Charles - Growth and Extent of Opposition

Germania 1519-21

Christian brotherhoos which protected Valencia from Muslim pirates. Urban revolt


  • Promsied Cortes (Valenica) didnt materialise
  • Nobles (the most immoral according to citizens) fled and did not suffer plague
  • Members finding it hard to get food due to plague
  • Resentment towards Moors caused beliefs Inq was too leniant
  • Weapons were provided due to preparation for raids by Turks

Juan Llorenc (inital leader) wanted Valencia=seperate republic, Peris (who seized control from Llorenc) wanted independent republic. Baptised Moriscos and attacked nobles - defeated in 1521 battle and executed 1522. Descendents regarded as traitors for 4 generations

Violent movement which alarmed nobles and made them less sympathetic to Comuneros. Tensions continued until 1524 - many rebels put to death, fined, or had property confiscated

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Germania cont

Why it failed:

  • Too many of the poor and powerless were involved
  • Revolt only occured in one place so easily quelled
  • Sprang out of weakness of the crown (however C managed to prove himself)
  • Disagreement within rebels (some too extreme)
  • Forces of Crown, church and aristocracy combined too strong

MacDonald: less important than Comuneros but did attract broad supoprt due to Charles not being the 'desired heir'

Kamen and Elliott: believe the motives to be that social divisions were triggered by new monarchy, the old rivalries between C&A erupted

Kilsby: supression made Charles seem a strong leader, while leader were executed general pardon issued to others, nobles played active part in local gov, power of local officials (e.g. corregidores) strengthed, Cortes generally accepted all gov proposals. Spain became an outward looking country (however Philip devoted himself to Spanish matters)

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Comuneros Revolt 1520-21

Groups of rebels including nobles and clergy sparked by Charles' demands for Cortes funds to support his bid for HRE.

Overlapped with Germania (different states) = more dangerous


  • The fact Charles was foreign made people anxious (Kilsby quotes contemp writer 'amongst Spainards, no foreigner is accounted of importance)
  • Nobility began to divide into factions
  • Religion - Constable of C argued Jews responsible, friars made in clear to Cortes of Santiago they wouldnt support Charles, Cisneros replaced as archbishop of Toledo for 17 year old
  • Cortes of C was a serious challege to Charles in 1518 - although failed wanted Charles to learn Spanish, use native officals & maintain Spanish laws
  • Hostile to nobility after I death
  • Rumours demand for finance = taxes on infant baptism and water
  • Absentee monarch
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Comuneros cont

Violent outbreaks in several towns - C=aimed at royal officals, corregidores driven out, Padilla (representative) eager to show movement not against the crown and wanted new gov to be in the King's name, Medina del Campo was burnt, towns from both north and south joined movement (Valladolid, Segovia)

Junta set up in Avila - disagreement over demands

Support of Joanna - refused to take action or sign any papers

Demands finally put forward: economic & social reform (e.g. reduce taxes) and limitation of noble power (e.g. towns refused to pledge loyalty to local landlords)

Sympathy form aristocracy - e.g. Bishop of Zamora (one of F&Is representatives)

Constable of C victorious in short and decisive battle in April 1521 - McClive: 'no match for the royal army'. Few casualties 200:20

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Comuneros cont

How dangerous was it

  • Scale of uprisings - 17 cities involved with heavily increasing population
  • Involvement of Cortes - Forced Charles to return to Spain and summon Cortes more regularly
  • Support - Joanna was most sig supporters although never commited herself fully
  • Divide and rule - uncoordinated and Charles took advantage of that
  • Danger - rebels trapped Adrian of Utrecht (foreigner who was regent of Valladolid) but Charles appointed two new co-regents and calmed the situation
  • Weak leadership - Padilla enlisted an army in support, not supreme authority as 3 different juntas (govs) set up in various factions, all raising taxes and forced loans
  • Demands of the rebels - training for gov officals, reform tax, protect wool trade, King to consult Cortes more frequently
  • Spread - peasant uprisings threatened stability in the countryside

Why it failed:

  • Did not keep to initial aim of protecting Spain from foreign ruler (became an attack on aristocracy insead). Really a peasant uprising to demand fewer and lighter taxes
  • Lack of unity (e,g, failed to join Germania and rivalry between towns in C prevented coordinanted movement)
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Comuneros cont


  • Failire of revolt 'left scars' which reminded people of how easily Spain could be destroyed
  • Fears Spain would simply become 'Europeanised' - both of Charles roles=demanding
  • Possible Charles would govern both in same way - HRE and Spain had different needs
  • Opposition could have continued (e.g. Zapata family)

Nobles, to regain King's trust, fought in Navarre. 1522 issued pardon and relations improved

Positive changes as Charles appreaciated strengths of Spain and tried to preserve them - conciliar system, C=administrative centre, peripatetic rule, council just advisory, regular use of Cortes

Effectively failed - Charles established authority and officals removed from posts although Charles stll saw Spain as his second responsibility

Increased maturity meant Charles recognised need for strong gov and peace and more open to the rest of Europe

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Crown and Cortes Relations

Charles had to deal with each of the Cortes of the three kingdoms seperatly - progress time consuming and difficult

Cortes couldnt make laws of their own accord - monarchys power was greater. But could petition

Could allow Charles to impose more taxes - rarely met Charles' requirements. Safeguard for Spain

A Cortes most powerful as Charles needed its approval for revenue (harder to negotiate with inflation)

By 1523 decided redress of grievances before deciding money wouldnt be granted (result of COmuneros). C= useful tax granting body and voted 15 grants during grant

Petitioned for banning of exports of bullion in 1515 (little impact)

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Influence of Nobility

Increased in numbers - due to F&I rewarding for service in wars

Exempted from heaviest taxes for loyalty (proof Comuneros however just sustained own authority)

Older established nobility challegend by 'lesser gentry' (Kamen). New laws led to different types of nobility as traditional view being exchanged for sucesses in trade, enterprise and industry

Contemporary: 'we no longer consider the virue of a gentlemen, but ratherr how wealthy he is'. Contemporary: 'he is noblest who is richest'. Cervantes: 'money is prized rather than worth'

No longer dominated gov - still retained honourary positions on councils (e.g. Duke of Alva honourary position on Council of State). Pwerful grandees took up trade e.g. Duke of Medina Sidonia (enormous estates and own port)

Lesser nobles took lead in town govs - Comineros showed could maintain law and order better than letrados who only focused on administration

By 1530s 'the military estate is decayed and has forgotten its calling' - unwilling to be soldiers. 1505 law allowed new nobility to pass their property through descendents (similarities to grandees)

Shift in society - sig contributions to economy without destroying 'old' nobility, more utility to state. Old nobility pushed towards peaceful activites while new growing influence in gov (suucess). Elliott: 'indistinguishable from traditional aristocracy'

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Work of Inquisition

15 tribunals operating - including Granada set up in 1526

Expanded to include Chritians (Protestants, Erasmians and Illuminists - minor heretic inc)

Overseen by Inquisitor General (nominated by crown but approved by Pope) - monarchy had power to dismiss

Active, itinerant body (frequent - every 4 monts arrived). During process would have to take an oath to supprt Inq

Anoyne accused of heresay was imprisoned and mostly their property confiscated

Edwards: familiares were 'the eyes and ears of the Inq'. Had lots of priveldges (e.g. exempt from taxes, and immune from prosecution)

Three seperate hearings however lawyers job was to get prisoner to admit guilt

Tortue only applied to 5% cases

Same on crime attached to person throughout life and passed on through generations

21 places of imprisonment available to the Inq in Spain (no more than 50 inqusitors)

Exported to NW before ending by a formal decree in 1834

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Growth of Protestantism

Books were banned and Inq did its work.

Number of cases brought to Inq were less than 100

Potential Lutheran = Juan de Vergara who helped Cisneros prodice the Polygot Bilble

Luther aided by Elector of Saxony

Luther burned the papal bull that condemned him

brought before Charles V at Diet of Worms 1521 where he was outlawed bu continued to preach

Peace not made until 1555 (encouraged conflicts with HRE princes and Charles)

Ideas spread alongs trade routes

Spain less open to protestantism compared to EU - authority of Crown over Church, piety of monarchs, spread slowed down due to lack of urban trade centres & good roads, peninsula protected by high mountain range

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Jews, Erasmians and Alumbrados


80-90% expelled in 1492 returned and became 'Christian'

Percentage accused of lapsing durign 1515-1529 fell from 77% to 2% of all those brought before tribunal

Conversos (mainly from A) emplyed in gov under Charles - contributed to C anxiety howver initially unsure (assumed conversos part of Comuneros)


Erasmus writings initially welcommed however percieved as more of a threat the Lutherans

Invited to visit Spain 1517. Book bestseller (read everywhere by all classes). Communicated with scholars

Charles himself was a supprter - megative effect when he left in 1529

Kamen: overplayed but scale of sales was enormous


Shortlived - began 1510 and largley dies out by 1525

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Extent of Religious Unity by 1529

Greater on the surface than F&I as attention to other religious groups via Inq

Greater control within Catholic Chirch itself

1523 Pope agrred that monarchy could appoint bishops etc. throughout Spain (greater authority and unity within Church)

1523 Crown headed the military orders and oculd make all clerical appointments (greater quality control)

Church and state beginning to work together more effectively - Alumbrados who sought food and shelter 1527

Lutheranism still had great effect. By 1521 books found in Spain (banned). 1524: 'so much awareness of Luther that nothing else is talked about'

To be Spanish was also to be Christian 'purity of blood was underpinned by purity of faith'

Pockets of heresay remained and Lutheraniam not completly stamkped out despite 1525 decree by Inq of Toledo

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