Habsburg Spain means the history of Spain over the 16th and 17th centuries (1506–1700). This was when Spain was ruled by the major branch of the Habsburg dynasty. Under Habsburg rule (mostly under Charles I and Philip II), Spain reached the height of its influence and power. The Hapsburgs had land including the Americas; the East Indies in Asia; the Low Countries, territories now in France and Germany in Europe. From 1580 to 1640 they had the Portuguese Empire; and various other lands such as small enclaves like Ceuta and Oran in North Africa. Habsburg Spain was, for well over a century, the world's greatest power. For this reason, this period of Spanish history has also been called the "Age of Expansion."
Among the most outstanding figures of this period were Diego Velázquez, El Greco, Miguel de Cervantes, Teresa of Ávila, Pedro Calderón de la Barca, Francisco de Vitoria, Domingo de Soto and Francisco Suárez.