In the second half of the 16th century, Spain's Philip II ruled over the original empire on which the sun never set. In Europe alone, he held power over Portugal, the Netherlands, and about half of Italy (including Sicily, the Duchy of Milan, and the Kingdom of Naples). On the African shores of the Mediterranean, he controlled Tunis and Tangier; further south were Guinea and Angola. There were holdings in India and--well, naturally--the Philippines, and in the Western hemisphere, there were Florida, Cuba, Brazil, Peru, and "New Spain," which occupied the modern American Southwest and all of Mexico and Central America.
Most historians have claimed that, in overseeing this empire, Philip had no "Grand Strategy," but instead occupied himself with perpetual reaction to events. But Geoffrey Parker believes that there was a "strategic culture" that influenced Philip's reign, and he makes extensive use of surviving correspondence from the period to demonstrate how that culture revealed itself in Spain's attempts to hang onto the Netherlands and in its relationship--diplomatic and martial--to England. The Grand Strategy of Philip II is a richly detailed history, which will reward any student of modern statecraft with its insights into geopolitical power. [via]