The Spanish zeal for Catholicism dramatically affected the reigns of the 16th century Spanish monarchs. The crusader mentality pushed the Spanish into numerous battles, both internally and internationally, which defined their presence in both Europe and the New World. Ultimately, these efforts would drain the vast riches that flowed from the Americas and bring about the decline the Spanish Empire. This lesson focuses on five key stages of the Spanish fight to spread and maintain Catholicism in Europe and the New World.
- Create and complete a comparison chart that helps students analyze and evaluate the following interactions by Spain with non-Catholics both in the New and Old Worlds under Ferdinand and Isabella, Charles V, and Philip II:
- Defeat of the Muslims in Granada
- Spanish Inquisition
- New World Conversions
- Inquisition of Diego de Landa of 1562
- Battle of Lepanto (vs. Ottomans)
- Protestant Uprising in the Netherlands
- Spanish Armada
- Acting as a royal advisor, suggest alternative interactions and the potential consequences of each.
- Ask students to create a comparison chart with three columns and eight rows on two pieces of paper. Label the columns: Event, Event Facts, and Consequences. Label the rows with each of the events listed in the task.
- Have the students work in small groups to complete the chart.
- Next, have group members act as advisors to the Spanish monarchs mentioned above. Decide as a group which course of action should be taken as an alternative to the actual historical event.
- For each event, write a short narrative detailing how the course of Spanish history may have been different had they taken this action.
- As a class, share each response and discuss the implications of the actual decisions made by the Spanish, as well as what would have been different if other choices had been made.
- As a class, evaluate the broad impact of Catholicism on Spanish history during the 16th century.
- Birth of a New World Religion
- The Spanish Empire: In the Name of God and King
- Chapter 2: The Old World Family Tree
- Chapter 4: How Contact Changed the New World
- Chapter 6: The Fall of the Spanish Empire
- Diego de Landa
Plot all of the events on a Google Map, Google Earth, or Everlater , a Google Maps-based travel log website. Add the geographic distances from Spain to each event and analyze how those distances may have also increased the impact on the Spanish Empire.