The historical study of war in the Spain of Philip II forms the starting point for the articles in this volume. They approach this not so much from a military angle, but as a problem of organization, procurement and finance. In a sense, the articles represent an assessment of the effectiveness of the Spanish government and so, given the apparent precocity of government growth in 16th-century Spain, they can also be seen as a critical commentary on the operational capabilities of the early-modern absolutist state. Six of the essays here focus on the Spanish Armada in terms of its military and political objectives, but demonstrating how these were conditioned by basic systems limitations, not least in the procurement of suitable cannon. In the final articles, Dr Thompson turns to the impact of war and its financing on the social structure, bearing in particular on the definition of nobility (and its sale), and on local democracy, and making full use of the relatively unexplored local sources. Two of the papers appear for the first time in English, and a third has been newly prepared for this volume.