free ebooks

A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

Sidenote Patriotic Spanish uprising against Napoleon


style="text-align: justify;"> CHAPTER XXXIX

THE GROWTH OF LIBERALISM, 1808-1898

[Sidenote: The Spanish American wars of independence and the virtual completion of Spain's gift to the Americas.]

With the outbreak of the Spanish "War of Independence" against Napoleon the interest of Spain proper as affecting the Americas almost if not wholly ceased. Her gift to the new world was by this time complete except as regards the island dependencies of the West Indies and the Philippines in the Far East. She was still to have important relations with the Americas, such as her vain endeavor to suppress the revolutions of her colonies and her relations with the United States concerning Florida and Cuba, but those matters belong to the field of Hispanic American history rather than to that of Spain as conceived in the present work. In 1808 the news of the accession of Joseph Bonaparte to the throne of Spain, after Napoleon had wrested the abdication of their rights from Charles IV and Ferdinand VII, was received in the colonies with hostile demonstrations, for the majority of Spanish Americans were loyal to Ferdinand. When in 1809 all the peninsula seemed lost, many began to hold to the view that relations with Spain, which had always been rather with the king than with the nation, were severed, and in the next year certain regions set up governments of their own, thus starting the movement

for independence which ended only with the battle of Ayacucho in 1824.[67] Circumstances, skilfully directed by separatist leaders, had led the Americas to proceed out of what was at first a feeling of patriotism to the royal government to what eventually resulted in embittered wars against it. The wars were fought largely, though not wholly, by the colonists themselves, one faction supporting the newly constituted governmental machinery in the Americas, and the other following the lead of the changing national r?gimes in Spain,--just as if the war of the American Revolution had been a conflict of Whigs and Tories. It becomes pertinent, then, to enquire why Spain did not make a more strenuous effort to overcome the rebellions in her colonies, which she had always regarded as vital to her, and why she did not seriously attempt to reconquer them in the course of the nineteenth century. The answer lies in a statement of the internal affairs of Spain, who went through one of the most trying periods in the annals of the peninsula, characterized by an incessant recurrence of disturbances and even civil war. For Spain herself, however, it was a period of advance along Liberal lines. Spain gained, though it cost her an empire.

[Sidenote: Patriotic Spanish uprising against Napoleon.]

The years 1808 to 1814 are almost the only time in the century to which Spaniards may look back with satisfaction and pride, but the glory of their war against Napoleon may well be regarded by them as compensation for their losses and degradation in other respects. It took several weeks for the news of the treachery of Bayonne, followed by the events of the _Dos de Mayo_, to circulate throughout Spain. When at last the people comprehended what had happened, a wild outburst of rage against the French swept the peninsula. Between May 24 and June 10 every region in the country rose in arms against the invaders, each district acting independently, but all actuated by the same motives. As an


eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us

freefictionbooks.org is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 freefictionbooks.org - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us