Spain 1833-1848 Spain 1898-1914

Spain 1849-1898

By 1849 the Carlist rising, by some called the Second Carlist War, was suppressed. NARVAEZ firmly opposed revolutionary tendencies, even sending troops to Rome to assist the pope in putting down the revolution there. In 1851 he was forced out of office and a new government was formed by ANTONIO BRAVO MURILLO. He soon dissolved the Cortez and, imitating the style of Louis Napoleon III., ruled by decree. When Madrid rioted in 1854, retired General ESPARTERO, recalled, reestablished the rule of law and order. Elections were held, won by the progressives, a new constitution passed (1855). Governments were short-lived, as the monarchy interfered and frequent popular unrest also had it's influence on the formation of government. In 1858 a more stable government was established by General O'DONNELL - after massively rigging the elections; it lasted until 1863.
Spain now engaged in a number of military campaigns, occupying TETUAN (1859/60). In 1861, the strongman in Santo Domingo (which had freed itself from Haitian rule in 1844), Santana, proclaimed the land being annexed by Spain; the act triggered a civil war, and by 1865, independence was achieved. Spain joined the French in their campaigns in Vietnam (1859-1863) and Mexico (1862) and fought a petty war against Chile and Peru (1865-1866), the latter three campaigns without lasting impact. Between 1863 and 1865 governments frequently changed again until Narvaez again was in power; he died in 1868.

After years of instability, 1868 brought a break with the past. Generals SERRANO and PRIM lead the forces; Queen Isabel II. was declared deposed. A new constitution was passed in 1869. CUBA fought it's first war of independence (until 1878). Universal adult manhood suffrage was introduced in 1869.
With the Spanish throne vacant, international diplomacy dealt with the problem of finding the proper candidate to succeed Isabel; the candidacy of prince Leopold of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, although withdrawn, eventually ignited the FRANCO-GERMAN WAR of 1870/71. AMADEO OF SAVOY finally claimed the crown.
Spain remained unruly, governments changing frequently, following the known pattern that a few political leaders alternated in power. The ANARCHIST movement took roots; one of Spain's leading politicians, General Prim, was assassinated (1871) though the perpetrators were never identified. Late in 1872, anarchist leaders assembled in Cordoba and established an organization. Many voices called for a federalist constitution; several provinces claimed self-government. In the same year, another CARLIST WAR began.

The country was in a turmoil - federalists claiming regional autonomy, political factions (progressives, moderates, conservatives), those supporting the claims of another dynasty. A number of generals, seemingly aiming to restore order, competed with each other. To make matters worse, King Amadeo died. In 1873, the REPUBLIC was proclaimed. Meanwhile the Carlists were in control of much of the north - the Basque provinces, Navarre, rural Aragon and Catalonia. Spain was still in turmoil.
A military coup brought a new administration in power, and declared the reintroduction of monarchy, the new king being young ALFONSO XII. Government forces, vastly outnumbering the Carlists, cleared the Basque provinces of their opponents in 1875. The Carlist rebellion broke down in 1876. The Basque privileges, the autonomy of Navarra were cancelled; the BASQUES, speakers of Euskadi, a language distibct from and not related to Spanish, now were subjected to a Spanish-language administration following orders from Madrid, neglecting regional interests. The cancellation of Navarra's and VISCAYA's autonomy marks the begin of the Basque quest for independence.
In 1876 another constitution was passed, the architect of which was ANTONIO CANOVAS DEL CASTILLO. UNIVERSAL MANHOOD SUFFRAGE had already been introduced in 1869. Spain engaged in a number of reforms, among them abolishing slavery in Cuba in 1880. The LIBERALS and CONSERVATIVES alternated forming cabinets, in a political system where elections were controlled by local officials, the so-called CACIQUES; it continued to dominate Spanish politics into the 1890es. By compromising democratic values and instituting the change of administrations, Spain had finally reached some degree of political stability.

The opposition - the regionalists (especially the Basques and the Catalonians), the anarchists, the republicans severely criticized the political system. Denied equal terms in the political process, the radicals in these gained influence at the expense of the moderates; Spain was divided into increasingly hostile rival camps.

In 1879, Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola and his daughter discovered the cave paintings of Altamira; de Sautuola and Juan Vilanova y Piera in an 1880 publication identified them as paleolithic, meeting scepticism and ridicule until the discovery of similar paintings elsewhere resulted in the recognition of their findings in 1902.

Article Altamira Cave, from Wikipedia
Carlist Wars, from Camelot; Carlists and the Carlist Dynasty, from FOTW (with flag)
Charles A. Venturi, Europe 1856-1865, chronological list of diplomatic and other events, from Societe d'Europe, scroll down for Spain
Armed Conflict Events Data : Spain 1800-1999, from
La Revolucio Industrial a Catalunya, from La Revolucio Industrial posted by J. Folch i Torres, in Catalan
Historia del Moviment Obrer a Catalunya, by Xavier Ripoll
DOCUMENTS Treaty between Spain and Hawaii, 1863, from Hawaiian Independence Home Page
News from Spain, from The Great Round World and What is Going on in it Vol.1 No.21, April 1897, Vol.1 No.40, August 1897, Vol.1 No.42, August 1897, Vol.1 No.44, September 1897, Vol.1 No.47, September 1897, Vol.1 No.49, October 1897, Vol.1 No.51, October 1897, Vol.1 No.57, December 1897, posted by Gutenberg Library Online
REFERENCE Peter Pierson, Six turbulent Decades (1800s-1860s), and : In Search for Stability, in : P. Pierson, The History of Spain, London : Greenwood 1999
Article : Spain, in : Statesman's Year Book 1878 pp.402-423 (on events of 1877) [G]
Article : Spain, in : Statesman's Year Book 1895 pp.944-962 (on events of 1894) [G]
Article : Spain, in : Statesman's Year Book 1898 pp.944-963 (on events of 1895) [G]
Article : Spain, in : The American Annual Cyclopaedia and Register of Important Events 1863 p.825, 1864 pp.753-755, 1886 pp.807-809, 1894 pp.721-724 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on April 20th 2008

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