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Apogee of Empire: Spain and New Spain in the Age of Charles by Stanley J. Stein

By Stanley J. Stein

As soon as Europe's perfect maritime energy, Spain by way of the mid-eighteenth century used to be dealing with fierce festival from England and France. England, specifically, had effectively mustered the monetary assets essential to confront its Atlantic opponents by means of mobilizing either aristocracy and service provider bourgeoisie in help of its imperial pursuits. Spain, in the meantime, remained overly depending on the earnings of its New international silver mines to finance either metropolitan and colonial imperatives, and England's naval superiority continually threatened the very important move of specie.When Charles III ascended the Spanish throne in 1759, then, after a quarter-century as ruler of the dominion of the 2 Sicilies, Spain and its colonial empire have been heavily imperiled. 2 hundred years of Hapsburg rule, via a half-century of ineffectual Bourbon "reforms," had performed little to modernize Spain's more and more antiquated political, social, fiscal, and highbrow associations. Charles III, spotting the urgent have to renovate those associations, set his Italian staff—notably the Marqués de Esquilache, who turned Secretary of the Consejo de Hacienda (the Exchequer)—to this ambitious task.In Apogee of Empire, Stanley J. Stein and Barbara H. Stein hint the test, in the beginning lower than Esquilache's course, to reform the Spanish institution and, later, to switch and modernize the connection among the metropole and its colonies. inside Spain, Charles and his architects of reform needed to be aware of settling on what alterations may be made that will aid Spain confront its enemies with out additionally significantly changing the Hapsburg inheritance. As defined in notable aspect through the authors, the sour, seven-year clash that ensued among reformers and traditionalists resulted in a coup in 1766 that pressured Charles to ship Esquilache again to Italy. After this setback at domestic, Charles nonetheless was hoping to impression positive switch in Spain's imperial procedure, essentially throughout the incremental implementation of a coverage of comercio libre (free-trade). those reforms, made half-heartedly at top, failed to boot, and by means of 1789 Spain may locate itself sick ready for the arrival many years of upheaval in Europe and America.An in-depth learn of incremental reaction by means of an outdated imperial order to demanding situations at domestic and in a foreign country, Apogee of Empire is usually a sweeping account of the personalities, locations, and rules that helped to form the fashionable Atlantic global. (2005)

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Extra info for Apogee of Empire: Spain and New Spain in the Age of Charles III, 1759--1789

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Many high Spanish bureaucrats in 1759 were neither committed anglophiles nor anglophobes, neither francophiles nor francophobes—simply pragmatic nationalists administering a fragile (nominally “absolutist”) state and porous empire. They realized that foreign participation in the Spanish transatlantic trading system discouraged development of national manufactures; they saw that the commissions of Spanish cargadores at Cadiz, mostly prestanombres of resident foreign merchants who supplied the credits, capital, and merchandise, were invested in real estate (both urban and rural), government annuities (censos), and conspicuous consumption, rather than industrial enterprise.

In a curious way, the French more than the English were locked into the Utrecht system. Without a navy capable of oVsetting English naval forces and a comparable merchant marine, it was only with diYculty that the French were able to trade directly with the Spanish colonies. Under the Bourbons, however, French business interests found Spanish collaborators to defend their interests, particularly in the somewhat anglophobic administration that Charles began to assemble, which reXected the Bourbon entente maturing during 24 • Stalemate in the Metropole the second half of the century.

One can conWdently say that upon entering Madrid, Charles enjoyed broad consensus within the higher bureaucratic echelons. Even colegial elites occupying the bureaucratic summits—Julián de Arriaga (the colonial secretary), José de Rojas y Contreras (president of the Consejo de Castilla), and others—recognized the crisis that Spain confronted by late 1759 both in Europe and America. While cognizant of Charles’s critical view of their virtual monopoly of major government posts, the colegiales at the same time remained conWdent that their networks of power and links to the religious establishment and the aristocracy of the court and provinces would preserve their hegemony over the state apparatus.

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