Charles II of Spain

Charles II
Rey Carlos II de España.jpg
Portrait by Juan Carreño de Miranda, 1685
Reign17 September 1665 –
1 November 1700
PredecessorPhilip IV
SuccessorPhilip V
RegentMariana of Austria (1665–75)
Born(1661-11-06)6 November 1661
Royal Alcazar of Madrid, Spain
Died1 November 1700(1700-11-01) (aged 38)
Royal Alcazar of Madrid, Spain
BurialEl Escorial
Consorts
HouseHabsburg
FatherPhilip IV of Spain
MotherMariana of Austria
ReligionRoman Catholicism
SignatureCharles II's signature

Charles II of Spain (Spanish: Carlos II; 6 November 1661 – 1 November 1700), also known as El Hechizado or the Bewitched, was the last Habsburg ruler of the Spanish Empire. He is now best remembered for his physical disabilities, allegedly the result of inbreeding, and the war for his throne that followed his death.

He died childless in 1700 with no immediate Habsburg heir. His will named his successor as 16-year-old Philip of Anjou, grandson of Louis XIV and Charles's half-sister Maria Theresa.[1] Disputes over Philip's inheritance led to the War of the Spanish Succession.

Early life

Margarita Theresa in Velázquez' 1656 masterpiece Las Meninas

Charles was born in Madrid to Philip IV of Spain and his second wife, Mariana of Austria. The only surviving son of his father's two marriages, he was given the title Prince of Asturias, traditionally held by the heir to the Spanish throne.

Philip and Mariana were uncle and niece, making Charles their son, great-nephew and first-cousin respectively; all eight of his great-grandparents were descendants of Joanna and Philip I of Castile. The impact of this inbreeding is not fully understood; his elder sister Margaret Theresa did not appear to have the same issues.[2]

Charles himself suffered ill-health throughout his life; he has been described as "short, lame, epileptic, senile and completely bald before 35, always on the verge of death but repeatedly baffling Christendom by continuing to live."[3]

In his case, the so-called Habsburg lip was so pronounced he spoke and ate only with difficulty, did not learn to talk until the age of four or walk until eight. However, foreign observers such as the Marquess of Torcy noted his mental capacities remained intact.[4]

Charles is the subject of various studies on the impact of inbreeding. It is suggested he may have had the endocrine disease acromegaly and a combination of rare genetic disorders often transmitted through recessive genes, including combined pituitary hormone deficiency and distal renal tubular acidosis.[5] However, this is speculation; the authors of the most significant state ...evidence supporting...inbreeding as an important factor in the extinction of the Spanish Habsburg lineage are...not conclusive. It has not been demonstrated...disabilities suffered by Charles II were caused by...detrimental recessive alleles inherited from common ancestors.[6]

Other Languages
azərbaycanca: II Karlos
български: Карлос II
brezhoneg: Carlos II Spagn
eesti: Carlos II
Bahasa Indonesia: Carlos II dari Spanyol
latviešu: Karloss II
Lëtzebuergesch: Carlos II. vu Spuenien
македонски: Карло II (Шпанија)
norsk nynorsk: Karl II av Spania
slovenščina: Karel II. Španski
Türkçe: II. Carlos