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The House of Bourbon dates from at least the beginning of the 13th century, when the estate of Bourbon was ruled by a Lord, vassal of France. With the course of time, the House of Bourbon would become one of the most powerful ruling families of Europe, with its members becoming monarchs of Navarre, France, Spain and southern Italy and rulers of several important duchies.
The Bourbons first became an important family in 1268, with the marriage of Robert, Count of Clermont, sixth son of king Louis IX of France, to Beatrice of Burgundy, heiress to the lordship of Bourbon. Their son Louis was made duke of Bourbon in 1327. Though his line was dispossessed of the dukedom after two centuries, the junior line of the Counts of La Marche acquired the Dukedom of Vend me. The Bourbon-Vend me branch became the ruling house of first Navarre (1555) and then of France (1589), under Henry de Bourbon. The Princes of Cond (Bourbon-Cond ) are a cadet branch of the Bourbon-Vend and, in turn, are senior to the Princes of Conti (Bourbon-Conti). The Bourbons lost the throne of France for a first time in 1792 and finally in 1830 after a sixteen-year restoration. The Dukes of Orleans, are, since the 17th century, also a branch of the Bourbon royal line.
Other royal lines are descended from the French Bourbon dynasty. Philip V of Spain started the Bourbon rule of Spain, which spans from 1700-1808, 1813-1868, and 1875-1931, and again from 1975 to the present day. Nowadays, Bourbon in Spain is spelled Borb n. From this Spanish line comes the royal line of the kingdom of the Two Sicilies (1734-1806 and 1815-1860, and Sicily only in 1806-1816), the Bourbon-Sicilies family, and the Bourbon rulers of the Duchy of Parma.
Bourbon monarchs in France
Following the French Revolution and the rule of Napoleon Bonaparte, the House of Bourbon was restored:
The Orleanist July monarchy, which took power in July 1830, brought to the throne the head of the Orleanist cadet branch of the Bourbons:
With the advent of the Second Republic in 1848, Bourbon monarchy in France ended.
The Bourbon pretender to the throne of France, the Comte de Chambord, was offered a restored throne following the collapse of the empire of Emperor Napoleon III in 1870. However the stubborn Chambord refused to accept the throne unless France abandoned the revolution-inspired tricolour and accepted what he regarded as the true Bourbon flag of France, something the French National Assembly could not possibly agree to. (The tricolour, having been associated with the First Republic, had been used by the July Monarchy, Second Republic and Empire.)
A temporary Third Republic was established, while monarchists waited for Chambord to die and for the succession to pass to the Comte de Paris, who was willing to accept the tricolour. However Chambord did not die for over a decade, by which public opinion switched to support the republic as the 'form of government that divides us least.'
Bourbon monarchs in Spain
- Felipe V, 1700-1724 and 1724-1746
- Luis I, 1724 (he ruled less than one year)
- Fernando VI, 1746-1759
- Carlos III, 1759-1788
- Carlos IV, 1788-1808
- Fernando VII, El Deseado 1813-1833
- Isabel II, La Chata 1833-1868
- Alfonso XII, 1875-1885
- Alfonso XIII, 1886-1931
- Juan Carlos I, 1975-present
Other Bourbon rulers