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17th Century and the Decline of Old Powers

spain flag in pole

In the 17th century, three significant events happened: the Spanish empire became the sick man of Europe, and the British weakened control of the Duch Republic’s control of international trade.

Finally, the Second Hundred Years War began between France and Britain, which lasted from 1688 CE to 1815 CE — from this period, a Hundred years of the British Empire’s dominance emerged.

British from 1603 CE until the start of the English Civil War in 1642 CE, the Navy was greatly neglected, and the end of the Commonwealth in 1660 CE under the English experiment at republicanism.

However, during this period, the Commonwealth became an issue of national importance that the previous Stuart Kings neglected for over 40 years.

When Charles II of England was restored to the throne in 1660, he made the Navy an issue of national security.

The reason why the British past laws, such as The Navigation Acts (1651, 1660), were acts of Parliament intended to promote the self-sufficiency of the British Empire by restricting colonial trade to England and decreasing dependence on foreign imported goods.

The reason for this was the standard economic theory of Mercantilism, a form of economic nationalism that sought to increase the prosperity and power of a nation through restrictive trade practices.

Its goal was to increase the supply of a state’s gold and silver with exports rather than to deplete it through imports. It also sought to support domestic employment.

These few would be the standard until the mid-20th century that for one nation to become rich, another had to be poor with international trade; it was seen as a purely zero-some game with a Darwinian attitude of survival fitted applied to all countries.

In the words of the politics and international relations author and thinker John Mearsheimer, it was this understanding of economics and international politics that nations exist in a self-help system, meaning their survival or destruction depends on their abilities to amass power.

He made these arguments in his 2001 book The Tragedy of Great Power Politics.

17th Century and the Decline of Old Powers
William III of England

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