Law Countries

Also nobles who had fought against Isabella in the civil war were given fair agreements such as the Marquis of Vienna in order to preserve social stability. Those on her side were awarded with for example dukedoms guaranteeing their continuing support. Although some nobles maintained control of regional politics, which was a big threat to the crown as they had no standing army, whereas most nobles kept retainers.

An example of when the crown and nobility worked together to ensure the stability of the country was the Granada between 1482 and 1492. Some of the nobility actually served in the war and fought on behalf of the crown against the Muslims. The war helped to enhance royal prestige. However, outbreaks of civil disorder and violence in Castile in the early years of the sixteenth century suggest that royal administration was beginning to break down.

Nobles became better educated and there was an emergence of letrados (lawyers). Most Castilian and Aragonese peasants enjoyed a period of relative prosperity, with wage rises, stable prices and plenty of employment in the countryside. Town life was changing rapidly, Castilian merchants experienced a dramatic increase in trade and commerce, which led to a growth in business and rising prosperity for those in work. However, due to an increase in population town authorities were faced with the problem of vagrancy where people wonder from place to place and don't usually have a home.

The Catholic Monarchs intended to enhance the welfare of their subjects. They maintained the Mesta's monopoly and continued wool trade, which was high in demand in the Low Countries. Taxes on wool and sheep and the establishment of trade links with America (gold bullion), proved extremely beneficial. Maintaining the quality of Castile's coinage and establishing a currency common to both kingdoms, monetary if not economic unity was achieved.

Overseas trade was strengthened with Venice as a base, and the financial status and prosperity of Barcelona recovered from the effects of the civil war in the 1460s. However the Spanish economy had a number of weaknesses, poor communications (bad roads, mountainous), a network of internal customs duties and inland tolls and resistance to state intervention in effecting changes in agriculture, guilds and industry. Regionalism was a very powerful force and applied to the economy. There was no significant attempt to integrate the two economies, for example, trade with Americas was a Castilian monopoly (intensified hostility between two kingdoms, threat of inflation and decline in currency). The only measure that was taken was the standardisation of the currency in 1497. 

The Spanish Crown failed to protect and promote its native industries and focused too much on exportation of wool than developing its textile industry. Also, the persecution of the Conversos and Jews (many of them were skilled craftsmen) damaged wool trade, while the silk trade was damaged with war in Granada (mudejars were main producers of silk, many were killed while others emigrated). Spanish wealth and commercial gains from the New World could potentially fall through due to its lack of incorporation.