Marcelo Azcárraga Palmero

Marcelo de Azcárraga Ugarte y Palmero-Versosa de Lizárraga (4 September 1832 – 30 May 1915) was a Spanish soldier-politician and thirteenth Prime Minister of Spain following the restoration of the Spanish monarchy. He served as Prime Minister in 1897, 1900–1901, and 1904–1905.[1] Azcárraga was the only Spanish Prime Minister of part Insulares, specifically Spanish Filipino, descent.[2]

Marcelo Azcárraga
Marcelo Azcárraga por Kaulak.png
Photograph by Kaulak
Prime Minister of Spain
In office
8 August 1897 – 4 October 1897
MonarchAlfonso XIII
Preceded byAntonio Cánovas del Castillo
Succeeded byPráxedes Mateo Sagasta
In office
23 October 1900 – 6 March 1901
MonarchAlfonso XIII
Preceded byFrancisco Silvela
Succeeded byPráxedes Mateo Sagasta
In office
16 December 1904 – 25 January 1905
MonarchAlfonso XIII
Preceded byAntonio Maura
Succeeded byRaimundo Fernández
Minister of the Spanish Royal Navy
In office
23 October 1900 – 31 October 1900
Preceded byFrancisco Silvela
Succeeded byJosé Ramos Izquierdo
Minister of War of Spain
In office
5 July 1890 – 11 December 1892
Preceded byEduardo Bermúdez Reina
Succeeded byJosé López Domínguez
Personal details
Marcelo de Azcárraga Palmero

(1832-09-04)4 September 1832
Intramuros, Manila, Spanish Philippines
Died30 May 1915(1915-05-30) (aged 82)
Madrid, Spain
Political partyLiberal-Conservative Party
Alma materUniversity of Santo Tomas

Early lifeEdit

Azcárraga was born in 1832, in Manila in the Spanish East Indies, to General José de Azcárraga y Ugarte, a native of Vizcaya, Spain, a bookshop owner in Escolta, Manila, and to María Palmero Versosa, a Mestiza from Albay.[3]


General José Azcárraga had many sons and daughters. Azcárraga was the second of the family's children. He studied law in the Royal University of Santo Tomas in Manila then entered the Nautical School or Escuela Náutica de Manila (today, the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy) where he was awarded the first prize in mathematics.[4]

Military serviceEdit

He was sent to Spain by his father to enter the military academy and soon earned the rank of captain in three years. Due to his services against the O'Donnell revolution in Spain, he was promoted to major.

Military awardsEdit

At the age of 23, he was awarded Spain's highest military award for gallantry the Cross of San Fernando, which is a pension grant.

Colonial serviceEdit

He was sent to various colonies of Spain, including New Spain, the Captaincy General of Cuba, and the Captaincy General of Santo Domingo.


Afterward, he returned to Cuba and married one of the daughters of the wealthy Fesser family, owner and founder of Banco y Casa de Seguros Fesser, one of the biggest banks of Cuba, who allegedly gave him £20,000 on the day of his marriage.[4] He was the husband of Margarita Fesser y Diago, a daughter of Edward also known as Don Eduardo Fesser y Kirchnair of the United States and Micaela Diago y Tato of Havana. They owned the Almacenes de Regla (Regla Warehouse) and Banco de Comercio and all the rail lines between Regla and Matanzas, then known as the Ferrocaril de la Bahia de la Habana. Almacenes de Regla, founded in 1843 with initial capital of 150,000 Cuban pesos, was so large that it stored half of all of Cuba's sugar production, and by 1853, had increased its original capital tenfold.

His children were Carlos Azcarraga y Fesser; Margarita de Azcárraga y Fesser de Trenor Palavicino, the first Marquise of Turia; María Azcárraga y Fesser; the Spanish politician and military statesman José María Azcarraga y Fesser and Carmen Azcarraga y Fesser. His direct descendant includes Don Tomas Trenor Puig of Valencia and Madrid, the fourth Marquis of Turia.

Years as Prime MinisterEdit

In 1868, on the deposal of Queen Isabella II, he returned to Spain, hastened the restoration of the Bourbons, and became Lieutenant-General on the coronation of Alfonso XII as king. He was then elected to the Senate of Spain as a senator for life. He was the Minister of War under Antonio Cánovas del Castillo, whose assassination on 8 August 1897 effectively made him the interim Prime Minister of Spain until 4 October of that same year.

He went on to become Prime Minister of Spain twice again in two more separate incidents.[4]


On his retirement at the age of 72, he was given the Toison de Oro, or Order of the Golden Fleece, the highest possible distinction given to a person in Spain, for his tirelessly defending the Spanish Monarchy and for keeping Spain in relative peace.[4] Earlier, he received the Cross of San Fernando which already entitled him to a pension. Don Marcelo Azcárraga died in Madrid.

Family and AncestryEdit

On his mother's side, Azcárraga descends from the Spanish Filipino Lizarraga family, heirs of the fallen Conde de Lizarraga.[5] His maternal uncles' families, collectively known as the "Palmero brothers" or "Hermanos Palmero" were active in Philippine politics before World War II. He was also an uncle to the self-styled Conde de Albay, also known as Señor Pedro Govantes.[6][7] His brother Manuel was a scholar who wrote a book on the Philippine economy.


The major road stretching from the districts of Tondo to San Miguel, both in the city of Manila was named after Azcárraga. However, it was changed after Filipino independence in 1945 to Claro M. Recto Avenue, after politician Claro M. Recto. A few of the older Manila residents still call this road "Calle Azcárraga" or "Paseo de Azcárraga".

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Sabastian, Stephen. Shaping the Western Hemisphere- Student Edition. p. 128. ISBN 978-1-300-59653-0.
  2. ^ Joaquin, Nick (1990). Manila,My Manila. Vera-Reyes, Inc.
  3. ^ Carmen N. Pedrosa (26 December 2010). "All things in their own good time". The Philippine Star. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d Cosas de historia y arte (August, 19th 2017): Marcelo Azcárraga Palmero, Reinado de Alfonso XIII y Regencia de María Cristina (Spanish)
  5. ^ An Historical View of the Philippine Islands. 1814. Retrieved 2 September 2019.
  6. ^ Las provincias, diario de Valencia: Almanaque para el año ... (in Spanish). Domenech. 1913. p. 76. Retrieved 2 September 2019.
  7. ^ Borja, Marciano R. De (2005). Basques in the Philippines. University of Nevada Press. ISBN 9780874175905. Retrieved 2 September 2019.

See alsoEdit