First Spanish Republic

First Spanish Republic

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The First Spanish Republic was the political regime that existed in Spain
History of Spain
The history of Spain involves all the other peoples and nations within the Iberian peninsula formerly known as Hispania, and includes still today the nations of Andorra, Gibraltar, Portugal and Spain...

 between the parliamentary proclamation on 11 February 1873 and 29 December 1874 when General Arsenio Martínez-Campos
Arsenio Martínez-Campos y Antón
Arsenio Martínez-Campos y Antón was a Spanish officer, who rose against the First Spanish Republic in a military revolution in 1874 and restored Spain's Bourbon dynasty. Later he became Captain-General of Cuba...

's pronunciamento marked the beginning of the Bourbon Restoration
Spain under the Restoration
The Restoration was the name given to the period that began on December 29, 1874 after the First Spanish Republic ended with the restoration of Alfonso XII to the throne after a coup d'état by Martinez Campos, and ended on April 14, 1931 with the proclamation of the Second Spanish Republic.After...

 in Spain. The Republic's founding started with the abdication as King on 10 February 1873 of Amadeo I, following the Hidalgo Affair, when he had been required by the radical government to sign a decree against the artillery officers. The next day, 11 February the republic was declared by a parliamentary majority made up of radicals, republicans and democrats.

The Republican leaders planned the establishment of a federal republic, but did not declare it immediately, and instead planned a Constituent Cortes to write a federal constitution. The radicals preferred a unitary republic, with a much lesser role for the provinces, and once the republic had been declared the two parties turned against each other. Initially, the radicals were largely driven from power, joining those who had already been driven out by the revolution of 1868 or by the Carlist War.

The first republican attempt in the history of Spain was a short experience, characterized by profound political and social instability and violence. The Republic was governed by four distinct presidents—Estanislao Figueras
Estanislao Figueras
Estanislao Figueras y de Moragas was a Spanish politician who served as the first President of the First Spanish Republic from 12 February to 11 June 1873).Figueras was born at Barcelona....

, Pi i Margall
Francisco Pi y Margall
Francisco Pi y Margall was a liberal Spanish statesman and romanticist writer. He was briefly president of the short-lived First Spanish Republic in 1873.-Early life:...

, Nicolás Salmerón, Emilio Castelar— until, only eleven months after its proclamation, General Manuel Pavía led a coup d'état and established a unified republic dominated by Francisco Serrano
Francisco Serrano y Domínguez, Duke de la Torre
Don Francisco Serrano y Domínguez, 1st Duke of la Torre Grandee of Spain, Count of San Antonio was a Spanish marshal and statesman...

.

The period was marked by three simultaneous civil wars: the Third Carlist War
Third Carlist War
The Third Carlist War was the last Carlist War in Spain. It is very often referred to as the Second Carlist War, as the 'second' had been small in scale and almost trivial in political consequence....

, the Cantonal Revolution
Cantonal Revolution
The Cantonal Revolution was a cantonalist uprising that took place during the First Spanish Republic, starting on July 12 of 1873 in Cartagena...

, the Petroleum Revolution in Alcoy
Alcoy, Spain
Alcoy or Alcoi is a city and municipality located in the province of Alicante, Spain. The Serpis river crosses the municipal boundary of Alcoi. The local authority reported 61,417 residents in 2010, of whom 5,334 were of non-Spanish origin.-History:...

; and by the Ten Years' War
Ten Years' War
The Ten Years' War , also known as the Great War and the War of '68, began on October 10, 1868 when sugar mill owner Carlos Manuel de Céspedes and his followers proclaimed Cuba's independence from Spain...

 in Cuba
History of Cuba
The known history of Cuba, the largest of the Caribbean islands, predates Christopher Columbus' sighting of the island during his first voyage of discovery on 27 October 1492...

. The gravest problems for the consolidation of the regime were the lack of true republicans, their division between federalists and unitarians, and the lack of popular support. Subversion in the army, a series of local cantonalist
Cantonalism
Cantonalism, mainly prevalent in late 19th century and early 20th century Spain, is an insurrectionary movement which aims to divide the nation state into almost independent cantons....

 risings, instability in Barcelona
Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

, failed anti-federalist coups, calls for revolution by the International Workingmen's Association
International Workingmen's Association
The International Workingmen's Association , sometimes called the First International, was an international organization which aimed at uniting a variety of different left-wing socialist, communist and anarchist political groups and trade union organizations that were based on the working class...

, the lack of any broad political legitimacy, and personal in-fighting among the republican leadership all further weakened the republic.

The Republic effectively ended on January 3, 1874, when the Captain General
Captain General
Captain general is a high military rank and a gubernatorial title.-History:This term Captain General started to appear in the 14th century, with the meaning of commander in chief of an army in the field, probably the first usage of the term General in military settings...

 of Madrid
Madrid
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

, Manuel Pavía, pronounced against the federalist government and called on all parties except Federalists and Carlists to form a national government. The monarchists and Republicans refused, leaving the unitary Radicals and Constitutionalists as the only group willing to govern; again a narrow political base. General Francisco Serrano
Francisco Serrano y Domínguez, Duke de la Torre
Don Francisco Serrano y Domínguez, 1st Duke of la Torre Grandee of Spain, Count of San Antonio was a Spanish marshal and statesman...

 formed a new government and was appointed President of the Republic although it was a mere formality since the Cortes had been dissolved.

Carlist forces
Carlism
Carlism is a traditionalist and legitimist political movement in Spain seeking the establishment of a separate line of the Bourbon family on the Spanish throne. This line descended from Infante Carlos, Count of Molina , and was founded due to dispute over the succession laws and widespread...

 managed to expand the territory under their control to the greatest extent in early 1874, though a series of defeats by the republic's northern army in the second half of the year might have led to the end of the war had it not been for bad weather. However the other monarchists had taken the name of Alfonsists as supporters of Alfonso
Alfonso XII of Spain
Alfonso XII was king of Spain, reigning from 1874 to 1885, after a coup d'état restored the monarchy and ended the ephemeral First Spanish Republic.-Early life and paternity:Alfonso was the son of Queen Isabella II of Spain, and...

, the son of the former Queen Isabel
Isabella II of Spain
Isabella II was the only female monarch of Spain in modern times. She came to the throne as an infant, but her succession was disputed by the Carlists, who refused to recognise a female sovereign, leading to the Carlist Wars. After a troubled reign, she was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of...

, and were organised by Cánovas del Castillo
Antonio Cánovas del Castillo
Antonio Cánovas del Castillo was a Spanish politician and historian known principally for his role in supporting the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy to the Spanish throne and for his death at the hands of an anarchist assassin, Michele Angiolillo.-Early career:Born in Málaga as the son of...

.

This period of the Republic lasted until Brigadier Martínez Campos pronounced for Alfonso in Sagunto
Sagunto
Sagunto or Sagunt is an ancient city in Eastern Spain, in the modern fertile comarca of Camp de Morvedre in the province of Valencia. It is located in a hilly site, c. 30 km north of Valencia, close to the Costa del Azahar on the Mediterranean Sea...

 on 29 December 1874 and the rest of the army refused to act against him. The government collapsed, leading to the end of the republic and the restoration
Spain under the Restoration
The Restoration was the name given to the period that began on December 29, 1874 after the First Spanish Republic ended with the restoration of Alfonso XII to the throne after a coup d'état by Martinez Campos, and ended on April 14, 1931 with the proclamation of the Second Spanish Republic.After...

 of the Bourbon
House of Bourbon
The House of Bourbon is a European royal house, a branch of the Capetian dynasty . Bourbon kings first ruled Navarre and France in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Bourbon dynasty also held thrones in Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Parma...

 monarchy with the proclamation of Alfonso XII as king.

Proclamation of the Republic


King Amadeo I
Amadeo I of Spain
Amadeo I was the only King of Spain from the House of Savoy...

 abdicated from the Spanish throne on 11 February 1873. His decision was mainly due to the constant difficulties he had to face during his short tenure, as the Ten Years' War
Ten Years' War
The Ten Years' War , also known as the Great War and the War of '68, began on October 10, 1868 when sugar mill owner Carlos Manuel de Céspedes and his followers proclaimed Cuba's independence from Spain...

, the outbreak of the Third Carlist War
Third Carlist War
The Third Carlist War was the last Carlist War in Spain. It is very often referred to as the Second Carlist War, as the 'second' had been small in scale and almost trivial in political consequence....

, the opposition from alfonsino monarchists, which hoped for the Bourbon Restoration
Spain under the Restoration
The Restoration was the name given to the period that began on December 29, 1874 after the First Spanish Republic ended with the restoration of Alfonso XII to the throne after a coup d'état by Martinez Campos, and ended on April 14, 1931 with the proclamation of the Second Spanish Republic.After...

 in the person of Alfonso
Alfonso XII of Spain
Alfonso XII was king of Spain, reigning from 1874 to 1885, after a coup d'état restored the monarchy and ended the ephemeral First Spanish Republic.-Early life and paternity:Alfonso was the son of Queen Isabella II of Spain, and...

, son of Isabella II
Isabella II of Spain
Isabella II was the only female monarch of Spain in modern times. She came to the throne as an infant, but her succession was disputed by the Carlists, who refused to recognise a female sovereign, leading to the Carlist Wars. After a troubled reign, she was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of...

, the many republican insurrections and the division among his own supporters.

The Spanish Cortes, which were assembled in a joint and permanent session of both the Congress of Deputies
Spanish Congress of Deputies
The Spanish Congress of Deputies is the lower house of the Cortes Generales, Spain's legislative branch. It has 350 members, elected by popular vote on block lists by proportional representation in constituencies matching the Spanish provinces using the D'Hondt method. Deputies serve four-year terms...

 and the Senate
Spanish Senate
The Senate of Spain is the upper house of Spain's parliament, the . It is made up of 264 members: 208 elected by popular vote, and 56 appointed by the regional legislatures. All senators serve four-year terms, though regional legislatures may recall their appointees at any time.The last election...

, declared themselves the National Assembly while waiting for any final notice from the King. The overwhelming majority was with the monarchists from the two dynastic parties that had exercised the government until then: the Radical Party of Manuel Ruiz Zorrilla
Manuel Ruiz Zorrilla
Manuel Ruiz Zorrilla was a Spanish politician. He served as prime minister of Spain for a little over ten weeks in the summer of 1871, and again for eight months between June 1872 and February 1873....

 and the Constitutional Party of Práxedes Mateo Sagasta
Práxedes Mateo Sagasta
Práxedes Mariano Mateo Sagasta y Escolar was a Spanish politician who served as Prime Minister on eight occasions between 1870 and 1902—always in charge of the Liberal Party—as part of the turno pacifico, alternating with the Liberal-Conservative leader Antonio Cánovas...

. There also was a small republican minority in the National Assembly, ideologically divided between federalism and centralism. One of them, federalist parliamentarian Francisco Pi y Margall
Francisco Pi y Margall
Francisco Pi y Margall was a liberal Spanish statesman and romanticist writer. He was briefly president of the short-lived First Spanish Republic in 1873.-Early life:...

 moved the following proposal:
In his speech for the proposal—to which he was a signatory along with Figueras, Salmerón and other opponents—Pi y Margall, himself a federalist, renounced for the moment to establish a federal republic, hoping the would-be-assembled Constituent Cortes
Constituent Cortes
Constituent Cortes is the description of Spain's parliament, the Cortes, when convened as a constituent assembly.In the 20th century, only one Constituent Cortes was officially opened , and that was the Republican Cortes in 1931.The Cortes in 1977 enacted the new Spanish constitution...

 to decide over the issue, and announced his acceptance of any other democratic decision. Then another republican, Emilio Castelar took the floor and said:
After Castelar's powerful speech, amidst passionate applause, the Republic was declared with a resignation of the monarchists, with 258 votes in favour and only 32 against:
In the same session, the first government of the Republic was elected. Federal republican Estanislao Figueras
Estanislao Figueras
Estanislao Figueras y de Moragas was a Spanish politician who served as the first President of the First Spanish Republic from 12 February to 11 June 1873).Figueras was born at Barcelona....

 was elected the first "President of the Executive Power", an office incorporating the heads of State and Government. No "President of the Republic" was ever elected, as the Constitution creating such office was never enacted. In his speech, Figueras said that the Republic "was like a rainbow of peace and harmony of all Spaniards of good will."

The passage of these resolutions surprised and stunned most Spaniards, as the recently-elected Cortes (now National Assembly) had a wide majority of monarchists. Ruiz Zorrilla spoke in these terms:
For most monarchists, though, the impossibility of restoring Isabella II
Isabella II of Spain
Isabella II was the only female monarch of Spain in modern times. She came to the throne as an infant, but her succession was disputed by the Carlists, who refused to recognise a female sovereign, leading to the Carlist Wars. After a troubled reign, she was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of...

 as Queen, and the youth of the future Alfonso XII
Alfonso XII of Spain
Alfonso XII was king of Spain, reigning from 1874 to 1885, after a coup d'état restored the monarchy and ended the ephemeral First Spanish Republic.-Early life and paternity:Alfonso was the son of Queen Isabella II of Spain, and...

 made the Republic the only, though transitory, viable course of action, particularly given the inevitable failure that awaited it.

Figueras Government


The first government of the Republic was formed of federalists and progressives who had been ministers during the monarchy. Four ministers, in particular, had served with King Amadeo: Echegaray (Finance), Becerra (War), Fernández de Córdoba (Navy) and Berenguer (Infrastructure).

At the beginning, they were plagued by a terrible economic situation, with a 546M peseta
Spanish peseta
The peseta was the currency of Spain between 1869 and 2002. Along with the French franc, it was also a de facto currency used in Andorra .- Etymology :...

 budgetary deficit, 153M in debts requiring immediate payment and only 32M available to fulfill them. The Artillery Corps had been dissolved in the most virulent moment of the Carlist
Third Carlist War
The Third Carlist War was the last Carlist War in Spain. It is very often referred to as the Second Carlist War, as the 'second' had been small in scale and almost trivial in political consequence....

 and Cuban wars, for which there were not enough soldiers or armament, nor money to feed or purchase them. Besides, Spain was going through a deep economic crisis matching the Panic of 1873
Panic of 1873
The Panic of 1873 triggered a severe international economic depression in both Europe and the United States that lasted until 1879, and even longer in some countries. The depression was known as the Great Depression until the 1930s, but is now known as the Long Depression...

 and which was exacerbated by the political instability. In previous years, unemployment
Unemployment
Unemployment , as defined by the International Labour Organization, occurs when people are without jobs and they have actively sought work within the past four weeks...

 had risen steeply amongst field and industrial workers, and proletarian organizations responded with strikes
Strike action
Strike action, also called labour strike, on strike, greve , or simply strike, is a work stoppage caused by the mass refusal of employees to work. A strike usually takes place in response to employee grievances. Strikes became important during the industrial revolution, when mass labour became...

, demonstration
Demonstration (people)
A demonstration or street protest is action by a mass group or collection of groups of people in favor of a political or other cause; it normally consists of walking in a mass march formation and either beginning with or meeting at a designated endpoint, or rally, to hear speakers.Actions such as...

s, protest rallies and the occupation of abandoned lands.

On 23 February the just-elected Speaker of the National Assembly, radical Cristino Marcos, plotted a failed coup d'etat
Coup d'état
A coup d'état state, literally: strike/blow of state)—also known as a coup, putsch, and overthrow—is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body; either...

 in which the Civil Guard
Civil Guard (Spain)
The Civil Guard is the Spanish gendarmerie. It has foreign peace-keeping missions and maintains military status and is the equivalent of a federal military-status police force. As a police force, the Guardia Civil is comparable today to the French Gendarmerie, the Italian Carabinieri and the...

 occupied the Ministry of Governance and the National Militia surrounded the Congress of Deputies, in order to establish an unitary republic. This prompted the first remodeling of the government in which the progressives were ousted and replaced with federalists. Twelve days after the establishment of the Republic, compulsory military service
Military service
Military service, in its simplest sense, is service by an individual or group in an army or other militia, whether as a chosen job or as a result of an involuntary draft . Some nations require a specific amount of military service from every citizen...

 was removed and voluntary service set up with a daily salary of 1 peseta and one crust (loaf?) of bread. A Republican volunteers corps was also established with an enlistment salary of 50 pesetas and a daily salary of 2 pesetas and 1 crust of bread.

The second Figueras government had to face the attempt of proclamation of the Estat Català
Estat Català
Estat Català is a historical pro-independence political party in Catalonia, Spain.Despite its role in the 20th and 21st centuries both in Catalan and Spanish politics, ever since Spain returned to democracy in the 1970s, the party has not managed to get any of its candidates elected, having...

 inside the Spanish Federal Republic on 9 March which was overcome by a series of telegraphic
Telegraphy
Telegraphy is the long-distance transmission of messages via some form of signalling technology. Telegraphy requires messages to be converted to a code which is known to both sender and receiver...

 contacts between the government and the Catalan leaders. On 23 April a new coup attempt was set in motion; this time by a collusion of alfonsino monarchists, members of the old Liberal Union and monarchic sectors of the Army; but failed when several units refrained from supporting it at the last hour.

Francisco Pi y Margall
Francisco Pi y Margall
Francisco Pi y Margall was a liberal Spanish statesman and romanticist writer. He was briefly president of the short-lived First Spanish Republic in 1873.-Early life:...

 is usually considered the heart of this government, which had to face several problems already endemic to the Republic, such as the Third Carlist War, separatist insurrections (this time from Catalonia), military indiscipline, monarchic plots, etc. His government dissolved the National Assembly and summoned Constituent Cortes
Constituent Cortes
Constituent Cortes is the description of Spain's parliament, the Cortes, when convened as a constituent assembly.In the 20th century, only one Constituent Cortes was officially opened , and that was the Republican Cortes in 1931.The Cortes in 1977 enacted the new Spanish constitution...

 for 1 May. On 23 April Cristino Martos, Speaker of the old National Assembly, attempted a new coup, now supported by the Civil Governor of Madrid: a battalion of militiamen took positions along the Paseo del Prado
Paseo del Prado
The Paseo del Prado is one of the main boulevards in Madrid, Spain. It runs north-south between the Plaza de Cibeles and the Plaza del Emperador Carlos V , with the Plaza de Cánovas del Castillo lying approximately in the middle...

, and four thousand more perfectly armed volunteers gathered near Independence Square
Puerta de Alcalá
The Puerta de Alcalá is a Neo-classical monument in the Plaza de la Independencia in Madrid, Spain. It stands near the city center and several meters away from the main entrance to the Parque del Buen Retiro...

 under the pretext of passing review. Having heard from the plot, Pi i Margall mobilized the Civil Guard
Civil Guard (Spain)
The Civil Guard is the Spanish gendarmerie. It has foreign peace-keeping missions and maintains military status and is the equivalent of a federal military-status police force. As a police force, the Guardia Civil is comparable today to the French Gendarmerie, the Italian Carabinieri and the...

. For his part, after the Minister of War appointed Baltasar Hidalgo as the new Captain General
Captain General
Captain general is a high military rank and a gubernatorial title.-History:This term Captain General started to appear in the 14th century, with the meaning of commander in chief of an army in the field, probably the first usage of the term General in military settings...

 for Madrid, he ordered Brigadier Carmona and a battalion of infantry and various artillery and cavalry units, to march on the militiamen. The coup d'état failed as soon as it started, and the government dissolved the military units participating and the Permanent Committee of the Assembly.

The writs were issued for Constituent Cortes elections on 10 May which resulted 343 seats for federal republicans and 31 for the rest of the political forces. The elections themselves developed in a quite unorthodox environment, and the resulting representation was ridiculous, as most factions in Spain did not participate: the Carlists were still waging war against the Republic, while the alfonsino monarchists of Antonio Cánovas del Castillo
Antonio Cánovas del Castillo
Antonio Cánovas del Castillo was a Spanish politician and historian known principally for his role in supporting the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy to the Spanish throne and for his death at the hands of an anarchist assassin, Michele Angiolillo.-Early career:Born in Málaga as the son of...

, the unitary republicans and even the incipient workers' organization close to the First International all called for abstention
Abstention
Abstention is a term in election procedure for when a participant in a vote either does not go to vote or, in parliamentary procedure, is present during the vote, but does not cast a ballot. Abstention must be contrasted with "blank vote", in which a voter casts a ballot willfully made invalid by...

. The result was clearly favourable to the federal republicans, which captured 343 of the 371 seats, but turnout was probably the lowest in Spanish history, with about 28% in Catalonia and 25% in Madrid.

The Federal Republic


On 1 June 1873 the first session of the Constituent Cortes was opened and the presentation of resolutions began. The first one was debated on the seventh of June, written by seven representatives:
The president, having carried out the Cortes' regulations for the definite approval of proposal of law, arranged to hold a nominal vote the next day. The resolution was passed 8 June by a favorable vote of 219 representatives and only 2 against, and the Federal Republic was thus declared. Most of the federalists in parliament supported a Swiss
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

-like confederative
Confederation
A confederation in modern political terms is a permanent union of political units for common action in relation to other units. Usually created by treaty but often later adopting a common constitution, confederations tend to be established for dealing with critical issues such as defense, foreign...

 model, with regions directly forming independent cantons. Spanish writer Benito Pérez Galdós
Benito Pérez Galdós
Benito Pérez Galdós was a Spanish realist novelist. Considered second only to Cervantes in stature, he was the leading Spanish realist novelist....

, aged 21 at the time, wrote about the parliamentary atmosphere of the First Republic:
The situation reached such levels of surrealism
Surrealism
Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members....

 that, while presiding over a Cabinet session, Estanislao Figueras yelled: "Gentlemen, I can't stand this any more. I am going to be frank with you: I'm fed up with all of us!" So fed up that on 10 June he left his resignation letter in his office, went for a walk through the Parque del Buen Retiro
Parque del Buen Retiro
The Buen Retiro Park is the largest park of the city of Madrid, Spain...

 and, without telling anyone, boarded the first train departing from the Atocha Station. He would only step down upon arriving in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

.

The Government of Pi i Margall


After Figueras' flight to France, the power vacuum
Power vacuum
A power vacuum is, in its broadest sense, an expression for a condition that exists when someone has lost control of something and no one has replaced them. It is usually used to refer to a political situation that can occur when a government has no identifiable central authority...

 created was tempting general Manuel Sodas into starting a pronunciamiento
Pronunciamiento
A pronunciamiento is a form of military rebellion or coup d'état peculiar to Spain and the Spanish American republics, particularly in the 19th century...

 when a Civil Guard
Civil Guard (Spain)
The Civil Guard is the Spanish gendarmerie. It has foreign peace-keeping missions and maintains military status and is the equivalent of a federal military-status police force. As a police force, the Guardia Civil is comparable today to the French Gendarmerie, the Italian Carabinieri and the...

 colonel, José de la Iglesia, showed up at Congress and declared that nobody would leave until a new President was elected. Figueras' fellow federalist and government minister Francisco Pi y Margall
Francisco Pi y Margall
Francisco Pi y Margall was a liberal Spanish statesman and romanticist writer. He was briefly president of the short-lived First Spanish Republic in 1873.-Early life:...

 was elected on June 11, but on his speech to the Assembly he declared he was at a complete loss and without a program. The main efforts of the new government focused on the drafting of the new Constitution and some social character-related bills:
  • Apportionment of disamortized lands among lessees, settlers and aparceros.
  • Reestablishment of the regular Army, with mandatory conscription
    Conscription
    Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in some sort of national service, most often military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names...

    .
  • Separation of Church and State, which had been deeply intertwined under Ferdinand VII and only slightly separated by Isabella II
    Isabella II of Spain
    Isabella II was the only female monarch of Spain in modern times. She came to the throne as an infant, but her succession was disputed by the Carlists, who refused to recognise a female sovereign, leading to the Carlist Wars. After a troubled reign, she was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of...

    .
  • Abolition of slavery
    Slavery
    Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

     throughout the nation. Though the 1812 Cádiz Constitution
    Spanish Constitution of 1812
    The Spanish Constitution of 1812 was promulgated 19 March 1812 by the Cádiz Cortes, the national legislative assembly of Spain, while in refuge from the Peninsular War...

     had already took some steps on the issue, the colonies remained opposed to the move from mainland Spain. Also, plans were made to limit child labor
    Child labor
    Child labour refers to the employment of children at regular and sustained labour. This practice is considered exploitative by many international organizations and is illegal in many countries...

    .
  • Establishment of a system ensuring free and compulsory education.
  • Legalization of the right of syndication, creation of mixed workers-managers juries and establishment of the 8 hours work day.


On 16 June a 25-member Committee was set up by the Cortes to study the draft Constitution of the Federal Republic of Spain, the redaction of which is mainly attributed to Emilio Castelar, with debate starting the following day. On 28 June Pi i Margall renewed the composition of his government, but due to the slow pace of the constitutional debates in the Cortes, events came crashing down on the government at a stunning pace. On 30 June the City Council of Seville
Seville
Seville is the artistic, historic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and of the province of Seville. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, with an average elevation of above sea level...

 passed a motion declaring the town a Social Republic, and the next day many federalist deputies left the Cortes in protest. About a week later, on 9 July Alcoy followed suit, in the midst of a wave of murders sparked by a revolutionary strike directed by local leaders of the First International. It was just the beginning: shortly after, the cantonal revolution swept across Spain with strikes, murders of officers by soldiers, lynching
Lynching
Lynching is an extrajudicial execution carried out by a mob, often by hanging, but also by burning at the stake or shooting, in order to punish an alleged transgressor, or to intimidate, control, or otherwise manipulate a population of people. It is related to other means of social control that...

 of city mayors and over a hundred casualties.

The federalist sentiment did not give rise to autonomous States, bursting into a constellation of independent cantons instead. Uprisings were daily news in the South-Eastern area of Levante
Levante, Spain
The Levante is a name used to refer to the eastern region of the Iberian Peninsula, on the Spanish Mediterranean coast. It roughly corresponds to the former Xarq Al-Andalus, but has no modern geopolitical definition...

 and Andalusia
Andalusia
Andalusia is the most populous and the second largest in area of the autonomous communities of Spain. The Andalusian autonomous community is officially recognised as a nationality of Spain. The territory is divided into eight provinces: Huelva, Seville, Cádiz, Córdoba, Málaga, Jaén, Granada and...

. Some cantons were provincial in nature, like Valencia
Valencia (province)
Valencia or València is a province of Spain, in the central part of the Valencian Community.It is bordered by the provinces of Alicante, Albacete, Cuenca, Teruel, Castellón, and the Mediterranean Sea...

 or Málaga
Málaga (province)
The Province of Málaga is located on the southern coast of Spain, in the Autonomous Community of Andalusia. It is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the South, and by the provinces of Cádiz, Sevilla, Córdoba and Granada.Its area is 7,308 km²...

, but most comprised just a city and its surroundings, like the more localised cantons of Alcoy, Cartagena
Cartagena, Spain
Cartagena is a Spanish city and a major naval station located in the Region of Murcia, by the Mediterranean coast, south-eastern Spain. As of January 2011, it has a population of 218,210 inhabitants being the Region’s second largest municipality and the country’s 6th non-Province capital...

, Seville
Seville
Seville is the artistic, historic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and of the province of Seville. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, with an average elevation of above sea level...

, Cádiz
Cádiz
Cadiz is a city and port in southwestern Spain. It is the capital of the homonymous province, one of eight which make up the autonomous community of Andalusia....

, Almansa
Almansa
Almansa is a Spanish town and municipality in the province of Albacete, part of the autonomous community of Castile-La Mancha. The municipality borders with Alicante, Valencia and Murcia...

, Torrevieja
Torrevieja
Torrevieja is a seaside city and municipality located on the Costa Blanca in the province of Alicante, in south-eastern Spain.Torrevieja lies about 30 miles south of the city of Alicante and has a population of 104,000...

, Castellón
Castellón de la Plana
Castellón de la Plana or Castelló de la Plana is the capital city of the province of Castelló, in the Valencian Community, Spain, in the east of the Iberian Peninsula, on the Costa del Azahar by the Mediterranean Sea...

, Granada
Granada
Granada is a city and the capital of the province of Granada, in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain. Granada is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, at the confluence of three rivers, the Beiro, the Darro and the Genil. It sits at an elevation of 738 metres above sea...

, Salamanca
Salamanca
Salamanca is a city in western Spain, in the community of Castile and León. Because it is known for its beautiful buildings and urban environment, the Old City was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. It is the most important university city in Spain and is known for its contributions to...

, Bailén
Bailen
Bailen may refer to:* Bailén, a town in Jaén, Spain* Battle of Bailén of 1808* General Emilio Aguinaldo, Cavite, a town in the Philippines, which was formerly known as Bailen...

, Andújar
Andújar
Andújar is a Spanish municipality of 38,539 people in the province of Jaén, in Andalusia. The municipality is divided by the Guadalquivir River. The northern part of the municipality is where the Natural Park of the Sierra de Andújar is situated. To the south are agricultural fields and...

, Tarifa
Tarifa
Tarifa is a small town in the province of Cádiz, Andalusia, on the southernmost coast of Spain. The town is located on the Costa de la Luz and across the Straits of Gibraltar facing Morocco. The municipality includes Punta de Tarifa, the southernmost point in continental Europe. There are five...

 and Algeciras
Algeciras
Algeciras is a port city in the south of Spain, and is the largest city on the Bay of Gibraltar . Port of Algeciras is one of the largest ports in Europe and in the world in three categories: container,...

. Even smaller were the village-based cantons of Camuñas
Camuñas
Camuñas is a municipality located in the province of Toledo, Castile-La Mancha, Spain. According to the 2006 census , the municipality has a population of 1856 inhabitants....

 (in Albacete) and Jumilla
Jumilla
Jumilla is a municipality in southeastern Spain. It is located in the province of Murcia, close to the town of Yecla.-Economy:Jumilla is home to the world's largest photovoltaic solar power farm, with an installed peak power capacity of 20 megawatts. The solar farm consists of 120,000 solar...

 (in Murcia). The latter is said to have issued a manifesto
Manifesto
A manifesto is a public declaration of principles and intentions, often political in nature. Manifestos relating to religious belief are generally referred to as creeds. Manifestos may also be life stance-related.-Etymology:...

 stating:
There is, however, no record of such a manifesto, nor of any similar declaration, in the municipal archives; and the proceedings of the time seemed to be within normality. This has motivated several historians to deny the authenticity of the manifesto and even the very existence of the Jumilla canton, stating that its invention was merely a form of anti-republican propaganda.

The most active – and known – of the cantons was that of Cartagena, born on 12 July at the city naval base under the inspiration of the federalist congressman Antonio Gálvez Arce, known as Antonete. The Cartagena would live six months of constant wars, and even minted its own currency, the duro cantonal.

The first deed of the Cartagenan cantonalists was the capture of the Saint Julian castle, which motivated a strange telegram sent by the city's captain-general to the Minister of the Navy: "Saint Julian castle shows Turkish flag". Such "Turkish flag" was in fact the cantonal flag, the first red flag
Red flag
In politics, a red flag is a symbol of Socialism, or Communism, or sometimes left-wing politics in general. It has been associated with left-wing politics since the French Revolution. Socialists adopted the symbol during the Revolutions of 1848 and it became a symbol of communism as a result of its...

 in Spanish history. Gálvez's passionate speeches allowed him to gain control of the Navy ships docked in the city, which at that time were among the best in the Spanish Navy. Under his command, the fleet wreaked havoc on the nearby Mediterranean shore, causing the Madrid government to declare him a pirate and set a bounty on his head. Back on land, he led an expedition towards Madrid that was defeated at Chinchilla
Chinchilla
Chinchillas are crepuscular rodents, slightly larger and more robust than ground squirrels, and are native to the Andes mountains in South America. Along with their relatives, viscachas, they make up the family Chinchillidae....

.

Two cantonal frigates, the Almansa and the Vitoria, set sail towards a foreign power (the Spanish city of Almería
Almería
Almería is a city in Andalusia, Spain, on the Mediterranean Sea. It is the capital of the province of the same name.-Toponym:Tradition says that the name Almería stems from the Arabic المرية Al-Mariyya: "The Mirror", comparing it to "The Mirror of the Sea"...

) for fund-raising. As the city would not pay, it was bombarded and taken by the cantonalists. General Contreras, commanding officer of the cantonal fleet, ordered the Marcha Real
Marcha Real
is the national anthem of Spain. It is one of the few national anthems in the world to have no official lyrics ....

 to be played as he unboarded. Afterwards, the deed would be repeated in Alicante
Alicante
Alicante or Alacant is a city in Spain, the capital of the province of Alicante and of the comarca of Alacantí, in the south of the Valencian Community. It is also a historic Mediterranean port. The population of the city of Alicante proper was 334,418, estimated , ranking as the second-largest...

, but on the trip back to Cartagena they were captured as pirates by the armored frigates HMS Swiftsure
HMS Swiftsure
The Royal Navy has had ships named HMS Swiftsure since 1573, including:*Swiftsure, a galleon launched in 1573, renamed Speedwell and rebuilt in 1607, and lost in 1624., a 42-gun great ship launched in 1621, and captured by the Dutch in 1666., a 70-gun ship built in 1673 and later renamed Revenge., ...

 and SMS Friedrich Karl, under the UK and German flags respectively.
An even worse problem was the Third Carlist War
Third Carlist War
The Third Carlist War was the last Carlist War in Spain. It is very often referred to as the Second Carlist War, as the 'second' had been small in scale and almost trivial in political consequence....

, in which the rebels controlled most of the Basque Country
Basque Country (autonomous community)
The Basque Country is an autonomous community of northern Spain. It includes the Basque provinces of Álava, Biscay and Gipuzkoa, also called Historical Territories....

, Navarre
Navarre
Navarre , officially the Chartered Community of Navarre is an autonomous community in northern Spain, bordering the Basque Country, La Rioja, and Aragon in Spain and Aquitaine in France...

 and Catalonia
Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

 without opposition, and sent raid parties throughout the Peninsula. The Carlist pretender, Charles VII
Carlos, Duke of Madrid
Infante Carlos María de los Dolores Juan Isidro José Francisco Quirin Antonio Miguel Gabriel Rafael de Borbón y Austria-Este, Duke of Madrid was the senior member of the House of Bourbon from 1887 until his death...

, had formed a rival government in Estella with his own ministers and was already minting currency, while the French connivance allowed him to receive external aid and fortify his defences. Between the Carlists and the cantonal revolution, the actual territory in which the short-lived Republic exerted undisputed authority did not extend much further than the province of Madrid itself and North-Western Spain, as cantonal uprisings took place as far North as Ávila.

Due to the rapid pace of the events, and without time for the new Constitution to be passed by the Cortes, Pi i Margall found himself between a rock and the proverbial hard place of the cantonal revolution. However, the effective Commander in Chief of the Republic rejected all calls, from both military and political instances, to exert repression on the cantonal uprisings, as he argued they were just following his very own doctrine. Thus, he was forced to resign on 18 July after just 37 days in office. He would later sorely describe his experience as premier:

Drafting the Federal Constitution


The draft of the Federal Constitution of the First Republic of Spain developed at length into 117 articles organized under 17 titles.

In the first article, the following is found:


Composing the Spanish Nation the states of Andalucía Alta, Andalucía Baja, Aragón, Asturias, Baleares, Canarias, Castilla la Nueva, Castilla la Vieja, Cataluña, Cuba, Extremadura, Galicia, Murcia, Navarra, Puerto Rico, Valencia, Regiones Vascongadas. The states will be able to conserve the actual provinces and modify them, according to their territorial necessities.


These states would have "complete economic-administrative autonomy and political autonomy compatible with the existence of the nation" such as "the ability to give it a political constitution" (articles 92 and 93).

The constitutional draft anticipated in Title IV—in addition to the classic Legislative Power, Executive Power and Judicial Power—a fourth Relational Power that would be exercised by the president of the Republic.

Legislative Power would be in the hands of the Federal Cortes, which would be composed of the Congress and the Senate. Congress was to be a house of proportional representation with one representative for every 50,000 souls, renewing every two years. The Senate was to be a house of territorial representation, four senators being elected by the Cortes of each one of the states.

Executive Power would be exercised by the Ministry of Advisors, whose president would be elected by the president of the republic.

Article 40 of the draft stated: "In the political organization of the Spanish nation, all things individual are the pure domain of the individual; all things municipal are that of the municipality; all things regional are that of the state; and all things national, of the Federation." The following article declared that "All powers are elective, revocable, and accountable," and Article 42 that "Sovereignty resides in all citizens, which they exercise by their own representation by the political organizations of the Republic, constituted through universal suffrage."

Judicial Power would reside in the Federal Supreme Court, which would be composed "of three magistrates for each state of the federation" (Article 73) that would never be elected by the Executive Power or the Legislative Power. It also would establish that all courts would be profession and the judicial institution for all classes of representatives.

Relational Power would be exercised by the president of the Federal Republic whose mandate would last "four years, not being immediately reeligible", as says Article 81 of the draft.

The Government of Nicolás Salmerón


After accepting the resignation of Pi i Margall, Nicolás Salmerón was elected president of the Executive Power, with 119 votes in favor and 93 votes against.

The new president, who was a moderate federalist republican, defended the necessity of arriving at an understanding with the more moderate or conservative groups and a slow transition toward a federal republic. His oratory was crushing: Francisco Silvela said that in his speeches, Salmerón only used one weapon—artillery. Antonio Maura characterized the professorial tone of Don Nicolás, saying that "it always seemed that he was addressing the metaphysicists of Albacete."

Already during his stints as Minister of Mercy and Justice in the government of Estanislao Figueras, he brought about the abolition of the death penalty, even the independence of judicial power in the face of the political.

His nomination produced an intensification of the cantonal movement, which to control he had to resort to generals openly against the Federal Republic, sending military expeditions to Andalucía and Valencia under the respective command of generals Pavía and Martínez Campos. One after another the separate cantons were subdued, except that of Cartagena, which resisted until 12 January 1874.

His generals asked the "awareness" of the government and his signature to execute various death sentences on various deserting soldiers on the Carlist front, essential, according to them, to reestablishing discipline on the army. Salmerón, man of very advanced liberal principles, declined to concede the "awareness" and as is written on the wall of his mausoleum, "abandoned power to not sign a death sentence." In this way, he resigned on 6 September.

The Government of Emilio Castelar


The next day, 7 September, the man elected to occupy the presidency of the Executive Power was unitarian Emilio Castelar, professor of History and distinguished orator, by 133 votes in favor against the 67 obtained by Pi i Margall. During his previous time as Minister of State in the government of Estanislao Figueras, Castelar promoted and achieved the approval of the abolition of slavery in the overseas territory of Puerto Rico, although not in Cuba because of the continuing war situation. This act by the First Spanish Republic is commemorated in Puerto Rico
Ponce massacre
The Ponce massacre occurred on 21 March 1937 when a peaceful march in Ponce, Puerto Rico, by the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party commemorating the ending of slavery in Puerto Rico by the governing Spanish National Assembly in 1873, and coinciding with a protest against the incarceration by the...

 up to the present day.

Motivated by the difficult situation through which the Republic was passing, with the aggravation of the Carlist War, Emilio Castelar commenced the reorganization of the army, announcing before the Cortes "to sustain this form of government, I need much infantry, much cavalry, much artillery, much Civil Guard, and many riflemen." In spite of the federalist opposition, the Cortes conceded to him extraordinary powers to govern, after which they closed the Cortes on 20 September. He confirmed the death sentences that provoked the resignation of his predecessor, reestablished order, and was at the point of surrendering to the cantonalists of Cartagena.

Without doubt, the chaos incited by the cantonal revolt and the worsening of the Carlist War led them to reopen the Cortes on 2 January 1874, in order to bring to a vote the management and ask for unlimited powers with which to save the Republic from complete discredit.

In effect, the Cortes session opened on 2 January 1874, but the federalists rose up against Don Emilio Castelar, who was supported by the captain general of Madrid, Don Manuel Pavía, former supporter of Prim, with whom he had rebelled in Villarejo de Salvanés
Villarejo de Salvanés
Villarejo de Salvanés is a municipality of the Community of Madrid, Spain....

. Two very different forces threatened to interrupt the deliberations of the Cortes: the federalists, eager to finish Castelar with mighty wrath, and the troops of General Pavía, supporter of Castelar, who had decided to show up in his support to avoid his defeat before the federalists.

The committed regiments had already left at the captain general's orders when the Cortes recognized Castelar's defeat by 119 votes against 101. The former president of the Republic, and the president of the Cortes, Nicolás Salmerón, called for a new vote to elect a new chief of the Executive Power.

Pavía situated himself in front of the building with his staff and ordered two adjutants to impose upon Salmerón the dissolution of the Cortes session and the evacuation of the building in five minutes. The Civil Guard, which guarded the Congress, put into action the general's orders and occupied the halls of Congress (without entering the floor). It was 6:55 in the morning, when the vote to elect the federalist candidate Eduardo Palance was proceeding, and Salmerón, upon receiving the captain general's order, suspended the vote and communicated the grave situation to the representatives. The representatives abandoned the building with all speed, amidst scenes of exaggerated hysterics; some even threw themselves out the windows. Pavía, surprised, asked: "But gentlemen, Why jump out the windows when you can leave through the door?"

Pavía, who was a unitarian republican, offered to allow Emilio Castelar to continue in the presidency, but he refused, not wanting to maintain power through undemocratic means. These acts signified the unofficial end of the First Republic, although it officially continued for almost a year.

The Unitary Republic


At the same time as the political convulsions were taking place, General López Domínguez entered into Cartagena on 12 January, replacing Martínez Campos, while Antonete Gálvez, with more than a thousand men, struggled to elude him near the border of Numancia
Numantia
Numantia is the name of an ancient Celtiberian settlement, whose remains are located 7 km north of the city of Soria, on a hill known as Cerro de la Muela in the municipality of Garray....

 (Numantia) and set course for Orán
Oran
Oran is a major city on the northwestern Mediterranean coast of Algeria, and the second largest city of the country.It is the capital of the Oran Province . The city has a population of 759,645 , while the metropolitan area has a population of approximately 1,500,000, making it the second largest...

, (Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

). The end of the cantonal experience was marked by Gálvez with his exile, but the Bourbon Restoration permitted him through amnesty to return to his native Torreagüera. In this period he would strike up a strange and warm friendship with Don Antonio Cánovas del Castillo
Antonio Cánovas del Castillo
Antonio Cánovas del Castillo was a Spanish politician and historian known principally for his role in supporting the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy to the Spanish throne and for his death at the hands of an anarchist assassin, Michele Angiolillo.-Early career:Born in Málaga as the son of...

, most responsible for the Restoration, who considered Gálvez a sincere, honorable, and valiant man, although one of exaggerated political ideas.

Meanwhile, after Emilio Castelar's refusal to continue as president, he put General Serrano, recently returned from his exile in Biarritz
Biarritz
Biarritz is a city which lies on the Bay of Biscay, on the Atlantic coast, in south-western France. It is a luxurious seaside town and is popular with tourists and surfers....

 for his implication in the attempted coup of 23 April, in charge of the formation of a coalition government that grouped together monarchists, conservatives, and unitarian republicans, but excluded federalist republicans.

Francisco Serrano, Duke of Torre, 63 years old, former collaborator of Isabel II, had already twice freed the leadership of the state. He proclaimed the Unitary Republic, taking control of the presidency of the Executive Power, and dispensing with the Cortes in a conservative republican dictatorship. During his mandate he once and for all subdued the cantonal insurrections, and that of Cartagena, and concentrated his forces on the Carlist War in the north of Spain. The general attempted without success to consolidate power to himself in dictatorship form, following the example of the regime of dukes and generals that prevailed in France upon the fall of Napoleon III and after the defeat of the Paris Commune
Paris Commune
The Paris Commune was a government that briefly ruled Paris from March 18 to May 28, 1871. It existed before the split between anarchists and Marxists had taken place, and it is hailed by both groups as the first assumption of power by the working class during the Industrial Revolution...

.

In just a few months, on 13 May, Serrano ceded the presidency of the government to Juan de Zavala y de la Puente to personally take control of the operations against the Carlists in the north. Práxedes Mateo Sagaste took charge of the government on 3 September. On 10 December the siege of Pamplona began, but it was interrupted by the Proclamation of Sagunto.

The End of the Republic


On 29 December 1874 in Sagunto
Sagunto
Sagunto or Sagunt is an ancient city in Eastern Spain, in the modern fertile comarca of Camp de Morvedre in the province of Valencia. It is located in a hilly site, c. 30 km north of Valencia, close to the Costa del Azahar on the Mediterranean Sea...

, General Martínez Campos came out in favor of the restoration to the throne of the Bourbon monarchy in the personage of Don Alfonso de Borbón, son of Isabel II. The government of Sagasta did not oppose this announcement, permitting the restoration of the monarchy. The triumph of the Bourbon Restoration succeeded thanks to the previous work of Antonio Cánovas del Castillo
Antonio Cánovas del Castillo
Antonio Cánovas del Castillo was a Spanish politician and historian known principally for his role in supporting the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy to the Spanish throne and for his death at the hands of an anarchist assassin, Michele Angiolillo.-Early career:Born in Málaga as the son of...

, which without a doubt was contrary to military rule.

Until 1931, the Spanish republicans celebrated the 11 February anniversary of the First Republic. Thereafter, the commemoration was moved to 14 April, the anniversary of the proclamation of the Second Republic
Second Spanish Republic
The Second Spanish Republic was the government of Spain between April 14 1931, and its destruction by a military rebellion, led by General Francisco Franco....

in 1932.

Further reading

  • Brandt Joseph A. Toward the New Spain: The Spanish Revolution of 1868 and the First Republic (1977)
  • Carr, Raymond, ed. Spain: A History (2001)

External links