Spain’s Lesson in Hubris: Tracing Spain’s Financial Collapse to the Beginning of its New World Empire
by Ryan Miller
In the span of a few hundred years, Spain transformed from the world’s largest empire, acquiring seemingly endless wealth in the New World, to a modern periphery country, plagued by its economic decline from centuries earlier. This essay traces how this came about by connecting the stream of wealth from the New World and Spain’s ultimate decline. I go beyond the typical scholarship on the topic, beginning at colonization and its immediate effects rather than beginning with the consequences that came from these. These immediate consequences include the price inflation caused by more gold and silver, the significant cost of establishing new administration, and the compounding cost of defending these new territories. I then explain how the Spanish Habsburg monarchs implemented careless policies, such as eager military ventures and reckless government borrowing, that furthered the issues that presented themselves after colonization and spelled doom for the future of the Spanish economy. My work traces the root of these policies to the arguably misplaced confidence of the Spanish Crown in the influx of New World silver and gold and expands upon how exactly these policies were shaped and the ways in which they contributed to the ultimate collapse. I finish the essay by analyzing how the New World expansion affected the common people of Spain and the role that they played in the decline themselves. My ultimate interest is to offer a critical analysis of how colonial Spanish strategy, governance, and reaction kicked off the ultimate decline of the peninsular economy.
KEY WORDS: Spain, empire, decline, Habsburgs, New World
Flipping through the pages of my children’s historical atlas, I—like so many others—stopped at the sight of the Earth being largely presented in a single color. Looking more closely at that map, I saw the legend indicate this color represented the Spanish Empire. Even as a child, I was astounded by how much land it covered, and naturally I thought that it must have been powerful too. Tracing the boundaries of the territory with my hand, I imagined how mighty and prosperous Spain must have been to accumulate such a vast amount of territory. I knew nothing of atrocity, bureaucracy, or colony, but the size of their empire stuck out to me. Rushing to the end of the atlas, the rapid disappearance of that Spanish Empire confused me. What could cause an empire like that simply to disappear?
Numerous historians have offered their own answers to this debacle over the years. Anglo-American historians prior to the late twentieth century nearly universally attributed the decline to the “Black Legend,” a trend detailed in depth by Richard L. Kagan. Along this same trend, Earl Hamilton, in 1938, claimed that “with almost complete unanimity, previous writers since the seventeenth century have regarded the Moorish expulsion of 1609-14 as the overshadowing cause of the Spanish economic decadence.” This vein attributes the Spanish decline to the suppression and absolutism exhibited by the Inquisition and Castilian monarchy, claiming that it stifled progress into the modern era. More recent scholarship points to the Crown’s irresponsible policies and loans for the ultimate decline. While those dug Spain deeper, they are consequences more than causes. The real cause came from the very beginning, when Spain first integrated the American colonies into its economy.
The Spanish management of the Americas and its riches in the century after discovery started them on their journey to financial ruin and relative insignificance. Retrospect makes one wonder, “whether the Discovery of Peru has been more beneficial, or more mischievous to Europe,” just as an anonymous seventeenth-century writer did. Looking back, it seems the Spanish should have followed Daedalus’ advice toward his son, Icarus: ‘do not fly too high.’ Instead, the Spanish imperial desires increased exponentially, believing the American riches would never end, and doomed their failure from the very beginning. Whereas Icarus’ wax wings melted when he rose too high, so too did the Spanish’s wings of gold and silver melt away when the material could not fulfill their ambition—inflation robbing its value and debt stealing it from the peninsula. The Spanish fatally held absolute confidence in the American colonies as a source of endless wealth and power and acted accordingly, causing their economy and prominence to come crashing down because of it.
The style of and motivations for Spanish colonization are essential to understanding how the American colonies began the ultimate decline. Opinions aside, Columbus’s voyage in 1492 did kick off the Spanish presence in the New World. While his initial journey was small, his return inaugurated Spain’s imperial ventures into this New World. His initial letter to the king and queen of Spain also provides a window into what Columbus saw as Spanish motivations. He concluded his letter by giving thanks to “the Redeemer” for the “victory to our most illustrious king and queen… bringing fame… converting so many people to our holy faith, and also for temporal goods.” Within a few decades, Spain went from not knowing that the Americas existed to overtaking native empires and extending their massive bureaucracy across thousands of square miles. While fame and faith were certainly important, the finances played a massive role in motivating that Spanish expansion. While defending colonization in his Indian Policy, Juan de Solórzano y Pereyra could not help but add a caveat: “If we grant that greed for gold and riches, whose power is so ancient… has prevailed in some, this does not negate the merits of so many good people.” The “ancient” power of gold and riches was too strong for the Spanish to resist diving into a full blown empire a world away. The excitement of the early–sixteenth-century “treasure ships” travelling back to the continent full of gold and silver set the table for the disappointment of the later sixteenth- and seventeenth-century economic declines that would symbolize the decline of the Spanish empire.
The Immediate Consequences of Colonization
The immediate price inflation caused by the shipments of gold and silver set in motion the avalanche that would take with it the Spanish economy. The first Spanish conquistadores were thrilled to see all the gold and silver worn by the Aztec and Incan royalty and strove themselves to find the mines that offered such valuable substance. The Spanish found plenty in the early sixteenth century, and the American bullion would come to make up “25 percent of Philip [II]’s total revenue” near the end of the century as the “flood of gold and silver wrung from the mountains of the New World enriched the Spanish treasury.” Yet, more money does not necessarily constitute more wealth as Spain would find out. As Martin Gonzalez de Cellorigo observed, the existence of more gold and silver did not make Spain any richer but instead led to inflation across Spain and Europe in what would be later known as the “price revolution of the sixteenth century.” While Ferdinand and Isabella may have originally imagined the New World would be Spain’s key to endless riches, the “massive importation of gold and silver… reinforced inflationary pressures,” making the prices in Spain double by 1560—only decades after the conquering of Peru and Mexico. Those shiploads of gold and silver just circulated more currency into the market, which lowered the value of the existing forms of currency in Spain. The American bullion put major pressure on the Spanish economy, and this pressure was only increased with the new costs that came with the empire.
The costs of the vast and distant American colonies put significant pressure on the peninsular economy contributing to the ultimate financial struggles underlying the Spanish decline. The new empire’s vastness required from Spain ample resources to govern and its distance confounded this issue immensely: “communications between [the New World] and with the mother country involved arduous, time-consuming journeys by land and sea,” and the “sheer distance increased the problem of governance.” The resulting Spanish bureaucracy was “cumbersome, corrupt, and appallingly slow,” an observation that led to the conclusion that “the government’s greatest failing lay not in its institutions or intentions, but in the fact that it could do nothing quickly.” The stress of extending the bureaucracy massive distances was essentially dragging the entirety of the empire. The Casa de Contratacion, an example of bureaucratic extension, was first established to collect taxes from the New World but ultimately was “transformed into a regulatory agency for private enterprise and state fiscal ends” over time. The expansion’s daunting task was felt at home in Castile. Both money and good people were needed by these budding Spanish societies in America, and the absence of these two things from Spain negatively impacted the peninsula. Maintaining the American bureaucracy funneled some of the would-be financial gain from the Americans back to the Americas in order to run this “intricate economic mechanism which required the most careful regulation.” The empire’s bureaucratic costs were huge to Spain and would combine with the empire’s protection costs to cause some contemporaries to question whether these colonies were necessary.
The vastness and distance of the Americas complicated defending the new borders around and trade between. Trade and communication between Madrid and the New World was difficult in optimal conditions, so the threat of foreign powers intervening made it all the more difficult. Both “European competition open[ing] Spanish shipping to attack at sea” and “increased pirate activity in the Caribbean” forced the Spanish to pour resources and manpower into defending the American borders and the Atlantic Ocean. The resources put into the necessary defense only furthered the cost that the extended bureaucracy created, establishing these New World colonies as a financial sinkhole for the Crown. The Crown experimented with various measures attempting to counterbalance this precarious issue, but the attempts never quite appeased the situation as these defensive costs were coupled with constant ambitious military campaigns. The imperial defense coupled with the foreign policy goals of the Spanish Habsburgs (the ruling dynasty in Spain for this period) wore the monarchy far too thin, and the government’s inability to create an administrative structure to handle it doomed the empire. The momentous efforts to create an extension of Spain an ocean away and the cost of defending those communities and the contact between undermined the Spanish economy and underpinned its ultimate decline.
Monarchical Policies Following the Imperial Expansion
The Spanish Habsburg kings could not help but fall into the trap of using their newly acquired and greatly desired bullion to finance extremely costly military ventures that stretched the Spanish economy even more thinly. The newfound gold and silver funded the aggressive tactics of the monarchs both directly through payments and indirectly through paying back loans taken to pay for the armies. Mauricio Drelichman summed it well:
Several authors have identified the treasure of the Indies as the main enabler of the Crown’s imperial designs in the sixteenth century, while also arguing that excessive expectations over future yields were a principal determinant of the Crown’s financial woes in the second half of the sixteenth century.
One of those ‘authors’ was the economic historian, Earl J. Hamilton, who equated “aggressive foreign policy” to “the illusion of prosperity created by American gold and silver.” The kings relied immensely on Spain’s gold and silver and allowed their debts to rise very high but seemed to think little of what may happen if that gold and silver lost its sturdiness while their debts were still too high. Spanish officials exhibited this short-sighted viewpoint by constantly advertising “Castile’s capacity to handle the growing problem of debt liquidation when silver flows were interrupted or when demand exceeded supply,” despite the possibility that this may not be the case—as multiple bankruptcies showed. Even when times were tough, however, the expectations of the future yields were still high, and so was the confidence in eventually settling debts. This confidence caused the kings—especially Charles V and Philip II—to continue “to command an unprecedented amount of credit and thus fund their imperial adventures” because of the “windfall acquisition of mineral resources from American mines.” The monarchs thought little of the trap in this reliance and instead saw the increased capacity for loans as a unique opportunity to exert themselves militarily. The debt continually grew as conflicts all over Europe were incited and continued by armies paid by the Spanish American silver. The costs of the conflicts coupled with the costs of repaying the debts accumulated for these conflicts neutralized any benefit the gold and silver may have created, and they added to the initial economic woes of price inflation and the American imperial toll.
The constant acquisition of loans by the Habsburg monarchs and the required subsequent repayments further dug the Spanish economy into an inescapable hole that would suffocate the country on the eve of modernity. Most of the New World bullion did not even make it to Spain: it “went directly to pay for the armies and their expenses and to service the crown’s debt,” causing it to “almost immediately flow out.” Even the roughly contemporary and anonymous writer noticed that, in Spain, “the Money itself which is borrowed for the public good, passes through so many channels, that always the least part comes to them to whom it is due.” Essentially, the borrowing of the Crown created a situation where the money from the New World became little more than a timely—if chance allowed—debt repayment, taking advantage of its liquidity. The borrowing itself was not the issue; rather, it was the places where it was funneled. As A. W. Lovett summarized, “Prudently managed, borrowing on such collateral would have brought stability. Recklessly misused, it merely hastened the inevitable crash.” The Spanish mishandled the opportunity the Americas offered to maximize truly the virtually endless loans through investment in worthwhile and productive industry. Martin Gonzalez de Cellorigo, the arbitrista (a contemporary social commentator), explained in 1600 that “the effect of an apparently endless flow of American silver into Seville had been to create a false sense of wealth as consisting of gold and silver, whereas true wealth lay in productive investment,” which Spain was not doing. Instead, the Habsburg kings continued their endless wars in the belief that they had ample amounts of wealth to uphold them. As debts piled up from this borrowing, the Spanish became inventive with loan types that pushed Spain into bankruptcy.
The Spanish concocted new strategies with the inland loaners to continue to borrow as much as anyone was willing to loan and to drive the debt to all new heights. Cellorigo again delivered a scathing review in regard to one of these methods, the censos: “It is very important to the king to see that his subjects not let themselves keep making the error… to live off of censos… because their use has up until now been the plague and ruin of Spain.”These censos were government annuities that Spaniards were using in attempts to ‘get rich fast’ and caused them to take up “idleness.” Cellorigo observed that these pushed Spaniards away from pursuing honorable and necessary trades, and these censos were made available only because of the ceaseless money search by the Crown from any source. An anonymous writer in 1691 claimed that the king actually shared the least in the “while his Subjects tumble in Gold, the Prince alone is forced to borrow, to supply the pressing Necessities of his Kingdom,” a perspective that was likely derived from the constant debt repayment required. The king was ultimately playing an endless game of catch-up to try and finance new ventures while the debts from the former, reckless borrowing constantly loomed. This cycle ultimately doomed Spain’s economy.
Perhaps Spain’s most destructive loans took the form of the asientos and the juros, and they deserve their own attention. Asientos were a direct product from the American silver, a correlation charted by Drelichman; Asientos “were short term bank loans… [that] did not require clearance with the Cortes,” and “the correlation between the two series (asientos and treasure imports) is a staggering 95.1 per cent, lending support to the widespread conjecture that expected silver revenues were the main collateral behind the extension of credit to the Crown.” Asientos were especially problematic because “both interest and principal was to be made at a specified future date”; when unexpected conflicts or lighter shiploads occurred, these payments were delayed for years, giving the banking families leverage to charge even higher interest rates from the beginning. These loans reached such a deficit that Philip II restructured them for juros, a very similar style of loan, in 1557, when bankruptcy was declared that year. Juros moving forward had less of a relation to the New World bullion but still was quite correlated and were given to “disgruntled owners of confiscated treasure” from the Americas. Both strategies came into practice because of the irresponsible borrowing of the Spanish crown, and both would only further increase the deficits that led to peninsular financial ruin.
The Crown tried to offset the drastic deficits through increased and clever taxation schemes, but these schemes ultimately served to hurt the common people in a way that would hold Spain back even further. The debts from borrowing coupled with the total imperial costs caused the Spanish kings to find a way to increase revenue, and taxation was an answer apart from further borrowing; however, “the burden of [these] new forms of taxation fell primarily on Castile and on Spain’s commoners,” further harming the peninsular economy. This taxation took place alongside the borrowing explained earlier but was unable to save Spain from “the Crown’s chronically ill finances,” and because of the burden it caused, Castile remained a relatively poor country through even the best years post-Columbus. The new taxes took many names—the alcabala or the millones, among others—but all of them further increased the poverty of the poor and did little to calm the financial woes. The alcabala (a 10% tax on the amount of all commercial transactions) created a “heavy burden on merchants… probably a contributing cause of the declining vigor of Spanish economic life in the later sixteenth century,” and the “millones enabled Philip II to reduce his annual deficits during the 1590s, but did not eliminate them. It did, however, increase the suffering of the poor.” The common person in early modern Europe already scraped by, so these measures hit them especially hard in comparison to the affluent. The wealth gap this expanded worked to undermine further profitable capital that may have been generated from this group of people that may have spurred growth that could counteract the inevitable decline. The Spanish taxes perpetuated struggles and stunted growth, and policy changes were unable to slow the current economic decay. The Crown’s overconfidence in American imports caused irresponsible financial policy that doomed Spain’s economy and empire.
The Common People’s Role in the Spanish Economic Decline
In the century following the discovery of America, Spain struggled with a population decline sourced in the American imperialism that was recognized by the contemporaries of the time and contributed to even further economic woes. An exodus of people from Spain followed colonization because the new colonies needed good Spaniards to fill the state and church offices and also “profit possibilities in silver mining stimulated Spaniards emigrating to America.” A resurgence of the plague in the 1590s and lowered birth rates in the period coupled with the emigration to cause serious population shortages in Spain. Contemporary Europeans, outside of Spain, positively viewed American emigration as serving as a drain of sorts that allowed Spain to export “riff-raff and desperadoes” who would cause trouble. Cellorigo had a starkly different take on the emigration, stating that “the most striking reason for the decline of our republic and the deepening of its problems is the shrinking of the population”—a perspective that is confirmed by modern studies. He aptly acknowledges the increased pressures the population deficiency put on the struggling economy that was already bringing Spain to ruin. The population shortages “added to Castile’s woes—and the government’s expenses—by increasing the wages even further and reducing the number of men available for military service.” The value of Spanish goods were already struggling on the international market from the inflation of the currency, so the increased input costs brought by more expensive labor advanced this issue. Fewer men for service also increased the need to hire foreign armies whose payments drove the Crown to undertake reckless borrowing that stymied Spanish economic capabilities. Spain’s overall population issues further compounded the financial woes that contributed to total economic decline.
The Spanish people suffered as Spain did because of the country’s financial woes. The royal taxation disproportionately disadvantaged the public that had little money to spare, and the price inflation that exceeded wage increases exacerbated this effect. These coupled to create the situation “in Holland (a principality of the Spanish Crown for centuries), [where] a Man that is not worth ten thousand livres is poor, and cannot live upon his income… [but] in Sweden, Switzerland, and some parts of France, he that has a thousand livres lives very comfortably.” The people in Spain—and the areas under Spain—lived in poverty despite “all [the] wealth which is brought from Peru.” Cellorigo similarly observed that, although Spain has “a lot of money, silver, and gold… the necessities of life are lacking.” Poverty constricts personal investment that may stimulate the struggling economy, so the Castilians’ suffering did nothing to help and likely hurt the Spanish economy. Despite all the gold and silver that passed through the city of Seville and Spanish hands, it did little to improve the situation on the ground for the people, both representing and increasing financial hardships.
A cause for Spain’s decline frequently cited by contemporaries was American riches’ degrading the population’s morality and undermining the workforce’s competency. Cellorigo declared that “we (the Spanish) have disregarded natural laws, which teach us to work, and because we have put wealth… into gold and silver, and because we have ceased to follow the true and right path,” and Pedro de Ribadeneyra, in the wake of the Armada’s defeat in 1588, echoed this in asking that His Majesty “should consider that the greatest wealth of the kingdom is not… gold and silver… [or] goods… [or] other things concerning the… luxury of human life, but rather the proliferation and abundance of courageous and magnanimous men.” Both of these men reflect the belief that the American riches flowing into Spain ruined the work ethic of the people. These men saw what they believed to be laziness among people in Spain while observing the many who left their posts in pursuit of riches. The Spanish emigrants to the New World held the goal “to find precious metals and to establish landed estates for themselves that would, they hoped, make them equals to lords,” and Catalina de Erauso recollected that “the infantry wouldn’t go along with [growing food to appease shortages], saying we didn’t come out here to be farmers but to conquer and take gold.” Gold dominated the minds of Spaniards who braved the journey to the New World. The prospects for financial gain drove hordes to the New World and, in the eyes of the Spaniards then, ruined the Spanish work ethic Erauso later defended in her memoir.
Can it be determined that the ‘disregard for the natural laws’ of mankind actually did contribute to the Spanish decline? Cellorigo, Ribadeneyra, and Erauso all interacted with the sixteenth-century Spaniard firsthand and bring valuable insight to scholars centuries later; however, theirs are inherently biased perspectives. Cellorigo wrote his piece to the King and avoided placing any blame on the Crown so the people were a natural scapegoat. Ribadeneyra wrote following a historical defeat at sea and was searching for any kind of explanation for such a loss. Erauso simply observed the words of soldiers in South America that may not have reflected peninsular Spaniards. These generalizations appear to be common assumptions shared by those witnessing Spanish degradation, although Drelichman found evidence of the idleness they were explaining. His discovery was as follows:
Calculations based on the census of households of 1542 allow one to infer that by that time at least 12 percent of the Spanish population enjoyed hidalgo status. To this already high number one must add the ‘dead hands’ of the clergy to obtain a rough idea of the enormous proportion of idle population in Spain.
In times of financial need from the imperial ventures, the Crown had liberally given titles, which brought exemption from taxes and a social expectation not to work with one’s hands. Spain was already struggling with the size of its working class, and exempting possible workers only worsened it. Essentially, the creation of hidalgos was another example of the Crown playing directly into future financial decline as they created even more idle hands in a country strapped for workers. There is numerical support for these contemporaries’ observations, demonstrating that idleness trickling from the Americas hindered the possible output of the Spanish population. The peninsular Spaniard, both in absence and in presence, furthered the economic collapse that would suffocate Spain heading into the modern era.
Spain long knew it was sliding into the abyss, but it was already too late to stop it. The decline did not surprise the Spanish leaders or people. By the close of the sixteenth century, the complete despair “seems to have been widely shared by all levels of society,” an “intense awareness of the misery of Castile” was omnipresent, and the collapse of the economy “had been repeatedly diagnosed” and “the grandeur of Spain was in the past tense.” The Spanish people were feeling the intense poverty, and the Crown and officials recognized that the cycles of exorbitant borrowing, intense debt, and ultimate bankruptcy was dooming Spain. The Castilians’ confidence in their ‘divine favor’ had vanished as they realized, as Elliot accurately observed, “the gift of empire had proved a poisoned chalice.” The seventeenth-century Spaniard had quite a unique position of hopelessly knowing that their country was in descent. The Spanish knew that they had gone astray, but history suggests that it was too late for them to correct or that they were not willing to take the necessary steps to do so.
Could the Spanish really have passed on the opportunity for this Empire? The people they found had seemingly endless resources, the areas were primed for commercial agriculture, and the continent had unfathomable stretches of European-free land. America certainly was the jackpot, so one cannot blame the Spanish for feeling a sense of destiny in stumbling upon it. The Spanish “looked upon themselves as the heirs and successors of the Romans” after all, so ambition was potent, and, “consciously following in the steps of the Romans, [they] first had to conquer, then to colonize, and then to organize, govern, and exploit their conquests.” Had the treasures been better managed, these aspirations may have been satiated while maintaining Spanish prominence and prosperity. Instead, the gold and silver were allowed to drive up prices rampantly, constantly coax glory seekers from Spain, and imprudently support endless borrowing schemes, but it was never adequately placed into investments that could have offset or overcome these inevitabilities. The Spanish developed a reliance on the shiploads of bullion and seemingly banked on these always keeping them afloat. Of course it is impossible to know how history may have changed had the Spanish better handled the plethora of America’s untapped potential, but the legacy that they left is that of their incapability of preventing New World colonies from sinking their economy and dragging the home nation and people down with it.
“Advice from Spain.” In The Present State of Europe: Volume 2, 24-25. 1691.
Cowans, Jon. Early Modern Spain. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003.
Drelichman, Mauricio. “All that glitters: Precious metals, rent seeking and the decline of Spain.” European Review of Economic History 9 (2005): 313-336.
Elliot, J. H. Spain and its World, 1500-1700. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989.
Hamilton, Earl J. “Revisions in Economic History: VIII.-The Decline of Spain.” Economic History Review 8, no. 2 (1938): 168-79.
Kagan, Richard L. “Prescott’s Paradigm: American Historical Scholarship and the Decline of Spain.” American Historical Review 101, no. 2 (1996): 423-46.
Lovett, A. W. Early Habsburg Spain 1517-1598. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986.
Maltby, William. The Rise and Fall of the Spanish Empire. London: Palgrave, 2009.
“Reflections upon the Advice from Spain.” In The Present State of Europe: Volume 2, 26-28. 1691.
Rice, Eugene and Anthony Grafton. The Foundations of Early Modern Europe, 1460-1559. New York: W.W. Norton, 1994.
Schevill, Rudolph. “Ovid and the Renascence in Spain.” University of California Publications in Modern Philology 4, no. 1 (1913): 1-268.
Stein, Stanley J. and Barbara H. Stein. Silver, Trade, and War: Spain and America in the Making of Early Modern Europe. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 2000.
Stepto, Michele, and Gabriel Stepto, trans. Lieutenant Nun: Memoir of a Basque Transvestite in the New World. Boston: Beacon Press, 1996.
 Richard L. Kagan’s “Prescott’s Paradigm: American Historical Scholarship and the Decline of Spain” described the evolution of historical scholarship in its perception of Spanish history: specifically focusing on the early modern period. The beginning of the essay cited numerous early Anglo-American historians that propagated the “Black Legend” ideas. Richard L. Kagan, “Prescott’s Paradigm: American Historical Scholarship and the Decline of Spain,” American Historical Review 101, no. 2 (1996): 423-46.
 Earl J. Hamilton, “Revisions in Economic History: VIII.-The Decline of Spain,” Economic History Review 8, no. 2 (1938): 171.
 “Reflections upon the Advice from Spain.” In The Present State of Europe: Volume 2, 26–28. 1691.
 Icarus is one of the most popular Greek stories about the dangers of hubris (excessive pride). It has been referenced numerous times elsewhere and contained in Ovid’s Metamorphoses which was widely read and referenced throughout the Medieval and Early Modern Era, even coupled with Christian lessons, and was even translated into Spanish prose during this time. Rudolph Schevelli outlines all of this in “Ovid and the Renascence in Spain” in University of California Publications in Modern Philology 4, no. 1 (1913): 1-268.
 Jon Cowans, Early Modern Spain (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003), 33.
 Cowans, Indian Policy, 165.
 J. H. Elliot, “Spain and its Empire in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries,” in Spain and its World, 1500-1700, 7–26. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989), 23.; William Maltby, The Rise and Fall of the Spanish Empire (London: Palgrave, 2009), 52.
 Cowans, “The Restoration of the Republic,” 137.; Elliot, 22.
 Eugene F. Rice and Anthony Grafton, The Foundations of Early Modern Europe, 1460-1559 (New York: W.W. Norton, 1994): 43.
 Maltby, 62, 80.
 Elliot, 14.; Maltby, 79.
 Stanley J. Stein and Barbara H. Stein, Silver, Trade, and War: Spain and America in the Making of Early Modern Europe, (Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 2000), 12.
 Elliot, 21.
 Stein, 13.; Maltby, 83.
 Elliot, 25.; Maltby, 85.
 Mauricio Drelichman, “All that glitters: Precious metals, rent seeking and the decline of Spain,” European Review of Economic History 9 (2005), 317.
 Hamilton, “The Decline of Spain,” 177.
 Stein, 41.
 Drelichman, 314
 Maltby, 128.; Elliot, 21.
 “Advice from Spain.” In The Present State of Europe: Volume 2, 24-25. 1691.
 A. W. Lovett, Early Habsburg Spain 1517-1598 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986), 223.
 Elliot, 22.
 Cowans, “The Restoration of the Republic,” 137-138.
 “Advice from Spain,” 24-25.
 Drelichman, 319.
 Maltby, 47.
 Drelichman, 321.
 Cowans, 3.
 Cowans, 3.; Maltby, 4.
 Rice and Grafton, 119.; Maltby, 127.
 Stein, 22.
 Elliot, 12.
 Cowans, “The Restoration of the Republic,” 135.
 Maltby, 129.
 “Reflections Upon the Advice from Spain,” 26-28.
 Cowans, “The Restoration of the Republic,” 137.
 Cowans, “The Restoration of the Republic,” 133.; Cowans, “On the Causes of the Armada’s Defeat,” 132.
 Maltby, 62.; Michele and Gabriel Stepto, trans. Lieutenant Nun: Memoir of a Basque Transvestite in the New World (Boston: Beacon Press, 1996), 33.
 Drelichman, 322.
 Maltby, 129.; Elliot, 25.; Stein, 4.
 Elliot, 26.
 Elliot, 9-10.
Acknowledgements: Dr. Benjamin Ehlers, for his continued instruction and support