Saturday, 30 June 2012

the spanish rebellion

Under the pretext of reinforcing the Franco-Spanish army occupying Portugal, French Imperial troops began filing into Spain; the populace greeted them with enthusiasm in spite of growing diplomatic unease. In February 1808 Napoleon ordered the French commanders to seize key Spanish fortresses, and in doing so he had officially File:Defensa del Parque de Artillería de Monteleón.jpgturned on his ally. A French column, disguised as a convoy of wounded, took Barcelona on 29 February by persuading the authorities to open the city's gates. Many commanders were not particularly concerned about the fate of the ruling regime, nor were they in any position to fight. (When Mariano Alvarez de Castrogarrisoned the Barcelona citadel against the French, his own superiors ordered him to stand down.)
The Spanish Royal Army of 100,000 men found itself paralysed: under-equipped, frequently leaderless, confused by the turmoil in Madrid and scattered from Portugal to the Balearic Islands.File:Port de soller majorca spain closeup arp.jpg Fifteen thousand of its finest troops, (Pedro CaroFile:Romana.PNG, 3rd Marquis of la Romana's Division of the North) had been lent to Napoleon in 1807 and remained stationed in Denmark under French command. Only the peripheries contained armies of any strength: Galicia, with Joaquín BlakeFile:Blake y Joyes.jpg y Joyes's troops, and Andalusia, under Francisco Javier Castaños. File:Francisco Javier Castanos.jpgThe French were consequently able to seize much of northeastern Spain by coups de main, and any hope of turning back the invasion was stillborn.

To secure his gains Napoleon pursued a series of intrigues against the Spanish royal family. A coup d'état instigated by the Spanish aristocrats forced Charles IVFile:Carlos IV de rojo.jpg from his throne and replaced him with his son FerdinandFile:Ferdinand VII of Spain (1814) by Goya.jpg. Napoleon removed the royals to BayonneFile:Bayonne Adour HdV.jpg and forced them both to abdicate on 5 May, handing the throne to his brother Joseph Bonaparte.When his father's abdication was extorted by a popular riot at Aranjuez in March 1808, he ascended the throne but turned again to Napoleon, in the hope that the emperor would support him.Toy Soldiers at Bugle and Drum, Stratford upon Avon He was in his turn forced to make an abdication on 6 May 1808 but his father had relinquished his rights to the Spanish throne on 5 May 1808 (the previous day) in favour of Emperor Napoleon, so Ferdinand effectively had given the throne to Napoleon. Napoleon kept Ferdinand under guard in France for six years at the File:Valencay-chateau-1.jpgChateau of Valençay.Five years later after experiencing serious reverses on many fronts, Emperor Napoleon agreed to acknowledge Ferdinand VII as king of Spain on 11 December 1813 and signed the Treaty of Valençay, so that the king could return to Spain. This, however, did not happen until Napoleon was nearly defeated by the allied powers several months later. The Spanish people, blaming the liberal, enlightened policies of the Francophiles (afrancesados) for causing the Napoleonic occupation and the Peninsular War by allying Spain too closely to France, at first welcomed Fernando. Ferdinand soon found that in the intervening years a new world had been born of foreign invasion and domestic revolution. In his name Spain fought for its independence and in his name as well juntas had governed Spanish America. Spain was no longer the absolute monarchy he had relinquished six years earlier. Instead he was now asked to rule under the liberal Constitution of 1812. Before being allowed to enter Spanish soil, Ferdinand had to guarantee the liberals that he would govern on the basis of the Constitution, but, only gave lukewarm indications he would do so.File:Joseph Bonaparte (by Wicar).jpg A puppet Spanish council approved the new king, but the usurpation provoked a popular uprising that eventually spread throughout the country. The Spanish revolt was the first example of the nationalism of another country being turned against Napoleon, although it was led largely by priests and nobles who stood for the conservative values of the old regime. On 2 May, the citizens of Madrid rose up in rebellionFile:El dos de mayo de 1808 en Madrid.jpg against the French occupation, killing some 150 French soldiers, before the uprising was put down by Joachim File:Murat2.jpgMurat's elite Imperial Guard and Mamluk cavalry, which crashed into the city, trampling the rioters.
In 1820 ferdinands misrule provoked a revolt in favor of the Constitution of 1812 which began with a mutiny of the troops under Col. Rafael del RiegoFile:Rafael-riego2554.JPG and the king was quickly made prisoner. He grovelled to the insurgents as he had done to his parents. Ferdinand had restored the Jesuits upon his return; now the Society had become identified with repression and absolutism among the liberals, who attacked them: twenty-five Jesuits were slain in Madrid in 1822. For the rest of the 19th century, expulsions and re-establishment of the Jesuits would continue to be touchmarks of liberal or authoritarian political regimes.
At the beginning of 1823, as a result of the Congress of Verona, the French invaded Spain "invoking the God of St Louis, for the sake of preserving the throne of Spain to a descendant of Henry IVFile:HenriIV.jpg, and of reconciling that fine kingdom with Europe." When in May the revolutionary party carried Ferdinand to Cádiz, he continued to make promises of amendment until he was free.
When freed after the Battle of TrocaderoFile:Situationsplan von Cadiz.jpg and the fall of Cádiz he revenged himself with a ferocity which disgusted his far from liberal allies. In violation of his oath to grant an amnesty he avenged himself, for three years of coercion, by killing on a scale which left his "rescuers" sickened and horrified. The Duke of Angoulême, powerless to intervene, made known his protest against Ferdinand's actions by refusing the Spanish decorations Ferdinand offered him for his military services.
During his last years Ferdinand's energy was abated. He no longer changed ministers every few months as a sport, and he allowed some of them to conduct the current business of government. He became torpid, bloated and unpleasant to look at. His last ten years of reign (1823–1833) are generally known as the "Ominous Decade", and saw the relentless restoration of a reactionary absolutism, the re-establishment of archaic university programs and the suppression of any opposition, both of the Liberal Party and of the reactionary revolt (known as "War of the Agraviados") which broke out in 1827 in Catalonia and other regions.
After his fourth marriage, with Maria Christina of Bourbon-Two SiciliesFile:Mariacristina.jpg in 1829, he was persuaded by his wife to set aside the law of succession of Philip V,File:Felipe V de España.jpg which gave a preference to all the males of the family in Spain over the females. His marriage had brought him only two daughters. The change in the order of succession established by his dynasty in Spain angered a large part of the nation and led to a civil war, the Carlist Wars.
When well he consented to the change under the influence of his wife. When ill he was terrified by priestly advisers who were partisans of his brother CarlosFile:Carlos María Isidro.JPG. Ferdinand died on 29 September 1833 in Madrid.
King Ferdinand VII kept a diary during the troubled years 1820–1823 which has been published by the Count de Casa Valencia.

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