The triumph of the Franco-Spanish alliance in its war against Britain (1778–83), taken alone, might have justified the continued implementation of these new fiscal and administrative policies. It represented, however, an isolated and ephemeral geopolitical success among numerous setbacks. These included: a misguided and belated intervention in the Seven Years War (1761–3), resulting in the temporary loss of Cuba and the Philippines ;16 the forfeiture of the Falklands (Malvinas) to
Britain (1771) ; brazen, but ultimately futile, efforts to reacquire Gibraltar (1781–2) ; profligate, low-intensity military stalemates with Portugal both in Europe and in the borderlands of the Banda Oriental (1762, 1776, and 1801) ; a disastrous military
expedition to Algiers (1775) ; and Britain’s seizure of Trinidad (1797), followed by its brief occupation of Buenos Aires (1806). Moreover, the deleterious economic impact of the French Revolutionary wars on Spain’s oceanic commerce, symbolized
by the British blockade of its principal port of Ca´diz from 1796, the decimation of the fleet at St Vincent (1797), followed by its ultimate devastation at Trafalgar (1805), meant that the ‘metropolis was now virtually eliminated from the Atlantic ’.