Power and Finance at the Court of Charles V: Francisco De Los Cobos, Royal Secretary of Charles V

Liddle, Dryden Grant (2010). Power and Finance at the Court of Charles V: Francisco De Los Cobos, Royal Secretary of Charles V. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000f1de


This thesis places Francisco de los Cobos at the centre of Charles V's imperial project. It therefore discusses his role in the context of Spanish administration, society, economy and empire. Given the emperor's voracious need for finance for his many wars Cobos is shown to be inseparable from the whole question of Castilian financial resources. The thesis is thematic, beginning by tracing Cobos's rise through an analysis of his tactics for securing and maintaining political power and social ascent by his use of Castile's institutions. This establishes the context of his world. It then considers his use of power and his political network. From his rise, through his Castilian administrative skills, the thesis shows that he was at the centre of wider developments — the financing needs of imperial policy and the emerging discoveries of precious metals in the New World.

The longest chapters relate to his central role in broadening the financial basis of Charles's royal domain wealth in Castile by, among other things, working with the towns to ensure a regular increase in taxes from the town's representatives in the Cortes. This solidified his position of trust and confidence with the emperor and also provided the means by which credit could be obtained through secured contracts with the bankers.

The thesis redresses the imbalance of previous scholarship where, although Cobos's importance was recognised, it was usually in an oblique or subsidiary role showing him absorbed in the detail of administration and patronage. The thesis concludes by examining his purpose and success in entailing his wealth and family dynasty.

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