This page contains a list of the greatest Spanish Politicians. The pantheon dataset contains 15,577 Politicians, 504 of which were born in Spain. This makes Spain the birth place of the 7th most number of Politicians behind United Kingdom and Russia.
The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Spanish Politicians of all time. This list of famous Spanish Politicians is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Spanish Politicians.
With an HPI of 82.38, Trajan is the most famous Spanish Politician. His biography has been translated into 107 different languages on wikipedia.
Trajan ( TRAY-jən; Latin: Caesar Nerva Trajanus; 18 September 53 – c. 11 August 117) was Roman emperor from 98 to 117. Officially declared optimus princeps ("best ruler") by the senate, Trajan is remembered as a successful soldier-emperor who presided over one of the greatest military expansions in Roman history and led the empire to attain its greatest territorial extent by the time of his death. He is also known for his philanthropic rule, overseeing extensive public building programs and implementing social welfare policies, which earned him his enduring reputation as the second of the Five Good Emperors who presided over an era of peace within the Empire and prosperity in the Mediterranean world. Trajan was born in Italica, close to modern Seville in present-day Spain, a small Roman municipium founded by Italic settlers in the province of Hispania Baetica. His branch of the gens Ulpia, the Ulpi Traiani, came from the town of Tuder in the Umbria region of Italia. His father Marcus Ulpius Traianus, also born at Italica in Hispania, was a senator, and therefore Trajan was born into a senatorial family. Trajan rose to prominence during the reign of emperor Domitian. Serving as a legatus legionis in Hispania Tarraconensis, in 89 Trajan supported Domitian against a revolt on the Rhine led by Antonius Saturninus. In September 96, Domitian was succeeded by the elderly and childless Nerva, who proved to be unpopular with the army. After a brief and tumultuous year in power, culminating in a revolt by members of the Praetorian Guard, he decided to adopt the more popular Trajan as his heir and successor. Nerva died in 98 and was succeeded by his adopted son without incident. Trajan's extensive public building program reshaped the city of Rome and left numerous enduring landmarks such as Trajan's Forum, Trajan's Market, and Trajan's Column. Early in his reign, he annexed the Nabataean Kingdom, creating the province of Arabia Petraea. His conquest of Dacia enriched the empire greatly, as the new province possessed many valuable gold mines. Trajan's war against the Parthian Empire ended with the sack of its capital Ctesiphon and the annexation of Armenia, Mesopotamia, and (possibly) Assyria. In late 117, while sailing back to Rome, Trajan fell ill and died of a stroke in the city of Selinus. He was deified by the Senate and his cousin and successor, Hadrian, whom Trajan had supposedly adopted while on his deathbed. According to historical tradition, Trajan's ashes were entombed in a small room beneath Trajan's Column.
With an HPI of 82.22, Francisco Franco is the 2nd most famous Spanish Politician. His biography has been translated into 106 different languages.
Francisco Franco Bahamonde (Spanish: [fɾanˈθisko ˈfɾaŋko βa.aˈmonde]; 4 December 1892 – 20 November 1975) was a Spanish military general who led the Nationalist forces in overthrowing the Second Spanish Republic during the Spanish Civil War and thereafter ruled over Spain from 1939 to 1975 as a dictator, assuming the title Caudillo. This period in Spanish history, from the Nationalist victory to Franco's death, is commonly known as Francoist Spain or as the Francoist dictatorship. Born in Ferrol, Galicia, into an upper-class military family, Franco served in the Spanish Army as a cadet in the Toledo Infantry Academy from 1907 to 1910. While serving in Morocco, he rose through the ranks to become a brigadier general in 1926 at age 33. Two years later, Franco became the director of the General Military Academy in Zaragoza. As a conservative and monarchist, Franco regretted the abolition of the monarchy and the establishment of the Second Republic in 1931, and was devastated by the closing of his academy; nevertheless, he continued his service in the Republican Army. His career was boosted after the right-wing CEDA and PRR won the 1933 election, empowering him to lead the suppression of the 1934 uprising in Asturias. Franco was briefly elevated to Chief of Army Staff before the 1936 election moved the leftist Popular Front into power, relegating him to the Canary Islands. Initially reluctant, he joined the July 1936 military coup, which, after failing to take Spain, sparked the Spanish Civil War. During the war, he commanded Spain's African colonial army and later, following the deaths of much of the rebel leadership, became his faction's only leader, being appointed Generalissimo and head of state in 1936. He consolidated all nationalist parties into the FET y de las JONS (creating a one-party state) and developed a cult of personality around his rule by founding the Movimiento Nacional. Three years later the Nationalists declared victory, which extended Franco's dictatorship over Spain through a period of repression of political opponents. His dictatorship's use of forced labor, concentration camps and executions led to between 30,000 and 50,000 deaths. Combined with wartime killings, this brings the death toll of the White Terror to between 100,000 and 200,000.During World War II, he maintained Spanish neutrality, but supported the Axis—whose members Italy and Germany had supported him during the Civil War—damaging the country's international reputation in various ways. During the start of the Cold War, Franco lifted Spain out of its mid-20th century economic depression through technocratic and economically liberal policies, presiding over a period of accelerated growth known as the "Spanish miracle". At the same time, his regime transitioned from a totalitarian state to an authoritarian one with limited pluralism. He became a leader in the anti-communist movement, garnering support from the West, particularly the United States. As the dictatorship relaxed its hard-line policies, Luis Carrero Blanco became Franco's éminence grise, whose role expanded after Franco began struggling with Parkinson's disease in the 1960s. In 1973, Franco resigned as prime minister—separated from the office of head of state since 1967—due to his advanced age and illness. Nevertheless, he remained in power as the head of state and as commander-in-chief. Franco died in 1975, aged 82, and was entombed in the Valle de los Caídos. He restored the monarchy in his final years, being succeeded by Juan Carlos, King of Spain, who led the Spanish transition to democracy. The legacy of Franco in Spanish history remains controversial, as the nature of his dictatorship changed over time. His reign was marked by both brutal repression, with tens of thousands killed, and economic prosperity, which greatly improved the quality of life in Spain. His dictatorial style proved adaptable enough to allow social and economic reform, but still centered on highly centralised government, authoritarianism, nationalism, national Catholicism, anti-freemasonry and anti-communism.
With an HPI of 82.19, Philip II of Spain is the 3rd most famous Spanish Politician. His biography has been translated into 90 different languages.
Philip II (21 May 1527 – 13 September 1598), also known as Philip the Prudent (Spanish: Felipe el Prudente), was King of Spain from 1556, King of Portugal from 1580, and King of Naples and Sicily from 1554 until his death in 1598. He was also jure uxoris King of England and Ireland from his marriage to Queen Mary I in 1554 until her death in 1558. He was also Duke of Milan from 1540. From 1555, he was Lord of the Seventeen Provinces of the Netherlands. The son of Emperor Charles V and Isabella of Portugal, Philip inherited his father's Spanish Empire in 1556 and succeeded to the Portuguese throne in 1580 following a dynastic crisis. The Spanish conquests of the Inca Empire and of the Philippines, named in his honor by Ruy López de Villalobos, were completed during his reign. Under Philip II, Spain reached the height of its influence and power, sometimes called the Spanish Golden Age, and ruled territories in every continent then known to Europeans. Philip led a highly debt-leveraged regime, seeing state defaults in 1557, 1560, 1569, 1575, and 1596. This policy was partly the cause of the declaration of independence that created the Dutch Republic in 1581. Philip finished building the royal palace El Escorial in 1584. Deeply devout, Philip saw himself as the defender of Catholic Europe against the Ottoman Empire and the Protestant Reformation. In 1584, Philip signed the Treaty of Joinville funding the French Catholic League over the following decade in its civil war against the French Huguenots. In 1588, he sent an armada to invade Protestant England, with the strategic aim of overthrowing Elizabeth I and re-establishing Catholicism there, but his fleet was defeated in a skirmish at Gravelines (northern France) and then destroyed by storms as it circled the British Isles to return to Spain. The following year Philip's naval power was able to recover after the failed invasion of the English Armada into Spain. Two more Spanish armadas unsuccessfully tried to invade England in 1596 and 1597. The Anglo-Spanish war carried on until 1604, six years after Philip's death.Under Philip, an average of about 9,000 soldiers were recruited from Spain each year, rising to as many as 20,000 in crisis years. Between 1567 and 1574, nearly 43,000 men left Spain to fight in Italy and the Low Countries (modern-day Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands).Philip was described by the Venetian ambassador Paolo Fagolo in 1563 as "slight of stature and round-faced, with pale blue eyes, somewhat prominent lip, and pink skin, but his overall appearance is very attractive. ... He dresses very tastefully, and everything that he does is courteous and gracious." Philip was married four times; all his wives predeceased him.
With an HPI of 81.43, Theodosius I is the 4th most famous Spanish Politician. His biography has been translated into 83 different languages.
Theodosius I (Greek: Θεοδόσιος Theodosios; 11 January 347 – 17 January 395), also called Theodosius the Great, was Roman emperor from 379 to 395. During his reign, he succeeded in a crucial war against the Goths, as well as in two civil wars, and was instrumental in establishing the creed of Nicaea as the orthodox doctrine for Christianity. Theodosius was the last emperor to rule the entire Roman Empire before its administration was permanently split between two separate courts (one western, the other eastern). Born in Hispania, Theodosius was the son of a high-ranking general, Theodosius the Elder, under whose guidance he rose through the ranks of the Roman army. Theodosius held independent command in Moesia in 374, where he had some success against the invading Sarmatians. Not long afterwards, he was forced into retirement, and his father was executed under obscure circumstances. Theodosius soon regained his position following a series of intrigues and executions at Emperor Gratian's court. In 379, after the eastern Roman emperor Valens perished at the Battle of Adrianople against the Goths, Gratian appointed Theodosius as a successor with orders to take charge of the current military emergency. The new emperor's resources, and depleted armies, were not sufficient to drive the invaders out; in 382 the Goths were allowed to settle south of the Danube as autonomous allies of the empire. In 386, Theodosius signed a treaty with the Sasanian Empire which partitioned the long-disputed Kingdom of Armenia and secured a durable peace between the two powers.Theodosius was a strong adherent of the Christian doctrine of consubstantiality and an opponent of Arianism. He convened a council of bishops at Constantinople in 381, which confirmed the former as orthodoxy and the latter as a heresy. Although Theodosius interfered little in the functioning of traditional pagan cults and appointed non-Christians to high offices, he failed to prevent or punish the damaging of several Hellenistic temples of classical antiquity, such as the Serapeum of Alexandria, by Christian zealots. During his earlier reign, Theodosius ruled the eastern provinces, while the west was overseen by the emperors Gratian and Valentinian II, whose sister he married. Theodosius sponsored several measures to improve his capital and main residence, Constantinople, most notably his expansion of the Forum Tauri, which became the biggest public square known in antiquity. Theodosius marched west twice, in 388 and 394, after both Gratian and Valentinian had been killed, to defeat the two pretenders, Magnus Maximus and Eugenius, who rose to replace them. Theodosius's final victory in September 394 made him master of the entire empire; he died a few months later and was succeeded by his two sons, Arcadius in the eastern half of the empire and Honorius in the west. Theodosius was said to have been a diligent administrator, austere in his habits, merciful, and a devout Christian. For centuries after his death, Theodosius was regarded as a champion of Christian orthodoxy who decisively stamped out paganism. Modern scholars tend to see this as an interpretation of history by Christian writers more than an accurate representation of actual history. He is fairly credited with presiding over a revival in classical art that some historians have termed a "Theodosian renaissance". Although his pacification of the Goths secured peace for the Empire during his lifetime, their status as an autonomous entity within Roman borders caused problems for succeeding emperors. Theodosius has also received criticism for defending his own dynastic interests at the cost of two civil wars. His two sons proved weak and incapable rulers, and they presided over a period of foreign invasions and court intrigues, which heavily weakened the empire. The descendants of Theodosius ruled the Roman world for the next six decades, and the east–west division endured until the fall of the Western Empire in the late 5th century.
With an HPI of 80.89, Hadrian is the 5th most famous Spanish Politician. His biography has been translated into 88 different languages.
Hadrian (; Latin: Caesar Trajanus Hadrianus [ˈkae̯sar trajˈjaːnʊs (h)adriˈjaːnʊs]; 24 January 76 – 10 July 138) was Roman emperor from 117 to 138. He was born in Italica (close to modern Santiponce in Spain), a Roman municipium founded by Italic settlers in Hispania Baetica; his branch of the gens Aelia, the Aeli Hadriani, came from the town of Hadria. His father was of senatorial rank and was a first cousin of Emperor Trajan. Hadrian married Trajan's grand-niece Vibia Sabina early in his career before Trajan became emperor and possibly at the behest of Trajan's wife Pompeia Plotina. Plotina and Trajan's close friend and adviser Lucius Licinius Sura were well disposed towards Hadrian. When Trajan died, his widow claimed that he had nominated Hadrian as emperor immediately before his death. Rome's military and Senate approved Hadrian's succession, but four leading senators were unlawfully put to death soon after. They had opposed Hadrian or seemed to threaten his succession, and the Senate held him responsible for their deaths and never forgave him. He earned further disapproval among the elite by abandoning Trajan's expansionist policies and territorial gains in Mesopotamia, Assyria, Armenia, and parts of Dacia. Hadrian preferred to invest in the development of stable, defensible borders and the unification of the empire's disparate peoples. He is known for building Hadrian's Wall, which marked the northern limit of Britannia. Hadrian energetically pursued his own imperial ideals and personal interests. He visited almost every province of the Empire, accompanied by an imperial retinue of specialists and administrators. He encouraged military preparedness and discipline and fostered, designed, or personally subsidised various civil and religious institutions and building projects. In Rome itself, he rebuilt the Pantheon and constructed the vast Temple of Venus and Roma. In Egypt, he may have rebuilt the Serapeum of Alexandria. He was an ardent admirer of Greece and sought to make Athens the cultural capital of the Empire, so he ordered the construction of many opulent temples there. His intense relationship with Greek youth Antinous and the latter's untimely death led Hadrian to establish a widespread cult late in his reign. He suppressed the Bar Kokhba revolt in Judaea. Hadrian's last years were marred by chronic illness. He saw the Bar Kokhba revolt as the failure of his panhellenic ideal. He executed two more senators for their alleged plots against him, and this provoked further resentment. His marriage to Vibia Sabina had been unhappy and childless; he adopted Antoninus Pius in 138 and nominated him as a successor on the condition that Antoninus adopt Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus as his own heirs. Hadrian died the same year at Baiae, and Antoninus had him deified, despite opposition from the Senate. Edward Gibbon includes him among the Empire's "Five Good Emperors", a "benevolent dictator"; Hadrian's own Senate found him remote and authoritarian. He has been described as enigmatic and contradictory, with a capacity for both great personal generosity and extreme cruelty and driven by insatiable curiosity, self-conceit, and ambition.
With an HPI of 80.84, Isabella I of Castile is the 6th most famous Spanish Politician. Her biography has been translated into 83 different languages.
Isabella I (Spanish: Isabel I; 22 April 1451 – 26 November 1504), also called Isabella the Catholic (Spanish: Isabel la Católica), was Queen of Castile from 1474 until her death in 1504, as well as Queen consort of Aragon from 1479 until 1504 by virtue of her marriage to King Ferdinand II of Aragon. Reigning together over a dynastically unified Spain, Isabella and Ferdinand are known as the Catholic Monarchs.After a struggle to claim the throne, Isabella reorganized the governmental system, brought the crime rate down, and unburdened the kingdom of the debt her half-brother King Henry IV had left behind. Isabella's marriage to Ferdinand in 1469 created the basis of the de facto unification of Spain. Her reforms and those she made with her husband had an influence that extended well beyond the borders of their united kingdoms.Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon are known for being the first monarchs to be referred to as the "Queen of Spain" and "King of Spain" respectively. Their actions included completion of the Reconquista, the Alhambra Decree which ordered the mass expulsion of Jews, initiating the Spanish Inquisition, financing Christopher Columbus's 1492 voyage to the New World and establishing the Spanish empire, making Spain a major power in Europe and ultimately ushering in the Spanish Golden Age. Together with her husband, Isabella was granted the title of "Catholic Monarch" by the Spanish pope Alexander VI, and was recognized in 1974 as a Servant of God by the Catholic Church.
With an HPI of 78.90, Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor is the 7th most famous Spanish Politician. His biography has been translated into 67 different languages.
Ferdinand I (10 March 1503 – 25 July 1564) was Holy Roman Emperor from 1556, King of Bohemia, Hungary, and Croatia from 1526, and Archduke of Austria from 1521 until his death in 1564. Before his accession as Emperor, he ruled the Austrian hereditary lands of the Habsburgs in the name of his elder brother, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. Also, he often served as Charles' representative in the Holy Roman Empire and developed encouraging relationships with German princes. In addition, Ferdinand also developed valuable relationships with the German banking house of Jakob Fugger and the Catalan bank, Banca Palenzuela Levi Kahana. The key events during his reign were the conflict with the Ottoman Empire, which in the 1520s began a great advance into Central Europe, and the Protestant Reformation, which resulted in several wars of religion. Although not a military leader, Ferdinand was a capable organizer with institutional imagination who focused on building a centralized government for Austria, Hungary, and Czechia instead of striving for universal monarchy. He reintroduced major innovations of his grandfather Maximilian I such as the Hofrat (court council) with a chancellery and a treasury attached to it (this time, the structure would last until the reform of Maria Theresa) and added innovations of his own such as the Raitkammer (collections office) and the War Council, conceived to counter the threat from the Ottoman Empire, while also successfully subduing the most radical of his rebellious Austrian subjects and turning the political class in Bohemia and Hungary into Habsburg partners. While he was able to introduce uniform models of administration, the governments of Austria, Bohemia and Hungary remained distinct though. His approach to Imperial problems, including governance, human relations and religious matters was generally flexible, moderate and tolerant. Ferdinand's motto was Fiat iustitia, et pereat mundus: "Let justice be done, though the world perish".
With an HPI of 78.38, Joanna of Castile is the 8th most famous Spanish Politician. Her biography has been translated into 61 different languages.
Joanna (6 November 1479 – 12 April 1555), historically known as Joanna the Mad (Spanish: Juana la Loca), was the nominal Queen of Castile from 1504 and Queen of Aragon from 1516 to her death in 1555. She was married by arrangement to Philip the Handsome, Archduke of Austria, of the House of Habsburg, on 20 October 1496. Following the deaths of her brother, John, Prince of Asturias, in 1497, her elder sister Isabella in 1498, and her nephew Miguel in 1500, Joanna became the heir presumptive to the crowns of Castile and Aragon. When her mother, Queen Isabella I of Castile, died in 1504, Joanna became Queen of Castile. Her father, King Ferdinand II of Aragon, proclaimed himself Governor and Administrator of Castile.In 1506, Archduke Philip became King of Castile jure uxoris as Philip I, initiating the rule of the Habsburgs in the Spanish kingdoms, and died that same year. Despite being the ruling Queen of Castile, Joanna had little effect on national policy during her reign as she was declared insane and confined in the Royal Convent of Santa Clara in Tordesillas under the orders of her father, who ruled as regent until his death in 1516, when she inherited his kingdom as well. From 1516, when her son Charles I ruled as king, she was nominally co-monarch but remained confined until her death. Joanna's death resulted in the personal union of Spain and the Holy Roman Empire, as her son Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, also became King of Castile and Aragon.
With an HPI of 77.58, Ferdinand II of Aragon is the 9th most famous Spanish Politician. His biography has been translated into 76 different languages.
Ferdinand II (Aragonese: Ferrando; Catalan: Ferran; Basque: Errando; Spanish: Fernando; 10 March 1452 – 23 January 1516) was King of Aragon from 1479 until his death in 1516. As the husband of Queen Isabella I of Castile, he was also King of Castile from 1475 to 1504 (as Ferdinand V). He reigned jointly with Isabella over a dynastically unified Spain; together they are known as the Catholic Monarchs. Ferdinand is considered the de facto first king of Spain, and was described as such during his reign, even though, legally, Castile and Aragon remained two separate kingdoms until they were formally united by the Nueva Planta decrees issued between 1707 and 1716.The Crown of Aragon that Ferdinand inherited in 1479 included the kingdoms of Aragon, Valencia, Majorca, Sardinia, and Sicily, as well as the Principality of Catalonia. His marriage to Isabella is regarded as the "cornerstone in the foundation of the Spanish monarchy". They played a major role in the European colonization of the Americas, sponsoring the first voyage of Christopher Columbus in 1492. That year the couple defeated Granada, the last Muslim state in Western Europe, thus completing the centuries-long Reconquista. Following Isabella's death in 1504, the couple's daughter Joanna became queen of the Crown of Castile. That year, after a war with France, Ferdinand conquered the Kingdom of Naples. In 1507 he became regent of Castile on behalf of Joanna, who was alleged to be mentally unstable. In 1506, as part of a treaty with France, Ferdinand married Germaine of Foix, with whom he had no surviving children. In 1512 he conquered the Kingdom of Navarre, ruling all the territories comprising modern-day Spain until his death in 1516. He was nominally succeeded by his daughter Joanna, but power was soon assumed by her son Charles I (later Holy Roman Emperor Charles V).
With an HPI of 76.55, Philip IV of Spain is the 10th most famous Spanish Politician. His biography has been translated into 69 different languages.
Philip IV (Spanish: Felipe, Portuguese: Filipe; 8 April 1605 – 17 September 1665), also called the Planet King (Spanish: Rey Planeta), was King of Spain from 1621 to his death and (as Philip III) King of Portugal from 1621 to 1640. Philip is remembered for his patronage of the arts, including such artists as Diego Velázquez, and his rule over Spain during the Thirty Years' War. By the time of his death, the Spanish Empire had reached approximately 12.2 million square kilometers (4.7 million square miles) in area but in other aspects was in decline, a process to which Philip contributed with his inability to achieve successful domestic and military reform.
Pantheon has 504 people classified as politicians born between 250 BC and 1993. Of these 504, 133 (26.39%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living politicians include Josep Borrell, Felipe González, and Mariano Rajoy. The most famous deceased politicians include Trajan, Francisco Franco, and Philip II of Spain. As of April 2022, 65 new politicians have been added to Pantheon including Yusuf I of Granada, María Cayetana de Silva, 13th Duchess of Alba, and Infante Carlos of Spain.
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Which Politicians were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Politicians since 1700.