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Leopoldo O'Donnell, 1st Duke of Tetuan

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Title: Leopoldo O'Donnell, 1st Duke of Tetuan  
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Subject: List of Foreign Ministers of Spain, Antonio Cánovas del Castillo, Raimundo Fernández-Villaverde, Marquis of Pozo Rubio, Manuel Portela Valladares, Dámaso Berenguer
Collection: 1809 Births, 1867 Deaths, Colonial Heads of Cuba, Counts of Lucena, Dukes of Tetuan, Grandees of Spain, Irish Diaspora Politicians, Leaders of Political Parties in Spain, Liberal Union (Spain) Politicians, O'Donnell Dynasty, People from Santa Cruz De Tenerife, People from Tenerife, People of the Chincha Islands War, Prime Ministers of Spain, Spanish Generals, Spanish People of Irish Descent, Viscounts of Spain
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Leopoldo O'Donnell, 1st Duke of Tetuan

The Most Excellent
The Duke of Tetuan
Prime Minister of Spain
In office
14 July 1856 – 12 October 1856
Monarch Isabella II
Preceded by The Duke of la Victoria
Succeeded by The Duke of Valencia
In office
30 June 1858 – 2 March 1863
Monarch Isabella II
Preceded by Francisco Javier de Istúriz
Succeeded by The Marquis of Miraflores
In office
16 September 1864 – 10 July 1866
Monarch Isabella II
Preceded by The Duke of Valencia
Succeeded by The Duke of Valencia
Minister of State 1858, 1860–1863
Minister for War 1854
Personal details
Born 12 January 1809
Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
Died 5 November 1867
Biarritz, French Empire
Political party Unión Liberal
Spouse(s) Manuela Barges

Don Leopoldo O'Donnell y Jorris, 1st Duke of Tetuan, 1st Count of Lucena, 1st Viscount of Aliaga, Grandee of Spain, (Spanish: Leopoldo O'Donnell y Jorris, I duque de Tetuán, I conde de Lucena, I vizconde de Aliaga, grande de España) (12 January 1809 – 5 November 1867), was a Spanish general and statesman. He was of Irish paternal descent, a descendant of Calvagh O'Donnell, of Tyrconnell.[1][1]


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
  • Family 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life

He was born at Santa Cruz de Tenerife a son of Carlos O'Donnell y Anethan (born 1768) and wife Josefa Jorris y Casaviella, and paternal grandson of José O'Donnell y O'Donnell and wife Marie Anne d' Anethan. He had an uncle Francisco and an aunt Beatriz, married to Manuel Pombo y Ante (1769–1829), and had issue.[2]


O'Donnell was a strong supporter of the Cristinos, and backed the regency of Maria Cristina in the 1830s.[3] When General Baldomero Espartero seized power in 1840, O'Donnell went into exile with Maria Cristina, and was involved in an attempted coup against Espartero in 1841.[3] O'Donnell was soon back in power and was sent to Cuba as Captain General in October 1843.[3] He is credited with the massacre of 1844 known as the repression of La Escalera. Thousands of slaves and free-coloured people in Cuba ended up in dark dungeons, were tortured and executed in what became known as the 'year of the lash'. In 1854, he made a pronunciamento against the government and was named Prime Minister for a time. He served as War Minister in the Espartero government.[4]

O'Donnell's mausoleum (Madrid)

The Crimean War caused a sharp rise in grain prices due to the blockade of Russia, triggering a famine in Galicia in 1854. Riots over the power loom spread through Spain, and General O'Donnell intervened, marching on Madrid. Espartero resigned power in O'Donnell's favour on 14–15 July 1856, and Queen Isabella II asked him to form a government as the 44th Prime Minister of Spain.[4] For his new administration, O'Donnell formed the Unión Liberal Party, which was designed to cross the traditional Progressive, Moderate, and Carlist lines. O'Donnell attempted to find a "middle way" for Spain with this new party, advocating laissez-faire policies and confiscating church land. He was shortly dismissed after only a few months in power on 12 October, and two years of reaction followed. His first government did lay the groundwork for future progress.

In future governments, he was more careful. O'Donnell's two later administrations worked laboriously to attract foreign investment to improve Spain's railroad infrastructure. He failed to achieve much economic growth, however, and spurred industry only in Navarre and Catalonia, both of which already had substantial industrial centres. He was a proponent of a new and aggressive imperial policy, aimed principally at expanding Spanish territory in Africa, particularly after French successes in Algeria.

In the first administration he was twice at the same time the 136th Minister of Foreign Affairs and the 48th Prime Minister of Spain between 30 June 1858 and 2 July 1858, and again as the 138th Minister of Foreign Affairs between 21 October 1860 and 18 January 1863, remaining again solely as Prime Minister until 26 February 1863. His second term as the 53rd Prime Minister started on 21 October 1860.[3]

He took a brief respite from his government in 1860 to command the Spanish army at the battle of Tetuan during its invasion of Morocco, overseeing the capture of Tétouan. He was rewarded for his abilities in the campaign with the title Duke of Tetuan.[4] In 1866 he repressed a revolt led by General Juan Prim, and was subsequently dismissed by the Queen for the brutality of his regime on 11 July 1866.

He was the 103rd Grand Cross of the Order of the Tower and Sword.


He was succeeded in his titles by his nephew, son of his brother Carlos O' Donnell y Jorris and wife María del Mar Alvarez de Abreu y Rodríguez de Albuerne, Carlos O' Donnell y Alvarez de Abreu (Valencia, 1 July 1834 – ?), 2nd Duke of Tetuán, 2nd Count of Lucena and also 9th Marquess of Altamira, married in Madrid on 1 June 1861 to María Josefa de Vargas y Díez de Bulnes (Madrid – ?).


  1. ^ a b O'Hart 1892, pp. 648, 649.
  2. ^ Geneall staff cites: Fraikin 1991, p. 318
  3. ^ a b c d Chisholm 1911, p. 8.
  4. ^ a b c Chisholm 1911, p. 9.


  • Geneall staff. "Leopoldo O' Donnell y Jorris, 1. duque de Tetuá". Geneall. Retrieved June 2012. 
    • Fraikin, Jorge Valverde (1991). Titulos Nobiliarios Andaluces. Granada: Andalucia. p. 318. 
  • O'Cochlain, Ubert (1990). "The O'Donnells of Mayo". North Mayo Historical Society Journal 11 (4): 67–81. Archived from the original on 22 October 2009. Retrieved 30 March 2009. 

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
The Duke of la Victoria
Prime Minister of Spain
14 July 1856 – 12 October 1856
Succeeded by
Ramón María Narváez
Preceded by
Francisco Javier de Istúriz
Prime Minister of Spain
30 June 1858 – 2 March 1863
Succeeded by
The Marquis of Miraflores
Minister of State
30 June 1858 – 2 July 1858
Succeeded by
Saturnino Calderón de la Barca
Preceded by
The Duke of Valencia
Prime Minister of Spain
21 June 1865 – 10 July 1866
Succeeded by
The Duke of Valencia
Spanish nobility
New creation Count of Lucena
25 July 1847 – 5 November 1867
Succeeded by
Carlos O'Donnell
Duke of Tetuan
20 April 1860 – 5 November 1867
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