- Charles II of Spain
Charles II King of Spain Reign 17 September 1665 – 1 November 1700
( 35 years, 45 days)
Predecessor Philip IV Successor Philip V Regent Mariana of Austria (until 1677) Spouse Marie Louise d'Orléans
Maria Anna of the Palatinate-Neuburg (1689–1700)
Father Philip IV of Spain Mother Mariana of Austria Born November 6, 1661
Royal Alcazar, Madrid, Spain
Died November 1, 1700(aged 38)
Royal Alcazar, Madrid, Spain
Burial El Escorial, Spain Signature Religion Roman Catholicism
Charles II (6 November 1661 – 1 November 1700) was the last Habsburg King of Spain and the ruler of large parts of Italy, the Spanish territories in the Southern Low Countries, and Spain's overseas Empire, stretching from the Americas to the Spanish East Indies. He is noted for his extensive physical, intellectual, and emotional disabilities—along with his consequent ineffectual rule—as well as his role in the developments preceding the War of the Spanish Succession.
Charles was born in Madrid in 1661, the only surviving son of his predecessor, King Philip IV of Spain and his second Queen (and niece), Mariana of Austria, another Habsburg. His birth was greeted with joy by the Spanish, who feared the disputed succession which could have ensued if Philip IV had left no male heir.
17th century European noble culture commonly matched cousin to first cousin and uncle to niece, to preserve a prosperous family's properties. Charles's own immediate pedigree was exceptionally populated with nieces giving birth to children of their uncles: Charles's mother was a niece of Charles's father, being a daughter of Maria Anna of Spain (1606–46) and Emperor Ferdinand III. Thus, Empress Maria Anna was simultaneously his aunt and grandmother and Margarita of Austria was both his grandmother and great-grandmother. The inbreeding was so widespread in his case that all of his eight great-grandparents were descendants of Joanna of Aragon and Duke Phillip of Austria. This inbreeding had given many in the family hereditary weaknesses. That Habsburg generation was more prone to still-births than were peasants in Spanish villages.
There was also insanity in Charles's family; his great-great-great(-great-great, depending along which lineage one counts) grandmother, Joanna of Castile ("Joanna the Mad"; however, the degree to which her "madness" was induced by circumstances of her confinement and political intrigues targeting her is debated), mother of the Spanish King Charles I (who was also Holy Roman Emperor Charles V) became insane early in life. Joanna was two of Charles' 16 great-great-great-grandmothers, six of his 32 great-great-great-great-grandmothers, and six of his 64 great-great-great-great-great-grandmothers.
Dating to approximately the year 1550, outbreeding in Charles II's lineage had ceased (see also pedigree collapse). From then on, all his ancestors were in one way or another descendants of Joanna the Mad and Philip I of Castile, and among these just the royal houses of Spain, Austria and Bavaria. Charles II's genome was actually more homozygous than that of an average child whose parents are siblings. He was born physically and mentally disabled, and disfigured. Possibly through affliction with mandibular prognathism, he was unable to chew. His tongue was so large that his speech could barely be understood, and he frequently drooled. It has been suggested that he suffered from the endocrine disease acromegaly, or his inbred lineage may have led to a combination of rare genetic disorders such as combined pituitary hormone deficiency and distal renal tubular acidosis.
Consequently, Charles II is known in Spanish history as El Hechizado ("The Hexed") from the popular belief—to which Charles himself subscribed—that his physical and mental disabilities were caused by "sorcery." The king went so far as to be exorcised.
Born in the capital of the vast Spanish empire, Madrid, and as the only surviving male heir of his father's two marriages (the only brother of Charles to survive infancy was Balthasar Charles, Prince of Asturias, who died at the age of 16 in 1646), he was named the Principe de Asturias as his heir.
When Charles was four, his father died and his mother was made his regent—a position she retained during much of his reign. Though she was exiled by the king's illegitimate half-brother John of Austria the Younger, she returned to the court after John's death in 1679. The queen mother managed the country affairs through a series of favourites ("validos"), whose merits usually amounted to no more than meeting the queen's fancy. The sheer size of the kingdom at that time made this kind of government increasingly damaging to the realm's affairs.
Not having learned to speak until the age of four nor to walk until eight, Charles was treated as virtually an infant until he was ten years old. Fearing the frail child would be overtaxed, his caretakers did not force Charles to attend school. The indolence of the young Charles was indulged to such an extent that at times he was not expected to be clean. When his half-brother Don John of Austria, a natural son of Philip IV, obtained power by exiling the queen mother from court, he covered his nose and insisted that the king at least brush his hair.
The only vigorous activity in which Charles is known to have participated was shooting. He occasionally indulged in the sport in the preserves of the Escorial.
The years in which Charles II sat on the throne were difficult for Spain. The economy was stagnant, there was hunger in the land, and the power of the monarchy over the various Spanish provinces was extremely weak. Charles' unfitness for rule meant he was often ignored and power during his reign became the subject of court intrigues and foreign, particularly French and Austrian, influence.
During the reign of Charles II, the decline of Spanish power and prestige that started in the last years of Count-Duke of Olivares' prime ministership accelerated. Although the peace Treaty of Lisbon with Portugal in 1668 ceded the North African enclave of Ceuta to Spain, it was little solace for the loss of Portugal and the Portuguese colonies by Philip IV to the Duke of Braganza's successful revolt against more than 60 years of Habsburg rule.
Charles presided over the greatest auto-da-fé in the history of the Spanish Inquisition in 1680, in which 120 prisoners were forced to participate, of whom 21 were later burnt at the stake. A large, richly adorned book was published celebrating the event. Toward the end of his life, in one of his few independent acts as King, Charles created a Junta Magna (Great Council) to examine and investigate the Spanish Inquisition. The council's report was so damning of the Inquisition that the Inquisitor General convinced the decrepit monarch to "consign the 'terrible indictment' to the flames". When Philip V took the throne, he called for the report, but no copy could be found.
In 1679, the 18-year-old Charles II married Marie Louise d'Orléans (1662–1689), eldest daughter of Philippe I, Duke of Orléans (the only sibling of Louis XIV) and his first wife Princess Henrietta of England. At that time, Marie Louise was known as a lovely young woman. It is likely that Charles was impotent, and no children were born. Marie Louise became deeply depressed and died at 26, ten years after their marriage, leaving 28-year-old Charles heartbroken.
Still in desperate need of a male heir, the next year he married the 23-year-old Palatine princess Maria Anna of Neuburg, a daughter of Philip William, Elector of the Palatinate, and sister-in-law of his uncle Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor. However, this marriage was no more successful than the first in producing the much-desired heir.
Toward the end of his life Charles became increasingly hypersensitive and strange, at one point demanding that the bodies of his family be exhumed so he could look upon the corpses. He officially retired when he had a nervous breakdown caused by the amount of pressure put on him to try to pull Spain out of the economic trouble it was going through. He lived a simple life from then on, playing games and other activities. He died in Madrid in 1700.
As the American historians Will and Ariel Durant put it, Charles II was "short, lame, epileptic, senile, and completely bald before 35, he was always on the verge of death, but repeatedly baffled Christendom by continuing to live."
When Charles II died in 1700, the line of the Spanish Habsburgs died with him. He had named as his successor a grand-nephew, Philip, Duke of Anjou (a grandson of the reigning French king Louis XIV, and of Charles' half-sister, Maria Theresa of Spain—Louis XIV himself was an heir to the Spanish throne through his mother, daughter of Philip III). As alternate successor he had named his blood cousin Charles (from the Austrian branch of the Habsburg dynasty).
The specter of the multi-continental empire of Spain passing under the effective control of Louis XIV provoked a massive coalition of powers to oppose the Duc d'Anjou's succession. The actions of Louis heightened the fears of, among others, the English, the Dutch and the Austrians. In February of 1701, the French King caused the Parlement of Paris (a court) to register a decree that should Louis himself have no heir that the Duc d'Anjou (Phillip V of Spain) would surrender the Spanish throne for that of the French, ensuring dynastic continuity in Europe's greatest land power.
However, a second act of the French King "justified a hostile interpretation": pursuant to a treaty with Spain, Louis occupied several towns in the Spanish Netherlands (modern Belgium and Nord-Pas-de-Calais). This was the spark that ignited the powder keg created by the unresolved issues of the War of the League of Augsburg (1689–97) and the acceptance of the Spanish inheritance by Louis XIV for his grandson.
Almost immediately the War of the Spanish Succession (1702–1713) began. After eleven years of bloody, global warfare, fought on four continents and three oceans, the Duc d'Anjou, as Philip V, was confirmed as King of Spain on substantially the same terms that the powers of Europe had agreed to before the war. Thus the Treaties of Utrecht and Rastatt ended the war and "achieved little more than...diplomacy might have peacefully achieved in 1701." A proviso of the peace perpetually forbade the union of the Spanish and French thrones.
AncestorsAncestors of Charles II of Spain
- The city of Charleroi in Belgium was named after him. It was founded in 1666 during his reign as count of Namur or generally sovereign of the Spanish Netherlands.
- Admiral Francisco Lazeano named the Caroline Islands in the Pacific Ocean after him in 1686.
COAT OF ARMS AS SPANISH MONARCH COAT OF ARMS AS MONARCH OF NAPLES
COAT OF ARMS AS MONARCH OF MILÁN
- ^ Newell (2008) (jpg). Inbreeding of Charles II of Spain. http://www.musitek.com/Public/Charles_II_Inbreeding.jpg.
- ^ a b c d Gonzalo Alvarez, Francisco C. Ceballos, Celsa Quinteiro (April 15, 2009). "The Role of Inbreeding in the Extinction of a European Royal Dynasty". PLoS ONE. http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0005174. Retrieved 2009-04-16.
- ^ a b c d e http://www.xs4all.nl/~monarchs/madmonarchs/carlos2/carlos2_bio.htm
- ^ Durants, 1963.
- Will Durant The Reformation (1957)
- Will and Ariel Durant, The Age of Louis XIV (1963)
- Henry Kamen, The Spanish Inquisition (1997)
- Martin Andrew Sharp Hume, The Year After the Armada, and other historical studies (1896)
- NNDB: Charles II
Charles II of SpainBorn: November 6 1661 Died: November 1 1700
- http://www.xs4all.nl/~monarchs/madmonarchs/carlos2/carlos2_bio.htm A biography of Charles II of Spain in Joan's Mad Monarchs Series
Regnal titles Preceded by
Philip IV of Spain
King of Spain, Naples and Sicily
Philip V of Spain
Duke of Milan, Lothier,
Brabant, Limburg and Luxemburg;
Count of Flanders, Hainaut and Namur
17 September 1665 – 1 November 1700
Count Palatine of Burgundy
Lost to France
Treaties of Nijmegen
Spanish royalty VacantTitle last held byPhilip Prospero Prince of Asturias
VacantTitle next held byLouis Philip Austrian archdukes 1st generation 2nd generationArchduke Cristopher · Maximilian I · Archduke John · Archduke Wolfgang 3rd generationPhilip I of Castile · Archduke Francis 4th generation 5th generation 6th generationCharles, Prince of Asturias* · Archduke Ferdinand · Rudolf V · Archduke Ernest · Matthias · Maximilian III · Albert VII · Archduke Wenzel · Archduke Frederick · Archduke Charles · Ferdinand, Prince of Asturias* · Archduke Ferdinand · Archduke Carlos Lorenzo* · Diego, Prince of Asturias* · Philip III of Spain* · Ferdinand III · Archduke Charles · Archduke Maximilian Ernest · Leopold V · Archduke Charles 7th generation 8th generationBalthasar Charles, Prince of Asturias* · Ferdinand IV of Hungary · Archduke Francisco Fernando* · Archduke Philip August · Archduke Maximilian Thomas · Leopold VI · Archduke Charles Joseph · Archduke Ferdinand Joseph Alois · Philip Prospero, Prince of Asturias* · Archduke Ferdinand Thomas* · Charles II of Spain* 9th generation 10th generationArchduke Leopold Joseph · Archduke Leopold John 11th generation 12th generationEmperor Francis I** · Ferdinand III, Grand Duke of Tuscany** · Charles, Duke of Teschen** · Alexander Leopold, Palatine of Hungary** · Joseph, Palatine of Hungary** · Archduke Anton Victor** · Archduke John** · Archduke Rainier Joseph** · Archduke Louis** · Cardinal-Archduke Rudolf** · Archduke Josef Franz*** · Francis IV, Duke of Modena*** · Archduke Ferdinand Karl Joseph*** · Archduke Maximilian*** · Karl, Primate of Hungary*** 13th generationEmperor Ferdinand I · Francis Leopold, Grand Prince of Tuscany** · Leopold II, Grand Duke of Tuscany** · Archduke Joseph Franz · Archduke Franz Karl · Archduke Johann Nepomuk · Albert, Duke of Teschen · Stephen, Palatine of Hungary · Archduke Karl Ferdinand · Francis V, Duke of Modena*** · Archduke Frederick Ferdinand · Archduke Ferdinand Karl Viktor*** · Archduke Rudolf · Archduke Leopold Ludwig · Archduke Ernest Karl · Archduke Alexander · Archduke Sigismund Leopold · Archduke Rainer Ferdinand · Archduke Wilhelm Franz · Archduke Heinrich Anton · Archduke Maximilian Karl · Archduke Joseph Karl 14th generationEmperor Franz Joseph I · Maximilian I of Mexico · Archduke Charles Louis · Archduke Ludwig Viktor · Ferdinand IV, Grand Duke of Tuscany** · Archduke Karl Salvator** · Archduke Rainier** · Archduke Ludwig Salvator** · Archduke John Salvator** · Archduke Karl · Archduke Franz Joseph · Friedrich, Duke of Teschen · Archduke Charles Stephen · Archduke Eugen · Archduke Joseph August · Archduke Ladislaus 15th generationCrown Prince Rudolf · Archduke Franz Ferdinand*** · Archduke Otto Francis · Archduke Ferdinand Karl · Archduke Leopold Ferdinand** · Archduke Joseph Ferdinand** · Archduke Peter Ferdinand** · Archduke Heinrich Ferdinand** · Archduke Robert Ferdinand** · Archduke Leopold Salvator** · Archduke Franz Salvator** · Archduke Albrecht Salvator** · Archduke Rainier Salvator** · Archduke Ferdinand Salvator** · Albrecht Franz, Duke of Teschen · Archduke Karl Albrecht · Archduke Leo Karl · Archduke Wilhelm · Archduke Joseph Francis · Archduke Ladislaus Joseph · Archduke Matthias 16th generationEmperor Charles I · Archduke Maximilian Eugen · Archduke Gottfried** · Archduke Georg** · Archduke Rainier** · Archduke Leopold Maria** · Archduke Anton** · Archduke Franz Joseph** · Archduke Karl Pius** · Archduke Franz Karl** · Archduke Hubert Salvator** · Archduke Theodor Salvator** · Archduke Clemens Salvator** · Archduke Joseph Arpád · Archduke Itsván · Archduke Géza · Archduke Michael Koloman 17th generationCrown Prince Otto · Archduke Robert*** · Archduke Felix · Archduke Carl Ludwig · Archduke Rudolf · Archduke Ferdinand Karl · Archduke Heinrich Maria · Archduke Leopold Franz** · Archduke Guntram** · Archduke Radbot** · Archduke Johann** · Archduke Georg** · Archduke Stephan** · Archduke Dominic** · Archduke Friederich Salvator** · Archduke Andreas Salvator** · Archduke Markus** · Archduke Johann** · Archduke Michael** · Archduke Franz Salvator** · Archduke Karl Salvator** · Archduke Joseph Karl · Archduke Andreas Agustinus · Archduke Nicholas Franz · Archduke Johann Jacob · Archduke Edward Karl · Archduke Paul Rudolf 18th generationArchduke Karl · Archduke Georg · Archduke Lorenz*** · Archduke Gerhard*** · Archduke Martin*** · Archduke Karl Philipp · Archduke Raimund Joseph · Archduke Itsván · Archduke Rudolf · Archduke Carl Christian · Archduke Karl Peter · Archduke Simeon · Archduke Johannes · Archduke Maximilian Heinrich · Archduke Philipp Joachim · Archduke Ferdinand Karl · Archduke Konrad · Archduke Sigismund** · Archduke Georg** · Archduke Guntram** · Archduke Leopold** · Archduke Alexander Salvator** · Archduke Thaddäus Salvator** · Archduke Casimir Salvator** · Archduke Matthias** · Archduke Johannes** · Archduke Bernhard** · Archduke Benedikt · Archduke Joseph Albrecht · Archduke Paul Leo · Archduke Friedrich Cyprian · Archduke Benedikt Alexander · Archduke Nicolás · Archduke Santiago · Archduke Paul Benedikt 19th generationArchduke Ferdinand Zvonimir · Archduke Karl Konstantin · Archduke Amedeo*** · Archduke Joachim*** · Archduke Bartholomaeus*** · Archduke Emmanuel*** · Archduke Luigi*** · Archduke Felix Carl · Archduke Andreas Franz · Archduke Paul Johannes · Archduke Carl Christian · Archduke Johannes · Archduke Thomas · Archduke Franz Ludwig · Archduke Michael · Archduke Joseph · Archduke Imre · Archduke Imre · Archduke Christoph · Archduke Alexander · Archduke Lorenz Carl · Archduke Wilhelm · Archduke Johannes · Archduke Ludwig · Archduke Philipp · Archduke Nicholas · Archduke Constantin · Archduke Jacob Maximilian · Archduke Leopold Amedeo** · Archduke Maximilian** · Archduke Leopold** · Archduke Constantin Salvator** · Archduke Paul Salvator** *also an infante of Spain
**also a prince of Tuscany
***also a prince of Modena
Infantes of Spain The generations indicate descent from Charles I, under whom the crowns of Castile and Aragon were united, forming the Kingdom of Spain. Previously, the title Infante had been largely used in the different realms. 1st Generation 2nd Generation 3rd Generation 4th Generation 5th Generationnone 6th Generationnone 7th Generation 8th Generation 9th Generation 10th Generation 11th Generation 12th Generation 13th Generation 14th Generation 15th Generation 16th Generationnone *title granted by Royal Decree
**consort to an Infanta who was naturalized as a Spanish Infante
Princes of Asturias
Infante Felipe (1977–present)Infante Alfonso (1907–1931) · Infanta Mercedes (1880–1904) · Infanta Isabella (1875–1880) · Prince Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy (1871–1873) · Infante Alfonso (1857–1868) · Infanta Isabella (1851–1857) · Infanta Isabella (1830–1833) · Infante Ferdinand (1788–1808) · Infante Charles (1759–1788) · Infante Ferdinand (1724–1746) · Infante Louis (1709–1724) · Prince Joseph Ferdinand of Bavaria (1698–1699) · Infante Charles (1661–1665) · Infante Philip Prospero (1657–1661) · Infante Balthasar Charles (1629–1646) · Philip IV (1605–1621) · Infante Philip (1582–1598) · Infante Diego (1578–1582) · Infante Ferdinand (1571–1578) · Infante Charles (1556–1568) · Philip II (1527–1556) · Infante Charles (1504–1516) · Infanta Joanna (1502–1504) · Infante Michael of Portugal (1498–1500) · Infanta Isabella (1497–1498) · Infante John (1478–1497) · Infanta Isabella (1470–1478) · Infanta Isabella (1468–1470) · Infante Alfonso (1464–1468) · Infanta Joanna (1462–1464) · Infante Henry (1425–1454) · Infanta Eleanor (1424–1425) · Infanta Catherine (1423–1424) · Infante John (1405–1406) · Infanta Maria (1402–1405) · Infante Henry (1388–1390)
Monarchs of Spain House of Trastámara (1479–1555) House of Habsburg (1516–1700) House of Bourbon (1700–1808) House of Bonaparte (1808–1813) House of Bourbon (1813–1868) House of Savoy (1868–1873) House of Bourbon (1874–1931) House of Bourbon (since 1975) Monarchs of Luxembourg Counts of Luxembourg (963–1354)Elder House of Luxembourg
(963–1136)House of Namur
(1136–1189)Henry IV (1136–1189)House of Hohenstaufen
(1196–1197)Otto (1196–1197)House of Namur
(1197–1247)House of Limburg
Dukes of Luxembourg (1354–1794)House of Limburg
(1354–1443)House of Valois-Burgundy
(1443–1482)House of Habsburg
(1482–1700)House of Bourbon
(1700–1712)Philip V (1700–1712)House of Wittelsbach
(1712–1713)Maximilian II (1712–1713)House of Habsburg
(1713–1780)House of Habsburg-Lorraine
Grand Dukes of Luxembourg (since 1815)House of Orange-Nassau
(1815–1890)House of Nassau-Weilburg
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