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The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. The Columbia University Press


Bourbon (bōōrbôN´), European royal family, originally of France; a cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty. One branch of the Bourbons occupies the modern Spanish throne, and other branches ruled the Two Sicilies and Parma. It takes its name from the now ruined castle of Bourbon, at Bourbon-l'Archambault, Allier dept., which was the seat of a powerful family descended from Adhémar, a noble of the 9th cent.

The French Bourbons

Robert of Clermont, sixth son of Louis IX of France, married (1272) Beatrice, heiress of Bourbon, and is considered the founder of the line. Robert's son, Louis, was created (1327) 1st duc de Bourbon. The ducal title remained with the descendants of his eldest son until 1527, when Charles, duc de Bourbon, died without issue. Because of his treason, his extensive fiefs were seized by the crown and the ducal title was discontinued.

A younger son of Louis, 1st duc de Bourbon, gave issue to the line of Bourbon-Vendôme. The marriage (1548) of Antoine de Bourbon, duc de Vendôme, with Jeanne d'Albret added vast territories in S France (see Albret) and the title king of Navarre to his other fiefs (Vendôme, Périgord, Rouergue). From Antoine's brother, Louis I de Condé, the houses of Condé and Conti were issued.

Antoine's son became (1589) the first Bourbon king of France as Henry IV, the older branches of Louis IX's issue having become extinct (see Valois). Henry IV was succeeded by his son, Louis XIII, and his grandson, Louis XIV. Louis XIV's descendants ruled France (except during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic era, 1792–1814) until the deposition (1830) of Charles X (see France). With the death (1883) of Henri, comte de Chambord, grandson of Charles X, the senior French branch of Bourbon came to an end. From Louis XIV's brother Philip the cadet branch of Bourbon-Orléans (see Orléans, family) is issued; it furnished one king, Louis Philippe (1830–48), and inherited the claim to the French crown in 1883.

The Spanish Bourbons

The line of Bourbon-Spain, or Borbón, began with the accession (1700) of Philip V, a grandson of Louis XIV, to the Spanish throne. He was succeeded by Ferdinand VI, Charles III, Charles IV, and Ferdinand VII. Ferdinand VII set aside the Salic law of succession, introduced into Spain by Philip V, in favor of his daughter, Isabella II. Her succession was contested by supporters (see Carlists) and descendants of Don Carlos, second son of Charles IV.

Relative order was reestablished after Isabella's son was proclaimed (1874) king as Alfonso XII. His son, Alfonso XIII, was deposed in 1931 and died in exile in 1941. His marriage (1906) with Victoria of Battenberg introduced hemophilia into his family. His first and fourth sons both died. His second son, Jaime, renounced his right of succession, which fell to Alfonso's third son, Don Juan, who was free from the disease. His son Juan Carlos, who married Princess Sophia of Greece, was chosen by Spanish dictator Francisco Franco as his successor. Juan Carlos became king of Spain in 1975 and established a constitutional monarchy and a liberal democracy.

The Sicilian Bourbons

The line of Bourbon-Sicily came out of the Spanish line. It was founded by Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies, who succeeded (1759) his father as king of Naples and of Sicily when the latter became king of Spain as Charles III. His great-grandson, Francis II, was deposed in 1860.

The Parma Bourbons

The house of Bourbon-Parma was established (1748) in the duchy of Parma and Piacenza by Philip, a younger son of Philip V of Spain and Elizabeth Farnese of Parma. Robert, fifth duke of the line, was deposed in 1859. Among his numerous children were Empress Zita of Austria, Sixtus of Bourbon-Parma, and Prince René, who married Princess Margaret of Denmark. René's and Margaret's daughter, Anne, married (1948) Michael of Romania.


Copyright The Columbia University Press

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. The Columbia University Press

Bourbon, Antoine de

Antoine de Bourbon (äNtwän´ də bōōrbôN´), 1518–62, duc de Vendôme, king of Navarre through his marriage to Jeanne d'Albret; father of Henry IV of France. He converted to Protestantism after his marriage (1548), becoming one of the most influential Huguenot leaders. Although he did not take part in the conspiracy of Amboise (Mar., 1560), which was masterminded by his brother Louis I de Condé (see under Condé, family), he supported Condé in another plot later that year. It miscarried, and Antoine was forced to hand Condé over to Catherine de' Medici. Upon the death of Francis II in Dec., 1560, Antoine renounced his right to the regency for the minor Charles IX in return for Condé's release; he was awarded the prestigious but powerless position of royal lieutenant general. In 1561 he reembraced Roman Catholicism, joining the Guise-Montmorency alliance, which hoped to replace Catherine's regency with his own. He was killed the next year fighting the Protestants at Rouen.


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