By Stanley J. Stein
As soon as Europe's preferrred maritime energy, Spain through the mid-eighteenth century was once dealing with fierce festival from England and France. England, particularly, had effectively mustered the monetary assets essential to confront its Atlantic competitors through mobilizing either aristocracy and service provider bourgeoisie in help of its imperial objectives. Spain, in the meantime, remained overly depending on the gains of its New international silver mines to finance either metropolitan and colonial imperatives, and England's naval superiority consistently 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, financial, and highbrow associations. Charles III, spotting the urgent have to renovate those associations, set his Italian staff—notably the Marqués de Esquilache, who grew to become 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, before everything lower than Esquilache's course, to reform the Spanish institution and, later, to change and modernize the connection among the metropole and its colonies. inside Spain, Charles and his architects of reform needed to be aware of deciding upon what alterations can be made that might aid Spain confront its enemies with out additionally appreciably changing the Hapsburg inheritance. As defined in amazing element by way of the authors, the sour, seven-year clash that ensued among reformers and traditionalists led to a coup in 1766 that pressured Charles to ship Esquilache again to Italy. After this setback at domestic, Charles nonetheless was hoping to impression confident switch in Spain's imperial procedure, basically throughout the incremental implementation of a coverage of comercio libre (free-trade). those reforms, made half-heartedly at most sensible, failed besides, and through 1789 Spain might locate itself in poor health ready for the arrival a long time of upheaval in Europe and America.An in-depth examine of incremental reaction via an outdated imperial order to demanding situations at domestic and out of the country, Apogee of Empire is usually a sweeping account of the personalities, areas, and regulations 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
By origin, theology, and discipline, the Jesuits cultivated what can only be termed a spirit of Catholic capitalism that facilitated their expansion in the colonies in the eighteenth century. °‹ Established by Basques in a region of traditional involvement in commerce, the Society of Jesus did not prohibit material acquisitions and was peculiarly suited to forming a kind of “trade technocracy” in the 36 • Stalemate in the Metropole colonies. Aware of the expansion of Atlantic trade in the eighteenth century, Jesuits recognized the export potential of cotton and cotton manufactures, tobacco, and yerba mate.
Carta . . por un caballero de Madrid a otro en Cádiz” (1766) We regret that Spain has more diYculty than other powers in abandoning the path it has followed for two centuries, in order to form a completely new system. Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot, baron de l’Aulne, “Mémoire” (1779) In the broad spectrum of reforms in the early years of Charles III’s regime, the historian detects the new bureaucratic cadres’ sensitivity to challenge and the possible rewards of loyal state service, as well as their uncommon (and potentially dangerous) disregard of the dangers of a rigorously pursued policy of renovation.
There, like the English, they beneWted from tariV concessions on linens, woolens, and silks—luxury items; at Cadiz, they employed Spaniards as agents or straw men ( prestanombres), necessary collaborators in their American operations, since Spanish commercial regulations excluded direct foreign participation. Indirect commercial contact with the Spanish colonies was expensive, always fragile, often very proWtable. But direct participation by the French through straw men Xourished with oYcial toleration.