4 September, 2020


Back in the 1500’s Spanish Conquistadors were busy laying waste to the Aztec and Incan civilisations in Central and South America, and sailing thousands of galleons filled with stolen gold and silver back to Spain in the hope of bolstering the economy and financing its wars and imperialist expansions. Unfortunately for the Spanish, the plan backfired; the massive influx of easy money actually ruined their economy, altered their society, and led to economic conditions which Spain is still struggling to recover from today. A major factor was that while the Spanish relaxed with the steady influx of wealth and spent it frivolously, other European nations had to work hard to develop their agriculture and industry to build strong economies. Once the supply of gold and silver from America eventually dried up, Spain was left in a very weak position with poorly developed industry and agriculture, rampant inflation, and plenty of debts from ill-conceived wars and flippant spending.

So, what can we learn from this? It teaches us to be cautious about looking for the easy road and short-cuts to achieving meaningful things in our lives. It reminds us of the value of intelligent planning followed up by hard work, which not only gives meaning and purpose to our lives but also strengthens our sense of self-respect and self-worth when we can see the results of our own efforts.  It highlights the basic precepts of treating other people with kindness and respect, and not taking what is not ours. But most of all, it teaches us that when we have strength and power, we should use it to make the world better for everybody, not just ourselves.

Mark Hassell
Dean of Students

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