Europe: The Hapsburgs Ascendant


Day course

Mike Shaw

16 January 2021


Book now


This course considers the European balance of power in the latter part of the 16th Century.

With the Iberian Reconquista complete, adventurers in the employ of the newly-unified Spanish crown exploited and repatriated the gold and silver of conquered native civilisations of the Americas and the Philippines. This influx of treasure coupled with Portuguese dominance of trade with India and the Orient began a process of concentration of wealth in the two Catholic powers.

Charles V of Hapsburg’s inheritance of the Spanish throne brought that family to European pre-eminence but with religious ferment brewing in German lands, a divided Christendom lay prey to Ottoman invasion under Suleiman the Magnificent. That threat was played out in the Balkans and Mediterranean theatres in the sieges of Belgrade, Buda. Vienna and Rhodes.

Governing possessions which now extended across Western Europe and around the recently discovered world with no fixed capital city proved impracticable and Charles divided Hapsburg possessions between his son Philip and his brother Ferdinand in a solution that was to influence the course of history for more than two centuries. Philip adopted the mantle of Defender of Christendom against the Turk in lifting of the Great Siege of Malta and culminating in victory in the naval battle of Lepanto.

But Spanish Hapsburg power over-reached itself in the attempt to bring recalcitrant and protestant England back into the Catholic fold. Thereafter Hapsburg power would be challenged by the new Bourbon dynasty in France.

The series can be booked as a whole with a discount or as separate courses.  

Tutor information

Mike Shaw was a regular soldier for over 30 years and has been a keen student of history all his life. A regular contributor to the Dillington programme, he has an interest in the history of the continent as a whole, particularly where western and slavic cultures have been impacted. A frequent independent traveller through the whole continent, he explores how trading networks flourished from the earliest times despite the countervailing demands of religion and tribal security. He offers rare insights into how historical perspectives have influenced more recent events. More importantly however, it is the way he tells the story.

Covid information

Dillington House wishes to reassure everyone that we are working closely with Somerset County Council to ensure every measure is being taken to make Dillington House a safe place for everyone.

All course participants will be sent further guidance prior to the course date.

Dillington House is following Government guidelines and adhering to new guidance including local or national lockdowns.

All places booked can be transferred or refunded in the event this course is cancelled. Individuals who are affected by local lockdowns will be able to transfer to an alternative course. All other terms and conditions apply.