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Christopher Columbus’ voyage across the Atlantic in 1492 helped Spain establish itself as one of the world's largest ever ...
empires. WatchMojo explores the rise and fall of this one-time world empire.
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History of the Spanish Empire
With the help of Christopher Columbus’ voyage across the Atlantic in 1492, Spain went on to establishment one of the largest empires the world has ever seen. Hi I'm Rebecca Brayton and welcome to watchmojo.com. And today, we’ll be exploring the rise, dominants and fall of this one time world empire.
After the union of Castile and Aragon, effectively created Spain, the resulting new kingdom quickly began to commission overseas explorations. Under the Spanish flag, it was Christopher Columbus who accidentally discovered the Americas while attempting to reach Asia via Atlantic. This began Spain’s colonization of the Americas with countries like Portugal, England, France and others not far behind.
In 1510, Spain was finally successful in creating the first permanent European settlement and what is now Colombia. The year 1513, he saw Spain Vasco Núñez de Balboa become the first European to lead an expedition to the Pacific Ocean when it crossed present date panama. Groups of warrior explorers called conquistadors begun colonizing the Caribbean islands and areas of South America. Despite resistance by the indigenous population, the conquistadors used rival made of thrives against each other in order to gain an advantage.
Spain’s expansion did not stop with the Americas. After finding the west world route to the Far East that Columbus has been searching four years earlier, Spain has established colonies in Guam, the Philippines and other nearby islands. At the height of the Spanish Empire in the 17th century, the kingdom controlled much of Americas, territories, and Africa, Asia and Oceania and large portions of Europe. In total, they controlled approximately 13% of the world’s total land area.
Continuing the war with various countries throughout Europe, meant trouble for Spain’s economy. By the end of the 17th century, France has emerged as Europe’s super power marking the beginning of the end for Spain’s empire.
In the 19th century, the Spanish-American wars of independence and the Spanish-American war saw Spain lose all of its territories throughout the Americas and Asia. Even after its fall as a dominant world power, Spain’s legacy remains evident. The Spanish dollar was the world first global currency because of the county’s role in the foundations of global trade.
This trade would see the introduction of things like horses, apples, and even wheat to the new world from Europe. The Spanish language and Roman Catholic faith were also spread throughout the world, both still dominant and most of its former colonies even centuries later.