Tuesday, January 11, 2011

First Free Response Practice for the Exam

4. Compare and contrast the economic factors responsible for the decline of Spain with
the economic factors responsible for the decline of the Dutch Republic by the end of
the seventeenth century.

Spain, along with the Dutch Republic, were strong world powers in the sixteenth century through the late seventeenth century. Economic factors came into play, and directly resulted in the decline of theses two empires. Government, war, and trade weakened both countries to a point where neither could survive as a top world power. Spain's Catholic views clashed with England's Anglican outlook and ultimately led to a naval war that brought about the downfall of Spain; while the Navigation Act of England destroyed the trade system of the Dutch Republic and led to its decline.

In the seventeenth century, Spain was a dominate world power under Catholic rule. Being a Catholic country meant supporting the Pope in all actions dealing with the Church. England, under Queen Elizabeth I's rule, was becoming more and more powerful. This posed a threat to Spain and the Catholic Church since England was a Protestant nation, specifically Anglican. Under the Pope's orders, Spain sent the Spanish Armada to fight the English navy. The Spanish Armada was defeated by the much smaller English navy, which ultimately began the downfall of Spain.

The Dutch Republic prospered in the seventeenth century. It was the world power for banking and trade, and showed no signs of stopping. The Dutch had access to most of the key European waterways, which meant trade was easy and successful. The country traded its own goods, along with other countries goods. The access of waterways allowed the Dutch to buy goods from certain countries and then use the goods to trade with even more countries. At the time, the Dutch Republic was the only nation the Japanese would trade with. However, the English Parliament created the Navigation Act. The first part of the act stated that any imports into England had to either come in on English ships or ships from the country where the goods came from. This seriously damaged the trade system of the Dutch Republic, so they went to war. These wars were known as the Anglo-Dutch wars, and it started the decline of the Dutch Republic's power.

The decline of both Spain and the Dutch Republic had in large part to do with the English. Both countries' downfalls came from war. The Spanish and English naval war was started because of religious differences between governments, while the Anglo-Dutch wars were started because of trade laws. After Spain lost to England, they never really regained their power. The Spanish Armada had been almost completely destroyed, and it never built itself back up. The Dutch did not maintain power for long after fighting with England because their trade system was not as successful because of the new laws. The Dutch also had to focus a lot of their energy and money on keeping away the invading French. The split money and effort all contributed to its downfall.

Spain and the Dutch Republic entered the seventeenth century as dominate world powers, but left the seventeenth century as defeated nations. The English conquered both empires and had a major part in the decline of the two nations. In the end, war with England led to the downfall of Spain and the Dutch Republic.

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