Title: How Resources from Spanish and French Colonies in the Americas Led to the Decline of Spain and the Enrichment of France

Essay by rlbball5Junior High, 9th gradeA+, October 2005

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During the 1500's and 1600's trade was developed between the America's and Europe. Resources that came from the America's cause problems for Spain because trade was not properly regulated along with bad relations between other countries and poor leadership, which led to the loss of wealth. Spain also lacked important economic qualities. France was enriched by the resources from the Americas because trade was encouraged and regulated. Also the finance minister, Colbert, followed mercantilist policies that greatly improved economy and there was strong royal power to enforce the policies of the king.

When Spain started trading with the colonies in the Americas they began to neglect farming and commerce, which led to economic decline. Spain's bad relations with England caused Queen Elizabeth to allow her own captains to take over Spanish treasure ships and loot Spanish cities in the Americas. Spain retaliated and Philip II sent a huge costly armada to invade England but a freak storm whipped out the armada causing Spain to lose money and power.

The poor leadership deprived the economy of many skilled artisans and merchants due to the expulsion of the Muslims and Jews. The poor leadership caused more decline in wealth because of costly wars which contributed to soaring inflation also caused by American gold and silver.

France encouraged overseas colonies and regulated trade with the colonies to enrich the royal treasury. Colbert drastically improved economy; he had new lands cleared for farming, encouraged mining and other basic industries, and built up luxury trades such as lace making. He also helped French manufacturers by putting high tariffs on imported goods. Strong leadership was important. Louis XIV wanted to strengthen the state, so he expanded the bureaucracy and appointed intendants. Intendants were people who collected taxes, recruited soldiers, and carried out the king's policies...