Olivares, Conde-Duque de (1587–1645)

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Olivares, Conde-Duque de (1587–1645)

Conde-Duque de Olivares (Gaspar de Guzmán y Pimental; b. 6 January 1587; d. 22 July 1645), Spanish statesman and chief minister of Philip IV (1621–1643). Unlike the monarch he served, Olivares intimidated contemporaries with his tireless energy spent in pursuit of victory in European conflicts and centralization of the Spanish state. Of primary concern in European affairs was the defense of the Low Countries, which drew Spain into costly participation in the Thirty Years War (1618–1648). Although Spain lacked the revenue to support such military involvement, Olivares never allowed fiscal limitations to deter him from an aggressive foreign policy aimed at fulfilling Spain's destiny as a world power. He undertook the Mantuan war in Italy (1628–1631) to prevent the French successor from claiming the throne and to maintain Spain's control over northern Italy, but was unable to accomplish either. In 1626 he inaugurated the Unión de Armas in an effort to get the non-Castilian provinces in Europe and the New World to contribute to imperial defense.

Olivares's attempt to force Catalonian participation in the war between Spain and France resulted in the revolt of the Catalans in 1640. A revolt against Spanish rule in Portugal later in the year coincided with a collapse in transatlantic trade and sealed Olivares's fate. He willingly resigned for health reasons on 24 January 1643 and died two years later.

See alsoPhilip IV of Spain .


John H. Elliott and José F. De La Peña, Memoriales y cartas del Conde duque de Olivares (1978–1980).

John H. Elliott, The Count-Duke of Olivares: The Statesman in an Era of Decline (1986).

Additional Bibliography

Alcalá-Zamora, José N. Felipe IV: El hombre y el reinado. Madrid: Real Academia de la Historia: Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica, 2005.

Domínguez Ortiz, Antonio. Historia de la caída del condeduque de Olivares: Manuscrito del siglo XVII. Málaga: Editorial Algazara, 1992.

González Duro, Enrique. Demonios en el convento: El condeduque de Olivares frente a la Inquisición. Madrid: Oberón, 2004.

                            Suzanne Hiles Burkholder

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Olivares, Conde-Duque de (1587–1645)

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