chapter  6
The grand strategy of Philip II and the revolt of the Netherlands
WithFernando González de León, Geoffrey Parker
Pages 26

The royal response to events in the Netherlands was shaped and determined to a very considerable degree by Philip II's imperial strategy and, in turn, the challenge of the Dutch Revolt helped the Spanish monarchy to clarify and organise its foreign policy goals. The records of the Spanish Council of States deliberations in September and October 1566 provide valuable insight into the major principles of Spanish foreign policy and royal grand strategy. This chapter seeks to analyse the controversial thesis that Philip II did indeed possess a grand strategy, a blueprint for empire, an idea widely questioned by scholars. Close examination of the lengthy debates in Madrid over European policy, and most particularly the response to the troubles in the Netherlands in the 1560s and 1570s, reveals a recurrent group of consensual foreign policy goals. As Fernand Braudel pointed out, Philip IIs 1559 journey from Flushing to Laredo marked a turning point in European history.