duque de

duque de

Lerma, Francisco Gómez de Sandoval y Rojas, duque de, 1553-1625, Spanish statesman, favorite of King Philip III. He became premier upon Philip's accession (1598) and controlled the government for 20 years. Lerma pursued a pacific foreign policy, ending (1604) the war with England and securing (1609) a 12-year truce in the Netherlands. Within Spain, however, he concentrated mainly on enriching himself. The most vigorous action taken by his administration was the expulsion (1609-14) of the Moriscos. In 1618, shortly after he had become a cardinal, he was ousted from power by his own son. After an inquiry ordered (1621) by Philip IV, Lerma was made to restore to the state part of his wealth.
Alba or Alva, Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, duque de, b. 1507 or 1508, d. 1582, Spanish general and administrator. After a distinguished military career in Germany and Italy, Alba returned to Spain as adviser to King Philip II. Advocating a stern policy toward the rebels against Spain in the Netherlands, he was appointed (1567) captain general there, with full civil and military powers. The regent, Margaret of Parma, opposed him and resigned, and Alba became regent and governor-general. A religious fanatic and ruthless absolutist, he set out to crush the Netherlanders' attempts to gain religious toleration and political self-government. He set up a special court at Brussels, popularly known as the Court of Blood, which spread terror throughout the provinces. Some 18,000 persons were executed (among them the counts of Egmont and Hoorn) and their properties confiscated. Increased taxation also fanned popular resentment, and in 1572 the Netherlanders rebelled again, on a larger scale than before. Alba defeated the invading forces of William the Silent, but he was unable to recover much of the NW Netherlands, which had been taken by the Gueux. In 1573 he was recalled to Spain in disgrace. In 1580, Philip was persuaded to use Alba for the conquest of Portugal. He took Lisbon within a few weeks.
Rivas, Ángel de Saavedra, duque de, 1791-1865, Spanish romantic poet and dramatist. A liberal, Rivas was condemned to death and fled in 1823 to England. After the death of Ferdinand VII he returned to Spain, having inherited his title and fortune. He became ambassador to Naples and France and president of the Spanish Royal Academy of the language. In literature Rivas was the champion of Spanish romanticism. His Don Álvaro; o, La fuerza del sino [Don Alvaro; or, the power of destiny] (1835) emerged from heated literary controversy as the first romantic success in the Spanish theater. This play was used as the basis of Francesco Piave's libretto for Verdi's opera La forza del destino (1862). Rivas's best-known poems are the colorful Romances históricos (1841), renderings of popular legends in ballad form.
Alva, Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, duque de: see Alba, Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, duque de.
Medina Sidonia, Alonso Pérez de Guzmán, duque de, 1550-1615, Spanish nobleman and commander in chief of the Spanish Armada. The 7th duke of one of Spain's most ancient, illustrious, and wealthy houses, Medina Sidonia was appointed captain general of Andalusia early in 1588. Following the death of the marqués de Santa Cruz shortly afterward, Philip II of Spain made him leader of the Armada, a command that he accepted with reluctance because he had no previous naval experience. Aware of the fleet's deficiencies in supplies, arms, and crew, he nevertheless set out in May, 1588, to fulfill almost impossible instructions: he was to skirt the French coast through the English Channel while avoiding a naval engagement and to effect a rendezvous in the Netherlands with the land army of Alessandro Farnese, duke of Parma, and cover its attack on England. Weather conditions and a running battle with the English fleet prevented this liaison, and Medina Sidonia took the remnants of his defeated and scattered Armada around Scotland and Ireland, reaching Spain by late September. He retained royal favor and continued to serve in high offices until his death. Although defamed by contemporaries and subsequent historians, Medina Sidonia has been rehabilitated by recent scholars who have recognized his courage, loyalty to the crown, leadership, and administrative ability.
Osuna, Pedro Téllez Girón, duque de, 1579-1624, Spanish general and administrator. As viceroy of Sicily (1611-16) and of Naples (1616-20), he arrogated power to himself and fought the Ottomans and Barbary pirates. In 1617, suspecting Venetian anti-Spanish activities, he defeated a Venetian fleet in the Adriatic. In 1618 the Venetians accused him of plotting to overthrow the Venetian republic and Osuna was recalled (1620) to Spain and imprisoned (1621). Historians disagree on whether there was an actual conspiracy.
The Spanish hereditary ducal title of Duque de Ciudad Rodrigo Grandee of Spain 1st Class (Duke of Rodrigo City) was conferred on the British General Arthur Wellesley, then 1st Viscount Wellington in January 1812, quickly after his important victory at Ciudad Rodrigo that same year, as a victory title.

It is held by his descendants the Dukes of Wellington.

Duques de Ciudad Rodrigo (1812- )

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