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Europe in 1600

Spain in the 1600s

 

 

 

 

 

Spain was the great military power in Europe. Spain's wealth, which underlay this military might, was based on the gold and silver brought from its Central and South American colonies. As long as Spain maintained its control of this vital Atlantic sea route, its wealth and power were secure. However if ever Spain lost this control, its decline would be rapid. During the 16th. century, "The Golden Age of Spain", there was little or no social or economic change. Spain's wealth went directly into the royal coffers, to the powerful nobles (the Grandees), and to the Catholic Church. No important commercial links were established between Spain and its colonies. The middle class was very small and strictly controlled, and the vast majority of the population consisted of illiterate, superstitious peasants. Spain was rich and powerful but extremely vulnerable.

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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