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The End of the Spanish Empire, 1898–1923$
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Sebastian Balfour

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205074

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205074.001.0001

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(p.1) Prologue
The End of the Spanish Empire, 1898–1923

Sebastian Balfour

Oxford University Press

It could be said that Spain lost her Empire twice over. In the early 19th century she lost her colonies on mainland America after protracted wars of independence. And at the end of the century, Spain lost the remnants of her old overseas empire after the Spanish–American War of 1898. The loss of all of Spain's mainland American Empire by the mid-1820s was the result of the fragility of her imperial system in a new age of national revolution. The paternalist bonds joining the Empire together were severely weakened by Napoleon's invasion of the Iberian peninsula in 1808 and after his defeat, by the domestic conflict in Spain between absolutism and liberalism. The imperial system, designed both for the glory of the monarch and the Church and for the economic benefit of the metropolis, disintegrated under the impact of war and civil war at its heart.

Keywords:   Spain, Spanish Empire, Spanish–American War, imperial system

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