European overseas expansion after 1600 entered a second phase, comparable to developments at home. As Spain declined, so did the Spanish empire and that of Portugal, which was tied to Spain by a Habsburg king after 1580 and plagued with its own developing imperial problems. These new conditions afforded opportunities for northern European states. The Dutch, between 1630 and 1650, almost cleared the Atlantic of Spanish warships and took over most of the Portuguese posts in Brazil, Africa, and Asia. The French and English also became involved on a smaller scale, setting up their global duel for empire in the eighteenth century.
Feb 18th, 2015
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