|Ramón María Narváez y Campos was a Spanish soldier and conservative political leader, who supported Queen Isabel II and served six times as prime minister of Spain between 1844 and 1866.
Born at Loja, Granada, on 5 August 1800, he entered the army at an early age and saw active service under Francisco Espoz y Mina in Catalonia in 1822. His sympathies were essentially Conservative and he could not fully support the Radical opposition to Ferdinand VII, whom he served after his restoration. When the kind died in 1833, Narváez became one of the Conservative supporters of Isabel II.
He achieved great popularity by his victory over Miguel Castro Gómez, the Carlist general, near Arcos, in November 1836. 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 reserves. In 1849, for the part he had taken at Seville in the insurrection against Baldomero Espartero and the Progresista party, he was compelled to take refuge in France, where, together with Queen Maria Cristina, he planned the expedition of 1843 which led to Espartero’s overthrow.
In 1844 he became prime minister and on 18 November 1846 was created field-marshal and duque de Valencia, but his policies were too reactionary to be tolerated for long, and he was compelled to quit office in February 1846. He then held the post of ambassador at Paris, until he was again called to preside over the council of ministers in 1847, but misunderstandings with Maria Cristina led to his resignation the following year.
His ministry succeeded that of General Leopoldo 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 in Madrid on 23 April 1868. On his deathbed, he was asked if he forgave his enemies; he infamously replied ‘I have none. I have had them all shot.’
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