The Impact Of The Columbian Exchange On Spain

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The massive amounts of gold and silver exported back to Europe greatly enriched the Spanish monarchy and upper class, but drastically hurt the poor and common people of Spain. What little wealth the lower class had was greatly inflated as silver and gold flooded into the markets. Throughout the century of Spanish conquest, 180 tons of gold and 16,000 tons of silver were sent to Spain from the New World (Hewitt & Lawson, 2014, 1.16). Much of the acquired wealth was used to finance the Spanish invasions of Italy and Portugal. Although the Columbian Exchange changed the Old and New World in positive ways, it also ignited wars on three continents, decimated millions by disease, and further increased demand for African slaves.

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