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Leopoldo O'Donnell, 1st Duke of Tetuán

Leopoldo O'Donnell y Jorris, 1st Duke of Tetuan, 1st Count of Lucena, 1st Viscount of Aliaga (12 January 1809 – 5 November 1867), was a Spanish general and statesman who was Prime Minister of Spain on several occasions.

The Duke of Tetuán
Leopoldo O'Donnell y Jorris.jpg
Prime Minister of Spain
In office
14 July 1856 – 12 October 1856
MonarchIsabella II
Preceded byThe Duke of la Victoria
Succeeded byThe Duke of Valencia
In office
30 June 1858 – 2 March 1863
MonarchIsabella II
Preceded byFrancisco Javier de Istúriz
Succeeded byThe Marquis of Miraflores
In office
16 September 1864 – 10 July 1866
MonarchIsabella II
Preceded byThe Duke of Valencia
Succeeded byThe Duke of Valencia
Minister of State 1858, 1860–1863
Minister for War 1854
Personal details
Born12 January 1809
Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
Died5 November 1867 (1867-11-06) (aged 58)
Biarritz, French Empire
Political partyUnión Liberal
Spouse(s)Manuela Barges


Early lifeEdit

He was born at Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Canary Islands, a son of Carlos O'Donnell y Anethan (born 1768) and wife Josefa Jorris y Casaviella, and paternal grandson of José O'Donnell y O'Donnell and wife Marie Anne d' Anethan. He was of distant Irish paternal ancestry, a descendant of Calvagh O'Donnell, of Tír Chonaill,[1][2] a Gaelic territory in the west of Ulster in the north of Ireland. He had an uncle Francisco and an aunt Beatriz, married to Manuel Pombo y Ante (1769–1829), and had issue.[3]


O'Donnell was a strong endorser of the liberal Cristinos and the regency of Maria Cristina during the 1830s.[4] When General Baldomero Espartero seized power during 1840, O'Donnell went into exile with Maria Cristina, and was involved in an attempted coup against Espartero during 1841.[4] O'Donnell was soon back in power and was sent to Cuba as Captain General during October 1843.[4] He is credited with the massacre of 1844 known as the repression of La Escalera. Thousands of slaves and free-coloured people in Cuba were confined in dungeons, were tortured and executed in what became known as the 'year of the lash'.[citation needed] During 1854, he made a pronunciamento against the government and was named Prime Minister for a time. He served as War Minister of the Espartero government.[5]

Mausoleum of General The 1st Duke of Tetuán (Madrid).

The Crimean War caused an increase of grain prices due to the blockade of Russia, causing a famine in Galicia during 1854. Riots against power looms spread through Spain, and General O'Donnell intervened, marching on Madrid.[citation needed] Espartero resigned power in O'Donnell's favour on 14–15 July 1856, and Isabella II asked him to form a government as the 44th Prime Minister of Spain.[5] For his new administration, O'Donnell formed the Unión Liberal Party, which was designed to combine Progressive, Moderate, and Carlist factions. O'Donnell attempted to define moderate policies for Spain with this new party, advocating laissez-faire policies and confiscating church land. He was soon dismissed after only a few months in power on 12 October, and two years of reaction followed.[citation needed]

In later governments, he was more careful. O'Donnell's two later administrations worked laboriously to attract foreign investment to improve Spain's railroad infrastructure. He failed to achieve much economic growth, however, and increased industry only in Basque country and Catalonia, both of which already had substantial industrial centres. He was a proponent of a new and aggressive imperial policy, intended principally to expand Spanish territory in Africa, particularly after French successes in Algeria.[citation needed]

In the first administration he was twice at the same time the 136th Minister of Foreign Affairs and the 48th Prime Minister of Spain between 30 June 1858 and 2 July 1858, and again as the 138th Minister of Foreign Affairs between 21 October 1860 and 18 January 1863, remaining again solely as Prime Minister until 26 February 1863. His second term as the 53rd Prime Minister started on 21 October 1860.[4][better source needed]

He took a brief respite from his government during 1860 to command the Spanish army at the battle of Tetuan during its Spanish-Moroccan War, overseeing the capture of Tétouan. He was rewarded for his abilities in the campaign with the title Duke of Tetuan.[5] During 1866 he repressed a revolt commanded by General Juan Prim, and was subsequently dismissed by the Queen for the brutality of his regime on 11 July 1866.[citation needed]

He was the 103rd Grand Cross of the Order of the Tower and Sword.[citation needed]


He was succeeded in his titles by his nephew, son of his brother Carlos O' Donnell y Jorris and wife María del Mar Alvarez de Abreu y Rodríguez de Albuerne, Carlos O' Donnell y Alvarez de Abreu (Valencia, 1 July 1834 – ?), 2nd Duke of Tetuán, 2nd Count of Lucena and also 9th Marquess of Altamira, married in Madrid on 1 June 1861 to María Josefa de Vargas y Díez de Bulnes (Madrid – ?).


  1. ^ O'Hart 1892, pp. 648, 649.
  2. ^ O'Cochlain, 1990 & 67–81.
  3. ^ [[#CITEREFGeneall_staff|Geneall staff]] cites: Fraikin 1991, p. 318
  4. ^ a b c d Chisholm 1911, p. 8.
  5. ^ a b c Chisholm 1911, p. 9.


  •   Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "O'Donnell, Henry Joseph". Encyclopædia Britannica. 20 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 8, 9.
  • Geneall staff. "Leopoldo O' Donnell y Jorris, 1. duque de Tetuá". Geneall. Retrieved June 2012. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help); External link in |publisher= (help)
    • Fraikin, Jorge Valverde (1991). Titulos Nobiliarios Andaluces. Granada: Andalucia. p. 318.
  • O'Cochlain, Ubert (1990). "The O'Donnells of Mayo". North Mayo Historical Society Journal. 11 (4): 67–81. Archived from the original on 22 October 2009. Retrieved 30 March 2009.
  • O'Hart, John (1892). Irish Pedigrees (5th ed.). Dublin. pp. 648, 9.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
The Duke of la Victoria
Prime Minister of Spain
14 July 1856 – 12 October 1856
Succeeded by
Ramón María Narváez
Preceded by
Francisco Javier de Istúriz
Prime Minister of Spain
30 June 1858 – 2 March 1863
Succeeded by
The Marquis of Miraflores
Minister of State
30 June 1858 – 2 July 1858
Succeeded by
Saturnino Calderón de la Barca
Preceded by
The Duke of Valencia
Prime Minister of Spain
21 June 1865 – 10 July 1866
Succeeded by
The Duke of Valencia
Spanish nobility
New creation Count of Lucena
25 July 1847 – 5 November 1867
Succeeded by
Carlos O'Donnell
Duke of Tetuan
20 April 1860 – 5 November 1867