Europe in the XVIII century


   1. Philiph V and Ferdinand VI

   - Philiph V was the grandson of Louis XIV, king of France. With him the House of Borbón started in Spain.

   He had two wives: María Luisa of Saboy, who died at the age of twenty-six, and Isabel of Farnesio, who controlled the king and established foreign policy in a opportunist way, achieving that all her sons would be kings.

   Outdoors, he wanted to make changes to create a new Spain, similar to France. On the task he had the assistance of the Princess of the Ursinos, but he was unable to achieve his goal.

   Foreig policy was dedicated to break the Treaty of Utrecht to recover the lost lands and create new kingdoms, which would be ruled by Isabel de Farnesio’s sons. All these events caused a series of wars.

   - FERDINAND VI. He married Bárbara of Braganza, princess of Portugal. She was not pretty, but captivated her husband by her heart. They had not got children.

  The only desire of the kings was to live in peace and distanced from intrigues.

   Their government was very positive: industry and trade grew and Spain prospered in many aspects. It had a powerful army but was most interested in the peace. The period was called armed neutrality.


   2.Write if the following statements are refering to Philiph V or Ferdinand VI:

He married with Mª Luisa of Saboy

He married with Barbara of Braganza

He married with Isabel of Farnesio

His wife was not good-looking, but had a hearth of gold

He started the House of Bourbon

He break the Treaty of Utrecht

He had not got children

The rule was very positive



    3. The reign of Charles III and Charles IV

   - CHARLES III was son of Philiph V and Isabel of Farnesio. He was experienced in ruling a country, because he ruled the kingdom of Napoles for twenty five years. He married Maria Amalia of Saxony, who gave him thirteen sons. He never married again after the death of his wife.
  On domestic policy, he followed the enlightened despotism, with the motto “Everything for the people, nothing by the people”. He improved the position of the lower classes and encouraged academic and intellectual life, establishing the Natural Sciences Museum, which later became the Prado Museum.
   Italian ministers like the Marquis of Esquilache and Grimaldi failed in their reforms.
   Spanish ministers were the Counts of Aranda, Floridablanca and Campomanes, who increased the wealth of the country.
   They accused the Jesuits of secretly caused the Esquilache mutiny, and expelled them.

   - CHARLES IV. His rule was directed by Manuel Godoy, a good-looking man, who had the favour of queen Maria Luisa.
   On foreign policy, he was in favour of the French revolution. He fought England and lost his navy in the battle of Trafalgar.
   Napoleon intention was to occupy Portugal, and decided to sign with Spain the Treaty of Fontainebleau. The pact hid one of the biggest betrayals in history: the French emperor’s desire was to conquer the peninsula. The kings, terrified, abdicated in their son Ferdinand, proclaiming him king: Ferdinand VII.


    4. Write if the following facts are about Charles III or Charles IV:

He married Mª Amalia of Saxony

He married with Maria Luisa

He supported the enlightened despotism

He was in favour of French Revolution

Created the Science Natural Museum

He had Italian ministers

Was defeated in Trafalgar

Signed the Treaty of Fontainebleau

He expelled the Jesuits

Abdicated in their son Ferdinand







     5. The European states: France, England and Austria

   - FRANCE. Louis XIV wars (See figure) ruined the Frech economy. His grand-grandson Louis XV, who was only five years old, succeeded him. The regent was Louis Philippe, Duke of Orleans, a spenthrift man.

  John Law wanted to fix the economy, but caused a major disaster. Louis XV thrust the government in the hands of cardinal Fleury (see picture) and, later, of the Marquise de Pompidour. Poor, starving people were angry due to the court’s insulting, scandalous luxury. Policies against religion ended with the expelling of the Jesuits.

   With the death of Louis XV the next king was Louis XVI, married with Maria Antonieta, who was a spendthrift, to the point that French people called her “Madame Deficit” and considered her the main cause of the ruined economy.

   - ENGLAND. During the XVIII century England enforced a parliamentary regime; carried out the industrial revolution and, thanks to its leadership on commercial and maritime affairs, it was the first of the European countries, forming a huge colonial empire.
   Along with the Parliament two new political parties arose: the tories or conservatives and the whigs or liberals.

   - AUSTRIA. At the beginning of the XVIII century the Empire still has its prestige and extense territories, but lacked of unity. Many different peoples lived on it– French, Italians, Hungarians, Germans, Czechs, etc.–, and all of them had their own languages and customs. The Empire was then like a huge body with clay feet. The Austrian monarchs were: Joseph I, Charles VI, Queen Maria Theresa and Joseph II.


   6. Write if the following facts are about France, England or Austria:

Enforced a parliamentary regime

The Empire lacked of unity

Louis XIV ruined its economy

It carried out the industrial revolution

Many different people lived in it

The court had scandalous luxuries

It was a giant with clay feet

Beginning of political parties

They expelled the Jesuits



     7. Other European states: Prussia, Sweden, Poland and Russia.

   - PRUSSIA. Frederick William I, also know as “The Soldier King”. He organized a powerful army, the best of Europe. Also, he repopulated the conquered territory with 322 villages.

   His successor, Frederick II (see figure) was a philosopher and a poet in his youth, but he later became a devoted of military life and discipline.

   - SWEDEN. Gustavus Adolphus transformed Sweden into a mighty empire. His daughter Christina Alexandra was adventurous and crazy, and conceded her crown to her cousin, Charles X, who enlarged and magnified Sweden. But the empire had no unity, because it was a mixture of regions and nacionalities. After Charles XII, the Sweden empire dissapeared.

   Russians, Germans and Danish recovered their lands and the Swedish hegemony finally ended.

   - POLAND. The kings’ authority was almost non-existent, because the real power was in the Nobles’ diet. Furthermore, the Liberum veto established a unanimity in their agreements. It was necessary only negative vote to avoid to reject and agreement. The situation was of anarchy.
   Russia pretended to annex Poland as an own province and made an agreement with Prussia and Austria to share the Polish territories. After a brief rebellion, the three countries shared out the region.

   - RUSSIA. The greatest monarchs were Peter I the Great and Catherine II the Great.
   Peter wanted to modernize Russia and transform it from a barbaric nation to a modern State. He traveled in disguise through Germany, the Netherlands, England and Austria to better know the progresses of the Western culture. He wanted to “open windows”, to find a way for a communication between Russia and the Baltic and Black seas, but he did not achieve it. Catherine was proclaimed tsarina by the Guard regiments and made some changes in light of the enlightened despotism. It increases its territories at the expenses of Poland and Turkey.


   8. Choose if the following statements are about Prussia, Sweden, Poland or Russia:

The power was in the Nobles’ diet.

The Soldier king organized a powerful army

María Cristina was adventurous and crazy

Peter I wanted to modernize his country

The region was repopulated

The Liberum veto was negative

It was a mixture of nationalities

Catherine was proclaimed tsarina

Its territory was shared



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®Arturo Ramo García.-Record of intellectual property of Teruel (Spain) No 141, of 29-IX-1999
Plaza Playa de Aro, 3, 1º DO 44002-TERUEL