Charles II of Spain was the final leader of Habsburg Spain and even though he had a huge obligation to run a really powerful kingdom, he died as a weak one.
One of the most prominent royal residences was the House of Habsburg, also known as the House of Austria.
The Habsburg kings ruled over numerous kingdoms in Bohemia, Portugal, Germany, Croatia, Spain and other.
Charles II of Spain was remembered as the ruler whose ruling was influenced by his mental and emotional handicaps.
Born in Madrid 1661, his father was the King Philip IV of Spain and his mother was Mariana of Austria.
When the death reached King Philip, the only remaining descendant he had was his son Charles.
However, Charles II of Spain had intellectual and emotional issues, most likely based on the fact that his ancestors had done incest marriages.
These types of weird relationships weren’t so weird back in the 17th century. In like manner, the Spanish royal house wasn’t any different.
Anyway, the Habsburgs were an extreme case. Most of their long-lasting power originated from their inner-marriages and their tendency not to associate with other families.
Charles II of Spain had health and mental problems during all his lifetime and 5 days before his 39th birthday, he died.
He didn’t have any children and all his potential followers died before he did. The will Charles left titled his 16-year-old grand-nephew Philip, Duke of Anjou, as his successor.
On the other hand, Philip was also a grandson of the French King Louis XIV. Charles II’s half-sister Maria Theresa of Spain was Louis’s first wife. Complicated like a Spanish soap opera, isn’t it?
Although Charles II didn’t complete his ruling responsibility, his kingdom was still prominent and active. Thus, the dilemma who to replace him was a long headache for the ministers around Europe.
When he died, there was a time of severe inequality of power in Europe. This further led to the War of the Spanish Succession.
Nevertheless, the whole mystery revolving around his death was not the imbalance after it nor the war. It was the state and situation his dead body ended up.
As he was getting closer to his ‘end day’, his health was worse and he was neurotic. Allegedly, one time he even made a request his family to be exhumed to see their corpses.
Apparently, the strong pressure to save Spain from an economic failure gave him a neurotic collapse and he resigned to live a simple life.
After he died in Madrid on 1 November 1700, the doctor he did his autopsy said that his body “did not contain a single drop of blood; his heart was the size of a peppercorn; lungs corroded; his intestines rotten and gangrenous; he had a single testicle, black as coal, and his head was full of water.”
American authors Will and Ariel Durant, in their book The Story of Civilization, described Charles II as “short, lame, epileptic, senile, and completely bald before 35, he was always on the verge of death, but repeatedly baffled Christendom by continuing to live.”