The shortest reign in Spanish history

Luis de Borbón y Saboya was born in Madrid on August 25, 1707, son of Felipe V of Spain and María Luisa Gabriela de Saboya. When he was only 16 years old, he ascended to the throne at the express wish of his father, although his reign would not last long. In fact, it is considered the shortest of all that this country has seen. This is his story.

The history of Luis de Borbón y Saboya

Luis I was known as the Brief King. He was also referred to as ‘the Well Beloved’, for he was certainly appreciated by the people. With reformist ideas, he wanted to direct his ephemeral actions, in the middle of the 18th century, to recover the hegemony of Spain in Europe. As it has been commented, his government began when he was a teenager, although he was always helped by a cabinet and by his father, a fundamental figure in this history.

Philip V abdicated in 1724, after 24 years on the throne. According to the chronicles, he was beset by mental health problems. If he had lived in the present era, he would surely have been diagnosed with depression. His eternal melancholy, as it was called at the time, led him to renounce the crown. What he could not have imagined when he threw off the burden of the monarchy was that he would have to return to the throne only a few months later.

reign luis I

Statue of Louis I of Spain, work of Felipe de Castro preserved in the Salón de Reinos, in the Buen Retiro Palace. | Luis García (Zaqarbal), Wikimedia

Because Louis I took the reins of Spain in January 1724 but seven months later he contracted smallpox, a disease that was then fatal. He died on August 15 of the same year, a few days before his birthday. He was king of Spain for 229 days. That is to say: the shortest reign in history.

The irony of the matter is that the death of Louis and his short-lived rule led to just the opposite: the longest reign in the history of Spain. When Luis died, it was his father who had to take over the crown. His reign lasted for another 22 years, until he finally passed away, at the age of 62. A total of 46 years, not counting, of course, those seven months in which he entrusted the country to his son.

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