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Narvaez, Ramon Maria

NARVAEZ, RAMON MARIA (1800-1868), Spanish soldier and statesman, was born at Loja, Granada, on the 4th of August 1800, entered the army at an early age, and saw active service under Mina in Catalonia in 1822. He was in his sympathies a Conservative, and could not go all lengths with the Radical opposition to Ferdinand VII., whom he served after his restoration. When the king died, Narvaez became one of the Conservative supporters of Isabel II. He achieved great popularity by his victory over Gomez, the Carlist general, near Arcos, in November 1836, and after clearing La Mancha of brigands by a vigorous policy of suppression in 1838 he was appointed captain-general of Old Castile, and commander-in-chief of the army of reserve. In 1840, for the part he had taken at Seville in the insurrection against Espartero and the Progresista party, he was compelled to take refuge in France, where, in conjunction with Maria Cristina, he planned the expedition of 1843 which led to the overthrow of his adversary. In 1844 he became prime minister, and was created field-marshal and duke of Valencia, but his policy was too reactionary to be tolerated long, and he was compelled to quit office in February 1846. He now held the post of ambassador at Paris, until again called to preside over the council of ministers in 1847; but misunderstandings with Maria Cristina led to his resignation in the following year. His ministry succeeded that of O'Donnell for a short time in 1856-1857, and he again returned to power for a few months in 1864-1865. He once more replaced O'Donnell in July 1866, and was still in office when he died at Madrid on the 23rd of April 1868.

Some very curious notices of Narvaez may be found in the letters of Prosper Merimee to Panizzi (1881). For his general political career see Hermann Baumgarten, Geschichte Spaniens p. Ausbruch d. franzos. Revol. bis auf unsere Tase (1865-1871); and the Historia Contemporanea of Antonio Pirala (18711879).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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