VALENCIAVALENCIA.COM - Valencia City Guide and Travel / Tourist Information

The Dark Age of Valencia
Conflict, Plagues and Persecution
16th - 17th century

 The Rennaisance and Baroque Periods of Valencian HistoryOver the course of the XVI century the economy of Valencia moved step-by-step towards decline. The 1519-1522 saw an all out civil war between the nobles and the emboldened guilds, cripling the economy severely. The Spanish Crown had to take over the situation and create an office of viceroy to supress the conflict and establish a permanent Royal hand in the city.

However, it was also the age of Rennaisance, and Valencia was one of the first to catch the trends, due to its close ties with Italy via the Borgia. The new Literary Univeristy opened, as well as other educational institutions, the viceroy court surrounded itself with the new ideas and the humanism flourished. Valencia was at the cutting edge of Rennaisance on the Iberic Peninsula, leading in many ways. They say, for example, that the printing press - this ultimate vehicle of modernisation of the times - entered Spain through Valencia.

But the Rennaisance in Valencia didn't quite become a new engine for liberal growth. The Catholic Church launched a Counter-Reformation against the Protestant movements and Valencia became one of the battlefields. Patriarch Juan Ribera became a saint for doing a particularly good job with Inquisition and censorship. An exaggerated cult of traditional Catholicism took over Valencia, eventially leading to animosty towards the Moors still residing there.

 The Rennaisance and Baroque Periods of Valencian HistoryThis animosity, plus the recurrent attacks on the coasts by Berber pirates, led to the Final Solution in the beginning of the XVII century - to expel all the Moors from Valencia, dealing a fatal blow to the city, since much of the agrigulture and the local economy was resting on the shoulders of the Moorish population.

The XVII century was another Dark Age of Valencia. Severely crippled economically by the expulsion of the Moors, ravaged by a particularly bad epidemic of the Black Death in 1647, engulfed by the religious hysteria of pompous Baroque Counter-Reformation (this is when Corpus Christi came into its full glory), it kept skipping from one bloody popular mutiny to another. It is in this schizophrenic state that Valencia found itself involved into the War of Succession.

 The Rennaisance and Baroque Periods of Valencian History  The Rennaisance and Baroque Periods of Valencian History  The Rennaisance and Baroque Periods of Valencian History

Sights from the period: Basilica de los Desamparados | College of San Pio V | Church of Santa Maria del Mar | Plaza del Patriarca | Monastery San Miguel de los Reyes | Santo Domingo Convent
Map: Location of 16th-17th century Valencia


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