Spaniens handelsimperium
Selvom Holland trænger Spanien tilbage i 1600-tallet vedbliver Spanien at være en betydelig flådemagt:

... during the XVIIIth century "Spain again became if briefly, a dynamic seapower"(34). Under kings Felipe V (1700-1746) and Carlos III (1759-1788) and a great minister, the marquess de Enseñada , the shipbuilding is of high quality, there are able leaders (35), as the admiral José de Mazarredo, one of the finest seamen of his time, or Luis Córdoba y Córdoba who captures two British convoys (79 merchant ships taken) during the American Independance War. The Spanish navy is able to recapture Minorca (recovered by the British at the treaty of Paris at the end of the Seven Year's War) in 1782. But, after the failure of the expedition of Sicily (1718), Mediterranean area is not the center of gravity of Spanish strategy: the main problem is the line of communication across the Atlantic with the empire of America. The decline will ocurr in the last decade of the century mainly for political reasons.
(34 John D. Harbon, Trafalgar and the Spanish Navy, Annapolis, Naval Institute Press, 1988).