Philip III of Spain (1578–1621)

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Philip III of Spain (1578–1621)

Philip III of Spain (b. 14 April 1578; d. 31 March 1621), king of Spain, Naples, and Sicily (1598–1621) and, as Philip II, king of Portugal (1598–1621).

Philip III was the first king since John II of Castile to begin what was to become a seventeenth-century Hapsburg trend: delegation of power to a chief minister (valido). Philip's choice was the politically inexperienced duke of Lerma, Francisco Gómez de Sandoval y Rojas (1553–1623), who used his office to amass a fortune and become the pinnacle of a patronage system riddled with unscrupulous characters. Lerma, however, also steered his practically bankrupt country toward peace with England (1604) and the Dutch (1609). Philip's unwise solution to Spain's budget deficit was to issue and reissue copper coinage. Also unfavorable to Spain's finances was the decision to expel the Moriscos (Moors converted to Christianity) the same day the treaty with the Dutch was signed.

Lerma was succeeded in influence by his son, the duke of Uceda, although after 1618 Philip issued a decree stating that only the king would sign royal orders. Philip was pious like his father but he lacked his father's energy and dedication to affairs of state or empire.

See alsoSpanish Empire .


Ciriaco Pérez Bustamante, Felipe III: Semblanza de un monarca y perfiles de una privanza (1950).

John Lynch, Spain Under the Habsburgs, vol. 2, Spain and America, 1598–1700 (1969), esp. pp. 14-61.

Patrick Williams, "Philip III and the Restoration of Spanish Government, 1598–1603," in English Historical Review 88 (1973): 751-769.

Additional Bibliography

Fisas, Carlos. Historias de reyes y reinas. Barcelona: Planeta, 1998.

Herrero Sánchez, Manuel. Las Provincias Unidas y la monarquía hispánica (1588–1702). Madrid: Arco Libros, 1999.

Kamen, Henry Arthur Francis. Spain's Road to Empire: The Making of a World Power, 1492–1763. London: Allen Lane, 2002.

Lynch, John. The Hispanic World in Crisis and Change, 1598–1700. Oxford: Blackwell, 1994.

                         Suzanne Hiles Burkholder

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Philip III of Spain (1578–1621)

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