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The Bourbon Century

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Chapter Summary

The historiography of the Bourbon period is tilted towards the second half of the eighteenth century, to the reigns of Carlos III (1759-88) and his immediate successor Carlos IV (1788-1808). Vigorous economic growth, territorial expansion, major institutional reform, political upheaval and cultural innovation are all more evident in the second half of the Bourbon century than the first. Notable feature of Bourbon government across the century was its growing openness to foreign ideas and tendency to blend traditional approaches with models drawn from abroad. The association of the Bourbon monarchy with a new notion of kingship is evident from the dynasty's first years, with the cultivation of revisionist thinking about the nature of royal authority and the policies needed to sustain that authority. The extension of the new Bourbon constitutional order certainly provoked stronger and more widespread antagonism in Spanish America than in Spain.

Keywords: Bourbon century; Bourbon dynasty; Carlos III; Carlos IV; Spanish America



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