Bourbon Reforms

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Description:
The Bourbon Reforms (in Spanish: Reformas Borbónicas) were a set of economic and political legislation introduced by the Spanish Crown under various kings of the House of Bourbon throughout the 18th century. The reforms were intended to stimulate manufacturing and technology in order to modernize Spain. In Spanish America the reforms were designed to make the administration more efficient and to promote its economic, commercial, and fiscal development. The crown did this in hopes that it would have a positive effect on the economy of Spain. Furthermore, the Bourbon Reforms were intended to limit the power of Creoles and re-establish Spanish primacy over their colonies.

Background

At the end of the 17th century, Spain was an ailing empire facing declining revenues and the loss of military power. It was ruled by a weak King, Charles II of Spain, who would leave no successors. Even before the death of Charles II, the European powers were already positioning themselves to see which noble house would procure the Spanish throne with its vast empire. Louis XIV of France asked for, and gained, the Pope's consent for his grandson, Philip of Anjou, a grand nephew of Charles II, to ascend the throne. On his deathbed Charles II willed the crown to this French-born successor.

The transfer of the Spanish Crown to the Bourbons, in 1700, did not go uncontested. In the ensuing War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1713), Spain had to surrender some of its European territories, and grant...
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