Wednesday, 29 January 2014

The First Spanish Republic, the Monarchy, the Second Republic, the Civil War, Dictatorship and the Constitution.

All of my posts are for my history of art courses so I thought I'd do a small post on what I've been doing in Spanish. Obviously we do a lot on language and grammar but we also do a section on Spanish life and history.

Spain today is a constitutional monarchy, much like England. They have a Monarch, Juan Carlos, and a government. What makes us different though is that Elizabeth II had been queen for nearly 30 years before Spain even became a constitutional monarchy. Another difference is that Spain actually have a written constitution like in America whereas we do not.

In 1873 the queen Isabel II exiled and named Armadeo de Saboya the king of Spain but with a provisional government at his side. This was the first republic that lasted from 1873 to 1874.

By 1874 Alfonso VII, the son of Isabel II, restored the monarchy. There was a lot of opposition, anarchy and a problem in the distribution of equality and wealth. This tension only got worse when in 1893 the remaining colonies of Spain were embarrassingly lost.

Once his son, Alfonso VIII came to the throne there was still a lot of anarchy and to try and calm the situation he asked Primo de Rivera to come and start a Military Dictatorship from 1923-30.

Rivera didn't carry out his duties very well and thus by 1931 he abdicated and the second republic was born. There was a constitution written up and a lot of reforms. You could get divorced, the death penalty no longer in use and women could even open up bank accounts. The right thought the reforms were inadequate while the conservative left felt they were excessive.

In 1936 the Popular Front was established as the new government, made from a coalition of the right headed by Manuel Azana. However at the same time there was a military uprising with a number of leftist generals, of which Franco was one.

While Spain entered a Civil War against the leftists and the republic, the western powers issued a decree of 'no intervention'. While the official stance was no intervention that did not stop the International Brigade forming - a group of volunteers made up from 50 different countries. The only country to openly help Spain was Russia while Italy and Germany helped Franco, for example the bombing of Guernica in 1937.

The republic fell on the first of April 1939. General Franco was named head of state, and the head of the National Movement. Liberties and civil rights were taken away and the death penalty re-established. The church and army became the pillars of society.

After WWII Franco was penalised for helping Hitler and thus was the establishment of Autarky - whereby Spain did not buy or sell out of Spain. However by 1953 Franco tried to repair the international relations that he had destroyed and signs a treaty with the US and in 1955 joined the UN. In 1959 he tried to develop the industrial and commercial sectors and began to loosen some restrictions of trade and even decentralised some industry.

In 1969 he named Juan Carlos as his successor. In 1975 amid lots of clandestine opposition he died. Juan Carlos became the head of state and re-established the monarchy and signed the Spanish constitution in 1978.

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