Spain History – The Bourbon Dynasty

The peaces of Utrecht (1713) and of Rastatt (1714) gave the throne to the French Philip V of Bourbon. With the new dynasty, a period of recovery began for the Spain, partially, in foreign policy: even after the failures in Italy of Cardinal G. Alberoni, the dynastic policy of Elisabetta Farnese, wife of Philip V, led to the settlement of his sons Carlo in Naples and Sicily in 1734, and Filippo in Parma and Piacenza in 1748. With Charles III (1759-88) the reforms continued and extended, and in ecclesiastical politics, jurisdictionalism, here called regalism (➔ regalism and antiregalism). However, the wounds caused by the War of Succession could not all be healed: if Minorca was reconquered in 1782, Gibraltar always remained in English hands, nor did the family pact of 1761, which linked Spanish policy to that French with anti-English purposes and dragged the Spain into the Seven Years’ War and in that for the independence of the United States of America. The Franco-Spanish alliance was broken with the French Revolution; after an initial period of open hostilities, closed by the Peace of Basel in 1795, a return to the ancient alliance and to an anti-English policy which proved to be unsuccessful followed, thanks also to the influence exercised by Minister M. Godoy on Charles IV (1788-1808) (1805, defeat of Trafalgar). Finally, also following the conflicts that broke out between the monarch and his son Ferdinand, Spain became a vassal state of France with Giuseppe Bonaparte as king (1808). Against the foreigner, the Spain rose compactly and, as in neighboring Portugal, the people fought alongside the British troops sent to the Iberian Peninsula to free it from the French (Peninsular War, 1808-14). Cortes), who in 1812 promulgated a markedly liberal Constitution in Cadiz.

According to Sourcemakeup, the Spain was finally freed from the French occupation thanks to the victories reported, starting from 1812, by the Duke of Wellington; in the meantime, the insurrection that broke out in the viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata (1810) had marked the beginning of the process that would have led in a few years the provinces of the American colonial empire to the conquest of independence. Having ascended the throne in 1814, Ferdinand VII of Bourbon abolished the Constitution of 1812 and pursued a reactionary policy; in 1820 the troops destined for America rose up, forcing the return to the Constitution of 1812, and in 1823 only the help of the Holy Alliance and French arms allowed the liberal movement to be suffocated. Carlism with the consequent civil war, which ended in 1839 with the victory of Queen Maria Cristina. Around the middle of the 19th century. the Spain went through a period of relative economic expansion: thanks to credits from abroad (especially France), the railway network was strengthened, the Catalan textile industry and the wool industry developed in the Basque Country, the foundations were laid for a modern steel and mining industry. However, the old agricultural structures slowed the development process: as had already happened in 1836 with the reforms of JA Mendizábal, the large estates were even strengthened by the sale of ecclesiastical and municipal assets (1854-55), purchased mostly by the great land owners, that with the ecclesiastical and military hierarchies and the nascent bourgeoisie of finance and industry constituted the dominant power group. In the sept. 1868 a rebellion by liberal officers forced Isabella II (ascended to the throne in 1843) to leave the country and a new Constitution (1869) introduced universal male suffrage and complete religious freedom. The throne of St. was offered to Amedeo di Savoia (1870), whose short reign, marked by the resumption of the Carlist war and the republican opposition, was followed by the proclamation of the Republic (February 1873). Weakened by the Carlist revolt in the North, by the first anarchist agitations in Andalusia and Catalonia and by the conflicts that emerged between centralists and federalists, the Republic was overwhelmed in December. 1874 from a military coup; the Bourbon dynasty was restored in the person of Alfonso XII and a new Constitution (1876) reintroduced census suffrage and privileged positions for the Catholic Church. After the definitive defeat of the Carlists (1875), the political life of the Spain was for a long time characterized by the peaceful alternation in power of the conservative and liberal parties, but also by a widespread corruption of the administrative apparatus and the consequent control exercised by some local notables. on the electoral body, control continued even after the reintroduction of universal suffrage in 1890; in the same years the workers’ movement was organized, with the birth of the Partido socialista obrero español (PSOE, 1879) and of the socialist Unión general de trabajadores (UGT, 1888).

The defeat suffered in the Spanish-American war and the loss of Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines (1898) had enormous repercussions on the whole nation: the political and social structures of the country were subjected to profound criticism by a group of intellectuals, collectively known as Generation of ’98, whose main exponents were J. Costa and M. de Unamuno; on the political level, republican propaganda and the Basque and Catalan autonomist claims resumed, while the reactionary approach taken by the monarchy (Alfonso XIII was declared of age in 1902) and the persistence of imbalances in the distribution of land ownership pushed the anarchists to resort more and more often to the weapon of terrorism. During the first World War, the demand for iron and ammunition by the warring countries favored in Spain, which remained neutral, a growth in industrial production and exports, which however did not correspond to any improvement in the economic conditions of the workers; to the consequent exacerbation of social conflicts were added the difficulties encountered in the attempt of colonial expansion in Morocco, culminating in the defeat suffered at the hands of ‛Abd el-Krim in Anoual (1921). With the support of the monarchy, concerned about the maintenance of social order, in 1923 General M. Primo de Rivera carried out a coup d’état and established a dictatorial regime that left the country’s basic problems unsolved. With his support for the dictator removed and the constitutional order restored (1930), Alfonso XIII abandoned the Spain after the victory of the republicans in the municipal elections of April 1931.

Spain History - The Bourbon Dynasty