How did gold and silver in the Americas contribute to Spain's status as the most powerful country in Europe?thanks

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brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It was, in my opinion, directly responsible for much of Spain's status, though there were other factors as well.  The Spanish had a massive land empire spanning most of South America and a solid third of North America, so the wealth of other products and resources was also important, as was Spain's influence on the Catholic Church and other regions of its empire.

As far as gold and silver went, imagine a fairly steady stream of precious metals in heavy Spanish trade ships - literally boats full of money - arriving at regular intervals in Spanish ports.  If you travel to Seville today and go to the cathedral there, you can see New World gold adorning the ceilings.

This wealth also allowed them to maintain a massive military and especially Navy, which helped them to rule the seas for more than a century before their defeat in 1588 at the hands of the English.

Sooner or later the money ran out, and at around the same time, we can start to see a decline in the power of Spain's empire.