Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Juan Carlos I of Spain
His Majesty King Juan Carlos I (Juan Carlos Alfonso Víctor María de Borbón y Borbón), styled HM The King (born January 5, 1938 in Rome, Italy), is the reigning King of Spain, as his grandfather Alfonso XIII was until the advent of the Second Spanish Republic in 1931. This was ended by the Spanish Civil War and followed by the dictatorship of Francisco Franco until his death on November 20 1975. 2 days later Juan Carlos was designated King of Spain according to the law of succession promulgated by Franco. Juan Carlos also claims the title of King of Jerusalem, as the successor to the royal family of Naples.
In 1956, his younger brother, the Infante Alfonso died of a gunshot wound at his parents' home in Estoril, Portugal. The official explanation, which was easily accepted by the Portuguese police, is of an accident while cleaning a gun. Alfonso suffered from haemophilia, and though the wound would not have been serious for a healthy person, the Infant didn't survive. It is uncertain whether the gun was fired by Alfonso or by Juan Carlos, the only witness of the death.
In 1972, Juan Carlos, a keen sailor, competed in the Dragon class event at the Olympic Games, though he did not win any medals.
Franco's heir, 1969-1975
By designating Juan Carlos as successor to the Head of State in 1969, Franco ignored the successory rights of Juan de Borbón, the father of Juan Carlos, and tried to educate Juan Carlos as his successor for the maintenance of the regime. During the dictatorship, Franco created the title of Prince of Spain (not Prince of Asturias) for his heir. He started to use the second name Carlos to assert his pretensions to the heritage of the Carlist branch of his family. Franco for a long time played with conceding the throne to Juan Carlos' cousin, Alfonso de Borbón Dampierre. During periods of incapacity of Franco in 1974 and 1975, Juan Carlos was acting Head of State. Near death, Franco conceded that he was too ill to govern on October 30, 1975 and the monarchy was restored with control given to Juan Carlos, whom the dictator had groomed to be his fascist successor.
Restoration of the monarchy
However, after Franco's death Juan Carlos quickly instituted democratic reforms, to the great displeasure of conservative elements, especially in the military, who had expected him to maintain the authoritarian state. He appointed Adolfo Suárez, a former leader of the Movimiento Nacional, as Prime Minister of Spain. In 1978, a new Constitution was promulgated that acknowledges Juan Carlos as rightful heir of the dynasty and King. The King relinquished absolute power and became a reigning but non-governing monarch. An attempted coup (23-F) on February 23, 1981, in which the Cortes was seized with gunfire in the parliamentary chamber, seemed likely to derail the process until the unprecedented public television broadcast by the King called for unambiguous support for the legitimate democratic government. In the hours before, the King had personally called senior military figures throughout Spain, many of whom had been told by coup leaders that he was supporting them, to tell them in no uncertain terms that they must defend the democratic government.
When he became king, one Communist leader (Santiago Carrillo), nicknamed him Juan Carlos the Brief, predicting that he and the monarchy would be swept away with all the remnants of fascism. In 1981, that same leader, after the collapse of the coup, in a clearly emotional state told television viewers "God save the King!" If public support for the monarchy among democrats and left wingers prior to 1981 was conditional, following the King's handling of the coup it was unconditional and absolute, with a former senior leader of the Second Republic telling television viewers 'we are all monarchists now'. In spite of that, it is commonly said that many Spaniards are not monarchists but "Juancarlists".
Role in contemporary Spanish politics
Today, the King reigns as a constitutional monarch, exercising little real power over the country's politics. He is regarded as an essential symbol of the country's unity, however, and his interventions and views are listened to and respected by politicians from all sides of the political divide. Under the constitution, the King has immunity from prosecution in matters relating to his official duties. His annual speech to the nation on Christmas Eve is transmitted by most Spanish television channels. He is also the commander-in-chief of the Spanish armed forces. His birthday is a military holiday.
In 1979, King Juan Carlos instituted the Ruta de Quetzal as a way to promote cultural exchange between students from Spain and Latin America. In 1987, he became the first king of Spain to visit the former Spanish possession of Puerto Rico.
- List of national leaders
- History of Spain
- Politics of Spain
- List of Succession to the Spanish Throne
- Official page of the Spanish Royal
- Un rey golpe a golpe, critical biography (PDF, in Spanish)
- Biography by CIDOB Foundation (in Spanish)
- A pedigree of him; not necessarily reliable
| Preceded by:|
|King of Spain|| Heir-Apparent:|
The Prince of Asturias
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details