Then it seemed that Spain wanted to turn in on itself and heal the infinite evils that troubled it and which were a consequence of the internal and foreign policy followed by its Austrian monarchs. The movement had already begun during the reign of Philip V, under the influence of the court of Versailles which regulated the work of D’Orry and Amelot and for the activity of the Italians and for the work of Spanish ministers conquered by the predominant enlightened despotism, such as Patiño, who, a follower of mercantilism and, not without reason, called the “Iberian Colbert”, reorganized the warship and merchant navy, protected indigenous industries, some of which therefore had considerable development, and contributed to the formation of merchant companies for the exploitation of the American colonies and the Philippines. Then, had particular development during the reigns of Ferdinand VI (1746-59), thanks to the work of José de Carvajal y Lancaster and Zenón de Somodevilla, Marquis de la Ensenada, and especially of Charles III (1759-88), to whom his residence in Italy as king of Naples and Sicily (1734-59), had given him a sound political experience and who had the good fortune to have alongside ministers such as Pedro Pablo Abarca de Bolea conte de Aranda, Pedro Rodriguez Campomanes, José Moñino conte de Floridablanca, who can well be said “the typical minister of enlightened Spanish despotism”. Already Philip V, to punish the regions that with their separatist revolutions had made his victory in the war of succession more difficult, had abolished fueros of Aragon and Valence (1707) and those of Catalonia and Mallorca (1714-15), prohibited the use of the Catalan language in the administration of justice (1716), and, while retaining their fueros, increased the powers of its representatives in the Basque provinces. Now they insisted on the work of unification, reducing the number of people who availed themselves of the military fuero (1768) in order to subject all particular jurisdictions to the monarch; keeping alive and increasing the powers of the various consejos, especially the Consejo de Castilla, “key of the political and administrative organization of all Spanish life during the century”, who with an army of officials directed and controlled any manifestation of the life of the country; creating in 1783 a Junta de estado, destined in turn to centralize the government of the whole state in the hands of the ministers and to coordinate the work of the consejos.
According to BEAUTYPICALLY.COM, and the reforms also affected the municipal administration, which was still subjected to central power. In relations with the Church, regalism was accentuated, which was a centuries-old tradition of Spain; the attributions of the Inquisition Tribunal were limited, which often resigned itself to being an instrument of the government and saw its very existence endangered; in 1767 the Jesuits were expelled and in the following years a large part was taken in the diplomatic negotiations which in 1773 were to lead to the publication of the brief for the suppression of the Company. Thus began an era of tolerance for Spain; the country opened up to the new currents of European thought, putting an end to the previous isolation; it was thought to reduce illiteracy and fight superstition, that they were the two centuries-old plagues of Spain; they began to give a rational development to the school system, creating primary schools and, in large numbers, professional ones, and making sure that the universities renew their teaching programs; numerous cultural institutes were founded, such as theAcademia de la historia (1738), both in Madrid and in the provinces. Finally, economic problems were studied with particular attention, the most striking of the sad legacies of the past: for this purpose a series of “economic societies” (amigos del pais) were created in the country, of which nobles, ecclesiastics and bourgeois conquered by the new ideas and who worked hard to spread culture and encourage agriculture and industry. Thus the Sierra Morena was colonized; the ecclesiastical dead man was reduced; the quotation of lands suitable for cultivation began; the municipal lands and the so-called bienes de propios were freed from their bonds; limits were placed on the growth of major males; to favor agriculture, the privileges of the Mesta were reduced, which in 1792 lost its jurisdiction. Industry also developed considerably – it should be noted that the influence of Colbertism, which prevailed during the reign of Philip V, was replaced by that of the physiocrats during the government of Charles III; the machinery required by some industries was exempted from import duties; others were granted particular privileges; numerous royal factories were created; the mines were subjected to more intensive exploitation; the restrictions imposed by the medieval guilds of arts and crafts (gremios). Finally, a great impulse was given to internal and external trade – the latter largely in the hands of the French, the English and the Dutch – with the creation of a good credit institution, the Banco de San Carlos; with the construction of a dense network of roads integrated by navigable canals (such as those of Aragon, Urgel, Alcira, Campos); with the reorganization of the postal service, which in 1794 had a real code among the most perfected of the time; with the creation of shipping companies, such as the “Real Compañia guipuzcoana de Caracas”, that of Havana, that of Barcelona, that of Escaray and Burgos, that of the Philippines; with the reduction or abolition of duties for Spanish goods sent to the colonies and for colonial goods sent to Spain; with the concession of free trade, agreed in 1778 with a revolutionary pragmatic, between the ports of Barcelona, Palma, Alicante, Cartagena, Almeria, Málaga, Cadiz, Tenerife, Coruña, Gijión and Santander with twenty other American ports. And even the American colonies felt the beneficial advantages of this movement that was developing in the motherland, and especially by the work of Gálvez, author of two fundamental reforms: the one already mentioned of the freedom of trade, which was completed by a whole series of measures aimed at to reorganize the internal, financial and judicial administration of the country, and that which in 1786 instituted the administrations destined to centralize the government.