Birthday: November 11, 1748
Died At Age: 70
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Also Known As: Carlos Antonio Pascual Francisco Javier Juan Nepomuceno José Januario Serafín Diego
Born Country: Italy
Born in: Portici, Italy
Famous as: King of Spain (1788-1808)
Emperors & Kings
Spouse/Ex-: Maria Luisa of Parma (m. 1765)
father: Charles III of Spain
mother: Maria Amalia of Saxony
siblings: Duke of Calabria, Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies, Infanta Maria Josefa of Spain, Infante Antonio Pascual of Spain, Infante Gabriel of Spain, Infante Philip, Maria Luisa of Spain
children: Carlos de Borbón, Carlos Domingo de Borbón, Carlos Domingo Eusebio Rafael de Borbón y Borbón, Carlos Francesco de Borbón, Carlos Francisco de Paula de Borbón y Borbón, Carlota Joaquina of Spain, charles iv of spain carlos clemente de espanha, charles iv of spain filipe da espanha, Felipe de Borbón, Felipe Francesco de Borbón, Felipe Francisco de Paula de Borbón y Borbón, Ferdinand VII, Infanta María Amalia of Spain, Infante Carlos; Count of Molina, Infante Francisco de Paula of Spain, María Isabella of Spain, María Luisa Carlota Juliana Teresa de Borbón y Borbón, Maria Luisa; Duchess of Lucca, Maria Teresa of Spain, Marie Therese de Borbón
Died on: January 20, 1819
place of death: Rome, Italy
Who was Charles IV of Spain?
Charles IV of Spain was the ruler of Spain from 1788 till his abdication in 1808. The second child of King Charles III and Maria Amalia of Saxony, he had very little understanding of the government. He was neither ambitious nor experienced in running the affairs of the state when he ascended the throne. He started ruling with the ministers he had received from his father, but eventually handed over the power of the government to Manuel de Godoy, whose rise to power made him quite unpopular not only in Spain, but also in its colonies. Charles IV was known as ‘El Cazador,’ or ‘the Hunter’, because he preferred hunting and sport over dealing with the matters of the government. Over the years, the people of Spain struggled with several economic problems, but the king focused on the wars instead of addressing the domestic issues. King Charles IV eventually lost the goodwill of his people. Meanwhile, Prince Ferdinand, his son, started a rebellion opposing his father. Though he initially failed, the people started rioting and protesting in favor of the prince and King Charles IV was forced to abdicate.
Accession & Reign
After King Charles III passed away in 1788, Charles IV ascended to the throne. Though he had the ideology of a powerful imperial monarch, he left the power in the hands of Queen Maria Luisa of Parma, his wife, and the prime minister. In 1792, due to political and personal enmity, the Prime Minister Floridablanca left the office, and was replaced by Pedro Pablo Abarca de Bolea, the Count of Aranda. However, the queen then replaced him with Manuel de Godoy, whom she favored a lot. It is speculated that Godoy and the queen had an illicit affair.
Godoy continued his administrative duties with the liberal ideologies of his predecessor. Shortly after King Louis XVI of France was executed, the new king declared war on Madrid, as Spain had opposed the execution. Spain asked its neighbor Portugal for help. The two nations eventually signed a pact of mutual protection from France, their common enemy. In 1796, France forced Godoy into an alliance with them to wage a war on the Kingdom of Great Britain. Spain continued to be an ally of the French. Spain supported the Continental Blockade as well. However, after the British naval victory at Trafalgar, Spain allied with Britain. In 1807, after Napoleon’s victory over Prussia, Spain was again steered back to join the French side.
Charles IV of Spain eventually lost his popularity not just in Spain, but also all over Europe. His kingdom faced massive economic troubles and the news of his wife having an affair with Godoy further added to the people’s dissatisfaction with the monarchy.
His son Ferdinand, who was the crown prince, made an attempt to overthrow him in 1807, but failed. However, Ferdinand earned the support of the people, and the people came to the streets to riot. Charles IV asked Napoleon for help, but he declined. He was eventually forced to abdicate in 1808, and Ferdinand took over as King Ferdinand VII.
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Family & Personal Life
Charles IV of Spain was born on November 11th, 1748, in Portici, Naples. He was the second son of King Charles III and his wife, Maria Amalia of Saxony. Don Felipe, his older brother, was unqualified for the throne as he suffered from learning disabilities and epilepsy.
From an early age, he had more interest in outdoor activities than matters related to the royal court. He was a marksman hunter, which earned him the nickname El Cazador.
He had fourteen children with his wife, Queen Maria Luisa of Parma. Only six of them survived till adulthood. He trusted his wife as capable to run the royal court.