Charles III of Spain  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Discovery of Pompeii

Charles III (20 January 1716 – 14 December 1788) was the King of Spain and the Spanish Indes from 1759 to his death in 1788. It was during his rule that the Roman cities of Herculaneum (1738), Stabiae and Pompeii (1748) were excavated. He stored the treasures found there in his Portici Palace.


Eldest son of Philip V of Spain and his second wife, Princess Elisabeth of Parma, he became the Duke of Parma and Piacenza under the name of Charles I (at the death of his great uncle Antonio Farnese); later on in 1734 while Duke of Parma he conquered the Kingdoms of Naples and Sicily and was thus created the King of Naples and Sicily due to a personal union; he ruled under the simple name of Charles with no specific numeration even though time has made him Charles VII of Naples and Charles V and Sicily. In Sicily, he was known as Charles III of Sicily and of Jerusalem; using the ordinal one III rather than V for the Sicilian people did not recognise as their sovereign legitimate one or Charles I of Naples (Charles d'Anjou), against whom they rebelled, nor the Emperor Charles, quickly discharged of the island. He was crowned King of Naples and Sicily at Palermo, Sicily on 3 July 1735.

In 1738 he married the cultured Princess Maria Amalia of Saxony with whom he had 13 children with; 8 of these reached adulthood and a further 4 of them had issue. The couple lived in Naples for 19 years and had a very happy marriage. She died in Madrid in 1760 aged 35.

After becoming the King of Spain by default, he left the Neapolitan and Sicilian kingdoms to his third surviving son who was later Ferdinand IV of Naples; Ferdinand III of Sicily; Ferdinand would see the creation of the future Kingdom of the Two Sicilies which would be ruled by Charles' descendants till 1861.

He was a proponent of enlightened absolutism.


It was during his rule that the Roman cities of Herculaneum (1738), Stabiae and Pompeii (1748) were re-discovered. The king encouraged their excavation and continued to be informed about findings even after moving to Spain.

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