Biography of Charles II ‘the Bewitched’, the last Habsburg

Biography of Charles II ‘the Bewitched’, the last Habsburg

Before the House of Bourbons came to the throne of Spain, they reigned in the country the Habsburgs. This dynasty saw its end after the death of the king Charles II the Bewitched, since it died without leaving descendants.

Was born November 6, 1661 in Madrid. His parents were the king Philip IV and his wife Mariana of Austria. At the tender age of 4 he inherited the throne when his father passed away, so his mother was the regent until the young prince fulfilled coming of age 1675.

His arrival to power took place in an atmosphere of tensions and confrontations originated by the fights between Queen Mariana, Juan José de Austria, illegitimate son of the king, Valenzuela and Nithard. Juan José de Austria decided to march on Madrid thanks to the support that the Castilian nobility gave him in 1677, but died shortly after.

Charles II suffered a degeneration due to continued consanguineous marriages carried out by members of the royal family to preserve their legacy. He suffered from rickets, was sickly, had low intelligence and was also powerless. Due to his lack of intelligence, he was unable to rule by himself, so he surrounded himself with valid to carry out such a mission. Some stand out such as the Duke of Medinaceli or the Count of Oropesa. During these years it would be when they nicknamed him the bewitched.

In addition, the king's marriage was arranged with María Luisa de Orleans and shortly after, when she died, with Mariana de Neoburgo. But nevertheless, with no one managed to have children. This issue was of great concern at court, as they saw endanger the succession of the throne, so the king was subjected to exorcisms in case it was true that he was bewitched.

The lack of offspring of the king put the various European powers on alert who wanted to obtain the power of the kingdom. Austria claimed the right of succession to the Archduke Charles in order to recover the heritage of the Habsburgs, create an empire like that of his ancestor Charles I and in the process prevent France from acquiring more power.

But nevertheless, Louis XIV, King of France, knew how to act skillfully. In 1697 he signed the so-called Ryswick Peace, whereby influential members of the court would try to get the king to appoint as heir to Philip of Anjou, grandson of Louis XIV.

Shortly after, on November 1, 1700, Charles II passed away leaving the throne empty. Louis XIV made the testament valid and Felipe de Anjou arrived in the country at the beginning of January. However, despite what his will dictated, the so-called War of succession, which took place between 1701 and 1714. In this confrontation were the supporters of the Archduke of Austria (Austria, England, Portugal, Holland, Prussia, Savoy and Hannover, and on the other hand there were the supporters of Philip, always supported by France.

The confrontation ended with the signature of the Peace of Utrecht in 1713. Felipe was appointed King of Spain under the name of Felipe V. Thus it was established the house of the Bourbons in Spanish territory. However, the other European powers recognized the appointment under the cession of territories. Thus Spain lost hegemony over places like the Netherlands, which were ceded to Austria, or Gibraltar, which ended up in British hands.

Images: Public domain

With a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication, since I was a child I have been attracted to the world of information and audiovisual production. Passion for informing and being informed of what is happening in every corner of the planet. Likewise, I am pleased to be part of the creation of an audiovisual product that will later entertain or inform people. My interests include cinema, photography, the environment and, above all, history. I consider it essential to know the origin of things to know where we come from and where we are going. Special interest in curiosities, mysteries and anecdotal events in our history.


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