Alfonso XIII | spanish property Costa Blanca

Alfonso XIII

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Alfonso XIII of Spain (May 17, 1886 - February 28, 1941), King of Spain, posthumous son of Alfonso XII of Spain, was proclaimed King at his birth. He reigned from 1886-1931. His mother, Queen Maria Christina, was appointed regent during his minority. In 1902, on attaining his 16th year, the King assumed control of the government. On May 31, 1906 he married Scottish-born Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg (1887-1969), a niece of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom and a granddaughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. A Serene Highness by birth, Ena, as she was known, was raised to Royal Highness status a month before her wedding to prevent the union from being viewed as unequal, or morganatic.

As Alfonso XIII and Queen Ena were returning from the wedding they narrowly escaped assassination in a bomb explosion, which killed and injured many bystanders and members of the royal procession. The royal couple had seven children: Alfonso Pio Cristino Eduardo (1907-1938, a hemophiliac, he renounced his rights to the throne in 1936 to marry a commoner and became Count of Covadonga). Jaime Luitpold Isabelino Enrique (1908-1975, a deaf-mute as the result of a childhood operation, he renounced his rights to the throne in 1933 and became Duke of Segovia, and later Duke of Madrid, and who, as a legitimist pretender to the French throne from 1941 to 1975, was known as the Duke of Anjou).

Beatrice Isabel Federica Alfonsa Eugenia (1909-2002); a stillborn son (1910); Maria Christina Teresa Alejandra (1911-1996); Juan Carlos Teresa Silvestre Alfonso (1913-93, named heir to the throne and Count of Barcelona), and Gonzalo Manuel Maria Bernardo (1914-34, a hemophiliac). The king also had three illegitimate children, Roger Leveque de Vilmorin (1905-1980), by French aristocrat Mélanie de Gaufridy de Dortan; Leandro Alfonso Ruiz Moragas (born in 1929), officially recognized by Spanish courts on May 21, 2003 as Leandro Alfonso de Borbón Ruiz, son of the King; and his sister Ana María Teresa Ruiz Moragas. The mother of both siblings was the Spanish actress Carmen Ruiz Moragas.

During his reign Spain lost its last colonies in Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines, lost several wars in north Africa, and endured the dictatorship of Miguel Primo de Rivera. When the 2nd Spanish republic was proclaimed in 1931, he abandoned the country with no formal abdication. He died in exile in Rome, after leaving his successory rights to his fourth, but second surviving, son Juan de Borbon, Count of Barcelona, the father of the later King Juan Carlos. The count of Barcelona renounced his rights to the throne in 1977, in favor of his son, Juan Carlos.

Manuel Fraga Iribarne

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Manuel Fraga, also known as Don Manuel, (born November 23, 1922) is the president of the Spanish province Galicia, and is one of the oldest presidents in the world. Manuel Fraga began his political career during General Franco’s fascist dictatorship in Spain, being minister and ambassador in London. After Franco’s death, democracy returned to Spain. Fraga the formed a right wing party called Alianza Popular (AP - Popular Alliance), wich later changed its name to Partido Popular (PP - Popular Party).

The party was ignored in its first years, but gained popularity when UCD (Unión de Centro Democrático, a moderate right wing party which won the first two elections after Franco’s death) disbanded and most of its members joined AP. In the late eighties, Fraga left presidency of PP and returned to his homeland, Galicia. He won the elections and became president of Galicia, and it has remained in charge until the present. In late 2002, when an oil tanker ship called Prestige sank near Galician coast, Fraga saw his credibility really damaged.

Peter I of Castile

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Peter “the Cruel,” king of Castile (1333-1369), (in Spanish, Pedro I) son of Alfonso XI and Maria, daughter of Alphonso IV of Portugal, was born in 1333. He earned for himself the reputation of monstrous cruelty which is indicated by the accepted title. In later ages, when the royal authority was thoroughly established, there was a reaction in Peter’s favour, and an alternative name was found for him. It became a fashion to speak of him as El Justiciero, the executor of justice. Apologists were found to say that he had only killed men who themselves would not submit to the law or respect the rights of others.

There is this amount of foundation for the plea, that the chronicler Lopez de Ayala, who fought against him, has confessed that the king’s fall was regretted by the merchants and traders, who enjoyed security under his rule. Peter began to reign at the age of sixteen, and found himself subjected to the control of his mother and her favourites. He was immoral, and unfaithful to his wife, as his father had been. But Alphonso XI did not imprison his wife, or cause her to be murdered. Peter certainly did the first, and there can be little doubt that he did the second.

He had not even the excuse that he was passionately in love with his mistress, Maria de Padilla; for, at a time when he asserted that he was married to her, and when he was undoubtedly married to Blanche of Bourbon, he went through the form of marriage with a lady of the family of Castro, who bore him a son, and then deserted her. Maria de Padilla was only the one lady of his harem of whom he never became quite tired. At first he was controlled by his mother, but emancipated himself with the encouragement of the minister Albuquerque and became attached to Maria de Padilla. Maria turned him against Albuquerque. In 1354 the king was practically coerced by his mother and the nobles into marrying Blanche of Bourbon, but deserted her at once.

A period of turmoil followed in which the king was for a time overpowered and in effect imprisoned. The dissensions of the party which was striving to coerce him enabled him to escape from Toro, where he was under observation, to Segovia. From 1356 to 1366 he was master, and was engaged in continual wars with Aragon, in which he showed neither ability nor daring. It was during this period that he perpetrated the series of murders which made him odious. He confided in nobody save the Jews, who were his tax-gatherers, or the Muslim guards he had about him.

The profound hatred of the Christians for the Jews and Mudejares, or Muslims settled among them, dates from the years in which they were the agents of his unbridled tyranny. In 1366 he was assailed by his bastard brother Henry of Trastamara at the head of a host of soldiers of fortune, including Bertrand du Guesclin and Hugh Calveley, and abandon the kingdom without daring to give battle, after retreating several times (first from Burgos, then from Toledo, and lastly from Seville) in the face of the oncoming armies. He fled, with his treasury, to Portugal where he was coldly received by his uncle, Pedro I, and thence to Galacia, in northern Spain, where he ordered murder Suero, the archbishop of Santiago, and the dean, Peralvarez.

In the summer of 1366 Peter took refuge with the Black Prince, by whom he was restored in the following year. But he disgusted his ally by his faithlessness and ferocity. The health of the Black Prince broke down, and he left Spain. When thrown on his own resources, Peter was soon overthrown by his brother Henry, with the aid of Bertrand du Guesclin and a body of French free companions. He was murdered by Henry in du Guesclin’s tent on March 23, 1369. His daughters by Maria de Padilla, Constance and Isabella, were respectively married to John of Gaunt and Edmund of Langley, sons of Edward III, king of England.

Second Spanish Republic

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The Second Spanish Republic (1931–1939) was the second period in Spanish history in which the election of both the positions of Head of State and Head of government were in the hands of the people. (The First Spanish Republic was from 1873–1874.) The Second Republic began on April 14, 1931 after the abdication of King Alfonso XIII, following local election in which Republican candidates won the urban vote.

The first president was Niceto Alcalá Zamora (1931–1936). The Basques and the Catalans claimed independence but didn’t immediately get the autonomy they wanted. The Straperlo scandal undermined the confidence in centrist republican parties and led to polarization. The second president was Manuel Azaña (1936–1939). The Republic suffered a terrible crisis when General Franco attempted a coup on July 18, 1936, which was the start of the Spanish Civil War.

The Republic began to fall out of favor with some nations but received aid from others, such as Stalin’s USSR. Azaña’s government lasted until February, 1939. The Republic fell when General Franco and his troops took Madrid on April 1, 1939. A dictatorship (Franquismo) was established which lasted until Franco’s death in 1975.

Castile

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A former kingdom of Spain, Castile comprises the two regions of Old Castile in north-western Spain, and New Castile in the centre of the country. Previously an eastern county of the kingdom of León, Castile in the 11th century became an independent realm with its capital at Burgos and later Valladolid, and the leading force in the northern Christian states’ 400-year Reconquista ("reconquest") of central and southern Spain from the Muslim rulers who had dominated the peninsula since the 8th century.

The capture of Toledo in 1085 added New Castile to the crown’s territories, and the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (1212) heralded the Muslim loss of most of the south. León was finally reunited with Castile in 1230, and the following decades saw the capture of Córdoba (1236), Murcia (1243) and Seville (1248). The dynastic union of Castile and Aragón in 1469, when Ferdinand II of Aragon wed Isabella I of Castile, led to the formal creation of Spain as a single entity in 1516. See List of Spanish monarchs and Kings of Spain family tree.

The territory traditionally regarded as Castilian is now divided into the Spanish autonomous communities of Castile-Leon, Castile-La Mancha, Madrid, Cantabria and La Rioja. The language of Castile emerged as the primary language of Spain - known to many of its speakers as castellano and in English simply as the Spanish language.

Siege of Gibraltar

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The Siege of Gibraltar was a military action during the War of the Spanish Succession during which the fortress of Gibraltar was captured by allied British and Dutch forces after a three days’ siege, on July 24, 1704. The attack was carried out by a brigade of Dutch and British Marines, 1800 strong, under the command of Prince George of Hess-Darmstadt. The capture was made in the interests of Charles, archduke of Austria, but Sir George Rooke, the British admiral, on his own responsibility caused the British flag to be hoisted, and took possession in name of Queen Anne, whose government ratified the occupation.

A great number of the inhabitants of the town of Gibraltar abandoned their homes rather than recognize the authority of the invaders. The Spaniards quickly assembled an army to recapture the place, and a new siege opened in October 1704 by troops of France and Spain under the marquess of Villadarias. The Marine brigade, still under the command of the British admiral, Sir John Leake, and the military governor, Prince George of Hesse-Darmstadt (who had commanded the land forces in July), and reinforced shortly before by a further 400 Royal Marines, held the fortress against repeated attacks.

A notable incident during the siege was the attempt made by 500 French and Spanish volunteer grenadiers to surprise the garrison on October 31. Captain Fisher of the Marines with 17 of his men successfully defended the Round Tower against their assault. A contemporary report of this noted defence says, “Encouraged by the Prince of Hesse, the garrison did more than could humanly be expected, and the English Marines gained an immortal glory". On March 9, 1705, the French marshal de Tessé, who had replaced Villadarias, gave up the siege and retired.

Battle of Santiago de Cuba

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The Battle of Santiago de Cuba, fought on July 3, 1898, was the largest naval engagement of the Spanish-American War, and resulted in the destruction of the Spanish Caribbean Squadron (also known as the Flota del Ultramar) and dashed the hopes of Spain for preventing a blockade of Cuba. Cuba was the heart of the American campaign against Spain. It was in Cuba that USS Maine had met her untimely demise, in Cuba that the Americans had chosen to make their stand against Spanish “imperialism”.

The scope of the land war is beyond the range of this article, as is the questionable morality on both sides regarding the Cuban question. Nevertheless, it is important to point out that key fact - that Cuba was the heart of the American war effort, and it was in Cuba that the Americans sought to achieve most of their military aims against the Spanish.

The Spanish, too, realized that the war could be made or broken by the campaign in Cuba. Even before the opening of hostilities, Almirante Pascual Cervera y Topete had been dispatched from Spain with the ultimate destination of Cuba. At best, the Spanish hoped to show the flag in their largest remaining New World colony; at worst, the Spanish hoped to have a force prepared to meet the relatively inexperienced, but powerful, U.S. Navy. Cervera’s squadron and the squadron lost by Patricio Montojo at the Battle of Manila Bay could not have been more different, statistically.

Montojo’s squadron had been composed largely of relics and cast-offs meant for patrol and revenue collection; Cervera’s squadron was composed of modern warships, most of them less than a decade old. Montojo’s squadron had virtually no torpedo launching capability; Cervera brought with him destroyers Pluton and Furor, two of the most feared torpedo armed warships in the world at the time. Montojo’s squadron was almost entirely unarmored; nearly all of Cervera’s vessels were protected by armor of some kind.

However, it is evident from the records of the time and from Cervera’s own writings, that the Spanish Admiral had the feeling that he was sailing to his doom. The breech mechanisms in many of the Spanish guns were dangerously faulty, causing jams and other mishaps; many of the naval boilers were in desperate need of repair; some ships, such as the respected armored cruiser Vizcaya, desperately needed a bottom-cleaning and were suffering from extra drag. Worst yet, some of the gunners were long out of practice, having little experience with firing live rounds. The most well protected ship in Cervera’s fleet, Armored Cruiser Cristobal Colon, had not even had her main battery installed and carried wooden dummy guns instead.

Early in the year, Cervera had attempted to convince the Ministero de Marine - the bureaucratic body responsible for governing Spain’s admiralty - that the best strategy lay in resisting the Americans near the Canary Islands. Here, the fleet could be repainted, recoaled, and overhauled. The fleet could then lay within range of the vast reserves of ammunition established in Spain and the firepower of the Home Squadron. The fleet could then meet the Americans, he argued, still exhausted from their trip across the Atlantic, and destroy them. It was a strategy endorsed by every officer under his command, and many in the Home Squadron besides; it was a strategy utterly rejected by the Admiralty. Cervera’s own misgivings belie the seriousness of the situation faced:

“It is impossible for me to give you an idea of the surprise and consternation experienced by all on the receipt of the order to sail. Indeed, that surprise is well justified, for nothing can be expected of this expedition except the total destruction of the fleet or its hasty and demoralized return.” On April 30th, Cervera set sail from Cape Verde. Panic gripped the American populace - would he attack the largely undefended East Coast while the fleet sailed about in a vain effort to engage him? Would he prey upon American shipping? Would he sail up the Potomac and set fire to Washington, D.C.?

Following was a classic game of cat and mouse. Cervera managed to evade the American fleet for several weeks, evading his bewildered American counterparts and managing to re-coal in the process. Finally, on May 29, after several misadventures, Cristobal Colon was spotted in the harbor at Santiago by a bewildered American squadron. Contact was now inevitable.

Black Legend

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The Black Legend (in Spanish, leyenda negra) is the depiction of Spain and the Spaniards as bloodthirsty and cruel, greedy and fanatical, in excess of reality. This is contrasted with the White Legend ((in Spanish, leyenda rosa, which means rosy legend) and promoted an idealized view of Spaniards. Needless to say, the very phrase Black Legend is highly colored itself and not propitious for a neutral historical analysis except of folkloric perceptions.

In 1552, the Dominican friar Bartolome de las Casas published his Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies (Brevísima relación de la destrucción de las Indias), a polemical and arguably exaggerated account of the excesses which accompanied colonization, in which he blamed Spanish brutality for the near-extinction of the indigenous population of the island of Hispaniola. Really, while the massive population loss in the Americas after 1492 was mostly the consequence of Old World diseases {smallpox, influenza, measles and typhus} to which the colonial populations had no resistance, violence, exploitation and the destruction of traditional social and economic organisation took a severe toll and undermined native peoples’ recuperative capacity.

The book was extensively used by the Dutch during their war for independence from Spain, and taken up by the English in their own wars with Spain (see Spanish Armada). The two northern nations were not only emerging as Spain’s rivals for empire, but were also strongholds of Protestantism while Spain was the most powerful Catholic country of the period. Other critics of Spain included the fallen secretary to king Philip II of Spain, Antonio Pérez, who fled to England where he published libels against the Spanish Monarchy. The imprisonment and subsequent death of Don Carlos by his parent Philip II of Spain added to the legend. This event inspired an opera. Also, the Spanish-born pope Alexander VI became almost a mythical character, and countless legends and traditions attached to his name.

The United States of America would have inherited the Black Legend from the British colonization of the Americas. Some people feel that the United States mass media and government have propagated it to justify United States actions against Spain or Latin American countries, as in the Spanish-American War or in the colonization of Philippines after the Philippine-American War. We can still see evidence of the Black legend in modern literature and movies, as in Steven Spielberg’s Amistad.

The Spanish-American War

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The Philippines


The first battle was in the Philippines where on May 1, Commodore George Dewey commanding the United States Pacific fleet, in six hours defeated the Spanish squadron, under Admiral Patricio Montojo y Pasarón, at the Battle of Manila Bay. Meanwhile Philippine nationalists led by Emilio Aguinaldo attacked the Spanish on land, and many of the Spanish troops surrendered.

Cuba


In Cuba the American navy met the Spanish Atlantic fleet in Santiago Bay on July 3. The Americans defeated the Spanish and gained control of the waterways around Cuba. This prevented re-supply of the Spanish forces and also allowed the US to land its considerable forces safely on the island. In Cuba Theodore ("Teddy") Roosevelt became a war hero when he led a charge at the battle of San Juan Hill outside of Santiago as lieutenant colonel of the Rough Riders Regiment on July 1.

The Americans were aided in Cuba by the pro-independence rebels lead by General Calixto García. The ground war had far more problems dealing with heat and disease than the Spanish forces, and within a month the island was in US hands. On 25 July US troops landed in Puerto Rico.

Spanish colonization of the Americas

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Spanish colonization of the Americas began with the arrival in the Americas of Christopher Columbus in 1492. He had been searching for a new route to the Asian Indies and was convinced he had found it. Columbus was made governor of the new territories and made several more journeys across the Atlantic Ocean. He profitted from the labor of native slaves, whom he forced to mine gold; he also attempted to sell some slaves to Spain. While generally regarded as an excellent navigator, he was a poor administrator and was stripped of the governorship in 1500.

Early settlements by the Spanish were on the islands of the Caribbean. On his fourth and final voyage in 1502 Columbus encountered a large canoe off the coast of what is now Honduras filled with trade goods. He boarded the canoe and rifled through the cargo which included cacao beans, copper and flint axes, copper bells, pottery, and colorful cotton garments. He took one prisoner and what he wanted from the cargo and let the canoe continue. This was the first contact of the Spanish with the civilizations of Central America.
The Treaty of Tordesillas was an attempt to solve the disputes with the Portuguese colonizers. It split the mostly unknown New World into two spheres of influence; however, when it was fully charted almost all the land fell in the Spanish sphere.

It was 1517 before another expedition from Cuba visited Central America landing on the coast of the Yucatán in search of slaves. This was followed by a phase of conquest: The Spaniards (just having finished a war against the Muslims in the Iberian peninsula) replaced the Amerindian local oligarchies and imposed a new religion: Christianity. (See also: Conquistador, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, Hernán Cortés, Francisco Pizarro, Bartolomé de las Casas, Spanish Conquest of Yucatan)

Charles II of Spain

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Charles II of Spain (1661-1700) was king of Spain, Naples, and Sicily, reigning 1665-1700. He was the son of his predecessor Philip IV of Spain and of Mariana of Austria. He was the last of the Spanish Habsburg dynasty, physically disabled and mentally retarded. His mother was his regent during much of his reign. Though exiled by the king’s illegitimate brother John of Austria, she returned to the regency after his death.

During his reign Spain continued its decline that had begun under his increasingly incompetent Habsburg ancestors. However, a peace treaty with Portugal in 1668 ceded Ceuta to Spain. Charles married Marie Louise (1662-1689), daughter of Philippe I of Orleans. He produced no heir and named Philip Bourbon of Anjou as his successor, provoking the War of the Spanish Succession.

Battle of Manila Bay

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The Battle of Manila Bay took place on May 1, 1898 during the Spanish-American War. The American Pacific Squadron under Commodore George Dewey engaged the Spanish Pacific Squadron under Admiral Patricio Montojo and destroyed the Spanish squadron. The engagement took place in Manila Bay, the Philippines, and was the first major engagement of the Spanish-American War. Montojo, who had been dispatched rapidly to the Philippines, was equipped with a variety of obsolete vessels.

Efforts to fortify his position amounted to nothing when the incredibly corrupt Spanish colonial bureaucracy sent explosives meant for mines to friendly construction companies, guns were stripped from fortresses and left laying on the beach for weeks, and reinforcements promised from Madrid resulted in only two poorly armored Scout Cruisers. Montojo compounded his difficulties by retreating from the range of Spanish fortress guns - guns that might have evened the odds - and chose to anchor in a relatively shallow anchorage.

His intent seems to have been to preserve the families of the Spanish sailors in Manila from bombardment, and to allow survivors of his fleet to swim to safety. On May 1, George Dewey aboard USS Olympia and leading a small squadron of warships entered Manila Bay. With the now famous “You may fire when ready, Gridley..” Olympia’s captain was instructed to begin the barrage that resulted in the destruction of Spain’s fleet. Most of the Spanish ships were either destroyed or surrendered.

The Spanish fleet fought back with great ferocity, but many crews were caught unaware - painting their vessels, at Mass, or doing other decidedly non-gunnery related tasks. The results were decisive. A Spanish attempt to attack Dewey with Camara’s Flying Relief Column came to naught, and the naval war in the Philippines devolved into a series of torpedo boat hit-and-run attacks for the rest of the campaign.

Spanish-American War

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Background

For many centuries Spain’s position as a world power had been slipping away. By the late nineteenth century the nation was left only a few scattered possessions in the Pacific, Africa, and the West Indies. Much of the empire had gained its independence and a number of the areas still under Spanish control were clamoring to do so. Guerrilla forces were operating in the Philippines, and had, for decades, been present in Cuba. The Spanish government did not have the financial or the manpower resources to deal with these revolts and thus turned to expedients of building camps to separate the rebels from their rural base of support.

The Spaniards also carried out many executions of suspected rebels and harshly treated villages and individuals thought to be supporting them. By the end of the 1890s the rebels had mostly been defeated and Cuba was returning to a relative peace. In the long run, however, Spain’s position was completely untenable. These events in Cuba coincided in the 1890s with a struggle for readership between the American newspaper chains of Hearst and Pulitzer. One of the most popular features were tales of great atrocities (some based on fact, some not) which the ‘cruel Spanish masters’ were inflicting on the ‘hapless native Cubans’ (see: Black Legend). Cuban. Sections of the American people began pushing for intervention.

There were other pressures pushing towards war. The US navy had recently grown considerably, but it was still untested. The Navy had drawn up plans for attacking the Spanish in the Philippines over a year before hostilities broke out. The end of western expansion and of large-scale conflict with the First Nations also left the army with little to do, and army leadership hoped that some new task would come. From an early date many in the US had felt that Cuba was rightly theirs. The theory of manifest destiny made the island just off the coast of Florida seem very attractive. Much of the island’s economy was already in American hands, and most of its trade, much of which was black market, was with the US. Some business leaders pushed for conflict as well.

In the words of Senator Thurston of Nebraska: “War with Spain would increase the business and earnings of every American railroad, it would increase the output of every American factory, it would stimulate every branch of industry and domestic commerce.” In Spain the government was not entirely averse to war. The US was an unproven power. The Spanish navy, however decrepit, had a glorious history and it was thought it could be a match for the US. There was also a widely held notion among Spain’s aristocratic leaders that the United States’ ethnically mixed army and navy could never survive under severe pressure.

Spanish-American War

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The Start of the War

On February 15, 1898 the American battleship USS Maine in Havana harbor suffered an explosion and quickly sunk with a loss of 260 men. Evidence as to the cause of the explosion was inconclusive and contradictory, but the American press, led by the two New York papers, proclaimed that this was certainly a despicable act of sabotage by the Spaniards. The press aroused the public to demand war, with the slogan “Remember the Maine! To hell with Spain!".

(Expert opinion is still divided; most now consider an accidental explosion of coal fuel to be as likely a reason as any for the ship’s fate. Modern analytical tools, especially computer simulations, have all but confirmed this. Few still think a mine could have been the cause. Some believe it could well have been sabotage, but by Cuban revolutionaries who hoped to draw the US into the war. Almost all agree the Spaniards would have no interest in provoking a war.)

US President William McKinley was not inclined towards war, and had long held out against intervention, but the Maine explosion so forcefully shaped public opinion that he had to agree. Spanish minister Práxedes Mateo Sagasta did much to try to prevent this, including withdrawing the officials in Cuba against whom complaints had been made, and offering the Cubans autonomy. This was well short of full independence for Cuba, however and would do little to change the status quo.

Thus On April 11 McKinley went before Congress to ask for authority to send American troops to Cuba for the purpose of ending the civil war there. On April 19 Congress passed joint resolutions proclaiming Cuba “free and independent", demanded Spanish withdrawal, and authorized the President to use such military force as he thought necessary. In response Spain broke off diplomatic relations with the United States. On April 25 US Congress declared that a state of war between the United States and Spain had existed since April 21st (Congress later passed a resolution backdating the declaration of war to April 20th).

Maria Christina of Bourbon

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Maria Christina, Princess of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Queen of Spain (Maria Cristina Ferdinanda of the Two Sicilies branch of the Royal House of Bourbon) (April 27, 1806 to August 22, 1878) was Queen Consort of Spain (1829 to 1833) and Queen Regent of Spain (1833 to 1840). Maria Christina was the fourth wife of King Ferdinand VII of Spain (Fernando in Spanish)(1783-1833, king 1813-1833) and mother of and regent for Queen Isabella II of Spain (Isabel in Spanish)(1830-1904, queen 1833-1868). Originally titled Her Royal Highness, Princess Maria Christina of Naples and Sicily, on December 18, 1816 her title was changed to Princess of Bourbon-Two Sicilies when her father changed the name of his kingdom. Her Spanish name was Maria Cristina de Borbón-Dos Sicilias.

Born in Palermo, Sicily, Italy on April 27, 1806, she was the daughter of King Francis I (In Italian, Francesco I) of the Two Sicilies by his second wife, Infanta Doña Maria Isabel of Spain. She married King Ferdinand VII of Spain on December 11, 1829 in Madrid. Ferdinand was her uncle by birth and by marriage. Like her mother Maria Isabel, Ferdinand was a child of King Charles IV of Spain (Carlos IV in Spanish) and his wife, Princess Maria Luisa of Bourbon-Parma. Further, Ferdinand’s first wife Princess Maria Antonietta of Naples and Sicily (1784-1806) was the sister of Maria Christina’s father, King Francis. After Maria Antonietta’s death, Ferdinand married Infanta Doña Isabel of Portugal (1787-1819).

When Isabel died he married Princess Josepha of Saxony (1803-1829). Of these three marriages, only that to Isabel resulted in a live child. Queen Isabel’s daugther, the Infanta Doña María Luísa Isabel, died on January 9, 1818 at the age of four months. With Queen Josepha’s death on May 27, 1829, Ferdinand’s was desperation to father an heir for his crown resulted in his fourth marriage just seven months later. The new queen, Maria Christina, rapidly gave birth to two daughters, Isabella (the future Queen Isabella and the Infanta Doña María Luísa Fernanda (1832-1897). When Ferdinand died on September 29, 1833, Maria Christina became regent for their daughter Isabella. Isabella’s claim to the thrown was disputed by her uncle, the Infante Don Carlos María Isidro Benito, Count de Molina, who claimed that Ferdinand had unlawfully changed the succession law to permit females to inherit the crown. Some supporters of Carlos went so far as to claim that Ferdinand had actually bequeathed the crown to his brother but that Maria Christina had suppressed that fact. It was further alleged that the Queen had signed her dead husband’s name to a decree recognizing Isabella as heir.

Carlos’ attempt to seize power resulted in the Carlist Wars. Despite considerable support for Carlos from the Roman Catholic Church and conservative elements in Spain, Maria Christina successfully retained the throne for her daughter. The Carlist Wars grew from a dispute about the succession into a dispute over the future of Spain. The supporters of Maria Christina and her daughter favored a liberal constitution and progressive social policies. In contrast, Carlos’ supporters (called Carlists) favored a return to traditional society and an absolute monarchy. Ultimately, the army’s loyalty to Isabella II proved the decisive issue in the war.

On December 28, 1833, shortly after the death of Ferdinand VII, Maria Christina secretly married an ex-sergeant from the royal guard, Don Fernando Muñoz y Sanchez (1808 to 1873). Muñoz was given the title Duke of Riansares. Maria Christina and Muñoz had several children together while trying to keep their marriage a secret. Eventually, news of Maria Christina’s marriage to low-ranking soldier became public. That news made Maria Christina deeply unpopular. The Regent’s position was undermined by news of her remarriage and concerns that Maria Christina was not actually supportive her liberal ministers and their policies. Eventually, the army, which was the backbone of Isabella II’s support, and the liberal leadership in the Cortes combined to demand that Maria Christina stand aside from the regency. In 1840, the army commander, General Baldomero Esparto, replaced her as regent.

The new government required the ex-regent to leave Spain. After an unsuccessful attempt to return to power, Maria Christina retired permanently to exile in France after 1844. France remained her primary residence for the remainder of her life. A Revolution forced Isabella II from her throne on September 30, 1868 and she joined her mother in exile in France. Isabella II renounced the throne in favor of her son, Alfonso XII on June 25th, 1870. Supporters of Alfonso XII made it clear that neither his mother nor grandmother could play an active role in the effort to restore the monarchy. When Alfonso XII regained the Spanish crown on December 29th, 1874, Maria Christina and Isabella II were permitted to return to Spain as visitors but denied permission to live there permanently. Neither was allowed to exercise influence in the Spanish government.

The marriage to Muñoz and the events of Maria Christina’s turbulent regency drove a permanent wedge between her and her Spanish Royal offspring. Neither Isabella II nor Alphonso XII had much interest in a relationship with the former Queen Regent. Maria Christina died in Le Havre, France on August 22nd, 1878. As the widow of Ferdinand VII and the mother of Isabella II, Maria Christina was buried in the royal crypt of the El Escorial monastery (El Real Monasterio de San Lorenzo del Escorial, The Royal Moneastery of Saint Lawrence of Escorial). Burial in the royal crypt is a privilege reserved to Spanish sovereigns and such of their spouses who were actually the parents of future sovereigns. Ferdinand VII’s first three wives had to be buried in less exalted parts of the Escorial or other churches.

Gran Canaria

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Gran Canaria is one of the Canary Islands, an archipelago located in the Atlantic Ocean 210 km from the northwest coast of Africa and belonging to Spain. The island is of volcanic origin. The island was populated by the Guanches from 3000 BC, who called it Tamarán, but was claimed by Spain in the 15th century. Gran Canaria’s surface is 1560 km2 and its maximum altitude is 1949 meters (Pozo de las nieves). It has a round shape, having a diameter of just about 50 Km. It is divided into twenty-one municipalities:

The island has a population of 755,500 with 365,000 of those in the capital city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is also the capital of the province of Las Palmas, and also one of the co-capitals of the autonomous community of the Canary Islands. The market in the fishing city of Arguineguin (in the municipality of Mogán) is the largest on the island, and is on Tuesdays.

The number of annual visitors are 2.2 million (2,200,000). This island is called a “Miniature Continent” due to the different climates and variety of landscapes found. Most tourists stay in the south of the island, which is sunnier and has less rain than the north. There is a large bird park, Palmitos Park, in the south of the island.

Tomás de Zumalacárregui

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Tomás de Zumalacárregui (1788-1835), Spanish Carlist general, was born at Ormaiztegi in Gipuzkoa on the 29 December 1788. His father, Francisco Antonio Zumalacárregui, was a lawyer who possessed some property, and the son was articled to a solicitor. When the French invasion of Spain took place in 1808 he enlisted at Zaragoza. He served in the first siege, at the battle of Tudela, and during the second siege until he was taken prisoner in a sortie. He succeeded in escaping and in reaching his family in Navarre. For a short time he served with Caspar de Jauregui, known as “The Shepherd” (El Pastor), one of the minor guerrillero leaders.

But Zumalacarregui, who was noted for his grave and silent disposition and his strong religious principles, disliked the disorderly life of the guerrillas, and when regular forces were organized in the north he entered the 1st battalion of Guipuzcoa as an officer. During the remainder of the war he served in the regular army. In 1812 he was sent with despatches to the Regency at Cadiz, and received his commission as captain. In that rank he was present at the battle of San Marcial foist of August 1813. After the restoration of Ferdinand VII he continued in the army, and is said to have made a careful study of the theory of war. Zumalacarregui had no sympathy with the liberal principles which were spreading in Spain, and became noted as what was called a Servil or strong Royalist.

He attracted no attention at headquarters, and was still a captain when the Revolution of 1820 broke out. His brother officers, whose leanings were liberal, denounced him to the revolutionary government, and asked that he might be removed. The recommendation was not acted on, but Zumalacárregui knew of it, and laid up the offence in his mind. Finding that he was suspected (probably with truth) of an intention to bring the soldiers over to the royalist side, he escaped to France. In 1823 he returned as an officer in one of the royalist regiments which had been organized on French soil by the consent of the government. He was now known as a thoroughly trustworthy servant of the despotic royalty, but he was too proud to be a courtier. For some years he was employed in bringing regiments which the government distrusted to order.

He became lieutenant-colonel in 1825 and colonel in 1829. In 1832 he was named military governor of Ferrol. Before Ferdinand VII died in 1833, Zumalacárregui was marked out as a natural supporter of the absolutist party which favoured the king’s brother, Don Carlos. The proclamation of the king’s daughter Isabella as heiress was almost the occasion of an armed conflict between him and the naval authorities at Ferrol, who were partisans of the constitutional cause. He was put on half pay by the new authorities and ordered to live under police observation at Pamplona. When the Carlist rising began on the death of Ferdinand VII, he is said to have held back because he knew that the first leaders would be politicians and talkers. He did not take the field till the Carlist cause appeared to be at a very low ebb, and until he had received a commission from Don Carlos as commander-in-chief in Navarre.

The whole force under his orders when he escaped from Pamplona on the night of the 29th of October 1833, and took the command next day in the Val de Araquil, was a few hundred ill-armed and dispirited guerrilleros. In a few months Zumalacarregui had organized the Carlist forces into a regular army. The difficulty he found in obtaining supplies was very great, for the coast towns ?and notably Bilbao ? were constitutional in politics. It was mainly by captures from the government troops that he equipped his forces. He gradually obtained full possession of Navarre and the Basque provinces, outside of the fortresses, which he had not the means to besiege.

Whether as a guerrillero leader, or as a general conducting regular war in the mountains, he proved unconquerable. By July 1834 he had made it safe for Don Carlos to join his headquarters. The pretender was, however, a narrow-minded, bigoted man, who regarded Zumalacárregui with suspicion, and was afraid of his immense personal influence with the soldiers. Zumalacárregui had therefore to drag behind him the whole weight of the distrust and intrigues of the court. Yet by the beginning of June 1835 he had made the Carlist cause triumphant to the north of the Ebro, and had formed an army of more than 30,000 men, of much better quality than the constitutional forces.

If Zumalacárregui had been allowed to follow his own plans, which were to concentrate his forces and march on Madrid, he might well have put Don Carlos in possession of the capital. But the court was eager to obtain command of a seaport, and Zumalacárregui was ordered to besiege Bilbao. He obeyed reluctantly, and on the 14th of June 1835 was wounded by a musket bullet in the calf of the leg. The wound was trifling and would probably have been cured with ease if he had been allowed to employ an English doctor whom he trusted. But Don Carlos insisted on sending his own physicians, and in their hands the general died on 24 June 1835 ? not without suspicion of poison.

Zumalacarregui was a fine type of the old royalist and religious principles of his people. The ferocity with which he conducted the war was forced on him by the government generals, who refused quarter. An engaging account of Zumalacárregui will be found in “The Most Striking Events of a Twelvemonth Campaign with Zumalacarregui in Navarre and the Basque Provinces", by C. F. Henningsen (London, 1836). A chap-book called “Vida política y militar de Don Tomás Zumalacárregui", which gives the facts of his life with fair accuracy, is still very popular in Spain.

Some modern Basque nationalists believe that Zumalacárregui (or Zumalakarregi) was a precursor of their movement and that his opinions were more of Basque independence than Don Carlos’s pretensions.

Francisco Franco

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Francisco Paulino Hermenegildo Teódulo Franco y Bahamonde Salgado Pardo (December 4, 1892 - November 20, 1975), abbreviated Francisco Franco Bahamonde, and better known as Generalísimo Francisco Franco, was head of state of Spain from 1939 until his death in 1975. Known as “el Caudillo” ("the leader"), he presided over the authoritarian government of the Spanish State, which had overthrown the Second Spanish Republic.

General Franco Born in El Ferrol (officially known as El Ferrol del Caudillo from 1938 to 1982), Spain, Franco graduated from the military academy in Toledo. His brother Ramón Franco was a pioneer airman (see Plus Ultra). Due to his performance in the Morocco war, at the age of 23 King Alfonso XIII appointed him the youngest major in the Spanish army. He was made a general in 1926, the youngest in a European army, and from 1933 onward he was Commander in Chief of the Spanish Army. Note that he was not a four-star general, as in Spanish tradition only the King of Spain is a four-star “captain general.”

Suspected of plotting against the leftist Government of the Second Spanish Republic, he was sent to the Canary Islands. Fulfilling the suspicions, on July 17, 1936, he flew to Spanish Morocco where he led the Spanish troops in Northern Africa in an insurgency against the Republic. Thus began the Spanish Civil War. During the war, on October 1, 1936, he was elected “Jefe del Estado” (Head of State) and “Generalísimo” of the Nationalist army, with rank of lieutenant general. He also managed to fuse the Falange ("phalanx,” a far-right Spanish political party) and the Carlist parties under his rule. His army was supported by troops from Nazi Germany (Legion Kondor) and Fascist Italy (Corpo Truppe Volontari). The war ended with his conquest of Madrid on March 28, 1939, and Franco continued to rule as dictator of Spain until his death in 1975.

Following the war, Franco was faced with an embittered and impoverished nation. Meanwhile, in Europe, World War II broke out, and although Adolf Hitler sought Spain’s participation during a personal interview in Hendaye, France (23 October 1940), Franco’s demands (Gibraltar, French North Africa, e.g.) proved unacceptable, and Spain remained officially neutral during the war. It is the subject of some debate whether Franco’s behavior was a diplomatic way of refusing or a miscalculation. Nonetheless, Franco sent troops (División Azul, or “Blue Division") to fight on the Eastern Front against the Soviet Union. They were “volunteers"; some were crusaders against Communism and some went just for the pay or to clear former liaisons with the Republic. Franco also offered facilities to German ships.

With the end of World War II, Franco and Spain were forced to suffer the economic consequences of the isolation imposed on it by nations such as Great Britain and the United States. This situation ended in part when, due to Spain’s strategic location in light of Cold War tensions, the United States entered into a trade and military alliance with Spain. This historic alliance commenced with U.S. President Eisenhower’s visit in 1953. This launched the so-called “Spanish Miracle,” which developed Spain from autarchy into capitalism. Spain was admited in the United Nations in 1955. In spite of this opening, Franco almost never left Spain once in power.

In 1947 Franco proclaimed Spain a monarchy, but ironically did not designate a monarch. In 1969 he designated Prince Juan Carlos de Borbón with the new title of Prince of Spain as his successor. This came as a surprise for the Carlist pretender to the throne, as well as for Juan Carlos’s father, Don Juan, the Count of Barcelona, who technically had a superior right to the throne. By 1973 Franco had given up the function of Prime Minister (Presidente del Gobierno), remaining only as head of the country and as commander in chief of the military forces.

Lacking any strong ideology, Franco initially sought support from National Syndicalism (nacionalsindicalismo) and the Catholic Church (nacionalcatolicismo). His coalition ruling single party, the Movimiento Nacional, was so heterogeneous as to barely qualify as a party at all, and certainly not an ideological monolith like the Fascio di Combattimento (Fascist Party) and the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (Nazi Party). His Spanish State was chiefly a conservative - even traditionalist - rightist regime, with emphasis on order and stability, rather than a definite political vision.

Although a monarchist, Franco had no particular desire for a king. As such, he left the throne vacant, with himself as de facto un-crowned king. He wore the uniform of a captain general (a rank traditionally reserved for the King), resided in the Pardo Palace, and appropriated the kingly privilege of walking beneath a canopy. Indeed, although his formal titles were Jefe del Estado (Chief of State) and Generalísimo de los Ejércitos Españoles (Highest General of the Spanish Armed Forces), his personal title was por la gracia de Dios, Caudillo de España y de la Cruzada, or “by the grace of God, Caudillo of Spain and of the Crusade” ("by the grace of God” is a technical, legal phrase which indicates sovereign dignity, and is only used by monarchs).

During his rule non-Government trade unions and all political opponents (right across the spectrum, from communist and anarchist organizations to liberal democrats and nationalists, especially Basque and Catalan nationalists), were suppressed. In every town there was a constant presence of Guardia Civil, a para-militiary police force, who patrolled in pairs with submachine guns, and functioned as his chief means of control. A Freemasonry conspiracy was a constant obsession for him. In popular imagination, he is often remembered as in the black and white images of No-Do newsreels, inaugurating a reservoir, or catching enormous fishes from the Azor yacht during his holidays.

He died on 20 November, 1975 on the same date as José Antonio Primo de Rivera, founder of the Falange. It is suspected that the doctors were ordered to keep him barely alive by artificial means until that symbolic date. Franco is buried at Santa Cruz del Valle de los Caídos, a site he had built as the tomb of el Ausente. Since his death, almost all the placenames named after him (most Spanish towns had a calle del Generalísimo) have been changed.

The dictatorship of Franco

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Spain remained neutral in World Wars I and II, but suffered through a devastating Civil War (1936-39). During Franco’s rule, Spain remained largely economically and culturally isolated from the outside world, but slowly began to catch up economically with its European neighbors.
Under Franco, Spain actively sought the return of Gibraltar by the UK, and gained some support for its cause at the United Nations.

During the 1960s, Spain began imposing restrictions on Gibraltar, culminating in the closure of the border in 1969. It was not fully reopened until 1985. Spain also relinquished its colonies in Africa, with Spanish rule in Morocco ending in 1956. Spanish Guinea was granted independence as Equatorial Guinea in 1968, while the Moroccan enclave of Ifni had been ceded to Morocco in 1969. The latter years of Franco’s rule saw some economic and political liberalisation, the so called Spanish Miracle, including the birth of a tourism industry.

Francisco Franco ruled until his death on November 20th 1975 when control was given to King Juan Carlos. In the last few months before Franco’s death, the Spanish state went into a paralysis. This was capitalized upon by King Hassan of Morocco, who ordered the ‘Green March’ into Western Sahara, Spain’s last colonial possession.

Second Spanish Republic

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The Second Spanish Republic (1931–1939) was the second period in Spanish history in which the election of both the positions of Head of State and Head of government were in the hands of the people. (The First Spanish Republic was from 1873–1874.) The Second Republic began on April 14, 1931 after the abdication of King Alfonso XIII, following local election in which Republican candidates won the urban vote. The first president was Niceto Alcalá Zamora (1931–1936).

The Basques and the Catalans claimed independence but didn’t immediately get the autonomy they wanted. The Straperlo scandal undermined the confidence in centrist republican parties and led to polarization. The second president was Manuel Azaña (1936–1939). The Republic suffered a terrible crisis when General Franco attempted a coup on July 18, 1936, which was the start of the Spanish Civil War.

The Republic began to fall out of favor with some nations but received aid from others, such as Stalin’s USSR. Azaña’s government lasted until February, 1939. The Republic fell when General Franco and his troops took Madrid on April 1, 1939. A dictatorship (Franquismo) was established which lasted until Franco’s death in 1975.

Alfonso XII

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Alfonso XII of Spain (November 28, 1857 - November 25, 1885), was king of Spain, reigning from 1875 to 1885, after a coup d’etat restored the monarchy and ended the ephemeral First Spanish Republic. He was son of Isabella II of Spain. His biological paternity is uncertain. though his legal paternity is not: his mother was married to her homosexual cousin Maria Fernando Francisco de Assisi, eldest son of the duke of Cadiz, at the time of Alfonso’s conception and birth. Alfonso’s biological father is said to have been Enrique Puig y Moltó, a captain of the guard.

When Queen Isabella and her husband were forced to leave Spain by the revolution of 1868, Alfonso accompanied them to Paris, and from there he was sent to the Theresianum at Vienna to continue his studies. On June 25, 1870 he was recalled to Paris, where his mother abdicated in his favour, in the presence of a number of Spanish nobles who had followed the fortunes of the exiled queen. He assumed the title of Alfonso XII; for although no king of united Spain had previously borne the name, the Spanish monarchy was regarded as continuous with the more ancient monarchy, represented by the eleven kings of León and Castile already referred to (see Alfonso).

Shortly afterwards he proceeded to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the UK, to continue his military studies, and while there he issued, on the December 1, 1874, in reply to a birthday greeting from his followers, a manifesto proclaiming himself the sole representative of the Spanish monarchy. At the end of the year, when Marshal Serrano left Madrid to take command of the northern army, General Martinez Campos, who had long been working more or less openly for the king, carried off some battalions of the central army to Sagunto, rallied to his own flag the troops sent against him, and entered Valencia in the king’s name.

Thereupon the president of the council resigned, and the power was transferred to the king’s plenipotentiary and adviser, Canovas del Castillo. In the course of a few days the king arrived at Madrid, passing through Barcelona and Valencia, and was received everywhere with acclamation (1875). In 1876 a vigorous campaign against the Carlists, in which the young king took part, resulted in the defeat of Don Carlos and his abandonment of the struggle. On January 23, 1878 Alphonso married his cousin, Princess Maria de las Mercedes, daughter of the duc de Montpensier, but she died within six months of her marriage. Towards the end of the same year a young workman of Tarragona, Oliva Marcousi, fired at the king in Madrid.

On November 29, 1879 he married a princess of Austria, Maria Christina, daughter of the Archduke Charles Ferdinand. During the honeymoon a pastrycook named Otero fired at the young sovereigns as they were driving in Madrid. The children of this marriage were Maria de las Mercedes, (September 11, 1880 - October 17, 1904), married on February 14, 1901 to Prince Carlos of Bourbon, and titular queen from the death of her father until the posthumous birth of her brother; Maria Teresa, (November 12, 1882 - September 23, 1912), married to Prince Ferdinand of Bavaria on January 12, 1906; and Alfonso.

In 1881 the king refused to sanction the law by which the ministers were to remain in office for a fixed term of eighteen months, and upon the consequent resignation of Canovas del Castillo, he summoned Sagasta, the Liberal leader, to form a cabinet. Alfonso died of phthisis.

Don Manuel Ruiz Zorilla

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Born at Burgo de Osma in 1834. He was educated at Valladolid, and studied law at Madrid University, where he leaned towards Radicalism in politics. In 1856 he was elected deputy, and soon attracted notice among the most advanced Progressists and Democrats. He took part in the revolutionary propaganda that led to the military movement in Madrid on June 22, 1866. He had to take refuge in France for two years, like his fellow-conspirators, and only returned to Spain when the revolution of 1868 took place.

He was one of the members of the first cabinet after the revolution, and in 1869, under the regency of Marshal Serrano, he became minister of grace and justice. In 1870 he was elected president of the House of Deputies, and seconded Prim in offering the throne to Amadeus of Savoy. He went to Italy as president of the commission, carrying to the prince at Florence the official news of his election. On the arrival of Amadeus in Spain, Ruiz Zorilla became minister of public works for a short time before resigning in protest against Serrano and Topete entering the councils of the new king. Six months later, in 1871, he was invited by Amadeus to form a cabinet, and he continued to be the principal councillor of the king until February 1873, when the monarch abdicated.

After the departure of Amadeus, Ruiz Zorilla advocated the establishment of a republic. Notwithstanding this, he was not called upon either by the Federal Republicans to help them during the year 1873, or by Marshal Serrano during 1874 to join Martos and Sagasta in his cabinet. Immediately after the restoration of Alphonso XII, early in 1875, Ruiz Zorilla went to France. He was for nearly eighteen years the soul of the republican conspiracies, the prompter of revolutionary propaganda, the chief inspirer of intrigues concerted by discontented military men of all ranks.

He gave so much trouble to the Madrid governments that they organized a watch over him with the assistance of the French government and police, especially when it was discovered that the two military movements of August 1883 and September 1886 had been prepared and assisted by him. During the last two years of his life Ruiz Zorilla became less active; failing health and the loss of his wife had decreased his energies, and the Madrid government allowed him to return to Spain some months before he died at Burgos, of heart disease.

Alfonso XIII

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Alfonso XIII of Spain (May 17, 1886 - February 28, 1941), King of Spain, posthumous son of Alfonso XII of Spain, was proclaimed King at his birth. He reigned from 1886-1931. His mother, Queen Maria Christina, was appointed regent during his minority. In 1902, on attaining his 16th year, the King assumed control of the government.

On May 31, 1906 he married Scottish-born Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg (1887-1969), a niece of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom and a granddaughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. A Serene Highness by birth, Ena, as she was known, was raised to Royal Highness status a month before her wedding to prevent the union from being viewed as unequal, or morganatic. As Alfonso XIII and Queen Ena were returning from the wedding they narrowly escaped assassination in a bomb explosion, which killed and injured many bystanders and members of the royal procession.

The royal couple had seven children: Alfonso Pio Cristino Eduardo (1907-1938, a hemophiliac, he renounced his rights to the throne in 1936 to marry a commoner and became Count of Covadonga); Jaime Luitpold Isabelino Enrique (1908-1975, a deaf-mute as the result of a childhood operation, he renounced his rights to the throne in 1933 and became Duke of Segovia, and later Duke of Madrid, and who, as a legitimist pretender to the French throne from 1941 to 1975, was known as the Duke of Anjou); Beatrice Isabel Federica Alfonsa Eugenia (1909-2002); a stillborn son (1910); Maria Christina Teresa Alejandra (1911-1996); Juan Carlos Teresa Silvestre Alfonso (1913-93, named heir to the throne and Count of Barcelona), and Gonzalo Manuel Maria Bernardo (1914-34, a hemophiliac).

The king also had three illegitimate children, Roger Leveque de Vilmorin (1905-1980), by French aristocrat Mélanie de Gaufridy de Dortan; Leandro Alfonso Ruiz Moragas (born in 1929), officially recognized by Spanish courts on May 21, 2003 as Leandro Alfonso de Borbón Ruiz, son of the King; and his sister Ana María Teresa Ruiz Moragas. The mother of both siblings was the Spanish actress Carmen Ruiz Moragas.

During his reign Spain lost its last colonies in Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines, lost several wars in north Africa, and endured the dictatorship of Miguel Primo de Rivera. When the 2nd Spanish republic was proclaimed in 1931, he abandoned the country with no formal abdication. He died in exile in Rome, after leaving his successory rights to his fourth, but second surviving, son Juan de Borbon, Count of Barcelona, the father of the later King Juan Carlos. The count of Barcelona renounced his rights to the throne in 1977, in favor of his son, Juan Carlos.

Spanish American War

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For many centuries Spain’s position as a world power had been slipping away. By the late nineteenth century the nation was left only a few scattered possessions in the Pacific, Africa, and the West Indies. Much of the empire had gained its independence and a number of the areas still under Spanish control were clamoring to do so. Guerrilla forces were operating in the Philippines, and had, for decades, been present in Cuba.

The Spanish government did not have the financial or the manpower resources to deal with these revolts and thus turned to expedients of building camps to separate the rebels from their rural base of support. The Spaniards also carried out many executions of suspected rebels and harshly treated villages and individuals thought to be supporting them. By the end of the 1890s the rebels had mostly been defeated and Cuba was returning to a relative peace. In the long run, however, Spain’s position was completely untenable.

These events in Cuba coincided in the 1890s with a struggle for readership between the American newspaper chains of Hearst and Pulitzer. One of the most popular features were tales of great atrocities (some based on fact, some not) which the ‘cruel Spanish masters’ were inflicting on the ‘hapless native Cubans’ (see: Black Legend). Cuban. Sections of the American people began pushing for intervention.

There were other pressures pushing towards war. The US navy had recently grown considerably, but it was still untested. The Navy had drawn up plans for attacking the Spanish in the Philippines over a year before hostilities broke out. The end of western expansion and of large-scale conflict with the First Nations also left the army with little to do, and army leadership hoped that some new task would come. From an early date many in the US had felt that Cuba was rightly theirs. The theory of manifest destiny made the island just off the coast of Florida seem very attractive. Much of the island’s economy was already in American hands, and most of its trade, much of which was black market, was with the US.

Some business leaders pushed for conflict as well. In the words of Senator Thurston of Nebraska: “War with Spain would increase the business and earnings of every American railroad, it would increase the output of every American factory, it would stimulate every branch of industry and domestic commerce.” In Spain the government was not entirely averse to war. The US was an unproven power. The Spanish navy, however decrepit, had a glorious history and it was thought it could be a match for the US. There was also a widely held notion among Spain’s aristocratic leaders that the United States’ ethnically mixed army and navy could never survive under severe pressure.

Isabella II

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Isabella II (1830-1904), queen of Spain, was born in Madrid on October 10 1830. She was the eldest daughter of Ferdinand VII, king of Spain, and of his fourth wife, Maria Christina, a Neapolitan Bourbon. Maria became queen-regent on September 29, 1833, when her daughter Isabella, at the age of three years, was proclaimed queen on the death of the king.

Queen Isabella succeeded to the throne because Ferdinand VII induced the Cortes to assist him in setting aside the Salic law, which the Bourbons had introduced in the beginning of the 18th century, and to re-establish the older succession law of Spain. The brother of Ferdinand, Don Carlos, the first pretender, fought seven years, during the minority of Isabella, to dispute her title. Supporters of Don Carlos and his descendants were known as Carlists and the dispute over the succession was the subject of a number of Carlist Wars in the 19th century.

Isabella’s rights were only maintained through the support of the army, the Cortes and the Liberals and Progressists, who at the same time established constitutional and parliamentary government, dissolved the religious orders, confiscated the property of the orders including the Jesuits, and attempted to restore order in finances. After the Carlist war the queen-regent, Christina, resigned to make way for Espartero, the most successful and most popular general of the Isabelline armies, who only remained regent two years.

He was turned out in 1843 by a military and political pronunciamiento, led by Generals O’Donnell and Narvaez, who formed a cabinet, presided over by Joaquin Maria Lopez, and this government induced the Cortes to declare Isabella of age at thirteen. Three years later the Moderado party or Castilian Conservatives made their queen marry, at sixteen, her cousin, Prince Maria Fernando Francisco de Asis de Bourbon (1822-1902), on the same day (October 10, 1846) her younger sister married the duke of Montpensier.

These marriages suited the views of France and Louis Philippe, who nearly quarrelled in consequence with Great Britain; but both matches were anything but happy. In fact, persistent rumor had it that few if any of the Spanish queen’s children were conceived by her king-consort, a homosexual. The heir to the throne, who would eventually become Alfonso XII, for instance, was widely believed to be Isabella’s child by a captain of the guard, Enrique Puig y Moltó.

Queen Isabella reigned from 1843 to 1868, and that period was one long succession of palace intrigues, back-stairs and antechamber influences, barrack conspiracies, military pronunciamientos to further the ends of the political parties–Moderados who ruled from 1846 to 1854, Progressists from 1854 to 1856 Únion Liberal from 1856 to 1863; Moderados and Únion Liberals quickly succeeding each other and keeping out the Progressists so steadily that the seeds were sown which budded into the revolution of 1868.

Queen Isabella II often interfered in politics in a wayward, unscrupulous manner that made her very unpopular. She showed most favour to her reactionary generals and statesmen, to the Church and religious orders, and was constantly the tool of corrupt and profligate courtiers and favourites who gave her court a bad name. She went into exile at the end of September 1868, after her Moderado generals had made a slight show of resistance that was crushed a the battle of Alcolea by Marshals Serrano and Prim. Other events of Queen Isabella’s reign were a war against Morocco, which ended in an advantageous treaty for Spain and some Morroccan cession of territory; some progress in public works, especially railways and a slight improvement in commerce and finance.

Isabella was induced to abdicate in Paris on June 25, 1870 in favour of her son, Alfonso XII, and the cause of the restoration was thus much furthered. She had separated from her husband in the previous March. She continued to live in France after the restoration in 1874. On the occasion of one of her visits to Madrid during Alfonso XII’s reign she began to intrigue with the politicians of the capital, and was peremptorily requested to go abroad again. She died on April 10 1904.

Carlist Wars

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The Carlist Wars in Spain were the last major European civil wars in which pretenders fought to establish their claim to a throne. Several times during the period from 1833 to 1876 the Carlists – followers of Don Carlos and his descendants - rallied to the cry of “God, Country, and King” and fought for the cause of Spanish tradition against the liberalism, and later the republicanism, of the Spanish governments of the day.

When Ferdinand VII of Spain died in 1833, his fourth wife Maria Cristina became Queen regent on behalf of their infant daughter Isabella II. This splintered the country into two factions known as the Cristinos (or Isabelinos) and the Carlists. The Cristinos were the supporters of the Queen Regent and her government. The Carlists were the supporters of Carlos, a pretender to the throne and brother of the deceased Ferdinand VII. The First Carlist War lasted over 7 years and the fighting spanned most of the country at one time or another, although the main conflict centered around the Carlist homelands of the Basque Country and Aragon.

Queen Isabella II was overthrown by a conspiracy of liberal Generals, and left Spain in some disgrace. The generals replaced her with a Amadeo, the Duke of Aosta (and second son of King Victor Emmanuel of Italy), Then when the Spanish elections of 1872 resulted in a swing away from the Carlists, the Carlist pretender, Carlos VII, decided that only force of arms can win him the throne.

Ferdinand VII

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The eldest son of Charles IV, king of Spain, and of his wife Maria Louisa of Parma, he was born at the palace of San Ildefonso near Balsam in the Somosierra hills. The events with which he was connected were many, tragic and of the widest European interest. In his youth he occupied the painful position of an heir apparent who was carefully excluded from all share in government by the jealousy of his parents, and the prevalence of a royal favourite, Manuel de Godoy. National discontent with a feeble government produced a revolution in 1805 by which he passed to the throne by the forced abdication of his father.

Then he spent almost seven years at Chateau Valençay in the town of Valençay, France as the prisoner of Napoleon, and returned in 1814 to find that while Spain was fighting for independence in his name a new world had been born of foreign invasion and domestic revolution. He came back to assert the ancient doctrine that the sovereign authority resided in his person only. Acting on this principle he ruled frivolously, and with a wanton indulgence of whims.

In 1820 his misrule provoked a revolt, and he remained in the hands of insurgents till he was released by foreign intervention in 1823. When free, he revenged himself with a ferocity which disgusted his allies. In his last years he prepared a change in the order of succession established by his dynasty in Spain, which angered a large part of the nation, and made a civil war inevitable. We have to distinguish the part of Ferdinand VII in all these transactions, in which other and better men were concerned. It can confidently be said to have been uniformly base. He had perhaps no right to complain that he was kept aloof from all share in government while only heir apparent, for this was the traditional practice of his family.

But as heir to the throne he had a right to resent the degradation of the crown he was to inherit, and the power of a favourite who was his mother’s lover. If he had put himself at the head of a popular rising he would have been followed, and would have had a good excuse. His course was to enter on dim intrigues at the instigation of his first wife, Maria Antonietta of Naples. After her death in 1806 he was drawn into other intrigues by flatterers, and, in October 1807, was arrested for the conspiracy of the Escorial. The conspiracy aimed at securing the help of the emperor Napoleon. When detected, Ferdinand betrayed his associates, and grovelled to his parents.

When his father’s abdication was extorted by a popular riot at Aranjuez in March 1808, he ascended the throne - not to lead his people manfully, but to throw himself into the hands of Napoleon, in the fatuous hope that the emperor would support him. He was in his turn forced to make an abdication and imprisoned in France, while Spain, with the help of England, fought for its life. At Valancay, where he was sent as a prisoner of state, he sank contentedly into vulgar vice, and did not scruple to applaud the French victories over the people who were suffering unutterable misery in his cause.

Ferdinand VI

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Ferdinand VI, (September 23, 1713 - August 10, 1759), king of Spain from 1746 until his death, second son of Philip V, founder of the Spanish Bourbon dynasty (as opposed to the French Bourbons), by his first marriage with Maria Louisa of Savoy, was born at Madrid on September 23 1713.

His youth was depressed. His father’s second wife, Elizabeth Farnese, was a managing woman, who had no affection except for her own children, and who looked upon her stepson as an obstacle to their fortunes. The hypochondria of his father left Elizabeth mistress of the palace. Ferdinand was married in 1729 to Maria Magdalena Barbara, daughter of John V of Portugal. The very homely looks of his wife were thought by observers to cause the prince a visible shock when he was first presented to her. Yet he became deeply attached to his wife, and proved in fact nearly as uxorious as his father.

Ferdinand was by temperament melancholy, shy and distrustful of his own abilities. When complimented on his shooting, he replied, “It would be hard if there were not something I could do.” As king he followed a steady policy of neutrality between France and England, and refused to be tempted by the offers of either into declaring war on the other. In his life he was orderly and retiring, averse from taking decisions, though not incapable of acting firmly, as when he cut short the dangerous intrigues of his able minister Ensenada by dismissing and imprisoning him.

Shooting and music were his only pleasures, and he was the generous patron of the famous singer Farinelli, whose voice soothed his melancholy. The death of his wife Barbara, who had been devoted to him, and who carefully abstained from political intrigue, broke his heart. Between the date of her death in 1758 and his own on August 10 1759 he fell into a state of prostration in which he would not even dress, but wandered unshaven, unwashed and in a nightgown about his park. The memoirs of the count of Fernan Nuñez give a shocking picture of his death-bed.

A good account of the reign and character of Ferdinand VI will be found in vol. iv. of Coxe’s Memoirs of the Kings of Spain of the House of Bourbon (London, i8f 5). See also Vida de Carlos III, by the count of Fernan Nuñez, ed. Pd. Morel Fatio and Don A Paz y Melia (1898).

Philip V of Spain

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King Philip V of Spain who was born in 1683 and died in 1746) was king of Spain from 1700 to 1746. King Philip V. was also the first of the Bourbon dynasty in Spain. Philip was the grandson of Louis XIV of France, he was chosen by the dying Charles II of Spain as his successor. This event provoked the War of the Spanish Succession.

On January 14, 1724, Philip abdicated the throne to his eldest son, Louis, but resumed it later that year when Louis died of smallpox. Philip helped his Bourbon relatives to make territorial gains in the War of the Polish Succession and the War of the Austrian Succession. During his reign Spain began to recover from the stagnation it had suffered during the twilight of the Habsburg dynasty. Ferdinand VI of Spain, his son by his first queen Maria Luisa of Savoy, succeeded him.

He had a second wife Elizabeth Farnese, who bore him another succeesor, Charles III of Spain.

History of Gibraltar

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The name Gibraltar comes from the Arabic word Jabal al Tariq, which means “Tariq’s mountain". Earlier it was Calpe, one of the Columns of Hercules. The territory was ceded to Great Britain by Spain in the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht as part of the settlement of the War of the Spanish Succession. In that treaty, Spain ceded Great Britain “the full and entire propriety of the town and castle of Gibraltar, together with the port, fortifications, and forts thereunto belonging … for ever, without any exception or impediment whatsoever.”

Nonetheless, the treaty stipulates that no overland trade between Gibraltar and Spain is to take place, except for emergency provisions in the case that Gibraltar is unable to be resupplied by sea. Another condition of the cession is that “no leave shall be given under any pretence whatsoever, either to Jews or Moors, to reside or have their dwellings in the said town of Gibraltar.” If Britain decides to sell Gibraltar, Spain is guaranteed first purchasing rights.

In a 1967 referendum, Gibraltarians ignored Spanish pressure and voted overwhelmingly by 12 138 to 44, to remain under British sovereignty. Under the 1969 Constitution, Gibraltar attained full internal self-government, with an elected House of Assembly. The preamble to the Constitution stated that “Her Majesty’s Government will never enter into arrangements under which the people of Gibraltar would pass under the sovereignty of another state against their freely and democratically expressed wishes.”

Major Robert (later Sir Robert) Peliza of the Integration With Britain Party (IWBP) was elected Chief Minister in 1969, although Joshua (later Sir Joshua) Hassan of the Assocation for the Advancement of Civil Rights (AACR) was returned to power in 1972. In 1976, the IWBP broke up after the British Foreign Office Minister Roy Hattersley ruled out integration with the UK, and was succeeded by the Democratic Party of British Gibraltar.

In response, Spain closed the border with Gibraltar in 1969, and severed all communication links. This remained unchanged after the death of General Franco in 1975. The border was not fully reopened until 1985. Under the 1985 Brussels Agreement, Britain agreed to enter into discussions with Spain over Gibraltar, including sovereignty. In 1987, a proposal for joint control of Gibraltar’s airport with Spain led to widespread opposition locally. Chief Minister Sir Joshua Hassan resigned at the end of that year, to be succeeded by Adolfo Canepa.

In 1988 Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party (GSLP) leader Joe Bossano was elected as Chief Minister, and firmly ruled out any discussions with Spain over sovereignty. In the 1996 election, Bossano was replaced by Peter Caruana, of the Gibraltar Social Democrats (GSD), who while favouring dialogue with Spain, also ruled out any deals on sovereignty.

In 1988, there was controversy when three members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) were shot dead by the SAS, after they were suspected of planning to bomb a military parade, although a car bomb was later discovered in Spain. In 1991, the British Army effectively withdrew from Gibraltar, leaving only the locally recruited Royal Gibraltar Regiment, although the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy remain.

Spain has made various proposals involving the sovereignty of Gibraltar, which have been rejected by all parties in the Gibraltar House of Assembly. These have involved either joint sovereignty over Gibraltar with the UK, in which the Rock would become a condominium, or full sovereignty, under which it would become an autonomous region , similar to Catalonia or the Basque Country. In 1997, the Spanish Foreign Minister, Abel Matutes made a proposal in which Gibraltar would be under joint sovereignty for fifty years, before being fully incorporated into Spain, but the British government rejected the idea.

In 2001, the British Government announced plans to reach a final agreement with Spain over the future of Gibraltar, which would involve shared sovereignty, but this was decisively rejected in November 2002 when over 98% of the electorate voted against joint sovereignty between the UK and Spain.

Spanish Succession Peace

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Britain began to get cold feet, too, as an over-decisive victory for Austria would be almost as bad for their interests as one for the French and Spanish. Marlborough fell out of grace with the English (or rather, now, British) crown and with the new Tory government and was recalled. Peace negotiations with France led to the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, in which England, Holland, and France ceased fighting with one another, and Great Britain left the Catalans alone to fight for themselves.

In 1714, September 11, Barcelona surrendered to the Borbonic army after a long siege. The Franco-Austrian hostilities lumbered on until September 1714, before the signing of the Treaty of Baden. With the Peace of Utrecht, the wars to prevent French hegemony that had dominated the 17th century were over for the time being. Philip became the Spanish king, but was removed from the French succession. Louis XIV also agreed to stop supporting the Stuart claim to the throne of England.

The Spanish Netherlands, Naples, and Milan were ceded to Austria; Sicily (replaced by Sardinia in 1720) was ceded to Savoy; Britain was given the exclusive right to slave trading in Spanish America; Gibraltar and Minorca were transferred from Spain to the UK; and a variety of French colonial possessions were given to Britain. In 1715 the Bourbon king Philip V of Spain abolished the constitutions of Kingdom of Valencia and Principality of Catalonia with the Decreto de Nueva Planta.

War of the Spanish Succession

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Course of the War

There were two main theaters of the war in Europe: Spain itself and West-Central Europe, especially the Low Countries (although there was also important fighting in Italy and Germany). The latter proved the more important, as Eugene and the English commander, John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough distinguished themselves as military commanders. At first, France was successful in the Alsace, and threatened the Austrian capital, but the two generals managed to link up in Bavaria and won the Battle of Blenheim. France’s trans-Rhine ambitions were crushed, and the French were forced into a defensive posture. Bavaria was knocked out of the war, and Portugal and Savoy changed sides.

In Spain, Valencia and Catalonia switched side in favour of the Austrian pretender, Charles. A British fleet, sent to support Catalans, captured Gibraltar, a possession they held throughout the Siege of Gibraltar and hold to this day. Marlborough and Eugene split forces again, with the former going to the Netherlands, and the latter to Italy. Over the next two years, each drove the French back from those territories, with Marlborough winning the notable Battle of Ramillies.

In 1707, April 25, Batle of Almansa (Valencian country) Austriacist army was defeated by the Borbonic army. Then the war in Spain settled into indecisive skirmishing from which it would not emerge. The French fought back, and managed to stall Eugene’s invasion into the south of the country, and Marlborough got caught up in an endless succession of fortresses in and around Flanders. In 1708, Eugene and Marlborough once again managed to link up, and defeated the French again at the Battle of Oudenarde. An attempt to march on Paris resulted in the Battle of Malplaquet, which was won by the two generals but at such a cost to their forces that this final invasion had to be called off.

War of the Spanish Succession

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Origin of the War of Spanish Succession

King Charles II of Spain was an invalid from a very young age, and it was clear that he would never produce an heir. The issue of who would rule the Spanish kingdoms after his death became quite contentious. Through his mother Maria Theresa of Spain, an older sister of Charles II, the Dauphin, only legitimate son of Louis XIV, was the most direct heir, but he was a problematic choice: as the heir to the French throne, if he gained both crowns, it would amount to an annexation of Spain and her vast colonial empire by France, at a time when France was already powerful enough to threaten the European balance of power.

The alternative candidates were Emperor Leopold I, a first cousin of the late king and Electoral Prince Joseph Ferdinand of Bavaria. The former presented similarly formidable problems, for Leopold’s success would have reunited the powerful Spanish-Austrian Habsburg empire of the 16th century. Although Leopold and Louis were both willing to defer their claims to a younger line of their family - Leopold to his younger son Archduke Charles and Louis to the Dauphin’s younger son, the Duc d’Anjou, the Bavarian prince remained a less threatening candidate. As a result, Joseph Ferdinand was the favored choice of England and the Netherlands.

The War of the Grand Alliance, with essentially the same groupings of countries fighting over different issues, had come to an end just as the Spanish succession was becoming critical. War exhaustion led England and France to agree on the First Partition Treaty, which designated Joseph Ferdinand as heir, in return for which the Dauphin and Archduke Charles received territory in Italy.

Joseph Ferdinand died abruptly the next year, which led to the Second Partition Treaty. Under the terms of that agreement, Charles was to become heir, but the Italian territories that had been parcelled out amongst the two men would now go entirely to France. While France, The Netherlands, and England were all happy with the new arrangement, Austria was not and vied for the entire Spanish inheritance. While the wrangling continued, Charles II unexpectedly spoke out and bequeathed his empire to Anjou, thus keeping the two thrones separate. Louis backed out of the treaty, his grandson was crowned King as Philip V, and the remaining interested parties acquiesced with misgivings.

Unfortunately, Louis overplayed his hand. He threatened a mercantilist policy in the Spanish/French dominions (thus cutting England and Holland off from Spanish trade) and recognized Philip as his heir, passing over the Dauphin and the Dauphin’s eldest son. In 1701, following the death of James II of England, a pensioner at Louis’ court, Louis recognized his son, James Francis Edward Stuart, the “Old Pretender", as King of England, Scotland, and Ireland, thus alienating the English. The war began slowly, with Austrian forces under Prince Eugene of Savoy invading the Spanish territories in Italy. France soon intervened, which in turn brought in England, Holland and most of the German states. Minor powers Bavaria, Portugal, and (perversely) Savoy sided with France and Spain.

Conquistadores

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Conquistador means “Conqueror” in the Spanish language and is the term to refer to the soldiers, explorers, and adventurers who brought much of the Americas under the control of Spain from the 15th to the 17th century. After the discoveries of Chrisopher Columbus had gained Spain a foothold in America, many expeditions were soon set out to conquer and evangelize the New World.

The leaders of those expeditions were called conquistadores, a name that denotes that they felt connected with the reconquista, the Christian reconquest of the Iberian peninsula from the Muslim Moors during 711 to 1492. The Conquistadores also evoked the name of Santiago Matamoros also called St. James the Moor-killer, before going into battle against the Indians, another connection with the reconquista. Many of the conquistadors were poor nobles or hidalgos looking forward to make fortune in the Indies since they couldn’t in Europe.

The first Spanish conquest in the Americas was the island of Hispaniola. From there Juan Ponce de León conquered Puerto Rico and Diego Velasquez took Cuba. The first settlement on the mainland was Darién in Panama, settled by Vasco Nuñez de Balboa in 1512. The most successful conquistador was Hernán Cortés, who in 1520-1521, with Native American allies, overran the mighty Aztec empire, thus making Mexico (then called New Spain) a part of the Spanish empire. Of comparable importance was the conquest of the Inca empire by Francisco Pizarro.

After this, rumours of golden cities (Cibola in North America, El Dorado in South America), caused several more expeditions to be sent out, but many of those returned without having found their goal, or having found it, finding it much less valuable than was hoped. Some Spaniards, singularly the priest Bartolome de Las Casas defended Native Americans against of the abuses of conquistadors. Most of the conquistadors acted cruel towards the inhabitants of the regions they visited or conquered, killing, enslaving and otherwise abusing them. In 1542, New Spanish colonial laws were made to protect Indians. In 1552, Bartolomé de las Casas published “Short Account of the Destruction of the West Indies” (Brevísima relación de la destrucción de las Indias), which was used by the other European colonial powers, rivals of Spain, in criticism of Spain’s role.

Treaty of Tordesillas

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The Treaty of Tordesillas, signed at Tordesillas on June 7, 1494 divided the world outside of Europe in a exclusive duopoly between the Spanish and the Portuguese along a north-south meridian 370 leagues (1770 km) west of the Cape Verde Islands, roughly 46° 37′ W. The lands to the east would belong to Portugal and the lands to the west to Spain. The treaty was ratified by Spain, July 2, and by Portugal, September 5, 1494.

It was intended to resolve the dispute that had been created following the return of Christopher Columbus. In 1481 the papal Bull Aeterni regis had granted all land south of the Canary Islands to Portugal. In May 1493 The Spanish born Pope Alexander VI decreed in the Bull Inter caetera that all lands west of a meridian only 100 leagues west of the Cape Verde Islands should belong to Spain while new lands discovered east of that line would belong to Portugal, although territory already under Christian rule would remain untouched. Naturally the Portuguese King John II was not happy, so he opened negotiations with King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain to move the line to the west, arguing that the meridian would extend all around the globe - limiting Spanish control in Asia. The treaty effectively countered the bull of Alexander VI but it was sanctioned by Pope Julius II in a new bull of 1506.

Very little of the newly divided area had actually been seen, as it was divided according to the treaty. Spain gained lands including all the Americas. Brazil, when it was discovered in 1500 by Pedro Alvarez Cabral, was granted to Portugal. Although the line extended into Asia, at the time accurate measurements of longitude was impossible so uncertainties arose. The line was not strictly enforced - the Spanish did not resist the Portuguese expansion of Brazil across the meridian.

The remaining exploring nations of Europe such as France, England, and the Netherlands were explicitly refused access to the new lands, leaving them only options like piracy, unless they (as they did later) rejected the papal authority to divide undiscovered countries. The view taken by the rulers of these nations is epitomised by the quotation attributed to Francis I of France demanding to be shown the clause in Adam’s will excluding his authority from the New World.

With the voyage around the globe of Magellan, a new dispute was born. Although both countries agreed that the line should be considered to be running around the globe, dividing the world in two equal halves, it was not clear where the line should be drawn on the other side of the world. In particular, both countries claimed that the Moluccas (important as a source of spices) lay in their half of the world. After new negotiations, the Treaty of Saragossa of April 22, 1529 decided that the line should lay 297.5 leagues west of the Moluccas. Spain got a monetary compensation in return.

Catholic Monarchs

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Catholic monarchs or in Spanish “Reyes Católicos” was the collective title used in history for Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon. Isabella and Ferdinand married in 1469. This marriage was uniting both crowns (Aragon and Castile) and created the kingdom of Spain. The nickname “Catholic Monarchs” refers to the extreme catholic views that Isabella and Ferdinand shared, which led them to expel the Moors from the Iberian Peninsula with the conquest of Granada and to force the conversion of thousands of Jews. The Inquisition was created by their royal decree. The title was bestowed on them by Pope Alexander VI.

Their joint motto was Tanto monta, monta tanto ("It amounts so, so it amounts"). Their symbol was el yugo y las flechas, a yoke and a fasces of arrows. The yoke is another allusion to the Gordian knot. Y and F are the initials of Ysabel (archaic spelling) and Fernando. This symbol was later used by the Spanish fascist party the Falange, which claimed the glory and the ideals of the Reyes Católicos.

El Cid Campeador

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El Cid Campeador, is the name commonly used for the Spanish knight and hero, Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar. El Cid was born in Vivar, Burgos, around AD 1045, and he died in Valencia, in July AD 1099. Born a lower nobleman, Although his mother was a close relative of King Alfonso VI of Castile, he was regarded as a lower nobleman. hHis accomplishments as an adult earned him a standing equal to noblemen of higher birth, which brought him a lots of resentment. Don Rodrigo’s life was filled with adventure, which has made him a popular subject for many writers and has led to his status as a legendary figure.

El Cid was sent unfairly into exile twice by the King of Castile, who took away his property and illegally imprisoned his wife and daughters due to palace intrigues. The tale of his journey into exile is told in “Cantar de Mio Cid", a cantar de gesta epic appearing shortly after his death; he reportedly marched stoically into exile with his soldiers and servants, and with tears in his eyes. He never fought back against his king as an exiled lord, which by law would have been his right. Instead, he made his living as a mercenary in the Reconquista wars. He served loyal and respectfully to some of the taifa rulers of Medieval Spain. The Moors respected and admired him, calling him “Al Sayiddi” (The welcome one) and “Sidi” (sir) which is the origin of his nickname, “El Cid".

He was a cultivated man, having served the king as a judge. He kept in life a personal archive with copies of the letters he mailed and important diplomas he signed as part of his cooperation in the king’s administration. During his campaigns he often ordered that books by classic Roman and Greek authors on military themes be read in loud voice to him and his troops, both for entertainment and inspiration during battle. El Cid’s army had a novel approach to planning strategy as well, holding what might be called brainstorming sessions before each battle to discuss tactics. They frequently used unexpected strategies, engaging in what modern generals would call psychological warfare — waiting for the enemy to be paralyzed with terror and then attacking them suddenly, distracting the enemy with a small group of soldiers, etc. El Cid had a humble personality and frequently accepted or included suggestions from his troops. He remained open to input from his soldiers and to the possibility that he himself was capable of error.

El Cid’s sword “Tizona” can still be seen in the Army Museum (Museo del Ejército) in Madrid. Soon after his death it became one of the most precious possessions of the Castilian royal family. In 1999, a small sample of the blade was subjected to metallurgical analysis which partially confirmed its provenance as probably having been made in Moorish Cordoba in the eleventh century, although the report does not specify whether the larger-scale composition of the blade identifies it as Damascus steel.

Never once defeated in battle, El Cid is credited with having made a large contribution to the expulsion of Spain’s Islamic conquerors. He conquered many cities in the east of Spain, and finally Valencia. After capturing it, El Cid ruled the territory around this major city, establishing what could have been called a kingdom but which he always called part of Castile, declaring the territory as belonging to his king. There the king allowed him to meet his wife and daughters, and they lived there until his death.

Battle of Guadalete

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The Battle of Guadalete took place July 19, 711 at the Guadalete River in the extreme south of the Iberian peninsula. It represented a decisive defeat for the Visigothic king Roderic (or Rodrigo), who was killed, and a decisive victory for the Moslem forces that defeated him, 7000 Berbers led by Tariq ibn Ziyab. The governor of Northern Africa, Musa ibn Nusayr, who had sent Tariq, followed the next year with an army of 18,000. The Moors proceeded to conquer most of the Iberian peninsula within the next five years.

The Astures led by Pelayo oppose the new invador, escaping defeat thanks to a complex strategy at the battle of Cuadonga(718) which gave them victory, freeing Asturies from the Moslem yoke, and led to Pelayo’s coronation as king. Thus was born the Asturorum Regnum and it was at this point that the Astures began to evolve towards a superior social-state structure.

Visigothic Kingdom

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By the 5th century A.D., the Visigoths were already romanized people, who considered themselves the heirs of the defunct imperial power. In the middle of that century, the threefold pressures of the Suevi, from the west (Galicia), the Cantabrian-Pyrenaic herdsmen from the north and the Byzantines from the south, the Betica, forced them to establish their capital in Toledo, in the centre of the Peninsula. This decision had implications of great significance; in the first place, because, instead of an east-west delineation of the Peninsula, pivoting between Lisbon and Cartagena, a north-south delineation from Cantabria to the Strait of Gibraltar was created.

It was also significant because it constituted a first attempt at Peninsular unity idependent of the rest of the empire, and therefore the Visigoths have been considered, practically up to the present day, the creators of the first Peninsular kingdom, moreover the Visigothic kingdom would serve, time and again, as the source of legitimacy for any power which tried to unite Hispania, and thirdly, because the Pyrenees and Gibraltar, no longer considered mere places of passage or points within a larger imperial circuit, became the limits or frontiers of a state to be defended.

The Visigoths defended themselves well against the Suevi in Galicia and subdued them in the 6th century A.D.; however, in the north, the Basques, Cantabrians and Asturians were more successful in resisting the Visigoth onslaught than they had been in resisting the Romans, and were almost as adept as they would be against the Moors. The Betica, from the 6th to the 11th century A.D., constituted an exception within western Europe. Facinf a continental Europe which was increasingly closed and fragmented, it would maintain its urban culture and its commercial and cultural connections within the Mediterranean domain; firstly, with the eastern Roman Empire, with Byzantium and later with the Muslim Caliphate.

Her Majesty the Queen

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Dona SOFIA DE GRECIA Y HANNOVER was born in Athens on November 2nd, 1938. She was first born daugther of the King and Queen of Greece, Paul I and Federika. Her majesty’ family belongs to one of the oldest Royal Houses in Europe and is related to the Czars of Russia, the German Emperors and Queen Victoria of Great Britain.

Her Majesty spent part of her childhood in Egypt and South Africa, as her family was obliged to go into exile during the Second World War. She returned to her country in 1946, completed her education at the prestigious German boarding school of Schloss Salem, and, having returned to Athens, specialized in paediatrics, music and archaelogy. She took part as a reserve for the Greek sailing team in the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome.

On May 14th 1962 she married Prince Juan Carlos de Borbon y Borbon, and in subsequent years her three children were born: Infanta Elena on December 20th, 1963, Infanta Cristina on June 13th, 1965, and Prince Felipe on January 30th, 1968.

In addition to taking part in institutional events, the Queen devotes a great deal of attention to social and charity activities. She is the executive president of the Queen Sofia Foundation, and honorary president of the Royal Board on Education and Care of Handicapped Persons, and the Foundation for Aid for Drug Addicts.

Romans in Iberia

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The presence of the romans in Spain began about 200 B.C. with the battle of controling the western Mediterranean Sea. The iberic peninsula was very popular because of it’s ideal geographic position between the Atlantic and the Mediteranean Sea and also it’s agriculture and mineral in the southern part of the country. The Roman conquest of the peninsula lasted from 218 till 15 B.C.

Important dates are:

200 B. C.
Rome conquered and colonialized Spain. The roman language, the roman civilization and later also Christianity were introduced. The Romans called their first two provinces outside Italy Hispania Citerior and Hispania Ulterior (197 B.C.).
154 - 133 B. C.
Rebellions of the Celtibers (Viriatus and the Lusitans), who refused to surrender to the Romans, against Rome.
27 B. C.
Romans made peace between the different cultures at the island and divided it into 3 provinces: Tarraconense, Baetica and Lusitana. The Roman presence in Hispania lasted 7 centuries. In this period of time the borderline to other European countries was formed. The Romans didn´t only leave the administration of the state, but also their administration of the town. This meant a big change, that finally put the peninsula into a Greek-Latin oriented and later into a Jewish-Christian oriented world.
98 A. C.
Beginning of the government of Trajan, the first Roman emperor of Spanish origin.
264 A. C.
Alemannics and Suebs entered the country by force and occupied Tarragona.
411 A. C.
The barbaric tribes signed an alliance with Rome which allowed them to establish military colonies in Spain.
568-586 A. C.
The Westgothic king Leovigild tried to unite the island. That was the end of the Roman empire in Spain. Now it was ruled by Westgothics and Suebs.
711 A. C.
The Arabs defeated the Westgothics and Suebs at Xeres de la Frontera. Begin of the arabic rule in Spain.

The History of Arabs in Spain

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The Arabs came first in the year AD 711 to Spain and conquered Toledo and Córdoba. It took only seven years and the hispanic peninsula belonged to the Arabs except a small part in the north. During this time the Arabian Spain were called Al-Andalus and Córdoba was its centre.

Christians learned the Arabian language, therefor those Christians in Al-Andalus were given the Arabian expression “Musta’Ribun”. This was the reason that the Arabian language became also the language of Non-Arab’s in Spain. In spite of the safety, which the Non-Arabs in Arabian Spain had, did many convert to the Arabian belief and became the same rights as the native Arabs.

The Arabs brought with them their knowledge and know-how, which was very helpful for the country’s development. Their irrigation system for example made the fields fertile, which raised agriculture to the highest standard in europe at that time. Plants were imported, such as oranges from Persia just to name one. Another important aspect for the economy was the export of leather, ceramic, paper and material, which had been luxury products in Europe, because they hadn’t had the superior knowledge of the Arabs at the time. There were not only important Islamic scientists, but also the Non-Arabian scientists were supported on the Iberian peninsula.

What the Muslims on the Iberian Peninsula had so laboriously developed, was unfortunately damaged by the reconquest. In AD 722 the Muslims suffered a defeat in Covadonga, which is considered the beginning of the reconquest. Outside of Asturias further Christian realms were formed, which were expanding more and more to the south. When the Christian realms in the north noticed the fact that the Islamic area was weakened by discrepancies among the Muslims, they saw their chance come for the reconquest.

In the year AD 1085 the Christians took Toledo again, which signified an enormous defeat for the Muslims. Since that time the Muslims had to hand over more and more areas. After years of war the Muslims had to surrender Granada in 1492; thereby the reconquest was said to be completed. With the defeat of the Islamic rule the high scientific levels created by the Muslims could not be maintained, which had catastrophic consequences for the country.

The spain of the Muslims changed completely in the hands of the Christians. They were not capable of keeping the irrigation systems in good condition not to speak of constructing new irrigation canals, so that the once fertile land became deserted. The Christian conquerors were also not able to achieve something similar in scientific areas as their hated enemies, the Muslims. The Universities were run-down and the cities impoverished, so that the country lost its attraction.

The new rulers tried first to hold on to the coexistence of the religions like the Islamic model. Thus for instance the free practice of their faith was contractually assured to the Muslims after the defeat of Granada. What had, theoretically been fixed on the paper, however could not been found in practice. Under Isabella’s and Ferdinand’s order Ximénez had to force the Muslim population to convert and the Arabic language as colloquial language was forbidden. When the Muslims refused to comply, innumerable Muslims were killed and the mosques were set on fire. The government reacted to this resistance by setting a deadline, by which they either had to convert to the Christian faith or to leave the country, leaving all their property to the church. In fact they only had the choice between baptism and death, because they were only allowed to leave the country by a payment of a certain sum.