In your opinion what was more powerful/influential overall, the Spanish Colonial Empire or French Colonial Empire?

Mar 2018
756
UK
#2
Welcome to the forums!

There's at least three ways to interpret this question I think. I would say the Spanish one has the most visible legacy today. There's essentially a whole continent who's culture, language and people are descended from it. If we're talking about who had the most power/influence at their time of peak power compared to their temporaries, then also Spain. At its peak it was clearly the dominant European power, at least in terms of colonial and overseas reach. France was definitely always behind the UK on this. However, France at it's peak was definitely more powerful than Spain at its peak, but that's due to it happening ~200 years later with the consequent growth in technology and demographics.
 
Apr 2019
67
United States
#3
Welcome to the forums!

There's at least three ways to interpret this question I think. I would say the Spanish one has the most visible legacy today. There's essentially a whole continent who's culture, language and people are descended from it. If we're talking about who had the most power/influence at their time of peak power compared to their temporaries, then also Spain. At its peak it was clearly the dominant European power, at least in terms of colonial and overseas reach. France was definitely always behind the UK on this. However, France at it's peak was definitely more powerful than Spain at its peak, but that's due to it happening ~200 years later with the consequent growth in technology and demographics.
I do agree that the Spanish had more of an influence on the Americas but France also had a very major impact on the world. Although Spanish is more common, France was the language of royals and still is considered the second world language after English. Spanish cooking, architecture, and art is very well known today, and their military under Napoleon was the greatest in the world. I still tend to agree though that Spain was more powerful at their peak and were more powerful for more extended periods of time. They were the first to explore the Americas out of all of Europe and became very rich from gold in South America. They brought precious metals and foods and crops and plants which helped grow their economy immensely. They also had a massive and well trained navy, one of the greatest in the world (Britain being THE greatest in the world, of course), and could easily defend themselves. Overall, I would agree with you even through the arguments i found for France and say that the Spanish were greater.

And thanks for posting on my fist post :)
 

martin76

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
6,638
Spain
#4
About diplomacy language was the latin (from 3rd Century BC to 18th Century)... in 18th Century it was the French because of Enlightment. And the French was the diplomacy language till 1945. As language of diplomacy, French was adopted by the European nobility in the 18th century ...And from 1945, English.. because the cultural influence of the USA
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,696
Portugal
#5
They were the first to explore the Americas out of all of Europe and became very rich from gold in South America. They brought precious metals and foods and crops and plants which helped grow their economy immensely.
Welcome to Historum! You will find many threads here that look for the bigger/greater/most powerful. Since often is a question of perspective and of the timeline, an objective answer is hard to find.

Spanish Empire is older had its peak sooner than the French and lasted longer, so today we seem to see a great inheritance from Spain in cultural terms. The Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world as native after the Mandarin/Chinese, and it is among the most spoken as the second language with a crescent influence in the USA.

I just quoted these two sentences from your last post because both are in some way doubtful or not totally correct. The gold that came from America to Spain was both from North America and South America. And the silver went in a bigger quantity. The second is that if the introduction of new crops in Europe from America was quite important, it is questionable that the American Colonies helped to grow the Spanish Economy, on the contrary if we see how the economy went from the final of the 16th century and during most of the 17th due the problems related with the inflation ignited precisely the American Gold and Silver. Wikipedia has the basics on this: Economic history of Spain - Wikipedia
 
Jun 2015
5,732
UK
#6
Spain by far.

It introduced foodstuffs to Europe, and has bar Brazil of course shaped central/South America.

Spanish colonialism laid the foundation for what colonialism was to Europe, in terms of conquest and extraction of native resources.

France's major holding were initially in North America, but later in Africa, and most of this was desert cultures/regions.

Spain and Britain were the two outstanding European empires, in various means.
 
Jun 2015
5,732
UK
#7
I do agree that the Spanish had more of an influence on the Americas but France also had a very major impact on the world. Although Spanish is more common, France was the language of royals and still is considered the second world language after English. Spanish cooking, architecture, and art is very well known today, and their military under Napoleon was the greatest in the world. I still tend to agree though that Spain was more powerful at their peak and were more powerful for more extended periods of time. They were the first to explore the Americas out of all of Europe and became very rich from gold in South America. They brought precious metals and foods and crops and plants which helped grow their economy immensely. They also had a massive and well trained navy, one of the greatest in the world (Britain being THE greatest in the world, of course), and could easily defend themselves. Overall, I would agree with you even through the arguments i found for France and say that the Spanish were greater.

And thanks for posting on my fist post :)
French was the lingua franca in Europe long before the colonial period.
 
Oct 2013
14,533
Europix
#9
About diplomacy language was the latin (from 3rd Century BC to 18th Century)... in 18th Century it was the French because of Enlightment. And the French was the diplomacy language till 1945. As language of diplomacy, French was adopted by the European nobility in the 18th century ...And from 1945, English.. because the cultural influence of the USA
No, don Martin, French became a diplomatic language long before Enlightenment.