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,
See: Francisco de Goya. Charles III in Hunting Costume.
Anton Raphael Mengs. Charles III.