In spite of all that Charles III made for Madrid, the city did not like it so much and he was thinking about leaving the capital for another city - Seville and Valencia were the candidates - and during the first twenty years of his reign he hardly lived in Madrid, because it seemed to him an unpleasant, dirty and dangerous city.

Toward 1780 his presence in Madrid was more frequent. He already had a new Royal Palace, made according to his pleasure. Also, some of the works, undertaken during Ferdinand VI's reign and the first twenty years of his own reign, were finished, and the city presented then a better image and bigger comforts.

One of the most important conflicts happened during this reign was the known as "Esquilache's revolt", held in March 1766, that originated important riots for the whole city. The revolutionaries also assaulted the marquis of Esquilache's palace and caused his removed as Public Treasury officer, therefore, his exile. Which were the reasons?.

The immediate ones were the laws that Esquilache had bring into operation for the reorganization of the capital of Spain: urban cleaning, games of chance prohibition, illumination, prohibition of using weapons and of dressing long layer and hats of wide wing that favored weapons concealment and hindered the people recognition.

According to the historians, other deeper reasons were the food shortage, the cereals's prices increase, the abundance of posts on Italian people that had arrived with the King, arguments all them repeated in the revolutionaries requesting made to the King and that were expertly managed by the Spanish privileged classes, that had lost power with the arrival of the Italians.

The revolutionaries, after different confrontations with the guards, requested to expose the King in person their petitions and through a clergyman, quite peculiar, they were able to make it, with the King leaning out to a palace balcony.

Their demans were summed up in the ordinance stagnation on layers and hats, bread price reduction, no more ministers than was not Spanish, etc... Before the echoes of the riot were completely out, Esquilache and his family had come out for Italy and the walona guard, responsible for the shots against the revolutionaries, was also retired.

In spite of the integrity and courage of Charles III, listening and approving their petitions, the same night, the King and his Court came out for Aranjuez, something that did not like so much to the revolutionaries.

After the Esquilache's expulsion from Madrid, the count of Aranda arrived to president of the Council of Castile impelling several urban reformations in Madrid. He also got that, most of the Madrilenians stoped to use the hat of wide wing, with the decision of maintaining this privilege for the hangman of the city.

During Charles III's reign some modifications in the administration of the city took place. So, the biggest centralization in the power reduced importance, at least in Madrid, to the Chief Magistrate.

The difficulties in the supplies and the abuses of who controlled them, allowed to settles down a new post in the cities: that of "Public Representative Official Receiver", taking in charge to watch over the interests of the popular classes.

The Official Receiver was chosen by some representatives that previously had been chosen by the whole population with right to do it. The post was for one year and any member of the City Council neither his family could not be chosen, neither who has performed some public post in the two previous years. Neither could be elected any member of the unions.

The territorial organization of the city was also modified. A Royal Letters Patent from 1768, divided Madrid in eight Barracks or Departments with eight neighborhoods each one and with a similar population in each case. Take in charge of each Barracks was a House and Court Mayor and, in each neighborhood, there was a neighborhood mayor.

They took charge of the population's recount, to controll the illumination, the cleaning of the streets and fountains, to pick up the poors and to take them to the hospice, to pick up the abandoned children, and so on.

The eight Barracks or Departments in those that Madrid was divided were those of Mayor Square, Palace, Afligidos, Maravillas, Barquillo, Saint Jerome, Lavapiés and Saint Francisc.

In 1788, by the middle of December, Charles III died. Several thousands of people congregated in the surroundings of the Palace to manifest their pain for the King's death. Charles IV succeeded him to the throne.

His preferences for the politics in general and for Madrid in particular was smaller than those of his father. The queen María Luisa and Godoy managed the politics's threads, much more directly than the own king.

Probably, one of the most outstanding events during his reign with relationship to the city was the fire of the Mayor Square, it happened in August 1791. The fire, also affected to Saint Michael's neighbouring church. The reconstruction of the square was in charge of one of the most important architects in the time: Juan of Villanueva.

Other important buildings as the Tobaccos Factory or the Buenavista Palace, today occupied by the Ministry of Defense, were lifted during his reign, but maybe, the biggest honor for the King and Madrid was to have Francisco of Goya and Lucientes as Court's painter and the city's manners scenes.

Copyright © 1999 by JLL & JRP

All rights reserved.