Alfonso XII of Spain

Alfonso XII of Spain

Alfonso XII (November 28, 1857–November 25, 1885) was king of Spain, reigning from 1875 to 1885, after a "coup d'état" restored the monarchy and ended the ephemeral First Spanish Republic.

Alfonso was the son of Isabella II of Spain, and allegedly, Francis of Assisi de Borbon, her King Consort. His true biological paternity is uncertain, though his legal paternity is not: his mother was married to her (presumed homosexual) cousin Francis of Assisi de Borbon, the King Consort of Spain, at the time of Alfonso's conception and birth. Some theories suggest that Alfonso's biological father might have been either Enrique Puigmoltó y Mayans, captain of the Royal Guard, or General Francisco Serrano.Fact|date=February 2008

In exile

When Queen Isabella and her husband were forced to leave Spain by the Revolution of 1868, Alfonso accompanied them to Paris. From there, he was sent to the Theresianum at Vienna to continue his studies. On June 25, 1870, he was recalled to Paris, where his mother abdicated in his favour, in the presence of a number of Spanish nobles who had tied their fortunes to that of the exiled queen. He assumed the title of Alfonso XII, for although no King of united Spain had borne the name "Alfonso XI", the Spanish monarchy was regarded as continuous with the more ancient monarchy represented by the eleven kings of León and Castile, also named Alfonso.

Shortly afterwards, Alfonso proceeded to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the United Kingdom in order to continue his military studies. While there, he issued, on December 1, 1874, in reply to a birthday greeting from his followers, a manifesto proclaiming himself the sole representative of the Spanish monarchy. At the end of that year, when Marshal Serrano left Madrid to take command of the northern army in the Carlist War, Brigadier Martinez Campos, who had long been working more or less openly for the king, led some battalions of the central army to Sagunto, rallied to his own flag the troops sent against him, and entered Valencia in the king's name. Thereupon the president of the council resigned, and his power was transferred to the king's plenipotentiary and adviser, Canovas del Castillo.

Return from exile

Within a few days after Canovas del Castillo took power, the new king arrived at Madrid, passing through Barcelona and Valencia and was acclaimed everywhere (1875). In 1876, a vigorous campaign against the Carlists, in which the young king took part, resulted in the defeat of Don Carlos and the Duke's abandonment of the struggle.

On January 23, 1878, Alfonso married his cousin, Princess Maria de las Mercedes, daughter of Antoine, Duke of Montpensier, but she died within six months of the marriage. Towards the end of the same year, a young workman of Tarragona, Juan Oliva Moncasi, fired at the king in Madrid.

econd marriage and rule

On November 29, 1879, Alfonso married a much more distant relative, the Maria Christina of Austria, daughter of Archduke Karl Ferdinand of Austria and of his wife Archduchess Elisabeth of Austria. During the honeymoon, a pastrycook named Otero fired at the young sovereign and his wife as they were driving in Madrid.

The children of this marriage were:
* Maria de las Mercedes, Princess of Asturias, (September 11, 1880 – October 17, 1904), married on February 14, 1901 to Prince Carlos of Bourbon, and titular heiress from the death of her father until the posthumous birth of her brother
* Maria Teresa, (November 12, 1882 – September 23, 1912), married to Prince Ferdinand of Bavaria on January 12, 1906
* Alfonso XIII (May 17, 1886 -- February 28, 1941). Born posthumously, this son was king from the moment of his birth and thus never held any other Spanish titles from the crown, such as Infante or Prince of Asturias. He married Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg, called "Ena," a carrier of hemophilia, and two of their sons died young from the disease. A third was a deaf-mute as a result of a childhood illness. A fourth was the father of the current King of Spain.

In 1881, the king refused to sanction a law by which the ministers were to remain in office for a fixed term of eighteen months. Upon the consequent resignation of Canovas del Castillo, he summoned Práxedes Mateo Sagasta, the Liberal leader, to form a new cabinet.

Death and impact

In November 1885, Alfonso died, just short of his 28th birthday, of tuberculosis.

Coming to the throne at such an early age, Alfonso had served no apprenticeship in the art of ruling, but he possessed great natural tact and a sound judgment ripened by the trials of exile. Benevolent and sympathetic in disposition, he won the affection of his people by fearlessly visiting districts ravaged by cholera or devastated by earthquake in 1885. His capacity for dealing with men was considerable, and he never allowed himself to become the instrument of any particular party. During his short reign, peace was established both at home and abroad, finances were well regulated, and the various administrative services were placed on a basis that afterwards enabled Spain to pass through the disastrous war with the United States without the threat of a revolution.




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1= 1. Alfonso XII
2= 2. Francis of Spain (King consort)
3= 3. Queen Isabella II of Spain
4= 4. Infante Francisco de Paula of Spain
5= 5. Princess Luisa Carlotta of Bourbon-Two Sicilies
6= 6. King Ferdinand VII of Spain
7= 7. Princess Maria Christina of the Two Sicilies
8= 8. King Charles IV of Spain
9= 9. Princess Maria Luisa of Parma
10= 10. King Francis I of the Two Sicilies
11= 11. Infanta Maria Isabella of Spain
12= 12. = 8. King Charles IV of Spain
13= 13. = 9. Princess Maria Luisa of Parma
14= 14. = 10. King Francis I of the Two Sicilies
15= 15. = 11. Infanta Maria Isabella of Spain
16= 16. King Charles III of Spain
17= 17. Duchess Maria Amalia of Saxony
18= 18. Philip, Duke of Parma
19= 19. Princess Louise-Élisabeth of France
20= 20. King Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies
21= 21. Archduchess Marie Caroline of Austria
22= 22. = 8. King Charles IV of Spain
23= 23. = 9. Princess Maria Luisa of Parma
24= 24. = 16. King Charles III of Spain
25= 25. = 17. Duchess Maria Amalia of Saxony
26= 26. = 18. Philip, Duke of Parma
27= 27. = 19. Princess Louise-Élisabeth of France
28= 28. = 20. King Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies
29= 29. = 21. Archduchess Marie Caroline of Austria
30= 30. = 8. King Charles IV of Spain
31= 31. = 9. Princess Maria Luisa of Parma

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