Charles III of Spain

Charles III of Spain

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Charles III was the King of Spain and the Spanish Indies from 1759 to 1788. He was the eldest son of Philip V of Spain
Philip V of Spain
Philip V was King of Spain from 15 November 1700 to 15 January 1724, when he abdicated in favor of his son Louis, and from 6 September 1724, when he assumed the throne again upon his son's death, to his death.Before his reign, Philip occupied an exalted place in the royal family of France as a...

 and his second wife, the Princess Elisabeth Farnese. In 1731, the fifteen-year-old Charles became the Duke of Parma and Piacenza, as Charles I, at the death of his childless great uncle Antonio Farnese, Duke of Parma
Antonio Farnese, Duke of Parma
Antonio Farnese was the eighth and ultimate Farnese Duke of Parma and Piacenza. He married, in 1727, Enrichetta d'Este of Modena with the intention of begetting an heir; the marriage, however, was childless, leading to the succession of Charles of Spain–whose mother, Elisabeth Farnese, was...

.

In 1734, as the Duke of Parma, he conquered the kingdoms
War of the Polish Succession
The War of the Polish Succession was a major European war for princes' possessions sparked by a Polish civil war over the succession to Augustus II, King of Poland that other European powers widened in pursuit of their own national interests...

 of Naples
Kingdom of Naples
The Kingdom of Naples, comprising the southern part of the Italian peninsula, was the remainder of the old Kingdom of Sicily after secession of the island of Sicily as a result of the Sicilian Vespers rebellion of 1282. Known to contemporaries as the Kingdom of Sicily, it is dubbed Kingdom of...

 and of Sicily
Kingdom of Sicily
The Kingdom of Sicily was a state that existed in the south of Italy from its founding by Roger II in 1130 until 1816. It was a successor state of the County of Sicily, which had been founded in 1071 during the Norman conquest of southern Italy...

, and was crowned as the King of Naples and Sicily on 3 July 1735, reigning as King Charles, although he is contemporarily known as Charles VII of Naples and Charles V of Sicily. In 1738 he married the Princess Maria Amalia of Saxony
Maria Amalia of Saxony
Maria Amalia of Saxony was a German princess from the House of Wettin and was the wife of Charles III of Spain; she was the Queen consort of Naples and Sicily from 1738 till 1759 and then Queen consort of Spain from 1759 until her death in 1760...

, an educated, cultured woman who gave birth to thirteen children, eight of whom reached adulthood. Charles and Maria Amalia resided in Naples
Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

 for nineteen years; she died in 1760.

Upon succeeding to the Spanish throne on 10 August 1759, Charles, a proponent of enlightened absolutism
Enlightened absolutism
Enlightened absolutism is a form of absolute monarchy or despotism in which rulers were influenced by the Enlightenment. Enlightened monarchs embraced the principles of the Enlightenment, especially its emphasis upon rationality, and applied them to their territories...

, on 6 October 1759 abdicated the Neapolitan and Sicilian thrones in favour of Ferdinand, his third surviving son, who became Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies
Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies
Ferdinand I reigned variously over Naples, Sicily, and the Two Sicilies from 1759 until his death. He was the third son of King Charles III of Spain by his wife Maria Amalia of Saxony. On 10 August 1759, Charles succeeded his elder brother, Ferdinand VI, as King Charles III of Spain...

, or Ferdinand IV of Naples and III of Sicily. Charles III's descendants ruled the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, commonly known as the Two Sicilies even before formally coming into being, was the largest and wealthiest of the Italian states before Italian unification...

 until 1861.

As king of Spain Charles III tried to rescue his empire from decay through far-reaching reforms such as weakening the Church and its monasteries, promoting science and university research, facilitating trade and commerce, modernizing agriculture and avoiding wars. He never achieved satisfactory control over finances, and he had to borrow more and more. His reforms proved short-lived and Spain relapsed after his death.

Spanish imperial ambitions


In 1713, the Treaty of Utrecht
Treaty of Utrecht
The Treaty of Utrecht, which established the Peace of Utrecht, comprises a series of individual peace treaties, rather than a single document, signed by the belligerents in the War of Spanish Succession, in the Dutch city of Utrecht in March and April 1713...

 concluded the War of the Spanish Succession
War of the Spanish Succession
The War of the Spanish Succession was fought among several European powers, including a divided Spain, over the possible unification of the Kingdoms of Spain and France under one Bourbon monarch. As France and Spain were among the most powerful states of Europe, such a unification would have...

 (1701–14), thereby reducing the political and military power of Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, which had been ruled by the House of Bourbon
House of Bourbon
The House of Bourbon is a European royal house, a branch of the Capetian dynasty . Bourbon kings first ruled Navarre and France in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Bourbon dynasty also held thrones in Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Parma...

 since 1700. Under the terms of the treaty, the Spanish Empire
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

 retained its Latin America
Latin America
Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages  – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...

n territories, and ceded to Habsburg
Habsburg Monarchy
The Habsburg Monarchy covered the territories ruled by the junior Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg , and then by the successor House of Habsburg-Lorraine , between 1526 and 1867/1918. The Imperial capital was Vienna, except from 1583 to 1611, when it was moved to Prague...

 Austria the Southern Netherlands
Southern Netherlands
Southern Netherlands were a part of the Low Countries controlled by Spain , Austria and annexed by France...

, the kingdoms of Naples
Kingdom of Naples
The Kingdom of Naples, comprising the southern part of the Italian peninsula, was the remainder of the old Kingdom of Sicily after secession of the island of Sicily as a result of the Sicilian Vespers rebellion of 1282. Known to contemporaries as the Kingdom of Sicily, it is dubbed Kingdom of...

 and Sardinia
Kingdom of Sardinia
The Kingdom of Sardinia consisted of the island of Sardinia first as a part of the Crown of Aragon and subsequently the Spanish Empire , and second as a part of the composite state of the House of Savoy . Its capital was originally Cagliari, in the south of the island, and later Turin, on the...

, the Duchy of Milan
Duchy of Milan
The Duchy of Milan , was created on the 1st of may 1395, when Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Lord of Milan, purchased a diploma for 100,000 Florins from King Wenceslaus. It was this diploma that installed, Gian Galeazzo as Duke of Milan and Count of Pavia...

, and the State of Presidi
State of Presidi
The Stato dei Presidi was a client state of the Kingdom of Spain situated in central Italy, which included the cities of Orbetello, Porto Ercole, Porto Santo Stefano, Talamone, Ansedonia and Porto Longone, in what is now southern Tuscany...

. Moreover, the House of Savoy
House of Savoy
The House of Savoy was formed in the early 11th century in the historical Savoy region. Through gradual expansion, it grew from ruling a small county in that region to eventually rule the Kingdom of Italy from 1861 until the end of World War II, king of Croatia and King of Armenia...

 gained the Kingdom of Sicily
Kingdom of Sicily
The Kingdom of Sicily was a state that existed in the south of Italy from its founding by Roger II in 1130 until 1816. It was a successor state of the County of Sicily, which had been founded in 1071 during the Norman conquest of southern Italy...

, and the Kingdom of Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

 gained the island of Minorca
Minorca
Min Orca or Menorca is one of the Balearic Islands located in the Mediterranean Sea belonging to Spain. It takes its name from being smaller than the nearby island of Majorca....

 and the fortress at Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. A peninsula with an area of , it has a northern border with Andalusia, Spain. The Rock of Gibraltar is the major landmark of the region...

.

In 1700, Charles' father, the French-born "Philippe de France", became King of Spain
Philip V of Spain
Philip V was King of Spain from 15 November 1700 to 15 January 1724, when he abdicated in favor of his son Louis, and from 6 September 1724, when he assumed the throne again upon his son's death, to his death.Before his reign, Philip occupied an exalted place in the royal family of France as a...

. For the remainder of his reign (1700–46), Philip's parents continually attempted to regain these territories. In 1714, after the death of the king's first wife, the Princess Maria Luisa Gabriella of Savoy
Maria Luisa of Savoy
Maria Luisa of Savoy was a Savoyard princess and the first wife of Philip V of Spain. She acted as Regent of Spain and had great influence over her husband...

, the Piacenzan Cardinal Giulio Alberoni
Giulio Alberoni
Giulio Alberoni was an Italian cardinal andstatesman in the service of Philip V of Spain.-Early years:He was born near Piacenza, probably at the village of Fiorenzuola d'Arda in the Duchy of Parma....

 successfully arranged the marriage between Philip and the ambitious Elisabeth Farnese, niece and stepdaughter of Francesco Farnese, Duke of Parma
Francesco Farnese, Duke of Parma
Francesco Farnese reigned as the seventh and penultimate Farnese Duke of Parma and Piacenza from 1694 until his death...

. Elisabeth and Philip married on 24 December 1714; she quickly proved a domineering consort, and influenced King Philip to make Cardinal Giulio Alberoni the Prime Minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

 of Spain in 1715.

In 1716, Elisabeth gave birth to the Infante Charles of Spain at the Real Alcázar of Madrid. He was fourth in line to the Spanish throne, after three elder half-brothers: the Infante Luis, Prince of Asturias (who ruled briefly as Louis I of Spain before dying), the Infante Felipe (who died in 1719), and Ferdinand
Ferdinand VI of Spain
Ferdinand VI , called the Learnt, was King of Spain from 9 July 1746 until his death. He was the fourth son of the previous monarch Philip V and his first wife Maria Luisa of Savoy...

. Because the Duke Francesco of Parma and his heir were childless, Elisabeth sought the duchies of Parma and Piacenza for Charles. She also sought for him the Grand Duchy of Tuscany
Grand Duchy of Tuscany
The Grand Duchy of Tuscany was a central Italian monarchy that existed, with interruptions, from 1569 to 1859, replacing the Duchy of Florence. The grand duchy's capital was Florence...

, because Gian Gastone de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany
Gian Gastone de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany
Gian Gastone de' Medici was the seventh and last Medicean Grand Duke of Tuscany. He was the second son of Cosimo III de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and Marguerite Louise d'Orléans, Princess of France...

 was also childless. He was a distant cousin of hers, related via her great-grandmother Margherita de' Medici
Margherita de' Medici
Margherita de' Medici was Duchess of Parma and Piacenza by her marriage to Odoardo Farnese, Duke of Parma...

, giving Charles a claim to the title through that lineage.

Infancy


The birth of Charles encouraged the Prime Minister Alberoni to start laying out grand plans for Europe. In 1717 he ordered the Spanish invasion of Sardinia
Kingdom of Sardinia
The Kingdom of Sardinia consisted of the island of Sardinia first as a part of the Crown of Aragon and subsequently the Spanish Empire , and second as a part of the composite state of the House of Savoy . Its capital was originally Cagliari, in the south of the island, and later Turin, on the...

. In 1718, Alberoni also ordered the invasion of Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

, which was also ruled by the House of Savoy
House of Savoy
The House of Savoy was formed in the early 11th century in the historical Savoy region. Through gradual expansion, it grew from ruling a small county in that region to eventually rule the Kingdom of Italy from 1861 until the end of World War II, king of Croatia and King of Armenia...

. In the same year Charles' first sister, Infanta Mariana Victoria
Mariana Victoria of Spain
Mariana Victoria of Spain was an Infanta of Spain and Queen consort of Portugal as wife of King Joseph I. The mother of Queen Maria I of Portugal, she also acted as Regent of Portugal during the last months of her husband's life and advisor to her daughter during her reign.-Background:Mariana...

 was born on 31 March. In reaction to the Quadruple Alliance of 1718
Quadruple Alliance
The term "Quadruple Alliance" refers to several historical military alliances; none of which remain in effect.# The Quadruple Alliance of August 1673 was an alliance between the Holy Roman Empire, the Kingdom of Spain, Charles IV, Duke of Lorraine, and the United Provinces of the Netherlands, in...

, the Duke of Savoy
Victor Amadeus II of Sardinia
Victor Amadeus II was Duke of Savoy from 1675 to 1730. He also held the titles of marquis of Saluzzo, duke of Montferrat, prince of Piedmont, count of Aosta, Moriana and Nizza. Louis XIV organised his marriage in order to maintain French influence in the Duchy but Victor Amadeus soon broke away...

 then joined the Alliance and went to war
War of the Quadruple Alliance
The War of the Quadruple Alliance was a result of the ambitions of King Philip V of Spain, his wife, Elisabeth Farnese, and his chief minister Giulio Alberoni to retake territories in Italy and to claim the French throne. It saw the defeat of Spain by an alliance of Britain, France, Austria , and...

 with Spain. This war led to the dismissal of Alberoni by Philip in 1719. The Treaty of The Hague
Treaty of The Hague (1720)
The Treaty of The Hague was signed on February 17, 1720. The treaty ended the War of the Quadruple Alliance, a conflict that arose between King Philip V of Spain and an alliance of Great Britain, France, Austria and the Dutch Republic.Philip was confirmed king of Spain by the Treaty of Utrecht in...

 of 1720 included the recognition of Charles as heir to the Italian Duchies of Parma and Piacenza.

Charles' half-brother, Infante Philip Peter, died on 29 December 1719, putting Charles third in line to the throne after Louis and Ferdinand. He would retain his position behind these two until they died and he succeeded to the Spanish throne. His second full brother, Infante Philip of Spain
Philip, Duke of Parma
Philip of Spain was Duke of Parma from 1748 to 1765. He founded the House of Bourbon-Parma , a cadet line of the Spanish branch of the dynasty...

, was born on 15 March 1720.

Beginning in 1721, King Philip had been negotiating with the Duke of Orléans
Philippe II, Duke of Orléans
Philippe d'Orléans was a member of the royal family of France and served as Regent of the Kingdom from 1715 to 1723. Born at his father's palace at Saint-Cloud, he was known from birth under the title of Duke of Chartres...

, the French regent, to arrange three Franco-Spanish marriages that would cement tense relations. The young Louis XV of France
Louis XV of France
Louis XV was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and of Navarre from 1 September 1715 until his death. He succeeded his great-grandfather at the age of five, his first cousin Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, served as Regent of the kingdom until Louis's majority in 1723...

 would marry the three year old Infanta Mariana Victoria and thus she would become Queen of France; Charles' half brother Louis would marry the fourth surviving daughter of the regent, Louise Elisabeth. Charles himself would be engaged to Philippine Elisabeth who was the fifth surviving daughter of the Duke of Orléans.

In 1726 Charles met Philippine Élisabeth for the first time; Elisabeth Farnese later wrote to the regent and his wife regarding their meeting:
Out of these marriages only Louis and Louise Élisabeth would wed. Elisabeth Farnese looked for other potential brides for her eldest son. For this she looked to Austria, its principal opponent for influence on the Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 peninsula. She proposed to Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles VI was the penultimate Habsburg sovereign of the Habsburg Empire. He succeeded his elder brother, Joseph I, as Holy Roman Emperor, King of Bohemia , Hungary and Croatia , Archduke of Austria, etc., in 1711...

, that the Infante Charles marry the 8 year old Archduchess Maria Theresa
Maria Theresa of Austria
Maria Theresa Walburga Amalia Christina was the only female ruler of the Habsburg dominions and the last of the House of Habsburg. She was the sovereign of Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia, Mantua, Milan, Lodomeria and Galicia, the Austrian Netherlands and Parma...

 and that her second surviving son, the Infante Philip
Philip, Duke of Parma
Philip of Spain was Duke of Parma from 1748 to 1765. He founded the House of Bourbon-Parma , a cadet line of the Spanish branch of the dynasty...

, marry the 7 year old Archduchess Maria Anna.

The alliance of Spain and Austria was signed on 30 April 1725, and included Spanish support for the Pragmatic Sanction
Pragmatic Sanction of 1713
The Pragmatic Sanction of 1713 was an edict issued by Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI to ensure that the throne of the Archduchy of Austria could be inherited by a daughter....

, a document drafted by Emperor Charles in 1713 to assure support for Maria Theresa in the succession to the throne of the Habsburgs. The emperor also relinquished all claims to the Spanish throne, and promised to support Spain in its attempts to regain Gibraltar. The ensuing Anglo-Spanish War
Anglo-Spanish War (1727)
The Anglo-Spanish War of 1727–1729 was a limited war that took place between Great Britain and Spain during the Eighteenth Century, and consisted of a failed British attempt to blockade Porto Bello and a failed Spanish attempt to capture Gibraltar...

 stopped the ambitions of Elisabeth Farnese, and the marriage plans were abandoned with the signing of the Treaty of Seville
Treaty of Seville (1729)
The Treaty of Seville was signed on 9 November 1729 between Great Britain, France, and Spain, concluding the Anglo-Spanish War .Preliminary discussions had already taken place between Britain and Spain at the Convention of Pardo and the Congress of Soissons...

  on 9 November 1729. Provisions of the treaty did allow the Infante Charles the right to occupy Parma, Piacenza and Tuscany by force if necessary.

After the Treaty of Seville, Philip V disregarded its provisions and formed an alliance with France and Great Britain. Antonio Farnese
Antonio Farnese, Duke of Parma
Antonio Farnese was the eighth and ultimate Farnese Duke of Parma and Piacenza. He married, in 1727, Enrichetta d'Este of Modena with the intention of begetting an heir; the marriage, however, was childless, leading to the succession of Charles of Spain–whose mother, Elisabeth Farnese, was...

, the Duke of Parma, died on 26 February 1731 without naming an heir; this was because the widow of Antonio, Enrichetta d'Este
Enrichetta d'Este
Enrichetta d'Este was an Italian noblewoman. She was the Duchess of Parma by marriage to Antonio Farnese, Duke of Parma, who was her first cousin as well as an uncle of Elisabeth Farnese, Queen of Spain....

 was thought to have been pregnant at the time of his death. The Duchess was examined by many doctors without any confirmation of pregnancy. As a result, the Second Treaty of Vienna
Treaty of Vienna (1731)
The Treaty of Vienna was first signed on 16 March 1731 by Count Finzendorf and the Earl of Chesterfield. This treaty marked the collapse of the Anglo-French Alliance , the beginning of the Anglo-Austrian Alliance and the birth of the legend of the natural enmity between the Kingdom of France and...

 on 22 July 1731 officially recognised the young Infante Charles as Duke of Parma and Piacenza.

The duchy was occupied by the Count
Count
A count or countess is an aristocratic nobleman in European countries. The word count came into English from the French comte, itself from Latin comes—in its accusative comitem—meaning "companion", and later "companion of the emperor, delegate of the emperor". The adjective form of the word is...

 Carlo Stampa, who served the lieutenant of Parma for the young Charles. Charles was from then on known as HRH Don Charles of Spain (or Borbón), Duke of Parma and Piacenza, Infante of Spain. Since he was still a minor, his maternal grandmother, Dorothea Sophie of Neuburg, was named regent.

Arrival in Italy



Charles arrived in Italy on 20 October 1731. After a solemn ceremony in Madrid, Charles was given the épée d'or (Sword of Gold) by his father; the sword had been given to Philip V of Spain by his grandfather Louis XIV of France
Louis XIV of France
Louis XIV , known as Louis the Great or the Sun King , was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and Navarre. His reign, from 1643 to his death in 1715, began at the age of four and lasted seventy-two years, three months, and eighteen days...

 before his departure to Spain in 1700. Charles left Spain and traveled overland from Seville
Seville
Seville is the artistic, historic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and of the province of Seville. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, with an average elevation of above sea level...

 to Antibes
Antibes
Antibes is a resort town in the Alpes-Maritimes department in southeastern France.It lies on the Mediterranean in the Côte d'Azur, located between Cannes and Nice. The town of Juan-les-Pins is within the commune of Antibes...

; he then went to Tuscany
Tuscany
Tuscany is a region in Italy. It has an area of about 23,000 square kilometres and a population of about 3.75 million inhabitants. The regional capital is Florence ....

, arriving at Livorno
Livorno
Livorno , traditionally Leghorn , is a port city on the Tyrrhenian Sea on the western edge of Tuscany, Italy. It is the capital of the Province of Livorno, having a population of approximately 160,000 residents in 2009.- History :...

 on 27 December 1731. His cousin Gian Gastone de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, was named his co-tutor and despite Charles being the default heir of Gian Gastone, the Grand Duke still gave him a warm welcome. En route to Florence from Pisa
Pisa
Pisa is a city in Tuscany, Central Italy, on the right bank of the mouth of the River Arno on the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Pisa...

, Charles was taken ill with smallpox. Charles made a grand entrance to the Medici capital of Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

 on 9 March 1732 with a retinue of 250 people. He stayed with his host at the ducal residence, the Palazzo Pitti
Palazzo Pitti
The Palazzo Pitti , in English sometimes called the Pitti Palace, is a vast mainly Renaissance palace in Florence, Italy. It is situated on the south side of the River Arno, a short distance from the Ponte Vecchio...

.

Gian Gastone staged a fête in honour of the Patron Saint of Florence, Jean-Baptiste
Jean-Baptiste
Jean-Baptiste is a male French name, originating with Saint John the Baptist, and may refer to any of the following:-Persons:* Charles XIV John, born Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte.* Charles-Jean-Baptiste Bouc, businessman and political figure in Lower Canada...

, on 24 June. At this fête Gian Gastone named Charles his heir, giving him the title of Hereditary Prince of Tuscany, and Charles paid homage to the Florentine senate, as was the tradition for heirs to the Tuscan throne.
After the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles VI
Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles VI was the penultimate Habsburg sovereign of the Habsburg Empire. He succeeded his elder brother, Joseph I, as Holy Roman Emperor, King of Bohemia , Hungary and Croatia , Archduke of Austria, etc., in 1711...

, found out about the ceremony, he was greatly enraged due to Gian Gastone not giving him Imperial nomination having the rank of ..Ruler of the Romans. Despite the celebrations, Elisabeth Farnese urged her son to go on to Parma. This he did in October 1732, where he was greeted with much joy. On the front of the ducal palace in Parma was written Parma Resurget (Let Parma rule). At the same time the play La venuta di Ascanio in Italia was created by Carlo Innocenzo Frugoni. It was later performed at the Farnese Theatre in the city.

Character and appearance


Upon his arrival in the peninsula, Charles was not yet seventeen years old. He received the strict and structured education of a Spanish Infante; he was very pious and was often in awe of his domineering mother, who according to many contemporaries, he resembled greatly. The Alvise Giovanni Mocenigo
Alvise Giovanni Mocenigo
Alvise Giovanni Mocenigo was doge of Venice from 1763 until his death.-Political career:He restricted the privileges of the clergy and, in consequence, came into bitter conflict with Pope Clement XIII....

, Doge of Venice
Doge of Venice
The Doge of Venice , often mistranslated Duke was the chief magistrate and leader of the Most Serene Republic of Venice for over a thousand years. Doges of Venice were elected for life by the city-state's aristocracy. Commonly the person selected as Doge was the shrewdest elder in the city...

 and Ambassador
Ambassador
An ambassador is the highest ranking diplomat who represents a nation and is usually accredited to a foreign sovereign or government, or to an international organization....

 of Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

 to Naples
Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

 declared that:

he received an education removed from all studies and all applications in order to be able to govern himself

tenne sempre un'educazione lontanissima da ogni studio e da ogni applicazione per diventare da sé stesso capace di governo..


It was the same as the opinion of Count Monasterolo Solaro, ambassador of Savoy
Savoy
Savoy is a region of France. It comprises roughly the territory of the Western Alps situated between Lake Geneva in the north and Monaco and the Mediterranean coast in the south....

 who described Charles Emmanuel III of Sardinia
Charles Emmanuel III of Sardinia
Charles Emmanuel III was the Duke of Savoy and King of Sardinia from 1730 until his death.-Biography:...

 in 1742.

On the other hand he was educated in printmaking
Printmaking
Printmaking is the process of making artworks by printing, normally on paper. Printmaking normally covers only the process of creating prints with an element of originality, rather than just being a photographic reproduction of a painting. Except in the case of monotyping, the process is capable...

 (remaining an enthusiastic etcher), painting
Painting
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

 and a wide range of physical activities which included a future favourite of his, hunting
Hunting
Hunting is the practice of pursuing any living thing, usually wildlife, for food, recreation, or trade. In present-day use, the term refers to lawful hunting, as distinguished from poaching, which is the killing, trapping or capture of the hunted species contrary to applicable law...

. Sir Horatio Mann, a British diplomat in Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

 noted that he was greatly impressed at the fondness Charles had for the sport.

His physical appearance was dominated by the Bourbon nose that he had inherited from his father's side of the family. He was described as "a brown boy, who has a lean face with a bulging nose", and was known for his happy and exuberant character.

Legends from Pangil claim that Charles as a young Prince spent his days in this sleepy town in Laguna. As a gesture of his gratitude to the townfolks of Pangil, he gave the image of Our Lady of Expectation (Nuestra Senora de la o). Unfortunately, it has no historical basis. Records show that Charles spent his childhood in Spain and afterwards went to Italy to claim the throne of Parma.

Conquest of Naples and Sicily



In 1733, at the death of Augustus II the Strong
Augustus II the Strong
Frederick Augustus I or Augustus II the Strong was Elector of Saxony and King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania ....

, King of Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, there was a succession crisis in Poland. France stood opposite Austria and Russia in supporting different contenders to the throne. France joined forces with Savoy and Spain (with whom it signed the first Bourbon Compact late in 1733) to engage in the acquisition of territory at the expense of Austria.

A marginal role was entrusted to the Spaniards in the north of Italy, but the principal objective of Charles' mother was for her to win the largest amount of territories for her sons. These included territories that Spain had lost in the treaty of Utrecht: the Kingdoms of Naples and Sicily. The two kingdoms had been divided by Savoy and Austria by that treaty, and Sicily had become Austrian in the 1720 Treaty of the Hague.

On 20 January 1734, his 18th birthday, Charles was given his majority and was thus able to rule as he wished, "free to govern and to manage in a manner independent its states". He was also named commander of all Spanish troops in Italy, a position he shared with José Carrillo de Albornoz, 1st Duke of Montemar.

Charles, who had been given the style of Charles I of Parma, then embarked on a military campaign to take Naples and Sicily. On 27 February King Philip issued a declaration of his intention to capture the Kingdom of Naples, claiming to free it of "excessive violence [by the Austrian Viceroy of Naples], oppression and tyranny". After inspecting the Spanish troops at Perugia
Perugia
Perugia is the capital city of the region of Umbria in central Italy, near the River Tiber, and the capital of the province of Perugia. The city is located about north of Rome. It covers a high hilltop and part of the valleys around the area....

, Charles ordered the army to march toward Naples on 5 March. The march passed through the Papal States
Papal States
The Papal State, State of the Church, or Pontifical States were among the major historical states of Italy from roughly the 6th century until the Italian peninsula was unified in 1861 by the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia .The Papal States comprised territories under...

 then ruled by Clement XII
Pope Clement XII
Pope Clement XII , born Lorenzo Corsini, was Pope from 12 July 1730 to 6 February 1740.Born in Florence, the son of Bartolomeo Corsini, Marquis of Casigliano and his wife Isabella Strozzi, sister of the Duke of Bagnuolo, Corsini had been an aristocratic lawyer and financial manager under preceding...

.

The Austrians, who also ruled Lombardy
Lombardy
Lombardy is one of the 20 regions of Italy. The capital is Milan. One-sixth of Italy's population lives in Lombardy and about one fifth of Italy's GDP is produced in this region, making it the most populous and richest region in the country and one of the richest in the whole of Europe...

, had only limited resources for the protection of Naples to defend against the expected Spanish invasion, and were divided on how best to defend against it. Even though the Emperor wanted to keep Naples, the majority of the Neapolitan nobility were against him, and some conspired against his viceroy. This was because they hoped that Philip would give the kingdom to Charles, who would be more likely to live and rule there, rather than having a viceroy and service a foreign power. On 9 March the Spanish took Procida
Procida
Procida is one of the Flegrean Islands off the coast of Naples in southern Italy. The island is between Cape Miseno and the island of Ischia. With its tiny satellite island of Vivara, it is a comune of the province of Naples, in the region of Campania. The population is about ten...

 and Ischia
Ischia
Ischia is a volcanic island in the Tyrrhenian Sea. It lies at the northern end of the Gulf of Naples, about 30 km from the city of Naples. It is the largest of the Phlegrean Islands. Roughly trapezoidal in shape, it measures around 10 km east to west and 7 km north to south and has...

, two islands in the Bay of Naples. A week later they defeated the Austrians at sea. On 31 March (his sister Maria Ana Victoria's 16th birthday) the Bourbon troops closed in on the Austrians in Naples. The Austrian General Otto Ferdinand von Abensberg und Traun's defensive position was flanked, and he was forced to withdraw to Capua
Capua
Capua is a city and comune in the province of Caserta, Campania, southern Italy, situated 25 km north of Naples, on the northeastern edge of the Campanian plain. Ancient Capua was situated where Santa Maria Capua Vetere is now...

. This allowed Charles and his troops to advance onto the city of Naples itself.

The Austrian viceroy, Giulio Borromeo Visconti, and the commander of his army, Giovanni Carafa, left some garrisons holding the city's fortresses, and withdrew to Apulia
Apulia
Apulia is a region in Southern Italy bordering the Adriatic Sea in the east, the Ionian Sea to the southeast, and the Strait of Òtranto and Gulf of Taranto in the south. Its most southern portion, known as Salento peninsula, forms a high heel on the "boot" of Italy. The region comprises , and...

. There they awaited reinforcements that they hoped would provide the resources needed to defeat the Spanish. The Spanish entered Naples and quickly gained control over the Austrian-held fortresses in the early days of April. During that interval, Charles received the compliments of the local nobility as well as the city keys and the privilege book from a delegation of the city's elected officials.

Chronicles of the time reported that Naples was captured "with humanity" and that the combat was only due to a general climate of courtesy between the two armies, often under the eyes of the Neapolitans that approached with curiosity. The first fort that was taken by the Spanish army was the fortress of Carmine (10 April), with Sant'Elmo falling on 27 April, the Castel dell'Ovo
Castel dell'Ovo
Castel dell'Ovo is a castle located on the former island of Megaride, now a peninsula, on the gulf of Naples...

 on 4 May, and finally the New Castle on 6 May. This all occurred even though Charles had no military experience, seldom wore uniforms, and could only with difficulty be persuaded to witness a review.