Juan Everardo Nithard

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Portrait of Cardinal Juan Everardo Nithard, by Alonso del Arco (c. 1674). Prado Museum (Madrid).

Juan Everardo Nithard (Johann Eberhard Nithard, in German) (Fankelstein (Upper Austria), 8 December 1607 – Rome, 1 February 1681) was an Austrian priest of the Society of Jesus, confessor of Mariana of Austria and valido of Spain.

Born in a Catholic family in Tirol, he entered at the age of 21 the Society of Jesus and studied at the University of Graz. Emperor Ferdinand III made him preceptor of his children Leopold and Mariana.

When Archduchess Mariana married her maternal uncle King Philip IV of Spain in 1649, he accompanied her as her confessor to the Spanish Court. When the King died, Queen Mariana became regent of their infant son Charles who was 4 years old.

She made Nithard Grand Inquisitor in 1666, which gave him access to the Regency Board, from where he became the most important person of the Spanish Court. From then on he was the de facto prime minister or valido of Spain.

When he signed the disadvantageous Treaty of Lisbon (1668) with Portugal and Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1668) with France, the members of the Councils and in particular John of Austria started plotting to overthrow him. In 1669 he was dismissed by a military pronunciamiento led by John.

After his dismissal, Nithard was named ambassador in Rome, Bishop of Agrigento, and later Archbishop of Edesa. In 1672 Pope Clement X made him a cardinal. He wrote his Memorias, and after his death in 1681, he was buried in the Church of the Gesu in Rome.

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Pascual de Aragón
Grand Inquisitor of Spain
1666—1669
Succeeded by
Diego Sarmiento de Valladares