Philip V first King of Spain

Philip V of Spain. He disputed the throne and the war of succession (Versailles, December 19, 1683 - Madrid, July 9, 1746). He was the first king of Spain of the Bourbon dynasty.

In fact, he was the nephew of King Louis XIV of France and ascended to the Spanish throne because his grandmother, Queen Maria Teresa, married the Sun King.

Philip V

Alexandre Brondino at Unsplash

She was the daughter of the first-bed Philip IV of Spain and half-sister of the last king of the Habsburg dynasty, Charles II of Spain.

Coronation of Philip at the Palace of Versailles, November 16, 1700.

He was the second son of Ludwig the Great and Mary Anne of Bavaria. He was born in Versailles on December 19, 1683 and was invested with the title of Duke of Anjou.

On November 1, 1700 he died in King Charles II of Spain, he was a great uncle, brother of Philip by his grandmother.

Five days later, the late king, the former 17-year-old Duke of Anjou, was proclaimed the new King of Spain with the express reservation that he would leave his rights and those of his descendants to the French crown forever.

If he refused, the Spanish crown would go to his younger brother Charles Duke of Berry or any "Archduke Charles of Austria".

Both plaintiffs had legal rights over the fact that their grandfather, King Louis XIV of France, and the father of Charles of Austria, Emperor Leopold I, were the husbands of Charles II's sisters in Spain.

Philip had more rights as both his grandmother and his grandmother were older than those of Archduke Charles of Austria.

However, the Austrian branch claimed that Philip's grandmother had given up her rights and those of her descendants on the Spanish throne in her time, as a result of her marriage contract.

The French party replied that this provision was null and void since the dowry had never been paid.

The Throne Litigation and the War of Succession

Since Charles II did not have children with two wives, long before his disappearance the great monarchies of Europe had begun to advance various hypotheses of succession, ratified in secret agreements.

All the hypotheses had as their main objective the dismemberment of the great economic and military power of Spain: the Spanish empire, in fact, if it had fully joined one of the thrones of the great European powers, would certainly change the axis of "political-military as well as economic balance, in favor of the latter, with the result that it is difficult to govern the relations between states and impossible to maintain peace.

Strictly speaking, the inheritance would have gone to the Spanish Infanta Maria Teresa, wife of Louis XIV, who however had renounced the succession before her death in 1683.

Louis XIV did not consider the resignation valid and therefore took over the claims of his son, the Dauphin Louis of France, and his sons, Louis and Philip (the latter was in fact appointed by Charles II).

Content (Click to view)
  1. The Throne Litigation and the War of Succession
  • The will
    1. The War
  • Domestic Policy
  • Sicily
    1. Political and administrative reforms
    2. Economic and financial management
    3. Educational reforms
    4. Military Reforms
  • Foreign policies
    1. Treaties
    2. Family Pacts
  • Death
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  • The will

    Because the not entirely illegitimate claim to the Spanish throne was then Emperor Leopold I, brother of Charles II and representative of the Austrian branch of the Habsburgs, and the Elector of Bavaria.

    Charles II of Habsburg, when making his will, adopted precisely the only solution unanimously rejected by all other rulers, though limited to the rigid, formal and substantial separation of the corresponding crowns: not leaving his inheritance in the hands of only one subject, this influenced by his wife Anna Maria of Neuburg and the opinion of the sent-in pope.

    Since the named Philippe d'Anjou, supported by the King of France, would never receive the testamentary benefits granted to him by Charles II, the use of arms was inevitable.

    The War of the Spanish Succession, as the conflict was called, began with the Great Alliance of the 'Aja of September 7, 1701, with which England, the Netherlands and Austria committed themselves to prevent the will and testament of the late King of Spain from being definitively implemented: it would be very difficult to confront a single Bourbon sovereignty on both sides of the Pyrenees.

    The War

    The war developed with several events until 1713, when after long and laborious negotiations that lasted about a year, on July 13 the Peace Treaty of Utrecht was signed between France, on the one hand, and Great Britain, Portugal, Prussia, Holland and Savoy, on the other.

    However, the end of the War of the Spanish Succession came only when Austria also signed the peace treaty with France: this happened on March 6, 1714 in the city of Rastatt.

    Domestic Policy

    Although Philip V was finally allowed to remain on the Spanish throne, he had to give up the possession of Menorca and Gibraltar Great Britain, and south of the Netherlands, Naples, the Duchy of Milan and Sardinia, the Austrian family of the Habsburgs. Sicily and part of the Milanese went to Savoia.

    The Spanish hegemony, which already during the 600's was abandoned by the growing Dutch and English rivalry (especially in trade with the Americas), suffered in this war to be further weakened.

    However, who recovered from defeat in the War of the Spanish Succession, Philip V of Spain, led by government cardinal Giulio Alberoni, occupied Sardinia and thus Sicily, causing the War of the Quadruple Alliance (1717) that saw England, France, Austria and the Netherlands rival Spain and ended three years later with the Spanish defeat.

    Prostrate to defeat Philip V, he abdicated in favor of Louis, his eldest son, but was forced to return to the throne a few months later, after his son died of smallpox.


    Philip then worked to help the Bourbon dynasty recover the territories during the War of the Polish Succession and the War of the Austrian Succession, with the taking of Naples and Sicily and the Austria of Oran by the Ottomans.

    To do so, it allied itself with Charles VI's Austria, and the two powers, Russia, were also added. But this provoked a reaction that led to the alliance between England, France, Holland and Prussia.

    I increased and intensified the political situation in the Anglo-Spanish War of 1727, during which Philip V tried, without success, to recover the Kingdom of Spain the fortress of Gibraltar.

    Towards the end of their reign, the Spanish successfully defended the territories from the British invasion in the War of Jenkins' Ear in the Caribbean. During their reign, Spain began to recover from the impasse into which it had fallen under the Hapsburgs.

    Political and administrative reforms

    The reign of Philip V was the turning point in the relationship between Madrid and the rest of the Spanish provinces.

    Because if the Habsburgs in general had respected local autonomy and local legal sources, jurisdictions, Philip V imposed a strongly centralist policy.

    The heart of this policy was the Nueva Planta Decrees published in 1707 and again amended in 1716 abolishing the Kingdom of Aragon and the Kingdom of Valencia, the Kingdom of Mallorca and the County of Barcelona, the local legal sources and the local consultative assemblies, Cortes.

    Instead of these kingdoms the decrees established an equal number of provinces, governed by a captain general and an audience, responsible for the government of economic and administrative management; the municipalities and the figure of the mayor were also established.

    Even the central government was reformed: the Supreme Council of the Crown of Aragon, the Council of Italy and those of the Council of Flanders were abolished and the Departments of State were born, precursors of the current ministries, composed of civil servants appointed by the Crown and the coordinated person Secretary of State.

    Finally, in 1713, the laws of inheritance were amended by the introduction of Salic law to prevent foreign dynasties of female descent from obtaining the throne, although Philip V had obtained the crown only through a female line of the Habsburg branch of Spain.

    Economic and financial management

    Philip V had inherited from Charles II of Habsburg Spain in a strong economic backwardness; delayed mainly due to an inefficient tax system, the greater weakness of the trade and production system compared to other European countries and smuggling.

    To solve these problems, Philip V applied a mercantilist policy that prohibited the export of grains and textiles, the abolition of internal customs duties, already reduced by Charles II, and the establishment of a solid customs system.

    The same tax system was reorganized according to the French model based on the figure of the intendant: a civil servant employed and paid by the State taxes, thus riscuotesse of a certain neighborhood.

    He also reported the abolition of certain tax privileges of the privileged classes and the reduction, implemented in 1723, of the King's Cinquième tax.

    Several treatments were devoted to trade relations with the overseas empire than to the creation of corporations to finance companies with the independent model of the English and Dutch East India Company.

    It was quite successful as the abortive attempt to reduce smuggling, encouraged by the Treaty of Utrecht which gave England the right to ship and allowed the monopoly of the 'seat'.

    Educational reforms

    During his reign, Philip V attempted to reduce the influence of the clergy on Spanish society through greater state control of the school system, but the policy remained largely ineffective.

    In fact, given the lack of competent teachers, education was in the hands of religious orders, especially the Jesuits and Dominicans, although institutes such as the "Colegio de Minas" were born to train mining engineers also through the use of scholarships and in all universities there was an increase in the number of presidents of scientific subjects.

    Military Reforms

    Another area of intervention by the king was the army which, after the ascent to the throne, was in disastrous conditions due to both the activity and the delay of the Tercio model.

    In view of the demands of the war, the king's first concern was the increase in personnel that he implemented using the enlistment of foreign mercenaries and the recruitment of one man every 15.

    In 1704 the Tercio was finally replaced by the deployment of brigades, battalions and regiments based in France; a unique and standardized armament was introduced with the adoption of the bayonet rifle and a separate corps was created from the artillery troops of the line.

    Finally, he came to oversee the training of officers with the creation of several military schools and academies, including the one in Toledo that still exists.

    Even the Spanish Navy received a lot of treatment thanks to the work of Minister Ensenada. The shipyards were created for Cadiz and El Ferrol and adopted the use of modern line ships and frigates.

    Foreign policies

    He returned to the throne, Philip V signed, in 1725, a peace treaty with Charles VI of Austria so close to the tracks remained with Austria and focused on the latent conflict with Britain; then it became a real conflict with the Anglo-Spanish War (1727-1729).

    This rivalry arose from the desire of the Spanish courts to eradicate English smuggling and the concessions made after Utrecht, but the conflict was inconclusive and confirmed the status quo enshrined in the El Pardo Convention (1728).

    Because, however, the lack of help from Austria the only consequence of this brief conflict was the rapprochement of Spain to France that was the super-architect Jose Patiño while, on the contrary, England renewed the agreements with Austria.

    In this new course, signed between the family Compact the Spanish and French Bourbons, a real defensive and offensive alliance was tested in the War of Polish Succession.

    The intervention in the war of Polish succession, and before the war of Austrian succession, was therefore due to the objective pursued with particular vigour by Elisabetta Farnese, to put her sons on the thrones of Italy, while keeping them linked to the Kingdom of Spain.


    • The Treaty of Vienna 1725 was signed by Charles VI and Philip V of Spain; according to the terms of the contract, Charles VI would renounce all claims to the Spanish throne, while Philip V would instead have renounced the claims to the Austrian Low Countries and the Italian domains.
    • The Treaty of San Ildefonso, signed on July 10, 1742 by Philip V of Spain and Christian VI of Denmark to regulate and stimulate trade relations between the two countries. It was signed by a Spanish party by José del Campillo y Cossio and Federico Luis, Baron Dehn on behalf of the King of Denmark; it was annulled in 1753.
    • The Treaty of Aranjuez of 1745 was a military alliance agreed between the kingdoms of Spain, France and Naples with the Republic of Genoa, to support the latter against the Sardinian and Austrian attacks, in the context of the War of the Austrian Succession.

    In the drafting of the treaty, concluded in Aranjuez on May 1, 1745, were assisted by Sebastian de la Cuadra on behalf of Philip V of Spain, Luis Baureal Guerapin Guido, on behalf of King Louis XV of France, Reggio and Stefano Gravina, on behalf of Charles VII of Naples and Girolamo Grimaldi on behalf of the Republic of Genoa.

    Family Pacts

    The family pacts are a number of cooperation agreements in the different stages of the 18th century between the Spanish and French monarchies.

    They owe their name to the family relationship between the signatory kings, all belonging to the Bourbon dynasty. These alliances saw the return of Spain, as an ally of France, in the European wars of the time:

    • first agreement: Signed in 1734, the port in Spain War of Polish Succession next to France and the Kingdom of Sardinia. With the Treaty of Vienna (1738) Charles VI, gave the place Kingdom of Naples and Kingdom of Sicily to Charles of Bourbon.
    • second agreement: Spain enters the War of the Austrian Succession in 1743, after which, in 1748, by the Treaty of Aachen (1748), Prince Philip I of Parma obtains the Duchy of Parma.

    Tomb of Philip V and Isabella Farnese in the Collegiate Church of the Holy Trinity, in the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso (Segovia)


    Philip V died in 1746 and was replaced by the son of the first bed, Ferdinand VI.

    By his express will the king was not buried in the crypt of the Monastery of El Escorial used as the kings of the House of Habsburg.

    The successors of Filippo himself (VII) except Ferdinando but chose a small chapel located in the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso, a few kilometers from Segovia: The place where Philip V preferred to effectively govern the empire.

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