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 in the provinces. This kept the country organized and developed an army. The French army became the strongest in Europe. The state; paid, fed, trained, and supplied up to 300,000 soldiers and used this very disciplined army to enforce the king’s policies at home and abroad.
Overall, Spain couldn’t benefit from its colonies in the Americas due to; the fact that trade was not well-regulated, poor leadership, and a poor economy. France was enriched by the colonies in the Americas because trade was encouraged and regulated. Colbert developed a great economy. Good leadership with strong royal power allowed the country to become prosperous through trade with their colonies in the Americas.
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