Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Spanish and the Empire rose and fell

            From 1450 to 1800 to Empires rose to great prominence and power. Spanish conquistadors and missionaries brought vast native empires to their knees, while at the same time the Ottoman Empire’s armies were expanding over surrounding regions. These Empires were alike in many applicable ways, yet differed in several theoretical ways.
            Both empires were devoutly religious. The Spanish were faithfully catholic and were determined to make others follow their ways also. The Ottoman Sultan was also strictly Muslim. Because of this both adopted official policies of conversation to their chose religion. Christian Missionaries spread their religions, sometimes forcing it on the natives at the penalty of death. The Ottomans took a different path. They took Christian boys and converted them to Islam by entrance into the Janissary ranks. Converted natives could look forward to second-class citizenship, while Christian converts in the Ottoman Empire looked forward to wealth and power in the Ottoman government.
             The Ottoman and Spanish were very different in theory, but often quite similar in practice. Wealthy Spanish nobles and merchants had the relatively independent control of Spain in the Americas, but still reported back to the mother country. The Ottomans drew administrators from a well-trained and very well educated administrative class. Later, corruption filled the Ottoman system and their system for selection was practically abandoned.
             The Spanish Empire was a merchant empire. Its structure allowed for free exchange of goods. Contrarily, the Ottomans maintained a military empire as the government sought power through military strength over any other means. The Spanish lacked significant financial infrastructure leading to failure and the massive corruption in the Ottoman government allowed the once converted Janissaries to rise up with a military in an attempted coup. This eventually collapsed too though.
Both rose up into glory from 140 to 1800, but both systems were eventually undone by the very systems they supposedly valued most. At the end of this time period both of these great and powerful empires were left to ruin. The Ottoman Empire and Spanish Empire had very different ideas of what conquering meant, but in practicality their principles were very close.