Una diferente ‘Plus Ultra’ - the Avís-Trastámara Kings of All Spain and the Indies (Updated 11/7)

formion

Banned
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Converts received 3-6 years of taxbreak and in many cases additional land confiscated from their more stubborn brethren. Tatar nobles received cash for converting and positions in the administration and court. By the 19th century, many noble familes had muslim Tatar ancestors. Muslims had to pay higher taxes and additional corvee was imposed. Of course, the church sent priests that knew the local languages and the converts were under scrutiny.

Here is a source on the stradioti
Light cavalry, excellent at ambushes and raiding. Used to the mountainous terrain of the Balkans. In many cases they were similar to the light spanish cavalrymen. Around 25,000 stradioti and their families settled in Italy.
 
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Excellent update, interesting to see how variable the fortunes of war can be to the Spanish and their North African and Turkish enemies.
 
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Excellent update, interesting to see how variable the fortunes of war can be to The Spanish and Their North African and Turkish enemies.
One of my favorite aspects of this TL is that it isn't an active Spanish Wank. Its well thought out, seems possible, and gives broad consequences on a variety of outcomes. Whether they are positive or negative.
 
One of my favorite aspects of this TL is that it isn't an active Spanish Wank. Its well thought out, seems possible, and gives broad consequences on a variety of outcomes. Whether they are positive or negative.
To be honest there ain't many stories with Spanish Wank that I know of or the normal Spanish stories
 
The lord of Espana returns!

!Viva¡

Great chapter. Now the long waiting of half a year start again:)

;)

Have the Spanish taken into consideration the idea of deporting certain numbers of unruly locals to the New World colonies? Better there than in North Africa where they might serve as a fifth column.

Perhaps, although most of these "undesirables" are either too out of reach to be deported or too vital to the local economy (e.g. North African Muslims) or are the subject of suspicion and therefore wanted to be held as closely to the Crown as possible (e.g. Moriscos). Likewise, with every passing year and with every returning treasure fleet, the Americas are increasingly seen as the crown jewel of the Spanish empire, and anything that carries with it even the slightest possibility of threat to the American arrangement is considered out if the question.

Seems that the next Ottoman target would be the key Central Mediterranean island of Sicily ...
Wouldn't put it past the Ottomans, but couldn't imagine even they'd think they could get away with a prize that large so close to Rome.
Well, whatever that would be the target, I think that would be very possible for them to think in this way... Because until now, except for some (from their perspective) minor losses on the naval side and/or minor skirmishes on the empire 'periphery'; their armies only have known of victories against their enemies.
We, also, should be considered and taken into account, the Ottoman and especially from the Sultan, their self trust (even if they shared it with the Iberians) given to be fighting for a righteous/sacred cause...
So, given the above, I think that de, it would possibly for the Sultan and/or his advisers believe that would be possible for them to achieve success...
Of course, that's, on the practical side an Ottoman adventure/expedition to Sicily from this kind... it would be an entirely different matter evening only considering the logistical side...
Also, if started and/or for the Ottomans would achieve success with an amphibian invasion of this kind would be necessary to force a decisive naval battle for destroying the Iberians/Holy league fleet...

Ottoman confidence and pride is at its absolute zenith right now: the large and rich Mamluk sultanate has been completely absorbed, the holy cities of Mecca and Medina are under direct control, the Holy Roman Emperor has been forced to pay a large annual tribute, the Safavids are shaking in their boots in Mesopotamia, Venice has been forced to surrender Cyprus, Corfu, and the Cyclades, the Spanish and French are too embroiled in troubles at home or close to home to intervene in the Central or Eastern Mediterranean, and Tunis - perhaps the most stategically and commercially important North African port (and possibly Mediterranean port as well) - is home to an expanding Ottoman naval arsenal. There are even more factors at play that will encourage a bold move on their part, but you'll have to wait til the next update for that.

Liked reading the new chapter Torbald. I'm glad you're back to writing this wonderful ATL. I hope that there will be something like the Battle of Trafalgar and or an ATL version of the Battle of Lepanto that will finally cement Iberian naval supremacy over the Western Mediterranean and North Africa for good over the Ottomans. Keep up the good work, Torbald. Please write more of this ATL of yours version soon, especially chapters on what's going on in the various parts of the Iberian Empire (and its allies, clients) and partners, especially after the war with the Ottoman empire over the Western Mediterranean and North Africa.

Thank you very much :)
There's going to be a large naval encounter coming that will settle matters in the Mediterranean for quite some time, you can be sure of that.

It's back, hurrah !

The sleeping giant has awoken! Because it is a sleeping giant. The total power of a united Iberia is larger than the OTL sum of independent Spain+ Portugal. Add the fact that the Low Country ulcer is absent and a thriving western Med basin that is not depopulated by corsairs and the results should be stunning. Last but not least, the Pelayan Reforms will strengthen considerably Spain, compared to OTL.

What is the situation in Newfoundland? In OTL, the Portuguese tried to establish a colony in Cape Breton Island , in the 1520s. Another attempt possibly took place in 1567. There were reports that the colony in Breton Island survived for decades on its own, at least until 1570 https://books.google.com/books/about/Explorers_and_Colonies.html?id=P7OuMkzGKw0C

One should not underestimate the value of the cod trade. By the end of the 16th century, more than half of all fish consumed in Europe was salted cod (source: Cod, by Kurlanski). Cod was perhaps the cheapest source of almost pure protein, especially for the Catholics during Fridays and Lent. If the spanish population increases in such rate in TTL, then cod becomes even more valuable resource.

The Spanish and Portuguese were kicked out of Newfoundland during the 1580s-1590s and had to import cod from french and english traders. By the end of the 18th century, cod was the second most valuable British export to Spain. There was a veritable outflow of silver to pay for saltfish. Source https://books.google.com/books/about/British_Atlantic_American_Frontier.html?id=oMvXsDXvI_YC

Moreover, the Basques had established a whale fishery in the area by the 1540s.

A few more books with google previews on the topic


Spain is certainly much more stable, focused, and financially prudent than it was IOTL, and the Western Mediterranean is also certainly better off because of it. This means that the Spanish are more or less free to direct all of their military capabilities at North Africa and the Ottomans, something which they were also unable to do IOTL. As we all know, IOTL possessions in North Africa had to be abandoned due to their costliness, and Charles V and Philip II frequently (and sometimes desperately) sought peace with the Ottomans after each short cycle of intensive warfare due to looming bankruptcy.

However, due partly to the absence of the Habsburgs in Spain ITTL, there is less of a united front bringing together much of Europe's manpower and resources to combat the Turks like there was IOTL. Spain here is basically fighting the Ottoman Empire all by itself, especially now that the Republic of Venice is out of the picture and the Republic of Genoa is a shadow of what it once was. The English, French, and Habsburgs may all be enthusiastic about crusading against the Turks, but England and France are both dealing with serious social unrest and also are not directly threatened by the Ottoman state, while the Habsburgs are completely out of the fight at the moment due to Philip II wanting to uphold the 10-year truce written in the Treaty of Zombor in order to recuperate from the exhausting 20 Years War and attend to difficulties continuously arising in the HRE.

I knew that Spain and Portugal had some interest in the Grand Banks, but I did not know that they were that invested! I'm sure fishing rights in those waters will be a prickly point between Spain and England in the future, and the Danish-Scottish bloc may seek to secure it themselves in order to gain a bargaining chip to help their precarious geopolitical situation.

I think the author is preparing us for the ultimate 16th century showdown: Tercios vs Jannisaries. So, perhaps the Ottomans will manage to disembark, in order to have a land battle.

This will be a Lepanto on steroids: To the veritable spanish fleet of 90 galleys (instead of 49 in otl), add the mighty portuguese oceanic navy. Add Genoese, Papal and Venetian galleys. There is no force in the world that can withstand this naval assembly.

Hell, I would bet that just the portuguese galleons on their own, can go through the ottoman fleet as knife through butter. Dont forget that the Ottomans have less naval assets than otl (fewer Barbary galleys and no mariners from the Cyclades).
That was just awesome. Can't wait for the showdown for which the foundations have been laid...

There's a confrontation incoming that will probably exceed (in a less than 10-year timeframe) the entirety of the OTL conflict that consumed the Mediterranean, so yes, I think seeing the two most reputable armed forces of the 16th century meeting each other on the field in full force is a distinct possibility :)

Very big and juicy update, can't wait for more. Probably best way to convert the population in North Africa is to use Islam's own system of relative tolerance coupled with institutional inequality based on religion (most obvious shown through the Jizya tax but also being unable to advance in govt. hierarchy) to have them convert on their own over time. Perhaps sped up by mendicant orders preaching and doing good works. I feel this is vaguely where the Spanish are going.

Anyway can't wait for the Ottomans to get their butt handed to them, I feel it is coming. I just wonder what will it cost them. Perhaps simply forgetting about influence beyond eastern Mediterranean. Or they lose land in the Balkans, Egypt and influence in the Indian Ocean hard to say.
Well said!

We know from history that the Ottomans managed to convert 25% of the Balkans through the head tax and negligible colonization of ethnic Turks. I would argue that islamic institutions had limited influence on the conversions, with the exception of the waqf system. In contrast, the mendicant and other catholic orders can be incredibly better conversion tools. The fact thay Maghreb is in a condition of constant warfare, only assists in the conversion rate: communities friendly to christianity/mendicants will fare better than those who will be hostile and face displacement/punitive campaigns/additional taxes. If we judge by otl, the conversion efforts will be constant and deemed important by the spanish crown.

Last but not least, the Maghreb is excellent dumping ground of Greek or christian Albanian mercenaries that in otl were utilized by christian states in the Med. Even some communities tried to escape the Ottoman Empire, e.g the Greeks who relocated to Corsica.

Iberia and South Italy are the loins of Europe. Their colonizing potential is enormous. Check the pied noirs many of whom were Spanish and Italians: in one century they managed to become 10% of the total Algerian population, even without the slightest effort to convert the locals. At the same period, Spanish could also migrate to Latin America (Argentina the best choice) and the Italians to either Argentina or USA, so its not as if they didnt have better choices.

I think the closest otl analogue will be Russia and expansion towards the Caucasus and the Urals. Anything north of the Atlas mountains could be as much spanish as Kuban is russian.
Funny you mentioned that, there is precedent for a reverse-jizya on Muslims. The Normans implemented such a policy when they conquered Sicily.
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Converts received 3-6 years of taxbreak and in many cases additional land confiscated from their more stubborn brethren. Tatar nobles received cash for converting and positions in the administration and court. By the 19th century, many noble familes had muslim Tatar ancestors. Muslims had to pay higher taxes and additional corvee was imposed. Of course, the church sent priests that knew the local languages and the converts were under scrutiny.

Here is a source on the stradioti
Light cavalry, excellent at ambushes and raiding. Used to the mountainous terrain of the Balkans. In many cases they were similar to the light spanish cavalrymen. Around 25,000 stradioti and their families settled in Italy.

I've thought a lot about conversion and colonization in Spanish North Africa, and it's one of the most challenging butterflies so all the information I get from you guys is very helpful :) The way I see it, by the 19th century (or the 20th century even) the inhabitants of the Spanish-held Maghreb will be at least 20-25% Spanish (either Spanish settlers and their descendants, or Hispanicized Berbers and Arabs), 10-20% Morisco (Christianized Arabs and Berbers who are still Arabic/Berber linguistically and culturally), while the remainder is probably just Muslim. Thereare indeed a number of precedents for Christian states gradually converting and absorbing large numbers of Muslims - after all,

It's interesting that you've brought up the Greek and Albanian Stratioti as potential settlers in the West and North Africa, because I was actually planning on having a large number of Greeks and Albanians ferried over from the Ottoman Empire after the war to repopulate the devastated regions.

Awesome timeline!

Spain is one of the most interesting countries for a TL but it's also one that have very few of them.

Also a Spain with so much population will have a very big population flow to America and Asia.
Excellent update, interesting to see how variable the fortunes of war can be to the Spanish and their North African and Turkish enemies.
One of my favorite aspects of this TL is that it isn't an active Spanish Wank. Its well thought out, seems possible, and gives broad consequences on a variety of outcomes. Whether they are positive or negative.
I like that too, I hope I can do as well in that respect in my timeline..
To be honest there ain't many stories with Spanish Wank that I know of or the normal Spanish stories
I meant the general trend to wank the subject nation thread.

Thank you all, I do try to aim for realism, tempting as it may be to just give the Spanish and Portuguese a much, much better fate than they received IOTL :)

@Awkwardvulture I'm a big fan of your TL as well, keep it up!
 

formion

Banned
Venice has been forced to surrender Cyprus, Corfu, and the Cyclades, the Spanish and French are too embroiled in troubles at home or close to home to intervene in the Central or Eastern Mediterranean

The fall of Corfu is a mighty blow against the Serene Republic. In OTL all Ottoman sieges failed. Its strategic position is important enough to make the island a prime target for reconquest.

The way I see it, by the 19th century (or the 20th century even) the inhabitants of the Spanish-held Maghreb will be at least 20-25% Spanish (either Spanish settlers and their descendants, or Hispanicized Berbers and Arabs), 10-20% Morisco (Christianized Arabs and Berbers who are still Arabic/Berber linguistically and culturally), while the remainder is probably just Muslim

I think that you are being too modest with the demography. France started conquering Algeria in 1830. The main colonist effort was over by 1914 and started in the late 1830s, as France suffered a demographic catastrophe in WW1. Even then the effort to settle Europeans was not very successful due to 19th century french demographic issues with the rather stagnant french population. Thats why Spanish settlers were welcomed. Moreover, there was almost no official effort to convert the local muslim population, with only a few thousand converts over a century. Despite these conditions, by 1909 the non-Muslim population was estimated at 13% after just 70 years .

Look what happened in Tunisia: after it became a french protectorate, italian immigration was tolerated but not promoted (after all Italy had a claim on Tunisia). In 40 years, the italian population was close to 7%.

Lastly, we should take into account the nature of conquest itself. In French Algeria large modern armies conquered the country in basically 7 years, although fihting continued until 1847 and a local rebellion in 1871 that lasted a year. In your superb timeline, I think warfare has already lasted more than the otl conquest, with all the accompanying barbarity and diseases. The conquest's own demographic impact is bound to be scales more severe.

From what we know of the 16th century Spanish and their policies, I see a 20-25% christian minority in basically three generations (less than a century) and that is a conservative estimation.

Keep up the superb work! One request, if I may: Since you make excellent maps, can we get perhaps a post with all of them together?
 
The fall of Corfu is a mighty blow against the Serene Republic. In OTL all Ottoman sieges failed. Its strategic position is important enough to make the island a prime target for reconquest.

I think that you are being too modest with the demography. France started conquering Algeria in 1830. The main colonist effort was over by 1914 and started in the late 1830s, as France suffered a demographic catastrophe in WW1. Even then the effort to settle Europeans was not very successful due to 19th century french demographic issues with the rather stagnant french population. Thats why Spanish settlers were welcomed. Moreover, there was almost no official effort to convert the local muslim population, with only a few thousand converts over a century. Despite these conditions, by 1909 the non-Muslim population was estimated at 13% after just 70 years .

Look what happened in Tunisia: after it became a french protectorate, italian immigration was tolerated but not promoted (after all Italy had a claim on Tunisia). In 40 years, the italian population was close to 7%.

Lastly, we should take into account the nature of conquest itself. In French Algeria large modern armies conquered the country in basically 7 years, although fihting continued until 1847 and a local rebellion in 1871 that lasted a year. In your superb timeline, I think warfare has already lasted more than the otl conquest, with all the accompanying barbarity and diseases. The conquest's own demographic impact is bound to be scales more severe.

From what we know of the 16th century Spanish and their policies, I see a 20-25% christian minority in basically three generations (less than a century) and that is a conservative estimation.

Keep up the superb work! One request, if I may: Since you make excellent maps, can we get perhaps a post with all of them together?

This is all good to know. I was thinking about it, and by the turn of the 19th century the entire population of North Africa west of Tunisia (not just the parts under direct Spanish control) will probably end up something like this:

5,745,000 Total Population
  • 2,145,000-2,465,000 Spaniards
  • 600,000-720,000 Moriscos
  • 2,880,000-2,680,000 Arab-Berbers
Virtually all of these Spaniards and Moriscos will be consolidated around Tingitana, Orania, Mitidja, and the various coastal enclaves, while the population of Iberian Spain may at that point be around 18 million.

And thank you :) what kind of map directory did you have in mind?
 
Perhaps the maps of the different possessions of the Iberian Realm that you have posted in various posts and the situation in Europe in terms of the different christian doctrines.

I was planning on making a full-fledged WorldA map once we reached 1600, but perhaps it would be a good idea to stack up each of the maps so far on one directory post so that readers can see the chronological progression. I enjoy making detailed maps, so let me know if there's any specific region you're interested in seeing and I'll draw it up for you :)
 
Would Spain established a dhimmi system in North Africa, where Muslims get taxed at higher rates than Christians?

Probably at some point (or at least withholding full citizenship the way the French did in Algeria), but right now Muslims under Spanish rule are more or less free to practice their religion with a few restrictions:

  1. Muslims are allowed to keep most of their mosques, but are prohibited from constructing new ones or enlarging old ones. If they want to make repairs on existing ones they need to secure a permit from the local cabildo/câmara or from their encomendero/donatário.
  2. Conversion from Islam to Catholicism is of course legal and highly encouraged, but apostasy from Catholicism is punishable by death, without exception. The punishment of those who apostasize and later revert to Catholicism varies depending on the circumstances of the apostasy and on location: if someone abandoned Catholicism under threat of violence, full exoneration is more likely, and the further out one is on the dangerous frontier (e.g. in an isolated enclave) the less harsh the sentence usually is.
  3. For smaller inter-Muslim offenses and legal disputes, the Muslims are free to resolve them and pass judgement within their sharia-based justice system, but all major offenses (namely murder, rape, larceny, anti-Christian rhetoric or blasphemy, and any crime involving a Christian) are handled by royal courts and alcaldes.
  4. Most importantly, all madrassas have been permanently closed in the Spanish-held cities and encomiendas/donataries, and the Muslims are forbidden from opening new ones. In order to enforce this ban on Islamic educational institutions, Muslims are prohibited from assemblies of more than 4-6 adults in one house or building or more than 10-20 adults in a public square (numbers which vary by location). Muslims are perfectly welcome to enroll themselves or their children in instructional or charitable programs run by the mendicant orders without renouncing their faith, however, but cannot be vested with any administrative, legal, military, or religious position or certification unless they publicly convert to Catholicism, accept baptism, and can recite the Apostle's Creed and the Lord's Prayer on demand.
Also, the Muslim inhabitants of Tangiers, Alcacer-Ceguer, and Ceuta were all ordered to re-settle outside the city walls in 1560 over fears of their cooperation with the Ottoman navy and due to the importance of the Strait of Gibraltar and its proximity to Spain.
 
while the population of Iberian Spain may at that point be around 18 million.
I think you said that in late 1500's TTL Iberian peninsula has 14 million of inhabitants while in OTL had like 9 millions.

How is possible that OTL the population grew like a 50% up to 14 millions by 1800 and in TTL only a 30% to 18 with a more successful Spain?

There will be some event that will contribute to contain the growth?
 
Hay @Torbald , I saw a interesting Thread about how the duch colonial empire would develop if it stayed as part of the hapsburg empire, I wonder what you think about it sense that is a part of this TL. I think that as long as the duch/Flemish merchants have access to the new world then I doubt they would start there own colonial empire.
I think you said that in late 1500's TTL Iberian peninsula has 14 million of inhabitants while in OTL had like 9 millions.

How is possible that OTL the population grew like a 50% up to 14 millions by 1800 and in TTL only a 30% to 18 with a more successful Spain?

There will be some event that will contribute to contain the growth?
To piggy back off this, why is Spanish population increasing now when it dont historically? Admittedly I dont know why Spains population was flat or decreasing during its golden age but 14 million seems a bit much.
This is all good to know. I was thinking about it, and by the turn of the 19th century the entire population of North Africa west of Tunisia (not just the parts under direct Spanish control) will probably end up something like this:

5,745,000 Total Population
  • 2,145,000-2,465,000 Spaniards
  • 600,000-720,000 Moriscos
  • 2,880,000-2,680,000 Arab-Berbers
Virtually all of these Spaniards and Moriscos will be consolidated around Tingitana, Orania, Mitidja, and the various coastal enclaves, while the population of Iberian Spain may at that point be around 18 million.

And thank you :) what kind of map directory did you have in mind?
Also a 50-50 split seems a bit much whithout a genaside or two, especially considering the Spanish have the much less hostile new world in which to migrate to.
 

formion

Banned
Also a 50-50 split seems a bit much whithout a genaside or two, especially considering the Spanish have the much less hostile new world in which to migrate to.
North Africa is close and thus a very cheap destination. It has a similar climate to Spain, does't have strange and lethal tropical diseases and has a lot of economic opportunities. In late 19th century, Spanish were migrating to Algeria even though Argentina was the promised land. Same thing happened to south Italians and the french Tunisia. If in 1890 you asked a Sicilian if he prefers New York or Tunis, I m sure he would prefer NY. However, passage to Tunis would cost a few litres of olive oil to a fishing boat captain.

Moreover, you dont need a genocide. The sad truth is that wars depopulate the land. If it is true now, in the past the phenomenon was much more pronounced. Endemic warfare that lasts generations - as we have seen for basically 45 years already in the timeline -has an even greater demographic impact. Look what happened to the HRE during the 30 YW. While not an organized 20th century genocide, it left whole regions with up to 70% less people. I think Maghreb would loose at least 50% of its population in the conflict. Frankly, judging by historical examples it would be much more than that.

Also, dont forget the impact of not having the Barbary corsairs devastating the spanish and italian coasts. In 1600, Algiers had 30,000 christian slaves in a total population of 100,000.

Lastly, population densities were already low at least in Algeria and Tunisia
http://looklex.com/e.o/tunisia.demographics.htm I doubt Tunisia had more than 500k people back then. Give Tunisia a century and it would be at least 50% Sicilian and 25% Neapolitan. Just South Italy, Sicily and Sardinia had 10 times the population of Tunisia. Not to mention south Italy had many many landless peasants.
 
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I think you said that in late 1500's TTL Iberian peninsula has 14 million of inhabitants while in OTL had like 9 millions.

How is possible that OTL the population grew like a 50% up to 14 millions by 1800 and in TTL only a 30% to 18 with a more successful Spain?

There will be some event that will contribute to contain the growth?
Hay @Torbald , I saw a interesting Thread about how the duch colonial empire would develop if it stayed as part of the hapsburg empire, I wonder what you think about it sense that is a part of this TL. I think that as long as the duch/Flemish merchants have access to the new world then I doubt they would start there own colonial empire.

To piggy back off this, why is Spanish population increasing now when it dont historically? Admittedly I dont know why Spains population was flat or decreasing during its golden age but 14 million seems a bit much.

Also a 50-50 split seems a bit much whithout a genaside or two, especially considering the Spanish have the much less hostile new world in which to migrate to.

OTL Spain had a population around 9 million c. 1500, but TTL's Spain is OTL Spain and OTL Portugal, which had a combined population closer to 11 million. Over the course of the 16th century ITTL, this population has reached almost 15 million by 1600 (a 36% increase).

A little known fact about the first half of the 16th century is that it was actually a period of large population growth in Europe, with France growing from 15 million to 20 million (a 33% increase), Germany growing from 16 million to 20 million (a 25% increase), and England from 2.1 to 4.15 million (a 97% increase!) between the years 1500 and 1600. Keep in mind that all of these increases occurred in spite of the serious social upheavals and violent rebellions happening in each of these countries during this period. With vast quantities of wealth pouring in from overseas and with the Crown rich enough to invest in irrigation projects, hospitals, orphanages, etc., TTL's Spanish population has benefited greatly and has been saved from some of the disasters and deleterious trends that hampered its population growth IOTL. Likewise, the introduction of American crops such as maize and potatoes have transformed Spanish agriculture and have made subsistence farming much less liable to food shortages and crop failures.

The 19th century population is just a speculation, and is mostly still up in the air although it will probably end up being closer to 20 million. The reasoning for this change (a growth of only 33% over two centuries after a 36% growth in the span of a single century) is that the Iberian Peninsula can only support so many people (even with the introduction of American crops and some small technology advances in agriculture), meaning that the large scale population growth is going to plateau at some point and lead to both famines and increased emigration to the Americas, North Africa, South Africa, or (to a lesser extent) to one of the many other colonies in Africa or Asia.

The reason that the Spanish and Portuguese populations IOTL actually decreased when every other nation in Western Europe was experiencing growth was due to a number of different factors. The 1590s saw a devastating resurgence of the plague (alongside other, albeit less destructive, outbreaks throughout the 16th and 17th centuries), coupled with a complete collapse of the Spanish economy at around the same time - not an economic recession or depression but a collapse, the lower classes had to revert to a currency-less barter system while living in the most silver-rich country in the world. Combined with the continuous drain of emigrants leaving for the New World (admittedly not as massive of a drain on the population for Spain as much as for Portugal) and the large number of people entering into celibate religious lives (there were more than 100,000 religious in Spain in the late 16th century), and of course the many conflicts that enveloped the Iberian Peninsula (the 80 Years War, the 30 Years War, the other Franco-Spanish wars of the 18th century, the War of the Spanish Succession, the Napoleonic Wars, and the Carlist Wars, etc etc etc), you have a veritable litany of reasons for OTL population decline in Spain and Portugal that do not really exist (yet) in TTL's Spain.

In regards to the Dutch remaining under Habsburg rule, I agree that they are unlikely to pursue the same level of colonization that they did IOTL at least for the better part of the 16th and 17th centuries. However, the shipping fleets of the Dutch merchants remain just as massive as IOTL and the central position of the Netherlands in relation to European commerce remains, so some interesting things are still going to happen for the Dutch overseas ITTL.
 
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