Birthday: October 10, 1830
Died At Age: 73
Sun Sign: Libra
Also Known As: Isabella the Queen of Sad Mischance, the Traditional Queen, María Isabel Luisa de Borbón y Borbón-Dos Sicilias
Born Country: Spain
Born in: Madrid, Spain
Famous as: Queen of Spain (1833-1868)
Empresses & Queens
Spouse/Ex-: Duke of Cádiz, Francis
father: Ferdinand VII of Spain
mother: Maria Christina of the Two Sicilies
siblings: 1st Countess of Vista Alegre, 1st Duke of Tarancón, Agustín Muñoz, Agustín Muñoz; 1st Duke of Tarancón, Antonio de Padua, Duchess of Montpensier, Fernando; 2nd Duke of Riansares and Tarancon, Infanta Luisa Fernanda, Jose; Count of Gracia, Juan; Count of Recuerdo, Maria Amalia; Marchioness of Barcelona, María Amparo Muñoz, María Amparo Muñoz; 1st Countess of Vista Alegre, Maria Christina; Marchioness of La Isabella, Maria de los Milagros; Marchioness of Castillejo
children: Alfonso XII, Alfonso XII of Spain, Fernando de Borbón y Borbón, Fernando; Prince of Asturias, Infanta Eulalia, Infanta Eulalia of Spain, Infanta María de la Paz of Spain, Infanta María del Pilar of Spain, Infante Francis of Assisi Leopold of Spain, Isabella, Isabella; Princess of Asturias, María Cristina de Borbón y Borbón, María de la Concepción de Borbón y Borbón, Maria del Pilar, Princess of Asturias
Died on: April 9, 1904
place of death: Paris, France
City: Madrid, Spain
Founder/Co-Founder: Belen Jesuit Preparatory School, Santander Group
awards: Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece
Who was Isabella II of Spain?
Queen Isabella II of Spain was a Spanish monarch who reigned from 1833 to 1868, until she was overthrown and forced into exile in France during the Glorious Revolution. She had inherited the throne at the age of three. Throughout her reign, she faced a series of civil wars led by her uncle, Infante Carlos, Count of Molina, and his successors, known as the Carlist Wars. Her reign also saw continuous political tensions between the moderate liberals and progressives, and she had numerous prime ministers during her rule. Despite frequent political unrest and military coups, Spain had made moderate progress in the fields of commerce and transportation by the time she was exiled. A few years into her exile, she abdicated the throne, making way for her son, Alfonso XII, to inherit it after the first Spanish Republic failed.
Early Life & Regency Period
Isabella II of Spain was born on October 10, 1830, in Madrid, Kingdom of Spain, to King Ferdinand VII of Spain and his fourth wife and niece, Maria Christina of the Two Sicilies.
She was the eldest of her father's surviving children from his four marriages and had a sister named Luisa Fernanda, apart from several other siblings from her mother's secret morganatic marriage to Agustín Fernando Muñoz.
Her mother convinced her dying father to set aside the Salic Law, by which his brother Don Carlos would inherit the throne, and re-establish the older succession law, so that Isabella becomes his successor. She was less than three years old when she inherited the throne following the death of her father on September 29, 1833.
Her mother became the regent and ruled with the support of the Cortes Generales, as well as the opposing parties, the Moderate Liberals and the Progressives, both of which supported Isabella's claim. However, her uncle Infante Carlos disputed her sovereignty and fought for seven years to assert his claim, which became known as the First Carlist War.
After the war ended, Maria Christina was pressured into abdicating the regency in 1840, following which Baldomero Espartero, Prince of Vergara, a Progressive, became the regent.
In 1843, Generals Leopoldo O'Donnell and Ramón María Narváez led a military coup against Espartero and had the court declare Isabella “of age” at just 13.
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During the early reign of Queen Isabella II of Spain, a diplomatic crisis occurred between the French, which backed the ruling conservative Moderate Party, and the British, which backed the Progressives, regarding her marriage.
A series of discussions followed between the three countries, which resulted in the French candidate, Francisco de Asís de Borbón, Duke of Cádiz, being selected over the British candidate Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
On October 10, 1846, 16-year-old Isabella was married to her double-first cousin Francisco, while at the same time, her younger sister Infanta Luisa Fernanda was married to Antoine d'Orléans, Duke of Montpensier.
Her marriage was not a happy one; according to some sources, most of her children, including Alfonso XII, were not fathered by her king-consort, who was rumored to be homosexual.
She gave birth to nine children, of whom five survived childhood: Isabel, Princess of Asturias; Alfonso XII; María del Pilar; María de la Paz; and Eulalia de Asís de la Piedad. Alfonso later became the Spanish King in 1874, while Isabel married Prince Gaetan, Count of Girgenti. María de la Paz married Prince Ludwig Ferdinand of Bavaria and Eulalia married Infante Antonio, Duke of Galliera.
Queen Isabella II of Spain immediately faced political unrest as continued conservative intrigue forced the collapse of the first Progressive government shortly after her coronation.
In 1844, she handed over the power to the Moderate Liberals, who would rule throughout the next decade, during which time her regime's authoritarianism and arbitrary political interference developed strong opposition among the liberals.
During the ensuing decade, she was attacked twice, the first of which was in Calle de Alcalá in 1847 by Ángel de la Riva, who was eventually pardoned after being sentenced to death.
Later in February 1852, elderly priest and liberal activist Martín Merino attempted regicide and wounded the queen with a knife, for which he was executed by garrote.
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Amidst rising discontent over the massively corrupt Moderate regime, protests started throughout the country in 1854. Prominent Moderate General O'Donnell joined Progressive General Serrano and together, they issued the Manifesto of Manzanares, the demands of which Isabella had to accept, thus starting the Progressive government.
Between 1854 and 1856, the Progressive Party brought in several reforms to the political system, and annulled the Moderate Constitution of 1845, even though some of the legislative and economic reforms resulted in chaos.
In July 1856, O'Donnell led another coup that ended the two-year-old Progressive government, which was replaced by the Liberal Union government, a centrist coalition that was aimed at achieving a balance between the prior governments.
In October 1859, Spain declared war against Morocco over border conflicts of the Spanish city of Ceuta, which resulted in Spanish victory and the Treaty of Wad-Ras in April 1860.
The next war during Isabella's reign was the Chincha Islands War, against Peru and Chile, which lasted from 1864 to 1866 and ended with the Spanish withdrawing from patrolling the South American coastline.
Exile & Abdication
Following the 1866 rebellion led by General Juan Prim and the revolt of the sergeants at San Gil barracks, liberals and republican exiles orchestrated a major uprising to overthrow Queen Isabella II of Spain.
In 1868, after O'Donnell retired and his successor Narváez died, a mutiny started in Cadiz, which was later supported by Generals Prim and Francisco Serrano, who denounced the government.
Isabella sent her loyal Moderate generals led by Manuel Pavia, Marquis of Novaliches, but they were defeated by General Serrano at the Battle of Alcolea, forcing her to flee to France on September 13, 1868.
In August 1870, she was replaced by Prince Amadeo of Savoy, son of Victor Emmanuel II of Italy, who reigned as Amadeo I of Spain.
When Amadeo abdicated the throne in February 1873, political parties formed the first Spanish Republic, which also collapsed in December 1874. Earlier in June 1870, Isabella had abdicated the throne in favor of her son Alfonso XII, who was proclaimed the Spanish King during the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy in 1874.
Later Life & Death
Queen Isabella II of Spain continued to live in France even after her son became the king, and only occasionally visited Spain, where she was barred from engaging in politics. She resided at the Palacio Castilla in France, where the Marqués de Alta Villa was her secretary.
She separated amicably from her husband in 1870, but both of them continued to live in France and eventually developed a friendship that lasted until his death in 1902.
She died from complications due to influenza on April 10, 1904, and was buried in the Pantheon of Kings at the Monasterio de El Escorial near Madrid, alongside her husband.
While Queen Isabella II of Spain was in exile in France, Napoleon III engaged in the Franco-Prussian War to prevent the Prussian candidate, German Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, from replacing her. He was deposed following his defeat, which permanently ended the monarchical government in France.