The Spanish Golden Age begins in 1492, with the end of the Reconquista (Reconquest), the sea voyages to the New World, the reigns of Carlos I and Felipe II, and it ends in the middle of the XVII Century. The Catholic Monarchs had a goal of conquering the Muslim kingdom of Granada because it signified the conclusion of the Christian reconquest. They wanted to make Spain a strong and peaceful reign and thanks to that the Iberian Peninsula became a role model for the other European dynasties.
Science and arts were influenced by the Humanism and the Renaissance, through that they reached their high point. Then in the XVII Century they received the influence of the Barocco, a more complex style that had nothing to do with sobriety, indeed it used lot of metaphors in literature and exaggeration in architecture. This was the expression of a new era, which was frivolous and eccentric.
The education was very important and the clergy was charged with that, for this reason many colleges were founded, as Santa Cruz College in Valladolid, San Gregorio College, in Burgos.
Also the literary production lived a period of great success. The major exponent was Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616) who wrote “El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha”. In the same time appeared the Picaresque Novel, for example “El Lazarillo de Tormes”, which criticizes the clergy and the upper class. In poetry many Spanish writers had success: Garcilaso de la Vega (1501-1536), Juan de Boscán (1495-1542), Cristóbal de Castillejo (1490-1540), Fray Luis de León (1527-1591), Juan Rulfo (1547-1620), Alonso de Ercilla (1533-1596) y Fernando de Herrera (1534-1597).
Picture had its best artists such as Greco, Rivera, Zurbarán, Cano, Murillo y Velázquez, who was elected leading artist in the court of King Philip IV. In this time architects were influenced by the Greek-Roman and Gothic style, the Carlos V Palace in Granada and the College in Santa Cruz are an example of that. Also important cathedrals were built, such as the ones in Granada and in Salamanca.