List of Spanish monarchs

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This is a list of Spanish monarchs, that is, rulers of the country of Spain in the modern sense of the word. The forerunners of the monarchs of the Spanish throne were the following:

These seven lineages were eventually united by the marriage of the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand II of Aragon (king of the Crown of Aragon) and Isabella I of Castile (queen of the Crown of Castile). Although their kingdoms continued to be separate, with their personal union they ruled them together as one dominion. The regnal numbers follow those of the rulers of Asturias, León, and Castile; thus, Alfonso XII is numbered in succession to Alfonso XI of Castile.

House of Trastámara (1479–1555)

Under Isabella and Ferdinand, the royal dynasties of Castile and Aragon, their respective kingdoms, were united into a single line. Historiography of Spain generally treats this as the formation of the Kingdom of Spain, but in formality, the two kingdoms continued for many centuries with their own separate institutions. It was not until the Nueva Planta decrees of 1707–1716 that the two lands were formally merged into a single state.

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Isabella I
(1451-04-22)22 April 1451 – 26 November 1504(1504-11-26) (aged 53)11 December 1474
26 November 1504
Daughter of John II of Castile and Isabella of Portugal Trastámara IsabellaofCastile03.jpg
Ferdinand V & II
  • the Catholic
  • Spanish: Fernando V & II
(1452-03-10)10 March 1452 – 23 January 1516(1516-01-23) (aged 63)15 January 1475
20 January 1479
26 November 1504
23 January 1516
Son of John II of Aragon and Juana Enríquez Trastámara Michel Sittow 004.jpg
(1479-11-06)6 November 1479 – 12 April 1555(1555-04-12) (aged 75)26 November 1504
23 January 1516
12 April 1555Daughter of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon Trastámara Johanna I van Castilie.JPG
Philip I
(1478-07-22)22 July 1478 – 25 September 1506(1506-09-25) (aged 28)27 June 1506
25 September 1506
Husband of Joanna of Castile Habsburg Juan de Flandes 004.jpg

House of Habsburg (1516–1700)

Following the deaths of Isabella (1504) and Ferdinand (1516), their daughter Joanna inherited the Spanish kingdoms. However, she was kept prisoner at Tordesillas due to her mental disorder. As Joanna's son, Charles I (the future Holy Roman Emperor Charles V), did not want to be merely a regent, he proclaimed himself king of Castile and Aragon jointly with his mother. Subsequently, Castilian and Aragonese Cortes alleged oath to him as co-monarch with his mother. Upon her death, he became sole King of Castile and Aragon, and the thrones were left permanently united to Philip II of Spain and successors. Traditional numbering of monarchs follows the Castillian crown; i.e. after King Ferdinand (II of Aragon and V of Castile jure uxoris as husband of Queen of Castille Isabella I), the next Ferdinand was numbered VI. Likewise, Alfonso XII takes his number following that of Alfonso XI of Castile rather than that of Alfonso V of Aragon, the prior Spanish monarchs with that name.[ citation needed ]

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Charles I
(1500-02-24)24 February 1500 – 21 September 1558(1558-09-21) (aged 58)14 March 151616 January 1556Son of Joanna and Philip I of Castile Habsburg Pantoja de la Cruz - El emperador Carlos V.jpg
Philip II
(1527-05-21)21 May 1527 – 13 September 1598(1598-09-13) (aged 71)16 January 155613 September 1598Son of Charles I Habsburg Philip II of Spain in armour (Alonso Sanchez Coello).jpg
Philip III
(1578-04-14)14 April 1578 – 31 March 1621(1621-03-31) (aged 42)13 September 159831 March 1621Son of Philip II Habsburg Philip III, King of Spain, seated (by Bartolome Gonzalez y Serran) - Museo del Prado, Madrid.jpg
Philip IV
(1605-04-08)8 April 1605 – 17 September 1665(1665-09-17) (aged 60)31 March 162117 September 1665Son of Philip III Habsburg Pieter Paul Rubens - Portrait of King Philip IV (Hermitage).jpg
Charles II
(1661-11-06)6 November 1661 – 1 November 1700(1700-11-01) (aged 38)17 September 16651 November 1700Son of Philip IV Habsburg Rey Carlos II.jpg

In the year 1700, Charles II died. His will named the 16-year-old Philip, the grandson of Charles's sister Maria Theresa of Spain, as his successor to the whole Spanish Empire. [1] Upon any possible refusal of the undivided Spanish possessions, the Crown of Spain would be offered next to Philip's younger brother Charles, Duke of Berry, or, next, to Archduke Charles of Austria. [2]

Both claimants, both Charles of Austria and Philip, had a legal right to the Spanish throne because Philip's grandfather, King Louis XIV of France and Charles's father, Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor, were sons of Charles II's aunts, Anne and Maria Anna. Philip claimed primogeniture because Anne was older than Maria Anna. However, Philip IV had stipulated in his will the succession should pass to the Austrian Habsburg line, and the Austrian branch also claimed that Maria Theresa, Philip's grandmother, had renounced the Spanish throne for herself and her descendants as part of her marriage contract. This was countered by the French claim that it was on the basis of a dowry that had never been paid. [3]

After a long council meeting where the Dauphin spoke up in favour of his son's rights, it was agreed that Philip would ascend the throne. [4] Following this, the War of the Spanish Succession broke out and Archduke Charles was also proclaimed king of Spain, as Charles III, in opposition to Philip V. He was proclaimed in Vienna, [5] and also in Madrid in the years 1706 and 1710. Charles renounced his claims to the Spanish throne in the Treaty of Rastatt of 1714, but was allowed the continued use of the styles of a Spanish monarch for his lifetime. Philip ascended the Spanish throne but had to renounce his claim to the throne of France for himself and his descendants. [6]

Disputed claimant of the House of Habsburg

Portrait Coat of arms NameLifeReignTitlesClaim
Retrat de Carles III davant el port de Barcelona, Frans van Stampart.jpg Coat of Arms of Charles II of Spain (1668-1700).svg Coat of Arms of Archduke Charles of Austria Claim to the Spanish throne (SpanishTerritories of the Crown of Aragon).svg Archduke Charles of Austria,
as Charles III
Archiduque Carlos (Carlos III)
1 October 1685 – 20 October 1740 (aged 55)12 September 1703 – 2 July 1715
  • King of Spain, Naples, Sicily and Sardinia
  • Duke of Milan
  • Sovereign of the Netherlands

House of Bourbon (1700–1808)

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Philip V
(1683-12-19)19 December 1683 – 9 July 1746(1746-07-09) (aged 62)16 November 170014 January 1724Great-grandson of Philip IV
Half-grandnephew of Charles II
Bourbon Felipe V; Rey de Espana.jpg
Louis I
  • the Beloved and the Liberal
  • Spanish: Luis I
(1707-08-25)25 August 1707 – 31 August 1724(1724-08-31) (aged 17)14 January 172431 August 1724Son of Philip V Bourbon Louis, King of Spain.jpg
Philip V
(1683-12-19)19 December 1683 – 9 July 1746(1746-07-09) (aged 62)6 September 17249 July 1746Father of Louis I Bourbon Philip V of Spain (Louis-Michel van Loo).jpg
Ferdinand VI
(1713-09-23)23 September 1713 – 10 August 1759(1759-08-10) (aged 45)9 July 174610 August 1759Son of Philip V Bourbon Fernando VI de Espana (Museo del Prado).jpg
Charles III
  • the Enlightened and the King-Mayor
  • Spanish: Carlos III
(1716-01-20)20 January 1716 – 14 December 1788(1788-12-14) (aged 72)10 August 175914 December 1788Son of Philip V Bourbon Charles III of Spain.jpg
Charles IV
(1748-11-11)11 November 1748 – 20 January 1819(1819-01-20) (aged 70)14 December 178819 March 1808Son of Charles III Bourbon Carlos IV de rojo.jpg
Ferdinand VII
  • the Desired and the Felon King
  • Spanish: Fernando VII
(1784-10-14)14 October 1784 – 29 September 1833(1833-09-29) (aged 48)19 March 18086 May 1808Son of Charles IV Bourbon Fernando VII en un campamento, por Goya.jpg

House of Bonaparte (1808–1813)

The only monarch from this dynasty was Joseph I, imposed by his brother Napoleon I of France after Charles IV and Ferdinand VII had abdicated. The title used by Joseph I was King of the Spains and the Indias, by the Grace of God and the Constitution of the State. He was also later given all of the titles of the previous kings. A government in opposition to the French was formed in Cádiz on 25 September 1808, which continued to recognize the imprisoned Ferdinand VII as king. This government was diplomatically recognized as the legitimate Spanish government by Britain and other countries at war with France.

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Joseph I
(1768-01-07)7 January 1768 – 28 July 1844(1844-07-28) (aged 76)6 June 180811 December 1813The older brother of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte Joseph-Bonaparte.jpg

House of Bourbon (1813–1868)

Charles IV's eldest son was restored to the throne. Again, the title used was king of Castile, Leon, Aragon,… by the Grace of God.

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Ferdinand VII
  • the Desired
    the Felon King
  • Spanish: Fernando VII
(1784-10-14)14 October 1784 – 29 September 1833(1833-09-29) (aged 48)11 December 181329 September 1833Son of Charles IV Bourbon Francisco Goya - Portrait of Ferdinand VII of Spain in his robes of state (1815) - Prado.jpg
Isabella II
  • the Queen of Sad Mischance
    the Traditional Queen
  • Spanish: Isabel II
(1830-10-10)10 October 1830 – 10 April 1904(1904-04-10) (aged 73)29 September 183330 September 1868Daughter of Ferdinand VII Bourbon Isabel de Borbon y Borbon-Dos Sicilias.jpg

House of Savoy (1870–1873)

After the Spanish Revolution of 1868 deposed Isabella II, while a new monarch was sought, a provisional government and a regency headed by Francisco Serrano y Domínguez from 8 October 1868 until 2 January 1871 was established. Amadeo was elected as king and the new title used was King of Spain, by the Grace of God and will of the nation.

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Amadeo I (1845-05-30)30 May 1845 – 18 January 1890(1890-01-18) (aged 44)16 November 187011 February 1873Elected by Cortes Generales
Great-great-grandson of Charles III
Savoy Amadeo I de Espana cropped.jpg

Spanish Republic (1873–1874)

House of Bourbon (1874–1931)

Isabella II's eldest son was restored to the throne as she had abdicated in his favour in 1870. Constitutional King of Spain.

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Alfonso XII
  • the Peacemaker
(1857-11-28)28 November 1857 – 25 November 1885(1885-11-25) (aged 27)29 December 187425 November 1885Son of Isabella II Bourbon Alfonso XII, rey de Espana (Museo del Prado).jpg
Alfonso XIII
  • the African
(1886-05-17)17 May 1886 – 28 February 1941(1941-02-28) (aged 54)17 May 188614 April 1931 Posthumous son of Alfonso XII Bourbon Rey Alfonso XIII de Espana, by Kaulak.jpg

Spanish Republic (1931–1939)

Dictatorship of Francisco Franco (1936–1975)

On 1 October 1936, General Francisco Franco was proclaimed "Leader of Spain" (Spanish: Caudillo de España) in the parts of Spain controlled by the Nationalists (nacionales) after the Spanish Civil War broke out. At the end of the war on 1 April 1939, General Franco took control of the whole of Spain. In 1947, Franco proclaimed the restoration of the monarchy but did not allow the pretender, Juan, Count of Barcelona, to take the throne. In 1969, Franco declared that Juan Carlos, Prince of Spain, the Count of Barcelona's son, would be his successor. After Franco's death in 1975, Juan Carlos succeeded him as the King of Spain.

House of Bourbon (1975–present)

Alfonso XIII's claim descended (due to his two eldest sons' renunciations) to his third son, Juan of Bourbon, Count of Barcelona, who was passed over in favour of his eldest son, whose title is King of Spain. The Count of Barcelona formally renounced his claims in favour of his son in 1977, two years after Franco's death and Juan Carlos's accession.

Juan Carlos abdicated in favor of his son Felipe VI, who became king on 19 June 2014, with Felipe's older daughter, Leonor, next in succession. [7]

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Juan Carlos I (1938-01-05) 5 January 1938 (age 83)22 November 197518 June 2014Grandson of Alfonso XIII Bourbon Busto de Juan Carlos I de Espana (2009).jpg
Felipe VI (1968-01-30) 30 January 1968 (age 53)19 June 2014IncumbentSon of Juan Carlos I Bourbon Felipe VI 2015 (cropped).jpg

See also


  1. Spanish: El Bote
  2. Due to Franco's illness, Prince Juan Carlos held the post of head of state as an interim measure from 19 July to 2 September 1974, and again from 30 October to 20 November 1975. On 22 November, two days after Franco's death, Juan Carlos was proclaimed King by the Cortes.

Related Research Articles

Prince of Asturias Heir to the Castilian and then Spanish throne

Prince or Princess of Asturias is the main substantive title used by the heir apparent or heir presumptive to the throne of Spain. According to the Spanish Constitution of 1978:

Article 57 [...] 2. The heir apparent or presumptive, from birth or event that makes him such, will have the dignity of Prince of Asturias and other titles traditionally linked to the successor of the Crown of Spain.

An heir presumptive is the person entitled to inherit a throne, peerage, or other hereditary honour, but whose position can be displaced by the birth of an heir apparent or of a new heir presumptive with a better claim to the position in question.

Joanna <i>la Beltraneja</i> Queen consort of Portugal

Joanna la Beltraneja was a claimant to the throne of Castile, and Queen of Portugal as the wife of King Afonso V, her uncle.

Catholic Monarchs of Spain Title for Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon

The term Catholic Monarchs refers to Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon, whose marriage and joint rule marked the de facto unification of Spain. They were both from the House of Trastámara and were second cousins, being both descended from John I of Castile; to remove the obstacle that this consanguinity would otherwise have posed to their marriage under canon law, they were given a papal dispensation by Sixtus IV. They married on October 19, 1469, in the city of Valladolid; Isabella was eighteen years old and Ferdinand a year younger. It is generally accepted by most scholars that the unification of Spain can essentially be traced back to the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella.

Count of Barcelona

The Count of Barcelona was the ruler of the County of Barcelona and, by extension, the Principality of Catalonia for much of Catalan history, from the 9th century until the 18th century.

Crown of Aragon Composite monarchy which existed between 1162–1716

The Crown of Aragon was a composite monarchy ruled by one king, originated by the dynastic union of the Kingdom of Aragon and the County of Barcelona and ended as a consequence of the Spanish War of Succession. At the height of its power in the 14th and 15th centuries, the Crown of Aragon was a thalassocracy controlling a large portion of present-day eastern Spain, parts of what is now southern France, and a Mediterranean empire which included the Balearic Islands, Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia, Malta, Southern Italy and parts of Greece.

Coat of arms of Spain National coat of arms of the Kingdom of Spain

The coat of arms of Spain represents Spain and the Spanish nation, including its national sovereignty and the country's form of government, a constitutional monarchy. It appears on the flag of Spain and it is used by the Government of Spain, the Cortes Generales, the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, and other state institutions. Its design consists of the arms of the medieval kingdoms that would unite to form Spain in the 15th century, the Royal Crown, the arms of the House of Bourbon, the Pillars of Hercules and the Spanish national motto: Plus Ultra. The Monarch, the heir to the throne and some institutions like the Senate, the Council of State and the General Council of the Judiciary have their own variants of the coat of arms.

Crown of Castile Former country in the Iberian Peninsula from 1230 to 1715

The Crown of Castile was a medieval polity in the Iberian Peninsula that formed in 1230 as a result of the third and definitive union of the crowns and, some decades later, the parliaments of the kingdoms of Castile and León upon the accession of the then Castilian king, Ferdinand III, to the vacant Leonese throne. It continued to exist as a separate entity after the personal union in 1469 of the crowns of Castile and Aragon with the marriage of the Catholic Monarchs up to the promulgation of the Nueva Planta decrees by Philip V in 1715.

The War of the Castilian Succession was the military conflict contested from 1475 to 1479 for the succession of the Crown of Castile fought between the supporters of Joanna 'la Beltraneja', reputed daughter of the late monarch Henry IV of Castile, and those of Henry's half-sister, Isabella, who was ultimately successful.

María de Molina Queen consort of Castile and León

María Alfonso Téllez de Meneses, known as María de Molina, was queen consort of Castile and León from 1284 to 1295 by marriage to Sancho IV of Castile, and served as regent for her minor son Ferdinand IV and later her grandson Alfonso XI of Castile (1312-1321).

Ferdinand II of Aragon King of Aragon, Sicily, Naples, and Valencia (1452–1516)

Ferdinand II was the king of Aragon from 1479 until his death in 1516. As the husband of Queen Isabella I of Castile, he was also the king of Castile from 1475 to 1504. He reigned jointly with Isabella over a dynastically unified Spain; together they are known as the Catholic Monarchs. Ferdinand is considered the de facto first king of Spain, and was described as such during his reign, even though, legally, Castile and Aragon remained two separate kingdoms until they were formally united by the Nueva Planta decrees issued between 1707 and 1716.

Bourbon claim to the Spanish throne Dynastic claim

After the death of the last Habsburg monarch of Spain in 1700, the childless Charles II, the Spanish throne was up for grabs between the various dynasties of Europe despite Charles having left a will naming his heir. In this will, Charles left Philip, Duke of Anjou, grandson of Louis XIV of France, the possessions of the Spanish Crown.

Isabella I of Castile Queen of Castile from 1474 to 1504

Isabella I was Queen of Castile from 1474 until she died in 1504, reigning over a dynastically unified Spain jointly with her husband, King Ferdinand II of Aragon. She was Queen of Aragon after Ferdinand ascended in 1479. Together they are known as the Catholic Monarchs.

Juan Núñez I de Lara

Juan Núñez I de Lara y León, also known as "el Gordo" or "the Fat", was a Spanish noble. He was the head of the House of Lara, Lord of Lerma, Amaya, Dueñas, Palenzuela, Tordehumos, Torrelobatón, and la Mota. He was further known as Señor de Albarracín through his first marriage with Teresa Álvarez de Azagra.


  1. Kamen, Henry. "Philip V of Spain: The King who Reigned Twice". Yale University Press, 2001. ISBN   0-300-08718-7 P6
  2. Kamen, Henry. "Philip V of Spain:: The King who Reigned Twice", p.6. Published by Yale University Press, 2001. ISBN   0-300-08718-7
  3. Durant, Will. "The Age of Louis XIV", p.699. Simon and Schuster, New York 1963.
  4. Kamen, Henry. "Philip V of Spain:: The King who Reigned Twice" Yale University Press, 2001. ISBN   0-300-08718-7 P158
  5. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Charles VI."  . Encyclopædia Britannica . 5 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 905.
  6. Kamen, Henry. "Philip V of Spain:: The King who Reigned Twice", p.158. Published by Yale University Press, 2001. ISBN   0-300-08718-7
  7. "Leonor becomes a crown princess". El Pais.