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Isabella II

Date: October 10, 1830 - April 9, 1904

Queen of Spain 1833-1868

Isabella succeeded to the Spanish throne on the death of her father, Ferdinand VII, when Salic Law was set aside. Her uncle, Don Carlos, disputed her right to succeed. This led to the First Carlist War, 1833-1839, while her mother, and then General Baldomero Espartero, served as regents for the underage Isabella. The military established her rule in 1843.

In a series of diplomatic turns, called the Affair of the Spanish Marriages, Isabella's marriage and that of her sister to Spanish and French nobles instead of to a relative of Prince Albert of England helped alienate England, empower the conservative faction in Spain and bring Louis-Philippe of France closer to the conservative faction. This helped lead to the liberal uprisings of 1848 and to Louis-Philippe's defeat.

Isabella was rumored to have chosen her Bourbon cousin, Francisco de Asis, as husband because he was impotent, and they largely lived apart, though they did have children.

Her authoritarianism, her religious fanaticism, her alliance with the military and the chaos of her reign -- sixty different governments -- helped bring about the Revolution of 1868 that exiled her to Paris. She abdicated in 1870 in favor of her son, Alfonso XII, who ruled beginning in 1874. Even though Isabella eventually returned to Spain, she never again exerted much political power or influence.

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About Isabella II

  • Categories: Queens
  • Places: Spain
  • Period: 19th century

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