Ferdinand VII of Spain


October 20, 2021

Ferdinand VII of Spain, known as the Desired (L'Escorial, 14 October 1784 - Madrid, 29 September 1833), was Prince of Asturias (1788-1808) and King of Spain (1808 and 1814- 1833).

Family backgrounds

He was born in El Escorial on October 14, 1784, being the third son of King Charles IV of Spain and Maria Louise of Bourbon-Parma. He was clean by paternal line of King Charles III of Spain and Princess Maria Amalia of Saxony, and by maternal line of Duke Philip I of Parma and Princess Elizabeth of France.


With his father's accession to the throne in 1788, Ferran was appointed Prince of Asturias by the Cortes. Canon Escoiquiz, the main architect of the Conspiracy of El Escorial, was for several years his preceptor and who instilled in him, with manipulative intent, a distrust and a fierce hatred of his parents and Manuel Godoy. Apart from the short period (1802-1806) Escoiquiz maintained a total influence on Ferran, until he was discovered while participating in the process of El Escorial. A couple of months later, the Riot of Aranjuez caused Manuel Godoy to be deposed and Charles IV of Spain to abdicate for the benefit of his son, Prince Ferdinand.


Ferdinand VII began to reign on March 19, 1808 with great popularity, seeing in him not a son who had betrayed his father but another victim of the Prince of Peace, Manuel Godoy. But Ferran began his reign in a country occupied by the French troops of Joachim Murat, having to put himself under his protection. In 1808 Napoleon Bonaparte summoned Ferdinand to Bayonne, where Charles IV of Spain resided in exile to resign from the Spanish Crown. On April 30, Charles IV and his wife, Godoy, Ferdinand VII and his wife meet, along with Napoleon Bonaparte and his brother Joseph. At the same time, in Madrid, the town rose against the French occupiers on May 2, thus beginning the Spanish War of Independence. In Bayonne Charles IV states that his resignation from the throne after the Aranjuez Riot is null and void and demands the return of his rights. At the same time, the king himself had ceded these rights to Napoleon in exchange for asylum in France for him, his wife and Godoy as well as a pension of 30 million reais a year. On May 5, Napoleon got Ferdinand VII, through the Abdications of Bayonne, to recognize his father as a legitimate king in exchange for a pension of 4 million reais a year. Napoleon named his brother Joseph Bonaparte king of Spain, who would reign in Spain as Joseph I of Spain until 1813. During the French War, the Council of Regency convened, in 1810, the Cortes de Cádiz and declared Ferran de Borbón the sole and legitimate monarch of the Spanish nation, nullifying the cession of the Crown in favor of Napoleon. The defeats of the French troops motivated the Treaty of Valençay on December 11, 1813 by which the Spanish Crown returned to Ferran, who on March 7, 1814 was already authorized to return to Spain.

Return of the King

Ferdinand VII returned to Spain on March 22, 1814. A group of absolutist deputies presented him with the Manifesto of the Persians, in which he advised him to restore the absolutist system and repeal the Constitution drawn up in the Cortes de Cádiz in 1812. In the early years of his government there was a cleansing of French sympathizers and liberals. The liberal proclamation of the army, led by Rafael Riego in Las Cabezas de San Juan, forced the monarch to swear in the Constitution, and to put into operation the Liberal or Constitutional Triennium (1820-1823) where the reformist work began. in 1810: abolition of class privileges, lordships, and the Inquisition, the Penal Code was prepared and the Constitution of 1812 returned to force. From 1822 onwards, all these reformist political initiatives had their answer in a counter-revolution

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