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Permanent Exhibition

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The permanent exhibition brings together the history of Carlism from its origins to 1939 in eight different sections, seven of them chronological.

Carlism as a Historical Movement

Carlist trenches (José Cusachs y Cusachs, 1888)

Carlist trenches (José Cusachs y Cusachs, 1888)

Europe and America suffered profound political and social changes (The French and American Revolutions) in the second half of the 18th century that were not, however, supported by society as a whole. This, in turn, generated a widespread counter-revolutionary movement at the end of 18th and during the 19th century, of which Carlism was a part. Both movements share certain characteristics, such as legitimism, the defence of religion and the rejection of revolutionary rationalism. Nevertheless, Carlism has one unique feature: its lengthy duration. Its ability to adapt enabled it to survive while the other counter-revolutionary movements faded in the second half of the 19th century.


The Crisis of the Ancien Régime and the Creation of Carlism. The First Carlist War, the Inter-war Period and the Second Carlist War

A Battle from the First Carlist War (Francisco de Paula Van Halen y Maffei, 1841)

A Battle from the First Carlist War (Francisco de Paula Van Halen y Maffei, 1841)

In 1808, there was a rebellion against the French troops in defence of the dethroned Fernando VII and an endangered religion. It was also a response against the foreigner, thus adding a national element to the Peninsular War. Its end heralded the triumph of absolutism. Nevertheless, the reign of Fernando VII then faced the revolutionary about-turn of 1820 and the subsequent royalist armed insurrection, as well as the ultra-absolutist uprisings of previous years. In this environment of conflict, which had been constant since the Peninsular War, the legal dispute relating to who had the right to the throne arose: was it Fernando VII’s brother, Prince Carlos Mª Isidro de Borbón or his daughter, Princess Isabel?

The events of the time are told in detail through maps and interactive displays. Many of the museum’s most important pieces correspond to this period, such as flags (including the Carlist standard known as "la Generalísima") and uniforms. Along with these pieces and under the title Art in War, different paintings on display by Van Halen, Benlliure, Estevan, Cusachs and Salaberría, depict scenes from both wars.


Carlism Between Centuries. The Second Republic and the Civil War.

A requeté stamp (1938)

A requeté stamp (1938)

The restoration of the Bourbon dynasty in 1874 through the figure of Alfonso XII, son of Isabel II, and the end of the Second Carlist War (1876) led to a period of change for Carlism. A cycle of wars that had begun in 1833 came to a close, which in turn forced the party (the Communion) to adapt to a period in which war was no longer the main channel of expression.

The proclamation of the Second Republic made Carlism, once again, the point of attraction for different counter-revolutionary forces. In 1936, the Carlists joined the military insurrection. The participation of the requeté divisions (as the Carlist militia was known) in the Civil War was notable. For the Carlists, this war represented an end to the wars of the 19th century. After so many lost battles, they finally found themselves on the winning side. Nevertheless, they had conceded much along the way.

Permanent exhibition leaflet

Texts on the display panels

Free guided tours to the exhibition


Government of Navarre

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