King Charles III of Spain implemented a series of Enlightenment reforms throughout his domain following the 1763 defeat of the Seven Years War. Among the royal officials sent to enact these reforms in the Caribbean, the Crown dispatched Field Marshal Alejandro O’Reilly to the colony of Puerto Rico. Historians have attributed to his 1765 inspection, or visita, and subsequent report, or memoria, the foundations for a turning point in the island’s history. Despite the historical consensus that has lauded O’Reilly’s recommendations, this inspector-general does not merit the credit that historians consistently have given him. Agrarian and economic patterns such as population growth, smuggling, and the hato economy persisted decades after his visita into the nineteenth century. Other events helped drive immigration and investment into Puerto Rico more than O’Reilly’s memoria. Ultimately, O’Reilly did not trigger enduring change in the colony’s history, and Puerto Rican historiography awaits the corresponding revision.
|School:||Florida Atlantic University|
|School Location:||United States -- Florida|
|Source:||MAI 56/03M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||European history, Latin American history, Caribbean Studies|
|Keywords:||Atlantic history, Bourbon reforms, Enlightenment, Hato economy, Puerto Rica Historiography, Spanish empire|
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