Philip V of Spain

The King Who Reigned Twice

By Henry Kamen
(Yale University Press, Hardcover, 9780300087185, 288pp.)

Publication Date: May 2001

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Description
Philip V, who reluctantly assumed the Spanish throne in 1700, was the first of the Bourbon dynasty which continues to reign today. Philip's forty-six-year reign, briefly curtailed in 1724 when he abdicated in favor of his short-lived son, Louis I, was one of the most important in the country's history. This highly readable account is the first biography of Philip V in English.

Previous writing on Philip has been largely negative, dismissing him as comic, stupid, and indolent. Henry Kamen demonstrates here, however, that the king initiated significant developments in politics, imperial policy, finance, government, and the army that laid the basis of the modern Spanish state. Philip also encouraged literature, the creative arts, and music in ways that brought Spanish culture closer in touch with Europe, and he dealt authoritatively with issues concerning the autonomy of the provinces of Spain and the role of the monarchy itself. Drawing on both contemporary sources and fresh archival sources, Kamen discusses Philip's character, decisions, and policies. Kamen's account of Philip as king provides an essential introduction to the study of early eighteenth-century Spain and the Bourbon monarchy.

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