The behavior of any bureaucratic organization can best be understood by assuming that it is controlled by a secret cabal of its enemies. — Robert Conquest

Historical Characters of Spanish Empire

    Romans and Visigoths     Moorish Spain     Reconquista     Exploration     Hapsburg Spain     Bourbon Spain     Mexico     South America

Romans and Visigoths—250 B.C. to 711

Punic Wars in Spain to Moorish Conquest

CharacterDate Short Biography

Roman Hispania

Hamilcard. 229 BC Carthage's most able general in first Punic War; father of Hannibal.
Hannibal247–182 BC Carthaginian general, invaded and laid waste to Italy for sixteen years.
Cornelius Scipiod. 211 BC Tried to intercept Hannibal in Gaul, but was defeated at Ticino River and Trebbia.
Scipio Africanus234–149 BC Roman hero of second Punic War. Led armies in Spain and Africa. Defeated Hannibal at Zama.
Cato (the censor)234–149 BC Roman censor, urged destruction of Carthage before third Punic War.
Carusd. 179 BC Celt-Iberian chief of the Belli tribe during conquest of Hispania. Defeated Romans at battle of Caravis.
Viriathus180–139 BC Lusitanian chief who resisted Rome during conquest of Hispania. Won many battles and incited rebellions.
Sertorius122–72 BC Led rebellion against Rome in Spain; held out for 8 years.

Visigoth Spain

Ulfilas310–383 Missionary bishop who translate the bible into the Gothic language and converted the Goths to Arian Christianity.
Ataulfusd. 410 Leader of Visigoths after death of Alaric. Led his people out of Italy and established Visigoth kingdom in Spain .
Theodoric Id. 451 Son of Alaric, who led the Visigoth army against Attila the Hun at the Battle of Chalons.
Recaredd. 601 First Catholic King of the Visigoth Kingdom.
Good King Wambad. 687 Legendary king of the Visigoths, whose reign was peaceful and prosperous.
Rodericd. 711 Last king of Visigoth Spain. Died at the Battle of Guadalete.
Pelistes~ 711 Gothic Knight who defended Cordova after the fall of the Visigoths at Guadalete.
Theodomir~ 711 Visigoth general who used a ruse in order to make peace with the Moorish conquerors.
Tariq ibn Ziyadd. 720 Berber general who defeated the Visigoths at the Battle of Gaudalete.
Isidore of Seville560–636 Catholic Bishop who converted Visigoths, presided at Council of Toledo.

Moorish Spain—711 to 1492

Battle of Guadalete to Fall of Granada

CharacterDate Short Biography

Moorish Conquest

Musa bin Nusair640–716 Umayyad governor of North Africa who organized and directed the Moslem invasion of the Iberian peninsula.
Tariq ibn Ziyadd. 720 Berber general who defeated the Visigoths at the Battle of Gaudalete.
Exilona~ 711 Christian wife of Visigoth king Roderick who later married son of Moorish governor
Abdul Azizd. 716 Son of Umayyad governor Musa. Ruled in Andalusia until murdered for marrying Exilona.
Charles Martel686–741 Frankish King who defeated the Moors at the Battle of Tours.
Charlemagne742–814 First Holy Roman Emperor. Unified most of Western Europe into a Frankish Empire.

Cordoba Caliphate

Abderrahman I731–788 Last surviving Umayyad prince, escaped to Spain, became Emir of Cordova
Abderrahman III912–961 Powerful, long serving Emir who declared himself Caliph of Cordova.
Almanzor938–1002 Renowned Moorish general. Leader of Moorish Spain at the height of its power near 1000 A.D.

Almoravids and Almohads

Yussefd. 1184 Almohad Caliph of Africa who invaded Moorish spain and set up a kingdom in Seville.


Mohammed Alhamar1191–1273 Founder of the Nasrid dynasty in Granada. Agreed to make Granada a vassal state of Castile.
Muley Abdul Hussan1440–1490 Last Sultan of Granada. Fierce opponent of Christians, but lost control of Granada.
Boabdil1460–1527 Briefly replaced his father on the throne of Granada before surrending to Ferdinand.
Aben Humeya1520–1568 Moorish prince who escaped from Granada, led the Morisco Revolt, and continued to fight until his death.

Reconquista—1050 to 1516

Reconquest of Toledo to Death of Ferdinand

CharacterDate Short Biography

Early Christian Heroes

Pelayo of Asturias690–737 Visigoth hero who survived Moorish conquest in 711 and founded the Christian kingdom of Asturias.
Theodomir~ 711 Visigoth general who used a ruse in order to make peace with the Moorish conquerors.
Pelistes~ 711 Gothic Knight who defended Cordova after the fall of the Visigoths at Guadalete.
Bernardo del Carpio~ 800 Legendary Spanish hero during the era of Charlemagne who battled both Moors and Franks.

Growth of Christian Kingdoms

Alfonso VI1040–1109 King of Castile, who with his great warrior El Cid, reconquered Toledo from the Moors.
El Cid1040–1099 Legendary Spanish hero of chivalry. Loyal to Alfonso VI in spite of treachery. Conquered Valencia.
Afonso Henriques1109–1185 Founder of the Kingdom of Portugal. Defeated the Moors and declared Portugal independent from Leon.
Alfonso VIII1155–1214 Led the victorious Christians against the Saracens at the decisive Battle of Navas de Tolosa.
Saint Dominic1170–1221 Founded Dominican Order of scholars, theologians, and teachers.
James I of Aragon1208–1276 Long reigning warrior king who expanded the dominions of Aragon to include the Balaeric Islands and Valencia.
Ferdinand III of Castile1199–1252 King of Castile who conquered Seville and Cordoba, and brought Dominican and Franciscan orders to southern Spain.
Henry II of Castile1334–1379 Illegitimate son of Alfonso XI who usurped the throne of Castile from his half-brother, Peter the Cruel after many conflicts.
Pedro of Castile1334–1369 King of Castile with reputation as dishonorable, murderous tyrant. Eventually deposed by half-brother Henry Trastamara.
Henry IV of Castile1425–1474 Infirm and degenerate king of Castile, older brother of Isabella I. Named Isabella his successor.

United Spain

Isabel1451–1504 Pious and stalwart queen of Spain, unified diverse kingdoms, reformed finances, conquered Granada, financed Columbus.
Ferdinand the Catholic1452–1516 King of Aragon who ruled united Spain with Queen Isabel. Drove the Moors out of Granada.
Torquemada1420–1498 Dominican priest who was a confessor of Isabella I, and was influential in establishing the Spanish Inquisition.
Hernan Perez del Pulgar1451–1531 Spanish knight under Isabella and Ferdinand who gained famed during the Reconquista for daring exploits.
Gonsalvo de Cordova1453–1515 Spanish general who fought in Granada and Italy; pioneered modern tactics of warfare.
Cardinal Ximenes1436–1517 Influential cardinal-minister at the court of Isabel and Ferdinand. Did much to reform both Church and government of Spain.

Exploration—1430 to 1540

Prince Henry the Navigator to Discovery of Mississippi

CharacterDate Short Biography

Portuguese Explorers of Africa/Asia

Prince Henry the Navigator1394–1460 Made improvements in navigation, ship building, map-making. Organized sailing expeditions along the coast of Africa.
Alvise Cadamosto1432–1488 Early Portuguese explorer under Prince Henry the Navigator, who discovered Cape Verde and Gambia river.
Bartholomew Diaz1450–1500 Discovered Cape of Good Hope at the southernmost point of Africa.
Vasco da Gama1460–1524 Portuguese explorer who voyaged to Calicut, India by sailing around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.
Francisco de Almeida1450–1510 Portuguese general who served in the wars against Granada, and was appointed the first governor of Portuguese India.
Alfonso de Albuquerque1453–1515 Portuguese commander who won numerous naval conflicts in Asia and helped establish a colony in India at Goa.
Fernando Mendes Pinto1509–1583 Portuguese explorer who wrote a book about his exploits in Ethiopia, the Arabian Sea, and Asia. Former Jesuit and friend of St. Francis Xavier.

Spanish Explorers of the New World

Christopher Columbus1451–1506 Genoan sailor, sponsored by Isabela of Spain, who crossed the Atlantic Ocean and discovered the Americas.
Martin Alonzo Pinzon1441–1493 Spanish navigator who sailed with Columbus on first voyage, but later feuded with him.
Alonso de Ojeda1465–1515 Spanish conquistador who made several daring expeditions to the new world. Associate of Vespucci and Pizarro.
Vasco Nunez Balboa1475–1519 Helped establish a Spanish colony in Panama and discovered the Pacific Ocean.
Pedrarias Davila1440–1531 First Governor of the Spanish colony of Darien in Peru. Murderous and unscrupulous rival of Balboa.
Amerigo Vespucci1451–1512 Navigator and map-maker who voyaged to Americas, and recognized it as a new continent, not east Asia.
Ferdinand Magellan1480–1521 Portuguese explorer who commanded the first fleet to circumnavigate the globe. Died in Philippines.

North America Conquistadors

Hernando Cortez1485–1540 Conquistador who landed in Mexico with a small army, and allied with local tribes, conquered the Empire of the Aztecs.
Diego Velasquez1465–1524 Conquered Cuba for Spain, and was its first governor. First a supporter, then a rival of Cortez.
Panfilo de Narvaez1478–1528 Spanish explorer who opposed Cortez, and later led a disastrous expedition to Florida of whom only 4 of 600 survived.
Ponce de Leon1460–1521 First Spanish governor of Puerto Rico. Explored inland regions of Florida while searching for the fountain of youth.
Hernando De Soto1496–1542 Adventurer who aided in conquest of Peru, then explored Southwestern United States. Discovered Mississippi river.
Tuscaloosad. 1540 Choctaw chieftain who resisted de Soto at the Battle of Mauvila during his expedition through the southwest.
Francisco de Coronado1510–1554 Spanish explorer who was a governor in Mexico, and explored regions of the Southwest United States.
Pedro Menendez1519–1574 Spanish explorer who founded St. Augustine and was the first Spanish governor of Florida.

South America Conquistadors

Francisco Pizarro1478–1541 With only 160 men, conquered six thousand Inca and took control of Peru.
Gonzalo Pizarro1502–1548 Brother of Francisco Pizarro; led an expedition from Quito across the Andes and discovered the Amazon.
Cabeza de Vaca1490–1557 Explorer who survived the ill-fated Narvaez expedition and captivity by Indians, then wrote of his adventures.

Hapsburg Spain—1516 to 1700

Charles V, Emperor to War of Spanish Succession

CharacterDate Short Biography

Political and Military leaders

Juana of Castile1479–1555 Daughter of Isabel, mother of Charles V, and heir to the throne of Castile. Deposed by Ferdinand due to insanity.
Charles V1500–1558 16th century Hapsburg Emperor who ruled Austria, the Netherlands, Spain and parts of Italy.
Don Carlos1545–1568 Eldest son of Philip II. Mentally unbalanced prince of Spain who was imprisoned and possibly murdered.
Duke of Alva1567–1573 Tyrannical Governor of the Spanish Netherlands who opposed Protestants during the Dutch Revolt.
Don John of Austria1545–1578 Illegitimate son of Charles V. Hero of the naval Battle of Lepanto. Briefly governed Spanish Netherlands.
Philip the Handsome1478–1506 Heir to the Burgundian and Hapsburg estates, and married to Juana of Spain. Their son was Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.
Philip II1527–1598 Catholic king of Spain during Netherland revolt and Anglo-Spanish Wars. Great enemy of Protestant Reformers.
Valetta1494–1568 Grand Master of the Knights Hospitallers who defended Malta from the siege in 1565.
Charles II1661–1700 Invalid King of Spain. Last of the Spanish Hapsburgs. His death precipitated the War of the Spanish Succession.


Saint John of the Cross1542–1591 Carmelite priest, poet and author associated with St. Teresa of Avila.
Saint Teresa of Avila1515–1582 Mystic Nun who reformed the Carmelite order, and wrote books on prayer. Doctor of the Church.
Saint Francis Xavier1506–1552 Jesuit Missionary to India. Said to have converted thousands to Christianity.
Saint Ignatius of Loyola1491–1556 Founder of the Jesuits order, dedicated to the Pope. Important counter-reformation figure.
Bartholomew de las Casas1484–1566 Priest who accompanied the Spanish conquistadors to the New World and tried to protect the native inhabitants from abuses and maltreatment.
Saint John of God1495–1550 Dedicated his life to helping the Poor. Founded order of Hospitallers, which cared for the sick.

Artists and Authors

Murillo1617–1682 Spanish artist who painted during the reign of the Spanish Habsburgs. Best known for his religious works.
Cervantes1547–1616 Author of the classic Don Quixote, the most famous novel in the Spanish Language.

Bourbon Spain—1712 to 1931

Peace of Utrecht to Spanish Civil War

CharacterDate Short Biography

18th Century

Philip V1683–1746 Grandson of Louis XIV who was recognized as the first Bourbon King of Spain after the War of the Spanish Succession.
Giulio Alberoni1665–1752 Spanish statesman active during the late reign of Louis XIV and the War of the Spanish Succession.
Elizabeth Farnese1692–1766 Queen of Philip V who, with Cardinal Alberoni, ruled the Spanish court in the early 18th century.
Charles IIId. 1789 Enlightened' King of Spain who tried to modernize Spain. Attempted financial reforms and suppressed the Jesuit order.
Ferdinand VI1713–1749 Bourbon king of Spain who supported the reforms of his chief minister Ensenada.
Marquis of Ensenada1702–1781 Spanish secretary of State under Ferdinand VI. Promoted peace, internal reform, and public works.

Napoleonic Era

Maria Louisa1751–1819 Notorious bourbon Queen of Charles IV, who promoted her incompetent favorite Godoy to prime minister.
Ferdinand VII1784–1833 Bourbon king, restored to the throne of France after the Napoleonic Wars, refused to work with liberal constitution.
Emanuel Godoy1767–1851 Decadent minister, favorite of Spanish queen. Blamed for fall of the Bourbon monarchy by acquiescing to Napoleon.
Jose de Palafox1776–1847 Spanish noble from Aragon who courageously defended Saragossa from a French siege during Napoleonic Wars.
Agustina de Aragon1786–1857 Heroine of the siege of Saragossa. Behaved heroically under fire. Later joined Wellington's troops as an officer.

19th century

Tomas de Zumalacarregui1788–1835 Courageous and loyal Basque general who commanded the traditionalist troops during the First Carlist War.
Don Carlos1788–1855 Brother of Ferdinand VII and rival claimant to the Spanish throne who initiated the Carlist Wars.
Maria Christina1806–1878 Queen regent of Spain who championed the cause of her daughter Isabella II against the Carlists.
Isabella II1830–1904 19th century queen of Spain who lived a life of scandal and dissipation and was eventually deposed.
Espartero1793–1879 Liberal, anti-clerical General who opposed the Carlists, and briefly ruled as regent of Spain before being exiled.
Alfonso XII1857–1885 Son of Isabell II to took the throne after a coup d'etat overthrew the First Republic. Died suddenly shortly thereafter.
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Mexico—1520 to 1921

Conquests of Cortez to Mexican Revolution


CharacterDate Short Biography

Conquest of Mexico

Montezuma1466–1520 Ruler of the Aztec empire at the time of the Spanish conquest. Captured by the Spanish and killed during revolt.
Dona Marina1496–1529 Indian slave woman who acted as consort, advisor, and translator for Cortez during his conquest of Mexico.
Hernando Cortez1485–1540 Conquistador who landed in Mexico with a small army, and allied with local tribes, conquered the Empire of the Aztecs.


Antonio de Mendoza1495–1552 First Viceroy of New Spain, competent and kind to natives. Laid the groundwork for Spanish dominion over Mexico.
Juan Diego1474–1548 Mexican native who saw an apparition of Our Lady and whose cloak was impressed with an image of the blessed virgin.
Bartholomew de las Casas1484–1566 Priest who accompanied the Spanish conquistadors to the New World and tried to protect the native inhabitants from abuses and maltreatment.
Juan de Zumarraga1468–1548 First Archbishop of Mexico. Stove to protect the Indians from vicious and exploitive conquistadors.
Junipero Serra1713–1784 Franciscan Friar who founded over a dozen missions along the coast of California.

Mexican Independence

Miguel Hidalgo1753–1811 Freemason Priest who was a leader of Mexico's war of independence. Famous for !Grito de dolores!
Agustin Iturbide1783–1824 Spanish General who changed sides and supported Mexican independence. Later made himself emperor.
Vincente Guerrero1782-1831Leader of Revolutionary liberals. Worked with Iturbide for Mexican independence, then rebelled against him. Seized office of President after political rival was elected.
Jose Maria Morelos1765-1815Revolutionary Priest, led independence movement after the death of Hidalgo, Caught and executed for treason!


CharacterDate Short Biography

Early Republic

Santa Anna1794–1876 Fought for Mexican independence and against Texas, then served as president on and off, over twenty turbulent years.
Valentin Farias1781-1858Liberal anti-Clerical President in alliance with Santa Anna during the early years of the Mexican republic who imposed many "reforms" targeting the Church.
Lucas Alaman1792–1853 Conservative Mexican statesman and historian who was influential during the early years of Mexican Independence.

Reform Era

Benito Juarez1806–1872 Leader of Mexico during the War of Reform. Passed, enforced anti-clerical laws. Supported informally by United States.
Juan Alvarez1790-1867Regional warlord in alliance with Juarez. Entered Mexico city in 1855 with militia, terrorized the population, made himself president, and appointed his successor.
Maximilian of Austria1832–1867 Archduke who was proclaimed Emperor of Mexico. Overthrown and executed by Liberal republicans.
Porfirio Diaz1830–1915 President of Mexico for 35 years. Brought stability, modernization, and foreign capital, but ruled as a dictator.

Mexican revolution

Francisco Madero1873–1913 Wealthy, liberal reformer who opposed the dictatorship of Diaz. Elected president but assassinated in office.
Emiliano Zapata1879–1919 Leader of a Rebel band of southern outlaws during Mexican Revolution. Opposed both Huerta and Carranza.
Venustiano Carranza1859–1920 Constitutionalist leader of Mexican revolution. Served as president after overthrew Huerta until his assassination in 1920.
Victoriana Huerta1859–1920 Diaz supporter who overthrew President Madero and assumed dictatorial power during Mexican Revolution.
Pancho Villa1878–1923 Rebel leader of the constitutionalist army in northern Mexico. Governor of Chihuahua. Broke with Carranza.
Plutarco Calles1877-1945Violently anti-Catholic President of Mexico who enforced harsh suppression of the Church in Mexico and incited the Cristero War.

South America—1525 to 1921

Conquests of Pizarro to Early 20th Century

CharacterDate Short Biography

Conquest of Incas

Atahualpa1502–1533 Last monarch of the Incan Empire. Captured by Pizarro at Caxamalca and eventually killed.
Francisco Pizarro1478–1541 With only 160 men, conquered six thousand Inca and took control of Peru.
Lautaro~ 1541 Military leader of the Araucanian tribe of Chile, who maintained their independence from Spain.
Manco Inca1516–1544 Puppet Inca ruler who was crowned by the Spaniards, but rebelled against them and laid siege to Cuzco.

Venezuela, Columbia, Bolivia, Equador

Francisco de Miranda1750–1816 Early leader of South American Independence. Led a failed revolution in Venezuela in 1813. Died in prison.
Simon Bolivar1783–1830 Crossed Andes to attack Spanish outposts in Columbia, then met San Martin in Peru.
Antonio Jose de Sucre1795–1830 South American patriot. Friend and trusted general of Simon Bolivar. Hero of the Battles of Pinchincha and Junin.
Joseph Antonio Paez1790–1873 A cavalry leader during War of Independence who rose from humble origins to be President (really dictator) of Venezuela.
Gabrial Garcia Moreno1821–1875 Catholic president of Ecuador who resisted the secular forces in his country, made many reforms, and was assassinated by Freemasons.

Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uraguay

Pedro de Valdivia1500–1554 Conquistador who attempted to conquer Chile, but was killed by the native tribes. Founded Santiago.
Bernardo O'Higgins1778–1842 Military commander who together with San Martin freed Chile from Spanish rule. First 'Supreme Director' of Chile.
Jose de San Martin1778–1850 Won independence from Spain for Argentina, then crossed the Andes and helped free Chili.
Jose Francia1766–1840 Ruled Paraguay as a dictator after its independence, and cut off most contact with outside influences.
Tupac Amarud. 1572 Son of Manco Inca, rebelled against Spain. Led the last independent tribe of Incas at their refuge in Vilcabamba.
Francisco Solano Lopez1827–1870 Dictator who provoked a war against Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay that devastated and depopulated Paraguay.
Juan Manuel de Rosas1793–1877 Gaucho hero who brought law and order to Argentina after 20 years of chaos. Ruled as a dictator for 25 year, then sent into exile.
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Dom Pedro I of Brazil1798–1834 Portuguese prince who became the first Emperor of Brazil but struggled with competing political factions.
Dom Pedro II1825–1891 Emperor of Brazil who tried to modernize while maintaining a constitutional monarchy. Forcibly exiled after Republican coup in 1889.

Cuba and Caribbean

Don Miguel Tacon~ 1834 Stern willed Governor of Cuba who tried to curtail smuggling in his realm.
Bartholemy Portuguez~ 1666 Famous South American Pirate of the Caribbean during the mid-17th century.
Pierre la Grande~ 1620 Famous French Pirate of the Caribbean during the mid-17th century.
Jose Marti1853–1895 Leader of the Cuban independence movement in the years before the Spanish-American.
General Maceo1848–1896 Led the Cuban forces against Spain during the Cuban Rebellion.
Cudjoe~ 1739 Leader of a tribes of Jamaican of mixed native and African descent. Fought British in the First Maroon War.