Portrait by Goya, 1789
| King of Spain |
|Reign||14 December 1788 – |
19 March 1808
|Born||11 November 1748|
Palace of Portici, Portici, Naples
|Died||20 January 1819 70) (aged|
Palazzo Barberini, Rome, Papal States
(m. 1765;died 1819)
|Father||Charles III of Spain|
|Mother||Maria Amalia of Saxony|
Charles IV (Carlos Antonio Pascual Francisco Javier Juan Nepomuceno José Januario Serafín Diego; 11 November 1748 – 20 January 1819) was King of Spain and the Spanish Empire from 14 December 1788, until 19 March 1808.
The Spain inherited by Charles IV gave few indications of instability,but during his reign, Spain entered a series of disadvantageous alliances and his regime constantly sought cash to deal with the exigencies of war. He detested his son and heir Ferdinand, who led the unsuccessful El Escorial Conspiracy and later forced Charles's abdication after the Tumult of Aranjuez in March 1808, along with the ouster of his widely hated first minister Manuel de Godoy. Summoned to Bayonne by Napoleon Bonaparte, who forced Ferdinand VII to abdicate, Charles IV also abdicated, paving the way for Napoleon to place his older brother Joseph Bonaparte on the throne of Spain. The reign of Charles IV turned out to be a major turning point in Spanish history.
Charles was the second son of Charles III and his wife, Maria Amalia of Saxony. He was born in Naples (11 November 1748), while his father was King of Naples and Sicily. His elder brother, Don Felipe, was passed over for both thrones, due to his learning disabilities and epilepsy. In Naples and Sicily, Charles was referred to as the Prince of Taranto .He was called El Cazador (meaning "the Hunter"), due to his preference for sport and hunting, rather than dealing with affairs of the state. Charles was considered by many to have been amiable, but simple-minded.
In 1788, Charles III died and Charles IV succeeded to the throne, and ruled for the next two decades. Even though he had a profound belief in the sanctity of the monarchy, and kept up the appearance of an absolute, powerful king Charles never took more than a passive part in his own government. The affairs of government were left to his wife, Maria Luisa, and the man he appointed first minister, Manuel de Godoy. Charles occupied himself with hunting in the period that saw the outbreak of the French Revolution, the executions of his Bourbon relative Louis XVI of France and his queen, Marie Antoinette, and the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte. Ideas of the Age of Enlightenment had come to Spain with the accession of the first Spanish Bourbon, Philip V. Charles IV's father Charles III had pursued an active policy of reform that sought to reinvigorate Spain politically and economically and make the Spanish Empire more closely an appendage of the metropole. Charles III was an active, working monarch with experienced first ministers to help reach decisions. Charles IV by contrast was a do-nothing king, with a domineering wife and an inexperienced but ambitious first minister, Godoy. The combination of a king not up to the task of governance, the queen widely perceived to take lovers, including Godoy, and the first minister with an agenda of his own earned the monarchy to increased alienation from the king's subjects.
Upon ascending to the throne, Charles IV intended to maintain the policies of his father, and retained his prime minister, the Count of Floridablanca, in office.Floridablanca avoided war with Great Britain in the Nootka Sound crisis, where a minor trade and navigation dispute off the west coast of Vancouver Island in 1789 could have blown up into a major conflict. Spain could have drawn on its French ally in support against Britain, but the conservative reformer Floridablanca preferred negotiation with Britain and sidestepped being drawn into French politics at the outbreak of the revolution. In 1792, political and personal enemies ousted Floridablanca from office, replacing him with the Count of Aranda. However, in the wake of the war against Republican France, the liberal-leaning Count of Aranda was himself replaced by Manuel de Godoy, a favorite of the Queen and widely believed to be her lover, who enjoyed the lasting favor of the King.
Under Charles IV, scientific expeditions continued to be sent by the crown, some of which were initially authorized by Charles III. The Royal Botanical Expedition to New Granada (1783–1816),and the Royal Botanical Expedition to New Spain (1787–1803), were funded by the crown. The Malaspina Expedition (1789–94) was an important scientific expedition headed by Spanish naval commander Alejandro Malaspina, with naturalists and botanical illustrators gathering information for the Spanish crown. The Balmis Expedition was also authorized, aimed at vaccinating Spain's overseas territories against smallpox. In 1799, Charles IV authorized Prussian aristocrat and scientist Alexander von Humboldt to travel freely in Spanish America, with royal officials encouraged to aid him in his investigation of key areas of Spain's empire. Humboldt's Political Essay on the Kingdom of New Spain was a key publication from his five-year travels.
Spain's economic problems were of long standing, but deteriorated further when Spain was ensnared in wars that its ally France pursued. Financial needs drove his domestic and foreign policy. Godoy's economic policies increased discontent with Charles's regime.In an attempt to implement major economic changes, Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos, a reformist, Jansenist conservative proposed major structural reform of land tenure to promote the revival of agriculture. His 1795 work, Informe en el expediente de ley agraria argued that Spain needed thriving agriculture to allow its population to grow and prosper. In his analysis, the concentration of land ownership and traditions and institutional barriers were at the heart of agriculture's problems. He called for division and sale of public lands, which were held by villages, as well as the swaths of Spanish territory controlled by the Mesta, the organization of livestock owners who had kept grazing lands as an asset for their use. Jovellanos also argued for the abolition of entailed properties (mayorazgos), which allowed landed estates to pass undivided through generations of aristocrats, as well as sale of lands held by the Catholic Church. The aim of these policies was to create in Spain yeoman farmers, who would pursue their self-interest and make agricultural land more productive. The cost would be to undermine the power of the Church and the aristocracy.
As the situation with immediate revenue became more fraught, the crown in 1804 imposed measures in its overseas empire forcing the church to call in immediately the mortgages it had extended on a long-term by the Catholic Church. Although aimed at undermining the wealth and power of the church, for the wealthy landowning elites, they were faced with financial ruin, since they had no way to make full payment on their mortgaged properties.This ill-considered royal decree has been seen as a major factor in the independence movement in New Spain (Mexico). The decree was in abeyance once Charles and Ferdinand abdicated, but it undermined elite support while in force.
In foreign policy Godoy continued Abarca de Bolea's policy of neutrality toward as France, but after Spain protested the execution of Louis XVI of France, the deposed king, in 1793, France declared war on Spain. After the declaration, Portugal and Spain signed a treaty of mutual protection against France.In 1796 France forced Godoy to enter into an alliance, and declare war on the Kingdom of Great Britain. As a consequence, Spain became one of the maritime empires to have been allied with Republican France in the French Revolutionary War, and for a considerable duration.
Spain remained an ally of France and supported the Continental Blockade until the British naval victory at Trafalgar, when Spain became allied with Britain. However, after Napoleon's victory over Prussia in 1807, Godoy again steered Spain back onto the French side. This switching of alliances devalued Charles' position as a trustworthy ally, increasing Godoy's unpopularity, and strengthening the fernandistas (supporters of Crown Prince Ferdinand), who favoured an alliance with the United Kingdom.
Economic troubles, rumors about a sexual relationship between the Queen and Godoy, and the King's ineptitude, caused the monarchy to decline in prestige among the population. Anxious to take over from his father, and jealous of the prime minister, Crown Prince Ferdinand attempted to overthrow the King in an aborted coup in 1807.He was successful in 1808, forcing his father's abdication following the Tumult of Aranjuez.
Riots, and a popular revolt at the winter palace Aranjuez, in 1808 forced the king to abdicate on 19 March, in favor of his son.Ferdinand took the throne as Ferdinand VII, but was mistrusted by Napoleon, who had 100,000 soldiers stationed in Spain by that time due to the ongoing War of the Third Coalition.
The ousted King, having appealed to Napoleon for help in regaining his throne, was summoned before Napoleon in Bayonne, along with his son, in April 1808. Napoleon forced both Charles and his son to abdicate, declared the Bourbon dynasty of Spain deposed, and installed his brother, Joseph Bonaparte, as King Joseph I of Spain, which began the Peninsular War.
Following Napoleon's deposing of the Bourbon dynasty, the ex-King, his wife, and former Prime Minister Godoy were held captive in France first at the château de Compiègneand three years in Marseille (where a neighborhood was named after him). After the collapse of the regime installed by Napoleon, Ferdinand VII was restored to the throne. The former Charles IV drifted about Europe until 1812, when he finally settled in Rome, in the Palazzo Barberini. His wife died on 2 January 1819, followed shortly by Charles, who died on 20 January of the same year. Sir Francis Ronalds included a detailed description of the funeral in his travel journal.
Well-meaning and pious, Charles IV floundered in a series of international crises beyond his capacity to handle.He was painted by Francisco Goya in a number of official court portraits, which numerous art critics have seen as satires on the King's stout vacuity.
Charles IV married his first cousin Maria Louisa, the daughter of Philip, Duke of Parma, in 1765. The couple had fourteen children, six of whom survived into adulthood:
|Children of King Charles IV|
Infante of Spain
|19 September 1771 – 7 March 1774||Born and died at El Escorial; baptized on the same day he was born, with Charles III representing "the Holy Father" at the christening. Pope Clement XIV celebrated Carlos' birth and sent the infant consecrated swaddling clothes.|
| Carlota Joaquina |
Queen of Portugal and the Algarves
|25 April 1775 – 7 January 1830||Born at the Royal Palace of Aranjuez, she married John VI of Portugal in 1785 and became Queen consort of Portugal in 1816. Had issue, including the future Pedro I of Brazil. She died at Queluz National Palace.|
Infanta of Spain
|11 September 1777 – 2 July 1782||Born and died at the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso.|
| María Amalia |
Infanta of Spain
|9 January 1779 – 22 July 1798||Born at the Royal Palace of Aranjuez, she married her uncle Infante Antonio Pascual of Spain in 1795. She gave birth to a stillborn son in 1798 and died shortly thereafter.|
Infante of Spain
|5 March 1780 – 11 June 1783||Born at the Royal Palace of El Pardo and died at the Royal Palace of Aranjuez. After his birth, his father pardoned all of the convicts from Puerto San Julián as a sign of celebration.|
| Maria Luisa |
Queen of Etruria
Duchess of Lucca
|6 July 1782 – 13 March 1824||Born at the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso, she married Louis, King of Etruria in 1795 and had issue, including Charles II, Duke of Parma. Became Duchess of Lucca in her own right in 1817 and died in Rome in 1824 of cancer.|
|Carlos Francisco de Paula|
Infante of Spain
|5 September 1783 – 11 November 1784||Twins, born and died at the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso. Their birth was an important event for the people of Spain and provided security for the succession, a security which was truncated with the early deaths of Carlos and Felipe.|
|Felipe Francisco de Paula|
Infante of Spain
|5 September 1783 – 18 October 1784|
| Fernando (VII) |
King of Spain
|14 October 1784 – 29 September 1833||Born and died at El Escorial, he succeeded his father as King in 1808, but was deposed by Joseph Bonaparte one month later. Married Princess Maria Antonia of Naples and Sicily in 1802, no issue. Re-instated as King in 1813. Married Maria Isabel of Portugal in 1816, had issue. Married Maria Josepha Amalia of Saxony in 1819, no issue. Married Maria Christina of the Two Sicilies in 1829 and had issue, including the future Isabella II of Spain. Died in 1833.|
| Carlos María Isidro Benito |
Count of Molina
|29 March 1788 – 10 March 1855||Born at the Royal Palace of Aranjuez. Married Infanta Maria Francisca of Portugal in 1816 and had issue. Married Maria Teresa, Princess of Beira in 1838, no issue. First Carlist pretender to the throne of Spain as "Carlos V". Use the title "Count of Molina" between 1845 and his death in 1855.|
| María Isabel |
Queen of the Two Sicilies
|6 July 1789 – 13 September 1848||Born at the Royal Palace of Madrid, she married Francis I of the Two Sicilies in 1802 and had issue, including the future Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies. Queen consort between 1825 and 1830, her husband's death. Died at the Palace of Portici in 1848.|
Infanta of Spain
|16 February 1791 – 2 November 1794||Born at the Royal Palace of Aranjuez and died at El Escorial of smallpox.|
Infante of Spain
|28 March 1792 – 1 March 1794||Born at the Royal Palace of Aranjuez and died at the Royal Palace of Madrid.|
|Francisco de Paula||10 March 1794 – 13 August 1865||Born at the Royal Palace of Aranjuez, he married Princess Luisa Carlotta of Naples and Sicily in 1819 and had issue. Died in Madrid in 1865.|
|Ancestors of Charles IV of Spain|
Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes was a Spanish romantic painter and printmaker. He is considered the most important Spanish artist of the late 18th and early 19th centuries and throughout his long career was a commentator and chronicler of his era. Immensely successful in his lifetime, Goya is often referred to as both the last of the Old Masters and the first of the moderns. He was also one of the great portraitists of his time.
Ferdinand VII was the King of Spain during the early- to mid-19th century. He reigned over the Spanish Kingdom in 1808 and again from 1813 to his death in 1833. He was known to his supporters as el Deseado and to his detractors as el Rey Felón.
Alejandro Malaspina was a Tuscan explorer who spent most of his life as a Spanish naval officer. Under a Spanish royal commission, he undertook a voyage around the world from 1786 to 1788, then, from 1789 to 1794, a scientific expedition throughout the Pacific Ocean, exploring and mapping much of the west coast of the Americas from Cape Horn to the Gulf of Alaska, crossing to Guam and the Philippines, and stopping in New Zealand, Australia, and Tonga.
The Royal Palace of Aranjuez is a former Spanish royal residence. It is located 50 km south of Madrid in the town of Aranjuez.
The Tumult of Aranjuez was an uprising led against King Charles IV that took place in the town of Aranjuez, Spain, on 17–19 March 1808. The event, which is celebrated annually in the first week of September, commemorates the fall of the monarch and the subsequent accession of his son Ferdinand VII.
The ideas of the Age of Enlightenment came to Spain in the 18th century with the new Bourbon dynasty, following the death of the last Habsburg monarch, Charles II, in 1700. The period of reform and 'enlightened despotism' under the eightenteenth-century Bourbons focused on centralizing and modernizing the Spanish government, and improvement of infrastructure, beginning with the rule of King Charles III and the work of his minister, José Moñino, count of Floridablanca. In the political and economic sphere, the crown implemented a series of changes, collectively known as the Bourbon reforms, which were aimed at making the overseas empire more prosperous to the benefit of Spain.
José Joaquín Vicente de Iturrigaray y Aróstegui, KOS was a Spanish military officer and viceroy of New Spain, from 4 January 1803 to 16 September 1808, during Napoleon's invasion of Spain and the establishment of a Bonapartist regime in Spain. His plans to form a provisional autonomous government led to his arrest and deposition.
The Cortes of Cádiz was a revival of the traditional cortes, which as an institution had not functioned for many years, but it met as a single body, rather than divided into estates as with previous ones. The General and Extraordinary Cortes that met in the port of Cádiz starting 24 September 1810, "claimed legitimacy as the sole representative of Spanish sovereignty," following the French invasion and occupation of Spain during the Napoleonic Wars and the abdication of the monarch Ferdinand VII and his father Charles IV. It met as one body and its members represented the entire Spanish empire, that is not only Spain, but also Spanish America and the Philippines. The Cortes of Cádiz was seen then, and by historians today, as a major step towards liberalism and democracy in the history of Spain and Spanish America. The liberal Cortes drafted and ratified the Spanish Constitution of 1812, which established a constitutional monarchy and eliminated many institutions that privileged some groups over others.
Maria Luisa of Parma was Queen consort of Spain from 1788 to 1808 leading up to the Peninsular War. She was the youngest daughter of Philip, Duke of Parma, the fourth son of Philip V of Spain and Louise Élisabeth of France, the eldest daughter of King Louis XV. In 1765 she married Charles, Prince of Asturias who ascended the throne in 1788 and thus became queen.
Maria Luisa of Spain was a Spanish infanta, daughter of King Charles IV and his wife, Maria Luisa of Parma. In 1795, she married her first cousin Louis, Hereditary Prince of Parma. She spent the first years of her married life at the Spanish court where their first child, Charles, was born.
Francisco Gil de Taboada y Lemos was a Spanish naval officer and colonial administrator in South America. He was briefly viceroy of New Granada in 1789, and from March 25, 1790 to June 6, 1796 he was viceroy of Peru. After his viceregal service he returned to Spain, where he became a member of the governing junta after King Ferdinand VII was forced to abdicate by Napoleon. He was director general of the Spanish Royal Navy.
The Treaty of Fontainebleau was a secret agreement signed on 27 October 1807 in Fontainebleau, France between King Charles IV of Spain and the French Emperor Napoleon. Under the treaty, the House of Braganza was to be driven from the Kingdom of Portugal with the country subsequently divided into three regions. Within seven months the government of Spain had collapsed and two Spanish kings abdicated; in August 1808 Napoleon imposed his brother Joseph as King of Spain.
The Anglo-Spanish War was a conflict fought between 1796 and 1802, and again from 1804 to 1808, as part of the Coalition Wars. The war ended when an alliance was signed between Great Britain and Spain, which was now under French invasion.
The El Escorial Conspiracy was an attempted coup d'état led by the Crown Prince Fernando of Asturias that took place in 1807, but was quickly discovered and led to an investigation known as the Process of El Escorial.
Napoleonic Spain was the part of Spain loyal to Joseph I during the Peninsular War (1808–1813) after the country was partially occupied by French forces. During this period, the country was considered a client state of the First French Empire.
The Bayonne Statute or Bayonne Constitution or Bayonne Charter, officially in the original document Constitution, and officially in French, Acte Constitutionnel de l’Espagne—was a constitution or a royal charter approved in Bayonne, France, 6 July 1808, by Joseph Bonaparte as the intended basis for his rule as king of Spain.
Fernando Brambila, or Ferdinando Brambilla, was an Italian painter and engraver who spent most of his life in Spain, where he worked for the Royal Court. He is best known for his participation in the Malaspina Expedition.
Manuel Godoy y Álvarez de Faria, Prince of the Peace, 1st Duke of Alcudia, 1st Duke of Sueca, 1st Baron of Mascalbó was First Secretary of State of Spain from 1792 to 1797 and from 1801 to 1808. He received many titles, including príncipe de la Paz, by which he is widely known. He is best known for his diplomacy with Napoleon.
Juan Gálvez was a Spanish artist who served as court painter for King Ferdinand VII and Director of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando.
Spain entered a new era with the death of Charles II, the last Spanish Hapsburg monarch, who died childless in 1700. The War of the Spanish Succession was fought between proponents of a Bourbon prince, Philip of Anjou, and an Austrian Hapsburg claimant. With the Bourbon victory, Philip V's rule began in 1715. Spain entered a period of reform and renewal, as well as continued decline. Ideas of the Age of Enlightenment entered Spain and Spanish America during the eighteenth century. The invasion of the Iberian Peninsula by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1807–1808 upended political arrangements of the Spanish Empire and the Portuguese Empire. The eighteenth century in Spanish historiography is often referred to as Bourbon Spain, but the Spanish Bourbons continued to reign from 1814–1868, from 1874–1931 and from 1975–present.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Charles IV of Spain .|
Charles IV of Spain
Cadet branch of the Capetian dynastyBorn: 11 November 1748 Died: 20 January 1819
| King of Spain |
Title last held byFerdinand (VI)
| Prince of Asturias |