What does the War of the Reapers have to do with events in 1714?
During the reign of Philip IV of Castile (1621-1665), the Catalan constitutions began to be slowly but surely eroded due to royal interference in the Principality’s institutions. This process reached a peak under King Philip V with the imposition of the Decree of Nova Planta (1716). The War of the Reapers (1640-1652) broke out because the Commons (Generalitat, Council of One Hundred and military braçor estate) refused to breach the Catalan constitutions in order to satisfy royal demands to provide economic and human resources required by the monarch’s armies fighting in Europe. This dispute ended favourably for the king, who was able to substantially reform the Catalan political system, increasing his capacity to intervene by control over appointments. The conflict was renewed in the Revolt of the Barretines (1687-1689), which broke out due to abusive taxation and demands to supply Castilian troops fighting the French in the Principality. Charles II (1661-1700), who succeeded Philip IV, continued to implement a policy of interference and control over the Catalan institutions, draining Generalitat resources more and more. Charles named the French pretender, Philip of Anjoy, as his heir to the crown, and Philip, advised by his grandfather, Louis XIV, convened the Catalan Courts in autumn 1701 in order to win his subjects’ support. The Courts closed having unblocked the legislative system, but the monarch soon adopted measures that were detrimental to the interests of the Catalan trading and manufacturing bourgeoisie, favouring their French competitors. As if this were not enough, acting on the monarch’s instructions, the Bourbon viceroy Francisco Fernández de Velasco began to systematically breach Catalan laws. It was clear that Philip V had taken his predecessors’ tendency to intervene in the functioning of the country’s institutions a step forward, paving the way for the future suppression of the Catalan political system.