November Class Topic: Philip II and Elizabeth I

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November Class Topic: Philip II and Elizabeth I

Post  Mira W. on Mon Nov 03, 2014 7:07 pm

As key figures of 15th century Europe, Queen Elizabeth I of England and King Philip II of Spain may have shared some similarities, but their differences contrasted like black and white.

Much like her father, Elizabeth had been intelligent, cautious, and determined. She believed in peace and religious toleration - factors which gained her the approval of many in her country. Raised as Protestant, she was a firm supporter of her faith. However, Elizabeth also believed that religious warfare within a country was pointless and expensive, therefore tolerated Catholicism as well. Having made it possible for both faiths to coexist, a tranquil aura settled in England. This provided a firmness for the country that Philip could never achieve in Spain. Understanding the importance of having loyal supporters, Elizabeth maintained a balance between leading as an absolute monarch while being favored by her people during her reign. On the contrary, Philip II had been a devote Catholic, and believed himself to be a savior of the world. He thought he was appointed by God to lead the Counter-Protestant reformation, which led to several bloody conflicts in Spanish history. Instead of being tolerant like Elizabeth I, Philip was impulsive and brutal. Anyone who went against his policies was to be tortured and killed.

While Elizabeth was cautious with her affairs, Philip went in head-first with an over-confident mind. Elizabeth had a knack for thoroughly planning grand schemes and spent less time on details. On the other hand, Philip cared highly about details which distracted his attention from looking at his plans as a whole. This became evident when both of these monarchs chose their leaders for the Spanish Armada, as well as in the tactics they used. Philip II chose a man who - while popular in Spain - didn't have previous experience. On the other hand, Elizabeth focused on choosing the man most suited for planning an attack: someone with experience and skill in the field. England planned their tactics carefully, using a smart new invention - ships that worked as water bombs - to attack. Spain tried to win with numbers of ships loaded to the brim with gunpowder. Philip was convinced that his fleet was indestructible; overconfidence which later led to Spanish defeat.

Their personalities were also made apparent during the rebellion in the Netherlands. When Philip II realized that one of Spain's colonies was turning over to Protestantism, he decided to take control and ordered all non-Catholics dead. As retaliation, a rebellion broke out that ended in a bloody fight for religion. Elizabeth I, seeing Protestants die for their faith, decided to intervene. She aided the Dutch with money, allowing the rebellion to continue for much longer than otherwise possible. She did so because Elizabeth knew the balance between Protestant and Catholics in Europe had to be kept. Later, England gained more power and wealth by attacking Spanish ships delivering silver and gold from their colonies. This led to an infuriated Philip, and the Spanish Armada.

Overall, it seems Elizabeth's rule had been quite successful. Her personality, beliefs, and careful planning gained England both wealth and power. While her country come out even more prosperous during the 15th century, the opposite could be said for Spain. Unfortunately for Philip, his reign hadn't been half as beneficial to Spain as Elizabeth's was to England.

Last edited by Mira W. on Sun Nov 23, 2014 2:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
Mira W.
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Research Assistant

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Great Post

Post  Joshua T on Mon Nov 17, 2014 11:22 pm

Excellent post Mira! King Phillip II was a terrible ruler. For me, he was not the right right man for the job. He was arrogant and selfish. Definitely not the right man for the job. He was the king of Spain.

Joshua T

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