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Spain! Land of romance and Inquisition! New Spain, New Granada, and Peru, along with the adjacent islands, make up Spain in the New World, what we today know collectively as the Spanish Main of fact and fiction, of romance and reality. It is a grand empire, more diverse and colorful than any of the other European nations in the Americas. In fact, most of European-settled Americas are controlled by Spain, giving the Iberian kingdom great wealth from the silver, gold, and goods found here. But the Spanish crown has squandered its American wealth, and the Spanish empire is in decline. It cannot afford to defend its New World colonies as well as it must. Ashore it relies on fortifications, Spanish regulars in the larger towns and some small outposts, and local militias often augmented by Native Americans. At sea it relies on a small fleet known as the Armada de Barlovento, but it cannot be everywhere at once. Guardas costas (privately commissioned coast guards) provide local sea patrols, and armadillos—locally armed vessels—are sent out on specific occasions, but both are often as piratical as the buccaneers they defend against. Spanish defenses are typically weak: only the great treasure fleets remain well-protected.



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