Carlist Wars

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Carlist Wars

 

dynastic wars from 1833 to 1840 and from 1872 to 1876 between two branches of the Spanish Bourbons.

The First Carlist War began on Oct. 4, 1833, in the city of Talavera after the death of King Ferdinand II, when the gentry that favored absolutism (Carlists) stirred up a rebellion. Led by the son of Carlos IV, Don Carlos the Elder (who took the name Carlos V), they rose up against Maria Cristina, the regent in the early years of the reign of Isabella II. In the ensuing struggle for power, the Carlists used the peasantry of the Basque Provinces, Navarre, Valencia, Aragón, and Catalonia, where the influence of the local aristocracy and the Catholic clergy was strong. Relying on the desire of the people of these regions for autonomy, Don Carlos promised to restore their ancient freedoms. Maria Cristina found support among the bourgeoisie and liberal gentry, who compelled her to agree to a number of liberal bourgeois reforms from 1834 to 1843. The Carlists basically held to a policy of guerrilla warfare. The Carlist detachments in Catalonia and the Basque Provinces headed by T. Zumalacárregui and R. Cabrera y Griño were especially active. In 1837 a Carlist army of 14, 000 men led by Don Carlos tried to take Madrid. After this attempt failed, the Carlist movement rapidly waned. In 1839, Don Carlos was forced to cross the French frontier, and in 1840, Cabrera’s army ceased its resistance.

The Carlists unleashed a new war in 1872, hoping to place on the throne the grandson of Carlos V, Don Carlos the Younger (who took the name Carlos VII). With the help of the Vatican and of reactionary circles in several European states, the Carlists succeeded initially in seizing a significant part of Catalonia and Valencia. However, the Carlists suffered a number of shattering defeats and were compelled to lay down their arms in 1876.

REFERENCES

Maiskii, I. M. Ispaniia (1808–1917). Moscow, 1957.
Lafuente, M. Historia general de España, vol. 24. Barcelona, 1930.

B. M. MERIN

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