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Antonio Cánovas del Castillo

Cánovas del Castillo, Antonio (äntôˈnyō käˈnōväs dĕl kästēˈlyō) [key], 1828–97, Spanish conservative politician, historian, and man of letters. During Spain's recurrent political crises from 1868 to 1874, he took the lead in advocating the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy. When Alfonso XII was proclaimed (1875) king, Cánovas established a regency ministry and became premier for six years (with short interruptions in 1875 and 1879) thereafter. He was the driving force behind the constitution of 1876, which created a conservative parliamentary monarchy with restricted suffrage. He managed to conciliate the Carlists and the Catholics, and to further stabilize the monarchy, he worked out a political arrangement that rotated power between his conservatives and the Liberal party. After 1881 he alternated as premier with the Liberal leader, Sagasta. Politically dominant for two decades, Cánovas began to experience serious difficulties with the rise of working-class opposition and, after 1895, the insurrection in Cuba. He was unsuccessfully attempting to deal with the latter when he was assassinated by an anarchist. The editor of Historia general de España (18 vol., 1891–97), he also wrote several historical and critical works, and must be considered the greatest Spanish statesman of the late 19th cent.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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