Carlist Wars were a series of civil wars that took place in Spain
during the 19th century. The contenders fought to establish their
claim to the throne, although some political differences also existed.
Indeed, several times during the period from 1833 to 1876 the Carlists
— followers of Infante Carlos (later Carlos V) and his descendants
— rallied to the cry of "God, Country, and King" and fought for the
cause of Spanish tradition (
Legitimism and Catholicism) against
liberalism, and later the republicanism, of the Spanish governments of
the day. The
Carlist Wars had a strong regional component (Basque
region, Catalonia, etc.), given that the new order called into
question region specific law arrangements and customs kept for
When Ferdinand VII of
Spain died in 1833, his fourth wife Maria
Cristina became Queen Regent on behalf of their infant daughter
Isabella II. This splintered the country into two factions known as
the Cristinos (or Isabelinos) and the Carlists. The Cristinos were the
supporters of the Queen Regent and her government, and were the party
of the Liberals. The Carlists were the supporters of Carlos V, a
pretender to the throne and brother of the deceased Ferdinand VII.
Carlos denied the validity of the
Pragmatic Sanction of 1830 that
abolished the semi
Salic Law (he was born before 1830). They wanted a
return to autocratic monarchy.
While some historians count three wars, other authors and popular
usage refer to the existence of two big engagements, the First and the
Second, with the 1846–1849 events being taken as a minor episode.
First Carlist War
First Carlist War (1833–1840) lasted more than seven years and
the fighting spanned most of the country at one time or another,
although the main conflict centered on the Carlist homelands of the
Basque Country and Aragon,
Catalonia and Valencia.
Second Carlist War
Second Carlist War (1846–1849) was a minor Catalan uprising. The
rebels tried to install Carlos VI on the throne. In Galicia, the
uprising was on a smaller scale and was put down by General Ramón
Third Carlist War
Third Carlist War (1872–1876) began in the aftermath of the
deposition of one ruling monarch and abdication of another. Queen
Isabella II was overthrown by a conspiracy of liberal generals in
1868, and left
Spain in some disgrace. The Cortes (Parliament)
replaced her with Amadeo, the
Duke of Aosta
Duke of Aosta (and second son of King
Victor Emmanuel of Italy). Then, when the Spanish elections of 1872
resulted in government violence against Carlist candidates and a swing
away from Carlism, the Carlist pretender, Carlos VII, decided that
only force of arms could win him the throne. The Third Carlist War
began. It lasted until 1876.
Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War (1936–1939) was considered by the Carlists as
another crusade against secularism. In spite of the victory of their
side, General Franco frustrated the pretensions of Carlist monarchism;
he subsumed their militias into the Nationalist army and their
Comunión Tradicionalista into his National Movement
Falange Tradicionalista y de las J.O.N.S.).
^ John Van der Kiste (2011). Divided Kingdom: The Spanish Monarchy
from Isabel to Juan Carlos. History Press Limited.
^ Website of Municipality of Chantada, Galicia, in Galician
Carr, Raymond. Spain, 1808-1975 (1982), pp 184–95
Clarke, Henry Butler. Modern Spain, 1815-98 (1906) old but full of
factual detail online
Holt, Edgar. The
Carlist Wars in
Payne, Stanley G. History of
Spain and Portugal: v.