Spain enjoyed its most glorious period between 1559 and 1648, when the treaties of Cateau-Cambrésis and Westphalia were signed, respectively. However, the country would later experience an economic decline, which can be attributed in part to the carestia (inflation), when the price of bullion increased. This chapter focuses on the history of Spain, including the development of science and the arts, how Catholic Spain sought to create a commonwealth through the administration of justice, the integrative roles of spontaneous social institutions such as secular organizations like the hermandades (brotherhoods) and cofradías (guilds), and the independence of Spanish-speaking Latin American countries from Spain. The chapter also argues that once they gained independence from Spain, the Spanish culture these former colonies had inherited indelibly shaped the solutions to the new problems.
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