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"Spain, Portugal and Italy 1789-1830" Topic


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131 hits since 21 Jan 2019
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP21 Jan 2019 7:45 p.m. PST

"After ruling Spain for 39 years Carlos III died on 14 December 1788. His oldest son, Felipe, suffered from epilepsy and learning disabilities and was passed over as the next son became Carlos IV at the age of forty. Spain's imperial power was at its peak with increasing revenues from its American colonies and secure defenses. On the continent Andalucía, Cataluña, and Castile were exporting agricultural products and providing income for Spain. Public works, construction, factories, and other businesses were thriving. In 1788 a royal decree had authorized owners to enclose their land, and it would last until 1839. Spain had about 11 million people including 403,000 nobles and 170,000 clergy who between them owned about two-thirds of the land with entailed estates. Only 1,300 of the nobles had titles. About one-third of the people were peasants. More than 600 towns and villages were controlled by military orders.

By 1789 Barcelona had 100,000 workers in the cotton industry. Valencia had 3,000 looms for silk, and Granada also developed the silk and wool industries. In the Cadiz area 70,000 artisans worked to support colonial trade. Bilbao produced 4,000 tons of iron for export in 1790. Yet Bourbon Spain still had the Inquisition, oligarchical town councils, seigneurial jurisdiction and privileges, entails, and corporate fueros (laws).

Unlike his father, Carlos IV had little education and political experience, and he spent six hours every day hunting in order to avoid melancholia. His 37-year-old Queen Maria Luisa of Parma was more capable and was interested in government. She accompanied him as he saw ministers. She had met young Manuel Godoy in September 1788 and introduced him to Carlos IV who retained the Count of Floridablanca as his chief minister. A poor harvest in 1788 led to bread riots at Barcelona in February 1789. In Castile food was scarce and expensive. In August the government created a debt of 266,667 reales in order to give Godoy an annuity. The economist Pedro Rodríguez Compomanes presided over the Spanish Cortes that met in September 1789 and recognized 5-year-old Fernando as Prince of Asturias. The 74 procurators repealed the Salic law of succession brought from France by Felipe V so that females would not be excluded. They met for only a few weeks but did not pass proposed agrarian reforms…."
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