Europeans and the New World: 1492 to 1600 Essay

Published: 2020-01-01 17:30:49
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When humans entered the Iberian Peninsula almost 32000 years ago, the first civilization of Spain was formed. Since then, the country has traveled from an era of prehistoric Iberia to the Middle Ages to a rise as an empire and a member of the European Union .

The main reason why Spain grew so much in power during the fifteenth century is because of a series of events that took place around that time. The first in such a series of events was the discovery of new passages and trade channels. The Caribbean and the Mediterranean trade routes dominated the trade in these regions before the Spanish trading system had fully grown and developed. Earlier, the Spanish people were not much of traders or businessmen. There was a monopoly that had been held into place by the Italian merchants operating in that region(Roark, 2009). In the fifteenth century, Europe faced one of the most catastrophic events of all time: The Black Death. It wiped out most of their population. Almost one third of the European population was eliminated. This caused economical and political unrest in the country and led to a complete destabilization of their structures.

The events that followed the Black Death caused Spain to rise to power and become a strong nation. The people saw opportunities when they realized that the population had decreased and there are ample opportunities for trade and business of all sorts. The people who survived focused upon advancement. The European world was left on a very delicate balance. The plague had made the region undesirable and the invasion of other people such as the British and the Muslims reduced considerably. This led to more opportunities for the local population(Roark, 2009). What followed the plague was a renewed confidence and strength in the local people of Spain and Europe. They started embarking on dangerous missions and voyages across the sea which they did not do previously. They ventured into unchartered waters and learnt newer routes and passages. This caused trade to grow and flourish in the country.

The government also started to strengthen due to the taxation that could be imposed and levied on trade and business in the country and the people kept becoming more and more confident in their business. The Monarchs of Spain supported these activities, realizing that they were benefitting their position as leaders of the country. They realized that commerce and relations with other countries were improving like never before (Edwards, 2001). The next event in line is the re-conquest of Portuguese, where the Spanish were successful in driving the Muslims out of the nation and helping the people of Portugal in reclaiming their right to the throne. The Muslims were expelled from the Iberian Peninsula and this event has been marked in history as the Re-Conquest (Philips & Phillips, 2010). The Renaissance is a cultural reform that began somewhere in the 14th century and went on until the 17th century.

Historians believe that it started in Florence, Tuscany and then spread across Europe and the rest of the world. In literal terms, the word Renaissance means to revive or to be reborn. The Renaissance was a time of rebirth for art, culture and politics. It was a time when artists, scholars, architects and engineers stepped forward and introduced their own thoughts to the people, who accepted them and brought a huge change in the entire system. Politics also witnessed a rather drastic change. Autonomy and the rule of powerful families started to decline as people started to realize that it is important for their own voice to be heard and registered(Roark, 2009). Additionally, the concept of nationalism also contributed to the power that Spain received in the 15th century. Nationalism refers to the ideology of the identification of a group of people/individuals united under one name as one nation. Previously, the world was ruled by kings and families with money and power.

Even within a country, there was segregation and colonies were formed. Nationalism was the ideology that changed all such concepts and gave the citizens the idea that they are all a part of one nation and not subjects/servants of powerful families(Roark, 2009). Henry Prince is the main character who participated and promoted the exploration of Portuguese and the Re-Conquest. After driving the Muslims out of the nation, the people of Portuguese and Spain could charge better prices for their trade and business. Next, they discovered the Cape of Good Hope Route which they used to bring goods to the city much faster.

The discovery of such trade routes broke the monopoly that the Italians had established over trade in the country. The other main character that impacted and augmented the rise of Spain in the 15th Century is Columbus. Columbus wanted to go further with his expeditions and discovered the Indian Ocean and the Pacific but he had limited funds (Edwards, 2001). Finally, the Spanish Monarchs were the ones who gave him funding for his expedition. Isabella and Ferdinand, the most prominent Monarchs of Spain funded Columbuss expeditions and this caused Spain to gain a lot of leverage in terms of strength and power. Finally, it was the conquest of Mexico that brought Spain to its full power and gave rise to the nation like it had never seen before.

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