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After Columbus "found" the New World, England did not start to settle right away as other countries did. In the 1530s, Spain was extracting tons of gold and silver from Mexico. In 1570, the Spanish added huge mines in Peru, resulting in $2 billion a year. People saw Spain in this quote: "Spain was poor because it was rich." Spain was the dominant power and tended to neglect its own resources. Because they were getting so much money, they just payed off other countries for their supplies with this gold, and as a result inflation came about and boosted the economy.

How did England become to benefit from all this? England around that time was having an internal conflict over who would rule. This was called the "War of the Roses" and occurred in the late 15th century between 1455-1485. In the 16th century England was poor. King Henry VIII was fighting a war between Scotland and France, draining the supplies on weaponry and soldiers. To gain more money they allied with Spain against France.

As Queen Elizabeth came along (1558-1603), England wanted to promote Protestants. This led into direct conflict with the most powerful Catholic country - Spain. Elizabeth was advised to mess with the Spanish ships that were bringing back the goods obtained from the New World. So the Queen started a campaign of harassment by privateers. These privateers were otherwise known as pirates, but Queen Elizabeth called them her "sea dogs." Among these privateers was Sir Francis Drake, whom had began circumnavigation of the globe in 1577. He would stop in Spanish sea ports and raid them.

The turning point began in 1588 when Spain was having problems in the Netherlands. Spain sent out their large naval force (the Spanish Armada). Spain had the largest navy at the time with huge ships all over. Elizabeth sends her English navy, pathetic in size to Spain's but with smaller ships that had more agility. War ensues and the English win, ending the Spanish domination in Europe and begins the ascendancy of England in Europe. England now becomes the dominant power in Europe. In the late 16th century, England decides that settlement of the New World is a good idea.

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