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The Spanish Atlantic World in the Eighteenth Century
War and the Bourbon Reforms, 1713–1796


Part of New Approaches to the Americas

  • Date Published: July 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107672840

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About the Authors
  • This volume elucidates Bourbon colonial policy with emphasis on Madrid's efforts to reform and modernize its American holdings. Set in an Atlantic world context, the book highlights the interplay between Spain and America as the Spanish empire struggled for survival amid the fierce international competition that dominated the eighteenth century. The authors use extensive research in the repositories of Spain and America, as well as innovative consultation of the French Foreign Affairs archive, to bring into focus the poorly understood reformist efforts of the early Bourbons, which laid the foundation for the better-known agenda of Charles III. As the book unfolds, the narrative puts flesh on the men and women who, for better or worse, influenced colonial governance. It is the story of power, ambition and idealism at the highest levels.

    • Engaging narrative and accessible writing style by the leading scholars in the field
    • Extensive use of primary source documents not previously explored
    • Provides an innovative perspective on the rise of the Spanish Atlantic Empire
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'A superb analysis of how Spanish imperial reforms unfolded as the Bourbon monarchy competed with its rivals in Europe and across the Atlantic to the New World and transformed Spain from a composite to a regalist, centralist monarchy. Its broad perspective and perceptive analysis make this book the most thorough, mature scholarship on the Bourbon reforms. It provides an outstanding introduction to the reforms and richly rewards readers already familiar with the Spanish empire in the eighteenth century.' Kendall W. Brown, Brigham Young University, Utah

    'This wonderful study convincingly demonstrates what distinguished historians Allan J. Kuethe and Kenneth J. Andrien argue was 'a symbiotic relationship' between war and reform in the Spanish Atlantic world from 1713 to 1796. Their detailed examination of the years from the Peace of Utrecht to the Seven Years' War is a fundamental contribution to understanding reform throughout the eighteenth century. Thoughtfully nuanced and thoroughly documented, the book rests on the authors' extensive archival research in Spain and France and mastery of relevant secondary sources. Essential reading for colonialists, I will assign this clearly written, indeed outstanding, book in courses on the history of Spain, colonial Spanish America, and the Atlantic world.' Mark A. Burkholder, University of Missouri, St Louis

    'A magisterial analysis of Spanish imperial policies from the end of the War of the Spanish Succession to the onset of prolonged Anglo-Spanish hostilities in the 1790s. Essential reading for all who aspire to understand the aims, periodization, implementation, and consequences of the Bourbon reforms in both Spain and Spanish America.' John Fisher, Emeritus Professor of Latin American History, University of Liverpool

    'Here, two leading historians of the Spanish Atlantic world add a fresh dimension to our understanding of its government, politics, and policy making in the century that Bourbon kings struggled to rebuild Spain's wealth and power amid accelerating international competition. By tracing the careers of ministers who were the key advocates and leaders of reform, Kuethe and Andrien provide an important new analysis of the origins, aims, and achievements of the reformers and the forces that shaped their policies on both sides of the Atlantic. Their emphasis on the foundations of reform under the first two Bourbon kings is especially significant, as it redresses the balance of the existing historiography and makes this a strikingly innovative synthesis of a crucial period in Spanish and Spanish American history.' Anthony McFarlane, Professor Emeritus in History, University of Warwick

    '… this is an excellent book that advances the cause of Atlantic history and helps to illuminate the complex relations between the participants, as well as suggesting potentially fruitful directions for further research.' Rafael Torres Sánchez, International Journal of Maritime History

    'A very good contribution to the history of Spain and its overseas empire during a 'short' eighteenth century (from the end of the War of the Spanish Succession to the outbreak of the disastrous war against Great Britain in 1796). Seamlessly blending together multiple explanatory strands within an Atlantic framework, the authors study the grave problems faced by the Hispanic monarchy in both domestic governance and international conflicts … a solid contribution to our understanding of the Hispanic monarchy in the eighteenth century and its strong interpretive stance should encourage more studies of the connections between domestic and international affairs seeking to achieve greater detail and depth.' Sylvia L. Hilton, European History Quarterly

    'One of the triumphs of Andrien's and Kuethe's book is their coverage of the entire eighteenth century, which helps to reveal the continuities and discontinuities of pre - and post - 1763 government policy. A second triumph is to have considered the Spanish empire as a geographical whole, an achievement aided by the respective regional and topical expertise of each coauthor … Kuethe and Andrien have demonstrated how reforms were not merely acts of executive fiat dispensed by a revamped monarchy asserting its regalian rights but rather the unpredictable outcome of a vibrant, transatlantic political culture, one that was sufficiently capacious and malleable to encompass and yet contain rival ideologues and interest groups. Kuethe and Andrien have produced a book that should be mandatory reading for scholars of the eighteenth-century Atlantic Empires.' Gabriel Paquette, The Journal of Modern History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107672840
    • length: 402 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.56kg
    • contains: 15 b/w illus. 7 colour illus. 2 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Alberoni, Patiño, and the Beginnings of Atlantic Reform, 1700–1736:
    1. Alberoni and the first stirrings of reform, 1714–1721
    2. Alberoni and colonial reform
    3. José de Patiño and the revival of reform, 1726–1736
    Part II. The Second Wave of Reform, 1736–1759:
    4. War and reform, 1736–1749
    5. Clerical reform and the secularization of the Doctrinas de Indios
    6. The downfall of Ensenada and the pause in reform, 1750–1762
    Part III. Pinnacle of the Bourbon Reforms, 1759–1796:
    7. The first phase of reform under Charles III, 1762–1767
    8. The reorganization of Spain's Atlantic empire, 1767–1783
    9. Adjustments and refinements in the reformist agenda, 1783–1796
    Conclusion: war and reform in the Spanish Atlantic world.

  • Authors

    Allan J. Kuethe, Texas Tech University
    Allan J. Kuethe is an académico correspondiente of the Spanish Royal Academy of History and has published extensively on eighteenth-century Spain and America both in the United States and in Europe. His work began with monographs on military reform, then extended to commercial policy, and, as expressed in the present volume, has advanced to a comprehensive overview of Bourbon Madrid's struggle to modernize and to sustain its vast holdings in the Western hemisphere. He is Paul Whitfield Horn Professor at Texas Tech University, to which he has dedicated his entire academic career.

    Kenneth J. Andrien, Southern Methodist University, Texas
    Kenneth J. Andrien specializes in colonial Latin American history, focusing specifically on the Andean region from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century. Most recently he has broadened his focus to place the history of colonial Latin America within the context of the early modern Atlantic World. He is author of Crisis and Decline: The Viceroyalty of Peru in the Seventeenth Century (1985), The Kingdom of Quito, 1690–1830: The State and Regional Development (1996) and, most recently, Andean Worlds: Indigenous History, Culture, and Consciousness under Spanish Rule, 1532–1825 (2001). He has also published numerous articles in journals such as Past and Present, Hispanic American Historical Review, Colonial Latin American Review and Journal of Latin American Studies. He is the Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Chair in History at Southern Methodist University.

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