Through out the history Spain has remained the key player in European politics. Journey of Spanish empire started with the philosophy of discovering new destinations specially no man lands before other empires, in order to exploit resources of that place. Undoubtedly empire was one of the first global empires, spread from Europe, Africa, Asia and conquest America and continued spread for six centuries until it lost its last African colonies in 1975.
Discovery of America proved the new era of global trade. This trade between empires was continued expanding with each new discovery of land in different part of world, the Spanish Empire and Portuguese colonized it and extract wealth of that land to their respective homes. Spanish Dollar was first known global currency.
In roman times the land of Iberian Peninsula was commonly called Hispaniola. The Spain reached their pinnacle of perfection in 16th century to mid 17th century the century is known as golden age for empire. Charles became emperor of Holy Roman Empire when his grandfather Emperor Maximilian died. Charles is remembered as most powerful emperor in Europe. He expanded empire at level that in his empire the sun never set. Mighty empire was controlled from Seville Spain. The extraction of silver in Mexico Guanajuato region, this extraction proved the booster for empire wealth and this extraction was done in different regions like in Bolivia, Peru. The gold and silver reserved of Spain in 16th century is valued equivalent of US$1.5 trillion. With increase of wealth the pattern of economy was changed the agriculture was not given importance, nothing was manufactured but empire was mostly dependent of export of raw and finished goods. Hand work was believed dishonorable. Spain provided footing for modern law by making laws for protection of indigenous people of America.
In 17th century the Western Europe saw exhilarating socio-economic changes the glorious revolution in England and Sun king of France are notable events while Spain was on decay and debacle. Things in every aspect of life were changing in such swiftness that Spain looked like standstill and remained behind than its competitors.
The residue of Spanish Empire is majorly two things language and Roman Catholic faith. Today Spanish is second most widely spoken native language in the world.
British Empire: Britain’s imperial century (1815–1914)
British Empire was largest empire in the world ever flourished in the earth. The mighty Empire had one-fifth of the world’s population at the time and stretched almost a quarter of the Earth’s total land area. The foundations of the British Empire were laid down when England and Scotland were separate kingdoms. The journey of British Empire to become global power started when Elizabeth sent Humphrey Gilbert the sailor to explore new world. Their strategy was based on two things first they sent their business enterprises where the proper monarchy or ruling system exists after trading for few years they annexed the land and directly ruled by British Empire. Secondly they colonized places where indigenous people are weak and live as tribes of places like USA, Australia and New Zealand. Jamestown was first remarkable settlement in America controlled by the Virginia Company originally based in England. The European was crazy about India. They have listened about the treasure, spices, hot water and much more of land, so they really fond of reaching there. They sent numerous voyages to discover route to reach India. Among European Portuguese were first to reach the subcontinent, and they successfully developed bilateral trade relations with India well known as East India. The British reached India with their East India Company in 1600 followed by Dutch East India Company after two year. After staying for few decades for the sake of doing research about socio-cultural values and power structure they planed to attach the ruler of Bengal. Robert Clive was triumph of the Battle of Plassey in 1757 defeating Nawab of Bengal. The Bengal was regional power of subcontinent after its fall East India Company advanced to conquer other major states of India that ultimately British Raj was established through Government of India Act 1858.
During the period of First World War 1914 Germany was emerging as strong political and economical power. The British felt fear of fall in the hand of Germans. Therefore they made alliance with its arch rivals France and Russia to safeguard from danger. British declared war on Germany and occupied German African colonies. Germany was destroyed and same was the case with its allies. The Ottoman Empire was in alliance with Germany beard heavy loss and British alliance distributed Ottoman Empire in its alliance countries on the other hand Sharif of Mecca was supported to start movement for independence on the basis of their rule divide and rule for which they were famous for.
Second World War erupted in 1939 Germany was attacked by British and in the first half of war Germany invaded many neighboring states in Europe and British stand alone until Russia’s inclusion in the war and US support after pearl harbor devastation.
Wars are always demolishing, prosperity is vanished in the war states whatever are result come out from it, wining or losing. So was the case with British apparently won the War but inside it was falling and financial bankrupted and US given $4.1 billion aid to avoid financial collapse. With the British lost its territory and resources, the Europe’s centuries long dominance over the world ended and two new powers appear to counter balance each other. Russia and US was gaining power at global stage and growing in economical and military strengths as well. On the other hand the movements of independence in colonies were on rise. Labor party came into power formed peaceful disengagement policy. In British India due to two demands one from congress to form secular united India and other from Muslim league represent minority for separate Islamic state paved path for two identities declared independent on 15 August known as Pakistan and India.
Writer: ANWAR ALI (5258/MBA/F11)