Spain: A Prevalence of Pretenders

As sunrise touched the jagged rocks of Montejurra last week, 60,000 Spaniards followed wooden crosses and old battle flags up steep paths toward a plateau on the mountaintop. There, at the heart of the old northern kingdom of Navarre, they gathered for their annual commemoration of two bloody 19th century civil wars in which their ancestors fought to put a Carlist king on the throne of Spain.*

Reign in Spain. Carlism began in 1833, when King Ferdinand VII, dying without a male heir, directed that his daughter Isabella assume the crown. Her right to the throne was contested by Ferdinand's...

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