All were destined to leave their mark on the times and all were rivals.
The Hapsburgs in particular represented a constant threat to France, as their territories, Flanders in the north, the Imperial duchies and bishoprics in the east, and Spain in the south, almost completely surrounded its land borders.
Philip II was the most powerful monarch of the age, controlling an empire that stretched completely around the world.
The mind-boggling riches of the New World were his, and for the most part they were spent making war to enforce Catholicism in the Netherlands and elsewhere.
By the end of the century, Spain had declared bankruptcy twice.