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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Emilio Mola was a Spanish military leader best remembered for leading the 1936 Nationalist Coup that started the Spanish Civil War. The coup d'etat, which was also led by Sanjurjo and Franco, is considered an important event in the history of Spain. Emilio Mola was honored with the prestigious Military Medal during his service in Spain's colonial war in Morocco.
Gaspar de Portolá was a Spanish military officer. He is best remembered for heading the Portolá expedition, which laid the foundations of prominent Californian cities like Monterey and San Diego. Gaspar de Portolá is also remembered for his service as the first Governor of the Californias from 30 November 1767 to 9 July 1770.
Juan O'Donojú was a Spanish-Irish diplomat and military officer. He is best remembered for his service as the viceroy of New Spain from July 1821 to September 1821. Prior to his service as the last Spanish Jefe Político Superior of New Spain, Juan O'Donojú also served as the Prime Minister of Spain for a brief period in 1813.
Infante Alfonso Carlos, Duke of San Jaime was the Carlist claimant to the Spanish throne under the moniker Alfonso Carlos I. A popular military leader, Alfonso fought against the Italian Army and defended Rome in 1870. He also played an important role during the Third Carlist War from 1872 to 1874.
Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand of Austria was the Cardinal of the Holy Catholic Church. He also played an important role during the Thirty Years' War, where he served as a military commander. Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand is also remembered for his service as the governor of the Spanish Netherlands.
Agustina de Aragon was a Spanish warrior best remembered for her valiant effort while defending Spain during the Peninsular War. Nicknamed the Spanish Joan of Arc, Agustina served in the Spanish Army. Regarded as a heroine in Spain, Agustina de Aragón has been the subject of several stories, folklore, and artwork. Her life inspired the 1929 film Agustina of Aragon.
Alonso Pérez de Guzmán y Sotomayor, who was the 7th Duke of Medina Sidonia, commanded the 1588 Spanish Armada. Part of the Spanish noble house of Guzmán, he continued to exercise control over the Spanish navy during the reigns of both Philip II and Philip III, in spite of naval disasters.
Donal Cam was the last independent chief of the Irish Gaelic clan O'Sullivan Beara. He commanded the Munster forces at the 1601 Battle of Kinsale. He captured many castles around West Cork but the threat of starvation forced him to retreat and move to Spain, where he was exiled and later murdered.
Spanish military general Rafael del Riego led the Liberal Triennium in Spain. His early military career was spent fighting the French invading forces during the Peninsular War. His revolt against Ferdinand VII was against the king’s treatment of the army and his American campaign and restored the constitution for 3 years.
Damaso Berenguer was a Spanish politician and general best remembered for his service as the Prime Minister of Spain from 30 January 1930 to 18 February 1931. He is credited with founding the Fuerzas Regulares Indígenas, volunteer infantry units of the Spanish Army.
In his 50-year career, Spanish admiral Álvaro de Bazán, 1st Marquess of Santa Cruz had remained undefeated. Born to a naval commander, he was quick to follow into his father’s footsteps. He was also behind the planning of the Spanish Armada, that attempted an invasion of England after his death.
José Cadalso was a colonel of the Royal Spanish Army in the 18th century. He was also a well-known author, playwright, poet, and essayist. As an army man, he traveled through Italy, Germany, England, France, and Portugal and studied the literature of these countries. He is credited to have made massive contributions to Spanish Enlightenment literature.
Luis Méndez de Haro began his political career under the guidance of his uncle, Gaspar de Guzmán, who was the chief minister of King Philip IV and whom he succeeded. He also struck a peace deal, putting an end to a long war with France, with the Peace of the Pyrenees.