181112 History Talk 12 Nov 2018: Spain in the Nineteenth Century

Date:  12th Nov 2018 10:30

Location: Salón de Actos, Espai la Senieta, Moraira (next to the large free car park)

Subject: Spain in the Nineteenth Century

Lecturer: Alan Oliver

After defeat at the battle of Trafalgar in 1805, Spain withdrew from an alliance with France and assumed a neutral status. Napoleon realised that he could not defeat Britain by a military based landing and so introduced a form of economic warfare under his “Continental System” in which he attempted to prevent any trade from the continent. Spain and Portugal were the “weak links” in this system and so in 1808 Napoleon ordered the invasion and subsequently replaced the Spanish King Carlos IV and his son Ferdinand with his

brother Joseph. The Spanish rejection of this takeover encouraged Britain to send a small force under Sir Arthur Wellesley to support Spanish resistance. A six year campaign concluded with the defeat of France. Ferdinand became monarch, but democratic reforms were rejected. During his reign, the majority of the Spanish American colonies were lost. His daughter Isabella succeeded him but her rule was contested by the Carlists. After her death, a rebellion led by generals, established a republic which reduced the power of the Catholic Church. Their reforming zeal did not last, the monarchy was restored and Alfonso XII became king. He died from cholera and was succeeded by his son Alfonso XIII. The disastrous war with the US in 1898 resulted in the loss of the Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico which became US colonies and Cuba which became an independent state. An unpopular colonial war in Spanish Morocco and economic decline led to his abdication in 1930. However it provided an opportunity for Franco to become a general in the Spanish Army.