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Philip II, king of Spain and Portugal, was born at Valladolid, the only son of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V and Isabella of Portugal. Philip II, the self-proclaimed leader of Counter-Reformation, assumed the throne in 1556 with a great deal of potential, inheriting from his uncle Ferdinand the Habsburg lands in Austria together with the imperial crown of the Holy Roman Empire, thus inheriting the Netherlands, Franche-Comté, Naples, Sicily, and Milan. With Spain, however, Philip inherited a new empire overseas, which was far more lucrative than his father's empire in Germany. The death of Charles V also divided the Habsburg territories, freeing Philip from the burden of governing the unstable German Reich. With no strong monarch in France until 1590s and free from the burden of the Franco-Hapsburg wars over Italy, Spain was left without a major rival on the continent.

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Philip II, king of Spain and Portugal, was born at Valladolid, the only son of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V and Isabella of Portugal. Philip II, the self-proclaimed leader of Counter-Reformation, assumed the throne in 1556 with a great deal of potential, inheriting from his uncle Ferdinand the Habsburg lands in Austria together with the imperial crown of the Holy Roman Empire, thus inheriting the Netherlands, Franche-Comté, Naples, Sicily, and Milan. With Spain, however, Philip inherited a new empire overseas, which was far more lucrative than his father's empire in Germany. The death of Charles V also divided the Habsburg territories, freeing Philip from the burden of governing the unstable German Reich. With no strong monarch in France until 1590s and free from the burden of the Franco-Hapsburg wars over Italy, Spain was left without a major rival on the continent. More

 
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