The Spanish Empire in the 16th century
I am a wine lover who is passionate about history. It is a pleasure receiving foreigners and telling them my own version of the history of Spain and the history of wine in Spain.
I have the feeling of assembling pieces of a huge puzzle that never ends. And it is an immense pleasure when I put a new piece in that immense puzzle. I do not pretend to be a scholar of the subject, but I love to enjoy telling the history of Spain to foreigners who visit us.
Many of them have little knowledge of our history. It is my responsibility to make them understand the subject so that they enjoy the experience and the wines they taste much more.
A wine tour is for us nearly always a history tour. Any story is better with a glass of wine in hand. All good wines have a very nice story behind.
We offer much more than a wine tasting. We also want to tell the story of the wines and their surroundings. The trips we make through the wineries of Castilla y León and Castilla La Mancha are long enough to have great conversations that fall short when we delve into certain topics.
Being able to meet people with an interest in drinking good wines listening to beautiful stories that give meaning to those wines and their surroundings is an unspeakable pleasure for me. In such a situation, one, besides enjoying, makes friends.
Curiously, when I’m in the big city, that interest in meeting new people doesn’t drive me crazy. Those who come with a specific interest in knowing Spain and its wines are a reward that I did not expect when I started doing this activity.
The world changed greatly in the 15th and 16th centuries. In the 16th century Spain became the center of the world.
Gutenberg, with the invention of typography and printing, changed the transmission of knowledge. The future kings of Castile and Aragon married each other.
A revolution was discovered that allowed ships to sail with unfavorable winds. The first ones who took advantage of it were the Portuguese. They discovered the African way to reach Asia.
In Europe, there was already a great need for many products from India and China and there was already a flourishing trade through the silk route. That route was tremendously dangerous. 8 out of 10 caravans were assaulted by bandits ..
With the capture of Constantinople, Istanbul in our days, the silk route was cut. The first solution was given by the Portuguese. They discovered the African route that circumnavigated Africa and reached India and China.
That meant a huge wealth for Portugal that turned that route into a monopoly.
Key factors that made the Spanish Empire of the 16th century so splendid:
- 1) With the invention of the printing press, the expansion of knowledge had a spectacular boost
- 2) Navigation technology took a spectacular leap. Everything became closer
- 3) Two extraordinary people married each other: Isabel from Castilla and Fernando from Aragón. Isabel the Catholic is the most important woman of Spanish history. Fernando de Aragón served as a model for Niccolò Machiavelli to write his famous book “The Prince“
- 4) Together they finished the reconquest of Spain with the conquest of Granada, Since then, Spain has been only one kingdom as a whole.
- 5) The huge strategic move of the Catholic kings by marrying their daughter with the heir of the German Empire
- 6) The grandson of the Catholic Kings, Carlos I inherited not only the Spanish Empire but the German Empire.
- 7) The discovery of America done by Christopher Columbus and all that this meant. Christopher Columbus and the Catholic Kings, the most important actors in Spanish history.
- 8) In the kingdom of Carlos 1 of Spain, it was Magellan, a Portuguese sailor who convinced the emperor that he could go around the world, and he did so even though he died in the attempt (500 years after Magallanes left this year). Read the fantastic biography written by Stefan Zweig. Magellan
- 9) With the circumnavigation of the world, the earth, instead of being flat, became round and much larger.
- 10) With the discovery of America and with access to China sailing east the kingdoms of Spain and Portugal became the richest in the world with a great difference from the others.
The Portuguese King
It is curious that in both cases, both Columbus and Magellan proposed to the King of Portugal to undertake their projects under his support. The Portuguese were no interested in those projects. They had their own project that did not allow them to think about going to the west.
They were going south to Africa. How much would have changed the world if the promoters of these companies had been undertaken by the Portuguese? Who knows?
One of the many stories that we tell in the Winebus on our Madrid day tour.
These types of stories are what we like to tell in our Winebus tours from Madrid to Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero, to Rueda, to Castilla La Mancha, to Avila, to Cuenca… The stories are part of our Madrid wine tours.
Talk about the birth of Spain and Portugal as modern states.
Are our tours of wines tours or castle tours? Castles and wines
These kinds of stories are what make us visit cities like Trujillo, a city par excellence where many conquerors were born and returned after their successful campaigns or died in the effort. Francisco Pizarro was born in Trujillo. We seek not only the cities but the wine cellars with very good wines that allow us to make a dream trip in which they tell us beautiful stories and we can listen to them with a glass of wine in hand.
We want to enjoy the present recalling wonderful stories of the past enjoying a product of the present such as wine. Wine that we have in Spain in large quantities and whose quality is among the best in the world.
Come with us to live those stories with a glass of wine in hand in one of our madrid wine tour.
Ceo of Winebus