Colonies and Conquest

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A key component in Spain’s meteoric rise in power at the beginning of the Early Modern period was its discovery (in 1492) and colonization of the Americas. In the New World, the Spanish gained access to new goods, natural resources, and a population that could be used as forced labor. This did come with some drawbacks, however. Questions persisted about the morality of enslaving the indigenous population and the Spanish bureaucracy found it difficult to properly manage the colonies on an economic front.