Charles III of Spain: Wikis


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Charles III
King of Spain
Reign 10 August 1759–14 December 1788
Predecessor Ferdinand VI
Successor Charles IV
King of Naples and Sicily
Reign 1 December 1734 – 10 August 1759
Predecessor Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor
Successor Ferdinand IV & III
Duke of Parma and Piacenza
Reign 22 July 1731 – 1 December 1734
Predecessor Antonio Farnese
Successor Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor
Spouse Maria Amalia of Saxony
List of Charles III's children
House House of Bourbon
Father Philip V of Spain
Mother Elizabeth of Parma
Born 20 January 1716
Royal Alcazar of Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Died 14 December 1788 (aged 72)
Royal Palace of Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Not to be confused with Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor, who briefly ruled parts of Spain during the War of the Spanish Succession as Charles III.

Charles III (20 January 1716 – 14 December 1788) was the King of Spain and of the Spanish Indies from 1759 to 1788. He was the eldest son of Philip V of Spain and his second wife, the Princess Elisabeth of Parma. In 1731, the fifteen-year-old Charles became the Duke of Parma and Piacenza, as Charles I, at the death of his childless great uncle Antonio Farnese, Duke of Parma.

In 1734, as the Duke of Parma, he conquered the kingdoms of Naples and of Sicily, and was crowned as the King of Naples and Sicily on 3 July 1735, reigning as King Charles, although he is contemporarily known as Charles VII of Naples and Charles V of Sicily.

In 1738 he married the Princess Maria Amalia of Saxony, an educated, cultured woman who bore him thirteen children, eight of whom reached adulthood. Charles and Maria Amalia resided in Naples for nineteen years; in 1760, she died, aged thirty-five, at Madrid.

Upon succeeding to the Spanish throne on 10 August 1759, Charles, a proponent of enlightened absolutism, on 6 October 1759 abdicated the Neapolitan and Sicilian thrones in favour of Ferdinand, his third surviving son, who became Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies, i.e. Ferdinand IV of Naples and Ferdinand III of Sicily; Charles III's descendants ruled the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies until 1861.


Spanish imperial ambitions

In 1713, the Treaty of Utrecht concluded the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–14), thereby reducing the politico-military power of Spain, ruled by the House of Bourbon since 1700. Per the Treaty, the Spanish Empire retained its Latin American territories, and ceded to Austria the Southern Netherlands, the Kingdom of Naples, the Kingdom of Sardinia, the Duchy of Milan, and the State of Presidi. Moreover, the House of Savoy gained the Kingdom of Sicily and Great Britain gained the isle of Minorca and the Gibraltar fortress.

In 1700, Charles's father, the French-born Philippe de France, became the King of Spain and so acquired the prestige of the powerful lands he ruled. For the remainder of his reign (1700–46), Philippe's parents continually attempted regaining the territories lost. In 1714, after the death of the king's first wife, the Princess Maria Luisa Gabriella of Savoy, the Piacenzan Cardinal Giulio Alberoni schemed and concerted a prestigious marriage for the ambitious Elisabeth of Parma, niece and daughter-in-law of Francesco Farnese, Duke of Parma. In the event, Elisabeth and Philippe married on 24 December 1714; she quickly proved a domineering consort, and influenced King Philippe to make Cardinal Giulio Alberoni the Prime Minister of Spain in 1715.

In 1716, Elisabeth gave birth to the Infante Charles of Spain at the Real Alcázar de Madrid palace; the fourth royal successor after three elder half-brothers: the Infante Luis, Prince of Asturias (Louis I of Spain), the Infante Felipe (d.1719), and Ferdinand, (Ferdinand VI of Spain). Moreover, because the Duke Francesco of Parma, and his heir, were childless, Elisabeth sought the duchies of Parma and Piacenza for Charles. She also sought for him the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, because the homosexual Gian Gastone de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, also was childless, and was her cousin, via her great-grandmother Margherita de' Medici; resultantly, Charles held claim to the titles by right of descent from Margherita.



Succession to the Italian Duchies

The birth of Charles had encouraged the Prime Minister Alberoni to start laying out grand plans for Europe who had in 1717 ordered the Spanish invasion of Sardinia. In 1718, Alberoni also ordered the invasion of Sicily owned by the House of Savoy; the same year saw the birth of Charles' first sister, Infanta Maria Ana Victoria of Spain on 31 March. In reaction to the Quadruple Alliance of 1718, the Duke of Savoy then joined the Alliance and went to war with Spain. This war led to the dismissal of Alberoni by Philip in 1719. The Treaty of The Hague of 1720 allowed Elisabeth and Philip to have Charles recognised as a possible heir to the Italian Duchies.

29 December 1719 saw the death of Charles' half brother, the Infante Felipe Pedro in Madrid (born 7 June 1712). This death made him third in line to the Throne of Spain after Luis and Ferdinand; a position he would remain in till his succession to the Spanish throne.

15 March 1720 saw the birth of his second full brother, Infante Felipe of Spain.

From 1721, Philip at the Spanish court, and Philippe d'Orléans, régent de France at Versailles had been negotiating the project of a three Franco-Spanish marriages in order to cement tense relations. The young Louis XV of France would marry the three year old Infanta Maria Ana Victoria and thus she would become Queen of France; Charles' half brother Luis would marry the fourth surviving daughter of the régent, Louise Élisabeth d'Orléans. Charles himself would be engaged to the pretty Philippine Élisabeth d'Orléans who was the fifth surviving daughter of Philippe d'Orléans.

In 1726 Charles met Philippine Élisabeth; Elisabeth of Parma later wrote to the régent (and his wife) in France regarding the first meeting of Philippine Élisabeth and Charles:

" I believe, that you will not be displeased to learn of her first interview with her little husband. They embraced very affectionately and kissed one another, and it appears to me that he does not displease her. Thus, since this evening they do not like to leave one another. She says a hundred pretty things ; one would not credit the things that she says, unless one heard them. She has the mind of an angel, and my son is only too happy to possess her. . . . She has charged me to tell you that she loves you with all her heart, and that she is quite content with her husband." And to the duchesse d'Orléans she writes : "I find her the most beautiful and most lovable child in the world. It is the most pleasing thing imaginable to see her with her little husband : how they caress one another and how they love one another already. They have a thousand little secrets to tell one another, and they cannot part for an instant."[1]

Philippine Élisabeth d'Orléans, known as Mademoiselle de Beaujolais in France

Out of these marriages only Luis and Louise Élisabeth would wed; there were no children from the union; Luis would be king of Spain for 8 months after his father's abdication in January 1724; Luis died in August 1724 from Smallpox.

Maria Ana Victoria was sent to Paris but would never marry the King of France; 9 March 1725 saw the official end of the engagement of Louis XV and Maria Ana Victoria she was sent back to Spain and in retaliation Philippine Élisabeth was returned to France in 1728 aged just 14;

The departure of Philippine was seen as a sad affair, unlike that of her older sister Louise Élisabeth who had never been popular at the court. Philippine Élisabeth died in Paris from Smallpox in 1734 aged just 19. Elisabeth of Parma, insulted by the French returning her daughter, then looked for other possible candidates for marriage to her eldest son. For this she looked to Austria. Austria was chosen due to it being the main country which was stopping Spanish expansion and influence on present day Italy. She proposed to Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor that the Infante Charles marry the 8 year old Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria and that her second surviving son Infante Felipe of Spain marry the 7 year old Archduchess Maria Anna.

The alliance of Spain and Austria was signed on 30 April 1725 and thus guaranteed the Pragmatic Sanction of the Habsburgs, which was first declared in 1713. Based on the terms of the treaty, the Austrian Empire relinquished all claims to the Spanish throne. It also agreed that Spain would invade Gibraltar with the help of the Austrians. Despite this, the Anglo-Spanish War stopped the ambitions of Elisabeth of Parma and with the signing of the Treaty of Seville (9 November 1729) saw the abandonment of the Austro-Spanish marriage plans. The treaty did however allow the Infante Charles the right to occupy Parma, Piacenza and Tuscany by force if necessary.

The years between 1726 and 1729 saw the addition of two sisters and another brother for Charles; Infanta Maria Teresa Rafaela was born in Madrid on 11 June 1726 and was the future wife of Louis, Dauphin of France; Infante Luis, Count of Chinchón who Charles would later banish from the court; the last was the Infanta Maria Antonietta who was the future wife of Victor Amadeus III of Sardinia.

After the treaty of Seville, Philip V disregarded the Treaty and went into alliance with France and Great Britain. Antonio Farnese, the Duke of Parma died on 26 February 1731 without naming an heir; this was because the widow of Antonio, Enrichetta d'Este had thought to have been pregnant prior to Antonio's death. The Duchess of Parma was examined by many a doctor but there was still no confirmation of her being pregnant. While adhering, 22 July 1731 saw the Second Treaty of Vienna which officially recognised the young Infante Charles as the Duke of Parma and Piacenza.

The duchy was occupied by the Count Carlo Stampa, who was the lieutenant of Parma for the young Charles. Charles was from then on known as HRH Don Charles of Spain (or Borbón), Duke of Parma and Piacenza, Infante of Spain. 29 December saw the Parmese government liaise with Charles' maternal grandmother, Dorothea Sophie of the Palatinate; Dorothea Sophie would be the official guardian of Charles while he was a minor in Parma.

Arrival in Italy

Dorothea Sophie of the Palatinate, Charles' guardian while a minor and his maternal grandmother

Charles arrived in Italy on 20 October 1731. After a solemn ceremony in Madrid, Charles was given the épée d'or (Sword of Gold) by his father; the sword had been given to Philip V of Spain by his grandfather Louis XIV of France before his departure to Spain in 1700. Charles left Spain for a voyage by land from Seville to Antibes; he then went to Tuscany and then arrived at Livorno on 27 December 1731. His cousin Gian Gastone de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, was named his co-tutor and despite Charles being the default heir of Gian Gastone, the Grand Duke still gave him a warm welcome. En route to Florence to Pisa, Charles had an attack of Smallpox.[2] The young Duke of Parma had a terrific entrance to the Medici capital of Florence on 9 March 1732 with a suite of 250 people in tow. He stayed with his host at the Palazzo Pitti which was the residence of the Grand Duke.[2]

24 June saw a fête in honour of the Patron Saint of Florence, Jean-Baptiste. It was at this fête that Gian Gastone named Charles his heir as the Hereditary Prince of Tuscany and Charles paid homage to the Florentine senate as was tradition for all heirs to the Tuscan throne. After the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles IV, found out about the ceremony, he was greatly enraged due to Gian Gastone not giving him Imperial nomination having the rank of ..Ruler of the Romans. Despite the celebration's, Elisabeth of Parma urged her son to go onto Parma to claim it. This he did in October 1732, where he was greeted with much joy. On the front of the Ducal Palace in Parma, it was written Parma Resurget (Let Parma rule). At the same time the play La venuta di Ascanio in Italia was created by Carlo Innocenzo Frugoni. It was later performed at the Farnese Theatre in the city.[3] · [4]

Formation and description of Charles

Upon his arrival in the peninsular, Charles was not yet seventeen years old. He received the strict and structured education of a Spanish Infante; he was very pious and was often in awe of his domineering mother, who according to many contemporaries, he resembled greatly. The Alvise Giovanni Mocenigo, Doge of Venice and Ambassador of Venice to Naples declared that:</ref> · [4] :

he received an education removed from all studies and all applications in order to be able to govern himself

tenne sempre un'educazione lontanissima da ogni studio e da ogni applicazione per diventare da sé stesso capace di governo.[5].

It was the same as the opinion of Count Monasterolo Solaro, ambassador of Savoy who described Charles Emmanuel III of Sardinia in 1742.

On the other hand he was educated in printmaking (remaining an enthusiastic etcher), painting and a wide range of physical activities which included a future favourite of his, hunting. Sir Horatio Mann, a British diplomat in Florence noted that he was greatly impressed at the fondness Charles had for the sport.

His physical appearance was dominated by the Bourbon nose that he had inherited from his father's side of the family. He was also described as "a brown boy, who has a lean face with a bulging nose". He was also known for his happy and exuberant character.[6]

Conquest of Naples and Sicily

Royal styles of
Charles I, Duke of Parma

Armoiries Bourbon-Sicile.svg

Reference style His Royal Highness
Spoken style Your Royal Highness
Alternative style Sir

In 1733, at the death of Augustus II the Strong, King of Poland, there was a succession crisis in Poland. France stood opposite Austria and Russia in supporting different contenders to the throne. France joined forces with Savoy and Spain (with whom it signed the first Bourbon Compact late in 1733).

A marginal role was entrusted to the Spaniards in the north of Italy, but the principal objective of Charles' mother was for her to win the largest amount of territories for her sons. These included territories that Spain had lost in the treaty of Utrecht: the Kingdoms of Naples and Sicily. The two kingdoms had been divided by Savoy and Austria by that treaty, and Sicily had become Austrian in the 1720 Treaty of the Hague.

On 20 January 1734, his 18th birthday, Charles was given his majority and was thus able to rule as he wished; free to govern and to manage in a manner independent its states.[7] He was also named commander of all Spanish troops in Italy, a position he shared with José Carrillo de Albornoz, 1st Duke of Montemar.

Charles, who had been given the style of Charles I of Parma, then embarked on a military campaign to take Naples and Sicily. On 27 February Philip V of Spain issued a declaration of his intention to capture the Kingdom of Naples on the claim of freeing it of it being subject to "excessive violence [by the Austrian Viceroy of Naples], oppression and tyranny".[8] After inspecting his Spanish troops at Perugia, Charles ordered the army to march to Naples on 5 March. On the march, he had to travel through the Papal States then ruled by Clement XII.[7]

The Austrians, who also ruled Lombardy, had only limited resources for the protection of Naples to defend against the expected Spanish invasion of the city, and were divided on how best to defend the kingdom. Even though it was the Emperor's intention to keep Naples, the majority of the Neapolitan nobility were in favour of the proposed capture by Spain. This was because they hoped that, once captured, Philip V of Spain would give the kingdom to Charles, who would be more likely to live there rather than have a viceroy and service a foreign power. On 9 March the Spanish took Procida and Ischia, two islands in the Bay of Naples. A week later they defeated the Austrians at sea. On 31 March (his sister Maria Ana Victoria's 16th birthday) the Bourbon troops closed in on the Austrians in Naples. The Austrian General Otto Ferdinand von Abensberg und Traun's defensive position was flanked, and he was forced to withdraw to Capua. This allowed Charles and his troops to advance onto the city of Naples itself.

The Austrian viceroy, Giulio Borromeo Visconti, and the commander of his army, Giovanni Carafa, left some garrisons in order to defend the city's fortresses. Carafa and Visconti withdrew to the region of Apulia waiting for reinforcements in an attempt to make an ultimate resistance. The Spanish entered Naples and quickly gained control over the Austrian-held fortresses in the early days of April, and during an interval, Charles received the compliments of the local nobility as well as the city keys and the privilege book. This was all made possible by the delegation of elected officials of the city.[9]

Chronicles of the time that Naples was captured with humanity and that the combat was only due to a general climate of courtesy between the two armies, often under the eyes of the Neapolitan ones that approached curious. The first fort that was taken by the Spanish army was that of the Castle of Carmine (10 April), the Castle of Sant'Elmo (27 April), the Castel dell'Ovo (4 May) and finally the New Castle (6 May). This all occurred even though Charles had no military experience, seldom wore uniforms, and could only with difficulty be persuaded to witness a review.

The Neapolitan Period

Charles de Bourbon, rex utriusque Siciliae

Charles de Bourbon ((Italian) : Carlo di Borbone) had his triumphant entrance to Naples on 10 May 1734. He entered on a horse that entered through the old city gate at Capuana surrounded by the councillors of the city along with the a group of people who threw money at the locals. The procession went on through the streets and ended up at the Cathedral of Naples which Charles received a blessing from the town's Archbishop of the town, Cardinal Pignatelli. After all this, Charles ended up at the Royal Palace which had been built by Philip III of Spain who was an ancestor of Charles.

Two chroniclers of the era, the Florentine Bartolomeo Intieri and the Venetian Cesare Vignola both said that the Neapolitans had different views on the situation; Intieri writes that his arrival was a historic event, and that the crowd screamed that His Royal Highness is beautiful, that his face is as the one of San Gennaro on the statue that the representative.[10] On the contrary, Vignola retrieves that "there was only some acclamations", and that the crowd applauded with a lot of languors and only to incite those that threw the money to throw it in more abundance.[11]

Regarding the conquest of the kingdom, Charles' father Philip V wrote the following letter to his son:

Mi muy Claro y muy amado Hijo. Por relevantes razones, y poderosos indispensables motivos havia resuelto, que en el caso de que mis Reales Armas, que he embiado à Italia para hacer la guerra al Emperador, se apoderasen del Reyno de Nàpoles os hubiese de quedar en propriedad como si vos lo hubiesedes adquirido con vuestras proprias fuerzas, y haviendo sido servido Dios de mirar por la justa causa que me asiste, y facilidar con su poderoso auxilio el mas feliz logro: Declaro que es mi voluntad que dicha conquista os pertenezca como a su legitimo Soverano en la mas ampla forma que ser pueda: Y para que lo podais hacer constar donde y quando combenga he querido manifestaroslo por esta Carta firmada de mi mano, y refrendada de mi infrascrito Consegero y Secretario de Estado y del Despacho.

My very illustrious and much loved son, for important reasons and basic motives did that if the royal army that I sent in Italy to wage war against the emperor had taken the kingdom of Naples, this one should remain in your house as if you had obtained it by your clean forces, and after serving God seen the just cause that I supports, Help the happiest success, I declare that this is my will that this conquest belong you as legitimate sovereign in the amplest form than this behaves: And for that you could note it where and when it suits, I wanted to show it for you with this signed document of my hand and ratified by the Counselor and secretary of state and Office.[12]

The letter, began with the words To the King of Naples, My Son and My Brother.[12] Charles was unique in the fact that he was the first ruler of Naples to actually live in Naples, after two centuries of viceroys, but the conquest of the kingdom had not been officially recognised by the Austrians who had "lost" the kingdom. The emperor had sent reinforcements to Naples directed by the Prince of Belmonte. Austrian reinforcements arrived at Bitonto.

Spanish troops under the control of the Count of Montemar attacked the Austrians on 25 May 1734 in what is now called the Battle of Bitonto. The Spanish were victorious and they were able to take the Prince of Belmonte as a prisoner of war after he fled to Bari; other Austrian troops were able to escape thanks to vessels at sea. To celebrate the victory, Naples was illuminated for three nights and on 30 May, the Duke of Montemar, Charles' army commander, was thus named the Duke of Bitonto.[13] Today there is an obelisk in the city commemorating the battle.

After the fall of Reggio Calabria on 20 June, Charles also conquered the towns of L'Aquila (27 June) and Pescara (28 July). The last two Austrian fortresses were Gaeta and Capua. The Siege of Gaeta, which took place in front of Charles, ended on 6 August. Three weeks later, the Duke of Montemar left the mainland for Sicily where they arrived in Palermo on 2 September 1734, beginning a conquest of the island's Austrian-held fortresses that ended in early 1735. Capua, the only remaining Austrian stronghold in Naples, was held by von Traun until 24 November 1734.

In the kingdom, the independence from the Austrians was popular among the Sicilians, so well that, in July 1734, the British consul Edward Allen writes to the Duke of Newcastle: It is a matter certainly of a profit for this city and this kingdom that the king there lives which means that if the money between, it not some sets off again, which produced itself in an important way with the Germans that had drained all the gold of the population and almost all the money to do big gifts to the Emperor.[14]

In 1735, pursuant to the treaty ending the war, he resigned Parma to Emperor Charles VI in exchange for his recognition as King of Naples and Sicily.

Relations with the Holy See

Royal styles of
Charles, King of Naples and Sicily

Flag of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies 1738.gif

Reference style His Majesty
Spoken style Your Majesty
Alternative style Sir

In the first years of his reign, the Holy See and Charles did not have the best relationship. The Kingdom of Naples has always been closely related to the See due to the state being an old part of the Papal States. Pope Clement XII thought of himself as the legitimate ruler of the Kingdoms and refused to recognise Charles as its ruler.

For all response, a commission met in Naples and was presided over by the Tuscan lawyer, Bernardo Tanucci. It concluded that the pontifical nomination is not necessary for the coronation of a king cannot be considered as a sacrement. Tanucci, named minister of Justice, implements a political one aiming to limit harshly the strength of the clergy of which the possessions always are in increase, that benefits from the exemption of the taxes and of its own courts. The Neapolitan government does nevertheless of the gestures of relaxation as for example; it forbade the return of the historian of the Pouilles that was in exile, Pietro Giannone who was not popular with the clergy.[15]

The situation grew worse in 1735, soe days before his coronation at Palermo, Pope Clement XII the Emperor to give him the annual 'Chinea which consisted of a white mare and a sum of money that was tradition for the King of Naples to give the Pope. The reason of this choice was that the Emperor was considered as the sovereign of the Kingdom of Naples, his Dyed was a custom, whereas the new king was, a novelty. This greatly angered Charles.

During this time, Charles went to Sicily even though the islands conquest was not quite yet over (Metz, Syracuse and Trapani were again in the hands of Austria), he was crowned King of Naples and Sicily on 3 July; rex utriusque Siciliae. His coronation occurred at the Cathedral at Palermo; Palermo was chosen because it could bypass the authority of the pope, thanks to the apostolic legation of Sicily.[16]

March 1735 saw a new discord enter Rome and Naples. In Rome, it was discovered that Bourbons confined Roman citizens in the Palazzo Farnese which was the personal property of the King Charles; people were brought here to impress them into the Neapolitan army. Thousands of inhabitants in the town of Trastevere stormed the palace to liberate them and they then abandoned themselves to pillage. The crowd directed itself next towards the embassy of Spain and during the clashes that followed, several Bourbon soldiers were killed including an officer. The disturbances spread themselves to the town of Velletri where the population attacked Spanish troops on the road of Naples.

The episode was perceived as an insult to Charles and his family, the Bourbons, and consequently the Ambassadors of Spain and of Naples left Rome, while apostolic nonces were moved away from Madrid and Naples. Charles ordered that regiments of Bourbon troops were to penetrate the Papal States and the threat was so bad that some doors of Rome were kept doubled guarded. Velletri was occupied and obliged to pay forty thousand shields as a city occupied; later on due to hostilities, Ostia was pillaged, while Palestrina avoids the same and went out with the payment of a ransom of fifteen thousand shields.

After the hostilities, the committee of the Cardinals decided to send a delegation of prisoners of Trastevere and of Velletri to Naples as "repair". The offenders that were caught were made to stay in prison for some time and after having asked for Royal Pardon from Charles, they were allowed to go free.[16] Charles, thanks to the mediation of the archbishop Giuseppe Spinelli and major chaplain of the course Celestino Galiani, succeeded in overcoming their differences after long negotiations during which they obtained on 10 May 1738.

After the death of Pope Clement in 1740, he was replaced by Pope Benedict XIV, who in the next year allowed the creation of a concordat with the Kingdom of Naples, that allowed the taxation of certain property of the clergy, the reduction of the number of the ecclesiasticals and the limitation of their immunity and autonomy of the justice by the bias of the creation of a mixed tribunal.[17]

Choice of name

Charles should have been remembered as Charles VII of Naples (some sources call him this) but the number was never officially used by him. As noted, he was known simply as Charles of Bourbon. The reason no number was officially used was to make a point of the fact that he was the first King of Naples to live there and to mark the discontinuity between previous rulers i.e. Emperor Charles VI.

In Sicily, he was known as Charles III of Sicily and of Jerusalem; using the ordinal one III rather than V for the Sicilian people did not recognise as their sovereign legitimate one or Charles I of Naples (Charles d'Anjou), against whom they rebelled, nor Emperor Charles, whom they also disliked.

Carolus Dei Gratia Rex utriusque Siciliae[18], & Hyerusalem, &c. Infans Hispaniarum, Dux Parmae, Placentiae, Castri, &c. Ac Magnus Princeps Haereditarius Hetruriae, &c[19]. Charles, by the Grace of God King of Naples, Sicily and of Jerusalem, etc. Infante of Spain, Duke of Parma, Piacenza and of Castro etc. Great Hereditary Prince of Tuscany.

Peace with Austria and Marriage

Negotiations with Austria were concluded on 3 October 1735 but the peace was not finalized until three years later on 18 November 1738 by another Treaty of Vienna. It ended the War of the Polish Succession.

Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor, whom Charles was in constant competition
Charles' Consort Princess Maria Amalia of Saxony painted by Louis Silvestre

By the terms of the treaty, Stanisław Leszczyński renounced his claim on the Polish throne and recognized Augustus III, Duke of Saxony, as King of Poland. As compensation he received instead the Duchy of Lorraine and Bar, which was to pass to France upon his death (which occurred in 1766). Francis Stephen, who had been the Duke of Lorraine, was indemnified with the vacant throne of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, the last Medici having died in 1737. France also agreed to the Pragmatic Sanction, guaranteeing the planned succession in Austria. In another provision of the treaty, the Kingdom of Naples and Sicily were ceded by Austria to Charles, who ceded Parma to Austria, and gave up his claims to the throne of Tuscany in favor of Francis Stephen.

The treaty included the transfer to Naples of all the inherited goods of the House of Farnese. He took with him the collection of artworks, the archives and the Ducal library, the canons of the fort and even the stairway of marble of the Ducal Palace.[20]

As a result of the peace, Charles' mother Elisabeth began looking for potential brides for her son, now formally recognised as King of Naples and Sicily throughout Europe. Impossible to get an Archduchess of Austria as a bride, his mother looked to Poland. The chosen girl was Princess Maria Amalia of Saxony, a daughter of Augustus III of Poland and his (ironically) Austrian wife Maria Josepha of Austria.

Maria Josepha of Austria was a niece of the Emperor; the marriage was the only alternative to the Austrian proposal which looked dimmer then ever.

Maria Amalia was but 13 years old when she was informed of her proposed marriage and that the Pope had gven his permission and blessing on the marriage. The marriage date was confirmed on 31 October 1737. Maria Amalia had a proxy ceremony at Dresden in May 1738 with her brother, Frederick Christian of Saxony representing Charles. This marriage was looked upon favourably by the Holy See and effectively meant the conclusion of the diplomatic disagreement Charles and the See had had.

The couple met for the first time on 19 June 1738 at Portella, a village on the frontier of the Kingdom near to Fondi. At court, festivities lasted till 3 July when Charles created the Insigne e reale ordine di San Gennaro - the most prestigious order of Chivalry in the Kingdom. He later had the Order of Charles III created in Spain on 19 September 1771.

The War of the Austrian Succession

The peace between Charles and Austria was signed in Vienna in 1740. That year, Emperor Charles died leaving his Kingdoms of Bohemia and Hungary (along with many other lands) to his daughter Maria Theresa of Austria by default of the Pragmatic Succession he had issued in his lifetime. It was this succession that sparked the War of the Austrian Succession. France was allied with Spain and Prussia, all of whom were against Maria Theresa. They were opposed by Maria Theresa along with Great Britain, ruled by George II and the Kingdom of Sardinia which was then ruled by Charles Emmanuel III of Sardinia.

Maria Theresa of Austria, daughter of Emperor Charles VI and one time fiancée of Charles (1744)

Charles had wanted to stay neutral during the conflict but his father wanted him to join in and gather troops to aid the Spanish. Charles was later gave his father 10,000 men under the control of Duke of Castropignano but they were obliged to retreat due to British forces who were threatening to bombard the port of Naples with 13 vessels if they did not leave the conflict.[21]

The decision to remain neutral was again revived and was poorly received by the French and his father in Spain. Charles' parents encouraged him to take arms as his brother Infante Felipe had done. After publishing a proclamation on 25 March 1744 reassuring its subjects, Charles took the command of an army against the Austrian armies of the prince of Lobkowitz, who were at that point marching for the Neapolitan border.

In order to oppose the small but powerful pro-Austrian party in Naples, a new counsel was formed under the direction of Tanucci that resulted in the arrest of more than 800 people. In April Maria Theresa addressed the Neapolitans with a proclamation in which she promised, without result, the pardon and advantages in order to give rise to a rebellion against the "usurpers", meaning the Bourbons.[22]

The participation of Naples and Sicily in the conflict resulted, on 11 August in the decisive Battle of Velletri, where Neapolitan troops directed by Charles and the Duke of Castropignano, and Spanish troops under the Count of Pledges defeated the Austrians of Lobkowitz, who retreated with heavy losses. The courage shown by Charles caused the King of Sardinia, his enemy, to write that "it revealed a worthy consistency of his blood and that it behaved glorious".[23]

The victory at Velletri assured Charles the right of being able to give the title Duke of Parma' to his younger brother Infante Felipe. This was recognised in the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle signed in 1748; it was not till next year that Infante Felipe would officially be the Duke of Parma, Piacenza and Guastalla.

Reign of Naples and Sicily

In 1746, Philip V of Spain died in Madrid aged 62. The throne of Spain was inherited by Infante Ferdinand who became Ferdinand VI of Spain. Ferdinand, who hated his step mother, made her leave the Spanish court; this also meant that Elisabeth of Parma would not have as much influence over her son on the pretext that she was the Queen of the realm.

The same year saw the introduction of the Inquisition to Charles' domains bought by the Cardinal Spinelli; this was not popular at all and it required the intervention of Charles.

Charles left a lasting legacy on his Kingdom; he built much and did a lot for reform in the country. In and around Naples can be found a collection of Palaces that he constructed during his reign on the peninsular. In awe of the Palace of Versailles and the Royal Palace of Madrid in Spain (the latter being modeled on Versailles itself) Charles undertook and oversaw the construction of one of Europe's most lavish Palaces, the Palace of Caserta (Reggia di Caserta). Construction ideas for the stunning palace started in 1751 when he was 22 years old. The site had previously been home to a small hunting lodge, like Versailles, which he was fond of because it reminded him of San Ildefonso where the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso was found in Spain. Caserta was also much influenced by his wife, the very cultured Maria Amalia of Saxony.

The site was also far away from the large volcano of Mount Vesuvius which was a constant threat on the capital as was the sea. It was Charles himself that laid the foundation stone for his new palace on his 26th birthday 20 January 1752 amid much festivity.

Other buildings he had built in his kingdom were the Palace of Portici (Reggia di Portici), the Teatro di San Carlo - constructed in just 270 days - the Palace of Capodimonte (Reggia di Capodimonte); he also had the Royal Palace of Naples renovated. He, along with his wife, had the Capodimonte porcelain Factory constructed in the city. He also had the Ercolanesi Academy founded along with the Naples National Archaeological Museum which still operates today.

Charles began there the work of internal reform which he afterwards continued in Spain. The chief minister in Naples, Bernardo Tanucci, had a considerable influence over him. It was during his rule that the Roman cities of Herculaneum (1738), Stabiae and Pompeii (1748) were re-discovered. The king encouraged the excavations and was informed about the findings even after moving to Spain. Charles also encouraged the awakening of craftsman in Naples and of Sicily, after the centuries of foreign domination. The principal one deserve Charles is, in fact, to have recreated the "Neapolitan nation", to have returned the independent and sovereign kingdom. It is also the craftsman of a deep politics of reformations more administrative, more social and more religious that the kingdom awaited since a long time.

Charles was the most popular king the Neapolitans had had for many a year. He was very supportive of their needs, regardless of class and has been hailed as an Enlightenment King. Among the initiatives aiming to let the kingdom emerge of the difficult economical conditions, Charles created the "commerce Counsel" that negotiated with the Turks, Swedish, the French and the Dutch. I nations. He also founded an insurance company and took measures to protect the forest heritage, it tried to start the extraction and exploitation of the natural resources.

The Kingdom of Naples remained neutral during the Seven Years' War (1756–1763). The British Prime Minister, William Pitt wanted to create an Italian league so that the Kingdom of Naples and of the Kingdom of Sardinia fight united against the Austria, but Charles to refused to adhere. This choice was sharply criticised by the Neapolitan Ambassador in Turin, Domenico Caraccioli, who wrote:

"The position of Italian matters is not more beautiful; but it is worsened by the fact that the King of Naples and the King of Sardinia, adding troops to larger forces of the others, could oppose itself to the plans of their neighbours; to defend itself against the dangers of the peace of the enemies themselves they were in a way united, but they are separated by their different systems of gouvernement.[24]

With the Republic of Genoa in relations are stretched: Pasquale Paoli, general of Corsican pro-independence rebels, was an officer of the Neapolitan army and the Genoese one suspected that he received assistance of the kingdom of Naples.

After the departure of Charles, the Minister Tanucci presides the Counsel of regency one of Ferdinand to the majority of the child set at 16 years of age.

Succession to Spain

At the end of 1758, Charles' half brother Ferdinand VI was displaying the same symptoms of depression that their father used to suffer from. Ferdinand lost his devoted wife, Infanta Barbara of Portugal in August 1758 and would fall into deep mourning for her. He named Charles his heir on 10 December 1758 before leaving Madrid to stay at Villaviciosa de Odón where he died on 10 August 1759.

His third surviving son, future Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies.

At that point Charles was proclaimed King of Spain under the name of Charles III of Spain; in respect of the third Treaty of Vienna, which stated should he become King of Spain he would not be able to join the Neapolitan and Sicilian territories. He was later given the title of Lord of the Two Sicilies. The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, that Charles had not ratified, had foreseen the eventuality of his accession to Spain; thus Naples and Sicily could come back to his brother Philip, Duke of Parma, while the possessions of the latter would be divided up between Maria Theresa (Parme and Guastalla) and the King of Sardinia (Plaisance).

Determined to maintain his descendants hold on the court of Naples, Charles undertook long time diplomatic negotiations with Maria Theresa, and in 1758 the two signed the Fourth Treaty of Versailles, by which Austria renounced the Italian Duchies. Charles Emmanuel III of Sardinia, however continued to pressure on the possible gain of Plaisance and even threatened to occupy it.

In order to defend the Duchy of Parma of his brother, Charles deployed troops alongside the pontifical borders. Thanks to the mediation of Louis XV, first cousin of Charles and Felipe, the King of Sardinia finally renounced Plaisance and in turn received financial compensation. Charles succeeded in assuring the succession to one of his sons and, at the same time, to reduce the ambitions of Savoye. According to Domenico Caracciolo, this was "a fatal blow to the hopes and designs of the king of Sardinia"[25]

The eldest son of Charles, Infante Felipe, Duke of Calabria was mentally retarded and was thus taken out of the line of succession to any throne; he died quietly and forgotten in Portici where he had been born in 1747. The title of Prince of Asturias was given to the heir to the Spanish throne who was in effect the Prince born, Carlos of Naples and Sicily. The right of succession to Naples and Sicily was reserved for his second son Prince Ferdinand of Naples and Sicily; Prince Ferdinand would stay in Italy while his father was in Spain. Thus, he favored that Charles abdicated on 6 October 1759, decreeing the final separation between the Spanish and Neapolitan crowns.

Prince Ferdinand became King of Naples and Sicily, at only eight years old, under the name of Ferdinand IV of Naples and as Ferdinand III of Sicily; in order to consolidate the alliance with Austria for he was destined to marry an Archduchess of Austria. Charles left his son's education and care to a Regency Counsel which was composed of eight members. This counsel would govern the kingdom until the young king be 16 years old. The Archduchess came in the form of Maria Carolina of Austria. The two would have 18 children.

Charles and his wife arrived in Barcelona on 7 October 1759.

The Spanish Period

Unlike his twenty years in the Italian Peninsula which had been very fruitful, the era on mainland Spain is often regarded with less joy. Internal Politics, as well as relationship with other countries had to undergo complete reform. Charles represented a new type of ruler: the ruler who followed Enlightened absolutism. This was a form of absolute monarchy or despotism in which rulers embraced the principles of the Enlightenment, especially its emphasis upon rationality, and applied them to their territories. They tended to allow religious toleration, freedom of speech and the press, and the right to hold private property. Most fostered the arts, sciences, and education. Charles shared this with other monarchs like his old bride of the moment, Maria Theresa of Austria, her son Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor; Catherine II of Russia, (the Great) amongst others.

The principles of the Enlightenment were applied to his rule in Naples and he intended to do the same in Spain though on a much larger scale. Charles went about reform along with the help of the Marquis of Esquilache, Count of Aranda, Count of Campomanes, Count of Floridablanca, Ricardo Wall and the Genoan aristocrat Jerónimo Grimaldi.

The first tragic event that Charles had to deal with was the death of his beloved wife Maria Amalia. She died at the Palace of Buen Retiro to the east, on the outskirsts of Madrid. She was aged 35 and died on 27 September 1760 of Tuberculosis. She was buried at the El Escorial in the Royal Crypt.

The Conflicts

Charles' son Ferdinand of Naples and Sicily with his wife Maria Carolina of Austria and their family in Naples

The traditional friendship with France brought about the idea that the power of Great Britain would decrease and that that of Spain and France would do the opposite; this alliance was marked by the alliance with the Family Compacts signed on 15 August 1761 (called the "Treaty of Paris"). Charles had become deeply concerned that Britain's success in the Seven Years War would destroy the balance of power, and they would soon seek to conquer Spanish Empire as they had done the French.

In early 1762, Spain entered the war. The major Spanish objectives to invade Portugal and capture Jamaica, were both failures. Britain not only repulsed the Spanish attack on Portugal, but captured the cities of Havana and Manila. Charles III wanted to fight on the following year, but he was persuaded by the French leadership to cease combat. The Treaty of Paris saw Spain cede Florida to the British in exchange for the return of the captured cities. This was partly compensated by the acquisition of a portion of Louisiana given by France as a compensation for Spain's war losses.

In the Falklands Crisis of 1770 the Spanish came close to war with Great Britain after expelling the British garrison of the Falkland Islands. However Spain was forced to back down when the British navy was mobilised and France declined to support Spain.

The rivalry with Britain also led him to support the American revolutionaries in their War of Independence despite his misgivings about the example it would set for the Spanish Colonies. During the war, Spain recovered Minorca and Florida, but failed to capture Gibraltar. He also helped with the independence of the Thirteen Colonies.

Spain recovered Florida in 1781, thanks to the governor of Louisiana, Gálvez, then the island of Minorca in 1782 (lost in 1708). The Treaty of Paris of 1783 confirmed the recuperation of the Florida, territories of the gulf of Mexico and of Minorca, but not Gibraltar. In the Mediterranean, there were several attempts at returning it to Spain; these occurring in in 1775, 1783 and 1784.They were all in vain.

Political Opposition

His internal government was, on the whole, beneficial to the country. He began by compelling the people of Madrid to give up emptying their slops out of the windows, and when they objected he said they were like children who cried when their faces were washed. At the time of his accession to Spain, Charles named secretary to the Finances and Treasurer, Marquis of Esquillache and both realised many reforms. The Spanish Army and Navy were reorganised despite the losses from the Seven Years War.

Charles also had the tax on flour eliminated and, commerce as a whole, was completely liberated. Despite this action, it provoked the overlord to charge high prices because of the "monopolizers", speculating on the bad harvests of the previous years. 23 March 1766, his attempt to force the madrileños to adopt the French dress for public security reasons was the excuse for a riot (Motín de Esquilache) during which he did not display much personal courage. For a long time after, he remained at Aranjuez, leaving the government in the hands of his minister Count of Aranda. Not all his reforms were of this formal kind.

Campomanes tried to show Charles that the true leaders of the revolt against Esquilache were the Jesuits. The wealth and power of the Jesuits was very large; and by the royal decree of 27 February 1767, equally called the Pragmatic Penalty of 1767, the Jesuits are expelled from Spain and all their possessions were confiscated. His quarrel with the Jesuits, and the recollection of some disputes with the Pope he had had when King of Naples turned him towards a general policy of restriction of what he saw as the overgrown power of the Church. The number of reputedly idle clergy, and more particularly of the monastic orders, was reduced, and the Spanish Inquisition, though not abolished, was rendered torpid. In spite of his hostility to the Jesuits, his dislike of friars in general, and his jealousy of the Spanish Inquisition, he was a very sincere Roman Catholic.

In the meantime, much antiquated legislation which tended to restrict trade and industry was abolished; roads, canals and drainage works were established. Many of his paternal ventures led to little more than waste of money, or the creation of hotbeds of jobbery; yet on the whole the country prospered. The result was largely due to the king, who even when he was ill-advised did at least work steadily at his task of government.

Silver 8 real coin of Carlos III, dated 1776. The Latin inscription reads: (obverse) 1776 CAROLUS III DEI GRATIA, (reverse) HISPAN[IARUM] ET IND[IARUM] REX M[EXICANIUS] 8 R[EALES] F M; in English, "1776 Charles III, by the Grace of God, King of the Spains and of the Indies, Mexico City Mint, 8 Reales." The reverse depicts the arms of Castile and León, with Granada in base and an inescutcheon of Anjou, supported by the Pillars of Hercules.

In Spain he continued with his work trying to improve the services and facilities of his people. He created the Luxury Porcelain factory under the name of Real Fábrica del Buen Retiro in 1760; Crystal followed at the Real Fábrica de Cristales de La Granja and then there was the Real Fábrica de Platería Martínez in 1778. During his reign, the areas of Asturias and Catalonia industrialised quickly and produced much revenue for the Spanish Economy. He then turned to the foreign economy looking towards his colonies in the America's. In particular he looked at the finances of the Philippines and encourages commerce with the United States. This started in 1778. He also carried out a number of public works; he had the Imperial Canal of Aragon constructed as well a collection of routes which led to the capital of Madrid which is located in the centre of Spain. Other cities were embellished during his reign; Seville for example saw the introduction of many new structures such as hospitals and the Archivo General de Indias. In Madrid he was nicknamed the Better Mayor of Madrid, "el rey alcalde". Charles was responsible for granting the title "Royal University" to the University of Santo Tomás in Manila, which is the oldest in Asia.

Charles was the godfather of the daughter of Marie Antoinette, Marie-Thérèse Charlotte de France. Marie-Thérèse was born and baptised on 19 December 1778; the uncle of the princess the comte de Provence stood in proxy for Charles.

The Royal Palace of Madrid where Charles died
The El Escorial where Charles is buried

In the capital he also had the famous Puerta de Alcalá constructed along with the statue of Alcachofa; moved and redesigned the Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid; had the present National Art Museum of Queen Sofia (named in honour of the present Queen of Spain born Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark) built as well as the infamous Museo del Prado. At Aranjuez he added to wings to the palace

He created the Spanish Lottery and introduced Christmas cribs following Neapolitan models. During his reign, the movement to found "Economic Societies" (a rough prototype Chamber of Commerce) was born.

His example was not without effect on some of the nobles. In his domestic life, King Charles was regular, and was a considerate master, though he had a somewhat caustic tongue and took a rather cynical view of humanity. He was passionately fond of hunting. During his later years he had some trouble with his eldest son and daughter-in-law. If Charles had lived to see the beginning of the French Revolution he would probably have been frightened into reaction.

As he died on 14 December 1788 at the Royal Palace of Madrid; the palace had also undergone much alternation by Charles; it was in his reign that the huge Comedor de gala (Gala Dining room) was built during the years of 1765 - 1770; the room took the place of the old apartments of Queen Maria Amalia.

He was buried at the Pantheon of the Kings located at the Royal Monastery of El Escorial.

Birth of a Nation

The Flag of Spain from 1785-1873; then again from 1875-1931

It was under Charles' reign that Spain began to be recognised a nation rather than a small collection of Kingdoms and territories. With the creation of a National Anthem, a flag and a worthy capital of this name (Madrid had had an unprecedented growth and embellishment), the construction of a network of coherent roads converging on Madrid. 3 September 1770 Charles III declared that the Marcha Real was to be used at the time of the official ceremonies. It was also Charles who chose the colours of the present flag of Spain; red and yellow. The flag of the military navy introduced by the king on 28 May 1785. Until that date, Spanish vessels had sported the white flag of the Bourbons with the arms of the sovereign. This was replaced by Charles due to his concern that is looked to similar to the flags of the other nations.

The arms that Charles sported while King of Spain were used till 1931 when his great great great grandson Alphonso XIII lost the crown, and the Second Spanish Republic was proclaimed (there was also a brief interruption from 1873-5). Today Spain is ruled by Juan Carlos I of Spain who is a direct male line descendant of the "rey alcalde". Juan Carlos is a descendant of Charles by four of his great grandparents; he is also a descendant of Maria Theresa of Austria.



Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

Royal styles of
Charles III, King of Spain

Estandarte real de 1761-1833.svg

Reference style His Majesty
Spoken style Your Majesty
Alternative style Sir
  • 20 January 1716 - 22 July 1731 His Royal Highness Don Carlos, Infante of Spain, Prince of Naples; Prince of Sicily etc.
  • 22 July 1731 - 1 December 1734 His Royal Highness Don Carlos, Duke of Parma and Piacenza, Infante of Spain etc.
    • 24 June 1732 - October 1735 His Royal Highness the Hereditary Prince of Tuscany
  • 1 December 1734 - 10 August 1759 His Majesty the King of Naples, Sicily and of Jerusalem, etc. Infante of Spain, Duke of Parma, Piacenza and of Castro etc. Great Hereditary Prince of Tuscany
  • 10 August 1759 - 14 December 1788 His Majesty the King of Spain, the King of Naples, Sicily and of Jerusalem, etc. Infante of Spain, Duke of Parma, Piacenza and of Castro etc.


Selective bibliography

  • Acton, Sir Harold (1956). The Bourbons of Naples, 1734-1825. London: Methuen.  
  • Lynch, John (1989). Bourbon Spain, 1700-1808. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-14576-1.  
  • Petrie, Sir Charles (1971). King Charles III of Spain: An Enlightened Despot. London: Constable. ISBN 0-09-457270-4.  
  • Thomas E. Chávez, Spain and the Independence of the United States: An Intrinsic Gift, Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2002.


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ a b Gleijeses, Don Carlos, Naples, Edizioni Agea, 1988, pp. 46-48.
  3. ^ (Italian) Harold Acton, I Borboni di Napoli (1734-1825), Florence, Giunti, 1997, p. 18.
  4. ^ a b (Italian) Vittorio Gleijeses, Don Carlos, Napoli, Edizioni Agea, 1988, p. 48.
  5. ^ Il di lui talento è naturale, e non stato coltivato da maestri, sendo stato allevato all'uso di Spagna, ove i ministri non amano di vedere i loro sovrani intesi di molte cose, per poter indi più facilmente governare a loro talento. Poche sono le notizie delle corti straniere, delle leggi, de' Regni, delle storie de' secoli andati, e dell'arte militare, e posso con verità assicurare la MV non averlo per il più sentito parlar d'altro in occasione del pranzo, che dell'età degli astanti, di caccia, delle qualità de' suoi cani, della bontà ed insipidezza de' cibi, e della mutazione de' venti indicanti pioggia o serenità. Michelangelo Schipa, Il regno di Napoli al tempo di Carlo di Borbone, Napoli, Stabilimento tipografico Luigi Pierro e figlio, 1904, p. 72.
  6. ^ (Italian) Michelangelo Schipa, Il regno di Napoli al tempo di Carlo di Borbone, Naples, Stabilimento tipografico Luigi Pierro e figlio, 1904, p. 74.
  7. ^ a b Harold Acton, I Borboni di Napoli (1734-1825), Florence, Giunti, 1997 p. 20
  8. ^ Vittorio Gleijeses, Don Carlos, Naples, Edizioni Agea, 1988. p. 49
  9. ^ Vittorio Gleijeses, Don Carlos, Naples, Edizioni Agea, 1988. p. 50-53
  10. ^ Harold Acton, I Borboni di Napoli (1734-1825), Florence, Giunti, 1997, p. 25
  11. ^ Vittorio Gleijeses, Don Carlos, Naples, Edizioni Agea, 1988. p. 59
  12. ^ a b Vittorio Gleijeses, Don Carlos, Naples, Edizioni Agea, 1988. p. 60
  13. ^ Vittorio Gleijeses, Don Carlos, Naples, Edizioni Agea, 1988. p. 61-62
  14. ^ Harold Acton, I Borboni di Napoli (1734-1825), Florence, Giunti, 1997, p. 36
  15. ^ Vittorio Gleijeses, Don Carlos, Naples, Edizioni Agea, 1988, p. 63-64.
  16. ^ a b Vittorio Gleijeses, Don Carlos, Naples, Edizioni Agea, 1988, pp. 65-66
  17. ^ Giovanni Drei, Giuseppina Allegri Tassoni (a cura di) I Farnese. Grandezza e decadenza di una dinastia italiana, Rome, La Libreria dello Stato, 1954.
  18. ^ Rex Neapolis avant son couronnement le 3 juillet 1735 à Palerme.
  19. ^ Liste des décrets sur le site du ministère de la Culture espagnole.
  20. ^ Harold Acton, I Borboni di Napoli (1734-1825) , Florence, Giunti, 1997
  21. ^ Luigi del Pozzo, Cronaca civile e militare delle Due Sicilie sotto la dinastia borbonica dall'anno 1734 in poi , Naples, Stamperia Reale, 1857.
  22. ^ Giuseppe Coniglio, I Borboni di Napoli, Milan, Corbaccio, 1999.
  23. ^ Gaetano Falzone, Il regno di Carlo di Borbone in Sicilia. 1734-1759, Bologne, Pàtron Editore, 1964.
  24. ^ Francesco Renda, Storia della Sicilia dalle origini ai giorni nostri vol. II, Palerme, Sellerio editore, 2003.
  25. ^ Franco Valsecchi, Il riformismo borbonico in Italia, Rome, Bonacci, 1990

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

CHARLES III. (1716-1788), king of Spain, born on the 10th January 1716, was the first son of the second marriage of Philip V. with Elizabeth Farnese of Parma. It was his good fortune to be sent to rule as duke of Parma by right of his mother at the age of sixteen, and thus came under more intelligent influence than he could have found in Spain. In 1734 he made himself master of Naples and Sicily by arms. Charles had, however, no military tastes, seldom wore uniform, and could with difficulty be persuaded to witness a review. The peremptory action of the British admiral commanding in the Mediterranean at the approach of the War Of the Austrian Succession, who forced him to promise to observe neutrality under a threat to bombard Naples, made a deep impression on his mind. It gave him a feeling of hostility to England which in after-times influenced his policy.

As king of the Two Sicilies Charles began there the work of internal reform which he afterwards continued in Spain. Foreign ministers who dealt with him agreed that he had no great natural ability, but he was honestly desirous to do his duty as king, and he showed good judgment in his choice of ministers. The chief minister in Naples, Tanucci, had a considerable influence over him. On the death of his half-brother Ferdinand VI. he became king of Spain, and resigned the Two Sicilies to his third son Ferdinand. As king of Spain his foreign policy was disastrous. His strong family feeling and his detestation of England, which was unchecked after the death of his wife, Maria Amelia, daughter of Frederick Augustus II. of Saxony, led him into the Family Compact with France. Spain was entangled in the close of the Seven Years' War, to her great loss. In 1770 he almost ran into another war over the barren Falkland Islands. In 1779 he was, somewhat reluctantly, led to join France and the American insurgents against England, though he well knew that the independence of the English colonies must have a ruinous influence on his own American dominions. For his army he did practically nothing, and for his fleet very little except build fine ships without taking measures to train officers and men.

But his internal government was on the whole beneficial to the country. He began by compelling the people of Madrid to give up emptying their slops out of the windows, and when they objected he said they were like children who cried when their faces were washed. In 1766 his attempt to force the Madrilenos to adopt the French dress led to a riot during which he did not display much personal courage. For a long time after it he remained at Aranjuez, leaving the government in the hands of his minister Aranda. All his reforms were not of this formal kind. Charles was a thorough despot of the benevolent order, and had been deeply offended by the real or suspected share of the Jesuits in the riot of 1766. He therefore consented to the expulsion of the order, and was then the main advocate for its suppression. His quarrel with the Jesuits, and the recollection of some disputes with the pope he had had when king of Naples, turned him towards a general policy of restriction of the overgrown power of the church. The number of the idle clergy, and more particularly of the monastic orders, was reduced, and the Inquisition, though not abolished, was rendered torpid. In the meantime much antiquated legislation which tended to restrict trade and industry was abolished; roads, canals and drainage works were carried out. Many of his paternal ventures led to little more than waste of money, or the creation of hotbeds of jobbery. Yet on the whole the country prospered. The result was largely due to the king, who even when he was ill-advised did at least work steadily at his task of government. His example was not without effect on some at least of the nobles. In his domestic life King Charles was regular, and was a considerate master, though he had a somewhat caustic tongue and took a rather cynical view of mankind. He was passionately fond of hunting. During his later years he had some trouble with his eldest son and his daughter-in-law. If Charles had lived to see the beginning of the French Revolution he would probably have been frightened into reaction. As he died on the 14th of December 1788 he left the reputation of a philanthropic and "philosophic" king. In spite of his hostility to the Jesuits, his dislike of friars in general, and his jealousy of the Inquisition, he was a very sincere Roman Catholic, and showed much zeal in endeavouring to persuade the pope to proclaim the Immaculate Conception as a dogma necessary to salvation.

See the Reign of Charles III., by M. Danvila y Collado (6 vols.), in the Historia General de Espana de la Real Academia de la Historia (Madrid, 1892, &c.); and F. Rousseau, Reine de Charles III d'Espagne (Paris, 1907).

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