Pedro Pablo Abarca Aranda

On this date in 1718, Spanish statesman Pedro Pablo Abarca Aranda was born. After military service and an ambassadorship to Poland, Count d'Aranda became Governor of Valencia in 1764, president of the Council of Castile and then First Minister of Spain in 1765. A correspondent of Voltaire and other French figures of the Enlightenment, he worked to weaken the Inquisition, and inaugurate noble reforms. He even expelled the Jesuits in 1767. The clerics responded by having him removed from office. D'Aranda was well-known to the American revolutionaries as a supporter. At one time the Spanish ambassador to the French Court, he met Benjamin Franklin. D'Aranda briefly regained power in 1792, but the church drove him out again, and undid his many reforms. D'Aranda was imprisoned at Granada and narrowly missed being put on trial by the Inquisition. He lived the last years of his life out of harm's way. D. 1798.

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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