Cardinal Richelieu’s Political Goals in France & The Decline of Spain

Cardinal Richelieu came to power as chief minister of France in 1624; during the reign of King Louis XIII of France. Richelieu strove to make France a centralized country by subduing any traces of medieval feudalism and other threats to the French throne. Richelieu also subdued the Huguenots in La Rochelle, which ended the political independence of the Protestants in France. He did, however allow them religious tolerance. Richelieu’s foreign policy was aimed at reducing the Hapsburg power to avoid the encirclement of France by Hapsburg territories.

The Decline of Spain

Spain was wealthy around the end of the 16th century, partially due to money coming in from the new world. However, much economic activity was controlled by state-enforced monopolies and state favorites, which began to sink the economy significantly. During the reign of Philip IV, Spain was involved in a lot of expensive wars in France and the Netherlands, which further drained the economy. These issues as well as rebellions in Catalonia, Portugal, and other places finally taxed Spain to the point that it was forced to scale back its international ambitions.

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