Why Did Spain Lose Its Position As The Dominant European Power – Coursework Example
the (English 1002) the (15 July Spain: the Decline Spanish Empire, Spanish Monarchy, or Spanish Crown was one of the greatest Empires in the world. Striking growth of political influence, military strength, and economic recovery were followed by the century of “decline”, the 17th century (Sommerville). Once rich and powerful, Spain, with huge colonies everywhere, was crushed and pushed to the sidelines. How did this happen? Why did Spain lose its position as the dominant European country?
It is important to remember that there were many reasons for Spain’s diminish. All of them had different influence and impact, but all of them were connected. There were two main factors: economy and development. The influx of gold and silver from the New World caused fast enrichment and uncontrolled inflation. All this time it was not necessary to produce or sell goods. Everything was imported. People did not develop manufacture and agriculture. Many Spaniards such as merchandisers, stopped working. So, when income from silver and gold fell, the country faced economic troubles. Also, “Tax burden was unevenly distributed: it fell more on the poor than the rich” (Sommerville). As a result people became very poor, especially peasants. “To cover the shortfall the Spanish government began to borrow money…by 1664 the crown owed more than 21 million ducats” (Sommerville). It all adversely affected military forces, which didn’t have necessary financing and war supplies. Also, forces became incompetent and out-of-date. When in 1588 Spanish Armada was defeated, it was the beginning of the end. In addition, it all “provoked migration to the New World” (Sommerville) and uneasy relations with local people. Consequently, colonies were lost and Spanish Empire was ruined.
In conclusion, it should be said that Spanish Monarchy was one of the greatest empires in 16th century. Badly developed economy and inability to industrialize production made it impossible for Spain to remain the most powerful country, but it stays in history as a great example of many achievements. Taking into consideration its huge size, remoteness of different parts, differences between people, and all problems that were mentioned before, it is not a surprise that another country became a dominant European nation.
Sommerville, J.P. “The Decline of Spain.” Wisconsin University. n.p. Web. n.d.