Bourbon Reforms

Topics: War of the Spanish Succession, History of Spain, House of Bourbon Pages: 4 (1443 words) Published: December 3, 2012
The Bourbons never gave any thought to greater self-government in the American colonies, or of permitting them to trade more freely with the non-Spanish world. If anything, the Bourbons centralized colonial administration so as to make it more efficient. The commercial reforms were designed to stop smuggling and end the contraband trade that had flourished for decades and reinforce the exclusive commercial ties between Spain and its colonies. Spain was out to reconquer its colonies, both economically and socially. The death of Charles II in November of 1700 marked the end of an era in Spanish history and the beginning of another. On his death bed Charles fought desperately to prevent the Spanish empire from being destroyed by political intrigue. The crown was being actively sought by three claimants, the prince of Bavaria, the archduke Charles of Austria, and Luis IV’s grandson, Philip Anjou. Charles decided on the French, Philip Anjou to succeed him. But England was very alarmed over the idea that there would be a union of France and Spain and this precipitated the War for the Spanish Succession that lasted from 1702 to 1713. The war ended with the treaty of Utrecht which granted to England Gibraltar, Minorca and some important trade concessions in the Spanish Indies and a guarantee against a future accommodation between France and Spain. In addition a later peace treaty gave the Spanish Netherlands and Spain’s Italian possessions to Austria. This was a humiliating defeat for Spain and left the country with a deep and pervasive sense of pessimism and defeatism. These defeats lead to reforms of Spanish institutions. The war showed just how disruptive Spain really was, especially when Aragon, Valencia and Barcelona invited and received the support of English troops. In September of 1714 a year after the treaty Barcelona surrendered to the Bourbon armies under the leadership of Philip V. The new Bourbon regime made a systematic but unsuccessful effort to...
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