Spain 1714-1759 Spain 1789-1808

Bourbon Spain : Carlos III., 1759-1788

A.) Spanish Foreign Policy

King Carlos III. regarded Spain a European Power; in 1762 Spain joined the Seven Years' War as a French ally. The British fleet occupied Havana and Manila. In the Treaty of Paris 1763, Spain ceded Florida to Britain and recognized British possession of Gibraltar and Menorca; it also recognized Portuguese possession of Uruguay. France, in order to compensate Spain for her losses, ceded Louisiana to her southern neighbour.
During the WAR OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE, Spain grasped the opportunity and joined the coalition against Britain (1779-1783). An attempt to regain GIBRALTAR failed, but MENORCA and Florida were regained, Louisiana ceded back to France.

B.) Domestic Development

Before inheriting the crown of Spain, Carlos III. had been King of the Two Sicilies; here he had earned the reputation of a monarch of the age of enlightenment, willing to implement reforms especially if they were increasing the country's productivity.
Carlos brought some of his ministers from Naples to Madrid. Before being crowned King of Spain, Carlos had abdicated as King of the Two Sicilies. The greatest obstacle to the implementation of reforms based on rationality was the Catholic Church, Spain's largest landholder, the censorship still in control of publications circulating in the country (there was a ban on the import of books). The Inquisition not only continued to exercise her power, but enjoyed popularity with the simple Spaniards.
The Concordat of 1753 had conceded the power to appoint bishops to the King, and Carlos made use of it. The newly appointed bishops were branded 'regalists' by their critics; the conservative clergy branded 'ultramontanes' - those who look over the mountain (to Rome) for instructions.
In 1767, the Jesuit Order - hitherto a powerful organization representing the traditional church - was banned from Spain. The Inquisition, however, was permitted to continue; it turned, among others, on royal appointees in church and politics, until called back. As late as 1787, a woman was burnt as a witch.
Agricultural reforms were introduced, often meeting the resistance of local nobles and of the church. The grain trade was liberalized in 1765; a consequence was rising bread prices, in the aftermath of the Seven Years' War, caused the Bread Riots of 1766.
The South America trade, hitherto monopolized, was liberalized in 1778. Measures were undertaken to promote the manufacturing industry, to continue improving the roads (a measure begun under Fernando VI., 1746-1759), to unify the monetary system. Chambers of Commerce (Juntas de Comercio) were established, the first state bank opened (1782).
MADRID was given a sewage and water supply system, street lighting, buildings of splendour.

The Bourbon and the Enlightenment, from SiSpain; Carklos III., from Boadilla del Monte, in Spanish
El reinado de Carlos III, from Info Goya
Pedro Pablo Abarca de Bolea y Ximenes de Urrea, X Conde de Aranda, from Info Goya, in Spanish
Biografia : Carlos III, from Arte Historia. in Spanish
La Monarquia Hispanica - Los Borbones - Carlos III, from Cervantes Virtual, in Spanish
Spain and the Heritage of Madrid, by David Ringrose, scroll down for II. The Eighteenth Century: Bourbon Revival
DOCUMENTS Treaty of Paris 1763 between England and Spain, from Treaties Collection
World Statesmen : Spain, has lists of First Ministers of State
Data on Spanish State Revenue, 1520-1807, posted by ESFDB
Medal Colonization of the Sierra Moremna, 1774, from Medal Web, Collection Benjamin Weiss
REFERENCE Peter Pierson, The History of Spain, Greenwood, 1999, 248 pp.; KMLA Lib.Sign. 946 P624t

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on November 9th 2004

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