Olga's Gallery

Charles III, King of Spain


Charles III (1716-88), King of Spain (1759-88), the younger son of Philip V and Isabella of Parma, was one of the most successful enlightened despots of the 18th century. He became Duke of Parma in 1731, in 1734 he conquered Naples and Sicily and became king over them as Charles VII, King of Naples and Sicily. When he succeeded his half-brother Ferdinand VI to the throne of Spain in 1759 he handed over Naples and Sicily to his third son, Ferdinand. He had an administrative talent and could choose good ministers, such as the Count de Aranda and the count de Floridablanca. He reorganized the government and established a council of ministers. His aim was to increase the power of his government in order to achieve the reforms needed to strengthen Spain and preserve its colonial empire. At home he reformed the nation’s economy, strengthened the crown’s authority over the church, and expelled the Jesuits. His foreign policy was less successful. During the Seven Years’ War (1756-63) he sided with France against Britain and lost Florida, but regained it in 1783 by siding with the Americans during the War of Independence (1775-83). Charles died on Dec. 14, 1788. He was succeeded by his son, Charles IV.
See: Francisco de Goya. Charles III in Hunting Costume.
Anton Raphael Mengs. Charles III.

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