Belgium the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, the North Sea to the northwest, it has a population of more than 11.4 million. The capital and largest city is Brussels; the sovereign state is a federal constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. Its institutional organisation is structured on both regional and linguistic grounds, it is divided into three autonomous regions: Flanders in the north, Wallonia in the south, the Brussels-Capital Region. Brussels is the smallest and most densely populated region, as well as the richest region in terms of GDP per capita. Belgium is home to two main linguistic groups or Communities: the Dutch-speaking Flemish Community, which constitutes about 59 percent of the population, the French-speaking Community, which comprises about 40 percent of all Belgians. A small German-speaking Community, numbering around one percent, exists in the East Cantons.
The Brussels-Capital Region is bilingual, although French is the dominant language. Belgium's linguistic diversity and related political conflicts are reflected in its political history and complex system of governance, made up of six different governments. Belgium was part of an area known as the Low Countries, a somewhat larger region than the current Benelux group of states that included parts of northern France and western Germany, its name is derived after the Roman province of Gallia Belgica. From the end of the Middle Ages until the 17th century, the area of Belgium was a prosperous and cosmopolitan centre of commerce and culture. Between the 16th and early 19th centuries, Belgium served as the battleground between many European powers, earning the moniker the "Battlefield of Europe", a reputation strengthened by both world wars; the country emerged in 1830 following the Belgian Revolution. Belgium participated in the Industrial Revolution and, during the course of the 20th century, possessed a number of colonies in Africa.
The second half of the 20th century was marked by rising tensions between the Dutch-speaking and the French-speaking citizens fueled by differences in language and culture and the unequal economic development of Flanders and Wallonia. This continuing antagonism has led to several far-reaching reforms, resulting in a transition from a unitary to a federal arrangement during the period from 1970 to 1993. Despite the reforms, tensions between the groups have remained, if not increased. Unemployment in Wallonia is more than double that of Flanders. Belgium is one of the six founding countries of the European Union and hosts the official seats of the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, as well as a seat of the European Parliament in the country's capital, Brussels. Belgium is a founding member of the Eurozone, NATO, OECD, WTO, a part of the trilateral Benelux Union and the Schengen Area. Brussels hosts several of the EU's official seats as well as the headquarters of many major international organizations such as NATO.
Belgium is a developed country, with an advanced high-income economy. It has high standards of living, quality of life, education, is categorized as "very high" in the Human Development Index, it ranks as one of the safest or most peaceful countries in the world. The name "Belgium" is derived from Gallia Belgica, a Roman province in the northernmost part of Gaul that before Roman invasion in 100 BC, was inhabited by the Belgae, a mix of Celtic and Germanic peoples. A gradual immigration by Germanic Frankish tribes during the 5th century brought the area under the rule of the Merovingian kings. A gradual shift of power during the 8th century led the kingdom of the Franks to evolve into the Carolingian Empire; the Treaty of Verdun in 843 divided the region into Middle and West Francia and therefore into a set of more or less independent fiefdoms which, during the Middle Ages, were vassals either of the King of France or of the Holy Roman Emperor. Many of these fiefdoms were united in the Burgundian Netherlands of the 15th centuries.
Emperor Charles V extended the personal union of the Seventeen Provinces in the 1540s, making it far more than a personal union by the Pragmatic Sanction of 1549 and increased his influence over the Prince-Bishopric of Liège. The Eighty Years' War divided the Low Countries into the northern United Provinces and the Southern Netherlands; the latter were ruled successively by the Spanish and the Austrian Habsburgs and comprised most of modern Belgium. This was the theatre of most Franco-Spanish and Franco-Austrian wars during the 17th and 18th centuries. Following the campaigns of 1794 in the French Revolutionary Wars, the Low Countries—including territories that were never nominally under Habsburg rule, such as the Prince-Bishopric of Liège—were annexed by the French First Republic, ending Austrian rule in the region; the reunification of the Low Countries as the United Kingdom of the Netherlands occurred at the dissolution of the First French Empire in 1815, after the defeat of Napo
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 1509 until his death in 1547. Henry was the second Tudor monarch, succeeding his father, Henry VII. Henry is best known for his six marriages, in particular his efforts to have his first marriage, to Catherine of Aragon, annulled, his disagreement with the Pope on the question of such an annulment led Henry to initiate the English Reformation, separating the Church of England from papal authority. He appointed himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England and dissolved convents and monasteries, for which he was excommunicated. Henry is known as "the father of the Royal Navy". Domestically, Henry is known for his radical changes to the English Constitution, ushering into England the theory of the divine right of kings. Besides asserting the sovereign's supremacy over the Church of England, he expanded royal power during his reign. Charges of treason and heresy were used to quell dissent, those accused were executed without a formal trial, by means of bills of attainder.
He achieved many of his political aims through the work of his chief ministers, some of whom were banished or executed when they fell out of his favour. Thomas Wolsey, Thomas More, Thomas Cromwell, Richard Rich, Thomas Cranmer all figured prominently in Henry's administration, he was an extravagant spender and used the proceeds from the Dissolution of the Monasteries and acts of the Reformation Parliament to convert into royal revenue the money, paid to Rome. Despite the influx of money from these sources, Henry was continually on the verge of financial ruin due to his personal extravagance as well as his numerous costly and unsuccessful continental wars with King Francis I of France and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. At home, he oversaw the legal union of England and Wales with the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542 and following the Crown of Ireland Act 1542 he was the first English monarch to rule as King of Ireland, his contemporaries considered Henry in his prime to be an attractive and accomplished king.
He has been described as "one of the most charismatic rulers to sit on the English throne". He was an composer; as he aged, Henry became obese and his health suffered, contributing to his death in 1547. He is characterised in his life as a lustful, egotistical and insecure king, he was succeeded by the issue of his third marriage to Jane Seymour. Born 28 June 1491 at the Palace of Placentia in Greenwich, Henry Tudor was the third child and second son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. Of the young Henry's six siblings, only three – Arthur, Prince of Wales, he was baptised by Richard Fox, the Bishop of Exeter, at a church of the Observant Franciscans close to the palace. In 1493, at the age of two, Henry was appointed Constable of Dover Castle and Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, he was subsequently appointed Earl Marshal of England and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland at age three, was inducted into the Order of the Bath soon after. The day after the ceremony he was created Duke of York and a month or so made Warden of the Scottish Marches.
In May 1495, he was appointed to the Order of the Garter. The reason for all the appointments to a small child was so his father could keep personal control of lucrative positions and not share them with established families. Henry was given a first-rate education from leading tutors, becoming fluent in Latin and French, learning at least some Italian. Not much is known about his early life – save for his appointments – because he was not expected to become king. In November 1501, Henry played a considerable part in the ceremonies surrounding his brother's marriage to Catherine of Aragon, the youngest surviving child of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile; as Duke of York, Henry used the arms of his father as king, differenced by a label of three points ermine. He was further honoured, on 9 February 1506, by Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I who made him a Knight of the Golden Fleece. In 1502, Arthur died at the age of 15 of sweating sickness, just 20 weeks after his marriage to Catherine.
Arthur's death thrust all his duties upon the 10-year-old Henry. After a little debate, Henry became the new Duke of Cornwall in October 1502, the new Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester in February 1503. Henry VII gave the boy few tasks. Young Henry was supervised and did not appear in public; as a result, he ascended the throne "untrained in the exacting art of kingship". Henry VII renewed his efforts to seal a marital alliance between England and Spain, by offering his second son in marriage to Arthur's widow Catherine. Both Isabella and Henry VII were keen on the idea, which had arisen shortly after Arthur's death. On 23 June 1503, a treaty was signed for their marriage, they were betrothed two days later. A papal dispensation was only needed for the "impediment of public honesty" if the marriage had not been consummated as Catherine and her duenna claimed, but Henry VII and the Spanish ambassador set out instead to obtain a dispensation for "affinity", which took account of the possibility of consummation.
Cohabitation was not possible. Isabella's death in 1504, the ensuing problems of succession in Castile, complicated matters, her father preferred her to stay in England, but Henry VII's relations with Ferdinand had deteriorated. Catherine was therefore left in limbo for some time, culminating in Prince Henry's rejection of the marriage as soon he was able, at the age of 14. Ferdinand's solution was to make his daugh
Aachen known as Bad Aachen, in French and traditional English as Aix-la-Chapelle, is a spa and border city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Aachen developed from a Roman settlement and spa, subsequently becoming the preferred medieval Imperial residence of Charlemagne, from 936 to 1531, the place where 31 Holy Roman Emperors were crowned Kings of the Germans. Aachen is the westernmost city in Germany, located near the borders with Belgium and the Netherlands, 61 km west south west of Cologne in a former coal-mining area. One of Germany's leading institutes of higher education in technology, the RWTH Aachen University is located in the city. Aachen's industries include science and information technology. In 2009, Aachen was ranked eighth among cities in Germany for innovation; the name Aachen is a modern descendant, like southern German Ach, German: Aach, meaning "river" or "stream", from Old High German ahha, meaning "water" or "stream", which directly translates Latin Aquae, referring to the springs.
The location has been inhabited by humans since the Neolithic era, about 5,000 years ago, attracted to its warm mineral springs. Latin Aquae figures in Aachen's Roman name Aquae granni, which meant "waters of Grannus", referring to the Celtic god of healing, worshipped at the springs; this word became Åxhe in Walloon and Aix in French, subsequently Aix-la-Chapelle after Charlemagne had his palatine chapel built there in the late 8th century and made the city his empire's capital. Aachen's name in French and German evolved in parallel; the city is known by a variety of different names in other languages: Aachen is at the western end of the Benrath line that divides High German to the south from the rest of the West Germanic speech area to the north. Aachen's local dialect belongs to the Ripuarian language. Flint quarries on the Lousberg, Königshügel, first used during Neolithic times, attest to the long occupation of the site of Aachen, as do recent finds under the modern city's Elisengarten pointing to a former settlement from the same period.
Bronze Age settlement is evidenced by the remains of barrows found, on the Klausberg. During the Iron Age, the area was settled by Celtic peoples who were drawn by the marshy Aachen basin's hot sulphur springs where they worshipped Grannus, god of light and healing; the 25-hectare Roman spa resort town of Aquae Granni was, according to legend, founded by Grenus, under Hadrian, around 124 AD. Instead, the fictitious founder refers to the Celtic god, it seems it was the Roman 6th Legion at the start of the 1st century AD that first channelled the hot springs into a spa at Büchel, adding at the end of the same century the Münstertherme spa, two water pipelines, a probable sanctuary dedicated to Grannus. A kind of forum, surrounded by colonnades, connected the two spa complexes. There was an extensive residential area, part of it inhabited by a flourishing Jewish community; the Romans built bathhouses near Burtscheid. A temple precinct called. Today, remains have been found of three bathhouses, including two fountains in the Elisenbrunnen and the Burtscheid bathhouse.
Roman civil administration in Aachen broke down between the end of the 4th and beginning of the 5th centuries. Rome withdrew its troops from the area. By 470, the town came to be ruled by the Ripuarian Franks and subordinated to their capital, Cologne. After Roman times, Pepin the Short had a castle residence built in the town, due to the proximity of the hot springs and for strategic reasons as it is located between the Rhineland and northern France. Einhard mentions that in 765–6 Pepin spent both Christmas and Easter at Aquis villa, which must have been sufficiently equipped to support the royal household for several months. In the year of his coronation as king of the Franks, 768, Charlemagne came to spend Christmas at Aachen for the first time, he remained there in a mansion which he may have extended, although there is no source attesting to any significant building activity at Aachen in his time, apart from the building of the Palatine Chapel and the Palace. Charlemagne spent most winters in Aachen between 792 and his death in 814.
Aachen became the political centre of his empire. After his death, the king was buried in the church. In 936, Otto I was crowned king of East Francia in the collegiate church built by Charlemagne. During the reign of Otto II, the nobles revolted and the West Franks, under Lothair, raided Aachen in the ensuing confusion. Aachen was attacked again by Odo of Champagne, who attacked the imperial palace while Conrad II was absent. Odo relinquished it and was killed soon afterwards; the palace and town of Aachen had fortifying walls built by order of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa between 1172 and 1176. Over the next 500 years, most kings of Germany destined to reign over the Holy Roman Empire were crowned in Aachen; the original audience hall built by Charlemagne was torn down and replaced by the current city hall in 1330. The last king to be crowned here was Ferdinand I in 1531. During the Middle Ages, Aachen remained a city o
Liège is a major Walloon city and municipality and the capital of the Belgian province of Liège. The city is situated in the valley of the Meuse, in the east of Belgium, not far from borders with the Netherlands and with Germany. At Liège, the Meuse meets the River Ourthe; the city is part of the former industrial backbone of Wallonia. It still is the principal cultural centre of the region; the Liège municipality includes the former communes of Angleur, Bressoux, Chênée, Grivegnée, Jupille-sur-Meuse and Wandre. In November 2012, Liège had 198,280 inhabitants; the metropolitan area, including the outer commuter zone, covers an area of 1,879 km2 and had a total population of 749,110 on 1 January 2008. This includes a total of 52 municipalities, among others and Seraing. Liège ranks as the third most populous urban area in Belgium, after Brussels and Antwerp, the fourth municipality after Antwerp and Charleroi; the name is Germanic in origin and is reconstructible as *liudik-, from the Germanic word *liudiz "people", found in for example Dutch lui, German Leute, Old English lēod and Icelandic lýður.
It is found in Lithuanian as liaudis, in Russian as liudi, in Latin as Leodicum or Leodium, in Middle Dutch as ludic or ludeke. Until 17 September 1946, the city's name was written Liége, with the acute accent instead of a grave accent. In French, Liège is associated with the epithet la cité ardente; this term, which emerged around 1905 referred to the city's history of rebellions against Burgundian rule, but was appropriated to refer to its economic dynamism during the Industrial Revolution. Although settlements existed in Roman times, the first references to Liège are from 558, when it was known as Vicus Leudicus. Around 705, Saint Lambert of Maastricht is credited with completing the Christianization of the region, indicating that up to the early 8th century the religious practices of antiquity had survived in some form. Christian conversion may still not have been quite universal, since Lambert was murdered in Liège and thereafter regarded as a martyr for his faith. To enshrine St. Lambert's relics, his successor, built a basilica near the bishop's residence which became the true nucleus of the city.
A few centuries the city became the capital of a prince-bishopric, which lasted from 985 till 1794. The first prince-bishop, transformed the city into a major intellectual and ecclesiastical centre, which maintained its cultural importance during the Middle Ages. Pope Clement VI recruited several musicians from Liège to perform in the Papal court at Avignon, thereby sanctioning the practice of polyphony in the religious realm; the city was renowned for its many churches, the oldest of which, St Martin's, dates from 682. Although nominally part of the Holy Roman Empire, in practice it possessed a large degree of independence; the strategic position of Liège has made it a frequent target of armies and insurgencies over the centuries. It was fortified early on with a castle on the steep hill. During this medieval period, three women from the Liège region made significant contributions to Christian spirituality: Elizabeth Spaakbeek, Christina the Astonishing, Marie of Oignies. In 1345, the citizens of Liège rebelled against Prince-Bishop Engelbert III de la Marck, their ruler at the time, defeated him in battle near the city.
Shortly after, a unique political system formed in Liège, whereby the city's 32 guilds shared sole political control of the municipal government. Each person on the register of each guild was eligible to participate, each guild's voice was equal, making it the most democratic system that the Low Countries had known; the system spread to Utrecht, left a democratic spirit in Liège that survived the Middle Ages. At the end of the Liège Wars, a rebellion against rule from Burgundy that figured prominently in the plot of Sir Walter Scott's 1823 novel Quentin Durward, Duke Charles the Bold of Burgundy, witnessed by King Louis XI of France and destroyed the city in 1468, after a bitter siege, ended with a successful surprise attack; the Prince-Bishopric of Liège was technically part of the Holy Roman Empire which, after 1477, came under the rule of the Habsburgs. The reign of prince-bishop Erard de la Marck coincides with the dawn of the Renaissance. During the Counter-Reformation, the diocese of Liège was split and progressively lost its role as a regional power.
In the 17th century, many prince-bishops came from the royal house of Wittelsbach. They ruled over other bishoprics in the northwest of the Holy Roman Empire as well. In 1636, during the Thirty Years' War, the city was besieged by Imperial forces under Johann von Werth from April to July; the army consisting of mercenaries and viciously plundered the surrounding bishopric during the siege. The Duke of Marlborough captured the city from the Bavarian prince-bishop and his French allies in 1704 during the War of the Spanish Succession. In the middle of the eighteenth century the ideas of the French Encyclopédistes began to gain popularity in the region. Bishop de Velbruck, encouraged their propagation, thus prepared the way for the Liège Revolution which started in the episcopal city on 18 August 1789 and led to the creation of the Republic of Liège before it was invaded by counter-revolutionary forces of the Habsbu
Wallonia is a region of Belgium. As the southern portion of the country, Wallonia is French-speaking, accounts for 55% of Belgium's territory and a third of its population; the Walloon Region was not merged with the French Community of Belgium, the political entity responsible for matters related to culture and education, because the French Community of Belgium encompasses both Wallonia and the majority French-Speaking Brussels-Capital Region. The German-speaking minority in eastern Wallonia results from WWI and the subsequent annexation of three cantons that were part of the former German empire; this community represents less than 1% of the Belgian population. It forms the German-speaking Community of Belgium, which has its own government and parliament for culture-related issues. During the industrial revolution, Wallonia was second only to the United Kingdom in industrialization, capitalizing on its extensive deposits of coal and iron; this brought the region wealth, from the beginning of the 19th to the middle of the 20th century, Wallonia was the more prosperous half of Belgium.
Since World War II, the importance of heavy industry has diminished, the Flemish Region surpassed Wallonia in wealth, as Wallonia declined economically. Wallonia now suffers from high unemployment and has a lower GDP per capita than Flanders; the economic inequalities and linguistic divide between the two are major sources of political conflicts in Belgium and a major factor in Flemish separatism. The capital of Wallonia is Namur, the most populous city is Charleroi. Most of Wallonia's major cities and two-thirds of its population lie along the Sambre and Meuse valley, the former industrial backbone of Belgium. To the north lies the Central Belgian Plateau, like Flanders, is flat and agriculturally fertile. In the southeast lie the Ardennes and sparsely populated. Wallonia borders Flanders and the Netherlands in the north, France to the south and west, Germany and Luxembourg to the east. Wallonia has been a member of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie since 1980; the term "Wallonia" can mean different things in different contexts.
One of the three federal regions of Belgium is still constitutionally defined as the Walloon Region, but the region's government has renamed it Wallonia, it is called Wallonia. Preceding 1 April 2010, when the renaming came into effect, Wallonia would sometimes refer to the territory governed by the Walloon Region, whereas Walloon Region referred to the government. In practice, the difference between the two terms is small and what is meant is clear, based on context; the root of the word Wallonia, like the words Wales and Wallachia, is the Germanic word Walha, meaning the strangers. Wallonia is named after the Walloons, the population of the Burgundian Netherlands speaking Romance languages. In Middle Dutch, the term Walloons included the French-speaking population of the Prince-Bishopric of Liège or the whole population of the Romanic sprachraum within the medieval Low Countries. Julius Caesar conquered Gaul in 57 BC; the Low Countries became part of the larger Gallia Belgica province which stretched from southwestern Germany to Normandy and the southern part of the Netherlands.
The population of this territory was Celtic with a Germanic influence, stronger in the north than in the south of the province. Gallia Belgica became progressively romanized; the ancestors of the Walloons became Gallo-Romans and were called the "Walha" by their Germanic neighbours. The "Walha" started to speak Vulgar Latin; the Merovingian Franks gained control of the region during the 5th century, under Clovis. Due to the fragmentation of the former Roman Empire, Vulgar Latin regionally developed along different lines and evolved into several langue d'oïl dialects, which in Wallonia became Picard and Lorrain; the oldest surviving text written in a langue d'oïl, the Sequence of Saint Eulalia, has characteristics of these three languages and was written in or near to what is now Wallonia around 880 AD. From the 4th to the 7th century, the Franks established several settlements mostly in the north of the province where the romanization was less advanced and some Germanic trace was still present.
The language border began to crystallize between 700 under the reign of the Merovingians and Carolingians and around 1000 after the Ottonian Renaissance. French-speaking cities, with Liège as the largest one, appeared along the Meuse river and Gallo-Roman cities such as Tongeren and Aachen became Germanized; the Carolingian dynasty dethroned the Merovingians in the 8th century. In 843, the Treaty of Verdun gave the territory of present-day Wallonia to Middle Francia, which would shortly fragment, with the region passing to Lotharingia. On Lotharingia's breakup in 959, the present-day territory of Belgium became part of Lower Lotharingia, which fragmented into rival principalities and duchies by 1190. Literary Latin, taught in schools, lost its hegemony during the 13th century and was replaced by Old French. In the 15th century, the Dukes of Burgundy took over the Low Countries; the death of Charles the Bold in 1477 raised the issue of succession, the Liégeois took advantage of this to regain some of their autonomy.
From the 16th to the 18th century, the Low Countries wer
Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder was a Roman author and natural philosopher, a naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, friend of emperor Vespasian. Spending most of his spare time studying and investigating natural and geographic phenomena in the field, Pliny wrote the encyclopedic Naturalis Historia, which became an editorial model for encyclopedias, his nephew, Pliny the Younger, wrote of him in a letter to the historian Tacitus: For my part I deem those blessed to whom, by favour of the gods, it has been granted either to do what is worth writing of, or to write what is worth reading. In the latter number will be my uncle, of your compositions. Pliny the Younger refers to Tacitus’s reliance upon his uncle's book, the History of the German Wars. Pliny the Elder died in AD 79 in Stabiae while attempting the rescue of a friend and his family by ship from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which had destroyed the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum; the wind caused by the sixth and largest pyroclastic surge of the volcano’s eruption did not allow his ship to leave port, Pliny died during that event.
Pliny's dates are pinned to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79 and a statement of his nephew that he died in his 56th year, which would put his birth in AD 23 or 24. Pliny was the son of an equestrian, Gaius Plinius Celer, his wife, Marcella. Neither the younger nor the elder Pliny mention the names, their ultimate source is a fragmentary inscription found in a field in Verona and recorded by the 16th-century Augustinian monk Onofrio Panvinio at Verona. The form is an elegy; the most accepted reconstruction is PLINIVS SECVNDVS AVGV. LERI. PATRI. MATRI. MARCELLAE. TESTAMENTO FIERI IVSSOThe Vs represent Us, it should say "Plinius Secundus augur ordered this to be made as a testament to his father ler and his mother Marcella"The actual words are fragmentary. The reading of the inscription depends on the reconstruction, but in all cases the names come through. Whether he was an augur and whether she was named Grania Marcella are less certain. Jean Hardouin presents a statement from an unknown source that he claims was ancient, that Pliny was from Verona and that his parents were Celer and Marcella.
Hardouin cites the conterraneity of Catullus. How the inscription got to Verona is unknown, but it could have arrived by dispersal of property from Pliny the Younger's Tuscan estate at Colle Plinio, north of Città di Castello, identified for certain by his initials in the roof tiles, he kept statues of his ancestors there. Pliny the Elder was born at Como, not at Verona: it is only as a native of old Gallia Transpadana that he calls Catullus of Verona his conterraneus, or fellow-countryman, not his municeps, or fellow-townsman. A statue of Pliny on the façade of the Duomo of Como celebrates him as a native son, he had a sister, who married into the Caecilii and was the mother of his nephew, Pliny the Younger, whose letters describe his work and study regimen in detail. In one of his letters to Tacitus, Pliny the Younger details how his uncle's breakfasts would be light and simple following the customs of our forefathers; this shows that Pliny the Younger wanted it to be conveyed that Pliny the Elder was a "good Roman", which means that he maintained the customs of the great Roman forefathers.
This statement would have pleased Tacitus. Two inscriptions identifying the hometown of Pliny the Younger as Como take precedence over the Verona theory. One commemorates the younger's career as the imperial magistrate and details his considerable charitable and municipal expenses on behalf of the people of Como. Another identifies his father Lucius' village as Fecchio near Como. Therefore, Plinia was a local girl and Pliny the Elder, her brother, was from Como. Gaius was a member of the Plinia gens: the insubric root Plina still persists, with rhotacism, in the local surname "Prina", he did not take his father's cognomen, but assumed his own, Secundus. As his adopted son took the same cognomen, Pliny founded the Plinii Secundi; the family was prosperous. No earlier instances of the Plinii are known. In 59 BC, only about 82 years before Pliny's birth, Julius Caesar founded Novum Comum as a colonia to secure the region against the Alpine tribes, whom he had been unable to defeat, he imported a population of 4,500 from other provinces to be placed in Comasco and 500 aristocratic Greeks to found Novum Comum itself.
The community was thus multi-ethnic and the Plinies could have come from anywhere. No record of any ethnic distinctions in Pliny's time is apparent; the population prided themselves on being Roman citizens. Pliny the Elder had no children. In his will, he adopted his nephew; the adoption is called a "testamental adoption" by writers on the topic, who assert that it applied to the name change only, but Roman jurisprudence recognizes no such category. Pliny the Younger thus became the adopted son of Pliny the Elder after the latter's death. Fo
Philip II of Spain
Philip II was King of Spain, King of Portugal, King of Naples and Sicily, jure uxoris King of England and Ireland. He was Duke of Milan. From 1555 he was lord of the Seventeen Provinces of the Netherlands; the son of Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain Charles V and Isabella of Portugal, Philip was called "Felipe el Prudente" in Spain. During his reign, Spain reached the height of its power; this is sometimes called the Spanish Golden Age. The expression "the empire on which the sun never sets" was coined during Philip's time to reflect the extent of his dominion. During Philip's reign there were separate state bankruptcies in 1557, 1560, 1569, 1575, 1596; this was the cause of the declaration of independence that created the Dutch Republic in 1581. On 31 December 1584 Philip signed the Treaty of Joinville, with Henry I, Duke of Guise signing on behalf of the Catholic League. A devout Catholic, Philip saw himself as the defender of Catholic Europe against the Ottoman Empire and the Protestant Reformation.
He sent a large armada to invade Protestant England in 1588, with the strategic aim of overthrowing Elizabeth I of England and the establishment of Protestantism in England. He hoped to stop both English interference in the Spanish Netherlands and the harm caused to Spanish interests by English and Dutch privateering. Philip was described by the Venetian ambassador Paolo Fagolo in 1563 as "slight of stature and round-faced, with pale blue eyes, somewhat prominent lip, pink skin, but his overall appearance is attractive"; the Ambassador went on to say "He dresses tastefully, everything that he does is courteous and gracious." Besides Mary I, Philip was married three other times and widowed four times. The son of Charles I and V, King of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor and his wife, Isabella of Portugal, Philip was born in the Spanish capital of Valladolid on 21 May 1527 at Palacio de Pimentel, owned by Don Bernardino Pimentel; the culture and courtly life of Spain were an important influence in his early life.
He was tutored by the future Archbishop of Toledo. Philip displayed reasonable aptitude in letters alike, he would study with more illustrious tutors, including the humanist Juan Cristóbal Calvete de Estrella. Though Philip had good command over Latin and Portuguese, he never managed to equal his father, Charles V, as a polyglot. While Philip was a German archduke of the House of Habsburg, he was seen as a foreigner in the Holy Roman Empire; the feeling was mutual. Philip felt himself to be culturally Spanish; this would impede his succession to the imperial throne. In April 1528, when Philip was eleven months old, he received the oath of allegiance as heir to the crown from the Cortes of Castile. From that time until the death of his mother Isabella in 1539, he was raised in the royal court of Castile under the care of his mother and one of her Portuguese ladies, Dona Leonor de Mascarenhas, to whom he was devotedly attached. Philip was close to his two sisters, María and Juana, to his two pages, the Portuguese nobleman Rui Gomes da Silva and Luis de Requesens, the son of his governor Juan de Zúñiga.
These men would serve Philip throughout their lives, as would Antonio Pérez, his secretary from 1541. Philip's martial training was undertaken by his governor, Juan de Zúñiga, a Castilian nobleman who served as the commendador mayor of Castile; the practical lessons in warfare were overseen by the Duke of Alba during the Italian Wars. Philip was present at the Siege of Perpignan in 1542 but did not see action as the Spanish army under Alba decisively defeated the besieging French forces under the Dauphin of France. On his way back to Castile, Philip received the oath of allegiance of the Aragonese Cortes at Monzón, his political training had begun a year under his father, who had found his son studious and prudent beyond his years, having decided to train and initiate him in the government of Spain. The king-emperor's interactions with his son during his stay in Spain convinced him of Philip's precocity in statesmanship, so he determined to leave in his hands the regency of Spain in 1543. Philip, made the Duke of Milan in 1540, began governing the most extensive empire in the world at the young age of sixteen.
Charles left Philip with experienced advisors—notably the secretary Francisco de los Cobos and the general Duke of Alba. Philip was left with extensive written instructions that emphasised "piety, patience and distrust." These principles of Charles were assimilated by his son, who would grow up to become grave, self-possessed and cautious. Philip spoke and had an icy self-mastery. After living in the Netherlands in the early years of his reign, Philip II decided to return to Spain. Although sometimes described as an absolute monarch, Philip faced many constitutional constraints on his authority, influenced by the growing strength of the bureaucracy; the Spanish Empire was not a single monarchy with one legal system but a federation of separate r