Philip IV of Spain

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Philip IV (Spanish: Felipe IV, 8 April 1605 – 17 September 1665) was King of Spain between 1621 and 1665, sovereign of the Spanish Netherlands, and King of Portugal (as Philip III, Portuguese: Filipe III) until 1640. Philip is remembered for his patronage of the arts, including such artists as Diego Velázquez, and his rule over Spain during the challenging period of the Thirty Years War (1618–48).

On the eve of his death in 1665, the Spanish empire had reached its seventeenth century territorial zenith, spanning a then unheard of 12,200,000 km²,[1] but in other respects was in decline, a process to which Philip's inability to achieve successful domestic and military reform is felt to have contributed.

Contents

Personal life

Philip IV was born in Valladolid, and was the eldest son of Philip III and his wife Margaret of Austria. Aged ten, he was married to Elisabeth of France in 1615, although the relationship does not appear to have always been close; some have even suggested that Olivares, his key minister, later deliberately tried to keep the two apart to maintain his influence, encouraging Philip to take mistresses instead.[2] Philip had seven children, but only one son, through Elisabeth, Baltasar Carlos who died young at the age of sixteen in 1646. The death of his son deeply shocked the king, who appears to have been a good father by the standards of the day. Elisabeth was able to conspire with other Spanish nobles to remove Olivares from the court in 1643, and for a brief period she held considerable influence over Philip; by the time of her death, however, she was out of favour following manoeuvering by Olivares' successor, de Haro.[2]

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