Copyright

The Crown: The Monarchy of Spain's History, Succession & Regency

The Crown: The Monarchy of Spain's History, Succession & Regency
Coming up next: Heads of Spanish Government: The Spanish President & Council of Ministers

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:02 The Spanish Crown
  • 0:30 Formation
  • 1:47 Civil War and Regency
  • 2:53 The Crown Today
  • 3:51 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed
Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Christopher Sailus

Chris has an M.A. in history and taught university and high school history.

In this lesson, we will briefly explore the history of the crown of Spain, from its inception in the 15th century to its status as the nominal head of the state in Spain today.

The Spanish Crown

When we think of 'kings and queens' we tend to think of stereotypical images of the Middle Ages, like chivalrous knights, enormous feasts, and enormous battles with swords, shields, archers, and castles. In some countries, like England and France, kings and queens that made war on other nations and ruled their countries absolutely were certainly a part of this era. However, in Spain, the monarchy has a more recent and tumultuous history - one which this lesson will detail for you.

Formation

Indeed, something approaching the Spanish crown as we know it today did not form until the end of the 15th century. Prior to the formation of the Spanish crown, what we know today as Spain spent several centuries broken up between various independent states controlled by Christians in the north and Muslim rulers from North Africa in the south. In 1469, the two largest northern and central states, Castile and Aragon, were united by the marriage of their monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella. The power couple extended their reign through conquering other independent regions in Spain and pushing the Muslim rulers back across the Straits of Gibraltar.

The crown was inherited by the grandson of Ferdinand and Isabella, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, who became Charles I of Spain. His rule began in the early 16th century, beginning a period of Habsburg rule in Spain that united the Spanish crown with that of the Holy Roman Empire. This line ended in 1701, when Charles II died childless and the War of the Spanish Succession occurred for over a decade as various factions fought over the Spanish crown. The result was the House of Bourbon taking the throne. With brief interludes caused by the Napoleonic Wars and revolution, the House of Bourbon ruled over Spain well into the 20th century.

Civil War and Regency

In the 1930s, however, liberals and socialists clamoring for reform caused considerable political turmoil in Spain. Rather than fight the Spanish legislature, which is called the Cortes, and likely the Spanish people as well, King Alfonso XIII chose to abdicate the throne in 1931, end the Spanish crown, and declare Spain a republic. The republic's attempts at rule, however, were marked by a power struggle between socialists and communists on one side, and those loyal to the monarchy on the other. The political instability devolved into civil war in only a few short years, and a fascist army led by General Francisco Franco emerged from the conflict as victors.

Franco installed a fascist dictatorship in Spain after his victory, and any political opposition to his regime was routinely arrested, imprisoned, and worked to death in forced labor camps. Franco did claim the crown still existed, but that Franco himself ruled Spain as the regent for life to the king of Spain. Who that king was, was anyone's guess. Franco simply assumed that title to give his dictatorship a bit more legitimacy.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support