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Ferdinand VII of Spain

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ferdinando VII

King of Spain 19 March 6 May 1808


Predecessor Charles IV


Joseph I

King of Spain 11 December 1813 29 September 1833


Predecessor Joseph I


Isabella II


Maria Antonia of Naples Maria Isabel of Portugal Maria Josepha Amalia of Saxony Maria Christina of the Two Sicilies


Isabella II of Spain Luisa Fernanda, Duchess of Montpensier


House of Bourbon


Charles IV of Spain


Maria Luisa of Parma


14 October 1784 El Escorial, Madrid, Spain


29 September 1833 (aged 48) Madrid, Spain


El Escorial


Roman Catholicism

Ferdinand VII (14 October 1784 29 September 1833) was twice King of Spain: in 1808 and from 1813 to 1833 the latter period in dispute with Joseph Bonaparte.[citation needed] He was known as "Ferdinand the Desired" or "The felon king".


1 Early life 2 Abdication and restoration 3 Revolt 4 Marriages 5 Issue 6 References 7 External links

Early life[edit]

The eldest surviving son of Charles IV, King of Spain, and of his wife Maria Luisa of Parma, Ferdinand was born in the vast palace of El Escorial near Madrid. Some historians argue that Ferdinand wasn't actually a son of King Charles IV but son of Manuel Godoy, Prime Minister and rumored lover of the queen. In his youth he occupied the painful position of an heir apparent who was jealously excluded from all share in government by his parents and the royal favorite Manuel de Godoy. National discontent with a feeble government produced a revolution in 1805. In October 1807, Ferdinand was arrested for his complicity in theThe El Escorial Conspiracy in which liberal reformers aimed at securing the help of emperor Napoleon I of France. When the conspiracy was discovered, Ferdinand betrayed his associates and grovelled to his parents.

Abdication and restoration[edit]

Ferdinand VII byFrancisco de Goya

Royal Monogram
When his father's abdication was extorted by a popular riot at Aranjuez in March 1808, he ascended the throne[1] but turned again to Napoleon, in the hope that the emperor would support him. He was in his turn forced to abdicate on 6 May 1808[2] but his father had relinquished his rights to the Spanish throne on 5 May 1808 (the previous day) in favour of Napoleon,[3] so Ferdinand effectively

had given the throne to Napoleon. Napoleon kept Ferdinand under guard in France for six years at the Chateau of Valenay. While the upper echelons of the Spanish government accepted his abdication and Napoleon's choice of new monarch, his brother Joseph Bonaparte, the Spanish people did not. Uprisings broke out throughout the country, marking the beginning of the Peninsular War. Provincial juntas were established, since the central government had acknowledged Joseph. After the Battle of Bailnproved that the Spanish could resist the French, the Council of Castilereversed itself and declared null and void the abdications of Bayonne on 11 August 1808.[4] Several days later, on 24 August, Ferdinand VII was proclaimed king of Spain again,[5] and negotiations between the Council and the provincial juntas for the establishment of a Supreme Central Junta were completed. Subsequently, on 14 January, the British government acknowledged Ferdinand VII as king of Spain.[6] Five years later after experiencing serious setbacks on many fronts, Emperor Napoleon agreed to acknowledge Ferdinand VII as king of Spain on 11 December 1813 and signed the Treaty of Valenay, so that the king could return to Spain. This, however, did not happen until Napoleon was nearly defeated by the allied powers several months later. The Spanish people, blaming the liberal, enlightened policies of the Francophiles (afrancesados) for causing the Napoleonic occupation and the Peninsular War by allying Spain too closely to France, at first welcomed Fernando. Ferdinand soon found that in the intervening years a new world had been born of foreign invasion and domestic revolution. In his name Spain fought for its independence and in his name as well juntas had governed Spanish America. Spain was no longer the absolute monarchy he had relinquished six years earlier. Instead he was now asked to rule under the liberal Constitution of 1812. Before being allowed to enter Spanish soil, Ferdinand had to guarantee the liberals that he would govern on the basis of the Constitution, but, only gave lukewarm indications he would do so.

Triumphal welcome of Ferdinand at Valencia, 1814

On 24 March the French handed him over to the Spanish Army in Girona, and thus began his celebratory procession towards Madrid.[7] During this process and in the following months, he was encouraged by conservatives and the Church hierarchy to reject the Constitution. On 4 May he ordered its abolition and on 10 May had the liberal leaders responsible for the Constitution arrested. Ferdinand justified his actions by claiming that the Constitution had been made by a Cortes illegally

assembled in his absence, without his consent and without the traditional form. (It had met as a unicameral body, instead of in three chambers representing the three estates: the clergy, the nobility and the cities.) Ferdinand initially promised to convene a traditional Cortes, but never did so, thereby reasserting the Bourbondoctrine that sovereign authority resided in his person only. Meanwhile, the wars of independence had broken out in the Americas, and although many of the republican rebels were divided and royalist sentiment was strong in many areas, the Manila galleons and the Spanish treasure fleets - tax revenues from the Spanish Empire - were interrupted. Spain was all but bankrupt. Ferdinand's restored autocracy was guided by a small camarilla of his favorites, although his government seemed unstable. Whimsical and ferocious by turns, he changed his ministers every few months. "The King", wrote Friedrich von Gentz to the Hospodar John Caradja on 1 December 1814, "himself enters the houses of his prime ministers, arrests them, and hands them over to their cruel enemies"; and again, on 14 January 1815, "The king has so debased himself that he has become no more than the leading police agent and prison warden of his country." The king did recognize the efforts of the foreign powers on his behalf. As the head of the Spanish Order of the Golden Fleece Ferdinand made the Duke of Wellington, head of the British forces on the Peninsula, the first Protestant member of the order.

In 1820 his misrule provoked a revolt in favor of the Constitution of 1812 which began with a mutiny of the troops under Col. Rafael del Riego and the king was quickly made prisoner. He grovelled to the insurgents as he had done to his parents. Ferdinand had restored the Jesuits upon his return; now the Society had become identified with repression and absolutism among the liberals, who attacked them: twenty-five Jesuits were slain in Madrid in 1822. For the rest of the 19th century, expulsions and reinstatements of the Jesuits would continue to be the hallmarks of liberal and authoritarian political regimes, respectively. At the beginning of 1823, as a result of the Congress of Verona, the French invaded Spain "invoking the God of St Louis, for the sake of preserving the throne of Spain to a descendant of Henry IV, and of reconciling that fine kingdom with Europe." When in May the revolutionary party carried Ferdinand toCdiz, he continued to make promises of amendment until he was free. When freed after the Battle of Trocadero and the fall of Cdiz he avenged himself with a ferocity which disgusted his far from liberal allies. In violation of his oath to grant an amnesty he avenged himself, for three years of coercion, by killing on a scale which left his "rescuers" sickened and horrified. The Duke of Angoulme, powerless to intervene, made known his protest against Ferdinand's actions by refusing the Spanish decorations Ferdinand offered him for his military services.

During his last years Ferdinand's energy was abated. He no longer changed ministers every few months as a sport, and he allowed some of them to conduct the current business of government. He became torpid, bloated and unpleasant to look at. His last ten years of reign (18231833) are generally known as the "Ominous Decade", and saw the relentless restoration of a reactionary absolutism, the re-establishment of archaic university programs and the suppression of any opposition, both of the Liberal Party and of the reactionary revolt (known as "War of the Agraviados") which broke out in 1827 inCatalonia and other regions. After his fourth marriage, with Maria Christina of Bourbon-Two Sicilies in 1829, he was persuaded by his wife to set aside the law of succession of Philip V, which gave a preference to all the males of the family in Spain over the females. His marriage had brought him only two daughters. The change in the order of succession established by his dynasty in Spain angered a large part of the nation and led to a civil war, the Carlist Wars. When well he consented to the change under the influence of his wife. When ill he was terrified by priestly advisers who were partisans of his brother Carlos. Ferdinand died on 29 September 1833 in Madrid. King Ferdinand VII kept a diary during the troubled years 18201823 which has been published by the Count de Casa Valencia.

Ferdinand VII was married four times. In 1802 he married his first cousin Princess Maria Antonietta of the Two Sicilies (17841806), daughter of Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies and Marie Caroline of Austria. There were no children, because her two pregnancies (in 1804 and 1805) ended in miscarriages. In 1816, Ferdinand married his niece Maria Isabel of Portugal (17971818), daughter of his older sister Carlota Joaquina and John VI of Portugal. She bore him two daughters, the first of whom lived only five months and the second of whom was stilborn. In 1819, Ferdinand married Princess Maria Josepha Amalia of Saxony (18031829), daughter of Maximilian, Prince of Saxony and Caroline of Bourbon-Parma. No children were born from this marriage. Lastly, in 1829, Ferdinand married another niece, Maria Christina of Bourbon-Two Sicilies (1806 1878), daughter of his younger sister Maria Isabella of Spain and Francis I of the Two Sicilies. She bore him two daughters.

Name Birth Death Burial Notes

By Maria Isabel of Portugal (17971818)

21 August 9 January Infanta Mara El 1817 1818 Princess of Asturias. Luisa Isabel Escorial Madrid Madrid

Infanta Mara Luisa Isabel

26 December 1818 Madrid

El Stillborn, Maria Isabel died as a result Escorial of her birth.

By Maria Christina of the Two Sicilies (18061878)

10 Infanta Mara October Isabel Luisa 1830 Madrid

10 April 1904 Paris

Princess of Asturias 18301833, Queen El of Spain 18331868. Married Francis, Escorial Duke of Cdiz, had issue.

30 Infanta Luisa January Fernanda 1832 Madrid

2 February El Married Antoine, Duke of Montpensier, 1897 Escorial had issue. Seville

This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopdia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.

1. ^ Gazeta de Madrid de 25 de marzo pages 297 and 298 2. ^ Gazeta de Madrid de 13 de mayo pages 458 and 459. 3. ^ Gazeta de Madrid de 14 de octubre pages 1293 and 1294 4. ^ Gazeta de Madrid de 19 de Agosto page 1041 5. ^ Gazeta de Madrid de 6 de septiembre pgina 1119 6. ^ A treatise on the laws of commerce and manufactures and the contracts relating thereto : with an appendix of treaties, statutes, and precedents por Joseph Chitty (1824) 7. ^ Artola, Miguel. La Espaa de Fernando VII. Madrid, Espasa, 1999, 405. ISBN 84-239-9742-1

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External links[edit]

Historiaantiqua. Fernando VII at historia antiqua (Spanish)

Ferdinand VII of Spain House of Bourbon

Cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty Born: 14 October 1784 Died: 29 September 1833

Regnal titles Preceded by Charles IV Preceded by Joseph King of Spain 19 March 6 May 1808 King of Spain 11 December 181327 September 1833 Spanish nobility Preceded by Charles Prince of Asturias 17881808 Vacant
Title next held by

Succeeded by Joseph Succeeded by Isabella II




Monarchs of Spain