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In the sixteenth century, the Spaniards became the first nation in history to have worldwide reach-across most of Europe to the Americas, the Philippines, and India. The Golden Age of the Spanish Empire would establish five centuries of Western supremacy across the globe and usher in an era of transatlantic exploration that eventually gave rise to the modern world. It was a time of discovery and adventure, of great political and social change-a time when Spain learned to rule the world.
It was also a time of great turbulence and transition, which fueled an exceptional flourishing of art and literature and inspired new ideas about international law, merchant banking, and economic and social theory. Chronicling the lives and achievements of a cast of legendary characters--great soldiers like the Duke of Alba, artists and writers like El Greco, Velázquez and Cervantes, and the powerful monarchs who ruled over them--Robert Goodwin delves into previously unrecorded sources to bring this tumultuous and exciting period to life. Spain is a revealing portrait of an empire at the height of its power and a world at the dawn of a new age.