In the absence of an overall plan, the Bourbon reforms in the Kingdom of Naples primarily affected the widespread Franciscan community, which made up more than 28 per cent of the entire male regular clergy in the realm. Various other suppressive measures were adopted after 1783 as part of the reconstruction of those areas following the terrible earthquake which had devastated Calabria and as a result of other more general political and socioeconomic trends in southern Italy. In the end, the population of regular male clergy in the Mezzogiorno declined from about 30,000 individuals in 1765-66 to about 17,000 in 1801, a 44 per cent drop in thirty-five years. But Bourbon reformism was more hesitant with regard to the female orders. Between 1766 and 1787 the monastic population of this sector fell by only 16 per cent -from 22,828 to 18,777. The numbers of women religious would remain at approximately this level until the French occupation of the kingdom in 1801.

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