||Alfonso XII (Bourbon) de Borbón y Borbón was a member of aristocracy in Europe.|
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Alfonso XII (Alfonso Francisco de Asís Fernando Pío Juan María de la Concepción Gregorio Pelayo; 28 November 1857 – 25 November 1885) was King of Spain, reigning from 1874 to 1885, after a coup d'état restored the monarchy and ended the ephemeral First Spanish Republic.
Having been forced into exile after the Glorious Revolution deposed his mother Isabella II from the throne in 1868, Alfonso studied in Austria and France. His mother abdicated in his favour in 1870, and he returned to Spain as king in 1874 following a military coup. Alfonso died aged 27 in 1885, and was succeeded by his unborn son, who became Alfonso XIII on his birth the following year.
Alfonso was born in Madrid as the eldest son of Queen Isabella II. Officially, his father was her husband, King Francis. Alfonso's biological paternity is uncertain: there is speculation that his biological father may have been Enrique Puigmoltó y Mayans (a captain of the guard). These rumours were used as political propaganda against Alfonso by the Carlists.
His mother's accession created the second cause of instability, which was the Carlist Wars. The supporters of the Count of Molina as king of Spain rose to have him enthroned. In addition, within the context of the post-Napoleonic restorations and revolutions which engulfed the West both in Europe and the Americas, both the Carlistas as well as the Isabelino conservatives were opposed to the new Napoleonic constitutional system. Much like in Britain, who subtracted itself from the liberal constitutional process, Spanish conservatives wanted to continue with the Traditional Spanish Organic Laws such as the Fuero Juzgo, the Novísima Recopilación and the Partidas of Alfonso X. This led to the third cause of instability of worth, the "Independence of the American Kingdoms", recognized between 1823 and 1850.
When Queen Isabella and her husband were forced to leave Spain by the Revolution of 1868, Alfonso accompanied them to Paris. From there, he was sent to the Theresianum at Vienna to continue his studies. On 25 June 1870, he was recalled to Paris, where his mother abdicated in his favour, in the presence of a number of Spanish nobles who had tied their fortunes to that of the exiled queen. He assumed the title of Alfonso XII, for although no King of united Spain had borne the name "Alfonso XI", the Spanish monarchy was regarded as continuous with the more ancient monarchy represented by the 11 kings of Asturias, León and Castile also named Alfonso. Within a few days after Canovas del Castillo took power as Premier, the new king, proclaimed on 29 December 1874, arrived at Madrid, passing through Barcelona and Valencia and was acclaimed everywhere (1875). In 1876, a vigorous campaign against the Carlists, in which the young king took part, resulted in the defeat of Don Carlos and the Duke's abandonment of the struggle.
Initially led by Canovas del Castillo as moderate prime minister, what was thought at one time as a coup aimed at placing the military in the political-administrative positions of power, in reality ushered in a permanent civilian regime that lasted until the 1931 Second Republic. Cánovas was the real architect of the new regime of the Restoration.
In order to eliminate one of the problems of the reign of Isabel II, the single party and its destabilizing consequences, the Liberal Party was allowed to incorporate and participate in national politics, and the 'turnismo' or alternation was to become the new system. Turnismo would be endorsed in the Constitution of 1876 and the Pact of Pardo Palace (1885). It meant that liberal and conservative prime ministers would succeed each other ending thus the troubles.
This led to the end of the Carlist revolts and the victory over the New York-backed Cuban revolutionaries, and led to a huge backing both by insular and peninsular Spaniards of Alfonso as a wise and able king.
Alfonso's short reign established the foundations for the final socioeconomic recuperation of Spain after the 1808–1874 crisis. Both European (the coastal regions, such as the Basque Country, Catalonia, and Asturias) and Overseas – Antilles and Pacific were able to grow steadily. Cuba and Puerto Rico prospered to the point that Spain's first train was between Havana and Camaguey, and the world's first telegraph was in Puerto Rico, as Samuel Morse lived there with his daughter, married to a Puerto Rican businessman. Upon the American invasion of Puerto Rico, ten US dollars were needed to buy one Puerto Rican peso.
On 23 January 1878 at the Basilica of Atocha in Madrid, Alfonso married his first cousin, Princess Maria de las Mercedes, daughter of Antoine, Duke of Montpensier, but she died within six months of the marriage.
On 29 November 1879 at the Basilica of Atocha in Madrid, Alfonso married a much more distant relative, Maria Christina of Austria, daughter of Archduke Karl Ferdinand and Archduchess Elisabeth of Austria. During the honeymoon, a pastry cook named Otero fired at the young sovereign and his wife as they were driving in Madrid.
In November 1885, Alfonso died, just short of his 28th birthday, at the Royal Palace of El Pardo. He had been suffering from tuberculosis, but the immediate cause of his death was a recurrence of dysentery.
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