To what extent was the economic system of Colonial Latin America superior to that of British North America? This essay will demonstrate how the economic system of Colonial Latin America was slightly superior to that of British North America during the 18th century, due to several factors. In particular, the abundance of natural resources and the amount of political organization proved to be major influences.
The economy of Spanish America was strengthened by the export of goods to European markets. However, this was not the only source of wealth to the Spanish Empire. In 1545, in Peru, the mines of Potosi were discovered, containing an immense wealth of silver (Gale 2). A cheap labor system, known as the encomienda, helped to retain these profits. During the initiation of the silver trade, Spain had a favorable trade balance, due to the exchange of silver for manufactured goods. Over time, this had become lesser profitable, resulting in insignificant monetary gains.
However, the economic structure was not alone in driving the economy. Spain’s political structure, created by the Council of the Indies, created viceroyalties (or jurisdictions of the Spanish Empire), which were dependent on the local audiencias, corrigidores, and cabildos (Gale 2) The main role of the viceroy was to carry out the instructions of the Hapsburg monarchy. This monarchy led to the weakening of the Spanish Empire, due to corruption. By the 1700s, the Bourbons had replaced the Hapsburgs, creating reforms that would increase the amount of trade. In particular, more ports were opened inside the colonies, allowing for faster e...
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...ss of natural resources, and war debts. Therefore, the Spanish Empire was only slightly superior to the British Empire. This gives a possible answer to how much stronger it was to the British Empire, using facts and analysis.
Brinkley, Alan. American History: A Survey. Thirteenth ed. New York: McGraw, 2009. Print.
Keen, Benjamin, and Keith Haynes. A History of Latin America. 9th ed. Belmont: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2013. Print.
Kennedy, David M., and Thomas Andrew Bailey. The American Spirit: United States History as Seen by Contemporaries. 12th ed. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2010. Print.
"The Formation of Latin America, 1492-c. 1800." History Reference Center. Gale Group, 2003. Web. 4 Nov. 2013.
Wood, Gordon S. The Radicalism of the American Revolution. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1992. Print.
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