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Carlists (Spain)

Carlistas, Comunión Tradicionalista

Last modified: 2015-07-29 by ivan sache
Keywords: comunión tradicionalista | carlist | cross: saltire (red) | cross: burgundy |
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[Carlist Flag 1930s (Spain)]
image by Jaume Ollé

See also:


The flag shows the Burgundy Cross, heraldically a "saltire raguly couped gules," which from the 16th century (and up to the adoption in 1873 of the War Ensign as National Flag) was a common emblem in Spanish flags and particularly in Spanish military Colours.

Santiago Dotor, 02 Feb 1999

Carlists and the Carlist dynasty

The Carlists (Carlistas) are the supporters of the Carlist dynasty within the Spanish Bourbon (actually Anjou) dynasty. This dynasty originated just before the death of Ferdinand VII (king of Spain before, shortly during, and after the Napoleonic Wars), as the supporters of his younger brother Charles argued that Ferdinand's daughter Elizabeth was no candidate for the throne since the Salic Law was still valid in Spain. At Ferdinand's death these supporters crowned his brother king as Charles V (reigned 1833-1855) while her niece became the official queen, Elizabeth II. This started the First Carlist War (1833-1840), which was followed by two more (1846-1849 and 1872-1876) as Charles and his heirs (Charles VI 1855-1861, John III 1861-1868, Charles VII 1868-1909, James III 1909-1931, Alphonse-Charles I 1931-1936) claimed once and again the Spanish throne.

During the 1936-1939 war, Carlists supported the uprising with almost fifty banderas (flags or companies) of Requetés (Carlist infantrymen). After the war, Carlists gradually became broken up into three groups:

  • The broad majority supported Xavier Bourbon-Parma (named Regent by Alphonse-Charles I, who died without issue) and his son Charles Hugo Bourbon-Parma, and the Partido Carlista they created, with a strong socialist orientation.
  • A second group, opposed to these socialist views, supported Xavier's younger son Sixto Bourbon-Parma and currently integrate the Comunión Tradicionalista Carlista.
  • Finally, several Carlist leaders considered the Carlist branch extinct with Alphonse-Charles and through the Estoril Pact (1957) gave their support to the nowadays King John Charles I.
This is the list of Carlist claimant "kings":
  • Carlos V [María Isidro] de Borbón (1788-1855, crowned 1833)
  • Carlos VI de Borbón y Braganza (1818-1861, crowned 1855), son of Carlos V
  • Juan III Carlos de Borbón y Braganza (1822-1887, crowned 1861, abdicated 1868), son of Carlos V
  • Carlos VII de Borbón y Austria-Este (1848-1909, crowned 1868), son of Juan III
  • Jaime III de Borbón y Borbón (1870-1931, crowned 1909), son of Carlos VII
  • Alfonso Carlos I de Borbón y Austria-Este (1849-1936, crowned 1931), son of Juan III
Jaime III died without issue and his uncle Alfonso Carlos I followed suit. So he was the last of the dynasty. But he named a Regent, Javier de Borbón-Parma (invested 1936, died 1977), whose two sons Carlos Hugo de Borbón-Parma and Sixto de Borbón-Parma are nowadays' heads of the Carlist left and right wings respectively. But quite honestly I would say that today the Carlist king is King Juan Carlos I de Borbón y Borbón.

You might also be interested in knowing that, before and shortly after Franco's death, many people in Spain supported Juan Carlos' cousin, Alfonso de Borbón, Duke of Cádiz, as the legitimate heir to the throne, arguing that he was a more direct offspring of King Alfonso XIII and that his separation from the dynastic line had only been achieved by Don Juan de Borbón (King Juan Carlos' father) through deceit. Actually part of the French monarchists (the so-called legitimists) supported Alfonso and now support his son (the Duke of Anjou) as the candidate to the French throne.

Santiago Dotor, 02-03 Feb 1999