V. The Modern Period, 1789–1914 > B. The French Revolution and Europe, 1789–1914 > 4. Western and Central Europe, 1815–1848 > f. The Iberian Peninsula
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
(See June 7)
f. The Iberian Peninsula
1. Spain
Monarchs: Ferdinand VII (r. 1814–33) and Isabella II (r. 1833–68).  1
Ferdinand VII was restored to the throne following the Peninsular War. He had guaranteed the liberals that he would govern on the basis of the constitution of 1812, but, encouraged by conservative deputies known as the Persians, he repudiated the constitution (May 4) and arrested the liberal leaders (May 10).  2
Economic hardship occurred as a result of the loss of the American colonies, and postwar depression plagued the government. The government also suffered from a very unstable fiscal base, which left it skirting bankruptcy.  3
Liberal suppression and the arbitrary nature of the king's rule led to growing dissatisfaction evidenced in the development of secret societies, such as the Masons, and clubs. Popular radicalism also began to develop in response to unemployment, a yellow fever epidemic, and flooding, which increased the hardships of the poor.  4
The army, confident of support from the liberal and radical camps, began the revolution with a mutiny of the troops under Col. Rafael Riego. The liberals seized control of the government while the army held the king. The liberals adopted a policy of broad economic and political reforms begun by the Cortes, a bicameral legislature. They reinstated the constitution of 1812, decreed the conversion of uncultivated and Crown lands into private property, and incorporated into the state the assets of the monasteries and convents dissolved by the Cortes. They also banned emigration, believing that economic progress could be achieved only by keeping people in the country. Dissension between liberals and radicals, as well as within the liberal party, weakened the government, which proved unable to withstand the French military intervention after the Congress of Verona (See 1822, Oct).  5
1823, Aug. 31
The Battle of Cádiz ended the revolution and reinstalled Ferdinand as king. Ferdinand revoked the constitution and all legislation enacted under the short-lived liberal government.  6
Financial and economic policies provided for some cautious economic advances. The government introduced tariffs to protect Spanish agriculture and industry in 1825 and established a primitive version of a stock exchange in Madrid. It also staged an industrial exhibition in 1828 and sought to provide enlightened education for its subjects.  7
1833, June 30
Ferdinand set aside the Salic Law to assure the succession of his infant daughter Isabella. The king died on Sept. 29.  8
Isabella II, represented by her mother, Maria Christina, who turned to the liberals for support and granted the Estatuto Real.  9
1834, April 10
The Estatuto Real divided Spain into 49 administrative provinces and provided the Cortes with financial power, but retained for the government the right of dissolution and control of the ministry. The constitution split the liberals into the Moderados, liberals who had been amnestied and helped to design the constitution, and the Progresistas, liberals whose amnesty occurred after the constitution and demanded a restoration of the charter of 1812.  10
The Carlist War. Don Carlos, Ferdinand's brother, claimed the throne and, supported by the conservatives, the church, and the north, led a revolt. The Carlists were defeated with the help of the Quadruple Alliance of Britain, France, Spain, and Portugal (See 1834–39).  11
1840, Oct
The Revolt of Gen. Baldomero Espartero forced Maria Christina to abdicate and flee. Espartero controlled the government until he was defeated by a coalition of Moderados and Progresistas (June 1843). Isabella declared of age at age 13.  12
Economic and political liberalism dictated government policy during the war. The government created a ministry of development (Ministerio de Fomento) and sold the uncultivated and Crown lands as had been planned during the Revolution of 1820. The government also declared labor free and abolished the guilds.  13
Working-class and urban unrest were stimulated by liberal policies in Catalonia and the destruction of guilds. In Barcelona, working-class radicalism centered on a group of journalists and artisans who met in Soler's clock shop. Their frustration was worsened by the textiles mechanization in the 1830s and 1840s, which resulted in periodic layoffs and piecework disputes.  14
The Barcelona Commission of Factories, which had previously adopted a radical stance, began to demand state protection for their industries but resisted efforts to provide protection for the workers.  15
Industrial and agricultural development proceeded throughout the 1830s and 1840s. Spain increased its production of foodstuffs, especially wheat and wine. It also provided the industrializing nations of France and Britain with metal ores such as copper, mercury, lead, and iron. As a result, the mining industry expanded, especially after the mining law of 1839. The government helped encourage industry in its ports by prohibiting the importation of ships in 1837. Industry remained hampered by transport difficulties, although railway development did begin with a special government dispensation in 1829.  16
1845, May 25
A new constitution virtually reestablished the statute of 1834.  17
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.