In 1713, Salic law was introduced to Spain. In 1830, Ferdinand VII who did not have any sons declared that his daughter Isabella was the next in line, instead of his brother Carlos. Carlos and his supporters called the Carlists denied it’s validity because it was a change in fundamental law without the support of the Cortes.

However the fact that Charles IV made a decree in 1789 that abolished Salic law which was adopted by the Cortes. However the Carlists denied the validity of that decree since it was never formally published. This succession dispute caused the Carlist Wars after Ferdinand VII’s death.

So under Spanish law, was the succession change in 1789 legally adopted into law?

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    This succession dispute caused the Carlist Wars I would say that it was the pretext for the Carlist Wars; the conflict between Progresists and Conservatives had already been ongoing for quite some time and the dynastic crisis just gave the Conservatives a better PR message ("We are fighting for Religion and the rightful King who has been deprived of his Crown" instead of "We are fighting for Religion against the rightful Queen").
    – SJuan76
    Apr 13, 2019 at 9:01

1 Answer 1


If the wikipedia article on the Pragmatic Sanction of 1830 is anything to go by, the answer would be sort of, in the sense that the Pragmatic Sanction itself simply ratified the Decree of 1789:

The proposal was accepted and formally adopted as Cortes’ petition to the king, but a corresponding law was not published until 1830, which triggered a dynastical conflict and a series of civil wars.

For context, it sometimes happens to have laws that get passed by Parliament but end up staying in legal limbo for months or years, because of procedural details -- they don't get ratified or something to that effect, etc. or because there is no executive guidance as to how they ought to get applied (not sure what the English term is for the French décret d'application [FR] but quite a few laws in France simply don't get applied because of this). The 27th Amendment to the US Constitution is a recent example of such. It was submitted by the 1st Congress to the states for ratification in 1789; it only became part of the United States Constitution in 1992.

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