1902 Encyclopedia > Charles III of Spain

Charles III
King of Spain

CHARLES III. (1716-1788), king of Spain, was the second son of Philip V. Parma, Piacenza, and Tuscany, having fallen into the hands of Spain, were bestowed upon Charles, who at the age of fifteen was furnished with an army, and sent to take possession of his principality. At eighteen he conquered the two Sicilies, and the emperor was obliged to recognize him as king. In 1759, by the death of his brother, Charles succeeded to the throne of his native country. His reign was a useful one ; for he was a man of ability and of liberal temper, and he was served by such ministers as Aranda, Grimaldi, and Florida Blanca. The administration of the finances was reformed, and a bank was instituted at the capital. The Jesuits were banished, and an attempt, which was not, however, suc-cessful, was made to bring the Inquisition under the power of the civil government. Something was done to abolish brigandage ; and on two occasions Charles endeavoured to repress the piracy of the Algerines ; he interested himself greatly in the development of commerce, science, and art ; and, lastly, he did much to strengthen the army and navy. The wars, however, which he carried on with England, in alliance with the French, brought him little success. In 1763 he ceded Florida to the English in exchange for Cuba. He joined France in sending assistance to the United States during the War of Independence; and in the peace which was concluded after that war, he recovered Florida, and also gained Minorca. But his attack on Gibraltar was unsuccessful, and the English refused to treat for its restoration. Charles died at Madrid in 1788, after a reign of twenty-nine years. See the Elogio of Cabarrus, and the accounts of the reign by Beccatini and Boy.

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