30 October 1975: Spanish dictator General Franco cedes power to King Juan Carlos

With his health deteriorating, General Francisco Franco, 'caudillo' of Spain, relinquished power to the future King Juan Carlos, on this day in 1975.

The 1936 Spanish election resulted in victory for a left-wing coalition, but both the population and the army were bitterly divided. After initially staying out of the conflict, General Francisco Franco, the chief of general staff, decided to support an anti-government uprising in July 1936, leading to the Spanish Civil War.

Supported by Hitler, Franco's forces defeated the Soviet-supported government, at the cost of half a million lives, and Franco became caudillo (military leader) of Spain.

During World War II, Spain aided Germany, but officially stayed neutral, which enabled Franco's regime to survive after the end of the war. For the next 30 years, Franco ran a highly authoritarian regime, jailing dissidents and imposing political censorship. From the late 1960s, he focused his efforts on establishing Juan Carlos, grandson of Spain's former king, as his successor.

By October 1975, Franco's health deteriorated and he was forced to relinquish his power, although Juan Carlos was not crowned until Franco's death in November.

Instead of maintaining the Francoist regime, Juan Carlos moved to democratise Spain, removing pro-Franco ministers and allowing free elections in 1977. An attempted military coup in February 1981 was foiled in part by the king's dramatic TV broadcast denouncing the plot.

This strengthened support for the monarchy and Juan Carlos enjoyed high public approval for most of the next three decades. But a decision to go on a $60,000 hunting trip in 2012, at a time of high unemployment, badly damaged his popularity. He abdicated in favour of his son two years later.

Recommended

What is a recession and how will it affect you?
UK Economy

What is a recession and how will it affect you?

The UK economy is heading towards a recession, according to economists. But what is a recession, and what does it mean for your money?
6 Dec 2022
What is fiscal drag?
Too embarrassed to ask

What is fiscal drag?

How can politicians raise more tax revenue, without damaging their political popularity too badly? One way is by using “fiscal drag”. Here's what that…
18 Nov 2022
US inflation drops to 7.7%
US Economy

US inflation drops to 7.7%

Costs for rents increased, but the price of cars, clothes and medical care helped slow the rate of inflation in the US
11 Nov 2022
UK economy shrinks 0.2%. Is a recession on the way?
UK Economy

UK economy shrinks 0.2%. Is a recession on the way?

The latest figures showed the UK economy shrank by 0.2%, and we seem to be heading for a recession. How will this affect you?
11 Nov 2022

Most Popular

Is it cheaper to leave the heating on low all day?
Personal finance

Is it cheaper to leave the heating on low all day?

The weather is getting colder and energy bills are rising, but is it really cheaper to leave the heating on low all day or should you only turn it on …
1 Dec 2022
Radiator vs electric heater – which is cheaper?
Personal finance

Radiator vs electric heater – which is cheaper?

We compare the costs, pros and cons of radiators and electric heaters and see which one will help keep your energy bill as low as possible.
28 Nov 2022
The pros and cons of smart meters – should you switch?
Personal finance

The pros and cons of smart meters – should you switch?

A smart meter can help you keep tabs on your energy usage, but is it better than a regular meter? We take a look at smart meters vs regular meters.
2 Dec 2022