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Charles III (Spanish: Carlos III; Italian: Carlo III) was the King of Spain and the Spanish Indies from 1759 to 1788. He was the eldest son of Philip V of Spain and his second wife, the Princess Elisabeth Farnese. In 1731, the fifteen-year-old Charles became the Duke of Parma and Piacenza, as Charles I, at the death of his childless great uncle Antonio Farnese, Duke of Parma.

In 1734, as the Duke of Parma, he conquered the kingdoms of Naples and of Sicily, and was crowned as the King of Naples and Sicily on 3 July 1735, reigning as King Charles, although he is contemporarily known as Charles VII of Naples and Charles V of Sicily. In 1738 he married the Princess Maria Amalia of Saxony, an educated, cultured woman who gave birth to thirteen children, eight of whom reached adulthood. Charles and Maria Amalia resided in Naples for nineteen years; she died in 1760.

Upon succeeding to the Spanish throne on 10 August 1759, Charles, a proponent of enlightened absolutism, on 6 October 1759 abdicated the Neapolitan and Sicilian thrones in favour of Ferdinand, his third surviving son, who became Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies, or Ferdinand IV of Naples and III of Sicily. Charles III's descendants ruled the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies until 1861.

As king of Spain Charles III tried to rescue his empire from decay through far-reaching reforms such as weakening the Church and its monasteries, promoting science and university research, facilitating trade and commerce, modernizing agriculture and avoiding wars. He never achieved satisfactory control over finances, and he had to borrow more and more. His reforms proved short-lived and Spain relapsed after his death.

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Charles III (Spanish: Carlos III; Italian: Carlo III) was the King of Spain and the Spanish Indies from 1759 to 1788. He was the eldest son of Philip V of Spain and his second wife, the Princess Elisabeth Farnese. In 1731, the fifteen-year-old Charles became the Duke of Parma and Piacenza, as Charles I, at the death of his childless great uncle Antonio Farnese, Duke of Parma.

In 1734, as the Duke of Parma, he conquered the kingdoms of Naples and of Sicily, and was crowned as the King of Naples and Sicily on 3 July 1735, reigning as King Charles, although he is contemporarily known as Charles VII of Naples and Charles V of Sicily. In 1738 he married the Princess Maria Amalia of Saxony, an educated, cultured woman who gave birth to thirteen children, eight of whom reached adulthood. Charles and Maria Amalia resided in Naples for nineteen years; she died in 1760.

Upon succeeding to the Spanish throne on 10 August 1759, Charles, a proponent of enlightened absolutism, on 6 October 1759 abdicated the Neapolitan and Sicilian thrones in favour of Ferdinand, his third surviving son, who became Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies, or Ferdinand IV of Naples and III of Sicily. Charles III's descendants ruled the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies until 1861.

As king of Spain Charles III tried to rescue his empire from decay through far-reaching reforms such as weakening the Church and its monasteries, promoting science and university research, facilitating trade and commerce, modernizing agriculture and avoiding wars. He never achieved satisfactory control over finances, and he had to borrow more and more. His reforms proved short-lived and Spain relapsed after his death. More...

 
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