Fernando VII was king of Spain between the months of March and May of the year 1808. He was listed among his people as the ” desired ” or King Felón . Son of King Carlos IV and María Luisa de Parma, he was the ninth of fourteen children and recognized as Prince of Asturias in 1789.
- When was he born: 10/14/1784
- Where he was born: San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain
- When he died: 09/29/1833
- Where he died: Madrid, Spain
Who was Fernando VII?
King Ferdinand VII was one of the most complex and important kings in the history of Spain, characterized by creating a people’s war against the French occupation and by the struggle of liberal groups to establish a constitutional monarchy .
- Biography of Fernando VII
- What did Fernando VII do
- Why they called him “the Desired One”
- Importance of Fernando VII
Biography of Fernando VII
He was born on October 14, 1784 , in San Lorenzo del Escorial, he was the ninth child of Carlos IV and María Luisa de Parma, daughter of the Dukes of Parma. During his childhood he was a weak and sickly child and was raised by Juan Escoiquiz , a man who instilled in him a deep hatred for Godoy . Beyond this, Fernando’s education was one of the worst received by a Spanish monarch. The young prince hated studying, spoke little, rarely smiled, and, it was said, found sarcastic satisfaction in all manner of acts of cruelty .
In October 1802, he married his cousin Marie Antoinette of Naples . He was described by his mother-in-law as an unpleasant 18-year-old, dumb and bad husband. Marie Antoinette joined Escoiquiz in overthrowing Godoy, who was becoming increasingly unpopular due to the inflation brought on by the war against England . Escoiquiz was able to raise a conspiracy against him and organize it around the figure of Fernando . When Marie Antoinette died in May 1806, Godoy was accused of having poisoned her .
In 1807, Godoy told Carlos that his son was plotting against him, and Fernando was placed under house arrest . Fearing for his life, he wrote to his father: “I have done wrong, I have sinned against you as King and as Father, but I have repented, and now I offer His Majesty the humblest obedience . ” Fernando was released and Escoiquiz was exiled to Toledo, but the conspiracy against Godoy continued.
During the Aranjuez mutiny, Godoy was deposed and Fernando VII began to reign . Fernando VII and his royal family, were attracted to Bayonne by Napoleon Bonaparte , who forced him to resign to the Spanish crown in his favor naming as king of Spain to his brother Joseph , who reigned until 1814 under the name of Joseph I.
In the War of Independence, the Regency Council declared Ferdinand VII of Bourbon as the sole and legitimate king of Spain and annulled the Crown in favor of Napoleon. The Liberal or Constitutional Triennium is considered as the second stage of his reign continuing the reformist work with the abolition of class privileges , suppression of the dominions , abolition of the mayorazgos , suppression of the Inquisition , preparation of the Penal Code and recovery of the validity of the Constitution of 1812.
The last stage of the reign of Fernando VII was again absolutist . The Constitution was again suppressed and all existing institutions were reestablished in January 1820, except for the Inquisition. The final years of the reign focused on the question of succession.
In 1832 , Fernando’s health began to fail and he died on September 29, 1833 . The queen did not allow her body to be touched for 48 hours. Five days after his death, the King was buried among other kings of Spain in the Escorial vault .
What did Fernando VII do
Fernando VII has been praised by conservative Spanish historians as a capable and popular king who fought to preserve the traditional Spanish way of life . But he has also been attacked by liberal historians as a bloody, cowardly ogre who tried to turn back the tide of progress.
The stages of the reign of Fernando VII are as follows:
- The Mutiny of Aranjuez : Godoy withdrew the court to Aranjuez and Fernando instigates the Mutiny of Aranjuez . Godoy was captured and Carlos IV is forced to abdicate in favor of Fernando to save the life of his private.
- First Reign : Fernando VII tries to meet with Napoleon who in the end accepts. Fernando VII abdicated in favor of his father, Carlos IV and the latter, with a treaty, gave his crown to Napoleon in exchange for asylum in France for them and Godoy. Napoleon places his brother, José I Bonaparte , on the Spanish throne .
- War of Independence : on May 2, 1808, the War of Independence begins . The Spanish give rise to the patriots, supporters of absolutism and who wanted the return of Fernando VII and the Frenchified , supporters of enlightened ideas. The battle of Bailén took place, on July 19, 1808, which caused the first great defeat of Napoleon’s army and balanced the forces of the contenders. The end of the war was marked by the Battle of Arapiles, on July 22, 1812, and the withdrawal of the Napoleonic forces.
- La Pepa : the Spanish Constitution of 1812 was written and it was built on the basis of the liberal State establishing national sovereignty , the division of powers and a constitutional monarchy .
- Return of Fernando VII: the return occurred on March 14, 1814. On May 4, 1814, the king decreed the absolute monarchy , annulled the constitution and dissolved the Cortes.
- Absolutist Government : the persecution of the Liberals , who hid and tried to rise up, began, the universities were closed, freedom of the press was prohibited , the trade unions returned and properties were returned to the church . There was national instability and great incompetence of the occupants of political office.
- Liberal Triennium : liberal ideas were put into practice and the inquisition and lordships were eliminated . Fernando VI tried to return to absolutism with the help of the French army, the One Hundred Thousand Sons of Saint Louis.
- Ominous Decade : it lasted until the death of the king in 1833. The canons of the absolutist government of Fernando VII were established again with the support of the church. The Spanish colonies declare their independence , leaving only Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean islands under Spanish rule.
Fernando VII had a total of four wives. His first wife was Maria Antonia of Naples . In 1816, he again married María Isabel de Braganza , Infanta of Portugal, but was humiliated and never enjoyed popularity among the people. In 1819, he married another of his nieces, María Josefa Amalia de Sajonia who was only 15 years old. Of his wives, only María Cristina de las Dos Sicilias , who was the last wife, could give him offspring.
Fernando VII only managed to have two daughters in his last marriage, which were:
- Isabel II who managed to become queen of Spain.
- Luisa Fernanda , Infanta of Spain, married to the Duke of Montpensier.
Why they called him “the Desired One”
There are several versions of why they called him this way. One of them is that the Spanish people wanted him to return after having left the government abandoned and that is why they called him the desired one. Another version tells us that it was due to the king’s sexual endowment , which was quite abnormal, since according to data, his sexual member was of abnormally large proportions.
Importance of Fernando VII
Its importance lies in the imposition of absolutism, annulling the Constitution of Cádiz and persecuting the liberals . He also made a military pronouncement that began the so-called Constitutional Triennium , in which the Constitution and the decrees of Cádiz were reestablished.
Some famous phrases said by Fernando VII were:
- Let’s march frankly, and I the first, on the constitutional path …
- Dress me slowly, I’m in a hurry.
- He was widowed 3 times and apparently, he poisoned his second wife because he was tired of her.
- He had numerous relationships outside of marriage.
- He had no relations with his third wife in the 10 years of their marriage.
- His wife María Isabel gave him the idea of creating the Prado Museum , with all its pictorial collections, currently being one of the most important art galleries in the world.