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58 votes
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Why didn't Portugal found universities in its colonies like Spain?

SHORT ANSWER Spanish policy was rooted in the tradition of setting up universities in conquered territories, accompanied by the aim of converting the local people to Catholicism in order to bind them ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
40 votes
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Why was the Spanish kingdom in America called New Spain if Spain didn't exist as a country back then?

‘Spain’ in the sense of ‘Hispania’, alluding to the Roman province, certainly existed as a concept at the time, even if the Kingdom didn’t (yet). Indeed, there’s several medieval Kings in the Iberian ...
user22453's user avatar
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32 votes
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What's the rationale for shipping coins back to Spain from its colonies?

According to Manuel Moreyra Paz Soldán, El Virreinato de Perú, 1980, p. 79, the coinage embarked on ships corresponded to: Taxes obtained from the provinces and citizens in America: "recaudación para ...
Alberto Yagos's user avatar
32 votes
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Please help identify these old coins found in Germany?

They are specifically Spanish 2 Escudo Doubloons minted between 1651 to 1773, or modern replicas - as they are identical, it would seem to suggest the latter. This Amazon seller 🕑 appears to have ...
IronEagle's user avatar
  • 434
28 votes
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How did people cut "pieces of eight"?

The usual method was with a hammer and a cold chisel. A large stone would suffice as an anvil. Coins are fairly small and thin, and the silver coins of the period were quite soft, as you can see from ...
John Dallman's user avatar
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27 votes

Did any European ever witness a major Inca religious festival?

Garcilaso de la Vega, a Spanish-Peruvian chronicler in the Viceroyalty of Peru(then Spanish-held) recounted several aspects of Incan life and tradition. His most famous works include Historia de la ...
AeroFighter76's user avatar
27 votes
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Did any European ever witness a major Inca religious festival?

Cristóbal de Molina, a young Spanish priest, witnesses in 1535 the Inca celebration of the maize harvest: On a platform Indians were throwing meats into a great fire. At another place the Inca ...
George A. Solodun's user avatar
26 votes

What's the rationale for shipping coins back to Spain from its colonies?

I'm hoping that this answer will resonate with your "theory of colonial economy", although it is not based on historical sources. Coins shouldn't be viewed as end products manufactured from a raw ...
Jirka Hanika's user avatar
21 votes

Please help identify these old coins found in Germany?

Note As @Volker Siegel said in the comments: Do not try to clean them any further. Dirt and patina may reduce the value somewhat, but traces of cleaning much more so. I am certain this is a ...
Tom Sol's user avatar
  • 2,247
18 votes

Did the treasure ship Cortes first sent from Mexico ever arrive in Spain?

Did it, after all, arrive in Spain and deliver its treasure to King Charles? Yes, but... It wasn't exactly a treasure ship. Not like the treasure ships that would come later. It was more of a down-...
Schwern's user avatar
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18 votes
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Was the British Empire bigger than the combined empires of the Iberian Union in terms of claimed land area?

This question is a little more involved than it might appear, and has a few layers we need to tear through to solve. The basis is obvious, if the Spanish Empire was huge, and the Portuguese Empire at ...
justCal's user avatar
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17 votes

What's the rationale for shipping coins back to Spain from its colonies?

Many of the coins shipped to Europe were quickly and crudely minted. These were called cobs. According to a page at Notre Dame University, The intention in minting these crude but accurately ...
StackOverthrow's user avatar
17 votes

If he was garroted, why do depictions show Atahualpa being burned at stake?

He was garroted then burned. From Narrative of the Incas, Since the marquis was now determined to kill him, he ordered that the sentence be read and that they take him out to be burned. So they took ...
CDR's user avatar
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13 votes
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How was the Spanish Armada coordinated?

There's very little concrete evidence about how command and control of the Spanish Armada worked, or indeed, how naval tactical control was exerted during that period, which pre-dates what we now call ...
Steve Bird's user avatar
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13 votes

What's the rationale for shipping coins back to Spain from its colonies?

Gold and Silver are worth so much that their "bulk" is very rarely a problem. Coins make it easier to count them. Their bulk is increased slightly; say by a factor of 2. This makes gold 10 g/cm^3 ...
Yakk's user avatar
  • 350
12 votes
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What is the approximate value of a Spanish ducat in 1557?

Lifting the contents of the very helpful link provided by @gvk into an answer: Source: Fiat Money in 17th Century Castile, by François R. Velde, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and Warren E. Weber, ...
DevSolar's user avatar
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11 votes
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Was merchant Hugh McCulloch the first Scotsman to set foot in California?

No. In 1814 a Scotsman by the name of John Cameron jumped ship. He later changed his name to Gilroy. Here's some info from the city of Gilroy California web page. John Cameron was born in a southern ...
justCal's user avatar
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10 votes
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What would the Wikipedia page for Spain have said in 1490?

First, there would have been no Wikipedia page for Spain, because: The internet and the Wikipedia wouldn't be exist for 5 centuries, and There was no "Spain"; there were Castilla, Aragón and Navarra (...
SJuan76's user avatar
  • 12.4k
9 votes

Why did not Spain manage to keep any colonial possessions in the new world?

As observed above, the only American colonies Spain did not lose to independence movements were Cuba and Puerto Rico, which it lost in the Spanish-American War. Worth noticing is the fact that Cuba ...
Aaron Brick's user avatar
  • 27.5k
9 votes

What's this 1607 Hispania coin?

It looks to me more like an Escudo than a piece of eight. This web page identifies it as 1 escudo piece, worth possibly $2,500 nowadays. At the time of minting, it seems, an Escudo was worth 16 ...
kimchi lover's user avatar
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8 votes
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Why didn't Russia seize California when it could?

It was horribly too far away. One thing is stablishing some minor settlements and trade activities, and a very different one is conducting a military expedition. Siberia was not developed to support ...
SJuan76's user avatar
  • 12.4k
8 votes

Did Taíno natives ever work Spanish galleons?

I've checked the Spanish primary sources and according to Alonso Peña Montenegro (1596-1688), Itinerario paraparochos, the Taínos were employed as carenadores (repairers of the hull), taking them in ...
Alberto Yagos's user avatar
8 votes
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Which is more correct, Carlos I or Carlos V?

I believe your subtext is incorrect - "most popular" is an inappropriate approach to take to correct usage. The correct usage, in either language, should be determined by which of the two roles is ...
Pieter Geerkens's user avatar
8 votes
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Until when did Castile consider all Basques to be noble?

Apparently, it is still valid. If you can read Spanish and you have a stomach for legalese, you can try to digest this. It is a relatively long but definitely dull exposition on what you should do in ...
Rekesoft's user avatar
  • 577
8 votes
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Why was Saturnino Martín Cerezo honored by the Spanish government?

I guess the real reason is the same one which explains why there are so many movies about Vietnam in the US: when you lose a war you're in desperate need of heroes. The Spanish-Cuban-American War was ...
Rekesoft's user avatar
  • 577
7 votes
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Spanish Influence on the Netherlands and Belgium?

Spanish influence didn't take root, at least in the modern Netherlands, because it was "unnatural." Belgium and the Netherlands represented the inheritance of Marie of Burgundy, who married ...
Tom Au's user avatar
  • 104k
7 votes
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What resources did the Nahua value most at the time of Spanish conquest?

Since we are comparing two civilizations, note that the Spaniards came from a world where money was long used in order to buy all manner of goods. When you had more money, you could buy whatever you ...
Peter Diehr's user avatar
  • 6,759
7 votes
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Where did Vasco Núñez de Balboa first see the South Ocean?

The place is not known with certainty, but some googling revealed two possible candidates: One of them is Pechito Parado, a mountain near a very small village named Quebrada Eusebio. This place was ...
JMVanPelt's user avatar
  • 2,266
7 votes

How was the Spanish Armada coordinated?

For battle plans and such, they used dispatch boats (which they then called "Aviso" or "Adviso", as in advice boat). These would carry orders from shore to ship and from ship to ...
Denis de Bernardy's user avatar
7 votes

What was the main food source in old California?

As Ben Crowell observed above, while the missions produced grain and legumes, the rancho economy was extremely focused on cattle production. Californios were rich in products made from leather, tallow,...
Aaron Brick's user avatar
  • 27.5k

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