Did countries like England, France, and Spain's attempts to apply mercantilism to their colonies work?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Yes and no. The major colonialist powers—Great Britain, France, Spain, and Portugal—all tried to create some form of mercantile system in their colonies. These were very beneficial systems to implement if they worked correctly, and, a direct result of their efforts is that the vast majority of countries previously under the rule of those colonialist powers have now embraced free market trade systems and are able to trade fairly well throughout the world.

However, because of the size and range of the colonies, it was very difficult to enforce mercantilism. The controlling countries wanted to have power and influence over the goods that were traded into and out of the countries, as well as desiring having priority for the goods of their choosing (such as coffee, sugar, and tobacco). It was very difficult to establish effective trade at the time because of the cost of building and staffing shipping empires to travel to a wide variety of countries, and because of the distance from the...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 534 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Already a member? Log in here.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on