Charles II of Spain

Charles II of Spain

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Charles II was the last Habsburg King
Habsburg Spain
Habsburg Spain refers to the history of Spain over the 16th and 17th centuries , when Spain was ruled by the major branch of the Habsburg dynasty...

 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...

 and the ruler of large parts of Italy, the Spanish territories in the Southern Low Countries
Southern Netherlands
Southern Netherlands were a part of the Low Countries controlled by Spain , Austria and annexed by France...

, and Spain's overseas 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....

, stretching from the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

 to the Spanish East Indies
Spanish East Indies
Spanish East Indies was a term used to describe Spanish territories in Asia-Pacific which lasted for three centuries . With the seat of government in Manila, the territory encompassed the Philippine Islands, Guam and the Mariana Islands, the Caroline Islands, and for a period of time, parts of...

. He is noted for his extensive physical, intellectual, and emotional disabilities—along with his consequent ineffectual rule—as well as his role in the developments preceding 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...

.

Ancestry


Charles was born in Madrid
Madrid
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

 in 1661, the only surviving son of his predecessor, King Philip IV of Spain
Philip IV of Spain
Philip IV was King of Spain between 1621 and 1665, sovereign of the Spanish Netherlands, and King of Portugal until 1640...

 and his second Queen (and niece), Mariana of Austria
Mariana of Austria
Mariana of Austria was Queen consort of Spain as the second wife of King Philip IV, who was also her maternal uncle...

, another Habsburg. His birth was greeted with joy by the Spanish, who feared the disputed succession which could have ensued if Philip IV had left no male heir.


17th century European noble culture commonly matched cousin to first cousin and uncle to niece, to preserve a prosperous family's properties. Charles's own immediate pedigree was exceptionally populated with nieces giving birth to children of their uncles: Charles's mother was a niece of Charles's father, being a daughter of Maria Anna of Spain (1606–46) and Emperor Ferdinand III. Thus, Empress Maria Anna was simultaneously his aunt and grandmother and Margarita of Austria was both his grandmother and great-grandmother. The inbreeding was so widespread in his case that all of his eight great-grandparents were descendants of Joanna of Aragon and Duke Phillip of Austria. This inbreeding had given many in the family hereditary weaknesses. That Habsburg generation was more prone to still-births than were peasants in Spanish villages.

There was also insanity in Charles's family; his great-great-great(-great-great, depending along which lineage
Lineage
Lineage may refer to:- Science :* Lineage or kinship, descent group that can demonstrate their common descent from an apical ancestor or a direct line of decent from an ancestor....

 one counts) grandmother, Joanna of Castile
Joanna of Castile
Joanna , nicknamed Joanna the Mad , was the first queen regnant to reign over both the Crown of Castile and the Crown of Aragon , a union which evolved into modern Spain...

 ("Joanna the Mad"; however, the degree to which her "madness" was induced by circumstances of her confinement and political intrigues targeting her is debated), mother of the Spanish King Charles I (who was also Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

 Charles V
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

) became insane early in life. Joanna was two of Charles' 16 great-great-great-grandmothers, six of his 32 great-great-great-great-grandmothers, and six of his 64 great-great-great-great-great-grandmothers.

Dating to approximately the year 1550, outbreeding in Charles II's lineage had ceased (see also pedigree collapse
Pedigree collapse
In genealogy, pedigree collapse describes how reproduction between two individuals who knowingly or unknowingly share an ancestor causes the number of distinct ancestors in the family tree of their offspring to be smaller than it could otherwise be. Robert C...

). From then on, all his ancestors were in one way or another descendants of Joanna the Mad and Philip I of Castile
Philip I of Castile
Philip I , known as Philip the Handsome or the Fair, was the first Habsburg King of Castile...

, and among these just the royal houses of Spain, Austria and Bavaria. Charles II's genome
Genome
In modern molecular biology and genetics, the genome is the entirety of an organism's hereditary information. It is encoded either in DNA or, for many types of virus, in RNA. The genome includes both the genes and the non-coding sequences of the DNA/RNA....

 was actually more homozygous than that of an average child whose parents are siblings. He was born physically and mentally disabled, and disfigured. Possibly through affliction with mandibular prognathism, he was unable to chew. His tongue was so large that his speech could barely be understood, and he frequently drooled. It has been suggested that he suffered from the endocrine disease acromegaly
Acromegaly
Acromegaly is a syndrome that results when the anterior pituitary gland produces excess growth hormone after epiphyseal plate closure at puberty...

, or his inbred lineage may have led to a combination of rare genetic disorders such as combined pituitary hormone deficiency
PROP1
Homeobox protein prophet of Pit-1 is a protein that in humans is encoded by the PROP1 gene.- External links :*...

 and distal renal tubular acidosis
Renal tubular acidosis
Renal tubular acidosis is a medical condition that involves an accumulation of acid in the body due to a failure of the kidneys to appropriately acidify the urine. When blood is filtered by the kidney, the filtrate passes through the tubules of the nephron, allowing for exchange of salts, acid...

.

Consequently, Charles II is known in Spanish history as El Hechizado ("The Hexed") from the popular belief—to which Charles himself subscribed—that his physical and mental disabilities were caused by "sorcery." The king went so far as to be exorcised
Exorcism
Exorcism is the religious practice of evicting demons or other spiritual entities from a person or place which they are believed to have possessed...

.

Early life


Born in the capital of the vast 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....

, Madrid
Madrid
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

, and as the only surviving male heir of his father's two marriages (the only brother of Charles to survive infancy was Balthasar Charles, Prince of Asturias, who died at the age of 16 in 1646), he was named the Principe de Asturias
Prince of Asturias
Prince of Asturias is the historical title given to the heir to the Spanish throne. It was also the title under the earlier Kingdom of Castile. The current Prince of Asturias is Felipe, son of King Juan Carlos of Spain and Queen Sofía...

as his heir.
When Charles was four, his father died and his mother was made his regent
Regent
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

—a position she retained during much of his reign. Though she was exiled by the king's illegitimate half-brother John of Austria the Younger
John of Austria the Younger
John of Austria was a Spanish general and political figure. He was the only natural son of Philip IV of Spain to be acknowledged by the King and trained for military command and political administration...

, she returned to the court after John's death in 1679. The queen mother managed the country affairs through a series of favourites ("validos"), whose merits usually amounted to no more than meeting the queen's fancy. The sheer size of the kingdom at that time made this kind of government increasingly damaging to the realm's affairs.

Not having learned to speak until the age of four nor to walk until eight, Charles was treated as virtually an infant until he was ten years old. Fearing the frail child would be overtaxed, his caretakers did not force Charles to attend school. The indolence of the young Charles was indulged to such an extent that at times he was not expected to be clean. When his half-brother Don John of Austria
John of Austria the Younger
John of Austria was a Spanish general and political figure. He was the only natural son of Philip IV of Spain to be acknowledged by the King and trained for military command and political administration...

, a natural son of Philip IV, obtained power by exiling the queen mother from court, he covered his nose and insisted that the king at least brush his hair.

The only vigorous activity in which Charles is known to have participated was shooting. He occasionally indulged in the sport in the preserves of the Escorial.


Reign


The years in which Charles II sat on the throne were difficult for Spain. The economy was stagnant, there was hunger in the land, and the power of the monarchy over the various Spanish provinces was extremely weak. Charles' unfitness for rule meant he was often ignored and power during his reign became the subject of court intrigues and foreign, particularly French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

n, influence.

During the reign of Charles II, the decline of Spanish power and prestige that started in the last years of Count-Duke of Olivares'
Gaspar de Guzmán, Count-Duke of Olivares
Don Gaspar de Guzmán y Pimentel Ribera y Velasco de Tovar, Count-Duke of Olivares and Duke of San Lúcar la Mayor , was a Spanish royal favourite of Philip IV and minister. As prime minister from 1621 to 1643, he over-exerted Spain in foreign affairs and unsuccessfully attempted domestic reform...

 prime ministership accelerated. Although the peace Treaty of Lisbon with Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 in 1668 ceded the North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

n enclave of Ceuta
Ceuta
Ceuta is an autonomous city of Spain and an exclave located on the north coast of North Africa surrounded by Morocco. Separated from the Iberian peninsula by the Strait of Gibraltar, Ceuta lies on the border of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Ceuta along with the other Spanish...

 to Spain, it was little solace for the loss of Portugal
Portuguese Restoration War
Portuguese Restoration War was the name given by nineteenth-century 'romantic' historians to the war between Portugal and Spain that began with the Portuguese revolution of 1640 and ended with the Treaty of Lisbon . The revolution of 1640 ended the sixty-year period of dual monarchy in Portugal...

 and the Portuguese colonies
Portuguese Empire
The Portuguese Empire , also known as the Portuguese Overseas Empire or the Portuguese Colonial Empire , was the first global empire in history...

 by Philip IV to the Duke of Braganza
John IV of Portugal
|-|John IV was the King of Portugal and the Algarves from 1640 to his death. He was the grandson of Catherine, Duchess of Braganza, who had in 1580 claimed the Portuguese crown and sparked the struggle for the throne of Portugal. John was nicknamed John the Restorer...

's successful revolt against more than 60 years of Habsburg rule.

Charles presided over the greatest auto-da-fé
Auto-da-fé
An auto-da-fé was the ritual of public penance of condemned heretics and apostates that took place when the Spanish Inquisition or the Portuguese Inquisition had decided their punishment, followed by the execution by the civil authorities of the sentences imposed...

in the history of the Spanish Inquisition
Spanish Inquisition
The Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition , commonly known as the Spanish Inquisition , was a tribunal established in 1480 by Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile. It was intended to maintain Catholic orthodoxy in their kingdoms, and to replace the Medieval...

 in 1680, in which 120 prisoners were forced to participate, of whom 21 were later burnt at the stake. A large, richly adorned book was published celebrating the event. Toward the end of his life, in one of his few independent acts as King, Charles created a Junta Magna (Great Council) to examine and investigate the Spanish Inquisition. The council's report was so damning of the Inquisition that the Inquisitor General convinced the decrepit monarch to "consign the 'terrible indictment' to the flames". When Philip V took the throne, he called for the report, but no copy could be found.

Succession


In 1679, the 18-year-old Charles II married Marie Louise d'Orléans (1662–1689), eldest daughter of Philippe I, Duke of Orléans (the only sibling of Louis XIV
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...

) and his first wife Princess Henrietta of England. At that time, Marie Louise was known as a lovely young woman. It is likely that Charles was impotent, and no children were born. Marie Louise became deeply depressed and died at 26, ten years after their marriage, leaving 28-year-old Charles heartbroken.

Still in desperate need of a male heir, the next year he married the 23-year-old Palatine princess Maria Anna of Neuburg
Maria Anna of Pfalz-Neuburg
Countess Palatine Maria Anna of Neuburg was Queen consort of Spain from 1689 to 1700 as the second wife of King Charles II. She was known as Mariana in her adopted Spain...

, a daughter of Philip William, Elector of the Palatinate
Philipp Wilhelm, Elector Palatine
Philip William of Neuburg, Elector Palatine was Count Palatine of Neuburg from 1653 to 1690, Duke of Jülich and Berg from 1653 to 1679 and Elector of the Palatinate from 1685 to 1690...

, and sister-in-law of his uncle Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor
Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor
| style="float:right;" | Leopold I was a Holy Roman Emperor, King of Hungary and King of Bohemia. A member of the Habsburg family, he was the second son of Emperor Ferdinand III and his first wife, Maria Anna of Spain. His maternal grandparents were Philip III of Spain and Margaret of Austria...

. However, this marriage was no more successful than the first in producing the much-desired heir.

Toward the end of his life Charles' fragile health deteriorated and he became increasingly hypersensitive and strange, at one point demanding that the bodies of his family be exhumed so he could look upon the corpses. He officially retired when he had a nervous breakdown caused by the amount of pressure put on him to try to pull Spain out of the economic trouble it was going through. He lived a simple life from then on, playing games and other activities. He died in Madrid on 1 November 1700, five days before his 39th birthday.

As the American historians Will
Will Durant
William James Durant was a prolific American writer, historian, and philosopher. He is best known for The Story of Civilization, 11 volumes written in collaboration with his wife Ariel Durant and published between 1935 and 1975...

 and Ariel Durant
Ariel Durant
Ariel Durant was the co-author of The Story of Civilization.-Biography:Durant was born in Proskurov as Chaya Kaufman to Ethel Appel Kaufman and Joseph Kaufman. The family emigrated to the United States in 1901. She met her future husband, Will Durant, while a student at Ferrer Modern School in...

 put it, Charles II was "short, lame, epileptic
Epilepsy
Epilepsy is a common chronic neurological disorder characterized by seizures. These seizures are transient signs and/or symptoms of abnormal, excessive or hypersynchronous neuronal activity in the brain.About 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy, and nearly two out of every three new cases...

, senile, and completely bald before 35, he was always on the verge of death, but repeatedly baffled Christendom
Christendom
Christendom, or the Christian world, has several meanings. In a cultural sense it refers to the worldwide community of Christians, adherents of Christianity...

 by continuing to live."


Aftermath


When Charles II died in 1700, the line of the Spanish Habsburgs died with him. He had named as his successor a grand-nephew, Philip, Duke of Anjou
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...

 (a grandson of the reigning French king Louis XIV
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...

, and of Charles' half-sister, Maria Theresa of Spain
Maria Theresa of Spain
Maria Theresa of Austria was the daughter of Philip IV, King of Spain and Elizabeth of France. Maria Theresa was Queen of France as wife of King Louis XIV and mother of the Grand Dauphin, an ancestor of the last four Bourbon kings of France.-Early life:Born as Infanta María Teresa of Spain at the...

—Louis XIV himself was an heir to the Spanish throne through his mother, daughter of Philip IV
Philip IV of Spain
Philip IV was King of Spain between 1621 and 1665, sovereign of the Spanish Netherlands, and King of Portugal until 1640...

). As alternate successor he had named his blood cousin Charles
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...

.

The specter of the multi-continental empire 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...

 passing under the effective control of Louis XIV provoked a massive coalition of powers to oppose the Duc d'Anjou's succession. The actions of Louis heightened the fears of, among others, the English, the Dutch and the Austrians. In February of 1701, the French King caused the Parlement
Parlement
Parlements were regional legislative bodies in Ancien Régime France.The political institutions of the Parlement in Ancien Régime France developed out of the previous council of the king, the Conseil du roi or curia regis, and consequently had ancient and customary rights of consultation and...

 of Paris
(a court) to register a decree that should Louis himself have no heir that the Duc d'Anjou (Phillip V of Spain) would surrender the Spanish throne for that of the French, ensuring dynastic continuity in Europe's greatest land power.

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 (1689–97) and the acceptance of the Spanish inheritance by Louis XIV for his grandson.

Almost immediately 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...

 (1702–1713) began. After eleven years of bloody, global warfare, fought on four continents and three oceans, the Duc d'Anjou, as Philip V, was confirmed as King of Spain on substantially the same terms that the powers of Europe had agreed to before the war. Thus the Treaties of Utrecht and Rastatt ended the war and "achieved little more than...diplomacy might have peacefully achieved in 1701." A proviso of the peace perpetually forbade the union of the Spanish and French thrones.

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...

, founded by Philip V, has intermittently occupied the Spanish throne ever since, and sits today on the throne of Spain in the person of Juan Carlos I of Spain
Juan Carlos I of Spain
Juan Carlos I |Italy]]) is the reigning King of Spain.On 22 November 1975, two days after the death of General Francisco Franco, Juan Carlos was designated king according to the law of succession promulgated by Franco. Spain had no monarch for 38 years in 1969 when Franco named Juan Carlos as the...

 (1975–present).

Legacy

  • The city of Charleroi
    Charleroi
    Charleroi is a city and a municipality of Wallonia, located in the province of Hainaut, Belgium. , the total population of Charleroi was 201,593. The metropolitan area, including the outer commuter zone, covers an area of and had a total population of 522,522 as of 1 January 2008, ranking it as...

     in Belgium
    Belgium
    Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

     was named after him. It was founded in 1666 during his reign as count of Namur
    Namur (city)
    Namur is a city and municipality in Wallonia, in southern Belgium. It is both the capital of the province of Namur and of Wallonia....

     or generally sovereign of the Spanish Netherlands.
  • Admiral Francisco Lazeano named the Caroline Islands
    Caroline Islands
    The Caroline Islands are a widely scattered archipelago of tiny islands in the western Pacific Ocean, to the north of New Guinea. Politically they are divided between the Federated States of Micronesia in the eastern part of the group, and Palau at the extreme western end...

     in the Pacific Ocean
    Pacific Ocean
    The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

     after him in 1686.


COAT OF ARMS AS SPANISH MONARCH
Coat of arms of Spain
The current coat of arms of Spain, although it has its roots centuries ago, was approved by law in 1981, when the present established replaced the interim version which, in turn, replaced the official arms of Francoist Spain...

COAT OF ARMS AS MONARCH OF NAPLES
AND SICILY
Coats of arms of Spanish Monarchs in Italy
The Spanish monarchs of the House of Habsburg used separate versions of their royal arms as sovereigns of the Kingdom of Naples-Sicily and the Duchy of Milan with the arms of these territories....

COAT OF ARMS AS MONARCH OF MILÁN
Coats of arms of Spanish Monarchs in Italy
The Spanish monarchs of the House of Habsburg used separate versions of their royal arms as sovereigns of the Kingdom of Naples-Sicily and the Duchy of Milan with the arms of these territories....




External links


  • http://www.xs4all.nl/~monarchs/madmonarchs/carlos2/carlos2_bio.htm A biography of Charles II of Spain in Joan's Mad Monarchs Series

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