What were the Carlist wars/time/place/participants/causes/consequences/winner

Carlist Wars (1833 – 1876)

The pluralized name that this article receives, indicates that this is how the joint struggles or the union of the various armed conflicts between civilians that existed during the 19th century in their homeland, Spain, became known. What were the Carlist wars?

Moreover, its title also draw an important fact for the reading of the document is that the uerras Carlistas owe their name to one of the protagonists of the battles, Carlos Maria Isidro de Borbón, also known as Carlos V .

Who was this character and how was he involved in the Carlist Wars? When did the Carlist Wars take place? Was Don Carlos the winner of these struggles? How many battles were there? What was the beginning of each of these due to? If you continue reading, you will discover everything about these warlike encounters that took place in the history of the European nation, let’s start.

When and where did the Carlist Wars take place?

It all began in 1833 and lasted a long time longer than expected or thought, until 1876 , the year in which the war was officially ended since the last of these was carried out and there was no subsequent resumption. . The Carlist suffered its occurrence territorially speaking throughout the area of ​​the Iberian Peninsula, it began mainly covering some of its states, among these: Catalonia, Navarra, the Maestrazgo and even the Basque country , thus achieving full spread.

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Who participated in the Carlist Wars?

Two sides were involved in these wars, the belligerents, later called “the Elizabethans” for being the followers in favor of the reign and placed on the throne of Elizabeth II in contrast to the Carlists , the henchmen of Carlos María Isidro de Borbón and they came to be led by Colonel Tomás de Zumalacárregui , who not only directed them but also trained them to perform better during their battles. All of these were the fighters of the Carlist Wars. What were the Carlist wars?

On the other hand, Alfonso XII, Fernando VII (the father of Isabel II), Luisa Fernanda and the brother of Carlos V also participated, who was also the previous king of Spain until he meets death and leaves his position empty to that the slaughter and struggle of their successors for the occupation of such a dignified, powerful and renowned place be given rise.

Periods of the Carlist Wars

As has already been mentioned, the warlike encounters were several. Now the time has come to know how many there were and the period of time during which each one of them occurred. There were three civil struggles , which are called:

  • The first Carlist War : This combat, full of many campaigns, began in 1833 and culminated in 1840. It was the longest fight of the three fought and one that to some extent was not in vain for the members of the Elizabethans, since it ended up being flattering for them. It marked the beginning of the battles because it was in this period in which Ferdinand VII died but where, shortly before doing so, a modification was made in the law so that it was possible for a woman, in this case her daughter Elizabeth II, to inherit and assume the position of Queen of Spain, an action contrary to what was expected since it was obvious that due to the lack or lack of a first-born male the throne would be for the king’s brother, Carlos V. What were the Carlist wars?
  • The Second Carlist War : This was more about an insurrection than a civil war as such during the years from 1846 to 1849, since the Carlist group continued without making much noise against the liberal ideas of Elizabeth II because they remained as a small faction of opponents or opponents. In this period the marriage of Isabel with Francisco de Asís Borbón takes place, with said act the destabilization of the country politically and the increase of the guerrillas, as well as the lack of governmental control in the face of the many conflicts that arose daily in Spain.
  • The third Carlist War : The development of this was seen during the period from 1872 to 1876 and the end of the Carlist. By this time the armed forces of Carlos V had increased in number and international support, so new strategies were carried out to bring their boss to the throne. However, they were frustrated and hit in the face of failure and even more so with the subsequent official coronation of Alfonso XII, the son of Isabel II as the legitimate heir who would comply with the Salic law that was defended by the Carlist organization, thus arriving at the complete weakening of Carlism for the sadness of Carlos VII who could never fulfill his objective of being King and with it his retirement to the French nation in order to return in the last year of battles.

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Causes of the Carlist Wars

The main or most influential reasons for the three wars are the most common. We name them below:

  • The changes made to the law that governed at the time so that a woman was suitable to inherit the Spanish throne.
  • Envy, frustration and ambition of Carlos V to rise to the government.
  • The failures in the attempts to overthrow Elizabeth II in different ways.
  • The division of ideals between the Carlists and Elizabethans (liberalism and constitutionalism).
  • The uncontrolled violence of the battles . What were the Carlist wars?
  • The political and social tension in Spain .
  • The desires to vindicate the succession rights of the aspirants to the Spanish reign .
  • The sucesorial lawsuit between Elizabeth II and Carlos V .
  • The repeal or abolition of the Salic law .
  • The questioning of legitimacy in the face of the coronation of Elizabeth II .
  • The payment or the answer of fire by fire of the Elizabethans before the Carlists .


Like the previous ones, the end of the Carlist Wars left joint results in Spain, which affected the country’s politics and the life of each citizen who participated in these confrontations, whether it was on the part of the Elizabethan or Carlist side, everyone saw the final effects of war conflicts, which are summarized in the large number of deaths in battle and feelings of frustration at not seeing the objectives met . However, despite the disastrous results there was a bright touch of light and color for the country as a whole, since with the signing of the patented treaty with Lord Eliot the atrocities of the opposing sides are reduced and it is given a more humane treatment. to the people imprisoneddue to the war, an act that meant a great advance for the Spanish in the nation‘s diplomacy.


Although at the beginning of the armed movements it seemed that the causes of Carlos V were having results and they seemed to be the victors due to the excellent offensive of the Carlist troops, it was not like that. Rather, there was no choice but to retreat to the French nation for the simple reason that they were being defeated by the Elizabethans with their effective armed team , their agile fighting tactics, and their great advantage over them. What were the Carlist wars?

In addition, the positioning of Alfonso XII on the throne for the application and defense of the Salic law in the country left the followers of Carlos V without any reason to continue with the differences, thus reaching the end of this long and postponed conflict in the year 1874.

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