European Rivalry in the Caribbean

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METHODS USED BY SPAIN TO PROTECT HER MONOPOLY

The Spanish monopoly in the Americas was established the moment that Christopher Columbus made landfall in Bahamas, this was way back on his first voyage in 1492. Soon after, her monopoly increased in size, wealth and fame. This was brought about by way of her island and mainland territories; a few being Cuba, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, Venezuela, Columbia and Peru. Her wealth soon aroused much jealousy amongst other European nations, who were anxious to expand and become rich. Realising that her monopoly was in danger she set out ‘to nip in the bud’ the plans of the other Europeans. Some methods she put in place or referred to were:

Papal Edict & The Treaty of Tordesillas
The Caribbean also referred to as the New World was ‘discovered’ by Spain in 1492 on Christopher Columbus’ first voyages from Spain. Immediately after his return Spain professed that this entire area was theirs, however it became effective in 1493 when Pope Alexander IVgave them his Papal Bulls. Portugal was the first to protest the sole rights of claim to the New World by Spain as a result the Treaty of Tordesillas was signed between both nations: that treaty divided the non-christian world in two, half to Spain and the other half to Portugal.

The Casa de Contratacion (House of Trade)
In 1503 Ferdinand and Isabella created a state bureau called The Casa de Contratacion. It was set up in Seville under Juan de Fonseca, who was the Archdeacon of Seville’s Cathedral; later the Minister of the Indies. The Casa de Contratacion had three royal officials: a treasurer, a comptroller and a business manager. The treasurer was responsible for the registration of all the gold and the silver. In addition, the comptroller was in charge of all the crew and the emigrants. However, the business manager looked after the ships stating which was ready to sail, their supplies and the munitions they carried.

The functions of the Casa de...
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