Why are most former British colonies much more successful than most former Spanish colonies

Just curious, why are former British colonies(like US, Canada, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand etc.) much more successful than former Spanish colonies(like Mexico, Cuba, Nicaragua, Argentina, Chile etc.)

I know not all British colonies are successful but it seems like most British colonies are much more successful than Spanish colonies. Why is that?

No offence but, is it because the British Empire were much more organised and disciplined than the Spanish Empire?

Sorry if the above was a bit offensive but just curious

#British #colonies #successful #Spanish #colonies

What do you think?

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  1. Read “Open Veins of Latin America” by Eduardo Galeano. He wrote it sometime in the 1970s and talked about this subject.

    If we’re talking about North America, the two biggest things are that Britain not only invested more in the colonies, but also invested in manufacturing within the colonies; and, Britain sponsored actual colonization as a way to get religious and social undesirables out of Britain. This second part is why so many early American colonies were religious groups like the Pilgrims and Puritans, both of which were not looked on very favorably by the Church of England. The Highland Clearances were another big part of it as well since the Scots had been causing rebellion after uprising against the English Crown for a long time.

    But, Britain didn’t always invest equally. The 13 Colonies were favored much more than the Caribbean colonies ever would be.

  2. A number of reasons:

    1. The British invested into many of their colonies, building infrastructure and settling famlies. Spain mostly saw the colonies as means of getting wealth, leaving them in a poor position centuries later.

    2. The Spanish colonies were a mess of imported slaves, soldiers with no invested interest in the colonies, natives, and escaped slaves of all kinds. As such, Spain turned an already chaotic situations even MORE chaotic, which Britian mostly avoided. I say mostly, because, well…

    3. Selective Bias. Britian’s African colonies didn’t end up better all-around than anyone elses, and much is the same for the Caribbean colonies. Thus, if Britian had tried colonizing South America instead of Spain, I wouldn’t be confident of any noticeable improvement.

    4. While it’s a minor point, it’s worth pointing out that British misrule DID cost it the 13 colonies, and could easily have cost it all of North America in the worst case scenario. The whole reason for this is an essay, but it’s basically because the British government tried to have colonies on the cheap, and Britian only learned that was a bad idea after it was too late.

    5. Finally, the Spanish Empire repeatedly fell under the rule of foreign nobles, who had a tendency to lose the wars they fought. While the British nobility could always put their foot down when the king was wasting too much money on places like Bavaria, the Spanish nobility had neither the organization, nor the English Channel, to help them mount any meaningful resistance.

  3. Generally and I mean very generally both the spanish and British were exploitative however the British gave a bit back, they built infrastructure, set up governmental institutions and so on. Not true everywhere and I’m not an apologist but in very broad terms.

  4. It is extremely difficult to compare British and Spanish colonies due to not only different socio-cultural features, but also geographies as well as chronologies. It is easy to imagine them both to be empires, one whose main lands were Canada, Australia, and for a short while the US, and the other whose main lands were Mexico, Argentina, and Peru. Yet in between we ignore all the African, Asian, and Caribbean colonies as well as the fact the colonization of the New World occurred well before colonization elsewhere, such as Africa, and even the century gap between Spanish colonization and British colonization of the New World.

    While colonial legacies have an important role, perhaps we overemphasize them. The present situation of Argentina vis-à-vis the US has its roots in a complex mix of global economic changes, internal political pressures, and the historical socio-cultural legacy founded by colonization. Simplifying to view it purely through a “British colony did this: Spanish colony did that” mindset runs the risk of trivializing the very real differences.

    The British Empire was not simply better organized than the Spanish (in fact the Spanish organization was particularly effective for much of its time considering the low cost). To argue so implies a bias towards the settler colonies, of which the British had more and had higher percentages of European settlers. Look at British non-settler colonies (or even settler colonies with low percentages of European settlers, e.g. Kenya or Rhodesia), and the comparison is perhaps more apt, although major differences still remain.

  5. They imported their own citizens and thus culture en masse vs ruling over a bunch of natives or slaves and trying to let the culture rub off on them.

    Jamaica and Belize aren’t successful, for example.

  6. Rule of law, successful colonies also settled by people who planned to make it home rather than make a fortune and go back home.

    More egalitarianism – NZ was founded upon principles that were deliberately opposite to what they had left in the UK.

  7. Read: Why Nations Fail – The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Property. This book answers that question.

    In short: The Spanish colonies were built on enslaving the Natives and extremely hierarchical structures that ensured that the powerful stayed in power. The English colonies on the other hand were organized far more democratically which lead to them more caring about their citizen’s welfare.

  8. The Spanish got first dibs. The first English colony was in Jamestown in 1607 over a century after the Spanish began colonizing the new world. The Spanish got all the populated areas, they got access to all the gold and solver and other resources. They got all the best land. The English got the leftovers. America and Canada combined only had about 10% of the native population. Even today those other countries like Australia and New Zealand are severely underpopulated. There are cities in China more populated than the continent of Australia. This of course isn’t the only list of countries the British colonized. India is still a very poor country. Most of Africa was colonized by the British and those former colonies are now some of the poorest countries on earth.

  9. What’s your metric of success? GNP? Quality of life? Life expectancy? I’m not necessarily saying you are wrong, but define your terms and challenge your assumptions?

  10. I don’t think the aboriginal inhabitants of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the US would describe British colonization as better than Spanish colonization.

  11. Because Britain is the leader of industrial revolution , and it shared it’s innovative technology with it’s colonies. Without British technology and education America would not be where it is at right now. As soon as England invented something it would share the knowledge with America and developed infrastructure for America to be technically advaced. Britain is the mother county.

  12. 1. Your question implies that Britain was the sole colonisers of US America and Canada when also the French, the Spanish, were colonisers.
    2. The British, just like the Spanish, had only selfish, self serving motives when they colonised any country, so if they were “organised” or “efficient” it all was designed to be self serving, to benefit the colonisers and weaken the colonised – any success of a former colony is down to the administrations that came in after independence that had a strong idea or vision of what they wanted for their country and were able to leverage their natural resources to gain influence on the world stage.
    3. You have “cherry picked” your so called success stories
    4. Some colonies used to be Portuguese or Spanish owned until the British came along (this is the case in the Caribbean and even some African countries) and pushed them aside. To then attribute success of that colonised country to the last colonisers only is not fair.
    5. Colonisers had different motives when they went about expanding their empire, so they cherry picked which places to colonise, with Britain going for tea and spices (hence India), and minerals (diamonds, gold) hence South Africa (mind you – the dutch (now boars) were already there, Zimbabwe (the Portuguese had got there first) and extracted these for their own benefit (De Beers, the British East India Company being examples) and never benefited the economies of the colonised countries. Once again success, is more down to the leaders who took over once the colonies gained independence.

    On the other hand, what could have attributed to success of some colonies is embracing English law and principles especially that of the “rule of law” ie according to the law, everyone is equal and no one is above the law – this allows citizens to invent, pursue business, seek employment and create wealth without restraint vs being in a country where some individuals (those in government, military and high business) are above the law, they can steal, kill, bend the rules, change the rules, stay in power, without any consequences.

    Former colonies that implemented rule of law and embraced democracy thrived while others pretended (and even got rid of rule of law and became communist) to be democratic failed, examples that come to mind are South Korea (vs North Korea), East Germany (vs West Germany), Hong Kong, Singapore, – while korea and germany where not directly colonised by the British, their embracing of British democratic values (rule of law), which had been passed onto and embraced by the US America, helped lay foundations for successful economies.

  13. A selective list, Britain in most of Africa, Asia and Middle East left a real mess financial, social, politically, military, etc. In many places as soon as the British left the countries collapsed.

  14. Personally I’ve always thought that the lower populations of natives in North America helped in the advancement of the Europeans.

    On the other hand some South American cities such as Tenochtitlan the Aztec capital was comparable to some major European cities.

    But on the other hand, the British were considered the least brutal of the colonial powers and were one of the first to outlaw slavery outside of the home countries.

    These elements definitely have an effect, if you’re not at war with the locals, you can develop the colony much easier.

  15. I think it’s mainly due to corruption and the opportunities for starting businesses, but there’s definitely more to it. Correct me if I’m wrong

  16. I saw a world map detailing longevity relative to the European average of 81 years. Japan has always had some of the oldest citizens and as it has more or less sealed itself off from foreign influence (ie foreign genes) one might think this is genetically based. Otherwise on the map the longest living citizens were in countries with English heritage: Canada, New Zealand, Australia, etc. Further, South and Central America have extensive Spanish influence and are among the most violent areas of the world.

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