Amadeo I of Spain

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Amadeo I
Duke of Aosta
Amadeo king of Spain.jpg
Portrait as King of Spain, by Vicente Palmaroli
King of Spain
Reign16 November 1870 11 February 1873
Predecessor Isabella II
as Queen of Spain
Francisco Serrano
as Regent of Spain
Successor Estanislao Figueras
as President of the Republic
Alfonso XII
as King of Spain
Prime Ministers
Born(1845-05-30)30 May 1845
Royal Palace, Turin, Sardinia
Died18 January 1890(1890-01-18) (aged 44)
Royal Palace, Turin, Kingdom of Italy
Spouse Maria Vittoria dal Pozzo
Maria Letizia Bonaparte
Issue Prince Emanuele Filiberto, Duke of Aosta
Prince Vittorio Emanuele, Count of Turin
Prince Luigi Amedeo, Duke of the Abruzzi
Prince Umberto, Count of Salemi
Full name
Italian: Amedeo Ferdinando Maria di Savoia
House Savoy
Father Victor Emmanuel II of Italy
Mother Adelaide of Austria
Religion Roman Catholicism

Amadeo I (Italian: Amedeo, sometimes anglicized as Amadeus; 30 May 1845 18 January 1890), was an Italian prince who reigned as King of Spain from 1870 to 1873. The only King of Spain from the House of Savoy, he was the second son of King Vittorio Emanuele II of Italy and was known for most of his life as the Duke of Aosta, but was appointed King of Spain briefly, from 1870 to 1873.

House of Savoy noble family

The House of Savoy is a royal family that was established in 1003 in the historical Savoy region. Through gradual expansion, the family grew in power from ruling a small county in the Alps north-west of Italy to absolute rule of the kingdom of Sicily in 1713 to 1720. Through its junior branch, the House of Savoy-Carignano, it led the unification of Italy in 1861 and ruled the Kingdom of Italy from 1861 until 1946 and, briefly, the Kingdom of Spain in the 19th century. The Savoyard kings of Italy were Victor Emmanuel II, Umberto I, Victor Emmanuel III, and Umberto II. The last monarch ruled for a few weeks before being deposed following the Constitutional Referendum of 1946, after which the Italian Republic was proclaimed.

Victor Emmanuel II of Italy Italian politician, king of Sardinia-Piemont and Italy

Victor Emmanuel II was King of Sardinia from 1849 until 17 March 1861. At that point, he assumed the title of King of Italy and became the first king of a united Italy since the 6th century, a title he held until his death in 1878. The Italians gave him the epithet of Father of the Fatherland. The monument Altare della Patria in Rome was built in his honor.


He was elected by the Cortes as Spain's monarch in 1870, following the deposition of Isabella II, and was sworn in the following year. Amadeo's reign was fraught with growing republicanism, Carlist rebellions in the north, and the Cuban independence movement. He abdicated and returned to Italy in 1873, and the First Spanish Republic was declared as a result.

Cortes Generales legislature of Spain

The Cortes Generales are the bicameral legislative chambers of Spain, consisting of the Congress of Deputies, and the Senate.

Isabella II of Spain Spanish queen regnant

Isabella II was Queen of Spain from 1833 until 1868. She came to the throne as an infant, but her succession was disputed by the Carlists, whose refusal to recognize a female sovereign led to the Carlist Wars. After a troubled reign, she was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of 1868, and formally abdicated in 1870. Her son, Alfonso XII, became king in 1874.

First Spanish Republic short-lived political regime that existed in Spain between 11 February 1873 and 29 December 1874

The Spanish Republic, commonly known as the First Spanish Republic to distinguish it from the Spanish Republic of 1931–39, was the short-lived political regime that existed in Spain between the parliamentary proclamation on 11 February 1873 and 29 December 1874 when General Arsenio Martínez Campos's pronunciamiento marked the beginning of the Bourbon Restoration in Spain. The Republic's founding started with the abdication as King on 10 February 1873 of Amadeo I, following the Hidalgo Affair, when he had been required by the radical government to sign a decree against the artillery officers. The next day, 11 February, the republic was declared by a parliamentary majority made up of radicals, republicans and democrats.

Granted the hereditary title of Duke of Aosta in the year of his birth, he founded the Aosta branch of Italy's royal House of Savoy, which is junior in agnatic descent to the branch descended from King Umberto I that reigned in Italy until 1900, but senior to the branch of the Dukes of Genoa.

Duke of Aosta

In the mid-13th century the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick II, made the County of Aosta a duchy; its arms were carried in the Savoyard coat of arms until the unification of Italy in 1870. The region remained part of Savoy lands, with the exception of a French occupation, 1539—1563. The title Duke of Aosta was given to various princes of the dynasty of Sardinia, second sons of the reigning monarch. It can be compared to the English Duke of York, French Duke of Orléans, Swedish Duke of Södermanland and the Scottish Duke of Albany. It remained in the branch of Prince Amedeo of Savoia, the second son of king Victor Emanuel II of Italy, as he was the first ever cadet prince Duke of Aosta who left male heirs. The subsidiary titles of the Duke of Aosta are, from the heritage of Maria Vittoria dal Pozzo, the mother of Duke Emanuele Filiberto, Prince della Cisterna and of Belriguardo, Marquess of Voghera, and Count of Ponderano. Ponderano was created in 1559, Voghera in 1618; Cisterna and Belriguardo as princely in 1670. The title has been used since July 2006 by Amedeo's son Prince Aimone, Duke of Apulia, who is married to Princess Olga of Greece, younger daughter of Prince Michael of Greece and Denmark.

Patrilineality, also known as the male line, the spear side or agnatic kinship, is a common kinship system in which an individual's family membership derives from and is recorded through his or her father's lineage. It generally involves the inheritance of property, rights, names or titles by persons related through male kin.

Umberto I of Italy King of Italy

Umberto I, nicknamed the Good, was the King of Italy from 9 January 1878 until his assassination on 29 July 1900.

Early life and first marriage

The Duke of Aosta in 1870. Duque de Aosta.jpg
The Duke of Aosta in 1870.
The Duke of Aosta with his first wife, Maria Vittoria dal Pozzo. Maria Vittoria dal Pozzo with her husband.jpg
The Duke of Aosta with his first wife, Maria Vittoria dal Pozzo.

Prince Amedeo of Savoy was born in Turin (then part of the Kingdom of Sardinia). He was the second son of King Vittorio Emanuele II (King of Piedmont, Savoy, Sardinia and, later, first King of Italy) and of Archduchess Adelaide of Austria. He was styled the Duke of Aosta from birth.

Turin Comune in Piedmont, Italy

Turin is a city and an important business and cultural centre in northern Italy. It is the capital city of Piedmont and of the Metropolitan City of Turin, and was the first Italian capital from 1861 to 1865. The city is located mainly on the western bank of the Po River, in front of Susa Valley, and is surrounded by the western Alpine arch and Superga Hill. The population of the city proper is 875,698 while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat to be 1.7 million inhabitants. The Turin metropolitan area is estimated by the OECD to have a population of 2.2 million.

Kingdom of Sardinia former Italian state (1324–1861)

The Kingdom of Sardinia was a state in Southern Europe from the early 14th until the mid-19th century.

Sardinia Island in the Mediterranean and region of Italy

Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is located west of the Italian Peninsula and to the immediate south of the French island of Corsica.

Entering the army as captain in 1859 he fought through the Third Italian War of Independence in 1866 with the rank of major-general, leading his brigade into action at the Battle of Custoza and being wounded at Monte Torre. In 1868, after his marriage, he was created vice admiral of the Italian navy, but this position ended when he ascended the Spanish throne. [1]

The army rank of captain is a commissioned officer rank historically corresponding to the command of a company of soldiers. The rank is also used by some air forces and marine forces. Today, a captain is typically either the commander or second-in-command of a company or artillery battery. In the Chinese People's Liberation Army, a captain may also command a company, or be the second-in-command of a battalion.

Third Italian War of Independence War in Italy

The Third Italian War of Independence was a war between the Kingdom of Italy and the Austrian Empire fought between June and August 1866. The conflict paralleled the Austro-Prussian War and, like that war, ended in an Austrian defeat, with Austria conceding the region of Venetia to Italy. Italy's acquisition of this wealthy and populous territory represented a major step in the process of Italian unification.

Battle of Custoza (1866) III Italian Independence War battle

The Battle of Custoza took place on the 24 June 1866 during the Third Italian War of Independence in the Italian unification process.

In 1867 his father yielded to the entreaties of parliamentary deputy Francisco Cassins, and on 30 May of that year, Amedeo was married to Donna Maria Vittoria dal Pozzo. The King initially opposed the match on the grounds that her family was of insufficient rank, as well as his hopes for his son's marriage to a German princess. [2] Despite her princely title, Donna Maria Vittoria was not of royal birth, belonging rather to the Piedmontese nobility. She was, however, the sole heir of her father's vast fortune, [2] which subsequent Dukes of Aosta inherited, thereby obtaining wealth independent of their dynastic appanage and allowances from Italy's kings. [2] The wedding day of Prince Amedeo and Donna Maria Vittoria was marred by the death of a stationmaster who was crushed under the wheels of the honeymoon train. [3]

Don, abbreviated as D., is an honorific prefix primarily used in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Latin America, and the Philippines.

Maria Vittoria dal Pozzo Queen consort of Spain

Maria Vittoria dal Pozzo was an Italian noblewoman and became the Princess della Cisterna in her own right. Married to Prince Amadeo of Savoy, Duke of Aosta, second son of King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy, she was the Queen consort of Spain from 1870 until her husband's abdication in 1873. She is an ancestress of the current Duke of Aosta, a claimant to the erstwhile throne of Italy.

Piedmont Region of Italy

Piedmont is a region in northwest Italy, one of the 20 regions of the country. It borders the Liguria region to the south, the Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna regions to the east and the Aosta Valley region to the northwest; it also borders Switzerland to the northeast and France to the west. It has an area of 25,402 square kilometres (9,808 sq mi) and a population of 4,377,941 as of 30 November 2017. The capital of Piedmont is Turin.

In March 1870, the Duchess appealed to the King to remonstrate with his son for marital infidelities that caused her hurt and embarrassment. But the King wrote in reply that, while understanding her feelings, he considered that she had no right to dictate her husband's behaviour and that her jealousy was unbecoming. [2]

King of Spain

Amadeo as King of Spain on a coin from 1871. Azores I.jpg
Amadeo as King of Spain on a coin from 1871.

After the Spanish revolution deposed Isabella II, the new Cortes decided to reinstate the monarchy under a new dynasty. The Duke of Aosta was elected King as Amadeus (Amadeo) on 16 November 1870. He swore to uphold the constitution in Madrid on 2 January 1871.

The election of the new King coincided with the assassination of General Prim, his main backer. After that, Amadeo had to deal with difficult situations, with unstable Spanish politics, republican conspiracies, Carlist uprisings, separatism in Cuba, same-party disputes, fugitive governments and assassination attempts.

He could count on the support of only the progressive party, whose leaders were trading off in the government thanks to parliamentary majority and electoral fraud. The progressives divided into monarchists and constitutionalists, which made the instability worse, and in 1872 a violent outburst of interparty conflicts hit a peak. There was a Carlist uprising in the Basque and Catalan regions, and after that, republican uprisings happened in cities across the country. The artillery corps of the army went on strike, and the government instructed the King to discipline them.

Though warned of a plot against his life on 18 August 1872, he refused to take precautions, and, while returning from Buen Retiro Park to Madrid in company with the queen, was repeatedly shot at in Via Avenal. The royal carriage was struck by several revolver and rifle bullets, the horses wounded, but its occupants escaped unhurt. A period of calm followed the event. [1]

With the possibility of reigning without popular support, Amadeus issued an order against the artillery corps and then immediately abdicated from the Spanish throne on 11 February 1873. At ten o'clock that same night, Spain was proclaimed a republic, at which time Amadeo made an appearance before the Cortes, proclaiming the Spanish people ungovernable.

Post-abdication and legacy

Lake Amadeus in Australia's Northern Territory was named in honour of Amadeo. Lake amadeus.jpg
Lake Amadeus in Australia's Northern Territory was named in honour of Amadeo.

Completely disgusted, the ex-monarch left Spain and returned to Italy, where he resumed the title of Duke of Aosta. The First Spanish Republic lasted less than two years, and in November 1874 Alfonso XII, the son of Isabella II, was proclaimed king, with Antonio Cánovas del Castillo, Spanish intermittent prime minister from 1873 until his assassination in 1897, briefly serving as regent.

After the death of his first wife, Amadeo married his French niece, Princess Maria Letizia Bonaparte (20 November 1866 25 October 1926), daughter of his sister Maria Clotilde and of Napoléon Joseph Charles Paul Bonaparte, a nephew of Napoleon I. They had one child, Umberto (1889–1918), who died of the flu during the First World War.

Amadeo remained in Turin, Italy until his death on 18 January 1890, less than two years after marrying his second wife. His friend Puccini composed the famous elegy for string quartet Crisantemi in his memory. [4]

Lake Amadeus in central Australia is named after him, as is the Philippine municipality of Amadeo, Cavite.


By Maria Vittoria dal Pozzo:

  1. Prince Emanuele Filiberto, Duke of Aosta (13 January 1869 4 July 1931) Marshal of Italy married to Princess Hélène of Orléans and had issue.
  2. Prince Vittorio Emanuele, Count of Turin (24 November 1870 10 October 1946) died unmarried.
  3. Prince Luigi Amedeo, Duke of the Abruzzi (29 January 1873 18 March 1933) Vice Admiral in the Italian Royal Navy died unmarried.

By Maria Letizia Bonaparte:

  1. Umberto, Count of Salemi (22 June 1889 19 October 1918), died in World War I.


Titles, styles and honours

Royal styles of
Amadeo I of Spain
Coat of Arms of King Amadeo of Spain (1871-1873).svg
Reference style His Majesty
Spoken styleYour Majesty
Alternative styleSir

Titles and styles

Full title as King of Spain

His Majesty Amadeo the First, By the Grace of God and Will of the Nation, King of Spain, Duke of Aosta.




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  1. 1 2 Wikisource-logo.svg  Steed, H. Wickham (1911). "Amedeo Ferdinando Maria di Savoia". In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica . 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 804.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Pollock, Sabrina (August 2006). "Spain's Forgotten Queen". European Royal History Journal. 9.4 (LII): 25–26.
  3. Roger L. Williams, Gaslight and Shadow: The World of Napoleon III, 1851–1870 (NY: Macmillan, 1957), 156–57
  4. The Cambridge Companion to the String Quartet, p. 260
  5. "Savoia Amedeo Ferdinando Duca D'Aosta" (in Italian), Il sito ufficiale della Presidenza della Repubblica. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  6. "A Szent István Rend tagjai" Archived 22 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  7. Jørgen Pedersen (2009). Riddere af Elefantordenen, 1559–2009 (in Danish). Syddansk Universitetsforlag. p. 466. ISBN   978-87-7674-434-2.
  8. "377 (Sveriges statskalender / 1881)". (in Swedish). Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  9. "593-594 (Norges Statskalender / 1890)". (in Norwegian). Retrieved 6 January 2018.
Amadeo I of Spain
Born: 30 May 1845 Died: 18 January 1890
Regnal titles
Title last held by
Isabel II
King of Spain
Title next held by
Alfonso XII
Italian nobility
Title last held by
Vittorio Emanuele
Duke of Aosta
Succeeded by
Emanuele Filiberto