The Armies of Philip IV of Spain 1621 - 1665

The Fight for European Supremacy

Pierre Picouet

The Dominions of Philip IV of Spain covered much of Europe, along with parts of South America, Asia and Africa. The defense of the European and African territories was established in the XVI century and consisted of the deployment of two core armies, in the Low Countries and in North Italy, garrisons in strategic places, as well as fleets in the At
Date Published :
August 2019
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
Century of the Soldier
Illustration :
48 b/w ills, 15 maps, 8pp color plates, 16 tables
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781911628613
Pages : 320
Dimensions : 9.75 X 6.75 inches
Stock Status : Available


The reign of Philip IV of Spain is fascinating, as after a century of dominance in Europe, the Spanish hegemony was seriously challenged by France. At the beginning of Philip IV’s reign, Spanish dominions were vast, not only in Europe but also in South America, Asia and Africa. The defense policy of such vast territories was established in the XVI century and consisted of the deployment of two core armies, in the Low Countries and in north Italy, the maintenance of strategic garrisons, and of fleets in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean to control communications between all the territories of the monarchy. The different military formations were actively supported by a powerful diplomatic network among the European countries.

The aim of the book is to examine the armies and troops of Philip IV and particularly the famous Spanish Tercios deployed in north Europe, Italy and in the Iberian Peninsula. The book covers the organization and development of the Tercios, the tactics used, recruitment and the life of the ordinary soldiers. The development of the Spanish cavalry and its organization is also covered in depth, along with the financing of the army.

The book also explores the impact of continuous fighting during a period of 44 years to keep the honor and reputation of the Spanish monarchy, as well as their territories intact, and how the army responded to these challenges.

About The Author

Pierre Picouet studied Applied Physics at the University of Provence (France), and History at the University of Bordeaux (France). He has a PhD in Applied Physics and Archeometry. Since 2000, he has conducted research on Spanish military history of the sixteenth and seventeenth century. He has published a book (in French) on the Spanish Tercio in 2010, and another one in 2014 (in English) related with the siege of Lérida. He has also authored articles on the battles of Rocroi and Tornavento. As part of his professional activity he has published 48 scientific articles and 4 book chapters in Applied Science and Food Technology.


"This is a very good introduction to the Spanish Army in the period, and one that even those already familiar with the subject may find useful."

- The NYMAS Review

"...truly exceptional..''

- Vae Victis

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