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The Decline of Spain: Explain Spains decline as a world power. What factors contributed to Spains eventual decline as a European - Research Paper Example

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The Decline of Spain Name of Course Jesus Reyna Name of your University Introduction Around 1580, under King Philip II, Spain's power as a global empire was at its peak and its territory included most of Italy, the Philipines, possessions in the Americas, Portugal and the Netherlands1…
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The Decline of Spain: Explain Spains decline as a world power. What factors contributed to Spains eventual decline as a European
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Download file to see previous pages The Thirty Year War of Europe caused Spain to lose its domination as a global empire. Flynn classifies the reasons for this into two: domestic factors and external or international factors. Internal Factors The decline of Spain began a few years before the death of Philip II in 1598. The main problem linked with Philip II was that he became to much influenced by religion and he spent more of his time trying to instill religious precedence that eventually caused the downfall of the Kingdom. After the death of Philip II in September 1598and he was replaced by his son Philip III. Philip III preferred hunting and theater to ruling so he left most of his duties as the monarch to the Duke of Lerma2. The Duke of Lerma spent most of the resources of Spain on creating a comfortable life for the Philip III and his colleagues in the aristocratic class and they had little regards for the masses of Spain. This trend caused Philip III to focus more on the pleasures of life rather than the administration and full control of Spain and its dependencies. From this account, it can be identified that two trends evolved here. First the concept of absolutism became rooted in Spain's ruling class. This is because as the transfer of power was shifted from the monarchy to the ruling class, they held on to power with little efforts to consolidate it. The ruling class built a hierarchy that eventually created a trend of absolutism since there was little intervention by the monarch and also by the masses. This led to a situation where the ruling class gained all the power and arrogated power. Secondly, the shift of power from the monarch to the ruling class led by the Duke of Lerma's family, the Sandovals caused corruption and mismanagement of resources. This is because the ruling elite focused on their interest and without being held accountable by the masses and without being supervised by the monarchy, they instituted inefficient and subjective management principles that did not have the future of the Kingdom at hand. So Spain under the control of the Duke of Lerma and his Sandoval family did not ultimately destroy the Empire but it laid the foundation for the eventual decline. Under the advice of the Duke of Lerma and the Juan de Ribera, the Archbishop of Valencia, Philip III began the Inquisition in 1609, which sought to convert all non-Catholics into Catholicism3. This led to the expulsion of many Jews who were skilled merchants and industrialists. Aside the exodus of skilled non-Catholics, the Inquisition sought to suppress the liberal ideas that would have linked Spain with the Enlightenment that had began in the rest of Northern Europe4. This saw the institutionalization and the continuous growth of religious fanaticism which was inherent in the system of the Catholic Church at that time. In 1609, Philip II signed a peace treaty with the Dutch who had started a rebellion against the Spanish Empire which ruled that area. This treaty relinquished a high degree of autonomy to the natives but allowed some control by Spain. Also, Philip III started a trend of exterminating Moors who were then living in parts of the coast of Spain like Valencia. This extermination led to the loss of skilled farmers and industrialists which led to so many losses and failures for the Spanish Empire5 (Kamen, 1978). Thus, the establishment of an absolute monarchy, poor management of state resources and corruption as well as fanatic religious ideas like the inquisition, laid ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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