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The Latin American Wars Of Independence

1566 words - 7 pages

The Latin American wars of independence were notably conducive to the decline of the Spanish Empire however, the decline can not be attributed singularly to the Latin American wars of Independence as there were other subsidiary factors involved. The Latin American wars of independence were a series of revolutions within South America causing Venezuela, Ecuador, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Haiti and Columbia to become independent countries. These wars drained the Spanish Empire’s resources, enforcing its decline in the early 19th century. Prior to the wars of independence, poor economic conditions, the destruction of the Spanish Armada, as well as an imperialistic ...view middle of the document...

The Spanish crown, inundated with gold and silver from the New World had flooded Europe with the precious metals lowering their commodity value. The Spanish economy never innovated on the scale necessary to keep up with the industrial economies of the UK, France, the US, and Germany. As a result of the uninformed export of gold and silver from the New World, inflation within the Spanish Empire caused a status of economic underdevelopment, ensuring dependence of foreign sources of raw materials and manufactured goods. Inflation is defined as a sustained increase in the general level of prices for goods and services. As inflation rises, every dollar buys a smaller percentage of a good or service. The Spanish Empire did not possess the foresight to set tax rates when accounting the inflation of silver, a direct result of this being the weakened economy which was a contributing factor to the downfall of the Spanish Empire. Spain did not become a productive bourgeoisie, but rather part of an economically inefficient aristocracy, as demonstrated through lack of middle-class society due to heavy taxation on peasants. The weakened state of economy left the Spanish Empire indebted during the Latin American wars of Independence, which amongst other factors, substantially contributed to the decline of the Spanish Empire.
Moreover, the Latin American wars of Independence were prevalent in the downfall of the Spanish Empire, amidst supplementary factors, including the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. The destruction of the Spanish Armada devastated the maritime power and prestige of Spain, as well as laying the foundation for British naval supremacy, resulting in the advancement of Britain as a global power and the regression of Spanish influence and authority. The demolition of the Spanish Armada eliminated the possibility of Spanish invasion within Europe and terminated the Spanish crusade for the extirpation of Protestantism. Furthermore, the defeat demonstrated the Spanish Empires inability to defend its own territory, thus implying the concept of imperialistic overstretch; a notion suggesting that an empire can extend itself beyond its ability to maintain or expand its military and economic commitments. Historian, Paul Kennedy stresses the religious dimensions of psychosomatic hubris and palpable overstretch. Kennedy states; ‘Great Power ascendency correlates strongly to available resources and economic durability; military overstretch and concomitant relative declines are the consistent threat facing powers whose ambitions and security requirements are greater than their resource base can provide for.’ The Spanish Empire validates Kennedy’s statement as evident within its economic and military weaknesses prior to its downfall. In the first half of the 16th century, a major ideological consideration was defence and proliferation of the Catholic faith. The last quarter of the century portrays a militarily centred approach; the Armada being an...

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