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From the Enlightenment to Business Models. Episode 9A.Who moved the ways of the Enlightenment? La Hispania Ibérica. Su historia

Here we are, again bearing the last day of March of 2023. After 33 days of sailing in the Southern Ocean, we are approaching Itajai Port. Our desire to finish is probably higher than anything at the moment. From Eleonora Escalante’s Strategy, we are also counting the days. We hope that in less than a week we will reach the next goal´s port. So much joy!
Today is the turn to show you a summary of 30 slides about the history of Spain. We started with the Visigoths, and we stopped after the French Revolution period, when Charles IV (the hunter), from the House of Bourbons, finished his mandate in 1808.

Please take a look at the following material that we have dedicated so many hours to filter and compile for our learning or refreshment. I am sure you will be surprised by so many details that we can find when we see corporate strategy as an art. Download these slides, and keep them for your future reference.

I have tried to share several maps which have tiny little letters, and I appreciate that you can print the material, and or look for the original books for a whole understanding. All the material is self-explanatory. All these documents will be crucial for season II as of April 23rd.

To learn about the Spanish-Portuguese Enlightenment season feels as if we had to get immersed into the past of a clandestine mystery. Even though Jonathan Israel (1) has done a tremendous historiographical and factual excellent labor to gather most of the situations that affected the free-thinkers (no matter if revolutionary radicals, moderate mainstream, or counter-enlighteners), the epoch between 1650 to 1800 was by far supra evocative of the high-excesses that the European Monarchies summoned.

  • It wasn´t a coincidence that the discovery of the new world required a new corporate strategy in the mindsets of the European rulers. But they didn´t change their mental frameworks for that.
  • It wasn´t a twist of fate that Spain, France, Portugal, the Low Countries, and Britain took the lead to conquer new lands that overpassed in quantity and challenges, to whatever they had subsisted in their own past histories since the decline of the Roman Empire. But these nations didn´t realize that mercantilism and trade required a new social-political-economic philosophy until it was too late.
  • It wasn´t an accident that the European royal houses decided to marry in between to try to keep the wars away out of their territories, out of the Holy Roman Germanic Empire, or out of the Habsburgs’ domains. But their own mindsets were too narrow-minded and did not get the message that they were causing damage to the brains of their decision makers, to such a high degree that by the 18th century, these were not able to think properly, leaving the willpower in third parties (governors, ministers, advisors) who only delivered mediocre results.
  • It wasn´t a lucky star for the conquest pace of the absolute monarchies who pursued domination still plugged with their past feudalism. But these frameworks of victory through subjugation or annihilation traveled through the oceans with all the galleys and the navy to the new viceroyalties or colonies in America. In less than a century, at least 90% of the indigenous natives of the New World were almost barred by diseases and injustice measures.
  • It wasn´t a fluke that the radical enlightenment profiles came up from the Netherlands and France at the time when the Habsburg Spain conquest of America was expanding with the same style utilized at the Reconquista and the Holy Crusades to Jerusalem, and it wasn´t a stroke of windfall that put Newton and Locke to counterpoise a whole movement of rebellion that was being secretly held in a low-temperature oven all over Europe. But inevitably, the insurrection exploded unfortunately on King Louis XVI’s face, a French Bourbon (with Habsburg blood), a ruler that was not supposed to die beheaded, altogether with the rest of the innocent victims during the Reign of Terror.
  • Finally, it wasn´t a happenstance that the potentates of the Catholicism of the 17th and 18th centuries, by persecuting actively through the Inquisition, not only provoked the waves of the future revengeful revolution but also were completely lost in the application of Jesus-Christ messages. But they also were part of the foundations of standardized repression against anything that was not complying with the monarchies’ systems.

Spain, the worst of the crowns in America?
I would like you to revisit slides number 7 and 8, from the timeline of the history of Spain and Portugal above. Especially I wish you to focus on slide 8. Let´s observe. Between 1479 to 1808, the Spanish Crown not just explored a continent that was virgin and indomitable, with none of the current technologies of our days, but it conquered and established in a record time a region that was at least 25 times greater than their own Iberian Peninsula.   Between 1509 to 1666, Spain was able to establish itself from Santa Fe in what is now New Mexico to Valdivia in Chile. Later, the Spanish didn´t stop until they covered Patagonia, and Spanish Louisiana was added in 1764. More than 80 cities were instituted from scratch in a record time. That included not only the main establishments of those cities: the central park, the cathedral, the government institutions, and the main houses of the Spanish settlers but also cloisters, monasteries, and haciendas.  For example, in The Captaincy General of Guatemala, who reported administratively to the viceroyalty of New Spain (México), by the time of the 1773 earthquake, it was documented that more than 3,000 buildings were destroyed by at least 9 considerable quakes beforehand, including all the main churches, abbeys, and convents (around 30 of them still exist in ruins in Antigua Guatemala as a proof of evidence of the baroque influence architecture of those years).

The big issue with Spain and Spanish America wasn´t the ineffectiveness to establish cities and build the fundamental infrastructure of their Spanish-Austrian-Italian migrant roots in their expansion to the new region, it was the weakness of its structural political economic backbone system. This system that culturally and by tradition was functioning as in the medieval times (feudalism), but economically was trying to evolve to mercantilism and trade without the business or management-appropriate strategy frameworks designed for that model. Honesty, it wasn´t until Michael Porter (1980s) that the corporate and business strategy bases were finalized for free trade. And even now, Porter´s material requires important adjustments. So, there was a gap between theory and practice for the Spanish Crown. There was a huge abysmal theoretical and philosophical disparity, or an essential mismatch in what the Spain Habsburg and Bourbon rulers wanted to do, and what they were doing in their expansion corporate strategy in the New World, particularly in America. They had no philosophical-economic-social theory for mercantilism. No matter how much they tried to rely on Genovesi or the Naples economists. And this was the same situation all over the European main empires: the Netherlands, France, the Holy Roman Empire of the German Lands, England, Portugal, the Ottoman Empire, Prussia, Russia, and of course the block of Spain-Austria-Italy, represented by the Habsburgs and then the Bourbons.

There was an unavoidable legacy of the spirit of power growth shared by all the empires in expansion for gaining new lands in Europe, that goes back before Charlemagne, all way back to the Roman Empire, no matter what type of warfare tools, tyranny or weird imposition procedures these nations were utilizing in the intent. We simply believe that all the European kingdoms were wrong in their corporate strategy since the conception of Feudalism. Sincerely, I am not here to judge any of them, even though the reality of our human history probably has hidden the worst. We are writing about these empires, to learn and find out from where are we conceiving our current business models wrongly. We are here to unclog the dirty pipeline of our management and strategy theories, which are carrying blunders for more than 1500 years. If we don´t fix our mental business frameworks, we will continue repeating the same mistakes of our ancestors.

The Habsburg Dynasty enlarged the Spanish Empire enormously from 1516 to 1700, but the Bourbon Dynasty wasn´t able to keep it. Why? All the good and bad of the Spanish-Austrian-Italian kingdoms were moved to Spanish America, including the Inquisition. All the good and bad that existed in the minds of the kings of the Habsburgs and Bourbons rulers trespassed untouched to Spanish America; and even worst, the discrimination by region of birth (Spanish Europeans vs Spanish Creoles or Mestizos), was added as the salt and pepper demanded to keep the control taste in the New Spanish America. Spain and Portugal were not philosophically ready to create a harmonious Spanish America. They habituated experts to destroying or expelling whatever type of people were perceived as enemies or defeaters of their own social-political interests. The Reconquista (1031-1492) – see slides 18 to 20 – nestled a reclaim or “get-back” or recovery frame of mind in the Spanish rulers and nobility, so strongly, that the Spanish leaders´ spirit was procuring always to regain losses. This mental model also created a furious delimitation of territories against anything that could trigger another casualty in the future. The protection against any potential forfeiture triggered measures of persecution against the Jews, the Muslims, the science materialists, the Enlightenment intellectuals, and even against the same Catholic church innovators of the time that were accepting or denying the new scientific theories as the Jesuits. Anything that Spain-Austria-Italy rulers had in their monarchical “absolutism” decision-making frameworks was circumscribed to an obsolete pseudo-feudalism plus the traditional-cultural legacy from the medieval modus operandi. And this system was carried to Spanish America, through the transatlantic ocean. A newly discovered ocean medium that offered untried opportunities for water logistics of the value chain: the shipping and distribution of raw materials (including slaves), the shipping and distribution of produced goods evolved from terrestrial ways to transatlantic navigation.

The decision-making to build infrastructure in the New Provinces and cities of Spanish America was guided by the same pathetic factor that existed in the medieval brains of the Spanish-Austrian-Italian leaders. The ocean represented not only a prospect for “getting rich” with the navy and/or new trade business model for importing-exporting and shipping pristine products and services or slaves, but an additional burden that required an efficient fleet in comparison to the competitors of England, France, and the Dutch.

The Rulers of Europe when expanding to the New World.
As an exercise, I would like to share additional slides that show the names of the rulers that were leading Europe during the whole conquest of Spanish America. It agglutinates the “who was ruling what” situation during the Enlightenment period, which coincides with the New World expansion. Please download the slides in PDF format for your reference.

If you wish to download it in PDF click below:

The priority of the political-economic systems of European dynasties was not in Europe, it was in the New World. Their race to conquer land resources was not the norm, but the crucial imperative objective. The first one who conquered, the first one who prevailed. The first mover advantage was effectively being implemented fast, as quickly as possible. In this context, no king or queen and their court administrators cared about the native indigenous populations. None of the Habsburgs or Bourbon leaders who sent their officials to Spanish America cared for the Aztecs, the Incas, or Mayans or the African slave souls. The faster they could exterminate or barren any obstruction to their expansion strategy, the better. Or the easier was their own establishment in the region. The Spanish-Austrian-Italian decision makers (the rulers and their administrative ministers of corporate strategy expansion in the new world) conducted a race of competition to dominate most of the lands, fast, and speedy, battling with all the other empires. In addition, Spanish rulers had more important priorities in the New World, than whatever was happening in Spain and/or continental Europe.

Moreover, we certainly believe that the Spanish American Empire was so big and rich, that just to have that extension of land in America,  was a main cause of envy for the rest of the race European conqueror participants who had no intention to fix the problems of lack of education and poverty of most of the new populations, but to conquer the earlier as possible using warfare as their offensive and defensive strategies.

When moving to new territories, if the kingdoms are mentally-economically-socially ill, their sicknesses travel with them to the new domains. When the leaders can´t think properly or lack a 360 degrees mindset or are more worried to apply the “first mover advantage”, the priorities are established wrongly. And even if they wanted to overcome the wrongdoings of their medieval philosophical and operational legacies, the race or competition for being the first to conquest the land (a resource of wealth), forced all the battle participants to continue doing the same thing as the medieval ages, under a baroque style, but now using tyranny and racism measures towards everything that was different to them in the new lands.   So, the problem of Spain was at the corporate strategic decision-making level. Additionally, I must remark that the Habsburg and other dynasties´ inbreeding marriages injured many of the brains of most of the kings and queens in Europe. It took them less than 300 years to ruin their genetic intelligence. They spoiled their own species in their quest to protect their overland and transatlantic expansion. With poor brains, genetically wretched, and damaged physically and physiologically, the most relevant example was the Spanish Habsburg Charles II (r. 1663-1700), but so do Marie Antoinette (1755-1793). If we are keen enough to observe the marriages of all the royal dynasties in Europe, all of them were genetically rotten. If all the royal families’ brains and physiological capabilities were as rancid as dilapidated because of their self-interest and eugenic selfishness to procure marriages in the same families (2), then it is obvious that decisions were not taken appropriately at the top requirement level. Inbreeding was found in mental illnesses, intellectual disabilities, vulnerability to diseases, infertility, and body deformations. Probably still, many of the descendants of these families suffer the mental consequences of inter-marriage from those years.

Natural disasters against Spain and Portugal in the 1700s (1).
Another observation that has been written by Professor Jonathan Israel, surfaced because of natural disasters. It was during the 1700s, that Spain and Portugal’s domains were critically hit by earthquakes and the aftermath of tsunamis. An earthquake destroyed Port Royal, Jamaica in June 1692; another earthquake devastated Guatemala City in September 1717; the Greater Lima earthquake of October 1746, and finally the collapse of Chilean Santiago, Valparaiso, La Concepción cities under land tremors and a tsunami in 1751. All these heightened temblors left these cities in ruins, smashing almost all churches and convents down. Nevertheless, no one at that time was expecting a major disgrace as the Lisbon earthquake of November 1755. This last seismological movement struck the intellectual classes all over Europe. The aftermath of the Lisbon earthquake was not just the destruction of cloisters, largely secular and ecclesiastical buildings, the flames that burnt almost all of the city, and the tsunami with seismic tidal waves that caused damage to the coasts, but also the shortage of food, water and the epidemics in those who survived.

The intellectual debates to understand natural disasters took a stage in Spain and Portugal. The radical Enlightenment explanation of earthquakes was that the disaster is a natural cause alone. The Moderate catholic mainstream said it was directed by a mix of purely natural cause but divinely absorbed towards a punishment to a society full of sins, meanwhile the counter-enlightenment were always explaining it by divine providence for a purpose of avenging the sins of the cities that required that castigation. The earthquake of Lisbon was enough justification for the Spanish Bourbons, to begin to consider more important reforms in the New World. That is why as of the 1750s decade, the Spanish crown relaxed several dimensions of penalty established by the Inquisition, not only in the peninsula but also in Spanish America.

The next episode will be in a few hours, I will publish it as soon as I finish the last slides that I am currently preparing. The next episode will be the last one of Season I of the saga “From the Enlightenment to Business Models”. The next season will be charged with multiple scenarios and analyses, strategic reflections for you to think about them, and the most important aspect, is that you will find some kind of truth in human history that we are condemned to repeat if we are not alert enough to see the caution signs beforehand.

 Illustrative and non-commercial video. Used for educational use. Utilized only informatively for the public good.

For the time being, I expect you to enjoy our material (from the slides). Do not hesitate to visit the bibliography that we have added to each slide. In addition, in my next episode, I will share a list of reference books about Spain that will be important for you to obtain, and read if you are able and have the time to do it. Thank you so much for your patience.


Our last episode is coming as soon as possible. Stay tuned.

Oceanic Musical Section

During the last week, all our teams have passed the extreme conditions of Cape Horn. All of us are now heading up north to Itajai. Let me share the current position of the fleet.

Position of all the teams at the time of this publication. 31 March 2023.

The most remarkable situation during last week was: Our arrival in Cape Horn. We passed from the Pacific into the Atlantic, crossing the most feared headland in world sailing. Since the time of the voyage explorations of Magallan, Cape Horn was a symbol of hope, danger, and risky deliverance. We only wanted to pass Cape Horn Point safely, in one piece, with a boat in impeccable condition. And yes, we all did it! During the next few days, all we want is to finish Leg 3. Alive. Some weeks of vacations await us.

Today’s piece of music is called Cape Horn. It is interpreted by the Sinfonisches Blasorchester Pongau, under Willi Schwaiger’s direction. The album’s name: Grande Austria. You will feel with this classical melody, what we all felt when passing Cape Horn. Awesome!

Leg 3 is in full movement towards Itajai. Photo Source:

Sources of reference are utilized today. All are listed on the slides. This text´ references are:

(1) Israel, Jonathan. Democratic Enlightenment. Philosophy, Revolution and Human Rights 1750-1790. Book published in 2013. Chapters: 2, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17,18, 27

(2) The Habsburg inbreeding

Disclaimer: Illustrations in Watercolor are painted by Eleonora Escalante. Other types of illustrations or videos (which are not mine) are used for educational purposes ONLY.  All are used as Illustrative and non-commercial images. Utilized only informatively for the public good. Nevertheless, most of this blog’s pictures, images, or videos are not mine. I do not own any of the lovely photos or images posted unless otherwise stated.

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