What is a concrete social, political, and cultural change in Europe after New World colonization?
Europe experienced rapid and profound social, cultural, and political change in the aftermath of the colonization of the New World, but demonstrating the causal relationship between these changes and colonization is complex and difficult. One social change resulting from colonization was also an economic change. Many historians have argued that the influx of wealth–particularly silver–from the New World via the Spanish Empire contributed to the rise of capitalism in Europe. Essentially, it precipitated a permanent shift to a money economy that featured such complex financial instruments as joint-stock companies and powerful credit houses. Cultural changes included the intellectual problems posed by encountering a "new world." There were people there who seemed alien and foreign to Europeans, and intellectuals and religious leaders struggled to make sense of people who did not fit into the so-called "great chain of being" as they understood it. The trope of a "noble savage" emerged in European literature and political theory, and many European writers from Montaigne to Thomas More used American peoples as an idealized counterpoint to European society. The new sense of cultural relativism contributed to the intellectual climate of first the Renaissance and later the Enlightenment. Politically, one of the major changes was the series of wars that broke out between the major powers, especially in the eighteenth century, that were fought at least in part over control of colonial possession in the Americas.