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PHILIP V

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V21, Page 386 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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PHILIP V. (1683-1746), king of Spain, founder of the present Bourbon dynasty, was the son of the Dauphin Louis and his wife, Maria Anna, daughter of Ferdinand Maria, elector of Bavaria. He was born at Versailles on the 19th of December 1683. On the extinction of the male line of the house of Habsburg in Spain he was named heir by the will of Charles II. He had shared in the careful education given to his elder brother, Louis, duke of Burgundy, by Fenelon, and was himself known as duke of Anjou. Philip was by nature dull and phlegmatic. He had learnt morality from Fenelon's teaching, and showed himself throughout his life strongly adverse to the moral laxity of his grandfather and of most of the princes of his time. But his very domestic regularity caused him to be entirely under the influence of his two wives, Maria Louisa of Savoy, whom he married in 1702, and who died in February 1714, and Elizabeth Farnese of Parma, whom he married in December of the same year, and who survived him. He showed courage on the field of battle, both in Italy and Spain, during the War of the Spanish Succession, and was flattered by his courtiers with the title of El Animoso, or the spirited. But he had no taste for military adventure. If he had a strong passion, it was to provide for his succession to the throne of France, if his nephew, Louis XV., should die, and he indulged in many intrigues against the house of Orleans, whose right to the succession was supposed to be secured by Philip's solemn renunciation of all claim to the French throne, when he became king of Spain. It was in pursuit of one of these intrigues that he abdicated in 1724 in favour of his son Louis. But Louis died in a few months, and Philip returned to the throne. At a later period he tried to abdicate again, and his wife had to keep him in a species of disguised confinement. Throughout his life, but particularly in the later part of it, he was subject to prolonged fits of melancholia, during which he would not even speak. He died of apoplexy on the 9th of July 1746. The best account of Philip's character and reign is still that given by Coxe in his Memoirs of the Kings of Spain of the House of Bourbon (London, 1815).
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