The Info List - King Ferdinand VII

Ferdinand VII (Spanish: Fernando; 14 October 1784 – 29 September 1833) was twice King of Spain: in 1808 and again from 1813 to his death. He was known to his supporters as the Desired (el Deseado) and to his detractors as the Felon King (el Rey Felón). After being overthrown by Napoleon
in 1808 he linked his monarchy to counter-revolution and reactionary policies that produced a deep rift in Spain between his forces on the right and liberals on the left. Back in power in 1814, he reestablished the absolutist monarchy and rejected the liberal constitution of 1812. He suppressed the liberal press 1814–33 and jailed many of its editors and writers. Under his rule, Spain lost nearly all of its American possessions, and the country entered into civil war on his death. His reputation among historians is very low. Historian Stanley Payne says:

He proved in many ways the basest king in Spanish history. Cowardly, selfish, grasping, suspicious, and vengeful, [he] seemed almost incapable of any perception of the commonwealth. He thought only in terms of his power and security and was unmoved by the enormous sacrifices of Spanish people to retain their independence and preserve his throne.[1]


1 Early life 2 Abdication and restoration 3 Revolt

3.1 Death and succession crisis

4 Marriages 5 Issue 6 Ancestry 7 References

7.1 Works cited

8 Further reading 9 External links

Early life[edit]

Young Ferdinand as Prince of Asturias, 1800

Ferdinand was ostensibly the eldest surviving child of Charles IV of Spain and Maria Luisa of Parma. Ferdinand was born in the palace of El Escorial near Madrid. The Queen's confessor Fray Juan Almaraz wrote in his last will that she admitted in articulo mortis that "none, none of her sons and daughters, none was of the legitimate marriage".[2] In his youth Ferdinand occupied the position of an heir apparent who was excluded from all share in government by his parents and their favourite advisor and Prime Minister, Manuel Godoy. National discontent with the government produced a rebellion in 1805. In October 1807, Ferdinand was arrested for his complicity in the El Escorial Conspiracy in which the rebels aimed at securing foreign support from the French Emperor Napoleon. When the conspiracy was discovered, Ferdinand submitted to his parents. Abdication and restoration[edit]

Royal Monogram

Following a popular riot at Aranjuez Charles IV abdicated in March 1808. Ferdinand ascended the throne and turned to Napoleon
for support. He abdicated on 6 May 1808 and thereafter Napoleon
kept Ferdinand under guard in France for six years at the Château de Valençay.[3] Historian Charles Oman records that the choice of Valençay was a practical joke by Napoleon
on his former foreign minister Tallyrand, the owner of the château, for his lack of interest in Spanish affairs.[4] While the upper echelons of the Spanish government accepted his abdication and Napoleon's choice of his brother Joseph Bonaparte
Joseph Bonaparte
as king of Spain, the Spanish people did not. Uprisings broke out throughout the country, marking the beginning of the Peninsular War. Provincial juntas were established to control regions in opposition to the new French king. After the Battle of Bailén
Battle of Bailén
proved that the Spanish could resist the French, the Council of Castile
Council of Castile
reversed itself and declared null and void the abdications of Bayonne on 11 August 1808. On 24 August, Ferdinand VII was proclaimed king of Spain again, and negotiations between the Council and the provincial juntas for the establishment of a Supreme Central Junta were completed. Subsequently, on 14 January 1809, the British government acknowledged Ferdinand VII as king of Spain.[5] Five years later after experiencing serious setbacks on many fronts, Napoleon
agreed to acknowledge Ferdinand VII as king of Spain on 11 December 1813 and signed the Treaty of Valençay, so that the king could return to Spain. The Spanish people, blaming the policies of the Francophiles (afrancesados) for causing the Napoleonic occupation and the Peninsular War
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.[6]

Triumphal welcome of Ferdinand at Valencia, 1815

On 24 March the French handed him over to the Spanish Army in Girona, and thus began his 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 Bourbon doctrine 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
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 in 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 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. Revolt[edit]

Equestrian portrait of Ferdinand by José de Madrazo y Agudo, 1821

In 1820 a revolt broke out in favor of the Constitution of 1812, beginning with a mutiny of the troops under Col. Rafael del Riego. The king was quickly taken prisoner. Ferdinand had restored the Jesuits upon his return, but now they 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 to Cádiz, he continued to make promises of amendment until he was free. When Ferdinand was freed after the Battle of Trocadero
Battle of Trocadero
and the fall of Cádiz, reprisals followed. The Duke of Artois 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 political appointments became more stable. The last ten years of reign (sometimes referred to as the Ominous Decade) saw the restoration of absolutism, the re-establishment of traditional 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 in Catalonia
and other regions. Death and succession crisis[edit] As Ferdinand lay dying, his new wife, Maria Christina of Bourbon-Two Sicilies had him set aside the Salic Law, which would make his brother Don Carlos heir to the throne instead of any female. Ferdinand was thus succeeded by his infant daughter Isabella II. Carlos revolted and said he was the legitimate king. Needing support, Maria Christina (as Regent for her daughter Isabella) turned to the liberals. She issued a decree of amnesty on 23 October 1833. Liberals who had been in exile returned and dominated Spanish politics for decades, and the Carlist Wars resulted.[8][9] Marriages[edit]

Ferdinand VII and María Cristina by Luis de la Cruz y Ríos (1832)

Ferdinand VII was married four times. In 1802 he married his first cousin Princess Maria Antonietta of the Two Sicilies (1784–1806), daughter of Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies
Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies
and Marie Caroline of Austria. There were no children, because her two pregnancies (in 1804 and 1805) both ended in miscarriages. In 1816, Ferdinand married his niece Maria Isabel of Portugal (1797–1818), 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 (1803–1829), daughter of Maximilian, Prince of Saxony
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
Maria Isabella of Spain
and Francis I of the Two Sicilies. She bore him two surving daughters, the older of whom succeeded Ferdinand upon his death. Issue[edit]

Name Birth Death Burial Notes

By Maria Isabel of Portugal
Maria Isabel of Portugal

Infanta María Luisa Isabel 21 August 1817 Madrid 9 January 1818 Madrid El Escorial

Infanta María Luisa Isabel

26 December 1818 Madrid

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

By Maria Christina of the Two Sicilies
Maria Christina of the Two Sicilies

Infanta María Isabel Luisa 10 October 1830 Madrid 10 April 1904 Paris El Escorial Princess of Asturias 1830–1833, Queen of Spain 1833–1868. Married Francis, Duke of Cádiz, had issue.

Infanta María Luisa Fernanda 30 January 1832 Madrid 2 February 1897 Seville El Escorial Married Antoine, Duke of Montpensier, had issue.


Ancestors of Ferdinand VII of Spain

16. Louis, Grand Dauphin

8. Philip V of Spain

17. Duchess Maria Anna Victoria of Bavaria

4. Charles III of Spain

18. Odoardo Farnese, Hereditary Prince of Parma

9. Elisabeth Farnese

19. Countess Palatine Sophie of Neuburg

2. Charles IV of Spain

20. Augustus II of Poland

10. Augustus III of Poland

21. Margravine Christiane Eberhardine of Bayreuth

5. Maria Amalia of Saxony

22. Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor

11. Maria Josepha of Austria

23. Wilhelmina Amalia of Brunswick

1. Ferdinand VII of Spain

24. Louis, Grand Dauphin
Louis, Grand Dauphin
(= 16)

12. Philip V of Spain
Philip V of Spain
(= 8)

25. Duchess Maria Anna Victoria of Bavaria (= 17)

6. Philip, Duke of Parma

26. Odoardo Farnese, Hereditary Prince of Parma (= 18)

13. Elisabeth Farnese
Elisabeth Farnese
(= 9)

27. Countess Palatine Sophie of Neuburg (= 19)

3. Maria Luisa of Parma

28. Louis, Petit Dauphin, Duke of Burgundy

14. Louis XV of France

29. Princess Marie Adélaïde of Savoy

7. Louise Élisabeth of France

30. Stanisław I Leszczyński, King of Poland

15. Marie Leszczyńska

31. Katarzyna Opalińska

References[edit]  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Ferdinand VII". Encyclopædia Britannica. 10 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 267–268. 

^ Payne, p 2:428 ^ Zavala, José María (2011). Bastardos y Borbones. Barcelona: Plaza & Janés Editores. ISBN 978-84-0138-992-4. Retrieved 20 May 2014.  ^ Carr, pp 79–85 ^ Oman, Charles (1902). A History of the Peninsular War. 1. Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 56.  ^ Carr, pp 85–90 ^ Carr, pp 105–119 ^ Artola, Miguel. La España de Fernando VII. Madrid, Espasa, 1999, 405. ISBN 84-239-9742-1 ^ A. W. Ward; G.P. Gooch (1970). The Cambridge History of British Foreign Policy 1783-1919 (reprint ed.). CUP. pp. 186–87.  ^ John Van der Kiste (2011). Divided Kingdom: The Spanish Monarchy from Isabel to Juan Carlos. History Press Limited. pp. 6–9. 

Works cited[edit]

Carr, Raymond. Spain, 1808–1975 (1982) Payne, Stanley G. History of Spain and Portugal: v. 2 (1973) pp 415–36

Further reading[edit]

Clarke, Henry Butler. Modern Spain, 1815–1898 (1906) pp 1–92; old but full of factual detail online Fehrenbach, Charles Wentz. "Moderados and Exaltados: The Liberal Opposition to Ferdinand VII, 1814–1823." Hispanic American Historical Review (1970): 52–69. in JSTOR Woodward, Margaret L. "The Spanish Army and the Loss of America, 1810–1824." Hispanic American Historical Review (1968): 586–607. in JSTOR

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ferdinand VII of Spain.

Historiaantiqua. Fernando VII at Historia Antiqua (in 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 King of Spain 1808 Succeeded by Joseph

Preceded by Joseph King of Spain 1813–1833 Succeeded by Isabella II

Spanish nobility

Preceded by Charles (IV) Prince of Asturias 1788–1808 Vacant Title next held by Isabella (II)

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Monarchs of Spain

Charles I Philip II Philip III Philip IV Charles II Philip V Louis I Philip V Ferdinand VI Charles III Charles IV Ferdinand VII Joseph I Ferdinand VII Isabel II Amadeo I Alfonso XII Alfonso XIII Juan Carlos I Felipe VI

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Princes and Princesses of Asturias

Leonor (2014–present)

Henry (1388–90) Maria (1402–05) John (1405–06) Catherine (1423–24) Eleanor (1424–25) Henry (1425–54) Joanna (1462–64) Alfonso (1464–68) Isabella (1468–70) Isabella (1470–78) John (1478–97) Isabella (1497–98) Michael (1498–1500) Joanna (1502–04) Charles (1504–16) Philip (1527–56) Charles (1556–68) Ferdinand (1571–78) Diego (1578–82) Philip (1582–98) Philip (1605–21) Balthasar Charles (1629–1646) Philip Prospero (1657–1661) Charles (1661–1665) Louis (1709–24) Ferdinand (1724–46) Charles (1759–88) Ferdinand (1788–1808) Isabella (1830–33) Isabella (1851–57) Alfonso (1857–68) Emanuele Filiberto (1871–73) Isabella (1875–80) Mercedes (1881–1904) Alfonso (1907–38) Felipe (1977–2014) Leonor (2014– )

v t e

Infantes of Spain

The generations indicate descent from Carlos I, under whom the crowns of Castile and Aragon were united, forming the Kingdom of Spain. Previously, the title Infante
had been largely used in the different realms.

1st generation

Felipe II Infante
Fernando Infante
Juan Infante

2nd generation

Carlos, Prince of Asturias Fernando, Prince of Asturias Infante
Carlos Lorenzo Diego, Prince of Asturias Felipe III

3rd generation

Felipe IV Infante
Carlos Infante
Fernando Infante
Alfonso Mauricio

4th generation

Baltasar Carlos, Prince of Asturias Felipe Próspero, Prince of Asturias Infante
Fernando Tomás Carlos II

5th generation


6th generation


7th generation

Luis I Infante
Felipe Infante
Felipe Pedro Fernando VI Carlos III Felipe, Duke of Parma Infante
Luis, Count of Chinchón

8th generation

Philip, Duke of Calabria Carlos IV Fernando I of the Two Sicilies Infante
Gabriel Infante
Antonio Pascual Infante
Francisco Javier Fernando, Duke of Parma 1

9th generation

Carlos Clemente Infante
Carlos Domingo Infante
Carlos Francisco de Paula Infante
Felipe Francisco de Paula Fernando VII Infante
Carlos, Count of Molina Infante
Felipe María Infante
Francisco de Paula Infante
Pedro Carlos, Infante
of Portugal 1 Infante
Carlos1 Luis I of Etruria 2

10th generation

Antonio, Duke of Montpensier 2 Infante
Carlos, Count of Montemolin 1 Infante
Juan, Count of Montizón 1 Infante
Fernando1 Infante
Francisco de Asís, Duke of Cádiz1 Francisco de Asís, King consort of Spain 1 Infante
Enrique, Duke of Seville 1 Infante
Eduardo Felipe 1 Infante
Fernando María1 Infante
Sebastián, Infante
of Portugal 1 Carlos II, Duke of Parma 1

11th generation

Fernando Infante
Francisco de Asís Alfonso XII Infante
Francisco de Asís Infante
Gaetan, Count of Girgenti 2 Infante
Ludwig Ferdinand of Bavaria 2 Infante
Fernando of Orléans 1 Infante
Felipe of Orleans1 Infante
Antonio, Duke of Galliera 1 Infante
Luis of Orleans1 Carlos III, Duke of Parma 1

12th generation

Carlos of Bourbon-Two Sicilies 2 Infante
Ferdinand of Bavaria 2 Infante
Alfonso, Duke of Galliera 1 Infante
Luis Fernando of Orléans 1 Roberto I, Duke of Parma 1

13th generation

Alfonso, Prince of Asturias Infante
Jaime, Duke of Segovia Infante
Fernando Infante
Juan, Count of Barcelona Infante
Gonzalo Infante
Alfonso, Duke of Calabria 1 Infante
Fernando of Bourbon-Two Sicilies1 Infante
Luis Alfonso of Bavaria 1 Infante
José Eugenio of Bavaria 1 Infante
Alvaro, Duke of Galliera 1 Infante
Afonso of Orléans 1 Infante
Ataúlfo of Orléans 1

14th generation

Juan Carlos I Infante
Alfonso Infante
Carlos, Duke of Calabria 1

15th generation

Felipe VI

16th generation


1 title granted by Royal Decree 2 consort to an Infanta naturalized as a Spanish Infante

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Coalition military and political leaders

Duke of Wellington Rowland Hill John Moore Horatio Nelson Thomas Cochrane Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor Manuel Lapeña Archduke Charles Prince von Schwarzenberg Archduke John of Austria Alexander I of Russia Mikhail Kutuzov Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly Count Bennigsen Pyotr Bagration Frederick William III of Prussia Gebhard von Blücher Duke of Brunswick Prince of Hohenlohe Ferdinand VII of Spain Miguel de Álava Maria I of Portugal Prince Regent John of Portugal Count of Feira William, Prince of Orange Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden Prince Charles John of Sweden Louis XVIII of France

Related conflicts

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Viceroys of New Spain
New Spain

Charles V (1535–1564)

Antonio de Mendoza
Antonio de Mendoza
y Pacheco Luis de Velasco y Ruiz de Alarcón

Philip II (1566–1603)

Gastón de Peralta Martín Enríquez de Almanza Lorenzo Suárez de Mendoza Pedro Moya de Contreras Álvaro Manrique de Zúñiga Luis de Velasco Gaspar de Zúñiga

Philip III (1603–1621)

Juan de Mendoza y Luna Luis de Velasco García Guerra Diego Fernández de Córdoba

Philip IV (1621–1665)

Diego Carrillo de Mendoza Rodrigo Pacheco Lope Díez de Armendáriz Diego López Pacheco Juan de Palafox y Mendoza García Sarmiento de Sotomayor Marcos de Torres y Rueda Luis Enríquez de Guzmán Francisco Fernández de la Cueva Juan de Leyva de la Cerda Diego Osorio de Escobar y Llamas Antonio Sebastián de Toledo

Charles II (1665–1701)

Pedro Nuño Colón Payo Enríquez de Rivera Tomás de la Cerda Melchor Portocarrero Gaspar de la Cerda Juan Ortega y Montañés José Sarmiento y Valladares

Philip V (1701–1746)

Juan Ortega y Montañés Francisco Fernández de la Cueva Fernando de Alencastre Baltasar de Zúñiga Juan de Acuña Juan Antonio de Vizarrón y Eguiarreta Pedro de Castro Pedro Cebrián y Agustín

Ferdinand VI (1746–1760)

Juan Francisco de Güemes Agustín de Ahumada
Agustín de Ahumada
y Villalón

Charles III (1760–1789)

Francisco Cajigal de la Vega Joaquín de Montserrat Carlos Francisco de Croix Antonio María de Bucareli y Ursúa Martín de Mayorga
Martín de Mayorga
Ferrer Matías de Gálvez y Gallardo Bernardo de Gálvez
Bernardo de Gálvez
y Madrid Alonso Núñez de Haro y Peralta Manuel Antonio Flores
Manuel Antonio Flores

Charles IV (1789–1809)

Juan Vicente de Güemes Miguel de la Grúa Talamanca Miguel José de Azanza Félix Berenguer de Marquina José de Iturrigaray Pedro de Garibay

Ferdinand VII (1809–1821)

Francisco Javier de Lizana y Beaumont Francisco Javier Venegas Félix María Calleja del Rey Juan José Ruiz de Apodaca y Eliza Francisco Novella Azabal Pérez y Sicardo Juan O'Donojú
Juan O'Donojú
y O'Rian

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 286447916 LCCN: n80040243 ISNI: 0000 0003 9238 1965 GND: 119307421 SUDOC: 028694325 BNF: cb1269