Godoy, Manuel de

Godoy, Manuel de

(mänwĕl` dā gōthoi`), 1767–1851, Spanish statesman. An army officer, he won the favor of Queen María LuisaMaría Luisa
, 1751–1819, queen of Spain, daughter of Duke Philip of Parma, consort of King Charles IV. Dissolute and domineering, she exerted, with her favorite Godoy, the real power in the government, thus contributing to the downfall of Spain at the hands of
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 and rose rapidly at the court of Charles IVCharles IV,
1748–1819, king of Spain (1788–1808), second son of Charles III, whom he succeeded in place of his imbecile older brother. Unlike his father, Charles IV was an ineffective ruler and in 1792 virtually surrendered the government to Godoy, his chief minister
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. The king made him chief minister in 1792, and except for a brief eclipse from power (1798–1801), Godoy ruled continuously until 1808. Godoy joined (1793) the war of the First Coaltion (1793) against revolutionary France, but in 1795 he made peace (the second Treaty of Basel) and was awarded the title príncipe de la Paz [prince of the peace]. The following year he allied Spain with France (Treaty of San Ildefonso) in the war against England (1796–1802), which brought about great economic difficulties as English naval power increasingly cut off Spain from her Latin American colonies. After a brief eclipse, Godoy returned to power in 1801 and commanded the victorious Spanish army in the War of the Oranges against Portugal. His alliance with Napoleon I involved Spain in renewed war with England in 1804 and led to the Franco-Spanish defeat at Trafalgar (1805). The unpopularity of Godoy's corrupt government became acute after Godoy concluded the Convention of Fontainebleau (1807) with Napoleon (see Peninsular WarPeninsular War,
1808–14, fought by France against Great Britain, Portugal, Spanish regulars, and Spanish guerrillas in the Iberian Peninsula. Origin and Occupation
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). Prince Ferdinand (later Ferdinand VIIFerdinand VII,
1784–1833, king of Spain (1808–33), son of Charles IV and María Luisa. Excluded from a role in the government, he became the center of intrigues against the chief minister Godoy and attempted to win the support of Napoleon I.
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) led the opposition and in 1808 was proclaimed king after Charles IV's first abdication. Godoy who was captured and mauled by a mob in Aranjuez, was rescued by the French and sent to France. He died in Paris.
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