Francisco Franco y Bahamonde was a Spanish military leader and statesman who ruled as the dictator of Spain from 1936 until his death. He came to power during the Spanish Civil War while serving as the Generalísimo of the Nationalist faction. Franco led the Nationalists to victory in the civil war and went on to become the longest ruling dictator in European history.
Franco was from a military background. He became a highly decorated soldier and won rapid promotions in the army. He rose to prominence during the 1920s as a commander in the Spanish Legion and became the youngest general in Europe. He was then appointed in charge of Spain's main military academy at Zaragoza. However, with the fall of the Spanish monarchy and the establishment of the Second Republic in 1931, Franco, as a conservative and monarchist officer, was marginalized from power by the Republican government. Franco managed to return to prominence with the electoral victory of the conservatives in 1933. He was appointed Chief of Staff of the military and suppressed the anarchist uprising of 1934. In 1936, Franco and a group of Spanish military leaders conspired to overthrow the Popular Front led Republican government. The rebellion was only half successful and evolved into a civil war, during which Franco emerged as the leader of the Nationalists. He was able to secure the support of Italy and Germany while integrating the many heterogeneous rebel factions into the Movimiento Nacional. After winning the civil war, Franco had the Spanish Parliament dissolved. He then established a dictatorship and was de facto regent of the nominally restored Kingdom of Spain. His official posts were that of Head of State and Head of Government as the Caudillo and Prime Minister respectively.