Spanish Empire

As one looks into a modern day map of the Americas, almost instantly would you notice the abundance of Spanish sounding names of countries all the way down to its streets. All of these are the footprints of the once dominant empire of Spain whose conquest directly sculpted the culture and economic state of these former colonies. The discovery of these new territories helped boost the economies of Spain and Portugal which was then reinvested on conquests in the far east such as the Philippines. Soon after Columbus introduced America to the rest of Europe, it took Spain over 50 years to gather all the treasure collected by the natives.

Spainís conquest for wealth resulted in the extinction of the great civilization of the Aztecs. Following the abolition of what seemed to be taboo religious practices by the Aztecs in the eyes of the Spaniards, their capital city Tenochtitlan was looted. This area was named new Spain later known as Mexico. After that successful conquest, the Spaniards moved further down south and conquered the Chibcha people in the region now called Columbia. Territory after territory, the Spaniards stopped at nothing to loot most of southern America for Gold and silver, replicating the activities of the former Roman Empire to accumulate vast amounts of wealth using military power. The eastern most part of the Americas belonged to Portugal a territory now known as Brazil. Although a prime source for cheap sugar, Brazil was not as abundant in gold and silver as that of the Spanish controlled territories, the Portuguese did not consider Brazil as a prime territory. They instead focused their attention in the spice trade in India and the spice islands. Back in Europe the conquistadors bought back and presented extravagant samples of native American gold to their Monarch.

At some point, where there were no longer new indian territories to loot, the Spaniards took control of the source, the gold and silver mines. The spanish monarch owned many of the mines at a high enough fee, Spainís agents would lease or sell the rights to the mines but after such deals, the government would still collect the quinto real, or the royal fifth in english. This taxes the owners of the mines at a 20 percent rate. To get the precious metals flowing at a seamless rate, crown officials reorganized the social structure of the natives. They transformed the former independent indian nation into colonies optimized to mine gold for Spain. Agriculture and ranching played an important role in the newly reformed colonies as it produced food for the miners who can no longer grow their own crops. Under Spanish control, the hacienda became the primary means for the production of food and animals for the mines. Hacienda is a spanish word which means making or in other terms production. The haciendas made saddles, ropes, whips and sacks used to haul the gold, silver and food to the ships which would them make its trip back to Spain

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