British incursions and Enlightenment investigations revealed a deep need to reform the Spanish state and the administration of its colonies. While seeking to rationalize and improve administrative affairs, while at the same time raising revenue, the Bourbon Reforms brought with them unintended consequences as well. Typically implemented by recently arrived peninsular Spaniards, the native-born Spanish population resented their preferment to positions of authority. The Reforms, and those who implemented them, also de-stabilized relations of power and authority that had evolved in the Colonies over the course of more than a century.

[10 & 11] Military and Colonial Reform       

EL Rey.=Virrey, Gobernador y Capitan General de las Provincias de N.E… [Mexico, 1799].

Ordenanzas para salitreros, y reglamento de la fabrica del salitre [Mexico, 20 September 1766].

The siege of Havana and fall of Manila during the Anglo-Spanish War illustrated the necessity of reforming the Spanish military and colonial defenses. A new militia system was established in the colonies, drawn from the local population but led by Spanish officers, sergeants, and corporals. Fortifications were improved and the fabrication of the raw materials of war, such as saltpeter, was improved.  

[12] Bourbon Reforms 

Mexico. Don Juan Vicente de Guemez…Uno de los puntos mas esenciales de toda buena policía es la limpieza de los pueblos … [Mexico, 1790].

The military reforms were but one aspect of a larger reform agenda known as the Bourbon Reforms which sought to modernize Spain and her colonies and included such things as street lighting and, as here, public hygiene.

[13] Centralization 

Bucareli y Ursua, Don Antonio Maria. El Bo. Fr. D. Antonio Maria Bucareli y Ursúa…Previniendo, entre otras cosas, S.M. (que Dios guarde) por real orden de doce de noviembre de mil setecientos setenta y tres, que los sujetos que en esta Nueva España se hallen empleados en el laborio de sus minas. Mexico, 1777.

The Reforms encompassed political, economic, and administrative modernization, centralizing power that had once been more diffusely distributed. Monopolies and trading companies, such as the mining company here, were formed to rationalize and improve the efficiency of production.

[14] The Need for Revenue 

Instruccion de los comisionados de la direccion general y juzgado privativo de alcabalas y pulques del reyno.
[Mexico, 1783].

Many of the reforms were aimed at improving the fiscal situation of the Monarchy, such as the collection of the alcabala (sales tax) and the tax on pulque, a fermented beverage made from the maguey cactus. Imposed from above, by Royal officials sent from Spain, the Reforms were a frequent source of tension between creole and peninsular Spaniards.