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France; Southern and Eastern Europe.

Modern History. (a.d. 1492-1898). The Discovery of America to the Peace of Westphalia (1492-1648).
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In France, Louis XIII. (1610-1643) came to the throne as a boy of nine years, son of Henri Quatre. His mother, Marie de' Medici, was regent until 1617, and the able Sully was removed from office. The Edict of Nantes was confirmed in 1614, and the national Parliament, or States-General, composed of the nobles, the clergy, and the middle classes or bourgeoisie, was summoned for the last time before the eve of the French Revolution. This body proved to have no capacity for settling a national policy. Warfare with the Huguenots, ending in 1622, brought the loss of most of their strongholds. From 1624 onwards Cardinal Richelieu, one of the greatest of modern statesmen, diplomatists, and administrators, was the real ruler of the country. This very able man, one of the utmost vigilance and resolution, unscrupulous as to means, clearheaded as to his aims, crushed all plots against his power, overcame all resistance of the nobles, and laid the foundations of, absolute rule for the next monarch. The Huguenots were finally mastered in the capture of their chief stronghold, La Rochelle, in 1628. The policy and success of Richelieu in the Thirty Years' War have been above related. On his death in 1642 Richelieu left France in the foremost European position, in succession to Spain, and the way was cleared, both at home and abroad, for the power and influence exercised by Louis XIV.

In the great peninsula of south-western Europe, the death of Philip II. in 1598 brought to the throne his son, the weak Philip III., who was wholly in the hands of the duke of Lerma until 1618. The country was greatly and permanently injured through the expulsion, in 1609, in pursuance of the usual bigoted policy, of those diligent and skilful tillers of the soil, the Moriscos, to the number of over half a million. The descendants of the children, under four years of age, who were kept behind to be trained as Catholics, and of all who had been converted to Christianity, were constantly persecuted on suspicion of heresy, and as tainted with Moorish blood, which was a bar to the holding of the meanest public office. The credit of the country was for a time maintained abroad through the skill in war of Spinola and other commanders, but the best day of Spain was clearly over. The long reign of Philip IV. (1621-1665) brought no improvement. The king was as incapable as his father had been, and the real ruler, the chief minister Olivarez, count and duke, used his abilities to extort money, by corrupt means, including the sale of all public offices, for wasteful expenditure on ambitious foreign projects. The navy was ruined by the rising Dutchmen. A false colonial policy, by its selfish monopolies and restrictions, threw the profit of trade into the hands of skilful and daring smugglers, and the very abundance of gold and silver from the American mines raised the price of purchase for articles which the decline of the national industries compelled Spain to procure from abroad. Philip II. had begun to raise money without consent of the Cortes or Parliament, and that body had ceased to be regularly convened. The ancient privileges of Aragon and Castile had been abolished, and the government became absolute.

The decline of Portugal rapidly followed her great period of history. The chief causes of this change may be briefly stated. Emmanuel (Manoel) "the Fortunate" was eager to secure for himself and his dynasty the throne of Spain, and with this view he proposed to marry the Infanta Isabella, eldest daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Aragon and Castile. As a bait to Spanish bigotry, he undertook to expel the Jews and unbaptised Moors from his country. The Jews of Portugal formed a chief element in her commercial prosperity, and were renowned throughout Europe for wealth, acuteness, and integrity. They had dwelt for centuries in the land, at first protected by the Moors, and then favoured by such monarchs as Diniz and John "the Great." For this security and tolerance they had made an ample return in promoting the trade of their adopted country, dwelling chiefly in the great towns, especially in Lisbon, Evora, and Santarem. This suicidal measure was carried out by Emmanuel, and with the Jews departed many Mohammedans, who had fled from Spam on the capture of Granada in 1492- Emmanuel married the Infanta Isabella, but he did not obtain the throne of Spain, through the death of his queen in 1498. Her infant son died two years later, and the widower's marriage with his deceased wife's sister Donna Maria of Castile did not attain the object he had in view. She was only a third daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella, and the throne of Spain came, as we have seen, to the son of the second daughter Joanna, who became the emperor Charles V. Another cause of decline is to be found in the decay of the old nobility, whose descendants were mere courtiers instead of patriots, devoted to a sovereign whose wealth enabled him to bestow highly paid offices and large pensions. Public spirit by degrees died away, and political power, as well as a large part of the wealth of the country, was in the possession of the Crown.

Under John III. (1521-1557) the downward course became more perceptible and rapid. This bigoted monarch, in 1536, introduced the Inquisition, and four years later he admitted the Jesuits. The tyranny and oppression exercised by these institutions, both in the colonies and at home, were very baneful to progress and public spirit. All the chief towns won from the Moors, and held by Portugal, in northern Africa, except Ceuta and Mazagon, were given up during the reign. Under an absolute king surrounded by sycophant nobles eager only for court-pensions or lucrative posts, corruption invaded every department of the administration. Greedy fortune-hunters and intriguers throve while merit was neglected, and it was from lack of due reward for his enterprise that the great navigator Magalhaes (Magellan) deserted his native country and took service with Spain. A very serious cause of Portuguese decline is found in the rapid decrease of population. The southern territory, Alemtejo and the Algarves, laid waste in the Moorish wars, had never been well repeopled and tilled, and large numbers of young, vigorous, and enterprising citizens were lost by emigration to the new colonies in the East and West. Many of those who remained in Portugal flocked to Lisbon, which had become the chief distributing centre of Eastern products, and the capital, in the space of 80 years, trebled its population, in spite of the ravages of pestilence due to a fearfully unsanitary condition. The large estates of the king and nobles, instead of being subjected to careful and scientific agriculture, were abandoned to the cheap and inefficient labour of African slaves, imported in such numbers as almost entirely to populate the Algarves and outnumber the free people in Lisbon itself. The kingdom was becoming rotten at heart, in spite of the wealth of the capital, the courtiers, and the king, who was the richest sovereign in Europe.

The last shock to a decayed fabric with a yet fair exterior came under King Sebastian, who reigned from 1557 to 1578. A pathetic and romantic interest yet clings to the memory of this gallant young prince, Dom Sebastian, who died on the battle-field against Moorish foes, and in whom, save for a two-years' reign, the House of Aviz, the old Burgundian line, came to an end. He was but three years old when he became king, as grandson of John III. His mother, Donna Joanna, daughter of the emperor Charles V., retired to Spain, leaving him to the care of his grandparents. The queen, Donna Catharina, sister of Charles V., was regent, very unpopular with the Portuguese from her Spanish exclusiveness, bigotry, and pride. She retired to Spain in 1562, and the little king's uncle, Cardinal Henry, assumed nominal power, the rule of the country being really in the hands of two able Jesuits. In 1568 Dom Sebastian, then not 15 years of age, took up the government, and dismissed the Jesuits from office. The young king, rather German than Portuguese in features, fair-haired and blue-eyed, was of a dreamy and romantic turn of mind, a builder of air-castles, a lover of the marvellous, a seeker of adventures. His zeal for orthodoxy impelled him into a new Crusade, in an age too advanced for such adventures. With a warlike ambition Sebastian combined a fondness for solitude, and a deep melancholy of disposition which seemed to forebode an early and tragical end. In 1574, in his 20th year, he crossed to Africa, as if to recover the lost towns, but his small force of horse and foot was engaged only in raids wherein the king recklessly sought positions of peril. Two years later, a more serious enterprise in Morocco, then troubled by a disputed succession, was undertaken, and Sebastian hired a large mercenary force, composed of men of different 'nations, ill-organised, and ill-equipped for his enterprise. Against the advice of Philip II. of Spain, his uncle, Sebastian set sail in June, 1578, with a force of 15,000 infantry, 2,400 cavalry, and 36 guns. About 10,000 were Portuguese, and the rest were Spanish, German, and Italian hired troops and volunteers, the latter, 900 in number, being commanded by a brave English Catholic, Sir Thomas Stukeley, who had been intercepted by the Portuguese king while he was on his way to raise an insurrection in Ireland against Queen Elizabeth. The march inland, at the end of July, under the burning sun, disabled many of the invaders, who were also harassed by the Moorish skirmishers.

On August 4th Sebastian and his men, in a bad position, with both flanks exposed, were attacked by the Moors with 40,000 horse and 15,000 foot The wings of the king's army were soon overlapped, and after four hours' desperate fighting the Christian army was cut to pieces, 9,000 being killed, including Sebastian and Sir Thomas Stukeley, and the rest made prisoners. Only 50 men escaped from the field. Many of the chief Portuguese nobles and prelates perished on this disastrous day. The king's body was recovered, and finally buried, after interment at Ceuta, in the Church of St. Jerome at Belem. For many years the Portuguese people believed that Sebastian was still alive, and would reappear at some crisis, and many pretended Dom Sebastians arose. The dead king's uncle, Cardinal Henry, last of the line of Aviz, reigned from 1578 to 1580, and then, after a struggle among several candidates for the throne, Philip II. of Spain, winning over a majority of the Cortes, and bribing the duke of Braganza, husband of the true heiress to the Portuguese throne by descent from Emmanuel, obtained the sovereignty for himself, and entered Lisbon in triumph in 1581. Henceforth for nearly 60 years Portugal was but a province of Spain, losing territory in the East and in the Western world under Dutch and English attacks, and suffering from the ruinous wars waged in the Netherlands and Germany and against England. Under Philip III. and Philip IV. of Spain, the tyranny exercised by the chief ministers, the duke of Lerma and Olivarez, provoked a spirit of resistance, and in 1640 a general rising of the people and of the nobles, headed by John, duke of Braganza, the heir to the throne, made an end of Spanish domination. The duke came to the throne in January, 1641, as John IV. of Portugal, first sovereign of the House of Braganza. In the ensuing war with Spain, the Portuguese were at first aided by French and Dutch fleets, and by English troops, and the old possessions in India, Malacca, and Brazil were regained. In 1661 the aid of England was again obtained after the marriage of Catharine of Braganza to Charles II., and a long struggle ended, in 1668, in the formal recognition of Portuguese independence by Spain.

In Italy, we turn first to Venice, and find her in a declining condition. Her former bold and brilliant policy, full of energy and resolution, became timid statecraft, and the great republic of the Adriatic was, in the end, regarded as a useless ally, an uncertain friend, and a foe of small account. A stand was made, early in the i;th century, against Papal claims urged by Paul V., and the matter was compromised by the admission of his power over ecclesiastics, and the enforcement of the Venetian Senate's edict of expulsion against the Jesuits. In 1522 the capture of Rhodes by the Turks deprived Venice of a useful ally, and damaged her Levantine trade. There was much naval warfare with the Turks in the 16th century. In 1571 Cyprus was lost by the surrender of Famagosta to Turkish besiegers, after a heroic defence, and at the end of this period the republic retained, in the Grecian archipelagos, only Candia (Crete), Paros, and the Ionian Isles.

In the 16th century the kings of Spain and the Popes wielded, in this order of importance, the chief power in Italy. In the north there was a rising state - Savoy. Formerly connected with Burgundy, the power of the counts of Savoy became solely Italian, in possession of Piedmont, gradually gaining territory in Italy. In 1641 an Amadeus became duke of Savoy, receiving his title from the emperor Sigismund. About the middle of the 16th century all the territories were lost to Francis I. of France, but Emmanuel Phillibert (1553-1580), son of Charles III. of Savoy, regained them in 1559 by the Treaty of Gateau-Cambresis. Piedmont, with Turin as capital, was now the chief state in the dominions of the dukes of Savoy, who also held the territory of their title, with Nizza (Nice) and other lands to the north-west of the Alps. Charles Emmanuel I. (1580-1630), married to Philip II. of Spain's sister, was an ambitious man, who invaded Provence without success, and even ventured on war with Spain, maintaining his position to the end of his reign.

The Popes, at the end of the 16th century, had a rich, fine territory in the States of the Church, but the people generally suffered much from misrule involving heavy taxation, and the temporal power sank into general discredit during the 17th and following centuries.

In Poland, Sigismund I., of the Jagiello or Jagellon dynasty, reigned from 1506 to 1548. The country was at this time predominant in eastern Europe, with a flourishing trade in wheat and timber, her two natural sources of wealth, carried on from the mouth of the Vistula, acquired by treaty in 1466. The government was mainly in the hands of the nobles, who became farmers on a large scale employing the forced labour of serfs, and thereby gaining great wealth. Trouble arose from the introduction of the Protestant doctrines, which spread rapidly in some quarters, but the bulk of the people remained Catholic. In the next reign (Sigismund II., 1548-1572) Lithuania was joined to Poland, and Warsaw became the capital. A large part of Livonia was conquered, but territory in the east was lost in war with Russia. The population of the country rapidly grew, and along with it the authority of the nobles, who had spiritual power over their serfs, though a Diet of 1573 enacted toleration for all religious opinions. The Diet, consisting of the higher nobility and of deputies chosen by the inferior nobles, sat in one chamber, with the absurd provision, at a later date, of the liberum veto by which a single vote could stay the progress of any measure. The ruin of Poland may be traced, in a large degree, to this Slavonic requirement of unanimous voting, which was used to shield corrupt conduct or to gratify private malice, and hindered all legislative improvement. The crown became virtually elective, and in 1575 a majority of the nobles' votes gave the sovereignty to one of Poland's best kings, Stephen Batory, prince of Transylvania, a famous soldier, who warred successfully against Russia. The throne was accepted by him under restrictions which gave the Diet control over a declaration of war and all military expeditions; the imposition of taxes; the choice of the council of ministers; and the marriage and divorce of the sovereign. A general Diet was to be convoked every two years, or oftener if it were needful, and the duration of a session was limited to six weeks. Under the long reign of Sigismund III. (1586-1632), a Swedish prince, there were quarrels between the king and the Diet, and much persecution of the "Dissidents" or Protestants. In 1621 a great host of Turks and Tartars was defeated at Chocim by the renowned Polish general Chodkiewicz. The country had been in a declining stage during this period. The Protestants were estranged by persecution, and the anarchical conduct of the nobles reached its height. The Jesuits ill-treated members of the Greek Church. Livonia was conquered by Sweden, and during the period ending with 1668. Wallachia and Moldavia were annexed by the Turks; and the Cossacks of the Ukraine, who had been organised into regiments of frontier-troops by Stephen Batory, were driven into rebellion by oppression and by religious persecution as members of the Greek Church. In 1654 these useful military subjects of the monarchy willingly submitted to Russian rule. Towards the close of the reign of John Casimir (1648-1668) the land beyond the Dnieper was ceded to Russia, after the country had been entirely overrun for a time by invading Swedes, Russians, and Brandenburgers.

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