Now let’s broaden our focus for a moment. Although Spain still had a mighty empire with its extensive territories in the Americas, the Pacific and Africa, it was an empire in decline following mismanagement by Phillip. Other difficulties included a couple of ongoing wars – specifically, with neighboring countries Portugal and France.
Meanwhile, the Spanish court itself, with Mariana at its head, was a hive of intrigue. This wasn’t helped by the fact that Mariana chose her often-undeserving favorites for positions of power. And one Juan Everardo Nithard, whom Mariana appointed as the Grand Inquisitor, emerged at the top of the pile.