Philip V of Spain (1683–1746)

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Philip V of Spain (1683–1746)

Philip V of Spain, (b. 19 December 1683; d. 9 July 1746), king of Spain (1700–1724 and 1724–1746).

Philip V, duke of Anjou and grandson of Louis XIV and María Teresa (daughter of Philip IV of Spain), was the first Bourbon king of Spain. Designated heir to the throne by his Hapsburg predecessor, Charles II, Philip entered Madrid in 1701 with his wife, María Luisa. His claim to the throne, however, was contested by two other candidates, and the first twelve years of his reign witnessed the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714). He married Isabella Farnese of Parma in 1714.

As punishment for supporting the rival Austrian claimant, Philip deprived Catalonia, Aragon, and Valencia of most of their autonomous privileges. Subsequent government reforms included the Nueva Planta (1716), which replaced viceroys with captains-general and initiated Spain's transformation from a collection of semi-autonomous provinces into a centralized state.

Although foreign policy during Philip's reign was often dictated by his wives or their favorites, after 1726 Philip was well served by a number of able secretaries (who made up an aristocracy of merit rather than privilege) dedicated to strengthening the state and its finances. In order to restore Spain as a great power through the exploitation of empire, the king's ministers modernized the navy and developed trading companies. However, the revitalization of trade awaited the suspension of the fleet system (1740) and its replacement with register ships.

Philip's personal behavior alarmed his subjects, and his sexual compulsions (counterbalanced by religious ones) allowed his wives to manipulate him. He was also the victim of a recurring mental illness that manifested itself in fits of hysteria, complete detachment from reality, profound melancholy, and violent behavior. In order to live a life of retreat in preparation for an afterlife, Philip abdicated in favor of his sixteen-year-old son, Louis, in 1724. However, Louis died eight months later and Philip was persuaded to resume the Spanish throne. Ironically, he died without the presence of a confessor.

See alsoWar of the Spanish Succession .


Alfred Baudrillart, Philippe V et la Cour de France, 5 vols. (1890–1900).

Henry Kamen, The War of Succession in Spain, 1700–1715 (1969).

John Lynch, Bourbon Spain, 1700–1808 (1989), esp. pp. 22-156.

Additional Bibliography

Garcia Càrcel, Ricard. Felipe V y los españoles: Una visión periférica del problema de España. Barcelona: Plaza & Janés, 2002.

González Enciso, Agustín. Felipe V: La renovación de España: Sociedad y economía en el reinado del primer Borbón. Pamplona: Ediciones Universidad de Navarra, 2003.

Kamen, Henry. Philip V of Spain: The King Who Reigned Twice. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001.

                            Suzanne Hiles Burkholder

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Philip V of Spain (1683–1746)

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