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Which was the most important factor for the decline of Venice between the 15th and 18th centuries

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Introduction

´╗┐Which was the most important factor for the decline of Venice between the 15th and 18th centuries? Threats from foreign powers Maritime challenges Corruption in the government Complacent attitude of its people One of the reasons for the decline of Venice between the 15th and 18th centuries was that of threats from foreign powers. By the 15th century, Venice had prospered to become very influential in the region. This made the larger mainland states (France, Hungary and Spain) envious and hence they formed the League of Cambrai, a military alliance which aimed to reduce the power of Venice and recapture lost territories. In the meantime, the Ottoman Empire was also expanding its influence into Europe. The Ottomans had acquired territories along the coast of the Adriatic Sea and were beginning to launch attacks on Venetian territories. Venice responded to such threats by creating alliances with other mainland states when the occasion suited them. They needed such alliances as mainland states had access to overland trade routes and food supplies. ...read more.

Middle

This destroyed Venice?s monopoly of the lucrative spice trade and greatly reduced the large profits of Venetian traders who were the middlemen. Venice resorted to continuing its overland trade route to the East, but this was dangerous as Venetian traders were often attacked by robbers along the route. The other event which affected Venice?s maritime trade was the formation of the Dutch VOC and British East India Company. These companies were well funded and were hence equipped with better designed ships and could secure better trading concessions in new ports. Venice responded by imposing taxes on foreign traders, but this merely resulted in loss of trading partners. Hence, Venice could not match the more powerful trading companies or the advantage of the new Portuguese trading route. Thus their economy was affected. A third reason for the decline of Venice was that of corruption in the government. In order to finance the cost of the wars with the Ottomans and the neighboring states, the Venetian government suspended the salaries of civil servants. ...read more.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the most important reason for the decline of Venice would have been the complacent attitude of the people as it was the root cause of its fall. Essentially, as Venice became more prosperous, it seemed more unlikely to the Venetians that their empire would decline. Hence the leaders thought existing trading and security measures were sufficient to ensure their survival. Militarily, they did not prepare for war as evident from the fact that they did not even have an army or battleships for their military campaigns, but instead relied on mercenaries and trading galleys. Such ill-preparation made them very vulnerable to foreign threats. Economically, they did not seek out to improve trading methods and were unable to adapt to the changing nature of the 15th century. Hence, they lost much of their lucrative trade. Such circumstances crippled their economy and as a result, they resorted to slashing salaries of state officials and encouraging corruption. This made leadership weak and further accelerated Venice?s decline. This eventually caused their fall in 1797. ...read more.

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