Isabella II

Isabella II, 1830–1904, queen of Spain (1833–68), daughter of Ferdinand VII and of Maria Christina. Her uncle, Don Carlos, contested her succession under the Salic law, and thus the Carlist Wars began (see Carlists). Isabella was under the regency of her mother until 1840, when Espartero seized power. After his regency (1841–43) was overthrown, Isabella was declared of age. In 1846 the queen married her cousin, Francisco de Asís, and her sister, Luisa Fernanda, married a son of Louis Philippe of France, the duc de Montpensier. These Spanish marriages, which contravened earlier Anglo-French agreements about the choice of husbands for the two sisters, aroused the anger of England, who feared a Franco-Spanish rapprochement, and caused a temporary severance of the entente between England and France. Isabella's rule was one of party conflicts among moderates, progressives, and liberal unionists and of continuous cabinet changes. Narváez, Espartero, and O'Donnell were among her premiers. Frequent rebellions culminated in 1868 in the insurrection led by Serrano and Juan Prim, and Isabella was deposed (see Spain). She spent the rest of her life in France. In 1870 she abdicated her rights in favor of her son, Alfonso XII.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Spanish and Portuguese History: Biographies