Becoming Modern: Making The Modern State – Spain, Portugal, and the Inquisition (Episode #32)

We explore European monarchs’ early quest to consolidate royal power and establish their subjects’ direct loyalty to the crown. In particular, we trace the early triumphs and slow declines of the Spanish and Portuguese monarchs, driven by the pioneering ambitions of Isabella of Castile, Philip II of Spain, John II of Portugal, and the formidable Marques de Pombal. We also examine the workings of the Spanish Inquisition, which served as a crucial cornerstone of the modern bureaucratic state, with its systems of mass surveillance, ideological propaganda, and obsession with extracting confessions from the accused. Suggested Further reading: Henry Kamen, “Golden Age Spain” and “The Spanish Inquisition.”

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