Philip II of Spain (1527 - 1598) assumed the Spanish crown in 1556 with a great deal of potential, and in 1580 also became King of Portugal. (He reigned from1580 to 1598 as Philip I of Portugal).
Philip defeated the armies of France at Saint-Quentin in 1557, fought the Turks successfully on the Mediterranean Sea at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, but then had to accept the destruction of his Spanish Armada when opposing England in 1588.
He lost control of Holland (which had begun declaring its independence in 1581).
He saw himself as the leader of the Catholic Reformation (the Counter Reformation), and took interest in the reform of religious orders, which had been directed by the Council of Trent (1545 - 1564).
He had the right to nominate the candidate that Rome would then appoint as a bishop in territories under his control.
Between 1562 and 1584, Philip built the Escorial
as his residence near Madrid - a monastery as much as palace.
(By way of comparison, the Spanish Armada cost 10 million ducats, and the building of the Escorial cost 5.5 million ducats.)
Underneath all of this was an economy that was weak and too dependent on foreign income. Taxes in Spain increased by 430% during the thirty two years of Philip's rule.
Financial inflation, which was a phenomenon previously rare in Europe, caused prices to rise by 400% during the same period.
The gold and silver bullion arriving from South America caused inflation, and went to repay existing bank debts of Spain.