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English Reading Comprehension | Set 2

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The Kingdom of Spain was created in 1492 with the unification of the Kingdom of Castile and the Kingdom of Aragon. For the next three centuries, Spain was the most important colonial power in the world. It was the most powerful state in Europe and the foremost global power during the 16th century and the greater part of the 17th century. Spain established a vast empire in the Americas, stretching from California to Patagonia, and colonies in the western Pacific.

Spain’s European wars, however, led to economic damage, and the latter part of the 17th century saw a gradual decline of power under an increasingly neglectful and inept Habsburg regime. The decline culminated in the War of the Spanish Succession, where Spain’s decline from the position of a leading Western power to that of a secondary one, was confirmed, although it remained the leading colonial power.

The eighteenth century saw a new dynasty, the Bourbons, which directed considerable effort towards the institutional renewal of the state, with some success, peaking in a successful involvement in the American War of Independence.

The end of the eighteenth and the start of the nineteenth centuries saw turmoil unleashed throughout Europe by the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, which finally led to a French occupation of much of the continent, including Spain. This triggered a successful but devastating war of independence that shattered the country and created an opening for what would ultimately be the successful independence of Spain’s mainland American colonies.

Following a period of growing political instability in the early twentieth century, in 1936 Spain was plunged into a bloody civil war. The war ended in a nationalist dictatorship, led by Francisco Franco which controlled the Spanish government until 1975.

  1. Questions:
    What was the result of Napoleonic wars?
    a) A small part of the continent was occupied by French people
    b) Spain was occupied by the French
    c) War of independence was unable to yield any positive result
    d) American colonies were destroyed after the war
  2. What is the meaning of the term ‘culminated’?
    a) Follow a particular path
    b) Guide or transform
    c) Reach the highest point
    d) Introduce on a grand scale
  3. What is the summary of the passage?
    a) The rise and fall of a national empire
    b) The downfall of successive regimes in Spain
    c) The history of Spain
    d) Spain in eighteenth century
  4. What occurred in the latter part of 17th century?
    a) War of succession confirmed the leading position of Spain
    b) Spain was no longer regarded as the ruling colonial power
    c) A vast empire was established in Europe
    d) Power steadily declined under Habsburg regime


  1. b) Spain was occupied by the French.
  2. b) Guide or transform
  3. c) The history of Spain
  4. d) Power steadily declined under Habsburg regime

Note: This question has appeared previously in AMCAT.

Last Updated : 11 Jan, 2023
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