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Area/Ruler: Spain: Philip II or III
Reigned: 1556 AD - 1598 AD
Denomination: 8 Real
Obverse: Shield
Reverse: Cross
Weight: 23.6 gms
Diameter: 36.2 mm
Comment: These Coins Cut roughly from a silver bar were know as 'cobs' or pieces of one, two, four, or eight. They were minted in Metropolitan Spain or her Spanish American Colonies. ("8 Real" silver coins were the "Pieces of Eight" much beloved by Long John Silver's parrot.) This coin was recovered by divers from the Site of a wreck at Rill Cove, The Lizard, in the County of Cornwall, England, and is believed to be part of the treasure from the legendary 'Lizard Treasure Wreck' which has gone down into the oral history of Cornish Folk lore The origin of this ship, and her owners still remains a mystery, but it is believed to have foundered off the Lizard around 1618.

Philip II (of Spain)

Philip II (1527-1598), was the Habsburg king of Spain (1556-1598), who ruled the country at the height of its power and influence and used that power in the service of the Roman Catholic church and the Counter-Reformation. During his reign the Philippine Islands (named after him) were conquered and colonies were established in what is now the southern United States. Philip was born in Valladolid on May 21st, 1527, the son of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and Isabella of Portugal. In 1543 he married his cousin Maria of Portugal; she bore him a son, Don Carlos, who later conspired against him. Philip married again in 1554, this time to Mary I of England, in whose religiously zealous reign he was an unmistakable influence.

Before succeeding to the throne of Spain upon his father's abdication in 1556, Philip had already received the duchy of Milan (1540), the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily (1554), and the Netherlands (1555) from his father. With the throne of Spain he also inherited extensive regions of the New World. Shortly after Philip's accession, the Spanish forces were victorious over the French at the battles of Saint-Quentin (1557) and Gravelines (1558), and the 60-year war with France was concluded by the Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis (1559), which was highly favourable to Spain. A by-product of the peace was Philip's third marriage to Princess Elizabeth of France, who had been betrothed to his son, Don Carlos. He married for the fourth time in 1570.

In the Netherlands Philip banned Protestantism and severely restricted the rights of the people. He used the Inquisition as a method of control, and thousands of Protestants were killed or exiled. In 1567 the Protestants revolted, and Philip sent an army to suppress them, thus beginning 80 years of war by which the northern provinces (now the Netherlands) won their independence.

In Spain Philip's oppression of the Moriscos (Christianized Muslims) provoked them to rebel in 1568; after suppressing the revolt in 1571, Philip exiled them. In 1571 Philip sent his half-brother John of Austria on a naval expedition that destroyed the Ottoman navy at the Battle of Lepanto. Asserting his claim to the throne of Portugal Philip conquered that country in 1580.

His desire to return the English to Catholicism, as well as to check their rival maritime power, led Philip to the decision to invade England under Elizabeth I, and to that end he ordered the construction of a great fleet. In 1588 he dispatched the Armada to the British Isles, where it was destroyed by enemy action and a great storm. From 1590 to 1598 Philip was again at war with France, aiding the Catholic forces of the Holy League in its war against the Huguenot Henry IV.

In 1563 Philip began the construction of El Escorial, a sombre monastic palace outside Madrid, which ranks among Europe's finest architectural monuments. Completed in 1584, it became his second residence and he died there on September 13, 1598.

He was succeeded by his son, Philip III (1598-1621)

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