Famous Spanish Military Leaders

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 1 
El Cid
(Military leader)
El Cid
8
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.
 2 
Francisco Pizarro
(Spanish conquistador)
Francisco Pizarro
8
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.

 3 
Roland
(Frankish Military Leader Under Charlemagne)
Roland
3
Birthdate: 0736 AD
Birthplace: Spain
Died: August 15, 0778

Frankish military-leader Roland, a foremost member of Charlemagne’s court, became a central-figure in Matter of France literary cycle. Charlemagne’s Paladins, led by Roland, first featured in chanson de geste cycle of Matter of France. It includes Chanson de Roland that narrates heroic death of Roland at the Battle of Roncevaux Pass and is considered first major work in French language. 

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 4 
Francisco Franco
(Former Caudillo of Spain)
Francisco Franco
13
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.

 5 
Miguel Primo de Rivera
(Military Personnel and Prime Minister of Spain from 1923 to 1930)
Miguel Primo de Rivera
3
Birthdate: January 8, 1870
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Jerez de la Frontera
Died: March 16, 1930
 6 
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.

 7 
John of Austria
(Admiral of the Holy Alliance Fleet at the Battle of Lepanto)
John of Austria
4
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.

 8 
Pedro de Valdivia
(Spanish Conquistador Who Became the 1st Royal Governor of Chile)
Pedro de Valdivia
3
Birthdate: April 17, 1497
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Castuera
Died: December 25, 1553

Spanish conquistador Pedro de Valdivia served the Spanish army under Charles I. He led an expedition into Chile where he founded the cities of Santiago, Concepción and Valdivia, the latter was named after him. He extended Spanish rule south to the Biobío River and served as 1st Royal Governor of Chile. He also held-office as 2nd Adelantado of Terra Australis.

 9 
Almanzor
(Military Leader Who Became De Facto Ruler of Islamic Iberia During Hisham II’s Reign)
Almanzor
2
Birthdate: 0938 AD
Birthplace: Torrox, Spain
Died: 1002 AD

Military-leader and statesman Almanzor held significant administrative positions during reign of Al-Hakam II, the second Umayyad Caliph of Córdoba in Al-Andalus. After Al-Hakam II died, his minor son Hisham II became the Caliph and eventually Almanzor, who became the chancellor of the Caliphate and hajib (chamberlain), emerged as de facto ruler of the Caliphate and exercised power until his death.

 10 
Emilio Mola
(Leader of the Nationalist Coup of July 1936, Which Started the Spanish Civil War)
Emilio Mola
3
Birthdate: July 9, 1887
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Placetas, Cuba
Died: June 3, 1937

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.

 11 
Bernardo de Gálvez
(49th Viceroy of New Spain)
Bernardo de Gálvez
0
Birthdate: July 23, 1746
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Macharaviaya, Spain
Died: November 30, 1786
 12 
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.

 13 
Valeriano Weyler
(Spanish General Who Became Governor General of the Philippines and Cuba)
Valeriano Weyler
2
Birthdate: September 17, 1838
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Palma, Spain
Died: October 20, 1930

Spanish general Valeriano Weyler fought in the Ten Years’ War, Third Carlist War and Cuban War of Independence. He earned repute as terror of the anarchists and communists and as Butcher Weyler for his stern antirebel measures. He served as Governor-General of the Philippines and Cuba and later as Spanish Minister for War and Chief of Staff of the Army.

 14 
Infante Alfonso, Duke of Galliera
(Infante of Spain, Duke of Galliera and First Cousin of King of Spain Alfonso XIII)
Infante Alfonso, Duke of Galliera
2
Birthdate: November 12, 1886
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: August 6, 1975

Infante of Spain, Duke of Galliera Alfonso de Orleans y Borbón, first cousin of King of Spain Alfonso XIII, was counted among the first and most prominent aviators in the Spanish military. He served important positions and eventually became Brigadier General. He also unofficially represented Count of Barcelona, the son and heir of Alfonso XIII, in Spain, for several years.

 15 
Gaspar de Portolá
(First Governor of the Californias)
Gaspar de Portolá
2
Birthdate: 1716 AD
Birthplace: Os de Balaguer, Spain
Died: November 30, 1786

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.

 16 
Juan O'Donojú
(Viceroy of New Spain from July 1821 to September 1821)
Juan O'Donojú
1
Birthdate: July 30, 1762
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Seville, Spain
Died: October 8, 1821

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.

 17 
Infante Alfonso Carlos, Duke of San Jaime
(Carlist Claimant to the Spanish Throne)
Infante Alfonso Carlos, Duke of San Jaime
2
Birthdate: September 12, 1849
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: September 29, 1936

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.

 18 
Agustina de Aragon
(Military officer)
Agustina de Aragon
1
Birthdate: March 4, 1786
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Reus, Spain
Died: May 29, 1857

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.

 19 
Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand of Austria
(Cardinal of the 'Holy Catholic Church')
Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand of Austria
1
Birthdate: May 16, 1609
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain
Died: November 9, 1641

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.

 20 
Francisco Serrano, 1st Duke of la Torre
(Spanish Statesman and Marshal)
Francisco Serrano, 1st Duke of la Torre
1
Birthdate: December 17, 1810
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Isla de León
Died: November 25, 1885
Francisco Serrano, 1st Duke of la Torre was a Spanish statesman and marshal. He served as the prime minister of Spain from 1868 to 1869 and then served as the regent of Spain from 1869 to 1870. One of the leading military politicians of Spain, Serrano also served as the captain-general of Cuba between 1859 and 1862. 
 21 
Alonso Pérez de Guzmán y Sotomayor, 7th Duke of Medina Sidonia
(Spanish Nobleman and the Commander of the 1588 Spanish Armada)
Alonso Pérez de Guzmán y Sotomayor, 7th Duke of Medina Sidonia
1
Birthdate: September 10, 1550
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain
Died: July 26, 1615

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.

 22 
Donal Cam O'Sullivan Beare
(The Last Independent Chief of the Irish Gaelic Clan O'Sullivan Beara)
Donal Cam O'Sullivan Beare
1
Birthdate: 1561 AD
Birthplace: Ulster, Ireland
Died: 1618 AD

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.

 23 
Rafael del Riego
(Spanish Military General Who Led the Liberal Triennium)
Rafael del Riego
1
Birthdate: April 7, 1784
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Tuña, Spain
Died: November 7, 1823

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.

 24 
Dámaso Berenguer
(Former Prime Minister of Spain)
Dámaso Berenguer
1
Birthdate: August 4, 1873
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Remedios, Cuba
Died: May 19, 1953

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. 

 25 
John of Austria the Younger
(Military Leader)
John of Austria the Younger
0
Birthdate: April 7, 1629
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: September 17, 1679
 26 
Pascual Cervera y Topete
(Naval Officer)
Pascual Cervera y Topete
1
Birthdate: February 18, 1839
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Medina-Sidonia, Cadiz province, Spain
Died: April 3, 1909
 27 
Álvaro de Bazán, 1st Marquess of Santa Cruz
(Admiral)
Álvaro de Bazán, 1st Marquess of Santa Cruz
1
Birthdate: December 12, 1526
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Granada, Spain
Died: February 9, 1588

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.

 28 
Juan Prim, 1st Count of Reus
(Statesman)
Juan Prim, 1st Count of Reus
1
Birthdate: December 6, 1814
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Reus, Spain
Died: December 30, 1870
 29 
Manuel Gutiérrez Mellado
(Spanish official)
Manuel Gutiérrez Mellado
1
Birthdate: April 30, 1912
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: December 15, 1995
 30 
Baldomero Espartero, prince de Vergara
(Spanish Statesman and Marshal)
Baldomero Espartero, prince de Vergara
1
Birthdate: February 27, 1793
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Granátula, Spain
Died: January 8, 1879
 31 
Leopoldo O'Donnell
(Spanish Grandee and General)
Leopoldo O'Donnell
1
Birthdate: January 12, 1809
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
Died: November 5, 1867
 32 
Tomás de Zumalacárregui
(Spanish military leader)
Tomás de Zumalacárregui
1
Birthdate: December 29, 1788
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ormaiztegui, Spain
Died: June 24, 1835
 33 
Pedro Pablo Abarca de Bolea, count de Aranda
(Statesman)
Pedro Pablo Abarca de Bolea, count de Aranda
1
Birthdate: 1719 AD
Birthplace: Siétamo, Spain
Died: 1798 AD
 34 
Maria Pacheco
(Military personnel)
Maria Pacheco
1
Birthplace: Granada
Died: 1531 AD
 35 
José Cadalso
(Spanish Military Officer and Writer Best Known for His ‘Cartas Marruecas’, an Epistolary Novel)
José Cadalso
1
Birthdate: October 8, 1741
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cádiz, Spain
Died: February 26, 1782

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. 

 36 
Miguel Ricardo de Álava
(Spanish Statesman and General)
Miguel Ricardo de Álava
1
Birthdate: February 7, 1772
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
Died: July 14, 1843
 37 
Álvaro de Luna, 1st Duke of Trujillo
(Politician)
Álvaro de Luna, 1st Duke of Trujillo
0
Birthdate: 1390 AD
Birthplace: Cañete, Cuenca, Spain
Died: June 2, 1453
 38 
Ramón María Narváez, 1st Duke of Valencia
(Spanish Statesman and General)
Ramón María Narváez, 1st Duke of Valencia
0
Birthdate: August 5, 1799
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Loja, Spain
Died: April 23, 1868
 39 
Francisco Espoz y Mina
(General)
Francisco Espoz y Mina
0
Birthdate: June 17, 1781
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Idocin, Idocin, Spain
Died: December 24, 1836
 40 
José de Gálvez, 1st Marquess of Sonora
(Spanish Lawyer and Inspector General)
José de Gálvez, 1st Marquess of Sonora
1
Birthdate: January 2, 1720
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Macharaviaya, Spain
Died: August 21, 1792
 41 
Luis Méndez de Haro
(Spanish Nobleman, Politician and General)
Luis Méndez de Haro
0
Birthdate: February 17, 1598
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Valladolid, Spain
Died: November 26, 1661

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.

 42 
Pedro Navarro, Count of Oliveto
(Navarrese General and Military Engineer)
Pedro Navarro, Count of Oliveto
0
Birthdate: 1460 AD
Birthplace: Garde, Spain
Died: August 28, 1528
 43 
Manuel Pavía y Lacy
(General)
Manuel Pavía y Lacy
0
Birthdate: July 6, 1814
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: October 22, 1896
 44 
Manuel Pavía y Rodríguez de Alburquerque
(General)
Manuel Pavía y Rodríguez de Alburquerque
0
Birthdate: August 2, 1828
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Cádiz, Spain
Died: January 4, 1895
 45 
Antonio María de Bucareli
(Military officer)
Antonio María de Bucareli
0
Birthdate: January 21, 1717
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sevilla, Spain
Died: April 9, 1779