Thursday, May 10, 2012

Irredentist Claims in the King of Spain's Titles

When I was young my father taught me about how the kings of France and England competed against one of another over the title of "King of France".  Since then I have been fascinated by irredentist claims; the combination of geography, politics, and vain claims representing the apex of human nature.

I decided to look at the current titles of European monarchs to see if there were any irredentist claims.  Elizabeth II is "By the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith", a long title but nothing irredentist.  The other monarchs were merely "King of Norway" or "Prince of Monaco".

I almost gave up when I discovered the long list of titles used by the King of Spain.  Many of the titles reflect the collection of old monarchies which merged to form the Kingdom of Spain.  However, many of them are irredentist reflecting what the monarchy inherited/claimed from its time as a branch of the Habsburg royal family.  Two claims in present-day Greece come from the days of the Latin Crusader states after the Fourth Crusade.

The titles make irredentist claim to the Two Sicilies, Jerusalem, Sardinia, Corsica, the Algarves, Gibraltar, Spanish East and West Indies, the Spanish Main, Burgundy, Brabant, Milan, Athens, Neopatria, Limburg, Habsburg, Flanders, Tyrol, and Roussillon.

I created a map of the irredentist claims.

View Irredentist Claims in the King of Spain's Titles in a larger map

The European claims map is below

View Irredentist Claims in the King of Spain's Titles in a larger map

These claims represent all or part of Portugal, United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Israel, the Philippines, the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago.

These titles are ceremonial and the current king, Juan Carlos, only uses King of Spain though he has not renounced claim to them.  Spain still claims Gibraltar, however, and has even pushed for the United Kingdom to give it back earlier this week.

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