Explanation: The mines in the passage produced silver, as stated in the first paragraph. The Spanish government relied on the silver shipments from the New World to finance its far-flung military efforts. Eliminate (B) because the Spanish never created the kind of merchant class that existed in England or the Netherlands. Eliminate (C) as well, since the Spanish monarchs were staunch supporters and patrons of Catholicism. Finally, eliminate (D) because the Spanish sent their galleons on voyages of exploration far and wide. The correct answer is (A).