French Revolution
Impact on Spain
Spain 1814-1848

Satellite States
The Kingdom of Spain

A.) From the Bourbon Dynasty to King Joseph

In 1808, a power struggle within the Bourbon Dynasty gave Napoleon Bonaparte the opportunity to interfere. He cited the royal family to Bayonne, where he compelled them to abdicate in favour of his brother JOSEPH. Here, on July 8th 1808 the STATUTE OF BAYONNE was signed, a constitution which never became valid.
The Spanish people regarded Joseph Bonaparte's rule as illegitimate. Resistance against the French was widespread, and although the French at first dominated the battlefield, did not end, but turned into a bloody GUERILLA WAR that added this Spanish word to the English vocabulary. It is depicted in the paintings of FRANCISCO GOYA.
The Spanish fighters were soon assisted by a British expedition under WELLINGTON, which however was defeated and had to embark (1809). The Austrian rising of 1809 provided Spain with relief, as Napoleon from then on focussed on other arenas. While Napoleon was campaigning in Russia, Wellington was able to liberate Madrid. In 1812, France annexed CATALONIA, a last attempt to save something out of the failed Spanish adventure. With the defeat of Napoleon, the Bourbon dynasty was restored to the throne.
The CONSTITUTION OF 1812 recognized King Fernando VII., but stated that the sovereignty lay with the nation, and that the deputies to the CORTES (parliament) were inviolable.

While Spain had to liberate itself from the French yoke, the Spanish colonies in America -separated from the motherland by the British fleet, which cut communications - saw an independence movement of it's own grow, lead by figures such as SIMON BOLIVAR. By the time Spain had reorganized itself and wanted to take charge of it's possessions in South America again, the various regions of the American continent had begun to pursue a path of their own. Spain was only able to retain the Caribbean islands (Cuba, Sto Domingo, Puerto Rico), the Philippines and its claim to groups of Pacific islands.

Links on Spanish History from looksmart
The Peninsular War and the Constitution of 1812, from SiSpain
Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes, article from Catholic Encyclopedia
Biography of Joseph Bonaparte, from Histofig
Battle of Busaco, Sept. 27th 1810, from Dictionary of Battles
Napoleonic Medals : the Spanish Campaign, by Fortiter
DOCUMENTS Map of Spain during the Peninsular Campaign, from Gardiner's Atlas of English History, 1892, shows provinces
Napoleonic Wars, Wars on the Iberian Peninsula, June-Aug. 1808, Oct. 1808-Jan. 1809, 1808, Strategic Overview, from US Military Academy, Dept. of History, Map Dept.
Retreat to Corunna. An Account by Dr. Adam Neale (Jan. 1809), from

This page is part of World History at KMLA
Last revised on January 7th 2002

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