Friday, 31 May 2013

The Thirtieth of May, 2013.

205 years ago, almost to the day, the Spanish people rebelled in Calle Alcalá, near the Puerta del Sol, in Madrid.

"The Second of May 1808",
by Francisco de Goya (1814) [A]


Spain was of strategic value to the French emperor Napoleon. Taking advantage of the personal conflict between the Spanish king Carlos IV of the house of Bourbon and his heir, Fernando, Napoleon proposed a French-Spanish alliance against Portugal and Britain.

To gain the acquiescence of the Spanish prime minister, Manuel Rajoy de Godoy, the French and Fernando, who were in cahoots, promised him he would act as figurehead in a future pro-French Portuguese puppet government.

During November 1807, under the guise of reinforcing their Spanish "allies" and with Carlos' reluctant consent, a French army, under the command of Marshal Joachim Murat, crossed the border. Although Godoy was ecstatic, the measure proved highly unpopular with the Spanish people.

To make good his side of the bargain, and mounting on the opposition bandwagon, Fernando instigated the March 17th anti-Godoy riots in the town of Aranjuez, 50 km south of Madrid, forcing Carlos to dismiss Godoy. A few days later Carlos himself had to abdicate, leaving the throne to Fernando.

Fernando, however, did not count on the French having different ideas: Murat refused to recognize him.

Both Carlos and Fernando fled to France, to appeal to Bonaparte. To their surprise, Bonaparte decided to declare the Bourbon dynasty deposed and install his own brother, Joseph, as new Spanish king.

Faced with the news, the Spanish people took to the streets of Madrid on the Second of May, 1808, against the North African mercenary troops, known as Mamelukes, working for the French. The scene was represented by Goya in the painting above.

The following day, the French unleashed brutal and generalized repression against the Spanish people:

"The Third of May 1808",
by Francisco de Goya (1814) [B]


The video below shows Troika mercenary occupation troops, also known as Mossos, charging on the 30th of May, 2013, against Spanish firefighters, protesting in Barcelona against the Troika puppet government of Mariano Rajoy/Artur Mas. (See here, in Spanish)


The war in the Peninsula ended in 1814, with Napoleon's defeat.

Image Credits:
[A] "The Second of May 1808: The Charge of the Mamelukes", by Francisco de Goya (1814). Wikipedia. Source: Museo de El Prado.
[B] "The Third of May 1808: the shootings in Prince Pious' mountain", by Francisco de Goya (1814). Wikipedia. Source: Museo de El Prado.

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