition was removed during Napoleonic rule (1808–1812), but reinstituted when Ferdinand VII of Spain recovered the throne. It was officially ended on 15 July 1834. Schoolmaster Cayetano Ripoli, garroted to death in Valencia on July 26, 1826 (allegedly for teaching Deist principles), was the last person executed by the Spanish Inquisition.
In the 15th century, Spain was not a single state but a confederation of realms, each with their own administrations, such as the Crown of Aragon and the Crown of Castile, ruled by Ferdinand and Isabella, respectively. In the Crown of Aragon (a confederation of the Kingdoms of Aragon, Baleares, Catalonia and Valencia), there had been a local inquisition in the Middle Ages, as in the rest of the European countries. However, there had not been one in the Kingdom of Castile.
Much of the Iberian peninsula had been ruled by the Moors, and the southern regions, particularly Granada, were heavily populated by Muslims. Until 1492, Granada was still under Moorish rule. The large cities, especially Seville, Valladolid, capital of Castile, and Barcelona, capital of the Crown of Aragon, had large Jewish populations centered in Juderías.
There was a long tradition of Jewish service to the Crown of Aragon. Ferdinand's father, John II of Aragon, appointed Abiathar Crescas, a Jew, as his court astronomer. Jews held many prominent posts, both religious and political. Pedro de la Caballeria, a Marrano, or Jewish convert, played a major role in arranging Ferdinand's marriage to Isabella. Castile even had an unofficial Crown Rabbi, a professing Jew.
The Inquisition had jurisdiction only over those who professed to be Catholics, not over professing Jews. The purpose of the inquisition was to preserve the Faith of the baptised. However, some historians have interpreted the Inquisition as an attack on this diversity of faith in Spain.

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Mensaje por Rogorn » Dom Abr 16, 2006 10:46 pm

This is great, IM. Thanks for taking the time to put all this together. The biggest interest I have, and the easiest for any of you all to do, is to know how you 21st-century people see these events from today: what were you taught at school, what's taught today, and generally how do grown-up people see this period in history. So the story of the people of Den Briel celebrating it today and the pictures are great. Those events happened ten years before the birth of Alatriste and 50 before what happens in the novels and film, but they lay the background nicely.

Also, it's good to know about the line referring to Spain in the Dutch national anthem. It shows that those times won't be forgotten in a hurry.

Of course, if you have some more of these they will be very welcome. Thank you very much.

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Mensaje por quemeplace » Lun Abr 17, 2006 10:02 am

Thank you, IndianMoon! :D This was great!
Hay en su jaula esta inscripción:
"Cuidado: sueña"
-Nicolás Guillén-

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Mensaje por adosinda » Lun Abr 17, 2006 5:52 pm

Thank you IndianMoon

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Mensaje por Rogorn » Mié Sep 13, 2006 5:25 pm

The following is meant to help people who might need help with some historical points of the film plot. Obviously, it’s full of spoilers. You’ve been warned.

The film starts in the winter of 1622, a year after the Twelve Year Truce signed between Spain and the Netherlands in 1609 had expired. In both countries pro-war parties were in power and none of the two had an interest in renewing the ceasefire. The Netherlands (or Flanders, as they were often called at the time) had been the rightful possession of the king of Spain for four generations, but the seven northernmost of the thirteen provinces rebelled for religious and commercial reasons in the 1560s. Spain retaliated with a frightful repression which made things worse, and since then, both sides spent enormous amounts of money and lives in the fight, only to win and lose the same few cities and towns over and over for 80 years.

The Spanish attack at the beginning doesn’t depict a specific historical episode, but this type of underhand combat was very typical of the Dutch conflict, and this one just represents a typical attack of the period. They were called ‘encamisadas’, after ‘camisa’, the Spanish word for ‘shirt’, because all the Spaniards wore white untucked-in shirts to recognise each other in combat.

In the following year, in March 1623, Charles Prince of Wales, heir to the throne of England, travelled to Madrid undercover accompanied by court favourite George Villiers, duke of Buckingham, in order to make a dashing, daring, romantic gesture to win the hand of the king of Spain’s sister, María. This was against all the rules of princely courtship of the time (proper negotiations took years and face-to-face meetings only happened when all details were tied up), and was one of the most talked-about bits of gossip in the whole century. The first novel of the Alatriste saga uses it as a background: a wedding between a staunch English protestant and a devout Spanish catholic had strong opponents in both countries, so what if… somebody had plans to kill the pretender? The two unwitting men charged with it are no other than Alatriste and Malatesta, and when Alatriste smells something fishy, the two blue-blood heretics escape with their lives intact, to their relief and his misfortune. He makes three deadly enemies that day: Malatesta, court official Luis de Alquézar and fire-and-brimstone Inquisitor Emilio Bocanegra.

What happened next? Charles spent six months in Spain tangled in fruitless negotiations and finally returned to England with a huge loss of personal reputation (this is why no-one did things like this, just in case), as big as the joy of the English people at the failed attempt. Both Charles and Buckingham turned bitter enemies of Spain and made war on her when their time to reign came.

Then we see Alatriste and the count-duke of Olivares discussing ‘the hell of Flanders’, ending with Olivares saying: ‘Without Flanders there’s nothing, we need that hell’. It was the accepted theory at the time that if an empire let go of just one of its possessions, the others would inevitably follow and all would end up in ruins. It had been so with Rome or Egypt for example, and so it would with Spain if Flanders was lost. It was this mode of thinking what kept wars going on and on.

Olivares, by the way, was the second of Spain’s ‘validos’ of the time: a nobleman so ambitious and disposed to take on himself the burden of governing the biggest empire in world history that a lazy and bon-vivant king was only too happy to let him do it. Philip III had done it before with the duke of Lerma, and his son Philip IV followed suit when he inherited the crown in 1621. Olivares was the man behind (and in front of) the throne for 22 years.

We see now another way of fighting in the Netherlands: siege warfare. Pitched battles, favourites of historians and film-makers alike, are very rare in the Dutch War, and the most significant fighting was done by making towns surrender. This took years and a lot of convincing. We see here two ways of advancing the case: snipers and ‘caponeras’, tunnels dug under the walls to bomb the town’s defences. But often the defenders dug their own tunnels to bring the opponent’s down or even make surprise sorties into enemy camp. Witness what happens when the two meet... The fight in the film happens at the town of Breda in 1625, ending with Justin of Nassau handing the keys of the city to Ambrosio Spínola. This is what happens in book three of the series.

Ten years later, in 1635, Diego Velázquez finished one of his most famous paintings, ‘The surrender of Breda’, also known as ‘Las lanzas’ (‘The pikes’), depicting the fact, and we see Íñigo looking on as the picture is put in place at a palace in Madrid. When he links up again with Alatriste, it’s to make a raid on a ship full of undeclared gold in Seville, ‘the gate of the Americas’, the city that had exclusive trading rights with the Spanish New World. Book four is full of information on the importance of the gold and silver that came from American mines and was squandered by the Spaniards as soon as it touched port. Smuggling and underdeclaration were common practices (even the king was into it) and Alatriste once more gets in the thick of the action facing Malatesta. Again, this is not meant to be a single historical event, it’s just to add flavour – in fact, the films move this episode nine years forward with respect to the books with no problem at all.

The years pass by and we reach a veritable end of an era. Between 1642 and 1643 Richelieu and Louis XIII die in the middle of war against Spain, Olivares is expelled from court and Francisco de Quevedo, Alatriste’s writer friend, is imprisoned for writing against his regime. Quevedo forms the trio of real-life characters together with Olivares and Philip IV, and his appearance is crucial. He doesn’t seem to do much, but every schoolchild in Spain knows of him and his work. He wrote some of the funniest satires in Spanish language, but was also one of the bitterest political critics. It’s a pity that the genial comedian side is left aside and he’s only shown in doom and gloom, but he encapsulates this time when Spain was the biggest empire ever and at the same time had some of the poorest citizens in Europe. And in spite of the hardship (or maybe because of it), this is el Siglo de Oro, the Golden Century of Spanish art.

The end comes with the battle of Rocroi, in May 1643, which was the first defeat in a pitched battle Spain had suffered for 100 years. The Spanish tercios were the foremost military force in Europe for two centuries, and this defeat against the French cannons was psychologically very important. Not so much in purely military terms (no wars were won or lost with it), but in the sense that an era was finishing. Five years later, in 1648, Spain will sign the Treaty of Westphalia, where all will be concessions and no gains. France will emerge as the new continental superpower.

Well, I hope this helps. If you have any other questions, I’ll be happy to help when I can.


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Mensaje por IndianMoon16 » Sab Sep 23, 2006 2:08 pm

Thanx so much Rogorn! :D

And yes, it did help!

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Mensaje por Maria_D » Mar Sep 16, 2008 9:48 pm

Thank you for this info!

Can you recomend books in English about Spanish history of XVI-XVII centuries?
English is more widespread in Russia than Spanish, but you know, English authors often write about Spain in line of "black legend" (leyenda negra). Just like Henry Kamen (his book "Spain: Road to Empire" has been translated in Russian!).

Now I can name only Goeffrey Parker, but maybe, there are other authors?

Thanks in advance,