The Royalist side fought to uphold the existing government of King Charles I (Carlos I). Along with Charles, the government was led by the Regent, Cardinal Adrian of Utrecht (Adriano de Utrecht). Charles' departure for Germany to take up his recently acquired position as Emperor Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire (There were four Charles before him as Holy Roman Emperor, but none as King of Castile and Aragon) helped provoke the Revolt; he was seen as having broken his promise to leave a Castilian in charge of the country, for Adrian was Flemish.
Despite being in Germany for the duration of the Revolt, Charles nevertheless played an important role in quelling it via communication and orders to Regent Adrian. One of the most influential decisions Charles made was to appoint two new co-regents to govern Castile: the Constable of Castile, Íñigo Fernández, and the Admiral of Castile, Fadrique Enríquez.
Royal Council and Advisers
The Royal Council had functionally run the country during the period following King Philip I. However, they were not well regarded among the common people; the government often ineffectively stood by while nobles illegally expanded their domain through threats of force. Corruption ran rampant, and the government fell into debt. The Council's President, Antonio de Rojas, was widely hated.
Still, disrespect of the Royal Council paled next to the distaste of the retinue of Flemish advisers that Charles brought with him into Spain. William de Croÿ, sieur de Chièvres (Guillermo de Croÿ, señor de Chièvres) had managed much of Charles' upbringing in Flanders and had not taught him overly much statecraft; by doing so he forced Charles to rely on him for advice. Many of these Flemish advisers proceeded to enrich themselves with funds from the Castilian treasury. William de Croÿ became Treasurer of Castile, a position which he later sold to Alvaro de Zúñiga, duke of Béjar, for 30,000 ducats. William had full control over who was appointed to administrative positions to Spain's fledgling colonies in the West Indies, and appointed friends of his to positions such as Bishop of Cuba. He promised rich fiefs to Laurent de Gorrevot (another prominent Flemish adviser) in Cuba and the Yucutan (later annulled), permitted the importation of 4,000 African slaves to the Indies, and sold rights to a syndicate for 25,000 ducats. William also managed to get his twenty-year-old nephew (named William de Croÿ as well) appointed Archbishop of Toledo, an extremely unpopular act of nepotism. Jean Le Sauvage served as chancellor and controversially presided over the Cortes of Valladolid in 1518. Le Sauvage obtained in December 1517 the right to collect duties on the export of almonds and dried fruits, a position formerly held by the ruler of Granada. Le Sauvage leased this privilege to Fernando de Córdoba for nine years for 168,000 ducats.
- Rodrigo Ronquillo, who led the ill-fated expedition to Segovia to punish the murder of the legislator who voted for the king's tax at the Cortes of Corunna.
- Antonio de Fonseca, the captain-general of the Castilian army who went to Medina del Campo to seize the royal artillery, but was driven off by the civilians.
- Antonio de Zúñiga, the prior of the Order of St. John.
The comuneros were the rebels who tried to overthrow the Royal Council and set up their own government. Their firmest base of support was the middle and upper-middle classes. The monied elite had been treated well under the regime of Ferdinand and Isabella, but had seen their standing decay under the Royal Council to the most powerful nobles. Some nobles (especially "low" nobles) threw their lot in as well, jealous of the foreigners who occupied many of the prestigious positions of government under Charles. The rural peasants generally had conflicted loyalties.
In the second phase of the rebellion, the revolt took a strongly antiseigneurial turn under Bishop Antonio de Acuña and others. This helped make the peasants friendlier to the comuneros' cause at the cost of repelling many powerful nobles worried about their privileges.
Nobles and Knights
- Pedro de Girón, a Castilian noble. He rose to prominence in the junta and eventually became a captain of the army.
- Pedro López de Ayala, Count of Salvatierra and a Captain of the Comunero army.
- Ramiro Núñez de Guzmán, a city councilman, and Lord of Porma and the village of Toral.
- Pedro Maldonado, heir to the Casa de las Conchas of Salamanca and Captain of the army.
- María Pacheco, a Castilian noble. She ran the town of Toledo in the absence of her husband Juan de Padilla, and after Padilla's death became the leader of what remained of the revolt.
- Luis de Quintanilla, an army captain.
- Juan de Mendoza, noble lord of Cubas and Griñón.
- Juan de Padilla, a Castilian noble and overall commander of the Comunero army.
- Juan Bravo, a Castilian noble.
- Francisco Maldonado, a Castilian noble.
- Pedro Laso de la Vega, a prominent town councilor in Toledo, and a moderate who opposed the later turn of the Revolt against the nobles.
- Luis de Cuéllar, an exporter and merchant.
- Antonio Suárez, a wool merchant.
- Antonio de Aguilar, an apothecary.
- Gonzalo de Ayora, an official historian.
- Bernaldino de los Ríos, a judge.
- Alonso de Zúñiga, a professor.
- Alonso de Arreo, a city councilman and lawyer of Navalcarnero.
- Antonio de Acuña, Bishop of Zamora and a Captain of the army.
- Juan de Bilbao, a Franciscan, one of the theorists and initiators of the movement.
- Alonso de Medina, a Dominican.
- Alonso de Bustillo, a Dominican and the head of the theology department at Valladolid's seminary.
- Queen Joanna the Mad (Juana la Loca). The rebels proclaimed that she had recovered her senses and was now ready to rule. Historical sources are split on whether there was truly much of a recovery. American Historian Stephen Haliczer believes there was one, but if anything, it failed to help the comuneros: she learned of the anti-Charles rhetoric and refused to go along with it. Joanna refused to sign any edicts or lend much presence to the comuneros, whether from incapacity or disagreement. When Tordesillas fell, she was said to be happy: all she had wanted was attention, which she was finally receiving.
- Pope Leo X was seen as a Pope compliant to many of Charles' wishes. When Charles raised the tax on ecclesiastical holdings in Spain in 1517, the Spanish church at first protested vigorously. Charles prevailed upon Leo X to grant his blessing upon the tax. While much of the Spanish church was pro-comunero during the revolt, Leo X failed to give much guidance and lightly supported Charles. Branches of the church with strong foreign connections tended to be more strongly pro-Royalist (such as the Knights of St. John).
- This article incorporates text translated from the Spanish Wikipedia article Comunero, licensed under the GFDL.
- Early Modern Encyclopedia
- Haliczer, p.133