Spanish provinces

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The War of the Spanish Succession (1700-1714)

Political developments in 18th-century Spain were the result of dynastic change, as the Habsburgs (los Austrias) Were replaced by the Bourbons and, as a result, the government in Spain Became more centralised UK / centralized USA.

Charles II was the last Spanish King of The Habsburg line. He died without heirs, but in his will (testamento) he had Appointed Philip of Anjou (grandson of Louis XIV of France) as his Successor, who acceded to the throne as Philip V.

The danger of a possible union of Spain and France and The subsequent breakup of balance on the continent led the major European Powers to endorse the Archduke Charles of Austria, second son of the German Emperor, as successor.  This caused the Outbreak of the so-called War of the Spanish Succession.

The struggle had a dual nature:

it was an international war, which pitted France and Spain against the German Emperor, Great Britain, the United Provinces, Savoy and Portugal.

it was also a Civil War because it confronted Castile, which favoured Philip of Anjou, against Aragon, which endorsed the Archduke Charles, fearing the Bourbons would introduce centralist policies as They had done in France.

Upon the death of the German Emperor and his eldest Son during the conflict, the Archduke became the new emperor. If he also Acceded to the Spanish throne, he would become too powerful, causing  the breakup of the continental balance of Power. Thus, the enemies of the Bourbons signed the Treaties of Utrecht (1713) and Rastatt (1714).

They accepted Philip V as King of Spain. In exchange, Philip renounced his rights to the throne of France and ceded:

 the Spanish Low Countries and territories in Italy (Milan, Naples and Sardinia) to Austria.

Sicily to Savoy.

the island of Menorca, Gibraltar and commercial Advantages in America to Great Britain.

2.2. The Bourbon political reforms

To consolidate absolute monarchy the Bourbons:

 isolated the Nobility from power.

intervened in the affairs of the Church.

hardly ever (casi nunca) convened the Cortes.

ruled with the help of secretaries or ministers, who Were in charge of the different government affairs.

Political and administrative centralisation was imposed by Philip V by the Decretos de Nueva Planta(1707-1716):

suppressed the laws and institutions in the Crown of Aragon and implanted the Castilian model.

only the Basque Country and Navarra maintained their fueros.

a new provincial division was imposed, thus ensuring Control over the entire territory.

During the 18th century, Spanish Monarch tried to recover the lands they had lost in the Treaties of Utrecht and Rastatt by participating in international conflicts, such As the Seven Years’ War. Spain invariably allied with France Against Great Britain, because these two powers were struggling for control of The seas. These alliances are known as Family Compacts (Pactos De Familia), as both countries were ruled by Bourbons.

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