Pedro Cevallos

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Pedro Cevallos Guerra (1760 – 1840) was a Spanish statesman and diplomat who served as Chief Minister between 1799 and 1808 during the Napoleonic Wars, although Manuel Godoy, a personal favourite of the Spanish King had a vast influence over political affairs.

Early life[edit]

Cevallos was born in Cantabria in 1760. He was educated at various schools and convents before in 1777 attending Valladolid University to study law. He was very successful, and in 1781 he joined the faculty as a professor remaining there until 1790.

Diplomatic and Political Career[edit]

In 1790 Cevallos switched to the diplomatic service, serving between 1793 and 1795 as First Secretary to the Spanish Embassy in Lisbon. He returned home and worked for the finance ministry.

Chief Minister[edit]

Main article: Cevallos Ministry

In 1799 the Spanish King Charles IV appointed him as Secretary of State, the De Facto Chief Minister, although Cevallos lacked the power and discretion of many of his predecessors as he was forced to share power with the ambitious Manuel de Godoy, a former Secretary, who held no official role but wielded enormous power.

French invasion[edit]

Further information: Peninsular War

Spain's situation had been precarious since the beginning of the Napoleonic Wars and in 1808 it grew worse. Spain and France had agreed to launch a joint invasion of their traditional and mutual enemy Portugal - but France had planned to betray their Spanish allies and conquer Spain as well. When this dawned on the Spanish elite, they pressed the King to abdicate. His replacement Ferdinand chose to meet Napoleon in the Pyranees to try and negotiate a cessation of hostilities but was seized by the French and taken as prisoners to France.

Cevallos tendered his resignation and fled to take refuge in London for the remainder of the war, returning once Madrid had been liberated in 1814. He briefly headed the new government, before retiring. He died in 1840.

Political offices
Preceded by
Francisco de Saavedra
Secretary of State
(Chief Minister)

1799–1808
Succeeded by
Gonzalo O'Farrill

See also[edit]