Carlist Wars

The Carlist Wars were a series of civil wars that took place in Spain during the 19th century. The contenders fought to establish their claim to the throne, although some political differences also existed. Indeed, several times during the period from 1833 to 1876 the Carlists — followers of Infante Carlos (later Carlos V) and his descendants — rallied to the cry of "God, Country, and King" and fought for the cause of Spanish tradition (Legitimism and Catholicism) against liberalism, and later the republicanism, of the Spanish governments of the day. The Carlist Wars had a strong regional component (Basque region, Catalonia, etc.), given that the new order called into question region–specific law arrangements and customs kept for centuries.

When Ferdinand VII of Spain died in 1833, his fourth wife Maria Cristina became Queen Regent on behalf of their infant daughter Isabella II. This splintered the country into two factions known as the Cristinos (or Isabelinos) and the Carlists. The Cristinos were the supporters of the Queen Regent and her government, and were the party of the Liberals. The Carlists were the supporters of Carlos V, a pretender to the throne and brother of the deceased Ferdinand VII. Carlos denied the validity of the Pragmatic Sanction of 1830 that abolished the semi Salic Law (he was born before 1830). They wanted a return to autocratic monarchy.[1]

While some historians count three wars, other authors and popular usage refer to the existence of two big engagements, the First and the Second, with the 1846–1849 events being taken as a minor episode.

  • The First Carlist War (1833–1840) lasted more than seven years and the fighting spanned most of the country at one time or another, although the main conflict centered on the Carlist homelands of the Basque Country and Aragon, Catalonia and Valencia.
  • The Second Carlist War (1846–1849) was a minor Catalan uprising. The rebels tried to install Carlos VI on the throne. In Galicia, the uprising was on a smaller scale and was put down by General Ramón María Narváez.[2]
  • The Third Carlist War (1872–1876) began in the aftermath of the deposition of one ruling monarch and abdication of another. Queen Isabella II was overthrown by a conspiracy of liberal generals in 1868, and left Spain in some disgrace. The Cortes (Parliament) replaced her with Amadeo, the Duke of Aosta (and second son of King Victor Emmanuel of Italy). Then, when the Spanish elections of 1872 resulted in government violence against Carlist candidates and a swing away from Carlism, the Carlist pretender, Carlos VII, decided that only force of arms could win him the throne. The Third Carlist War began. It lasted until 1876.
  • The Spanish Civil War (1936–1939) was considered by the Carlists as another crusade against secularism. In spite of the victory of their side, General Franco frustrated the pretensions of Carlist monarchism; he subsumed their militias into the Nationalist army and their political party Comunión Tradicionalista into his National Movement (Falange Tradicionalista y de las J.O.N.S.).


  1. ^ John Van der Kiste (2011). Divided Kingdom: The Spanish Monarchy from Isabel to Juan Carlos. History Press Limited. pp. 6–9.
  2. ^ Website of Municipality of Chantada, Galicia, in Galician

Further reading

  • Carr, Raymond. Spain, 1808-1975 (1982), pp 184–95
  • Clarke, Henry Butler. Modern Spain, 1815-98 (1906) old but full of factual detail online
  • Holt, Edgar. The Carlist Wars in Spain (1967).
  • Payne, Stanley G. History of Spain and Portugal: v. 2 (1973) ch 19-21
Arsenio Linares y Pombo

Arsenio Linares y Pombo (1848–1914) was a Spanish military officer and government official. Born in Valencia, he earned the rank of lieutenant in 1868 and participated in operations against rebellions in Cuba, and in the Carlist Wars on mainland Spain. He occupied posts in the Philippines, Madrid, and Melilla, and later returned to Cuba.

He organized the defense of Santiago de Cuba during the Battle of San Juan Hill. Linares failed to reinforce this position, choosing to hold nearly 10,000 Spanish reserves in the city of Santiago. Spanish entrenchments, crucial to the defense of the city, had been poorly constructed. Rather than being on the forward or military crest of the San Juan Height where they could have a clear field of fire all the way down the hill, they were constructed on the hilltop, itself allowing the Americans to escape even near point-blank rifle volleying at the advancing Americans when they went below the Spanish soldiers lines of observation.

He was named Minister of War in 1900 by Prime Minister Francisco Silvela, and occupied this post under subsequent governments. He was appointed senator for life in 1900. In 1909, his call-up of troops from Catalonia to be sent to Morocco led to the Tragic Week in Barcelona. He died in Madrid in 1914.

Basque literature

Although the first instances of coherent Basque phrases and sentences go as far back as the San Millán glosses of around 950, the large-scale damage done by periods of great instability and warfare, such as the clan wars of the Middle Ages, the Carlist Wars and the Spanish Civil War, led to the scarcity of written material predating the 16th century.The earliest surviving traces of Basque literary activity go back to the 16th century, but significant production does not seem to have set in until the 17th century. Since the end of the Francoist period in Spain, the formation of a standard language, and the large scale introduction of Basque into the education system consequently increased literary activity. While much of the literature written in Basque remains targeted at the native audience, some works by Basque authors have been translated into other languages, such as Bernardo Atxaga, and achieved global recognition.


Bergara (Basque pronunciation: [berˈɣaɾa]; Spanish: Vergara) is a town and municipality located in the province of Gipuzkoa, in the autonomous community of Basque Country, in the north of Spain.

An Enlightened center of education operated by the Real Sociedad Bascongada de Amigos del País ("Royal Basque Society of Friends of the Country"), it was the place where brothers Juan José and Fausto Elhuyar discovered wolfram.During the Carlist Wars, it operated as the capital and royal court of the Carlists. It was there where the agreement symbolized in the Vergara Embrace between Rafael Maroto and Baldomero Espartero, Prince of Vergara ended one of the period wars.


Carlism (Basque: Karlismo; Catalan: Carlisme; Galician: Carlismo; Spanish: Carlismo) is a Traditionalist and legitimist political movement in Spain seeking to take the Spanish throne for a line of the Bourbon dynasty descended from Don Carlos, Count of Molina (1788–1855). The movement was founded due to dispute over the succession laws and widespread dissatisfaction with the Alfonsine line of the House of Bourbon. The movement was at its strongest in the 1830s but had a revival following Spain's defeat in the Spanish–American War in 1898, when Spain lost its last remaining significant overseas territories of Cuba, Guam, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico to the United States.Carlism was a significant force in Spanish politics from 1833 until the end of the Francoist regime in 1975. In this capacity, it was the cause of Carlist Wars during the 19th century, and an important factor in the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. Today, Carlists are a fringe entity.


Castellote is a municipality located in the province of Teruel, Aragon, Spain. According to the 2010 census, the municipality has a population of 804 inhabitants.

Situated in a picturesque setting on the slope of a mountain crowned by a castle Templar ruined in the Carlist Wars. The road enters the village through a tunnel that pierces an impressive rock wall. At the entrance of the tunnel is the site of Llovedor with the shrine of the Llovedor.

From its medieval past, linked to the Knights Templar, it has retained a beautiful urban area of narrow streets and steep, with an expansion along the road which is declared cultural interest. Are of great interest the Gothic church of San Miguel, the town hall with arcades, the shrine of the Virgen del Agua, the Gothic fountain and some houses emblazoned. Near the town is the castle, the medieval aqueduct and the chapel of Llovedor.


The Ertzaintza (Basque: [erts̻aints̻a], English: Public Guard or People's Guard), is the police force for the Basque Country. An Ertzaintza member is called an ertzaina (IPA: [erts̻aɲa]).


Estella (Spanish) or Lizarra (Basque) is a town located in the autonomous community of Navarre, in northern Spain. It lies south west of Pamplona, close to the border with La Rioja and Álava.

The town was founded in 1090 when the place, lying by the fortified settlement of Lizarra, was granted a charter by the Pamplonese king Sancho Ramirez. The town became a landmark in the Way of St. James pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, thriving on the privileged location and the melting pot of Francos called in by Navarrese kings (mainly Occitans from Auvergne and Limousin), Jews and the original Navarrese inhabitants. The wealth resulted in a development of Romanesque architecture, well represented in the town: Church of San Pedro de la Rúa, Palacio de los Reyes de Navarra, Church of San Miguel, among others.

The town was a major headquarters of the Carlist party in the Carlist Wars of the mid 19th century, with Tomas Zumalakarregi being appointed Commander in Chief in this Estella-Lizarra.

Between 1927 and 1967, the town held the terminus of the iconic Ferrocarril Vasco-Navarro railway extending up to Bergara. The line was fitted with electrified power supply as of 1938, a provision considered a feat at the time.

In 1927, Club Deportivo Izarra was formed who currently play in the Segunda División B.

The town regularly hosts the GP Miguel Indurain.

Infante Carlos, Count of Molina

Carlos de Borbón (29 March 1788 – 10 March 1855) was an Infante of Spain and the second surviving son of King Charles IV of Spain and of his wife, Maria Luisa of Parma. As Charles V, he was the first of the Carlist claimants to the throne of Spain. He is often referred to simply as 'Don Carlos'. He was a reactionary who was angry with liberalism in Spain and the assaults on the Catholic Church. He claimed the throne of Spain after the death of his older brother King Ferdinand VII in 1833. His claim was contested by liberal forces loyal to the dead king's infant daughter. The result was the bloody First Carlist War (1833–40). Don Carlos had support from Basque provinces and much of Catalonia, but it was not enough, and he lost the war and never became king. His heirs continued the arch-conservative cause, fought two more "Carlist" wars and were active into the mid-20th century, but never obtained the throne.

Isabella II of Spain

Isabella II (Spanish: Isabel; 10 October 1830 – 9 April 1904) was Queen of Spain from 1833 until 1868. She came to the throne as an infant, but her succession was disputed by the Carlists, whose refusal to recognize a female sovereign led to the Carlist Wars. After a troubled reign, she was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of 1868, and formally abdicated in 1870. Her son, Alfonso XII, became king in 1874.

Liberal Union (Spain)

The Liberal Union (Spanish: Unión Liberal) was a political party in Spain in the third quarter of the 19th century. It was founded by Leopoldo O'Donnell in 1858 with the intent of forging a compromise and taking a centrist position between the two forces that had hitherto dominated Spanish politics during the reign of Isabella II. On one side were the forces of conservative liberalism known as the doceañistas, arrayed around the Moderate Party. Among their leading figures were the queen mother Maria Christina of the Two Sicilies and General Ramón María Narváez. On the other were radical liberal exaltados or veinteañistas arrayed around the Progressive Party and the National Militia. Among their leading figures was General Baldomero Espartero. Both parties had fought on the same side in the Carlist Wars, but they had also at times fought against one another, and elements of the Moderate Party leaned toward absolute monarchy themselves. O'Donnell's intent was to bring together the non-absolutist Moderates and the less "exalted" (radical) Progressives and to occupy the political center. He first came forward with this program in September 1854 a few months after the end of the 10-year reign of the Moderates, but did not succeed in forming a party at that time.

The Liberal Union was more of a pragmatic party than an ideological one. They wished to preserve the Spanish monarchy but to oppose absolutism; to reform public administration and favor centralized government; to offer a certain degree of a multi-party system, with room for both Moderates and Progressives; and to have a policy of strong public investment. They also intended to reform the law of the press, but this never came to fruition.

After the elections to the Cortes 20 September 1858, the Liberal Union had a majority of seats; it maintained power continuously until the Glorious Revolution of 1868 ushered in the Sexenio Democrático.

The Liberal Union centered on O'Donnell and the iron hand of his Minister of Governance, José Posada Herrera. Other prominent figures were Francisco Serrano Domínguez, Juan Manuel de Manzanedo, Juan Prim, Manuel Silvela, and Antonio Cánovas del Castillo. These people, like the party's supporters in general, came from a broad, though largely elite, set of backgrounds: nobles, lawyers, entrepreneurs, mearchants, bankers, military officers and government functionaries. To influence public opinion, the Liberal Union had several newspapers: La Época, El Diario Español and La Correspondencia de España.

Lothian Sheffield Dickson

Lieutenant-Colonel Lothian Sheffield Dickson (1806 – 1894) was an English soldier and a prominent member of the Reform League who took part in demonstrations that formed the background to the passing of the Reform Act 1867.

Dickson attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, and joined the British Army in 1824. He served in India, and during the Carlist Wars in Spain, was commander of the 7th Regiment of the British Auxiliary Legion. He joined the Tower Hamlets militia in 1846 as a major, and was promoted to lieutenant-colonel in 1855, but was demoted in 1858 without any public explanation being given.Dickson stood unsuccessfully as a Conservative for Norwich alongside the son of the Duke of Wellington. He stood unsuccessfully as a Radical for Marylebone in 1859 general election.During the 1850s and 1860s, Dickson was active in the campaign for manhood suffrage, working closely with Edmond Beales. He was elected to the executive of the Reform League, and served as vice-president of its general council. He also spoke widely in support of the Paris Commune. He stood again for Parliament in Hackney at the 1868 UK general election, but was once more defeated.


The Maestrazgo (Spanish: [maesˈtɾaðɣo]) or Maestrat (Valencian: [maesˈtɾat]) is a natural and historical mountainous region, located at the eastern end of the Sistema Ibérico mountain range, in Spain. It encompasses the north of the Autonomous Community of Valencia, in Castellón province, and parts of the east of the Aragonese province of Teruel. The area is mountainous and sparsely populated with a rich mixture of flora and fauna.

The district was under control of military orders following the 12th-century Christian reconquest of the area from the Moors. It also had a significant role in the 19th century Carlist Wars and the 20th century Spanish Civil War. After many years of decline the area is undergoing some re-vitalization, helped by funding from the European Union and tourism.

Military history of Spain

The military history of Spain, from the period of the Carthaginian conquests over the Phoenicians to the current Afghan War spans a period of more than 2200 years, and includes the history of battles fought in the territory of modern Spain, as well as her former and current overseas possessions and territories, and the military history of the people of Spain, regardless of geography.

Spain's early military history emerged from her location on the western fringes of the Mediterranean, a base for attacks between Rome and Carthage. With the fall of the Roman Empire, Spain was devastated by successive barbarian invasions, with stability only gradually appearing with the later years of the Visigothic kingdom. The early Middle Ages for Spain saw the country forming the front line in a battle between Christian and Islamic forces in the Mediterranean; the Conquista and Reconquista took centuries to reach a military resolution. The 16th and 17th centuries marked the peak of Spanish power, the so-called Spanish Golden Age. Spain acquired vast empire by defeating the centralised states of the Americas, and colonising the Philippines. Her tercio units, backed by imperial gold and silver, were dominant in Europe. It was not until the years after the Thirty Years' War that Spanish military power began to fade; even then, supported by a reinvigorated navy, Spain remained a major military power throughout the 18th century, in competition with Britain and France on the global stage.

The Napoleonic Wars changed Spanish military history dramatically; defeated at home, the Peninsular War saw the development of guerrilla warfare against the occupying French forces. The collapse of central Spanish authority resulted in successful wars of independence amongst Spain's American colonies, drastically reducing the size of her empire, and in turn led to a sequence of civil wars in Spain itself, many fought by frustrated veterans of the French and colonial campaigns. Attempts to reassert imperial power during the mid-19th century, enabled by the development of the steam frigate ultimately failed, leading to the collapse of the remnants of Spain's empire in the Americas and Asia in 1898 at the hands of a rising power, the United States of America. The political tensions that had driven the Carlist Wars remained unchecked, spilling over once again in the Spanish Civil War of 1936–9. Bringing a foretaste of the tactics of the Second World War, several nations used the conflict as a testing ground for new aerial and armoured warfare tactics. In the post-war period, Spain has increasingly turned away from the last remaining colonial conflicts in Africa, and played a growing modern military role within the context of the NATO alliance.

Rafael Tristany

Rafael Tristany (1814–1899) was a Spanish Catalan carlist general of the Carlist Wars. He was born in the Province of Lleida in Catalonia. He fought in all three of the Carlist Wars on the side of the Carlists. After the defeat of Carlos, Duke of Madrid in 1876, he went into exile in France, where he died.


Ripoll (Catalan pronunciation: [riˈpoʎ]) is the capital of the comarca of Ripollès, in the province of Girona, Catalonia, Spain. It is located on confluence of the Ter River and its tributary Freser, next to the Pyrenees near the French border. The population was 11,057 in 2009.

The first traces of humans inhabiting the area date from the Bronze Age and can be seen in form of dolmens such as those found in El Sot de Dones Mortes or in Pardinella. This area was later used by peoples from the Atlantic culture to store bronze weapons and as a passway from the Catalan Central Depression to the Pyrenees. The area also has tombs from the late Roman occupation age and some belonging to the Visigoths.

It has a famous Benedictine monastery built in the Romanesque style, Santa Maria de Ripoll, founded by the count Wilfred the Hairy in 879. The count used it as a centre to repopulate the region after conquering it. In the High Middle Ages, its castle, the Castle of Saguardia, located in the county of Les Llosses was ruled by the Saguàrdia family, of which Ponç de la Guàrdia was a famous troubadour.

An abundance of coal and iron ore, coupled with the ample water supply of the rivers Ter and Freser, encouraged a metal-working industry in the early Middle Ages. The furnaces of Ripoll were a prime source of nails for the peninsula. Later, pole arms and crossbows, always in demand, were added to Ripoll’s exports. Ripoll enjoyed a reputation throughout Europe for the production of firearms. That success as a manufactory of firearms brought frequent trouble to the city. French invasions in 1794, 1809, 1812, and 1813 crippled the city industries. However, the final and utter destruction of Ripoll, resulting from mines and blasting, occurred in 1839 during the Carlist Wars. Due to the loss of records and archives, not much is known of Ripoll and its industry to this day.

San Antón Bridge

The San Antón Bridge (Spanish: Puente de San Antón, Basque: San Antongo zubia) is an arch bridge in Bilbao, Spain. It spans the Estuary of Bilbao, linking the neighborhoods of Bilbao La Vieja and Casco Viejo. It is the oldest bridge in the city, with the original bridge being opened before 1318. At the time of its opening, and during centuries, it was the only bridge that crossed the river. It is located next to the Church of San Antón.

The San Antón Bridge is one of Bilbao's emblems and it is depicted on the city's coat of arms. Its origin is medieval. This bridge has a big historical importance, as the merchants were forced to use the bridge to carry their products from Biscay to Castile as it was the only bridge that crossed the river.Several floods have pulled down the bridge several times; to solve the problem the city hall decided to build a completely new one by the end of the 19th century. The new bridge was finished in 1880; the opening was delayed after it suffered damage on the Carlist Wars. It had to be reconstructed once more in 1937 after it was demolished on the Spanish Civil War. The 1937 reconstruction was the last one and the current bridge is from that time.

Ten Ready Rifles

Ten Ready Rifles (Spanish: Diez fusiles esperan) is a 1959 Spanish drama film directed by José Luis Sáenz de Heredia. The film concerns the Carlist Wars of the 19th century. It was entered into the 9th Berlin International Film Festival.

Torcuato Mendiri

Torcuato Mendiri y Colera (1813 - 1884) was a Spanish nobleman. He fought on the side of the Carlists in the First (1833-1839) and Third (1872-1876) Carlist Wars.


Urgull (Gascon etymology for 'pride') is a hill by the ocean sitting at the heart of the Basque city of San Sebastián, Gipuzkoa, Spain. The hill (123 m at its highest point) shapes along with Mount Ulia and Igeldo the city's coastline relief, standing at the northern end of a peninsula formerly linked to mainland by a spit of sand between the river Urumea and the Bay of La Concha (nowadays a built-up area making up the city centre).

The hill became a defense point since the early ages of the city foundation in the 12th century, but the walls and the military structure were reinforced especially after the modern state boundaries took shape in the 16th century. The hill is topped by a stronghold (headquarters, barracks and warehouses), the Mota Castle, but it had a chapel and a conspicuous 12 metre-long sculpture of Jesus Christ added in 1950, now towering over the bay.

The hill (as well as the city) was a hotspot for military operations, like the ones of the Siege of San Sebastián (1813) and the assaults of 1823, 1836 and 1876 (Carlist Wars). The hill lost its military interest on account of the city's newly acquired tourist resort status and was sold to the city council in 1924. Urgull shows nowadays a tree-covered surface for the most part, picturesque military structures reminiscent of other times and pleasant promenades with outstanding views over the bay and the city. The rooms of the stronghold at the hill top accommodate a small history museum, part of the major San Telmo Museoa located at the south-eastern access of the hill.

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