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Francisco Serrano, 1st Duke of la Torre: Wikis

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Francisco Serrano y Domínguez, Duke de la Torre.

Don Francisco Serrano y Domínguez, 1st Duke de la Torre Grandee of Spain, 2nd Count Consort of San Antonio (es: Francisco Serrano y Domínguez, primer duque de la Torre, segundo conde consorte de San Antonio) (1810-1885) was a Spanish marshal and statesman, born on Isla de León in Cádiz Province on 17 September/17 December 1810.

His father Francisco Serrano y Cuenca, Bueno Soto y Lara, born in Lopera, parish of Purísima Concepción, was a general officer and a Liberal. His mother was Isabel Domínguez y Guevara-Vasconcellos, Pérez de Vargas y Alburquerque, born in Marbella ca. 1780.

Serrano began his studies at Vergara in the Basque provinces, became a cadet in 1822, cornet in 1833 in the lancers of Sagunto, passed into the carabiniers in 1829, and when the Carlist agitation began in 1833 he exchanged into the cuirassiers. He formed part of the escort which accompanied Don Carlos, the first pretender and brother of Ferdinand VII, to the frontier of Portugal.

As aide-de-camp of Espoz y Mina, then under the orders of Generals Córdoba and Espartero, in the armies of Queen Isabella, Serrano took such an active part in the Carlist War from 1834 to 1839 that he rose from the rank of captain to that of brigadier-general. His services obtained for him the Cross of San Fernando and many medals. He was also granted the 155th Grand Cross of the Order of the Tower and Sword.

In 1839 he was elected a member of Cortes for the first time for Málaga]], and in 1840 he was made a general of division and commander of the district of Valencia, which he relinquished to take his seat in congress. From that day Serrano became one of the chief military politicians of Spain. In 1841 he helped Espartero to overthrow the regency of Queen Christina. In 1843 at Barcelona he made a pronunciamiento against Espartero; he became minister of war in the López cabinet, which convoked the Cortes that declared Queen Isabella of age at fifteen, served in the same capacity in an Olozaga cabinet, sulked as long as the Moderados were in office- He was made a senator in 1845, captain-general of Granada in 1848, and from 1846 to 1853 lived apart from politics on his Andalusian estates or traveling abroad.

On 29 September 1850 in Madrid he married his first cousin Antonia Domínguez y Borrell, Guevara y Lenuy, 2nd Countess of San Antonio (Havana, Baptized on 19 March 1831 - ?), daughter of his maternal uncle Miguel Domínguez y Guevara-Vasconcellos, Pérez de Vargas y Alburquerque (Marbella, ca. 1790 - 9 January 1858), 1st Count of San Antonio, and wife María Isabel Borrell y Lemus, Lara y Iznaga (Trinidad - ?), and whose only brother Miguel Domínguez y Borrell, Guevara y Lenuy died young. They had five children.

He assisted Marshal O'Donnell in the military movements of 1854 and 1856, and was his staunch follower for twelve years. O'Donnell made him marshal in 1856 and captain-general of Cuba from 1859 to 1862; and Serrano not only governed that island with success, and did good service in the war in Santo Domingo, but he was the first viceroy who advocated political and financial reforms in the colony.

On his return to Spain he was made Duke de la Torre, Grandee of Spain of the first class, and the 139th Minister of Foreign Affairs by O'Donnell from 18 January to 2 March 1863. Serrano gallantly exposed his life to help O'Donnell quell the formidable insurrection of 22 June 1866 at Madrid, and was rewarded with the Order of the Golden Fleece. At the death of O'Donnell, be became the chief of the Union Liberal, and as president of the senate he assisted Ríos Rosas to draw up a petition to Queen Isabella against her Moderado ministers, for which both were exiled.

Undaunted, Serrano began to conspire with Antoine, Duke of Montpensier, Prim and Sagasta; and on 7 July 1868 González Bravo had Serrano and other generals arrested and taken to the Canary Islands. There Serrano remained until Admiral Topete sent a steamer to bring him to Cadiz on 18 September that same year. On landing he signed the manifesto of the revolution with Prim, Topete, Sagasta, Martos and others, and accepted the command of the revolutionary army, with which he routed the troops of Queen Isabella under the orders of the Marquess of Novaliches at the bridge of Alcolea. The queen fled to France, and Serrano, having entered Madrid, formed a Provisional Government, convoked the Cortes Constituyentes in February 1869, and was appointed successively president of the executive as the 57th Prime Minister of Spain and Regent from 3 October 1868 to 18 June 1869. He acted very impartially as a ruler, respecting the liberty of action of the Cortes and cabinets, and bowing to their selection of Amadeus I of Savoy, though he would have preferred Montpensier.

As soon as Amadeus reached Madrid, after the death of Prim, Serrano consented to form a coalition cabinet, which lasted only a few months. Serrano resigned and took the command of the Italian king's army against the Carlists in North Spain. He tried to form one more cabinet under King Amadeus as the 65th Prime Minister of Spain on 6 June 1872, but again resigned on 12 June when that monarch declined to give his ministers dictatorial powers and sent for Ruíz Zorilla, whose mistakes led to the abdication of Amadeus on 11 February 1873. Serrano would have nothing to do with the federal republic, and even conspired with other generals and politicians to overthrow it on 23 April 1873. Having failed, he had to go to France until General Pavia, on the eve of his coup d'etat of 3 January 1874, sent for him to take the head of affairs.

Serrano assumed once more the title of president of the executive; tried first a coalition cabinet, in which Cristino Martos and Sagasta soon quarrelled, then formed a cabinet presided over by Sagasta. This, however, failed to cope with the military and political agitation that brought about the restoration of the Bourbons by another pronunciamienio at the end of December 1874. During the eleven months he remained in office Serrano devoted his attention chiefly to the reorganization of finance, the renewal of relations with American and European powers, and the suppression of revolt.

After Alfonso XII ascended the throne in 1875, Serrano spent some time in France. He returned to Madrid in 1876, attended palace receptions, took his seat as a marshal in the senate, flirted politically with Sagasta and his party in 1881, and finally gave his open support to the formation of a dynastic Left with a democratic program defended by his own nephew, General López Domínguez. He died in Madrid on 25 November/26 November 1885, twenty-four hours after Alfonso XII, who some say to be his own son. Alfonso was the son of Isabella II of Spain, and allegedly, Francis of Assisi de Borbon, her King Consort. His true biological paternity is uncertain, though his legal paternity is not: his mother was married to her (presumed homosexual) cousin Francis of Assisi de Borbon, the King Consort of Spain, at the time of Alfonso's conception and birth. Some theories suggest that Alfonso's biological father might have been either Enrique Puigmoltó y Mayans, Captain of the Royal Guard, or General Francisco Serrano.

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