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Comparison Between the Russian and Spanish Empires

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  • Pages: 3
  • Word count: 546
  • Category: Russian

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Empire-building in both the Spanish and Russian empires occurred during the New Imperialism Age; while both empires were politically and socially different, both desired to expand to further their economies and strengthen their international role. While Spain conquered territories across the Atlantic Ocean in the New World, Russia began expanding east is search of a warm-water port and farmable land. Both exhibited strict Christian monarchies, the effects of which were visible in their cultures, and traditions. Following periods of foreign rule (Moorish dominance of Spain and Mongolian dominance of Russia), both empires formed strict Christian monarchies to control territory. Despite differences in denomination, both empires actively spread their religion in new territories. Both empires also encountered conflict during their Imperialistic age; the Russians encountered the Japanese during the Russo-Japanese War (which the Russians lost) and the Spaniards encountered revolutions (mainly sparked by Creole resentment of peninsular rule) in Latin America. In comparison to other European powers, Russia was much more renegade in its empire-building tactics than Spain.

While the Russians focused on expanding the country and incorporating newly captured land into the empire in search of a warm-water port and farmable land, Spanish conquistadors acquired land from across an ocean to funnel raw materials into the Spanish economy. Because of this, it was much easier for Russia to control its geographically closer acquisitions than for the Spanish, who were rather distant from their colonies. During the 1700s, there was a massive movement for the colonization of Africa among European powers. France, The Dutch, Britain, and Portugal all attempted to carve Africa into colonial possessions to capture the diamonds and other raw resources available across the massive continent. However, both the Spanish and Russian empires did not take part in this mad dash for land, but instead focused on colonies elsewhere; Spain continued to profit from its Latin American possessions and Russia continued to expand eastward across Asia. The Spanish also enforced strict mercantilism in their colonies, which resulted in widespread resentment of the crown in colonial possessions.

On the other hand, Russian conquerors allowed new possessions to establish factories and actively industrialize with the rest of the country, leading to a stronger sense of unity and nationalism. The nationalistic identity in the Spanish empire was much more focused on the local community than with the Spanish crown; for example, citizens of Peru identified more with the Peruvian cause than with their Spanish rulers. These ideals were partly a result of the European Enlightenment and the French revolution, which all established ideals of monarchial overthrow. Russian leaders have had a great fascination with Western culture, two great monarchs of Russia, Peter the Great and Catharine the Great, invited Western scientists, philosophers, and artisans to help push the country forward and bring it out of what they considered a backward culture. Because of the geographic and idealistic differences between these two empires, the outcome of each empire greatly differed. The Spanish lost almost all of their colonies in Latin America to uprisings, but the Russian empire is largely maintained even today. While both countries were headed by a Christian monarchy and sought to expand in order to strengthen their economies, the tactics of expansion and the methods of economic control greatly differed across Europe.

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