Philip III of Spain

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Philip III (Spanish: Felipe III) (14 April 1578 – 31 March 1621) was the King of Spain and King of Portugal and the Algarves, where he ruled as Philip II of Portugal (Portuguese: Filipe II), from 1598 until his death. Born in Madrid, the son of Philip II of Spain and his fourth wife (and niece) Anna, daughter of the Emperor Maximilian II and Maria of Spain, he married Margaret of Austria, sister of Emperor Ferdinand II, and like her husband, a member of the House of Habsburg.

Although considered to be a congenial and pious ruler, Philip's political reputation has been negative - an 'undistinguished and insignificant man,' a 'miserable monarch,' whose 'only virtue appeared to reside in a total absence of vice,' to quote three major historians of the period. In particular, Philip's reliance on his corrupt chief minister the Duke of Lerma drew much criticism at the time and afterwards. For many, the decline of Spain can be dated to the economic difficulties that set in during the early years of his reign. Nonetheless, as the ruler of the Spanish Empire at its height, and as the king who achieved a temporary peace with the Dutch (1609-21) and brought Spain into the Thirty Years War (1618-48) through an initially extremely successful campaign within the Holy Roman Empire, Philip's reign remains a critical period in Spanish history.


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