Riego's pronouncement: the beginning of the Revolutions of 1820

Riego's pronouncement: the beginning of the Revolutions of 1820

The liberal revolution that occurred in Spain in 1820 After a very turbulent decade, it was the beginning of the Revolutions of 1820. Behind the Spanish War of Independence, the Liberals called for the return of Ferdinand VII, called "the Wanted", For him to sign the Constitution of 1812. However, the monarch had another idea in mind and rejected the Magna Carta devised by the Cortes of Cádiz, restoring absolute power over his figure.

Until 1820, Fernando VII used his position to repress the Liberals at all levels. These were very numerous among the ranks of the army and they attempted a series of military uprisings in 1816 but were repressed quite harshly by forces loyal to the absolutist monarch.

But this changed on January 1, 1820. That day, the colonel Rafael de Riego made a military statement in The Heads of San Juan in the province of Seville. Together with other officers, such as Antonio Quiroga, he proclaimed the constitution and ordered the arrest of the general-in-chief of the expeditionary force charged with ending the South American independentists who were ravaging the Spanish colonies.

Not sure who would support him in his revolt, he waited for reinforcements from other major cities. They did not make up a large enough contingent to be able to carry out an action on Madrid, so it was not until the beginning of March 1820 that they could really do something. That month, there was a great liberal insurrection in Galicia that quickly spread throughout the country, to the point that on March 7 the king Fernando VII signed a decree by which he submitted "to the will of the people" and swore the Constitution of 1812.

This is the beginning of the Liberal Triennium that lasted until 1823. The measures they applied were the confiscation and suppression of manors, estates and the Inquisition, among others. His intention was to end the foundations of absolutism, whether in the social, economic or political plane. The main focus of the liberal battle was the Church, to which they wanted to apply the same principles that the French had carried out in their revolution of 1789. Its triumph had a decisive influence on other countries such as Portugal, Greece and Italy, which they would seek to obtain a similar liberal success.

The Liberals were divided betweentwelve-year-olds” (later, moderate) Y "exalted” (later progressive). The first asked modify the Constitution, seeking a transaction with the king, while the exalted or also known as "twentysomethings”, They asked the strict application of the Constitution of 1812. This division caused great political instability that weakened the liberal idea in the country and fostered absolutist ideas that sought to return.

Thanks to the conspiracies of the monarch and the serious economic crisis, several protest movements arose against the liberal government. Groups of peasants strongly influenced by the Church appeared in the Basque Country, Navarra, Aragon and Catalonia. Seeing the relative success that the absolutist postulates could have, the realistic opposition to the liberal government created the "Supreme Regency of Spain" in Urgel. It was a Spanish government alternative to liberalism but that ended up failing. This enlightened Ferdinand VII and his supporters, who saw abroad the only hope of regaining power.

In 1822, the Spanish monarch addressed the Verona Congress to ask for help from Holy Alliance to regain his absolute throne. These, even with the reluctance of Great Britain, granted permission to France to invade Spain. On April 7, 1823, the Gallic king sent the so-called “One Hundred Thousand Sons of St. Louis”, Led by the Duke of Angouleme, to end liberalism in the Spanish kingdom. Little by little, the resistance diminished until, finally, on October 1, the last focus of the liberals was reduced in Cádiz.

From now on the so-called Ominous Decade would begin in Spain (1823-1833), with an absolutist government marked by unprecedented repression and persecution of liberals. However, the ideas with which the Spanish people rose up and that Riego defended until the end, would spread like a wick through neighboring countries and would remain forever in the ideology of a society that only endured 10 more years of absolutism.

Passionate about History, he has a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication. Since he was a child he loved history and ended up exploring the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries above all.

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