Economic Growth and its Effects on Politics
In Spain, the conquest of the New World brought new innovation in sea travel, cartography, trade, agriculture, and more to the Old World. It also brought luxuries to Spain like gold, cocoa, coffee, corn, cotton, tobacco, and sugar, all of which helped the monarchy become as strong as ever. Additionally, the African slave trade continued to expand into the New World, again bolstering the economy. Between diseases brought to the Americas by Africans and Europeans, the native population was greatly weakened, for they were not immune to them as the Easterners were (Lerner). Between a booming economy in Europe and the weakness of the native population due to disease, the Spanish were able to conquer the decimated native population and enforce a highly centralized government based in Spain itself (“Colonization”). Overall, the discovery, exploration, and settlement of the New World helped Spain become ever stronger, while completely wiping out the natives’ government.
The Role of Christopher Columbus in Politics
After discovering the New World, Columbus was welcomed back to Spain as a hero. He was granted royal status and became a colonial administrator for the Spanish government. However, Columbus had absolutely no experience in the field of federal administration, and chaos soon emerged in New Spain. Finally, Columbus’s disastrous stint came to an end when a royal investigator arrested the once-revered explorer and sent him back to Spain, where he was stripped of his titles and royalty (“Columbus, Christopher”). This helped the Spanish government realize that ruling New Spain from half-way across the globe would not be an easy task, and they would need to find experienced, effective rulers that could watch over the colonies with a wary, careful eye.
Image below (Christopher Columbus).