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Downfall of Spain and France Paper

"Critics who claim that Europe's wealth was built on the exploitation of people overseas have some justification, but the experiences of Spain and France demonstrate that exploitation alone was not enough.To build and sustain wealth, countries must be able to use wealth effectively." Spain and France are two countries that mastered the art of using people overseas to benefit themselves, and gain power.But with so much success overseas, how did two of the worlds most powerful nations of their time essentially lose their places as world leaders, and dig such insurmountable trenches for themselves that may never be completely filled?Are there any similarities in the downfall of these two once great world powers?
The two major regional areas of Spain came together in 1469 when Ferdinand of Aragon married Isabella of Castile, and more territory was added yet again, or re-won, in 1492 with the completion of the "reconquista" when all Muslims and Jews were run out of Spain.Another renowned event of the same year was the accidental discovery of the Americas by Christopher Columbus who had sought to establish a route to the Indies.Following this remarkable discovery, colonists from Spain began to settle the islands of the Caribbean, and northern coast of South America. In 1519, Hernan Cortes began his expedition from Vera Cruz with 600 Spaniards to overthrow the powerful Aztec empire at Tenochtitlan, modern day Mexico City.They conquered the capital city in 1521.In the next few years, they captured the Yucatan and most of Central America.In South America, the Inca Empire of the west coast and Andes Mountains became accessible to Spanish conquistadors after Vasco Nunez de Balboa found a portage across the Isthmus of Panama in 1513.In 1532, Francisco Pizarro, leading a force of some two hundred men, captured the Inca Emperor Atahualpa.It appears that the reconquista, with its crusading spirit a…

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