How Did Overseas Monarchs Help Consolidate Their Power in the Early Modern State?

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How did overseas expansion help European monarchs consolidate their power in the early modern state (1500-1700)? Jared Mitchell, Word Count: 500 words Europe was dominated by monarchies in the early Modern state, especially those lead by King Charles I of Spain, Kings Henry IV, Louis XII and Louis XIII of France, and Kings James I and Charles I of England. Traditionally the monarchs had been able to rely on the power of “Divine Right”. However, by the 16th century, Martin Luther, John Calvin and Henry the VIII, among others, had fractured the power of the Church. The Church also faced its power rapidly diminishing before new technological advancements. 1 The monarchs sought to consolidate their power by building wealth, stability and uniting their people behind a purpose. Overseas expansion provided a means for all three. Overseas expansion allowed the monarchs to build wealth as their nations gained access to resources which were in higher quantities and varieties than were available in the kingdoms of Europe.2 In Mexico (1519-1520)3 and Peru (1531-33)4, Charles I of Spain acquired the largest sources of silver in the world.5 This was a major boost in revenue6 and the inflation wiped out the savings of the rival middle class, entrenching the economic power of the monarchy.7 The British monarchs gained valuable timber for their sugar plantations in the Caribbean8 helping to fund the expansion of the Royal Navy. Henry IV of France benefited from rich trade in furs and this helped to fund the Thirty Years War, which expanded the power of Louis XIII and XIV.9 Overseas expansion also provided the perfect means for relocating a monarch’s potential enemies. In both France and England, those of religions opposed to the monarchs’ were sent to the “New World”. In 1605, King Henry IV of France used the settlement of Acadia to deport French Protestants to North America.10 In 1620, James I of England used the settlement of Virginia to get rid of the Pilgrims, who had...
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