House of Bourbon (1700–1808)

The French Bourbons had a strong claim on the Spanish throne following the 1700 death of the last Hapsburg monarch, Charles II, who died without an heir. France won War of the Spanish Succession and the Bourbon monarchy was established in Spain. Once it consolidated rule in Spain, the Bourbon monarchs embarked upon a series of reforms to revitalize the Spanish empire, which had significantly declined in power in the late Hapsburg era.

The ideas of the Age of Enlightenment had a strong impact in Spain and a ripple effect in Spanish American Enlightenment Spain's overseas empire. When French forces under Napoleon Bonaparte invaded the Iberian peninsula and placed Napoleon's brother Joseph on the throne of Spain, there was a crisis of legitimacy in both Spain and its overseas empire. A cortes (parliament) was convened in Cádiz, which ratified a liberal constitution in 1812, limiting the power of the monarchy constitutionally as well as the power of the Catholic Church. Ferdinand VII claimed he supported the liberal constitutions, but once restored to power in 1814, he renounced it and reverted to unfettered absolutist rule.

In most parts of Spanish America during the Napoleonic period in Spain, wars of independence broke out, so that by the time Bourbon Ferdinand VII was restored to the throne in 1814, much of Spanish America had achieved independence and established constitutional republics. New Spain (Mexico) and Peru were the exceptions, becoming independent in 1821 (Mexico) and 1824 (Peru). Mexico briefly had a monarchy under royalist military officer turned insurgent Agustín de Iturbide, who was overthrown in favor of a federated republic under the Constitution of 1824.

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Philip V

the Spirited

Spanish:Felipe V

19 December 1683 – 9 July 1746
(aged 62)
16 November 1700 14 January 1724
Great-grandson of Philip IV Bourbon Felipe V 
Louis I

the Beloved and the Liberal

Spanish:Luis I

25 August 1707 – 31 August 1724
(aged 17)
14 January 1724 31 August 1724 Son of Philip V Bourbon Luis I
Philip V

the Spirited

Spanish:Felipe V

19 December 1683 – 9 July 1746
(aged 62)
6 September 1724 9 July 1746 Father of Louis I Bourbon Felipe V
Ferdinand VI

the Learned

Spanish:Fernando VI

23 September 1713 – 10 August 1759
(aged 45)
9 July 1746 10 August 1759 Son of Philip V Bourbon Fernando VI
Charles III

the Enlightened and the King-Mayor

Spanish:Carlos III

20 January 1716 – 14 December 1788
(aged 72)
10 August 1759 14 December 1788 Son of Philip V Bourbon Carlos III
Charles IV

the Hunter

Spanish:Carlos IV

11 November 1748 – 20 January 1819
(aged 70)
14 December 1788 19 March 1808
Son of Charles III Bourbon Carlos IV
Ferdinand VII

the Desired and the Felon King

Spanish: Fernando VII

14 October 1784 – 29 September 1833
(aged 48)
19 March 1808 6 May 1808
Son of Charles IV Bourbon Ferdinand VII