The 18th century brought to Madrid and Spain
a new dynasty. Its arrival, initially simple, complicated later in a secession
war, in which the Spanish and foreign interests were mixed.
The testament of Charles II, the last king
of the Austrias, was clear. His successor had to be Philip of Anjou, grandson of
France's king Louis XV, belonging to the House of Bourbon, but also he inhaled
to the Spanish throne archduke Charles, related to the House of Austria.
On the 18 of February of 1701, arrived at
Madrid Philip V, settling in the Palace of the Good Retirement while his solemn
entrance was prepared in the city as usual. On the 14 of April of the same
year, the official entrance took place.
All the route was perfectly adorned with
enormous ephemeral architectures: arcs profusely adorned in the way out of the
Retirement, shields, statues, carpets and brocades laid out all the route by the
streets of Alcala and Mayor until the Fortress.
While the new king settled in the throne,
the war had begun hardly in Europe between those in favor of the French king and
the Austrian, but little by little it was becoming more and more complicated
until, into 1705 it also became a civil war inside the Spanish kingdoms.
Until year 1705, king Philip V and Madrid
had found out the war hardly, but the division of the national territory in two
sides, forced to the most direct participation of Madrid in the war, mainly,
when at the beginning of July of 1706 archduke Charles settled in Madrid when
winning his troops, although a month later king Philip occupied the capital
The definitive triumph of the French
pretender and the supports that the Austrian had received from the kingdom of
Aragon, influenced on the political decisions of the new monarch, therefore the
political centralization increased and the exemptions and privileges that still
the old kingdom of Aragon conserved diminished.
With the definitive victory, the power of
the monarch increased simultaneously and at the same time the power of the
capital from where it was exerted.
Downtown, the city of Madrid began to harbor
those organisms from that the new power acted. Around the Sun Gate were built
the Customs House or Treasure Ministry, the Mail House, the Post House, and from
a point of the own square was traced the radial net of the Spain roads.
During the reign of first of the Bourbons
some important decisions for the city related to its function as a capital were
adopted, such as the creation and establishment in Madrid of the Real Academy of
the Language in 1717 or the one of History in 1738, others related to the
operation of the city, as the modifications of some of the municipal organisms:
the House and Court Mayors' Board and the own Municipal Council.
The first one had to take care of the order
and the urban police, it had to watch the streets, the markets, to control
homeless people, numerous in those years, because of the heat of the war and as
a result its number had grown in Madrid, to persecute the delinquents, and so
The Board was equipped with greatest
averages to take care of his functions and his competitions were extended, since
the new monarchy wished to have controlled the city.
The Municipal Council was the organism in
charge of the cleaning, the ornamentation and the maintenance, in addition to
some other administrative questions. The most important person of the Council
was the chief magistrate, representative of the king in the municipality, being
helped by the aldermen, all of them pertaining to the low nobility.
The operation of this organism was through
commissions (52 then), some with as peculiar assignments as the open-air Fairs,
Transfer of Bulls, Condolences and Congratulations, and so on.
A religious curiosity during this reign was
the " Rounds of the Mortal Sin". They were called thus to the
nocturnal rounds made by the Saint and Royal Brotherhood of Holy Mary of the
Hope and Sacred Heaven in the Salvation of the Souls.
This Brotherhood maintained a house-refuge
for young and repentant prostitutes, offered masses by those who were in mortal
sin and to obtain funds and to alert to the consciences, left the Brotherhood's
members to request during all nights by the Madrilenian streets.
With a bell that made sound they alerted of their presence and their
voices resounded at night. From the windows of some houses they threw coins to
them surrounded in an ignited paper so that those of the round knew where the
The lights placed by Sabatini during the
reign of Charles III, made disappear the famous "Round of the Mortal Sin".
King Philip died on the 9 of July of 1746 in
the Palace of the Good Retirement, heiring his son Ferdinand VI, married with
Mary Theresa Barbara of Braganza, daughter of the king of Portugal. His reign
was brief, about twelve years, but he carried out some important innovations for
He named a political and military governor
who assumed important competencies of the Chief Magistrate and other positions.
He raised the imposing Orphanage on the Fuencarral Street, much more great, as
far as space, that what today it occupies the building of the Municipal Museum.
The reform of the streets began and the
first particular lights to the doors of the houses were placed.
When in 1758 the monarch left the throne and
he retired to the castle of Villaviciosa, because of the death of his wife, the
City council of Madrid had an important economic surplus, with which his
successor Charles III could undertake the accomplishment from the works that
embellished the city.
On the 11 of September of
1759, Charles III, son of Philip V and Isabel of Farnesio was proclaimed king of
Spain and at the same time king of Naples. He did his solemn entrance in the
city of Madrid on the 13 of July of 1760, after several months of work in the
Palace of the Good Retirement, where he had given samples of his great capacity
The pictures shows:
- The Good Retiro Palace,
painting by José Leonardo (1637-1638) exposed in the Municipal Museum.
- Scale model of the old
Fortress conserved in the Municipal Museum. Its place is occupied today by the
- The Royal Palace - Main
front of the palace built in neoclassicist style (18th century).
-The Villahermosa Palace -
Main front of the palace, which now houses the Thyssen Collection.
- The Villaviciosa castle ,
place where Fernando VI died, overturned by his wife's death
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