Country Listing

Spain Table of Contents




The Giralda, symbol of the city of Sevilla, in the late nineteenth century
Courtesy Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Charles II, the product of generations of inbreeding, was unable to rule and remained childless. The line of Spanish Habsburgs came to an end at his death. Habsburg partisans argued for allocating succession to the Austrian branch of the Habsburg dynasty, but Charles II, in one of his last official acts, left Spain to his nephew, Philip of Anjou, a Bourbon and the grandson of Louis XIV. This solution appealed to Castilian legitimists because it complied with the principle of succession to the next in the bloodline. Spanish officials had been concerned with providing for the succession in such a way as to guarantee an integral, independent Spanish state that, along with its possessions in the Netherlands and in Italy, would not become part of either a pan-Bourbon or a pan-Habsburg empire. "The Pyrenees are no more," Louis XIV rejoiced at his grandson's accession as Philip V (r. 1700-24; 1725-46). The prospect of the Spanish Netherlands falling into French hands, however, alarmed the British and the Dutch.

Data as of December 1988