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Allies or Enemies

Political relations between Spain and Great Britain during the reign of Ferdinand VII (1808–1833)

Patrycia Jakobczyk-Adamczyk

Spanish-British relations changed during the first three decades of the 19 th century. Both states emerged victorious from the Napoleonic wars and were united by the alliance, but their respective strength was totally different. While Great Britain enhanced its status as a sea power, strong enough to affect the political situation in Europe, Spain sank to the rank of a secondary state. Britain, protecting clearly defined interests, carried out long-term and rational policy. Spain’s policy was inconsistent and it could not be treated as a reliable ally in spite of its considerable economic resources and strategic importance. The book analyses a long and complex process of overcoming the traditional hostility between the two countries and outlines the international context as well as the internal conditions of that political evolution.
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Chapter I: Control of foreign policy and diplomatic service in Spain and Great Britain in the early 19th century


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Chapter I

Control of foreign policy and diplomatic service in Spain and Great Britain in the early 19th century

1. Spain

A historian researching the functioning of the administration in the Spanish monarchy under the Antiguo Régimen runs up against serious difficulties which result from the complexity of the entire machinery of power. Despite many otherwise partially successful attempts at streamlining and unifying the administration, which were spearheaded by the first Bourbons on the throne of Spain, throughout the 19th century it continued to remain a highly intricate and rather opaque mechanism, which resulted both in its inefficiency and expensiveness1.

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