José Moñino, Count of Floridablanca (1728-1808), Spanish statesman, was appointed member of the Council of Castille by Charles III, and played a noteworthy part in the deliberations that resulted in the expulsion of the Jesuits from Spain (1767). Having become Ambassador to the Holy See in 1772, he was created Count of Floridablanca in 1773, and in 1777 took over from Grimaldi the position of Prime Minister. His government – which had the support of the better part of the Spanish intelligentsia – favoured communications, the arts, the sciences and the economy, and adopted shrewd financial policies; in relations with foreign countries it strove to distance itself from the policies of the French. In Madrid he initiated the construction of the astronomical observatory and the Cabinet of Natural History. He supported the foundation of the Bank of San Carlos, the institution of the Real Compañía de Filipinas and the development of the Real Armada. In 1792, because of the intrigues of Manuel Godoy and the Count of Aranda, he had to resign and submit to a trial, on charges of embezzlement, which resulted in 1795 in his full acquittal. In 1808, at the age of 80, he was appointed to head the Junta Central raised to fight the French.
Image courtesy of the Centro di Studi Malaspiniani, Mulazzo, Italy. Biographical notes by Dario Manfredi (Italian version), translated by John Black.
Updated: October 17, 2007