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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

The Consejo de Castilla retained its importance


confided to the _Consejos_,

presaging the disappearance of the latter and the development of modern ministries. As already pointed out, they also acquired a greater liberty and initiative in the performance of their duties, especially in the reigns of Ferdinand VI and Charles III. It was customary for them to consult with the king every morning, however. No new _Consejos_, or councils, were added in this period, and the _Consejo de Arag?n_, last of the councils of the former crown of Aragon, was suppressed in 1707. Essentially, the _Consejos_ continued to exercise the same functions as formerly, although losing ground to the rapidly advancing secretaries, or ministers. The _Consejo de Castilla_ retained its importance, however, and its president, or governor, was the leading officer of state. It is to be noted that both the _Consejo_ and the _C?mara_, despite their retention of the name Castile, dealt with the affairs of other regions of the peninsula, quite as much as did the councils with more general names. Except for Navarre, which continued to be a viceroyalty, the other regions of Spain apart from New Castile (Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia, Majorca, Granada, Andalusia, Old Castile, Galicia, Asturias, Extremadura, and the Canary Islands) were placed under captain-generals or commandant-generals with military and administrative powers. A number of _audiencias_ were added, until now there were eleven such bodies (Valladolid, Granada, Galicia, Seville, the Canaries, Majorca, Valencia, Saragossa, Barcelona,
Asturias, and Extremadura), exercising both civil and judicial functions. In 1718 the institution of the intendancies was created to take over financial administration in the various regions, although this reform was not put into effect definitely until 1749. There were twenty-three intendants, of whom six were military. Under the captain-generals there were smaller districts ruled by _corregidores_, most of whom were civilians. The judicial functions of the _corregidor_ were gradually taken over by _alcaldes mayores_, who ranked under the _corregidores_, leaving the executive power in the hands of the latter. In some cases these lesser districts were ruled over by officials called military governors. The term "province" was applied to districts of very unequal size. While there were only eight in the combined realms of Aragon, Navarre, and the Basque provinces, there were twenty-four in Castile. Charles III planned to divide Spain into a number of provinces of about the same size, but did not carry out his idea.

[Sidenote: Increased royal control over the towns and the democratization of local political machinery.]

While municipal life as a virile factor which might withstand the king had long since been dead, there was too much local authority still in existence to please the autocratic Bourbons. Furthermore, abuses in administration had developed which caused the kings to be philanthropically desirous of a remedy. To accomplish


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