Background Scene


Philip the Handsome marries Joan, daughter of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castille.


Age of Discovery begins with Portuguese explorations of the Atlantic and Africa. Spanish conquistadors destroy the Inca and Aztec empires and colonize Latin America. They explore Florida, the southwestern USA and the Amazon River, and circumnavigate the world (Magellan's expedition).Pedro Alvares Cabral, Portuguese explorer, discovers Brazil. Portuguese colonize Brazil and construct trading posts and naval bases in Africa, the Middle East, India, East Asia, and the East Indies.


Philip becomes King of Castille.


Emperor Charles V at Mühlberg 

(Charles' favourite painting)

TIZIANO Vecellio (b. 1490, Pieve di Cadore, d. 1576, Venezia) 1548 Oil on canvas, 332 x 279 cm Museo del Prado, Madrid

Philip's eldest son, Charles, inherits the Netherlands and becomes King of Castille and Aragon, head of the House of Austria and Holy Roman Emperor as Charles V.


Brazil is divided into 15 hereditary captaincies or fiefs, distributed to favoured persons or "donatários".


Foundation of Olinda, capital of the Portuguese captaincy in Pernambuco. Its economy depends heavily on sugar cane and slave labor.


Tomé de Souza becomes the first governor general and Salvador in Bahia becomes the capital of Brazil for the next 214 years.


Charles V abdicates the sovereignty of the Netherlands in favour of his son, who becomes likewise King of Spain as Philip II. Between 1555 and 1581 Spain dominates the United Provinces.

Philip II reigns from 1556 to 1598. During this period the Spanish Empire attains its greatest power and widest geographical extent but also suffers setbacks in its relations with the Protestant nations of northern Europe.



The Netherlands provinces revolt against Philip II under the leadership of Prince William of Orange but are defeated. Holland begins trade with the East Indies, India, Guiana, and the West Indies.


The Castille dynasty promotes the Union of the Iberic Crowns. Philip II annexes Portugal in 1580. This gives Philip a new Atlantic seaboard, a fleet to help protect it, and a second empire that stretches from Africa to Brazil, and from Calicut to the Moluccas. Portugal remains a province of the Spanish Empire until 1640. Brazil becomes a Spanish dominium and remains so until 1640. Even after regaining its independence , Portugal's dominance over the Eastern trade is lost to the English and Dutch in 1600.


Dutch independence is recognized by France and England.



Twinsite 2000

 Lycée Pasteur, Curso Experimental Bilingue, São Paulo - Brazil
Alexandre Giraud - Danilo Machado - Barbara Dieu

Lyceum Berlage, Amsterdam - Netherlands
Walid Alaoui Mdaghri - Saladin Allioui - Enes Geloz - Esosa Izekor - Ismael el Khamsi - Patrick Holmes BB

(c) 2000