AP World History Comparison Essay 1
October 1, 2014
Portugal vs. Spain(S.P.I.C.E.) Spain and Portugal are both isolated and left out from the Mediterranean trade. Portugal was the first one to reach India by traveling around the tip of Africa. Spain was the first one to discover America with Columbus’ help. Portugal was the first to hear about this unknown land from Columbus. This caused Portugal to immediately send ships to conquer land. Spain though it was not fair since without Spain funding Columbus, Portugal would have never known this information. This was a big fuss between Spain and Portugal. These natural enemies fought over the new colonies. Even though both countries have colonies, each colony was unique in its own way. Each country had its own colonies with their own borders that kings argued about. Spain had a lot of land from the tip of South America to present day United States, parts of Canada, and present day Florida. Spain also owned little parts of East Africa and the Philippines. Portugal colonized Brazil. Portugal also owned parts and ports around the border of Africa. They also owned a chunk of South Africa, excluding the Cape of Good Hope. Portugal owned part of Northern Canada and Greenland for a short period of time. The ruler of the Empire of Spain was Charles V and Phillip II. The king of the Portuguese Empire was John VI. Since Portugal and Spain fought against each other, they both had allies. Portugal had England on their side. Spain had France’s support. Eventually, the two came at peace with the Treaty of Tordesillas, which officially set the border between their colonies. Portuguese empires had more of an economic gap between the poor and the rich while Brazil had more social classes, which gave more opportunity for people to move up social ladder, even women. By the time the colonies were established and running their businesses full time, social class and gender roles had already been decided. In Brazil, women were not valued and were thought of as property. That meant land and power were passed down to sons, not daughters. Their social class structure always had European men who were rich land owners on the top, followed by African slaves and fewer indentured servants or natives. There was a huge gap between the rich and the poor. By the time the Portuguese stopped importing slaves to Brazil, Brazil was made out of around ninety percent of African slaves. In Spain, it was very different. There were many levels to the social structure. The top level was the European born whites. The second layer was the American born Europeans. Then came the mixed European and Indian people called mestizos. After that, mulattoes, mixed European and African, were below them. Next were the natives. Finally, on the bottom of the social structure were the African slaves and free blacks. Positions for women were mostly based on their race and wealth. They could be taking care of children that are not their own to earn money as high middle class. Women in middle class usually stayed home to take care of their own children and to do household chores. Poor women worked alongside their husbands, as field hands or in mines. There was less gap in the social structure and wealth in Spanish colonies than those of the Portuguese.
The Spanish economy was depended on silver with native workers while Portuguese mostly relied on sugar and the Atlantic Slave Trade. Spain found a lot of gold in its colonies in South America, but it was the silver caused huge economic growth for Spain. Spain also discovered…