Philip V of Spain

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Philip V
Felipe V de Espana, Rey de.jpg
Portrait by Louis-Michel van Loo, c. 1739
King of Spain
1st reign1 November 1700 – 15 January 1724
Predecessor Charles II
Successor Louis I
2nd reign6 September 1724 – 9 July 1746
PredecessorLouis I
Successor Ferdinand VI
Chief Ministers
Lord of the Netherlands
Reign1 November 1700 – 10 May 1713
Predecessor Charles II
Successor Charles III
Governor Maximilian II Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria (1700-1706)
Born19 December 1683
Palace of Versailles, Kingdom of France
Died9 July 1746(1746-07-09) (aged 62)
Madrid, Kingdom of Spain
Spanish: Felipe de Borbón y Baviera
French: Philippe de France
House Bourbon
Father Louis, Grand Dauphin
Mother Maria Anna Victoria of Bavaria
Religion Roman Catholic
Signature Philip V of Spain signature.svg

Philip V (Spanish : Felipe; 19 December 1683 – 9 July 1746) was King of Spain from 1 November 1700 to 14 January 1724, and again from 6 September 1724 to his death in 1746. His total reign of 44 years is the longest in the history of the Spanish monarchy surpassing Philip II. Philip instigated many important reforms in Spain, most especially the centralization of power of the monarchy and the suppression of regional privileges, via the Nueva Planta decrees, and restructuring of the administration of the Spanish Empire on the Iberian peninsula and its overseas regions. [1]


Philip was born into the French royal family (as Philippe, Duke of Anjou) during the reign of his grandfather, King Louis XIV. He was the second son of Louis, Grand Dauphin, and was third in line to the French throne after his father and his elder brother, Louis, Duke of Burgundy. Philip was not expected to become a monarch, but his great-uncle Charles II of Spain was childless. Philip's father had a strong claim to the Spanish throne, but since Philip's father and elder brother were expected to inherit the French throne, King Charles named Philip as his heir presumptive in his will. He ascended the Spanish throne in 1700. Philip was the first member of the House of Bourbon to rule as King of Spain. It was well known that the union of France and Spain under one monarch would upset the balance of power in Europe, and that other European powers would take steps to prevent it. Philip's accession in Spain provoked the 13-year War of the Spanish Succession, which continued until the Treaty of Utrecht forbade any future possibility of unifying the French and Spanish crowns while confirming his accession to the throne of Spain. It also removed the Spanish Netherlands and Spanish-controlled territories in Italy from the Spanish monarchy. In 1724, Philip abdicated in favor of his eldest son, Louis. The new king died later that year, and Philip took the throne again. As a result of his depression, his wife Elisabeth Farnese held control over the Spanish government. When Philip died in 1746, he was succeeded by his son Ferdinand VI.

Phillip's reign has been generally criticized by historians, though some praise is occasionally offered for his reforms. Historian Stanley G. Payne wrote that "Felipe V was a neurotic, vacillating ruler, concerned with outward decorum and brave only in battle. He had little sense of Spanish interests and needs." [2]

Early years

Birth and family

Louis of France, le Grand Dauphin, and his wife Maria Anna Victoria of Bavaria with their three sons: Louis, le Petit Dauphin, Philippe, Duke of Anjou and Charles, Duke of Berry. Painting by Pierre Mignard, 1687. Pierre Mignard - Louis, the Grand Dauphin of France with his Family - Versailles MV 8135.jpg
Louis of France, le Grand Dauphin, and his wife Maria Anna Victoria of Bavaria with their three sons: Louis, le Petit Dauphin, Philippe, Duke of Anjou and Charles, Duke of Berry. Painting by Pierre Mignard, 1687.

Philip was born on 19 December 1683 at the Palace of Versailles [3] in France, the second son of Louis, Grand Dauphin, the heir apparent to the throne of France, and his wife Maria Anna Victoria of Bavaria, [4] known as the Dauphine Victoire. His father was the eldest son of Louis XIV of France and Maria Theresa of Spain.

Philip was a younger brother of Louis, Duke of Burgundy, the father of Louis XV of France. At birth, Philip was created Duke of Anjou, a traditional title for younger sons in the French royal family. He would be known by this name until he became the King of Spain. Since Philip's older brother, the Duke of Burgundy, was second in line to the French throne after his father, there was little expectation that either he or his younger brother Charles, Duke of Berry, would ever rule over France.[ citation needed ]

Upbringing and education

Philip lived his first years under the supervision of the royal governess Louise de Prie and after that was tutored with his brothers by François Fénelon, Archbishop of Cambrai. The three were also educated by Paul de Beauvilliers.[ citation needed ]

Claims to the Spanish throne

Proclamation of Philip V as King of Spain in the Palace of Versailles on 16 November 1700 Philippe de France proclame roi d'Espagne.jpg
Proclamation of Philip V as King of Spain in the Palace of Versailles on 16 November 1700

In 1700, King Charles II of Spain, the last Habsburg to rule Spain, died childless. His will named as successor Philip, grandson of Charles' half-sister Maria Theresa, the first wife of Louis XIV. [4] Upon any possible refusal, the crown of Spain would be offered next to Philip's younger brother, the Duke of Berry, then to the Archduke Charles of Austria, later Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI. [4] Philip had the better genealogical claim to the Spanish throne, because his Spanish grandmother and great-grandmother were older than the ancestors of the Archduke Charles of Austria. However, the Austrians maintained that Philip's grandmother had renounced the Spanish throne for herself and her descendants as part of her marriage contract. That renunciation was contingent on her dowry being paid. The French claim to Spain was due to the dowry having never been paid. [5]

After a long Royal Council meeting in France at which the Dauphin spoke up in favor of his son's rights, it was agreed that Philip would ascend the throne, but he would forever renounce his claim to the throne of France for himself and his descendants. [4] The Royal Council decided to accept the provisions of the will of Charles II naming Philip, King of Spain, and the Spanish ambassador was called in and introduced to the new king. The ambassador, along with his son, knelt before Philip and made a long speech in Spanish, which Philip did not understand. (Louis XIV, the son and husband of Spanish princesses, did speak Spanish, but Philip learned only later.)[ citation needed ]

First marriage

On 2 November 1701, the almost 18-year-old Philip married the 13-year-old Maria Luisa of Savoy, as chosen by his grandfather King Louis XIV. She was the daughter of Victor Amadeus II, Duke of Savoy, and his wife Anne Marie d'Orléans, Philip's first cousin once removed. The Duke and Duchess of Savoy were also the parents of Princess Marie Adélaïde of Savoy, Duchess of Burgundy, Philip's sister-in-law. There was a proxy ceremony at Turin, the capital of the Duchy of Savoy, and another one at Versailles on 11 September.[ citation needed ]

Maria Luisa proved very popular as Queen of Spain. She served as regent for her husband on several occasions. Her most successful term was when Philip was away touring his Italian domains for nine months in 1702, when she was just 14 years old. On entering Naples that year he was presented with Bernini's Boy with a Dragon by Carlo Barberini. In 1714, Maria Luisa died at the age of 26 from tuberculosis, a devastating emotional blow to her husband.[ citation needed ]

War of the Spanish Succession

Philip V of Spain in hunting attire Melendez, Miguel Jacinto - Philip V, king of Spain, in suit of hunt - Google Art Project.jpg
Philip V of Spain in hunting attire
Philip (right) at the Battle of Villaviciosa Vendome-and-PhilipV.jpg
Philip (right) at the Battle of Villaviciosa
Portrait of Philip V of Spain exhibited upside down in the Museum of Almodi [es], Xativa, for having burned the city in 1707. Xativa. Almodi. Felip V i cadira-2.jpg
Portrait of Philip V of Spain exhibited upside down in the Museum of Almodí  [ es ], Xàtiva, for having burned the city in 1707.

The actions of Louis XIV heightened the fears of the English, the Dutch and the Austrians, among others. In February 1701, Louis XIV caused the Parlement of Paris (a court) to register a decree that if Philip's elder brother, the Petit Dauphin Louis, died without an heir, then Philip would surrender the throne of Spain for the succession to the throne of France, ensuring dynastic continuity in Europe's greatest land power.[ citation needed ]

However, a second act of the French king "justified a hostile interpretation": pursuant to a treaty with Spain, Louis occupied several towns in the Spanish Netherlands (modern Belgium and Nord-Pas-de-Calais). This was the spark that ignited the powder keg created by the unresolved issues of the War of the League of Augsburg (1689–1697) and the acceptance of the Spanish inheritance by Louis XIV for his grandson.[ citation needed ]

Almost immediately the War of the Spanish Succession began. Concern among other European powers that Spain and France united under a single Bourbon monarch would upset the balance of power pitted France and Spain against the Grand Alliance of England, the Netherlands and Austria. [6]

Inside Spain, the Crown of Castile supported Philip of France. On the other hand, the majority of the nobility of the Crown of Aragon supported Charles of Austria, son of Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I and claimant to the Spanish throne by right of his grandmother Maria Anna of Spain. Charles was even hailed as King of Aragon under the name Charles III.[ citation needed ]

The war was centred in Spain and west-central Europe (especially the Low Countries), with other important fighting in Germany and Italy. Prince Eugene of Savoy and the Duke of Marlborough distinguished themselves as military commanders in the Low Countries. In colonial North America, the conflict became known to the English colonists who fought against French and Spanish forces as Queen Anne's War. Over the course of the fighting, some 400,000 people were killed. [7]

It was with this war as a backdrop that, beginning in 1707, Philip issued the Nueva Planta decrees, which centralized Spanish rule under the Castilian political and administrative model and in the process abolished the charters of all independently administered kingdoms within Spain—most notably the Crown of Aragon, which was supporting Charles VI in the conflict—except for the Kingdom of Navarre and the rest of the Basque region, who had supported Philip in the war for the Spanish throne, and retained their semi-autonomous self-government. The policy of centralization had as model the French State under Louis XIV and was strongly supported by politicians such as Joseph de Solís and the Sardinian political philosopher Vicente Bacallar. [8]

At one point in 1712 Philip was offered the choice of renouncing the throne of Spain so that he could be made heir of France, but he refused.[ citation needed ]

Philip decided to relinquish his right of succession to France under one condition: the introduction of semi-Salic law in Spain. Under this law, the succession to the Spanish crown was limited to his entire male line before it could pass to any female, a condition of his renunciation made clear to the allies during the preliminaries of the Treaties of Utrecht. It was not until this was successfully accomplished (10 May 1713) that Spain and Great Britain made their own peace terms at the second Treaty of Utrecht (annexing the new law to the Treaty). By the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht that concluded the war, Philip was recognized as king of Spain but Spain was forced to cede Menorca and Gibraltar to Great Britain; the Spanish Netherlands, Naples, Milan, and Sicily to the Austrian Habsburgs; and Sardinia and parts of Milan to Savoy. [9]

These losses greatly diminished the Spanish Empire in Europe, which had already been in decline. Throughout his reign, Philip sought to reverse the decline of Spanish power. Trying to overturn the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht, he attempted to re-establish Spanish claims in Italy, triggering the War of the Quadruple Alliance (1718–1720) in which Spain fought a coalition of four major powers. Phillip V was forced to sue for peace.[ citation needed ]

Second marriage

Shortly after the death of Queen Maria Luisa in 1714, the King decided to marry again. His second wife was Elisabeth of Parma, daughter of Odoardo Farnese, Hereditary Prince of Parma, and Dorothea Sophie of the Palatinate. At the age of 22, on 24 December 1714, she was married to the 31-year-old Philip by proxy in Parma. The marriage was arranged by Cardinal Alberoni, with the concurrence of the Princesse des Ursins, the Camarera mayor de Palacio ("chief of the household") of the king of Spain.[ citation needed ]


A breech loading miquelet musket with a reusable cartridge, used by Philip V, made by A. Tienza, Madrid, circa 1715 Breech loading firearm belonged to Philip V of Spain by A Tienza Madrid circa 1715.jpg
A breech loading miquelet musket with a reusable cartridge, used by Philip V, made by A. Tienza, Madrid, circa 1715

On 14 January 1724, Philip abdicated the throne to his eldest son, the seventeen-year-old Louis, for reasons still subject to debate. One theory suggests that Philip V, who exhibited many elements of mental instability during his reign, did not wish to reign due to his increasing mental decline. [10] A second theory puts the abdication in context of the Bourbon dynasty. The French royal family recently had lost many legitimate agnates to diseases. Indeed, Philip V's abdication occurred just over a month after the death of the Duke of Orléans, who had been regent for Louis XV of France. The lack of an heir made another continental war of succession a possibility. Philip V was a legitimate descendant of Louis XIV, but matters were complicated by the Treaty of Utrecht, which forbade a union of the French and Spanish crowns. The theory supposes that Philip V hoped that by abdicating the Spanish crown he could circumvent the Treaty and succeed to the French throne.[ citation needed ]

In any case, Louis died on 31 August 1724 in Madrid of smallpox, having reigned only seven months and leaving no issue. Philip was forced to return to the Spanish throne in 1724. [11]

Later reign

Tomb of Philip V and Elizabeth Farnese in the Collegiate Church of the Holy Trinity, in the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso (Segovia). FelipVTomba.jpg
Tomb of Philip V and Elizabeth Farnese in the Collegiate Church of the Holy Trinity, in the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso (Segovia).

Philip helped his Bourbon relatives to make territorial gains in the War of the Polish Succession and the War of the Austrian Succession by reconquering Naples and Sicily from Austria and Oran from the Ottomans. Finally, at the end of his reign Spanish forces also successfully defended their American territories from a large British invasion during the War of Jenkins' Ear (1739–1748).[ citation needed ]

During Philip's reign, Spain began to recover from the stagnation it had suffered during the twilight of the Spanish Habsburg dynasty. Although the population of Spain grew, the financial and taxation systems were archaic and the treasury ran deficits. The king employed thousands of highly paid retainers at his palaces—not to assist with ruling the country but to look after the royal family. Meanwhile, the army and bureaucracy went months without pay. It was only the shipments of silver from the New World which kept the system going. Spain suspended payments on its debt in 1739 — effectively declaring bankruptcy. [12]


Philip experienced bouts of manic depression and increasingly fell victim to a deep melancholia. [13] His second wife, Elizabeth Farnese, completely dominated her passive husband.[ citation needed ] She bore him further sons, including another successor, Charles III of Spain. [13] Beginning in August 1737 his mental illness was eased by the castrato singer Farinelli, who became the "Musico de Camara of Their Majesties." Farinelli would sing eight or nine arias for the king and queen every night, usually with a trio of musicians. [4]

Philip died on 9 July 1746 in El Escorial, in Madrid, but was buried in his favorite Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso, near Segovia. [4] Ferdinand VI of Spain, his son by his first queen Maria Luisa of Savoy, succeeded him.[ citation needed ]


La Granja Royal Palace Palacio Real de la Granja de San Ildefonso (Segovia) (5).jpg
La Granja Royal Palace

Historians have generally been unkind to the king. Lynch says Philip V advanced the government only marginally over that of his predecessors and was more of a liability than Charles II. When a conflict came up between the interests of Spain and France, he usually favored France. However, Philip did make some reforms in government, and strengthened the central authorities relative to the provinces. Merit became more important, although most senior positions still went to the landed aristocracy. Below the elite level, the inefficiency and corruption that had existed under Charles II was as widespread as ever. The reforms started by Philip V culminated in much more important reforms of Charles III. [14] The economy, on the whole, improved over the previous half-century, with greater productivity, and fewer famines and epidemics. The government promoted industry, agriculture and shipbuilding. [15] After the destruction of the main silver fleet at Vigo in 1702, the navy was rebuilt. Nevertheless, the new fleet was still too small to support the vast worldwide empire. [16]

Portrait by Jean Ranc, c. 1723 Philip V of Spain.jpg
Portrait by Jean Ranc, c.1723

To commemorate the indignities the city of Xàtiva suffered after Philip's victory in the Battle of Almansa in the War of the Spanish Succession, in which he ordered the city to be burned and renamed San Felipe, the portrait of the monarch hangs upside down in the local museum of L'Almodí. [17]

The province of the New Philippines, which occupied parts of what is now Texas in the United States, was named in 1716 in honor of Philip. [18]

Philip V favored and promoted the Atlantic trade of Spain with its American possessions. During this Atlantic trade emerged important figures of the naval history of Spain, among which stands out the corsair Amaro Pargo. Philip V frequently benefited the corsair in his commercial incursions: he granted a Royal order given at the Royal Palace of El Pardo in Madrid in September 1714, in which he appointed him captain of a commercial ship bound for Caracas. [19] The Monarch also interceded in the liberation of Amaro during his detention by the Casa de Contratación of Cádiz [20] [21] and authorized him to build a ship bound for Campeche, which was armed like a corsair ship. [20]


Philip married his double-second cousin Maria Luisa of Savoy (17 September 1688 – 14 February 1714) on 3 November 1701 [22] and they had 4 sons:

  1. Louis I of Spain (25 August 1707 – 31 August 1724) married Louise Élisabeth d'Orléans but had no children.
  2. Philip (2 July 1709 – 18 July 1709) died young.
  3. Infante Philip of Spain (7 June 1712 – 29 December 1719) died young.
  4. Ferdinand VI of Spain (23 September 1713 – 10 August 1759) married Barbara of Portugal but had no children.

Philip married Elisabeth Farnese (25 October 1692 – 11 July 1766) on 24 December 1714, [23] they had 6 children:

  1. Charles III of Spain (20 January 1716 – 14 December 1788) married Maria Amalia of Saxony and had children.
  2. Infanta Mariana Victoria of Spain (31 March 1718 – 15 January 1781) married King Joseph I of Portugal and had children.
  3. Infante Philip of Spain (15 March 1720 – 18 July 1765) Duke of Parma and founder of the line of Bourbons of Parma married Louise Élisabeth of France and had children.
  4. Infanta Maria Teresa of Spain (11 June 1726 – 22 July 1746) married Louis of France, Dauphin of France and had children.
  5. Infante Louis of Spain (25 July 1727 – 7 August 1785), known as the Cardinal Infante. Was Archbishop of Toledo, Primate of Spain and Cardinal since 1735. In 1754, renounced his ecclesiastical titles and became Count of Chinchón. In 1776, he married morganatically María Teresa de Vallabriga and had children, but without royal titles.
  6. Infanta Maria Antonia of Spain (17 November 1729 – 19 September 1785) married Victor Amadeus III of Sardinia and had children.
Family of Philip V in 1743
"The Family of Felipe V"; (L-R) Mariana Victoria, Princess of Brazil; Barbara, Princess of Asturias; Ferdinand, Prince of Asturias; King Philip V; Luis, Count of Chinchon; Elisabeth Farnese; Infante Philip; Louise Elisabeth of France; Infanta Maria Teresa; Infanta Maria Antonia; Maria Amalia, Queen of Naples and Sicily; Charles, King of Naples and Sicily. The two children in the foreground are Princess Maria Isabella Anne of Naples and Sicily and Infanta Isabella of Spain (daughter of the future Duke of Parma) La familia de Felipe V (Van Loo).jpg
"The Family of Felipe V"; (L-R) Mariana Victoria, Princess of Brazil; Barbara, Princess of Asturias; Ferdinand, Prince of Asturias; King Philip V; Luis, Count of Chinchón; Elisabeth Farnese; Infante Philip; Louise Élisabeth of France; Infanta Maria Teresa; Infanta Maria Antonia; Maria Amalia, Queen of Naples and Sicily; Charles, King of Naples and Sicily. The two children in the foreground are Princess Maria Isabella Anne of Naples and Sicily and Infanta Isabella of Spain (daughter of the future Duke of Parma)




Heraldry of Philip V of Spain
CoA Anjou collars.svg
Royal Greater Coat of Arms of Spain (1700-1761) Version with Golden Fleece and Holy Spirit Collars.svg
Full Ornamented Royal Coat of Arms of Spain (1700-1761).svg
Coat of Arms as Duke of AnjouCoat of arms as King of Spain
(Common Version) [28]
Ornamented Version [29]
Coat of Arms of Philip V of Spain as Monarch of Naples.svg
Coat of Arms of Philip IV of Sicily.svg
Coat of Arms of the King of Spain as Monarch of Milan (1700-1714).svg
Coat of arms as King of Naples
(1700–1713) [30]
Coat of arms as King of Sicily
(1700–1713) [31]
Coat of arms as Duke of Milan
(1700–1706) [32]
Lesser Royal Coat of Arms of Spain (1700-c.1843) Variant without the Arms of Granada.svg
Coat of Arms of Philip V of Spain (Galicia).svg
Full Ornamented Coat of Arms of Philip V of Spain, with Navarre.svg
Lesser coat of arms of King of SpainCoat of arms as King of GaliciaGreat ornamented version as King of Navarre

See also

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The Family of Philip V is an oil on canvas painting by the French artist Louis Michel van Loo, completed in 1743. It features life-sized depictions of Philip V of Spain and his family. The painting depicts the royal family in a fictional room and is in the style of French baroque and rococo art. The painting is one of a trio of paintings which bear the same name and are dated 1723 by Jean Ranc, a smaller 1738 version and the 1743 rendition.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kingdom of Sardinia (1700–1720)</span> History of the Kingdom of Sardinia from 1700 to 1720

From 1700 to 1720, the Kingdom of Sardinia, as a part of the Spanish empire, was disputed between two dynasties, the Habsburgs and the Bourbons. With the death of Charles II, the last of the Spanish Habsburgs, on 1 November 1700, the throne passed to Duke Philip of Anjou, although the Emperor Leopold I also had a claim. Leopold was especially desirous of obtaining the Spanish inheritance in the Southern Netherlands and in Italy, which included Sardinia. With the failure of France to abide by the Second Partition Treaty, the other European powers lined up on the side of the Habsburgs. The Treaty of the Hague allotted to the Emperor the Spanish possessions in Italy. Imperial troops invaded Italy to seize them, and the War of the Spanish Succession began.


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Further reading

Philip V of Spain
Cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty
Born: 19 December 1683 Died: 9 July 1746
Regnal titles
Preceded by King of Naples and Sardinia;
Duke of Brabant, Limburg,
Lothier, and Milan;
Count of Flanders and Hainaut

Succeeded by
Duke of Luxembourg
Count of Namur

Succeeded by
King of Sicily
Succeeded by
King of Spain
Succeeded by
Preceded by King of Spain
Succeeded by
French royalty
Preceded by Duke of Anjou
Succeeded by