Spanish history is full of monumental events. The years of 1550 through 1750, specifically, encompassed both the rise and fall of the Spanish Empire. In 1550, Spain gained control of several pies of land. Mexico, Central America, the West Indies, area that is now part of the southwestern United States, and much of western South America were all acquired under the regime of Carlos the First. As Spain became a more wealthy, powerful country, Spanish culture and belief tended to change as well. The year 1552 brought Bartolome de Las Casas, the first significant antislavery advocate to the new world. He fought against the injustice and attempted to protect the rights of the unfortunate Native Americans and Blacks in bondage. The Spanish capital was moved to Madrid in 1561, at the pinnacle of Spain's successful empire. However, following shortly after this, in 1566, Carlos I gave up his throne and was replaced by Felipe II. .
Under the rule of Felipe II, the decline of the Spanish empire began. Spain's economy was in serious trouble during the 1560s, and there were frequent revolts in the country's territories. Warfare broke out on several occasions. In a surprisingly positive turn of events for Spain, Felipe II inherited Portugal in 1580. Though this event saved some of Spain's respect during this period of revolution in other Spanish holdings, it was short-lived. The Great Spanish Armada, after being launched against England, was obliterated in 1588. The defeat was brutal, due to unanticipated British power and bad weather conditions; 130 ships were destroyed. This tragedy marked the certain continuing decline of Spain. Ten years later, Felipe III took the throne after his father's death.
Though by 1605 Spain was much poorer, and much less successful, literature and art flourished. Cervantes published his well-known Don Quixote, and artists Juan de Espinosa and Pedro Nunez del Valle produced successful works.