Military History |
Carlist Wars 1833-76
The Carlist King Carlos VII
(the one in the centre) with his GHQ
Posted 21 Feb 2001
The 19th Century saw a rash of civil wars in Spain and Portugal. Essentially these pitted progressive constitutionalists against authoritarian absolutists in the guise of a dispute on royal succession. Although now little known outside Spain or Portugal, in their time these wars were international in flavour. The other European nations looked on with considerable interest, and forces from Portugal, Spain, Britain, and France were involved.
Portugal kicked off with the Liberal War (1826-34), where the Liberal supporters of Don Pedro IV fought it out with the Absolutists under the pretender Don Miguel I.
But the conflict didn't take long to spread to Spain and flared up three times during the century:
- 1833-40 First Carlist War / Seven Years War
- 1846 Second Carlist War / Matiners' War
- 1872-76 Third Carlist War
The Carlist Wars in Spain were the last major European civil wars in which pretenders fought to establish their claim to a throne. Several times during the period from 1833 to 1876 the Carlists - followers of Don Carlos and his descendents - rallied to the cry of "God, Country, and King" and fought for the cause of Spanish tradition against the liberalism, and later the republicanism, of the Spanish governments of the day. Although the wars were over a 100 years ago, Carlism is still a going concern in Spain today in the form of Comunión Tradicionalista.
Which war is the Second Carlist War?
Spanish sources refer the the Matiner's War as the Second Carlist War and to the 1872-76 affair as the Third Carlist War. Other, English, sources refer to the 1872-76 war as the Second Carlist War and the Matiner's War as just that. I have followed the Spanish sources and adopted the first scheme.