Carlists Against Liberalism

Counter-revolution in the Iberian Peninsula During the Nineteenth Century

Authored by: Jordi Canal

The Routledge Companion to Iberian Studies

Print publication date:  March  2017
Online publication date:  March  2017

Print ISBN: 9780415722834
eBook ISBN: 9781315709895
Adobe ISBN:


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Carlism belongs to a wider category of what have been termed “counter-revolutionary” movements visible in most Western European states over the course of the nineteenth century, including Miguelism in Portugal or the Legitimist movement in France. It was primarily opposed to liberalism and revolution. It was not the only expression of counter-revolutionary sentiment to be seen in Spain (consider, e.g., the popularity of royalism during the Liberal Triennium), but it was undoubtedly the most important, in every sense. This has often led “Carlism” to be understood as a synonym for “counter-revolution,” especially in accounts of nineteenth-century Spain (see Canal 2000a, 2006; Rújula 1998). That century saw Carlists take a leading role in two major civil wars – the First Carlist War (1833–1840) and the Second Carlist War (1872–1876) – as well as various insurrections, cavalry raids, coups, and minor skirmishes. These conflicts involved thousands of people, and were an essential part of the process by which the contemporary nation-state took shape. As such, the Carlist movement is of fundamental importance for the contemporary history of Spain.

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