Famous Spanish Leaders

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Whether you are looking for adventure or tranquillity, want to dive into the European cultural heritage or just be merry in the bustling cities and towns, have hands-on experience of culture and local life or delve on the historic past of extraordinary men and women, Spain is the place to be. A cultural paradise, Spain has been the epicentre of Europe’s exemplary history. And much of that have been due to its leaders, men with extraordinary feats and achievements who through their incessant toil and hard work gave nationals opportunities and freedom. It is to those outstanding Spaniards and leaders that we dedicate this segment to. Spain has had a wealth of some of the most remarkable world leaders and activists who have helped shaped much of Spain’s present and future. Whether it was fighting for human rights or developing sustainable farming practices, these leaders have truly left an impact on the world for centuries to come. Be it was Francisco Franco and his dictatorship or Miguel de Cervantes and his military prowess, Juan Carlos I and his kingship or incumbent Prime Minister of Spain Mariano Rajoy Brey, each of them have been legendary leaders. Check this section to know more about Spanish leaders.
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 1 
Philip II of Spain
(King of Spain (1556 - 1598), King of Portugal (1580 - 1598))
Philip II of Spain
20
Birthdate: May 21, 1527
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Valladolid, Spain
Died: September 13, 1598
Philip II, son of Charles V, was a 16-th century king of Spain and Portugal. Also known as Philip the Prudent, he became the king of Ireland and England through his marriage to Mary I. Following Mary’s death, he attempted to overthrow Elizabeth I with his armada invasions, but failed.
 2 
Francisco Franco
(Former Caudillo of Spain)
Francisco Franco
47
Birthdate: December 4, 1892
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ferrol, Spain
Died: November 20, 1975

Francisco Franco overthrew the Second Spanish Republic by leading the Nationalist forces as their general during the Spanish Civil War. Subsequently, Franco ruled over Spain as a dictator from 1939 to 1975. He had such an impact as a dictator that the period between the Nationalist victory and Franco's death is known as Francoist Spain in the history of Spain.

 3 
El Cid
(Military leader)
El Cid
13
Birthdate: 1043 AD
Birthplace: Vivar, Burgos
Died: July 10, 1099
Spanish folk hero Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, or El Cid, was a Castilian knight from medieval Spain. He had been part of both Christian and Muslim armies and is also remembered for his heroic conquest of Valencia. He remains immortalized in the Spanish epic poem El Cantar de Mio Cid.
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 4 
Felipe VI of Spain
(King of Spain)
Felipe VI of Spain
11
Birthdate: January 30, 1968
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain

Felipe VI of Spain is the current King of Spain, reigning since 2014. He ascended the throne upon the abdication of his father, Juan Carlos I. His mother is Queen Sofía. As the king, he is head of state and commander-in-chief of the Spanish Armed Forces as well. He also serves as the honorary president of several associations and foundations. 

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 5 
Francis Xavier
(Missionary)
Francis Xavier
6
Birthdate: April 7, 1506
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Javier, Spain
Died: December 3, 1552
Navarrese Catholic missionary and saint Francis Xavier co-founded the Society of Jesus. His mission focused on the Portuguese Empire in Asia. He is remembered for his efforts to spread Christianity in Goa. He extended his mission to Japan and Borneo but died before he could preach in China.
 6 
Francisco Pizarro
(Spanish conquistador)
Francisco Pizarro
6
Birthdate: March 16, 1478
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Trujillo, Spain
Died: June 26, 1541

Francisco Pizarro was a Spanish conquistador best remembered for his expeditions that eventually paved the way for the Spanish conquest of Peru. Along with Vasco Núñez de Balboa, Pizarro became the first European to reach the Pacific Ocean after crossing the Isthmus of Panama. After two failed expeditions to Peru, Pizarro led a third and successful campaign to conquer Peru.

 7 
Mariano Rajoy
(Former Prime Minister of Spain)
Mariano Rajoy
4
Birthdate: March 27, 1955
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Santiago de Compostela

Former Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy is a qualified lawyer and had stepped into politics at the tender age of 26. Under his leadership, the People’s Party shifted from being staunchly right to center-right. He was eventually ousted by a vote of no-confidence after the Catalan independence crisis.

 8 
Juan de Borbón
(Spanish royal)
Juan de Borbón
3
Birthdate: June 20, 1913
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Segovia, Spain
Died: April 1, 1993
 9 
Roland
(Frankish Military Leader Under Charlemagne and a Central Figure in 'Matter of France' Literary Cycle)
Roland
3
Birthdate: 0736 AD
Birthplace: Spain
Died: August 15, 0778
 10 
Anne Hidalgo
(Politician)
Anne Hidalgo
4
Birthdate: June 19, 1959
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: San Fernando, Spain
 11 
Carles Puigdemont
(Member of the European Parliament for Spain)
Carles Puigdemont
10
Birthdate: December 29, 1962
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Amer, Girona, Catalonia, Spain

Born to a baker, Spanish journalist Carles Puigdemont had humble beginnings. He was drawn to politics while attending meetings with his uncle as a teenager and later joined the Catalan pro-independence movement, becoming the president of Catalonia. He went into exile in Belgium to evade arrest for misuse of funds.

Ferdinand VI of Spain
3
Birthdate: September 23, 1713
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: August 10, 1759
 13 
Florentino Pérez
(President ,civil engineer)
Florentino Pérez
6
Birthdate: March 8, 1947
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Madrid

Spanish business magnate and civil engineer Florentino Pérez leads Grupo ACS as its CEO. He is also famous as the president of the football club Real Madrid and has the reputation of hiring and firing managers at his will. A self-made billionaire, he brought in the Galácticos era in football.

 14 
Túpac Amaru
3
Birthdate: 1545 AD
Birthplace: Peru
Died: September 24, 1572
 15 
Miguel López de Legazpi
(Navigator and Governor Who Established the First Spanish Settlement in the East Indies)
Miguel López de Legazpi
3
Birthdate: 1502 AD
Birthplace: Zumarraga, Spain
Died: August 20, 1572
 16 
Magnus Maximus
(Former Roman Emperor (383 - 388))
Magnus Maximus
3
Birthdate: 0335 AD
Birthplace: Hispania
Died: August 28, 0388
 17 
Diego Columbus
(Spanish Explorer, 2nd Viceroy of the Indies (1511 – 1526) and 4th Governor of the Indies (1509 – 1518))
Diego Columbus
3
Birthdate: April 1, 1479
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Porto Santo Island, Portugal
Died: February 23, 1526

Diego Columbus was an explorer and navigator who served under the Kings of Aragón and Castile. The oldest son of Christopher Columbus, Diego spent most of his time trying to regain the privileges and titles granted to his father and then denied in 1500.

 18 
Joan Laporta
(Lawyer, Jurist, Politician, Professor)
Joan Laporta
3
Birthdate: June 29, 1962
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Barcelona
 19 
Manuel Valls
(Politician)
Manuel Valls
5
Birthdate: August 13, 1962
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Barcelona
 20 
Miguel Primo de Rivera
(Politician, Military personnel)
Miguel Primo de Rivera
4
Birthdate: January 8, 1870
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Jerez de la Frontera
Died: March 16, 1930
José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero
3
Birthdate: August 4, 1960
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Valladolid
 22 
Manuel Azaña
(President of Spain 1936 – 1939)
Manuel Azaña
4
Birthdate: January 10, 1880
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Alcala de Henares, Spain
Died: November 3, 1940
Luis Carrero-Blanco, 1st Duke of Carrero-Blanco
5
Birthdate: March 4, 1904
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Santoña
Died: December 20, 1973
 24 
Antonio José de Sucre
(Former President of Bolivia (1825 - 1828))
Antonio José de Sucre
3
Birthdate: February 3, 1795
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cumaná
Died: June 4, 1830

Antonio José de Sucre was a Venezuelan political leader who served as the President of Peru from 23 June to 17 July 1823. He also served as the second president of Bolivia from 29 December 1825 to 18 April 1828. Antonio José de Sucre also played an influential role as an independence leader through his work alongside Simón Bolívar.

 25 
José María Aznar
(Politician)
José María Aznar
5
Birthdate: February 25, 1953
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Madrid
 26 
Sandro Rosell
(Entrepreneur, Businessperson)
Sandro Rosell
5
Birthdate: March 6, 1964
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Barcelona
 27 
Léon Degrelle
(Politician)
Léon Degrelle
5
Birthdate: June 15, 1906
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bouillon, Belgium
Died: March 31, 1994

While Belgian politician Léon Degrelle initially wished to study law, he stepped into politics after failing his law exams repeatedly. He later went on to establish the Rexist Party of Belgium. A Nazi supporter, he fought for the German army during Germany’s occupation of Belgium during World War II.

 28 
Buenaventura Durruti
(Anarcho-syndicalist, Anarchist, Trade unionist)
Buenaventura Durruti
3
Birthdate: July 14, 1896
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: León
Died: November 20, 1936
 29 
John of Austria
(Admiral of the Holy Alliance Fleet at the Battle of Lepanto)
John of Austria
3
Birthdate: February 24, 1547
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Regensburg, Germany
Died: October 1, 1578

John of Austria was an illegitimate son of Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor who reigned from 1519 to 1556. John served as a military leader under his half-brother, King Philip II of Spain. John of Austria is best remembered for his role at the Battle of Lepanto, where he served as the admiral of the Holy Alliance fleet.

 30 
Dolores Ibárruri
(Politician)
Dolores Ibárruri
3
Birthdate: December 9, 1895
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Gallarta, Biscay, Spain
Died: November 12, 1989
 31 
Pedro Menéndez de Avilés
(1st Governor of Florida (1565 - 1574))
Pedro Menéndez de Avilés
3
Birthdate: February 15, 1519
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Avilés, Asturias, Spain
Died: September 17, 1574

Remembered as the founder of St. Augustine in Florida, USA, Spanish admiral and explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilés has also been credited with planning the first regular trans-Atlantic convoys. Ruthlessly loyal to the Spanish king, he massacred the entire population of a nearby French post and established a string of forts along the Atlantic coast to protect Spanish interests.

 32 
José Antonio Primo de Rivera
4
Birthdate: April 24, 1903
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: November 20, 1936
 33 
Isabel Diaz Ayuso
(Politician)
Isabel Diaz Ayuso
4
Birthdate: October 17, 1978
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
 34 
James FitzJames, 1st Duke of Berwick
(Anglo-French Military Leader Who was an Illegitimate Son of James II of England)
James FitzJames, 1st Duke of Berwick
4
Birthdate: August 21, 1670
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Moulins, France
Died: June 12, 1734

James FitzJames, 1st Duke of Berwick was an Anglo-French military leader. He was an illegitimate son of James II of England, who reigned as the King of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 1685 to 1688. James FitzJames, 1st Duke of Berwick is best remembered for his service as a general under Louis XIV of France.

 35 
Felipe González
(Prime Minister of Spain)
Felipe González
4
Birthdate: March 5, 1942
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Seville, Spain

Spanish lawyer and PSOE politician Felipe González has been the longest-serving freely elected prime minister of Spain. Born to a livestock farmer in Seville, he had initially aspired to be a civil engineer but later switched to law. At 40, he was the youngest European head of government.

 36 
Javier Solana
(Former Secretary General of NATO)
Javier Solana
3
Birthdate: July 14, 1942
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Madrid

Javier Solana is a Spanish physicist and politician. He is best known for his service as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain from 16 June 1992 to 18 December 1995. Over the course of his career, Javier Solana has been honored with many prestigious awards, such as the Charlemagne Prize, Vision for Europe Award, and Charles V European Award.

 37 
Lluís Companys
(Former President of the Government of Catalonia)
Lluís Companys
3
Birthdate: June 21, 1882
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: El Tarròs, Spain
Died: October 15, 1940
 38 
Ines Arrimadas
(Politician)
Ines Arrimadas
4
Birthdate: July 3, 1981
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Jerez de la Frontera, Andalusia, Spain
 39 
Ferran Soriano
(Businessperson)
Ferran Soriano
3
Birthdate: June 16, 1967
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Barcelona
 40 
Francisco de Quevedo
(Spanish Politician and One of the Greatest Poets of the Spanish Golden Age)
Francisco de Quevedo
3
Birthdate: September 14, 1580
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: September 8, 1645

Spanish nobleman, politician and writer Francisco Gómez de Quevedo y Santibáñez Villegas, KOS of the Baroque era is counted among the most prominent writers of Spain's Golden Age. Quevedo adhered to the conceptismo style compared to his lifelong rival, Luis de Góngora’s culteranismo style. His notable works include the picaresque novel El Buscón and the satirical prose Los Sueños.

Ferdinand I of León
2
Birthdate: 1015 AD
Died: December 24, 1065
 42 
Antipope Benedict XIII
(Spanish Antipope and Nobleman)
Antipope Benedict XIII
3
Birthdate: November 25, 1328
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Illueca, Spain
Died: May 23, 1423

Antipope Benedict XIII, or Pope Luna, initially served as a university professor of canon law and later became a cardinal. He was made the pope after Clement VII’s death, on the grounds that he would resign to end the Western Schism later, but he didn’t and was thus deposed.

 43 
Louis of Spain
3
Birthdate: August 25, 1707
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Buen Retiro Palace, Spain
Died: August 31, 1724
 44 
Ada Colau
(Politician)
Ada Colau
3
Birthdate: March 3, 1974
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
 45 
Adolfo Suárez
(Politician)
Adolfo Suárez
3
Birthdate: September 25, 1932
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cebreros, Ávila, Spain
Died: March 23, 2014
 46 
Carlos Hugo, Duke of Parma
2
Birthdate: April 8, 1930
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: August 18, 2010
 47 
Pedro de Valdivia
(Spanish Conquistador Who Founded Santiago and Concepción and Became the 1st Royal Governor of Chile)
Pedro de Valdivia
2
Birthdate: April 17, 1497
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Castuera
Died: December 25, 1553
 48 
Almanzor
(Military Leader Who Became De Facto Ruler of Islamic Iberia during Hisham II’s Reign)
Almanzor
2
Birthdate: 0938 AD
Birthplace: Algeciras, Spain
Died: August 10, 1002
 49 
Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba
(officer, military personnel)
Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba
2
Birthdate: September 1, 1453
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Montilla
Died: December 2, 1515

Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba had become part of the Castilian court at age 13. He earned the nickname El Gran Capitán for his successful military exploits, especially the Conquest of Granada and the Italian Wars. He also negotiated the final surrender of Granada and served as the viceroy of Naples.

 50 
Niceto Alcalá-Zamora
2
Birthdate: July 6, 1877
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Priego de Córdoba, Spain
Died: February 18, 1949