Juan Carlos (Spain)

Reference work entry


Juan Carlos Victor María de Borbón y Borbón became the King of Spain in 1975 after the death of General Francisco Franco ended a 36-year dictatorship. Considered by Franco as his natural successor to lead his right-wing Falangist party, Juan Carlos proved instead to be democratic. He encouraged the liberalization of Spanish society, paving the way for the election of a socialist government to lead the country between 1982–96. In 1981 an attempted coup by Francoists wanting to return Spain to autocratic rule was successfully aborted.

Early Life

Juan Carlos was born on 5 Jan. 1938 in Rome. His father was Juan Carlos Teresa Silverio Alfonso de Borbón y Battenburg, the third son and heir of the previous monarch, King Alfonso XIII. Alfonso had left Spain in 1931 when the country became a republic.

Juan Carlos was privately educated in Switzerland before being sent to continue his studies in Spain in 1947 where Franco set about moulding him as his successor. After his secondary...

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