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Charles IV
Charles IV, as Prince of Asturias, (1765), by Anton Raphael Mengs
King of Spain
Reign 14 December 1788–19 March 1808
Predecessor Charles III
Successor Ferdinand VII
Spouse Maria Luisa of Parma
Issue
Charlotte, Queen of Portugal
Maria Louisa, Queen of Etruria
Ferdinand VII of Spain
Infante Charles, Count of Molina
Maria Isabella, Queen of the Two Sicilies
Infante Francisco de Paula
House House of Bourbon
Father Charles III of Spain
Mother Maria Amalia of Saxony
Born 11 November 1748
Palace of Portici, Portici, Italy
Died 20 January 1819 (aged 70)
Rome, Italy

Charles IV (11 November 1748 – 20 January 1819) was King of Spain from 14 December 1788 until his abdication on 19 March 1808.

Contents

Early life

Portrait of Charles IV by Goya.

Charles was the second son of Charles III and his wife Maria Amalia of Saxony. He was born at Portici, while his father was king of the Two Sicilies. His elder brother Don Felipe was passed over for the two thrones as mentally retarded and epileptic.

Charles had inherited a great frame and immense physical strength from the Saxon line of his mother, granddaughter of August the Strong. When young he was fond of wrestling with the strongest countrymen he could find. While he was considered by many to be intellectually sluggish and quite credulous he was also known for his acts of kindness.

Reign

In 1788, Charles III died and Charles IV succeeded to the throne. Even though he had a profound belief in the sanctity of his office and kept up the appearance of an absolute, powerful monarch, he never took more than a passive part in the direction of his own government, occupying himself with hunting. The affairs of government he left to his wife and his prime minister. In 1792, Maria Luisa finally succeeded in ousting the Count of Floridablanca from office and had him replaced with Pedro Pablo Abarca de Bolea, Count of Aranda, the chief of the Aragonese party. However, in the wake of the war against Republican France, the liberal-leaning Count of Aranda was replaced by Manuel de Godoy, a favourite of the Queen and allegedly her lover, who would henceforth enjoy the lasting favour of the King.

Silver 8 real coin of Charles IV, struck in 1806.

Godoy continued Aranda's policy of neutrality towards France but after Spain protested against the execution of the deposed king in 1793, France declared war on Spain and in 1795 forced Godoy to conclude an alliance and declared war on Great Britain.

In 1803, after smallpox had affected his daughter María Luísa, the king commissioned his doctor Francisco Javier de Balmis to bring the vaccine to the Spanish colonies on state expenses.

Spain remained an ally of France and supported the Continental Blockade until the the British naval victory at Trafalgar. However, After Napoleon's victory over Prussia in 1807, Godoy again steered Spain back onto the French side. This switching back and forth devalued Charles' position as a trustworthy ally while the return to the French alliance increased Godoy's unpopularity and strengthened partido fernandista, the supporters of Crown Prince Ferdinand, who favored a close relationship with Great Britain.

Abdication

When King Charles was told that his son Ferdinand was appealing to Napoleon against Godoy, he took the side of the minister. When the populace rose at Aranjuez in 1808 he abdicated on 19 March, in favour of his son,[1] to save the minister who had been taken prisoner. Ferdinand took the throne as Ferdinand VII, but was distrusted by Napoleon who had 100,000 soldiers in Spain by that time.

Charles IV found refuge in France, and became a prisoner of Napoleon: the latter, posing as arbiter, summoned both Charles IV and his son to Bayonne in April and coaxed Charles (who had a difficult time restraining himself from assaulting his son) to retract his earlier abdication and abdicate, on 5 May 1808, in favour of Napoleon.[2]

Later life

Charles was then interned in Talleyrand's castle in Valençay.[3][4] He accepted a pension from the French Emperor and spent the rest of his life between his wife and Godoy, staying briefly in Compiègne and longer in Marseille.

In 1812, he finally settled in Rome in the Palazzo Barberini.[5][6][7][8]. His wife, the former Queen, died on 2 January 1819. He died, reportedly of overwhelming despair and heartbreak because of the death of his wife, on 20 January 1819.

Marriage and children

Charles IV married his first cousin Maria Louisa, the daughter of Philip, Duke of Parma, in 1765. The couple had fourteen children, six of whom survived into adulthood:

Maria Luisa was widely considered a vicious and coarse woman who thoroughly dominated the king. During the lifetime of Charles III, she led her husband into court intrigues against the prime minister, the Count of Floridablanca.

Ancestors

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
16. Louis XIV of France
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
8. Louis, Dauphin of France
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
17. Maria Theresa of Spain
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
4. Philip V of Spain
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
18. Ferdinand Maria, Elector of Bavaria
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
9. Maria Anna of Bavaria
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
19. Henriette Adelaide of Savoy
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2. Charles III of Spain
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
20. Ranuccio II Farnese, Duke of Parma
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
10. Odoardo II Farnese
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
21. Isabella of Modena
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
5. Elisabeth of Parma
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
22. Philipp Wilhelm, Elector Palatine
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
11. Dorothea Sophie of Neuburg
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
23. Landgravine Elisabeth Amalie of Hesse-Darmstadt
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1. Charles IV of Spain
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
24. John George III, Elector of Saxony
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
12. Augustus II the Strong
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
25. Anne Sophie of Denmark
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
6. Augustus III of Poland
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
26. Christian Ernst, Margrave of Brandenburg-Bayreuth
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
13. Christiane Eberhardine of Brandenburg-Bayreuth
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
27. Sophie Luise of Württemberg
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
3. Maria Amalia of Saxony
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
28. Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
14. Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
29. Eleonore-Magdalena of Neuburg
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
7. Maria Josepha of Austria
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
30. John Frederick, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
15. Wilhelmina Amalia of Brunswick
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
31. Benedicta-Henrietta of Simmern
 
 
 
 
 
 

References

  • Historia del Reinado de Carlos IV, by General Gomez de Arteche (5 vols.), in the Historia General de España de la Real Academia de la Historia (Madrid, 1892, etc.).
  • This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.
Charles IV of Spain
Cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty
Born: 11 November 1748 Died: 20 January 1819
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Charles III
King of Spain
1788–1808
Succeeded by
Ferdinand VII
Vacant
Title last held by
Prince Ferdinand
his uncle
Prince of Asturias
1759-1788
Succeeded by
Prince Ferdinand
his son
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

CHARLES IV. (1748-1819), king of Spain, second son of Charles III. and his wife Maria Amelia of Saxony, was born at Portici on the 11th of November 1748, while his father was king of the Two Sicilies. The elder brother was set aside as imbecile and epileptic. Charles had inherited a great frame and immense physical strength from the Saxon line of his mother. When young he was fond of wrestling with the strongest countrymen he could find. In character he was not malignant, but he was intellectually torpid, and of a credulity which almost passes belief. His wife, Maria Luisa of Parma, his first cousin, a thoroughly coarse and vicious woman, ruled him completely, though he was capable of obstinacy at times. During his father's lifetime he was led by her into court intrigues which aimed at driving the king's favourite minister, Floridablanca, from office, and replacing him by Aranda, the chief of the "Aragonese" party. After he succeeded to the throne in 1788 his one serious occupation was hunting. Affairs were left to be directed by his wife and her lover Godoy (q.v.). For Godoy the king had an unaffected liking, and the lifelong favour he showed him is almost pathetic. When terrified by the French Revolution he turned to the Inquisition to help him against the party which would have carried the reforming policy of Charles III. much further. But he was too slothful to have more than a passive part in the direction of his own government. He simply obeyed the impulse given him by the queen and Godoy. If he ever knew his wife's real character he thought it more consistent with his dignity to shut his eyes. For he had a profound belief in his divine right and the sanctity of his person. If he understood that his kingdom was treated as a mere dependence by France, he also thought it due to his "face" to make believe that he was a powerful monarch. Royalty never wore a more silly aspect than in the person of Charles IV., and it is highly credible that he never knew what his wife was, or what was the position of his kingdom. When he was told that his son Ferdinand was appealing to the emperor Napoleon against Godoy, he took the side of the favourite. When the populace rose at Aranjuez in 1808 he abdicated to save the minister. He took refuge in France, and when he and Ferdinand were both prisoners of Napoleon's, he was with difficulty restrained from assaulting his son. Then he abdicated in favour of Napoleon, handing over his people like a herd of cattle. He accepted a pension from the French emperor and spent the rest of his life between his wife and Godoy. He died at Rome on the 10th of January 1819, probably without. having once suspected that he had done anything unbecoming a king by divine right and a gentleman.

See Historia del Reinado de Carlos IV., by General Gomez de Arteche (3 vols.), in the Historia General de Espana de la Real Academia de la Historia (Madrid, 1892, &c.).


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Simple English

Charles IV
King of Spain
Reign December 14, 1788March 19, 1808
Predecessor Charles III
Successor Ferdinand VII
Spouse Maria Luisa of Parma
Issue
Charlotte, Queen of Portugal
Maria Louisa, Queen of Etruria
Ferdinand VII
Infante Charles, Count of Molina
Maria Isabella, Queen of the Two Sicilies
Infante Francisco de Paula
Full name
Carlos Antonio Pascual Francisco Javier Juan Nepomuceno Jose Januario Serafin Diego
Father Charles III of Spain
Mother Maria Amalia of Saxony
Born November 11, 1748
Palace of Portici, Italy
Died January 20, 1819 (aged 70)
Rome, Italy
Burial El Escorial

Charles IV (November 11, 1748 - January 20, 1819) was King of Spain from December 14, 1788 until his abdication on March 19, 1808.

Marriage and children

Charles IV married his first cousin Princess Maria Luisa, the daughter of Philip, Duke of Parma, in 1765. The couple had fourteen children, six of whom survived into adulthood:

  • Carlos Clemente of Spain (19 September 1771 – 7 March 1774) died in infancy.
  • Carlota Joaquina of Spain (25 April 1775 – 7 January 1830) married John VI of Portugal and had issue.
  • Maria Luisa of Spain (11 September 1777 – 2 July 1782) died in infancy.
  • Maria Amalia of Spain (9 January 1779 – 22 July 1798) married her uncle Infante Antonio Pascual of Spain no issue.
  • Carlos Domingo of Spain (5 March 1780 – 11 June 1783) died in infancy.
  • Maria Luisa of Spain (6 July 1782 – 13 March 1824) married Louis of Parma and had issue.
  • Carlos Francisco of Spain (5 September 1783 – 11 November 1784) died in infancy.
  • Felipe Francisco of Spain (5 September 1783 – 18 October 1784) died in infancy.
  • Ferdinand VII of Spain (14 October 1784 – 29 September 1833) succeeded his father as King of Spain.
  • Carlos of Spain, Count of Molina (29 March 1788 – 10 March 1855), later the first Carlist pretender.
  • Maria Isabel of Spain (6 June 1789 – 13 September 1848) married Francis I, King of the Two Sicilies and had issue.
  • Maria Teresa of Spain (16 February 1791 – 2 November 1794) died in infancy.
  • Felipe Maria of Spain (28 March 1792 – 1 March 1794) died in infancy.
  • Francisco Antonio de Paula of Spain, Duke of Cadiz (10 March 1794 – 13 August 1865)


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