The Decline of Spain under Carlos IV

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The Decline of Spain under Carlos IV
Carlos III died in 1788 leaving the throne to his middle-aged dull, plain in virtue & fearful of his evil tempered wife Maria Luisa, a domineering woman, a sensuous woman who was able to pursue her interests for she had supplied Carlos IV with a family, presented very unflatteringly by Francisco Goya
In the summer of 1789, the ancient Cortes of Castile was in session when the first events of the Fr. Rev. began

 the Cortes was immediately dismissed for fear that it might follow the lead of the Estates General

 long serving ministers took steps to isolate Spain from the events north of the Pyrenees – closing the frontier between them, arresting French residents, censorship & waking up the Inquisition

 Manuel Godoy, the queens favorite, gained great influence in 1792 when the Fr. Rev. took on a military as well as an ideological nature

 Godoy’s relationship with the queen seems to have been only a secret from Carlos IV

 Carlos IV also favored Godoy who was all of 25 when the king made him the principle minister who basically appointed others to ministerial posts

 Godoy’s own self appraisal was over flattering, but he was a liberal, but was seen as a charlatan

 Godoy proved to be a victim of his youth, many of the older able men quit as his arrogance became increasingly & ever more unbearable, contempt began to fill the psyche of the kingdom as gossip filled each corner of the kingdom

Carlos IV tried & failed to rescue Louis XVI & made ready to intervene in Fr. as a result of Louis XVI execution by the Fr. declared Spain an enemy of the Rev. & war was popular with the Spanish & Sp. A. to restore order to Fr. which had obviously gone off the deep end

 while deep in their souls supporting Fr. the Spanish nevertheless answered by invading France & winning at first, then being pushed south of the Pyrenees & being forced to give up Santo Domingo by the Treaty of Basel

The Alliance of Spain and France 1796 - 1808

June 1795, Spain withdraws from the war against French angering the British, who once again pursues the policy of wrenching the Spanish American Empire free

  • 1796 Manuel Godoy signs an alliance with the Directory

  • Godoy will import the milder aspects of the French Revolution attacking the Inquisition & guilds

  • he threatens land confiscation of the Church as well as funds, could this be the beginning of Spanish liberalism? No, not really

  • he upsets Spanish conservatives & had little to no real effect on the Spanish Empire

  • alliance brought disaster after disaster, 1796 Spain was unable to ferry goods or people to or from the Americas, which for the Spanish America was made up for by American & British supplies

  • silver production was now at its all time peak, rarely arrived to the peninsula

  • Britain made entries in the area  Puerto Rico & Central America

 Trinidad occupied with little resistance  Treaty of Amiens transferred it

 defeat of the Spanish fleet off Cape St. Vincent in Europe 1797

 1800 Godoy is publicly dismissed, but privately advises Carlos IV
1801 Napoleon now in power forces the Spanish to attack the British ally Portugal in what is known as the War of the Oranges

  • Spain grabbed the province of Olivenza

  • Napoleon forces Spain to declare war on Britain in 1805

  • Napoleon plans to invade Britain which depended on a grand scheme of deception

 a combined Spanish & French fleets were to draw Admiral Nelson to the West Indies with what was supposed to appear to be the major fleet

 the plan then called for the major Spanish & French fleets to secure the channel for the invasion to take place

 the English were aware of the plan, Admiral Nelson waits for the fleet and defeats them at Trafalgar destroying their fleets

 1805 – 07 British assaulted Buenos Aires & Montevideo

 Oct. 1806 Godoy appears to have attempted to switch sides, inept & poor timing, Napoleon was now free from his campaign winning the Battle of Jena allowing him to tend to Spain & Godoy’s disloyalty

The heir to the throne, Prince Fernando, was now the hope of a large group in Spain which looked to him as El Deseado, the desired one who would end the of Spain’s situation.

 rightfully afraid of his mother & Godoy, Fernando dared to do no more than appeal secretly

 this was like throwing raw meet to starved dogs

The Fall of the Iberian Monarchs

Napoleon is in the drivers seat, both Godoy & Fernando are appealing for his support, the majority of the continent is Napoleon’s.

 Godoy was appealing for help to conquer Portugal & therefore it’s overseas empire

  • Napoleon decided to intervene in Spain, he never anticipated the partisan reaction

  • Napoleon’s strategy was simple, but complex

 cut off Britain’s access to the Mediterranean by taking Portugal

 Carlos IV hoping to be the emperor of the Americas, including Brazil

 Godoy wanting to be king of Portugal

 late in 1807 French General Junot with Spanish allies invades Portugal where the mad queen, Maria I, Prince Regent Joao, the royal Portuguese court & thousands of nobles scampered aboard Portuguese ships sailing out of Tagus escorted by British ships as the opposing forces were literally chasing many of them to the docks headed for Brazil.

Napoleon hoped the Spanish Bourbons would be as easily dismissed as the Portuguese Braganzas

 the Spaniards observed that Napoleon had not withdrawn from Portugal & had not given it to Spain, instead demanding a corridor to Portugal

 the court withdrew from Madrid to Aranjuez to get out of Napoleon’s reach, even talked of going to the Americas

 early in 1808, instead of giving Portugal to Spain, Napoleon sent in massive reinforce-ments, then demanded a corridor from Portugal through Spain to France

 Carlos IV & Godoy realized appeasement was not working evacuated from Madrid to Aranjuez beyond Napoleon’s reach

 talk of evacuation included going to the Americas by terrified Spaniards

This brought about the 1st pronunciamiento – intervention of the Spanish military, in modern Spanish history March 13, 1808

 Carlos IV was to abdicate – by army officers in favor of El Deseado, Fernando VII, named king, son of Carlos IV

 Fernando sought to please Napoleon any way possible to save Spain  unconstitutional as it was, the abdication was rejoiced in Spain & the Americas

 Napoleon was angered at the entrenchment of the Bourbons & sent agents to feel out the afrancesado, pro-French Spaniards

 Napoleon’s troops occupied Madrid & other strategic places
Napoleon ordered Carlos IV & Fernando VII to meet with him in northern Spain at Bayonne where the royal family was reunited & bickered until Napoleon stepped in & forced both to agree to abdicate  giving the Spanish crown to France

 aftancesados greeted the news with a new liberal constitution & a new king, Napoleon’s older brother Joseph Bonaparte, Jose I  El Intruso, Pepe Botallas  fought hard

  • Spain would have no part of it, dos de mayo, May 2, 1808, crowds in Madrid mixed it up with French troops

 committees or juntas were organized to fight Bonaparte

Unlike the situation in 1701, the Spanish overwhelmingly resisted the French invasion, despite the French desire to modernize, liberalize & regenerate Spain into the Enlightenment

The Agony of Spain
Guerrilla methods were employed against the French with great effect with extreme elements gaining control

 this brought about military leaders occupying civil authoritarian positions with the result of French administrative failures despite Napoleon’s battering of the Spanish army in the Americas

 the resistance ended up to be terrorism & atrocity after atrocity by both sides
Without a monarch, the leadership fell to the old Moorish Alacazar in the city of Sevilla in 1808 where the supreme junta, Suprema, which offered seats to the American colonies to keep then loyal

Early in 1810, French army takes Sevilla & Andalusia forcing the Suprema to flee to Cadiz, on a protected crescent-shaped peninsula

 a parliament like body set itself up based on the Spanish Cabildos instead of the privileged groups

  • it was made up of 75 Spanish deputies & 30 from the Americas & the Philippines

  • it was made of this constituency because Fernando VI called for the Cortes to meet to approve his ascension to the throne

  • it met before elections in the Americas could meet to elect deputies or before they could arrive

  • the Cortes was a very unrepresentative body of refugees from the Americas who happened to be in Spain

  • next to the French National Assembly, it was the most radical assembly of ultra-liberal persons

  • this is particularly true because the seaports are traditionally more advanced politically

  • Cortes destroyed man of the Church privileges, ended many oppressive taxes & curtailed the monarchy

  • An attempt to free up the American colonies commercially was beat back by the merchant houses in Cadiz

  • When the representatives selected in the colonies arrived, they were welcomed but their demand for more representation was rebuffed despite the American population at 15 million & Spain’s population at 10 million, pointed out that American population was mixed – Spaniards, Indians, Africans & people of mixed blood

  • Cortes of Cadiz did produce a constitution in 1812, which served as a model for Spain & the Americas – 1812 & 1820; Spain 1836; Portugal & Brazil 1821; Naples 1820; Piedmont 1821

  • It called for popular sovereignty, monarchy, not patrimony of a single ruling family

 1812 Cortes of Cadiz was dissolved by Fernando VII, the constitution was abrogated, the Inquisition & the Jesuits were re-instituted

 Fernando wants to rule as if he were a Hapsburg

 without Joseph Napoleon claiming the throne, opposition to the crown would automatically be treason,

Napoleon’s hold on Spain became precarious in 1812, the Spanish guerillas began to take their toll & together with the British under the Duke of Wellington in 1813, the French were driven into a smaller corner of Spain

In March of 1814, Fernando VII, El Deseado, arrived back in Spain making the afrancesados into convicts & exiles

  • because of a provision in the Constitution of 1812, Fernando VII would have to swear an allegiance to the constitution to become king

  • after being in Spain for a few weeks Fernando came to believe he could become king without having to agree to the provision in the constitution

  • May 11, 1814, Fernando ordered the arrest of all the liberal deputies & all the Cortes had done since 1810 was denounced

  • This proved to be a very popular step by the monarch

This raises an important issue; if the liberals had been able to help support the ouster of the French, why was it so easy for Fernando to waltz back in and take things back, the reactionary move that would take place throughout Europe – Metternich and his Congress of Vienna – Concert of Europe

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