Causes of the Spanish Empire Decline
Historians have come up with various causes of the Spanish empire decline. Spain Empire was a leading superpower in Europe in the 16th century. It was also a leading global super power. However, from the 17th century things changed and Spain Empire was no longer a leading superpower in Europe. This made it a lesser player in the European stage compared to what it used to be in the previous centuries.
According to some historians, one of the major causes of the decline of the Spain Empire was Spain itself. This is because Spain was in control of Castile, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, Aragon, Netherlands and Milan as well as the Americas. Historians claim that the size of the Spanish empire was extremely large making it exceedingly hard to defend leave alone being able to manage.
Eventually, Spanish empire gained more enemies due to its greed and desire to control more areas. At some point Philip IV noted that with the many kingdoms that the Empire had, doing without wars it was almost impossible. To the Spanish Empire, every part was important.
For instance, the Spanish Empire could not sacrifice the Netherlands or the Italian provinces because it feared that such a move would lead to losing the others and collapse of the entire empire. This implied that the Spanish Empire had to go into war or fight the French, the Dutch, the German princes, the English and the Swedes in defending the empire in different fronts.
Another factor that led to the decline of the Spanish Empire was the effects of the wars on the economy. The economy of the Spanish Empire was greatly affected by the wars that were aimed at defending its territories. In several occasions, Spain experienced state bankruptcies because the monarchs were spending more than what they were gaining in form of revenues.
At the time of the death of Philip II in 1598, Spain had hundred millions of debts with the interest on these debts increasing. In 1621, the King of the Spanish Empire was informed that the Empire expenditures were not met by the income.
The Spanish Empire also had policies that made the empire unsuitable for development of the industry. For instance, Spanish Empire was increasingly becoming dependent on the foreign countries. In addition, there were demographic problems in regards to the most important part, the Castile.
Castile offered the Empire most revenue and the best troops. The health of the Castile was important for the economy of the Spanish Empire. However, most Castilians faced the demographic problem when most of them went to the America while others died in the wars. Thousands of them died during the plague and famine which greatly affected the economy of the Spanish Empire.
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