The Project Gutenberg EBook of Spain, by Frederick Albion Ober

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most
other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions
whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of
the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at  If you are not located in the United States, you'll have
to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this ebook.

Title: Spain
       History for Young Readers

Author: Frederick Albion Ober

Release Date: October 15, 2014 [EBook #47125]
[Last updated September 8, 2020]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


Produced by Giovanni Fini, Juliet Sutherland and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at


History for Young Readers







Copyright, 1899,


Printed in the United States of America



As I pause in my work to pass in review the events of three thousand years, which I have tried to narrate in this little book, I probably anticipate my readers in wondering at the audacity, not to say presumption, which moved me to this undertaking. It came about quite naturally, to be sure, as the result of an interest awakened many years ago in a nation which had sent to America such discoverers as Columbus and Vespucci, such soldiers as Cortes and Pizarro, De Soto, and Ponce de Leon. At first I became curious to visit the scenes of their adventures, then to journey through the country whence they had come; and the result has been that I have devoted[vi] a portion of my life to a study of both people and country.

I do not, of course, assume that an interest in a subject should warrant one in writing about it, be he never so well equipped for the purpose; but with me, the seeing gives birth to a desire to convey to others the pleasure I feel, or the lesson I may derive, from the object under contemplation. Thus, while I never intended more than to make a few forays into the historic fields of Spain, when I visited that country ten years ago, it has eventuated that instead of skirmishing with the outposts, I have attacked the very citadel. That I have come off unscathed, and with spoil of some sort, is self-evident; but whether it might not have been to my readers’ profit if I had not done so, is a question for them to decide. I feel it to be, indeed, as true to-day as it was a score of years ago that (in the words of a standard encyclopædia) “there is no good general history of Spain!”

Without attempting to extenuate any possible errors, yet I would call attention to the fact that it is extremely difficult to clothe in[vii] picturesque language (and at the same time be faithful to the verities of history) the details of a story extending over so vast a range, and bring that story within the compass of a single volume.

The best histories are those which treat of single episodes or periods, such as Prescott’s Ferdinand and Isabella, Irving’s Conquest of Spain, Spanish Voyages, and Conquest of Granada. To these, in truth, I would refer my young readers for a more extended acquaintance with Spain and her fascinating history. In those charming narratives the dry bones of fact are clothed in graceful drapery, and the reader moves and acts with their heroes, kings, and queens, in most distinguished company.

I do not like to allude to the recent events in Spanish history, by which our own country was forced into collision with Spain; and I will dismiss the subject merely with the statement that it has been my endeavour to present an accurate account of the unfortunate war, in which I have had the benefit of supervision by competent authorities.

To them, and to the silent companions of[viii] my voyages and excursions, drawn from the musty shelves of the library, and frequently exposed to peril “by flood and field,” I would herewith express my heartfelt thanks.

F. A. O.

Washington, D. C., February, 1899.



I. Ancient Iberia 1
II. Phœnicians and Carthaginians 6
III. Spain a Roman province 13
IV. A kingdom of the Goths 25
V. The invasion from Africa 36
VI. The Western Califate 45
VII. Spain’s heroic age 54
VIII. Decline of the Moors 63
IX. Kings of Castile and Aragon 72
X. Ferdinand and Isabella 82
XI. How the Moors were subjugated 92
XII. The fall of Granada 106
XIII. A memorable reign 113
XIV. When Spain was great 123
XV. Charles I and Philip II 133
XVI. Spain’s religious wars 142
XVII. The seventeenth century 154
XVIII. The house of Bourbon 165
XIX.[x] Charles IV and Bonaparte 176
XX. The reign of Ferdinand VII 187
XXI. Isabella II and the Carlists 194
XXII. From Isabella II to Alfonso XIII 203
XXIII. Spain and her colonies 212
XXIV. Cuba’s fight for freedom 222
XXV. War with the United States 234
XXVI. Spain at the close of the war 255
XXVII. The treaty of peace 266
  Index 279





In the southwestern corner of Europe, with the Atlantic Ocean on the north and west, and the Mediterranean Sea south and east, lies the Iberian Peninsula, eleven thirteenths of which belong to the country known as Spain. The other two thirteenths pertain to Portugal, a country politically distinct from Spain, but with similar physical features in the main.

Although we do not know when it first received its ancient name, Iberia, nor even whence came its very first peoples, yet we know that for ages it has existed as a fair and fertile land, capable of supporting millions of inhabitants.


It is essentially a mountainous country, for, first of all, there are the Pyrenees, which partly bound it on the north; the Cantabrian range, in the northwest; the Guadarrama, in the central region; and the Sierras Morena and Nevada, in the south. Between these mountain ranges lie great tablelands and deep valleys, the latter traversed by rivers swift and long, but few of them navigable far from the sea.

It is its mountainous character that has given this land, lying as it does beneath a southern sun, a great diversity of climate; so that we may say it has at least four climatic zones: First, the zone of the plateau, cold in winter and hot in summer, where the soil is arid; second, that of the northwestern provinces, with a moist climate; third, that of the eastern coast, where a balance is preserved between the two extremes of the others; and, fourth, the subtropical zone of the south coast, which is hot as well as humid.

Thus Spain has a more varied vegetation than any other country of Europe, for its high plains and mountainous valleys are almost Alpine in the character of their flora; its North Atlantic region has ferns and grassy meadows, forests of oak, beech, and chestnut; and the southeast and south a flora that is[3] almost African, and comprising many species that are purely tropical.

So we find that Spain, though only six hundred and fifty miles in greatest length, and with an area of but little more than one hundred and ninety thousand square miles, can boast forests of olives and cork oaks, hillsides covered with vineyards, valleys filled with orange trees, almonds, pomegranates, sugar cane, and with a range of fruits extending from the apple of the northern region to the date palm of the south, which last was brought over from Africa. Honeybees lay up rich stores from the thyme-covered tablelands, silkworms flourish in the mulberry groves of the eastern provinces, and the cochineal feeds on the cactus of the south.

Not only does the land yield every variety of food for the sustenance of man, but, with its thirteen hundred miles of coast line, Spain has boundless stores of fish, such as anchovies, tunnies, and salmon in their season. And again, while almost every species of the animal as well as the vegetable kingdom might find a congenial home here, Nature has not been sparing of her minerals, such as copper, lead, silver, gold, coal, iron, cobalt, and quicksilver.

These are some of the natural resources of Spain, showing, as has been said already,[4] that it was bountifully endowed by the Creator with all things necessary to man’s subsistence, even though he might through ignorance prodigally waste them.

We have no authentic history of the first peoples inhabiting Iberia, but it is believed that a remnant of their descendants yet exists in northern Spain, in the Basques, whose speech and customs differ from those of all others on the face of the earth. The Basques claim that they are descended from the original people, and say, moreover, that their language was the veritable speech of Paradise. It is difficult enough to acquire, at all events, and they have a tradition that the “Evil One” himself once spent seven years in attempting to master it, and then gave up in despair, after having acquired but two words, “yes” and “no,” which he forgot as soon as he left the country!

But by the twilight of tradition we observe an invasion of the peninsula by the Celts, or Kelts, a wave from the great Aryan deluge that at one time submerged all Europe, and which overleaped the Pyrenees and swept all before it. And these Aryan Kelts, or Keltic Aryans, became masters of Spain, not so much through conquest in war as by intermingling with the natives; and there resulted, it is said, another and distinct people,[5] or race, called the Celtiberian. Now, while the aborigines were probably swarthy and short of stature, the incoming Kelts were tall and fair, excellent horsemen, hunters, and tillers of the soil. As both races were warlike, their descendants became celebrated, in after years, for their prowess, and when the Romans invaded Spain these brave Celtiberians gave them great trouble, and resisted subjection to the very last.

They were rude and uncivilized, and, if they built cities or towns, no remains of such exist, of which we are aware. In their religion they were Nature worshippers, blindly revering the god of day, the stars of night, and the “phenomena of dawn and sunrise.” Remains of their rude temples, it is claimed, have been found in Portugal, where dwelt that branch of the race known as Lusitanians.




The native Iberians knew of silver and gold ore in the hills of southern Spain, which the Phœnician merchant-sailors from Tyre taught them to utilize, giving them in exchange the products of their skill, and in course of time a great trade was carried on between distant Phœnicia on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean and Iberian “Tarshish” beyond its western end. Does not the prophet Ezekiel say, speaking of Phœnician Tyre, “Tarshish was thy merchant, by reason of the multitude of all kinds of riches”?

Tarshish, sometimes called by its Latin form, Tartessus, was the name applied, probably, to the region about the mouth of the river Guadalquivir, and perhaps to all that portion of Spain now known as Andalusia.[7] Here the Phœnicians founded the city to-day known as Cadiz, and which they called “Gaddir,” or fortress, subsequently named Gadez by the Romans. Although the Phœnician sailors had long traded here—for the founding of cities is not the first occupation of explorers or traders—yet the probable beginning of Cadiz, about 1100 b.c., or three thousand years ago, is the first date that we can even approximately establish in Spanish chronology.

Two centuries later, or about 900 b.c., Greek sailors arrived at the Catalonian coast of northeastern Spain, and there founded a colony which became prosperous through its traffic with the natives. The Greeks had already sailed through the Straits of Gibraltar, and declared that they had reached the extreme verge of the habitable globe. In token of this their great Hercules, or the Tyrian hero, had set up two monuments, one on the European and the other on the African coast, which even to-day are known as the “Pillars of Hercules.” There are other traditions referring to Hercules and his connection with Spain, for it is thought that in this country he sought the oxen of the triplebodied Geryones, as he was on his way back from Gadira (or Gaddir), when he killed the monster Cacus. And further, there is not[8] much doubt that the famed “Hesperides” were located here, from which, as one of the Herculean “labours,” the son of Zeus was to fetch the golden apples. Hence it will be seen that the early traditions of Spain are very respectably connected! And, moreover, we should not forget that the Pillars of Hercules are perpetuated in the American “dollar mark” ($), the two upright columns, wreathed within a scroll, according to a fanciful legend.

In the seventh century b.c., Gaddir, or Cadiz, was a flourishing city, as also was another Phœnician settlement on the northeast coast, Tartessus, or Tarracco, the modern Tarragona, since famous for its wines and Roman ruins. During the first centuries of Phœnician commerce with Spain, traditions tell us, silver was so abundant that the Tyrians not only loaded their vessels with the ore, but hammered it into anchors and ballast for their ships. Gold, silver, and copper coins were minted and ornaments wrought; and these, together with other objects of antiquity, are frequently found to-day—relics of the ancient Gaddir, or of Phœnician “Cadiz under the Sea.” Some have held that, while the first city was founded here, at the mouth of the Guadalquivir, yet the mines of gold, silver, and copper were those we find to-day[9] more northerly, in the province of Huelva. From the port of Huelva, at the mouth of the Rio Tinto, vast amounts of copper have been exported in modern times; and, moreover, this same river, down which the caravels of Columbus sailed at the very beginning of their first voyage to America, derived its ancient name from the copper colour of its waters.

The Phœnicians came here as merchant rovers; perhaps at times they had acted as pirates of the sea, but had carried on no war of conquest. At the most, they colonized a few seacoast cities, and in exchange for the natural products of Spain they bestowed upon the natives the benefits of their civilization, including, it is thought, the alphabet and the art of writing.

It was left for the Phœnician colony of Carthage to bring the Iberians directly tributary to another people, soon after the close of the first Punic war. Though, according to tradition, an embassy of Gauls and Iberians was sent to Alexander the Great, in the fourth century b.c., yet they still existed in obscurity when the great Hamilcar Barca turned his attention to Spain as a possible recruiting ground for his depleted armies. Rome had conquered him in Sardinia and Sicily, which provinces he had lost to Carthage, and he[10] had been compelled to sue for peace. But his hatred of Rome was implacable, and, foreseeing the futility of waging further war from Africa direct, he passed over into Spain, and there again built up his forces with recruits from the wild but fearless Celtiberians.

Hasdrubal, Hamilcar’s son-in-law, who founded the city of New Carthage, or Cartagena, in Spain, after Hamilcar was killed, in the year 228 b.c., carried on the conquest of Spain until himself assassinated seven years later.

Hannibal, son of Hamilcar, was but eighteen years old when his father died, and twenty-six when Hasdrubal was killed, but he had been bred to war from childhood, trained to fight with the Spanish levies, and taught to hate the arch-enemy of Carthage. When, as a boy, he had pleaded with Hamilcar to be taken with him to Spain, his father had consented only after he had sworn, on the altar of Jupiter the Great, eternal enmity to Rome. Not only was he brought up in camp, sleeping and eating with the native troops, but in early manhood he was married to a Spanish woman, and by this act had won the native soldiers’ regard, as well as by his valour.

Chosen by the troops as Hasdrubal’s successor, Hannibal began his real campaign against Rome two years later, 218 b.c., laying[11] siege to Saguntum, a Greek city under Roman protection, in the province of Valencia. Famous in history has become that siege of Saguntum, for the valour of its defenders and the persistence of its foes, lasting nearly a year, and ending in its total destruction; for, finding themselves hemmed in by Hannibal’s army of one hundred and fifty thousand men, and their fortifications crumbling beneath the terrible battering-rams, the Saguntine soldiers made a vast heap of all their valuables, gathered around it their women and children, and sallied forth to meet their death without the walls. At the same time the women set fire to the pile and cast themselves into it, along with their children; and thus perished the last of the heroic Saguntines.

You will not find Saguntum on the map of modern Spain; but in its place, and on its site, Murviedro—meaning the old walls—on the east coast, north of the city of Valencia.

Thus was ushered in what was known as the second Punic War—for Rome promptly resented this destruction of a colony in alliance with her; and for the first time sent an army to Spain. To forestall his enemies, Hannibal resolved to carry the war into Italy. That same summer he left the city of Cartagena with twelve thousand horsemen, thirty-seven[12] elephants, and ninety thousand foot soldiers, for the conquest of Rome. He had been drilling his soldiers and husbanding his resources for years, in anticipation of this momentous event; but even then it would seem that he was poorly prepared to meet a nation that could put in the field an army of trained soldiers three times as great as his. But, after the wonderful passage of the Alps, when his force had been reduced to less than six thousand horse and twenty thousand foot soldiers, Hannibal still pushed on, to that long and terrible campaign against Rome, lasting fifteen years, and not to end until this great commander—declared to have been the greatest of his age—was recalled to Carthage to assist in its defence.




It is not within the scope of our inquiry to follow the mighty Carthaginian throughout his marvellous campaign against Rome, during which he came so close to final success that he rode up to one of its gates and threw his spear into the city; but we must not fail to note that it was planned in Spain, carried out from that country as a base, and at first was mainly fought by Celtiberian soldiers. Meanwhile, though Hannibal had carried out his scheme of war on a magnificent scale, and in the end all but brought Rome to terms, yet in Spain, the country he had left, affairs had not progressed well with the Carthaginians.

They had been left with Hannibal’s brother Hasdrubal in charge, who, after defeating a Roman army under Cneius Scipio, in the[14] year 212, four years later marched through Gaul to the assistance of the Africans. He made the perilous passage of the Alps successfully, but was surprised and defeated by the Roman consul Nero, by whose brutal orders his head was cut off and thrown into Hannibal’s camp.

The first actual reverses to the Carthaginians in Spain came through Publius Cornelius Scipio, who, a Roman ædile of noble appearance, eloquent and popular, was sent thither by acclamation to attack them in the rear. He had already felt the might of Hannibal, first at the battle of Ticinus—where he had saved his father’s life—at Trebia, and at Cannæ, where the Romans suffered such terrible defeats. He met and checked Hasdrubal, but could not prevent him from crossing the Pyrenees, and so turned his attention to Cartagena, the wealthy city on the southern coast. So well timed were his movements that his fleet and army arrived there the same day, and leading his soldiers through a shallow lake, where the fortifications were the weakest, after fierce fighting he drove the defenders from the citadel, took the city, and put every warrior to the sword. The plunder of this Carthaginian stronghold was immense, for besides the five war ships and one hundred and thirteen merchant vessels in the harbour,[15] there were brought to him two hundred and seventy-six golden bowls weighing a pound apiece, and eighteen thousand pounds of silver, wrought and coined. Ten thousand prisoners fell into his hands, including many hostages of Spanish tribes left as pledges to Hannibal and Hasdrubal for the fidelity of native soldiers. These, by a conciliatory policy, Scipio soon secured as allies, and with their aid eventually drove the last of the Carthaginians out of the peninsula. The last city to fall was Cadiz, in b.c. 206, and in 205 Scipio returned to Rome, and was elected consul in recognition of his great achievements.

All this time Hannibal was waging desperate war against Rome, but in the year 203 he was recalled to Africa, on account of the threatened invasion by the Romans under Scipio, who, although he had brought all Carthaginian Spain under Roman dominion, had yet failed of the original object of his invasion, which had been the diversion of Hannibal from the conquest of Italy. So he resolved to “carry the war into Africa,” and so successful was he that Hannibal was utterly defeated at the battle of Zama, 19th October, 202 b.c. Peace was concluded between Rome and Carthage the following year, but the African city was left shorn of all her colonial possessions, and in such[16] pitiable condition as to be no longer a menace to her foes.

For this great victory Scipio received the surname of “Africanus,” by which he is known to history, and brought to a close the second Punic War, which has been called “the war of one man (Hannibal) with a nation.” The first, as we have seen, resulted in the occupation of Spain by Hamilcar Barca; the second was the outcome of the destruction of Saguntum by his son Hannibal; the third and last Punic War was brought about by the protests of humiliated Carthage against Roman aggressions, and ended in its siege, capture, and total destruction in the year 146 b.c.

Both Hannibal and Scipio Africanus died in the year 183 b.c., the former an exile, the latter in retirement at his country seat in Campania. It was another Scipio, Æmilianus, who thirty-seven years later acquired the surname of “Africanus Minor” for his capture of Carthage; and it was he who carried out the Roman senate’s orders to raze the walls, drive the ploughshare over its site, and sow it with salt.

Three years before the final destruction of Carthage, died another Roman, Cato, whose reiterated “Delenda est Carthago[17]” in 207, and in Africa with the proconsul Scipio Africanus, whose luxurious mode of living he denounced. Appointed to a position in Spain, in the year 195 he crushed a rising of the Celtiberi, in which his military genius shone so conspicuously that he was given a “triumph” when he returned to Rome the next year.

The Celtiberi were those brave and powerful people of ancient Spain to whom we have already alluded. At the time of the Carthaginian expulsion from the peninsula the Romans had not conquered the whole of Spain, for the Celtiberians held all the vast interior region, where they were firmly intrenched; and besides these there were yet unknown and unsubjugated peoples in the northwest. Scipio’s rule, though brief, was on the whole salutary, and at this time the Roman soldiery began to look upon Spain as a desirable country to settle in after their terms of service had expired. Many of them married Spanish women, proconsuls were appointed from Rome, cities were built, colonies planted, military roads constructed, and through these means the Latin language gradually took the place of native dialects. In this manner was the Iberian peninsula[18] Romanized—which in those days meant civilized. It became a province of the Roman Empire, and was divided into Hispania Citerior and Hispania Ulterior, or Hither and Farther Spain. Still, Spain yet required prætors who were invested with consular power, and some twenty thousand Roman legionaries, to keep it in order, as the turbulent Celtiberians, intrenched in their mountain fastnesses, were constantly threatening an outbreak.

The elder Gracchus, and after him his two more famous sons, served as governors of Hither Spain, and captured more than one hundred Celtiberian towns. They were eminently successful, but in or about 154 the Romans under Mummius suffered a defeat, and many were massacred by the Lusitanians.

These defeats were avenged and Roman supremacy restored by a grandson of the great Marcellus Claudius, who had met and checked Hannibal after the disaster of Cannæ, when the Romans lost sixty thousand men. He founded the city of Cordoba as a Roman colony, and it soon became a seat of learning and the home of men eminent in literature and in the arts of peace. Rome was now mistress of the Mediterranean, which from Spain to Syria was “hardly more than[19] a Roman lake.” During the years 147 to 140 b.c. the Lusitanians were in revolt, led by the gallant Viriathus, a simple herdsman, who, having seen his people treacherously massacred, vowed vengeance against the emissaries of Rome. He cut to pieces army after army, and at last penned a famous Roman general and his entire command in a deep defile, and exacted terms by which Lusitanian independence was recognised. For that alone had Viriathus been fighting, and he was content with that; but the treaty was repudiated by the Roman senate, and once more he took the field, only to fall a victim to treachery and assassination.

The Lusitanian revolt was brought to a close by the taking of Numantia (134 b.c.), after a siege of fifteen months, during which its inhabitants performed prodigies of valour, and nearly all of its eight thousand defenders fell by famine and the sword. The Roman army, said to have been sixty thousand strong, was led by no less a personage than the younger Scipio, Africanus Minor, who served Numantia as he had unhappy Carthage twelve years before, and utterly destroyed it. His work was carried on by others, notably by Junius Brutus, until all signs of revolution were extinguished, and the peninsula was again at peace.


But for the invasion of the Cimbri, about 105 b.c., and the turbulent factions of Rome, Spain would probably have remained quiet and prosperous; but there came to this country as an exile one Quintus Sertorius, who had been a soldier under Marius when he was opposing Sulla, and espoused his cause. Upon the downfall of Marius he fled to Spain and gained a refuge with the Lusitanians, among which barbarous but brave people he acquired immense influence. He trained them in the arts of war, and when the Roman soldiers came against them, defeated five of their generals in succession, including the veteran Metellus. He aimed at establishing an independent republic in Spain, and perhaps might have succeeded had not some of his followers, probably bribed by Roman gold, treacherously stabbed him at a banquet.

About the time that Sertorius was fighting the barbarous Cimbri in defence of his native country, there was born a child who became known in after years as Pompey. It came about that, when he had grown to manhood, he was sent to Spain to defeat and capture the older soldier, then leader of the revolted Lusitanians. He was several times defeated by the wily Sertorius, but after his assassination he found the matter of pacifying Spain comparatively easy. He gained repeated victories,[21] and eventually returned to Rome in triumph, his star in the ascendant.

At the beginning of this century, so charged with momentous events, the great Cæsar was born, five or six years the junior of Pompey, whose rival he became in later years for the applause and favours of the Roman populace. In the year 68 b.c. he also went to Spain, having obtained a quæstorship; and again, in 63, he was given the province of Farther Spain, where he amassed great wealth, and gained a military experience which was of such service to him while conducting those immortal campaigns in Britain and Gaul.

Though the civil war between Cæsar and Pompey had the exclusive possession of Rome as its object, yet most of their battles were fought on the soil of Spain. In the year 49 Cæsar defeated Pompey’s legates in Spain; the following year he overthrew Pompey himself at Pharsalia, in Thessaly; but the final battle was fought about the year 45, between Cæsar and the sons of his dead rival.

These great Romans had subdued for their country the East and the West; had conquered Gaul and Syria, Britain and Africa; but the great and decisive conflict, which was to forever settle the question of[22] supremacy between the Roman senate and the greatest Roman of all time, took place in Spain! It was at Munda, not far from Cordova, in the valley of the Guadalquivir, and it is said that Cæsar himself led the soldiers in the ranks; saying afterward that though he had often fought for victory, yet he had never before fought for his life. More than thirty thousand men were slain, among them one of Pompey’s sons; and this great victory made Cæsar “undisputed master of the Roman world,” From Spain he returned to a triumph in Rome; but he was not long to enjoy the fruits of his victories, the titles of “Pater patriæ” and “Imperator” for he was assassinated the following year.

How inextricably interwoven are the threads of history which bind Rome and Spain, we may note by glancing at the names of four only of the former’s greatest men: Sulla, the first Roman to invade the Eternal City with her own troops, “set the pace” for Cæsar at the Rubicon; Sulla’s champion, Pompey, pursued Sertorius, friend of Marius, into Spain and accomplished his death; in his turn, Pompey fell before the might of Cæsar, who triumphed over all!

While it is true that “peace hath her victories,” yet they are not often recorded, and the history of Spain for the next four hundred[23] years is mainly uneventful. But although Hispania had been freed from participation in Roman feuds, yet the barbaric population of the far north was not entirely subjugated until the time of Augustus, who finally completed the work begun by the Scipios and continued by Pompey and Cæsar. Ten years later, under Marcus Agrippa, Spain had become completely Latinized, and finally was considered “more completely Roman than any other province beyond the limits of Italy.”

During the Roman occupation cities were founded, notably Cordova, Saragossa, and Italica (the latter now in ruins, near Seville); magnificent public works were constructed, such as roads, aqueducts, bridges, and amphitheatres. The best examples of Roman engineering and architecture may now be found and studied in Spain, such as an amphitheatre at Merida, another at Saguntum, the Roman bridges at Cuenca, Salamanca, and Cordova, and that splendid bridge over the Guadiana built by Trajan, which is half a mile long, thirty-three feet above the river, on eighty-one arches of granite; the aqueducts of Tarragona, Evora, and Seville, and that surpassing piece of engineering work which has commanded the admiration of centuries, the aqueduct bridge of Segovia, twenty-six[24] hundred feet long and one hundred feet in height.

These material evidences of Roman occupation may be seen to-day, and besides these, the finest of Roman coins are frequently discovered. But more than in mere mechanical works Rome has left her impress upon Hispania: in the language spoken there, in the illustrious names of Roman citizens born there, such as Trajan and Hadrian, her great rulers; Lucan, Martial, the two Senecas, Quintilian, Columella, Pomponius Mela, Silius Italicus, Florus—most of whose works are classics in the Latin tongue.

Thus, while the names of Rome’s greatest soldiers are written across Spain’s page of history, in the years of her peace and prosperity other Romans appeared equally famous in the realms of literature.




Except for an invasion of the Franks, about a.d. 256, the peace of Spain was unbroken for nearly four hundred years. But in the time of the Roman Emperor Honorius, the empire having been greatly weakened by repeated attacks of the northern barbarians, as well as by the sloth and effeminacy of its own citizens, her distant provinces soon began to experience dissensions and invasions. The death of Stilicho, the trusted adviser of Honorius and commander of his forces, removed the only obstacle to Alaric’s advance upon Rome, and the city yielded to his persistent attacks. And the same year that Rome first felt the rude barbarian’s terrible hand upon her, was also that, if we may believe the chronicles, in which a host of Suevi,[26] Alani, and Vandals poured over the Pyrenees and swept across defenceless Spain.

Roman civilization and influence were felt mainly on the coast and in southern Spain; in the north and west lived the semi-barbarous tribes we have already noted, who were now but loosely held together by the disintegrating bonds of Rome. Hispania’s conquerors could do nothing to help her, for was not Rome herself at the mercy of the Goths, and compelled to pay an enormous ransom, after enduring humiliating siege and capitulation? It came about, however, that the successor of Alaric, Ataulpha, or Atawulf, made captive lovely Placidia, sister of Honorius, whom he married and carried away into Aquitania. Honorius made the best of the matter and granted to Atawulf all southern Gaul and Roman Spain, on condition that he would expel the Suevi and Alani, and hold the province tributary to his empire. He accomplished his task, so far as southern Gaul was concerned, and then went over the mountains and established his court at Barcelona, which had been successively a Phœnician, Carthaginian, and Roman city, and was now held by the Visigoths.

Though Atawulf seems to have been a faithful ally of Rome, and in her name held his new kingdom of Hispania-Gothia, as he called it, yet Honorius sent an army against[27] him under Constantius, who, according to report, was in love with Hacidia before she was carried off and married by the Goth. Atawulf was basely assassinated by a creature of his court, and Constantius made truce with his successor, on condition that he should be given possession of Placidia. It was a cheap purchase of peace, the Goths concluded, and so the Roman general retired with the widow of Atawulf as his only captive, and married in Rome her who became the mother of the future emperor Valentinian.

Sigric, successor to Atawulf, had murdered the five children of the latter and compelled his wife to walk barefoot through the streets of Barcelona, one historian tells us; yet he lived but a month to enjoy his ill-gotten throne, and was followed by the real founder of the Visigothic kingdom in Spain, the warrior Walia, whose reign lasted four years, when he died, and was succeeded by Theodoric.

Walia had reconquered the greater part of Spain for Rome, and was allowed to recover the territory of southern Gaul, where he established his kingdom of Toulouse, and whither his successor also went to hold court. Theodoric continued the conquests of his predecessor, but committed the unpardonable sin, in the eyes of Rome, of keeping his[28] acquisition for himself and the Visigothic kingdom. In the year 428 the Vandals and Suevi, under the renowned Genseric, defeated an allied army of Goths and Romans, for a long time ravaged all southern Spain, and then went over into Africa. Some say that the present name of Andalusia, applied to the south of Spain, which in Roman times was called Boetica, was derived from the Vandal occupation—Vandalusia, or the land of the Vandals.

The greatest event of Theodoric’s reign occurred in the year of his death, a.d. 451, when the Visigoths, assisted by the allied armies of Rome and the Franks, defeated Attila the Hun, that famed “Scourge of God,” who had thus far led his horde of “beasts on two legs” out of the east and the north, to the ravage of the south.

Theodoric was killed on the field of battle, and the crown fell to a son, Theodoric II, after him to another son, Euric, or Evaric, who defied the waning power of Rome, and finally threw it off and brought the peninsula under the sole supremacy of the Visigoths.

Under Alaric II, who became king upon the death of Euric, the Visigoths lost nearly all their possessions north of the Pyrenees, and became more particularly a Spanish people. Their capital was established at Toledo,[29] that ancient and interesting city on the Tagus, and, as compared with the other invaders, they were cultured and polished. At the same time they were more virile than the Romans, hence had been able to expel the latter and subdue the former. They were not, however, sufficiently civilized to hold sacred human life, and especially they secured a reputation as regicides, so many kings of theirs were murdered. During the three hundred years of their dominion in Spain they had thirty-three kings ruling over them, many of whom fell by the assassin’s knife.

By sword and good right arm, the Visigothic kings generally won their thrones, but the time came when they were dominated by the Church. To show how this came about, we must look back to the time when, a menace to Rome and a terror to all southern Europe, the barbarous Goths descended from their northern fastnesses. They were pagans then, enemies of the true faith, until between the years 340 and 380 they were converted to Christianity by one Ulfilas, who invented an alphabet for them and translated much of the New Testament into Gothic. This was about the middle of the fourth century; but even when Alaric was thundering at the gates of Rome, it is said that the Goths held more seriously the tenets of their faith and were of[30] purer morals than those from whom they had received their new religion.

Now, the primitive Christianity which the Goths had received from Ulfilas was silent as to the mysteries and the dogmas which had gathered around the religion of Rome during the centuries which had passed. They still held to the primitive faith taught them by Ulfilas and their Gothic Bible. In a word (without pretending to say which might have been right, or which party wrong), the Goths were Arians in their belief, while the Romans of Spain and their converts were Trinitarians. There were other minor differences between them, but so long as this radical discrepancy existed between the two religions, they were always at odds. This trouble was brought to a head in the time of King Leovigild, who reigned from a.d. 567 to 586, and who was such a rigid Arian that he finally beheaded a beloved son for becoming a convert to and publicly professing a belief in the Roman religion. This son, Hermenigild, had married a French wife who was a Roman Catholic and who had been the means of his conversion, and encouraged him to lead a revolt against his father. He received his reward in the sixteenth century, when he was canonized as a saint.

King Leovigild was succeeded by another[31] son, Recared, who, though he had stood by and seen his brother executed for opinion’s sake, and whom his father thought to be a good Arian, yet became a Catholic soon after his coronation. With the zeal peculiar to all new converts, he insisted that all his subjects should become Catholics also, and rooted out the “Arian heresy” wherever he could find it. Recared was the first Catholic king of Spain, but not the last bigot, for he lighted the fires of religious persecution, which burned so brightly and balefully through many succeeding centuries. Not content with causing all the Goths to renounce their Arianism, he—or the priests, at his suggestion—turned upon the Jews of the kingdom and threatened them with expulsion unless they also recanted.

Thus in the last years of the sixth century the Church acquired a voice in royal affairs, and the Gothic monarchy became elective and dependent very much upon the choice of the bishops.

During the next seventy years twelve kings occupied the throne, each king seated at the pleasure of the bishops, and sometimes unseated—not without violence—at their dictation. Of all the Gothic monarchs who reigned in the capital city of Toledo, perhaps none has been held in more sacred remembrance[32] than King Wamba, who, a simple shepherd, was made a king against his will, and then, after he had acquired a liking for the throne, was deposed, also against his will, even after he had performed prodigies of valour for his country. It seems that the clerical party wanted him for king because they thought he might be a pliant instrument in their hands, like his predecessors. But Wamba had a will of his own, so a person of his court, one Ervigius by name, was persuaded to administer a cup of poison to the obstinate old man, which plunged him into a sleep so deep that his attendants thought him about to die.

Now it was a tradition of the Church that no king, no matter what his previous life had been, could receive the blessings of the future life unless he died garbed in the habit of a monk. So his servants dressed Wamba in a monk’s cowl and cloak, and when he recovered his senses—for he did not die just then—he was almost insane with rage; for, according to the same unwritten law of the Church, once in the cowl, never more could one reign a king; and so poor old Wamba made the best of it, though protesting that it was a very scurvy trick, and retired to a cloister, where he passed the remainder of his days. All this occurred about the year 680,[33] and it is averred that then began the dissensions, caused by the desire for ecclesiastical supremacy, which divided the Gothic kingdom against itself, and caused its downfall about thirty years later.

Wamba was succeeded by the usurper Ervigius, or Erwic—the same who had sent the old king to a cell—who reigned seven years, and after him came Egica and Witica, who between them carried Gothic domination up to the year 710, when the portents were strong for some unknown disaster. Church and state had been in the main united hitherto, or since the advent of Recared; but now there were signs of dissolution, and the final severance came with the elevation of King Roderick.

Around King Roderick, “the last of the Goths,” cluster legends and traditions so thickly that it is difficult to separate fiction from truth. If you would know to what extent fable and fiction have enmeshed him, read Washington Irving’s fascinating Legend of Don Roderick. He was a son of a brave Goth, Duke Theodifred, who was blinded and imprisoned by orders of King Witica; but he succeeded in hurling the tyrant from his throne and inflicting upon him the same punishment. He banished the sons of Witica and set himself to work reforms; but the kingdom[34] had been so weakened by the foolish and evil deeds of his late predecessors, and he found himself so surrounded by enemies (friends and relations of the former king), that he could not save it from ruin. He was to be known to history as the last reigning sovereign before the kingdom was overthrown by that mighty Moslem host from Africa. Some Spanish chroniclers have sought to account for this overthrow by ascribing to Don Roderick a foul deed done to a daughter of a certain Count Julian, commander of the Gothic forces in Africa, and the name of fair Florinda has come down to us coupled in infamy with that of the king. But the truth probably is that, while Count Julian’s defection did assist the African invasion, yet the real reason for it runs further back, to the time when the ecclesiastics began to meddle in royal affairs, and especially when their bigotry led to the expulsion of the Jews, who, settling along the North African coast, conspired with the Moors to obtain a foothold in that fair land across the straits.

The sad truth is that the Gothic reign was near its end; it was to perish from the earth, leaving few memorials of its existence save a lasting impress upon the speech of Spain, which has been called “a Gothic language handled in a Latin grammar[35].”

Another race was to occupy the land successively won by Roman and Visigoth; and to obtain a clear conception of the manner in which the conquest was effected we must review the previous century.




Within ninety years after El Hijra—the “flight of Mohammed”—which occurred a.d. 622, Syria, Persia, and North Africa were brought under the control of his fanatical followers. The city of Damascus was taken in 634; in 640, Alexandria, when six million Copts are said to have embraced the religion of their conquerors. Moslem bigotry, ignorance, and fanaticism are well illustrated in the burning of the famous Alexandrian Library, according to the decree of Omar the Califa: “If these writings of the Greeks agree with the Koran, they are useless and need not be preserved; if they disagree, they are pernicious and ought to be destroyed!”

North Africa at that time was known by the names of its Roman provinces, such as Numidia, Mauritania, and Tingitania, and[37] these were successively overrun and subjugated by the trusted general Musa (or Moses), who was made Emir of Africa and supreme commander. One of his six noble sons captured the coast city of Tangier, command of which was given to a veteran of Damascus named Tarik Ibn Zeyad, who had lost an eye in the wars and was known as el Tuerto, or “Tarik the One-eyed.” His force was small, but composed mainly of Berbers, or natives of North Africa recently converted to the Moslem faith, and as fierce and fanatical as himself.

At that time the chief Gothic stronghold in Africa was Ceuta, the ancient Abyla of the Greeks, and forming, with Gibraltar, or Calpa, on the European side of the straits, the famed “Pillars of Hercules”—mentioned in our account of the Phœnician voyages. In command of the forces at Ceuta was Count Julian, who for reasons not known, but probably because he was a relative of the late King Witica and wanted to punish Don Roderick, offered to lead the Moslems to conquest in Spain if they would reward him as his treason deserved. So, under his directions, Tarik the One-eyed was sent across the Straits of Hercules and landed with a small force at Tarifa, the southernmost town in Spain as well as in all Europe.[38] It is said to have derived its name from the Moslem commander Tarif, or Tarik, and this name also is perpetuated in our word “tariff.” But however it was, Tarik saw enough to convince him that Spain could be easily invaded, if not readily conquered, and so went back with a report to that effect to Musa the emir, laden with the spoils of his ravage.

Having received permission from the Califa at Bagdad to invade the country across the straits, Musa gathered an army of twelve thousand men and sent it over under the command of the fierce Tarik, who landed this time at Calpa, since named, after him, Gebel el Tarik, or Gibraltar, and made that the base of his operations against the unfortunate country. The apostate Count Julian joined him and served as a guide in this the first real invasion of Spain by a Moslem army. In short, the invaders were strongly re-enforced by the discontented masses of that section of Spain, the maltreated Jews and the debased agricultural classes, who saw, or thought they saw, freedom from a yoke that had galled them for generations and had grown heavier with succeeding years. Besides, they did not think that the Moslems would more than ravage the country and perhaps attempt to destroy the military power[39] of the Goths, and then would retire to the land from which they had come. There are two things, at least, we should note: first, that the army of Tarik was composed mainly of native Africans, then called Moors or Berbers; and that they had come with the settled purpose of conquest and plunder. In order to enforce upon his men the desperate nature of their task, Tarik caused his ships to be burned, and thus impressed them with the fact that they must either conquer or be destroyed—for they could not retreat.

Meanwhile, the gallant but unfortunate King Roderick had done his best to arouse the disunited kingdom to a sense of its impending danger, and had gathered an army of one hundred thousand men to resist the approaching infidels. The opposing forces met on a plain near Xeres, on the banks of the river Guadalete, and, after two days of desperate fighting, victory crowned the efforts of Tarik and his traitorous allies. Owing to the defection of Bishop Oppas, a brother of King Witica, and the latter’s two sons, at a most critical moment, when they and all their followers went over to the enemy, the field was lost to King Roderick, who vanished from the scene completely, and was never seen or heard of more.

The base Julian, the bishop, and the two[40] princes were rewarded for their perfidy, it is related, by a gift of the three thousand farms pertaining to the crown. Thus, after three centuries of dominion, extending from about 410 to 711 a.d., the Goths were driven from the throne they had won by the sword and held by force; for the battle of Guadalete was a decisive blow to the disintegrating kingdom, and after that the advance of the Moorish armies was almost unopposed. It may well be imagined that the warlike Tarik was not satisfied to rest here, when before him was all Spain, with wealthy cities to sack, fertile regions to be possessed, and a numerous population to be converted to Islamism or to escape only by paying tribute.

Although the conquerors professed the same religion, bowed to the same prophet, and waged war for the same great calif in the East, yet they were not all of the same nationality, for in the army of invasion were not only Arabs, but Moors, Egyptians, and Syrians. In time, however, all came to be called by the name of Moors, though their differences of birth and divergence of views led to serious quarrels among them. The first estrangement was when Musa, the emir, finding that Tarik had disobeyed his orders, and, instead of returning to Africa after defeating the Goths in battle and acquiring vast[41] plunder, had pursued his conquests toward the north, hastily gathered another army and followed on his tracks.

Musa found, however, that though Tarik had followed up his victory by effectually scattering the defeated Goths, and even taking the capital city, Toledo, there was yet room for another conqueror to operate; so, instead of immediately pursuing Tarik, after he had landed he made a detour through Andalusia and took Medina Sidonia and the rich Roman city of Seville. Then, though gorged with plunder enough to have satisfied a king, he pushed on after and overtook the recreant Tarik at the city of Toledo. “I gave thee orders to make a foray only, then return to Africa,” he said to the veteran, “yet thou hast marched through all this territory without my permission.” The warrior received this reproof in silence, and for a time a truce was made between them; they pushed on their conquests, the one into the northwest, the other into the north and east, until only the Pyrenees separated them from the country of the Gauls.

Between them they brought all Spain under subjection, with the exception of certain remote districts, which they thought too small or too distant to be attacked. But it was within the confines of these small mountain[42] valleys of the northwest that, protected by their rugged barriers, the defeated Goths halted and found a home, and gathered as a nucleus for future forays upon their enemies; as we shall see.

When the country had been practically conquered, the quarrel between Musa and Tarik was renewed; finally it reached the ears of the Calif at Bagdad that his most valiant generals were fighting like jackals over their prey, and he summoned them both to the Orient, there to give account of themselves. It would seem that gratitude was a sentiment entirely foreign to the Arab character, as instanced not only on this occasion, but on many another during the conquest and continuance of the Moors in Spain; for, in spite of his inestimable services to the califate, notwithstanding he had given to the Moslems a new country as their own, and had extended the sway of Islam westward to the Atlantic, Musa was degraded, even sentenced to death, and finally ended his life in poverty.

But despite the severity of Oriental rule, Spain continued a tributary to the Eastern califs until about the middle of the century in which it was conquered, when (as we shall see in due course) an independent califate was established in Cordova. Musa had left[43] as emir in his absence his favourite son Abdalasis, who governed the conquered territory wisely, but had the misfortune, during his father’s absence, to see and fall in love with beautiful Exilona, the unhappy widow of the departed King Roderick. They were married; but as he was a Moslem and she a Christian, soon there began murmurs among their subjects, notwithstanding the generous nature of Abdalasis, who had ever in mind their well-being. These rumours reached the ears of the Calif, cruel and bloodthirsty Suleiman, and he sent orders that the devoted pair should be murdered. His commands were obeyed: both were basely killed while at morning prayers, and the head of Abdalasis was embalmed and sent in a casket to Syria, to the court of the Calif. The unfortunate Musa was in attendance at the court, and when the casket arrived the Calif took out the head of Abdalasis and held it up before his victim:

“Dost thou know this head?” he demanded. Musa gazed in anguish. “Yes,” he murmured, “well do I know it; and may the curse of God light upon him who has destroyed a better man than himself!” The stricken father did not long survive this terrible stroke; but the wrath of Suleiman was not appeased until the other sons of Musa, whom[44] he had left at important posts in Africa, were also numbered with the dead.

Still, despite the ingratitude and cruelty of the Califas, able generals were found to carry on the war for Islam, until even the Pyrenees were leaped and the Moslem hosts invaded France. It seemed as though all Europe would become subject to the bonds of the Arabs, and soon be brought to acknowledge the “one God and Mohammed his prophet.” But in the year 732, twenty-one years after the invasion of Spain, the tide was turned at Tours, when Charles Martel slew thirty thousand Moslems and turned back the remainder, eventually to retreat to the land whence they had come. No other country suited them so well, and here they lived, they and their descendants, from first to last, more than eight hundred years.




Within three years after their first appearance in Spain the Moors had subjected nearly the entire territory, save only a restricted region in the north and west. For about fifty years thereafter they were governed by emirs sent from the califate of Damascus, and the last of some twenty emirs was one Yusef, an Abbasside. To understand the Arab terms which we are now compelled to use in relating this portion of Spain’s history, we must transport ourselves once again to the Orient, and glance at the line of califs, or caliphs, successors to Mahomet, or Mohammed, which had carried on his conquests for many years.

The Prophet left no direct heirs, and this led to continual wrangling among the various tribes; even the succession of Abu-bekr, father[46] of Mohammed’s favourite wife Ayeshah, did not settle anything, for at his death the question was reopened. Not right, but might, however, prevailed with the Arabs, and about the year 661 the first calif of the Ommiades seated himself at Damascus. One of this line was in power when Spain was invaded, but about the middle of the eighth century three brothers came forward to dispute his rights. The calif was killed, and eighty Ommiades of influence, invited to a feast at Damascus, were murdered in cold blood. Thus arose the line of Abbassides, so called from alleged descent from Abbas, uncle of Mohammed. Like most of the Arab rulers, the Abbassides signalled their rise to power by deeds of blood, their first effort being toward the entire obliteration of the house of Ommiades. But two of this noble house escaped: one fled to Arabia, where his descendants ruled a while; and the other to Africa, where, among the devoted adherents of his line, the Bedouins and the Berbers, he passed several years under their protection.

It happened that most of the Moslem chiefs in Spain were also allied to the house of Ommiades, and when they learned that the young Syrian Abderrahman was wandering in Africa a fugitive, with a price upon his head, they earnestly entreated him to come[47] over and become their ruler. Yusef, the last emir of the Abbassides, was routed in battle and sent away, and Spain at last made independent of Eastern influence under a king of her own—the first of a line which governed, in the main wisely, for nearly three hundred years.

Prince Abderrahman made the city of Cordova the seat of the Western califate, and under him it became a centre of learning as well as prosperity, rivalling all other cities of the peninsula. Magnificent palaces were built, hospitals and mosques, one of the last named being the glorious mosque of Cordova, its site four acres in extent, renowned throughout the world for its beauty. This was begun by Abderrahman in the year 786, and has lasted to our time, with its unrivalled mosaics, tiles, and arabesques, and its thousand columns of porphyry and alabaster.

Then were begun those vast irrigation works which reclaimed the desert plains of the country and made them flourish with vegetation; the immense aqueducts, the bridges, towers, and walls of defence. And yet the reign of Abderrahman was by no means a peaceful one, as he had to placate the many different sects and tribes of his own countrymen on the one hand, and the Jews and Christians on the other. In the north[48] was a turbulent Christian population, ever at war; in the south, a Mohammedan population always quarrelling over the division of spoils, and particularly of the conquered territory.

Toward the last of his reign there appeared in the north a mightier than he—no less than the magnificent Charlemagne, Emperor of the French, who, about the year 778, having been invited thither by a disaffected Arab captain, crossed the Pyrenees and captured several towns. He did not stay long, however, for a rising of the Saxons called him back, after he had taken Saragossa and razed the walls of Pampeluna. Perhaps his brief campaign in Spain might never have been chronicled had it not been for his disastrous rout in the Pyrenean Pass of Roncesvalles, and the death of that hero of early song, the gallant Roland, a semi-mythical figure in history. It was for a long time believed that they were infidel Saracens who attacked and destroyed Charlemagne’s rear guard in the Pass of Roncesvalles; but later investigations show them to have been Basques, descendants of the primitive Iberians, who resented this invasion of their territory, even by a grandson of the great Charles Martel, who had beaten back the Moslems in 732 and 737.

Abderrahman died in 788, and was succeeded[49] by Hicham I, and he by others of the line, whose moral tone may be indicated by the remark of one Mohammed, eldest of forty-five brothers, who, when congratulated by a favourite upon his elevation, exclaimed: “What an absurd idea to say this world would be beautiful if there were no death! If there were no death, should I be reigning? Death is a good thing; my predecessor is dead; that is why I reign.” Another calif before him, who refused to treat Christian and Mussulman alike in the eyes of the law, invited seven hundred citizens of Toledo to a banquet, admitting each one separately within the doorway of his castle, when he was seized and taken to the parapet, where his head was lopped off and thrown into the fosse. But this was only a playful manifestation of power, which caused the calif to be regarded as eccentric, rather than cruel or bloodthirsty.

During the reign of Abderrahman II the Spanish coast was ravaged by the Norman sea-robbers, who even sailed up the river Guadalquivir as far as Seville, and with whom the Arab navy is said to have had a great sea fight; though this is doubtful. One hundred years later—the interim being filled with three inconsequential rulers—another, Abderrahman III, carried Cordova and the califate to the summit of power. He held the government[50] for nearly fifty years, from 912 to 961, and came to be one of the wealthiest rulers in the then known world. The city contained half a million inhabitants, one hundred thousand houses, and twenty-eight suburbs, and the surplus population was urged to dwell in a new city outside the walls, which was called Zahra, after one of Abderrahman’s six thousand wives, and which rivalled the finest city of the Orient in the beauty of its palaces.

Material and intellectual growth kept even pace, and Cordova was a torch of enlightenment during that time which in Europe was known as the “Dark Ages.” The son of Abderrahman III, who reigned fifteen years as Hacam II, was a gifted bibliophile, if not a scholar, for he collected, read, and annotated (it is said) a library of four hundred thousand volumes. From distant Cairo, Bagdad, and Damascus he drew the precious books which went to swell his great catalogue of forty-four volumes; and among them, at one time, was the veritable copy of the Koran stained by the blood of Othman, who was beheaded in the year 650. The University of Cordova was known abroad, and hither flocked scholars, poets, and Arab singers, while thousands of students listened to eloquent teachers of theology and law. Of all the cities of Spain, none rivals in interest[51] golden Cordova, on the banks of the Guadalquivir—though Seville, Granada, and Toledo press it close—either in the list of famous Arabs or Romans, born and educated here.

Skilled in astrology and astronomy we know they were, and from Cordova, in the latter half of the tenth century, were obtained the Arabic numerals, which were carried to Rome by Pope Sylvester II, it is said, soon after he had studied at the university; and where, doubtless, he acquired those attainments in mathematics, chemistry, and philosophy which caused it to be said of him that he was in league with the devil.

From the name Cordova, also, we get the term “cordwainer,” out of “cordovan,” the celebrated leather manufactured there. Many arts and a few sciences flourished in this noble city; and we should not forget our indebtedness to the Spanish Arabs, who kept alight the lamp of learning, and who have left in their architecture, if in nothing else, a memorial of their greatness.

Under another calif, Hicham II, the Moors in Spain reached the zenith of their prosperity; but not through any act of the calif himself, except negatively, when he resigned all power to his hadjib, or vizier, Abou-Amir Mohammed, who under the surname of Almansor Billah—“victorious by help of God”—nearly[52] destroyed the rising Christians of the north. The renowned hero of more than fifty battles, Almansor carried death and destruction to all parts of rebellious Spain. He marched upon and captured the cities of Leon, Barcelona, Pampeluna, Salamanca, and Zamora; but the greatest of his achievements—that upon which he most prided himself—was the sacking of the sacred shrine of Campostella, and the hanging of its bells of bronze in the great mosque at Cordova, where they were used as lamps.

Campostella, or the Field of the Star, was the holy spot where, according to early Christian legend, the body of Saint James the apostle was found, having been brought here by his disciples. Its discovery, after having been for centuries buried here, was owing to the shining of a star of exceeding lustre above the sacred spot, and hence the name applied to the church subsequently erected here, and which became a shrine for pilgrims from all parts of Christian Spain. As scallop shells are found here imbedded in the rock, a shell of this sort was the pilgrim’s badge; but was not, it need hardly be said, respected by the fierce Almansor.

Calif in all save name, Almansor ruled supreme; whenever he went to battle—and which always ended in victory for the Moslem—he[53] took with him forty poets to chant his praises and sing his greatness. Yet he too died, at last; with his departure began the decline of Moorish and the consequent rise of Christian power. But for more than two centuries longer the Moors were to dwell—

“Where Cordova is hidden among
The palm, the olive, and the vine;

Gem of the South, by poets sung,
And in whose mosque Almansor hung

As lamps the bells that once had rung
At Campostella’s shrine.”




We have followed the Moors in Spain through the first three hundred years of their history. Let us now retrace our steps and pursue the fleeing Goths, when, after their defeat on the banks of the Guadalete, they left all southern Spain in the hands of the invaders. “At the time of the general wreck of Spain by the sudden tempest of Arab (African) invasion,” says Washington Irving, “many of the inhabitants took refuge in the mountains of the Asturias, burying themselves in narrow valleys difficult of access, wherever a constant stream of water afforded a green bosom of pasture land and scanty fields for cultivation. For mutual protection they gathered together in small villages, called castros or castrellos, with watch-towers and fortresses on impending cliffs, in which[55] they might shelter and defend themselves in case of sudden inroad. Thus arose the kingdom of the Asturias, of Pelayo and the king’s successors, who gradually extended their dominion, built towns and cities, and after a time fixed their seat of government at the city of Leon. An important part of the region over which they bore sway was ancient Cantabria, extending from the Bay of Biscay to the Duero, and called Castile, from the number of castles with which it was studded.”

By referring to a map of Spain you will find the Asturias in the far north, all of four hundred miles from the scene of the disastrous battle; and here it was, in the mountain valleys, surrounded by frowning peaks and gloomy gorges, that Pelayo the Cave King, first ruler of the Goths after their defeat, established his little kingdom. Living at first in caves, then in rude habitations of earth and stone, the hardy mountaineers gradually gathered in hamlets and villages, and in a few years were strong enough to resist the forces that finally penetrated to their abode. With their backs against the mountain walls, from the brinks of dizzy precipices, they hurled down rocks and trees upon the invading Africans, and drove them back to ravage the more fertile plains below.

Pelayo the Cave King is said to have[56] been the son of a noble Goth who was banished by Witica, but who returned to serve Roderick as sword-bearer on the fatal field of Guadalete. Little is known of his career, and by some he is treated as a myth; but the Spaniards believe in his existence, and in recent years one of Spain’s most powerful battleships received the name of this first king who stemmed the tide of Moorish conquest.

To the Asturias was later united Galicia, in the extreme northwest of Spain, then Leon farther south; the Moslems soon encountered opposition in Navarra, to the east of Leon, in Aragon, still farther toward the eastern coast, and finally in Catalonia, where the Counts of Barcelona fought the Saracens in their ancient seaport founded by the father of Hannibal. The story of the reconquest of Spain—in its first stages at least—is long and complicated, involving the development of no less than six separate provinces: Aragon, Catalonia, Navarra, Asturias, Castile, and Leon, stretching across the country from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. But, without descending to wearisome detail in the narration of the feuds and fights of petty kings and chiefs, we should note, first of all, that the first stand against the Moslems was in the north. There, with their castled[57] towns and hamlets defended by the almost inaccessible mountain ranges, the Goths drew valour and might from the difficulties of their situation, and soon were developed scores and hundreds of heroes, whose sole occupation was war; fighting often among themselves, but always ready to unite against the common enemy, the hated Moslem.

We have already had a glimpse of this unhappy country during the reign of the Ommiades, and have seen that, while the Moor might be victorious in one direction, the Christian would prevail in another. But, with the mountains behind them ever, as places of refuge and retreat, the growing hosts of the Christians became more and more annoying to the Moors. Under the first Alfonso, between the years 739 and 756, the territory of Leon was greatly extended, while during the reign of Alfonso II (791-842) this king, who had allied himself with the great Charlemagne, founded the cities of Oviedo and Compostella, and raided the region southward to Portugal. There are so many and various Alfonsos, Ferdinands, Sanchos, Pedros, Don Juans, Ordoños, etc., rulers over different kingdoms and over the same territory at different times, that it will be impossible to narrate the doings of them all. But, however they might quarrel among[58] themselves, they were persistent in their opposition to the Moors, through decades and centuries, until finally the detested infidels were expelled from Spain.

We can, however, merely glance at those most conspicuous for gallantry, for deeds of daring, and mention only those great battles that were decisive in their effect upon the general welfare of Spain and the progress of the hosts engaged in its reconquest. During the reign of Alfonso the Victorious, one of his Moorish neighbours invaded his territory and ravaged his fields, until he was met and defeated by that gallant hero, Bernardo del Carpio, who cut off the Moslem’s head and took it to Alfonso as a precious gift. Having performed such a service for his sovereign, it might be supposed that Bernardo would be richly rewarded; but, far from that being the case, his father was kept in prison, upon some pretext, by Alfonso, and Bernardo’s great services were ignored. At last, wearied by the injustice of which he was the victim, Bernardo resolved to leave Alfonso’s court and go over to the Moors. He shut himself up in his castle of Carpio, from which he made many a pillaging raid into the territory of his king, until at last Alfonso besieged him there. But Bernardo’s defence was so valiant that the king offered to give[59] him possession of his father if he would yield up his castle. This was a great price to pay, but the devoted son at once agreed to it. The treacherous Alfonso sent assassins who murdered Count Sancho in prison, then seated his corpse upon a horse, richly attired, and led him to meet Bernardo. When the latter saw him coming he went to meet him, and not until he had taken his father’s hand to kiss it did he discover the cruel deception. Then he turned his face aside and cried: “Ah my father, Don Sancho Diaz, in an evil hour didst thou beget me. Thou art dead, and I—I have given my stronghold for thee, and now indeed have lost all!”

Some time later reigned one Alfonso III (from 866-909), who gained many a victory over the Moors, but who unwisely divided his kingdom, at his death, among several sons, and thus brought about the disunion of territory already united, and retarded the general advance of Christian power so amply extended by the prowess of his arms. Before him, however, came King Ramiro, whose short reign was made memorable by his refusal to pay to Abderrahman the customary tribute, which had been agreed upon by some of his predecessors, of one hundred beautiful maidens annually. In the patio of the Alcázar of[60] Seville is shown to-day the spot where these disconsolate maidens, abandoned by their friends to the savage mercies of the Moors, were gathered when this base bargain was carried out. But Ramiro refused to pay this tribute, and so Abderrahman sent an army against him which, after two days of terrible fighting, the Christians destroyed.

In the noble city of Burgos stands the statue of another hero of that age, Fernan Gonzalez, grandson of one of the first judges of Castile, after that province had thrown off its allegiance to Leon. When Fernan Gonzalez was but seventeen years old he was elected to rule, under Alfonso the Great, with the title of count. A Moorish captain was ravaging the territory of Castile at that very time, and Count Fernan placed himself at the head of a small body of troops and set out to meet him. He was successful, and returned to Burgos with immense booty, part of which he used for the endowment of a convent. After that he kept the field almost continually, widening the range of his conquests until Castile was freed from the Moors. But his great successes gained for him the ill will of other Christian kings and leaders, notably of Sancho, King of Navarre, with whom he was obliged to fight, and whom he killed in single combat.


A son of Sancho the Fat (who was cured of obesity by a Moorish physician), Don Garcia, surnamed “the Trembler,” finding himself unable to cope with Count Fernan in the open field, resorted to treachery, and, having proposed that he should marry his sister, when Fernan went to claim her, with but a feeble guard, he was captured by the wily Garcia and thrown into a dungeon. The Princess Sancha, the lady in question, wondered why her lover did not come to take her away as his bride, and when she finally learned the truth—heard that an honourable cavalier was languishing in chains for her sake, in a dismal dungeon—she bribed the guards, appeared before the count an angel of beauty, and led him forth to liberty, after first exacting an oath that he would make her his wife as soon as they were safe within the confines of his domains.

And, after many perilous adventures, they arrived safely in the city of Burgos, where the princess was welcomed with acclamation as the future “first lady of the land,” and their marriage was followed by feastings, tilts, and tournaments. Garcia the Trembler followed hard after them with his army, but in the battle that eventuated he was taken prisoner, though subsequently sent home laden with honours, at the intercession of his[62] sister; which shows what a noble gentleman Count Fernan was, and what a jewel he got for a wife.

Such are the stories told of the heroic days of early Spain, chiefly of Castile, when continual fighting between Moors and Christian had wrought the warriors to the highest state of efficiency. They were not happy unless engaged in warfare, and this accounts for the many feuds among the Goths themselves; and it was owing to their continual dissensions that the reconquest of all Spain was so long delayed. And yet, among the Moors there was still greater dissension, on account of the hatred that existed between the Arabs and the Berbers.




The eleventh and twelfth centuries were momentous ones to Spain, and in the hundred years between 1000 and 1100 more battles were fought, perhaps, and more victories gained by the Christians, than in any equal period before. The great Almansor of Cordova, who had inflicted upon the Goths defeat after defeat, himself lost a battle, at Catalañazor, in the year 1001 or 1002, which caused his death. A rebellion in Morocco had compelled him to send an army thither, and the Christians had taken advantage of this weakening of his forces and fallen upon him at the Leon and Castile frontier.

Almansor’s death weakened the Ommiade dynasty, and Cordova fell a prey to discord; in place of one strong ruler now were many petty chiefs, each one anxious to make himself[64] supreme, but only succeeding in adding to the confusion then prevailing among the Moors. Before the middle of the century the crowns of Leon and Castile had been united under Ferdinand the Great, and in the year 1082 his son and successor, Alfonso VI, went down and besieged the ancient city of Toledo (which had been in Moorish possession four hundred years), taking it three years later. It was never recovered by the Moors, and the Moslems became alarmed at this signal instance of Gothic bravery and effrontery, and for a time ceased their dissensions. But, in their alarm at the aggressions of the Christian forces, they placed their necks within a yoke of slavery far worse than would have been forced upon them by the Goths. They conferred together, and, realizing their own weakness, sent over into Africa for assistance. There then reigned in Morocco the fierce Yussef, a fanatical Bedouin, who hated all Arabs almost as much as he hated the “Christian dogs.” But he hastened to the relief of his fellow-Moslems with a great army of fanatics as fierce and uncouth as himself. He had hardly landed and learned of the fall of Toledo, when he summoned King Alfonso either to embrace the faith of Mohammed, consent to pay tribute, or prepare for battle. Flushed with his successes, Alfonso chose to[65] fight, and the two great armies met in the battle of Zallaca, in the month of October, 1086, when the Spanish army was utterly overthrown. Yussef pursued his advantage vigorously, and eventually all southern Spain was subjected to him, including the city of Seville, which was taken in 1091; and not only were the Christians themselves the object of his fury, but the Moslem chiefs who had sent for him to come to their aid, who were all either murdered or transported to Africa. Thus was the Almoravid dynasty established, with its capital at Cordova, and which lasted until 1147. Yussef died about twenty years later, leaving the kingdom to his son Ali, and the Spanish Moslems were oppressed by the Bedouin chiefs, who were as savage and illiterate as the Ommiades were gentle and refined. Cordova soon lost its libraries, its schools and universities, and became a place to be shunned, rather than sought, by scholars and men of letters.

Meanwhile the Gothic provinces, called kingdoms (sometimes united, sometimes divided), had not been blind to their advantage in pressing the Moors on every side, and the latter steadily, though slowly, shrank within more restricted confines, until the Tagus and the Guadiana were their most northern boundaries. Grim Yussef died in 1104, and the[66] great Alfonso in 1109. The latter, under whom Castile had risen steadily to the first rank among the kingdoms of the north, and who was known as the “Buckler of the Faith,” had been victor in thirty-nine battles, and had but twice suffered defeat.

The year 1104 saw the crown of Aragon pass to Alfonso I, who was married to a daughter of Alfonso VI of Castile. It has been said that if the two Alfonsos had but united their forces, while holding their respective kingdoms, the Moors might have been expelled from Spain three hundred years sooner than they were.

About this time rose to power in Morocco a fanatical Moslem known as Mohammed ben Abdullah, the son of a lamplighter in the mosque of Cordova. He was educated in Cordova and in Bagdad, but later went to Morocco, where he made his home in the Atlas Mountains and proclaimed himself the Mahdi, or leader of the faithful. He soon had many followers, who called themselves Almohades, or followers of the one God. Raising an immense army, Mohammed came down from the mountains and besieged the city of Morocco, which was defended by Ali the son of Yussef. Both Ali and Mohammed died during the siege, and one Abdelmummen succeeded the Mahdi in command. He took[67] the city, driving out and killing the inhabitants, and repeopling it with Bedouins from the desert and the mountains.

Proclaimed sovereign of all Africa and Moslem Spain, Abdelmummen invaded the peninsula with an army so vast that two months were consumed in crossing the straits, and an alarm spread throughout all Europe; but the men of the new sect were more anxious, apparently, for converts to their creed than victories over the Christians, for in the end the Almoravides were either expelled or converted, and the Almohades reigned supreme. Their dominion extended from the Atlantic to the Nile in Africa, and in Spain over all that the Christian arms had not wrested from their predecessors.

Abdelmummen died in 1162, leaving the kingdom to his son Cid Yussef, who built the mosque of Seville, the great aqueduct that brought water to that city, and the bridge across the Guadalquivir. He was killed in 1184 and his son Yacoub succeeded, who in the year 1195 won a great victory over Alfonso VIII, at the battle of Alarcos. A little more than a century previously the Moslems had gained another victory, at Zallaca; but these two, vast as were their results, were to be avenged by an overwhelming defeat which the God of the Christians was preparing for them.


The chronicles of the eleventh century (to turn back a moment) would not be complete without mention of the doughty deeds of the great Cid Campeador, who, like Count Fernan Gonzalez, was descended from Nuño Rastro, one of the first judges of Castile.

His real name was Rodrigo or Ruy Diaz, and he was born at Bivar, near the city of Burgos, about the year 1040, although so much of myth envelops him that the exact date of his birth is uncertain. At all events, he was a Castilian of noble birth, who at an early age commanded the forces of Sancho II of Castile, when that ruler deprived his brothers of their kingdoms of Leon and Galicia. According to the numerous “Ballads of the Cid,” which were written and sung as early as the twelfth century, no hero of history ever performed more valiant deeds than he, though he can hardly be held up to the world as a model of constancy and patriotism: for he fought, first on the side of his native Castile, then, becoming offended at a slight put upon him by King Alfonso (though he had led the army into Toledo), he went over to the Emir of Saragossa and battled stoutly for the Moors.

His first appearance seems to have been as the avenger of his father’s death, when he challenges his slayer, Count Lozeno, to mortal[69] combat, and leaves him dead on the field. Then at the command of the king he marries the count’s daughter, the lovely Ximena, who has prayed her sovereign to avenge this deed; and yet when Rodrigo proposes, she consents to be his wife. The king argued, with true kingly logic, that “he whose hand had made her an orphan should of a right be her protector”; but the ballads do not tell us what Ximena thought about it. Still, they inform us often that he was in every respect a model husband, and that, more than all else in the world, he loved his gallant steed Babieca, his good sword Tizona, and his faithful wife Ximena—probably the order named being their rank in his affections.

Although he had fought against his king, yet in his latter years he made amends, became a terror to the Moors, and took the Moorish province of Valencia in 1088, which he held until his death in the year 1099. And, that we may be sure his devoted wife was faithful to the last, we are told that she held the city of Valencia for two years after her husband died, though surrounded by enemies, and then carried his embalmed body to Burgos, where for ten years it sat in state beside the high altar of a convent church.

The empty tomb, to which the Cid was borne upon his charger, and in which he and[70] his wife rested for many years, may yet be seen in the old convent of San Pedro de Cardena, near to Burgos; and in that old Castilian city, preserved in a glass case in the town hall, are shown the veritable “bones of the Cid and his wife Ximena.” Here also is the “solar del Cid,” or the site of the house he lived in, now indicated by three obelisks of stone, which stand not far from a memorial arch erected to Count Fernan Gonzalez. And, moreover, in one of the cathedral cloisters is still preserved an ancient iron-clasped trunk, which belonged to the Cid, and which, tradition states, he once filled with sand and pledged to some wealthy Jews for an enormous sum, as full of priceless jewels. It is also stated, to his credit, that he afterward redeemed his pledge and paid his debts in full.

The renowned Cid Campeador may or may not have performed all the valorous feats ascribed to him, but it is certain that Spain yet holds his name in grateful remembrance. When his end drew nigh (knowing that a battle was imminent), he ordered that his corpse should be placed erect upon his war horse, his sword in hand, and taken forth to fight a last battle for his country:

“‘Bring in my Babieca’—the Cid a-dying lay—

[71]‘That I may say farewell to him before I pass away.’

The good horse, strong and gentle, full quiet did he keep,

His large soft eyes dilating, as though he fain would weep.

‘I am going, dear companion, thy master rides no more,

Thou well deservest high reward, I leave thee this in store:

Thy master’s deeds shall keep thy name until earth’s latest day;’

And speaking not another word, the good Cid passed away.”

The ruined castle still stands, on a hill above the city of Burgos, in which Don Garcia was imprisoned in 958; where Alfonso of Leon was confined by the Cid, and where Edward I of England was married to Eleanor of Castile.




We have been hitherto tracing the course of several streams which, rising in various parts of Africa and Spain in the south and in the north, yet have mingled their currents somewhat; but we shall soon find that the stream which had its source in the north became eventually a resistless torrent that swept all before it.

At or near the close of the twelfth century we find three Alfonsos on as many thrones: Alfonso VIII, surnamed the Noble, in Castile; Alfonso IX in Leon and Oviedo; and Alfonso II ruling in Portugal, which had become separated from Spain in 1095. Navarre was under Sancho VII, while Aragon and the greater portion of Catalonia acknowledged Pedro II. At the same time the Moslems were governed by Mohammed abu Abdallah,[73] the son of Yacoub, who had won the great battle of Alarcos. These are names merely, some of which have hardly survived, in connection with great deeds, the lives of those who bore them. But it was permitted Alfonso VIII, in the year 1212, to inflict a defeat upon the Moors from which they never recovered. This was at the great battle of Navas de Tolosa, when, according to the statements of the victors, at least one hundred thousand Moslems fell, victims to Christian prowess, and, sad to relate, after the victory was assured, objects of Christian bigotry; for they treated with shameful barbarity those who survived.

The battlefield of Tolosa was the turning point of Moslem fortunes, for from the date of that great event the followers of Mahommed lost steadily in Spain, retreating ever nearer the southern coast, whence their ancestors had invaded the peninsula five hundred years before.

Alfonso the Noble survived this achievement but two years, and died in 1214, leaving a reputation not only as a great warrior, but as a lover of learning, having established, it is said, the first university in Spain in the year 1209. He left his throne to his son Henry I, and under the regency of his daughter Berenguela, who, when Henry was accidentally[74] killed, secured the kingdom for her own son Ferdinand. Two momentous events came to pass at this time—the battle of Tolosa, which drove back the Moslems, and the union of the kingdoms of Castile and Leon under one ruler; for at the death of Alfonso IX of Leon the kingdom passed to Ferdinand III, who was thus placed in possession of resources and armies which he could unite toward the expulsion of the Moors.

He was later canonized for his great services to Christendom, and is known to history as St. Ferdinand. It is a curious fact that his cousin, Louis of France, son of his mother’s sister, and likewise a grandson of Alfonso VIII of Castile, was also canonized; and the grandmother of both was Eleanor of England, daughter of Henry II.

Well, St. Ferdinand, to call him by the title bestowed upon him three hundred years after his death, was a flaming sword as toward the Moors. He captured their capital, Cordova, in 1236, the city of Jaen in 1246, and at last the “Queen of the Guadalquivir,” beautiful Seville (ancient port of the Phœnicians, the Roman Hispalis), where he died in 1252, and where his tomb and many precious relics of his time may be seen in the great cathedral there.

Almost equally renowned was Jayme I,[75] the King of Aragon, who took the Balearic Isles from the Moors in 1229, Valencia in 1237, the province of Murcia in 1266, and who, before he died in 1276, had gained thirty pitched battles with the enemy, and had founded, some say, more than two thousand Christian churches. But he has the credit of having introduced into Spain the terrible Inquisition (in 1232), and that goes far toward counterbalancing his meritorious work for the freedom of his country.

Alfonso X, called “the Wise,” because he was more a scholar than soldier, succeeded St. Ferdinand, and under him, it is recorded, the Castilian became the national language. Slowly but steadily the ancient Gothic had been changing, and it was now in a sense crystallized when Alfonso caused the Bible to be translated into the Castilian, as well as works on chemistry and philosophy, and wrote a chronicle of Spain down to the time of Ferdinand, his father and predecessor. The “Fuero Juzgo, or Forum Judicum,” the ancient Visigothic code of laws, which he translated and codified, became the law of the land and the model of yet existing laws in Spain.

But, though quite learned, Alfonso was not morally much in advance of his time, for he caused his brother to be strangled, and[76] provoked a rebellion of his sons, by which he was driven from his throne two years before his death. His son, Sancho IV, who was as vigorous as his father was feeble, drove the Emir of Morocco back to Africa in 1291, and after a short reign left the kingdom to his son, Ferdinand IV, who, dying in 1312, was succeeded by Alfonso XI of Castile. He was the last of that name to sit on the throne until Alfonso XII, father of the boy king of our time, Alfonso XIII, after an interval of five hundred and sixty years.

Ferdinand IV was an infant too young to reign at the death of his father, but affairs of the kingdom were ably managed by the queen regent, his mother, and when he reached man’s estate he nobly devoted himself to the great work bequeathed him by his ancestors. Under him the Castilian frontiers were extended to Gibraltar, the fortress of which he took, in the year 1302. But his reign was likewise short, and at his death he left the kingdom to an infant son, and the regency to his mother, Maria, who a second time assumed the cares of royalty without its remunerations.

Alfonso XI showed the lack of parental guidance during youth by the errors of his early manhood, among other indiscretions forming an illegitimate alliance with a lady who became the mother of Don Enrique of[77] Trastamara, who later slew his half-brother Pedro “the Cruel.” By the great victory of the Rio Salado, in 1340, Alfonso retrieved his damaged reputation in the eyes of the people and firmly established the kingdom upon an impregnable basis. The combined hosts of Spanish Moors and Africans had assembled and laid siege to Tarifa, the southernmost town in Spain. The Christian armies, under the lead of Alfonso and the king of Portugal, met and overthrew them near the plains of Algeciras, inflicting such slaughter that the dead lay piled in heaps, the slain, it was estimated, amounting to two hundred thousand.

This was the last invasion from Africa, which had been so prolific in barbarian and semi-barbarian conquerors; and if any other was in contemplation it was prevented the following year, when Alfonso’s fleet destroyed that of the Moors in the Straits of Gibraltar. King Alfonso besieged the fortress of Gibraltar itself—which had been in Moorish possession since 1333—but failed to dislodge the enemy, and it was not until more than a hundred years later, in 1462, that it again fell into the hands of the Spaniards. Alfonso doubtless held the ambitious project of ridding the peninsula entirely of the Moors; but his country was not sufficiently united, and one hundred and fifty years were to elapse before[78] the consummation of this object, under King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. That he was a valiant warrior, despite his many failings, is shown by his death in the field, while besieging Gibraltar, when he fell a victim to the terrible pestilence known as the “black death,” in the year 1350.

His son and successor, Don Pedro of Castile, is known to history as “Pedro the Cruel,” which name well illustrates his character. Cruel and licentious to a degree never before shown in any occupant of the throne, Pedro followed his father’s pernicious example, his amour with Doña Maria de Padilla being maintained while his lawful wife was a prisoner by his command. Though for a time popular with the masses, owing to his inclination rather toward the people than the nobility, his lust, covetousness, and cruelty caused a revolt. He overcame his opponents, but signalled his return to power by the murder of his half-brother, Don Fadrique, his mother, many of his relatives, and his wife. It is charged against him that he cut the throats of the Emir of Granada and fifty of his nobles, while they were his guests under a flag of truce, and committed other atrocious deeds. His half-brother, Henry, having escaped to France, returned with an army, but Pedro appealed to the son of the[79] English Edward III, the “Black Prince,” and that gallant adventurer, then fighting in France, came to his assistance. By his aid he discomfited his enemies, but his cruelty to prisoners so disgusted his noble ally that he retired and left him to his fate. Henry then appeared with a small force, around which the people eagerly gathered, and Pedro was defeated and taken prisoner.

The last act of this terrible drama took place in a tent where the half-brothers, sons of the same father, met in deadly combat, which ended by Pedro’s being stabbed in the back, and pouring out his life-blood at the fratricide’s feet. Thus were the sins of Alfonso XI quickly visited upon his children, and the kingdom which he had founded threatened with disruption.

Pedro the Cruel was killed in 1369, and as Henry II his half-brother, the regicide, assumed his place, claimants arose to contest his dubious title to the throne, and among them John of Gaunt, the English Duke of Lancaster, Pedro’s son-in-law. At the same time, as enemies, he could count the Kings of Moorish Granada, Aragon, and Navarre. But he defeated the machinations of all these opponents and eventually reduced the kingdom to a state of peace, in which it continued till his death, in 1379, which was[80] occasioned by a pair of poisoned boots, sent him as a present by the treacherous Emir of Granada.

His son, John I, reigned eleven years, or from 1379 to 1390, though in 1385 the Duke of Lancaster, John of Gaunt, assumed the title of king, with the arms of Castile, Leon, and France. He was, however, dissuaded by the promise that his daughter Catherine (whose mother was Constance, daughter of Pedro the Cruel and Maria de Padilla) should marry Henry III, who succeeded to the throne of Castile in 1390, and reigned until 1406. The heir of this union was John II, who was King of Castile from 1406 to 1454, and whose chief claim to distinction is as the father of Isabella, who, after her brother, Henry IV, had died, in 1474, became Queen of Castile. Thus in the veins of the woman who was to become the greatest of her line ran the blood, not only of Pedro the Cruel, but of his bastard brother, Henry of Trastamare.

But the resultant issue of her marriage with Ferdinand of Aragon, in 1469, was to be yet more deeply tinctured with the blood of the regicide; for the son of Henry of Trastamare had married a daughter of Pedro of Aragon, who was almost as cruel and implacable as Pedro of Castile. Ferdinand, son of John I, and grandson of Henry, became King[81] of Aragon, and was succeeded by his son, John II of Aragon, through whom at his death the throne passed to Ferdinand, later called the Catholic, and who became the royal consort of Isabella.




What had hitherto been the curse of Spain, its intestinal divisions, feuds, rival projects of petty kings, was soon to be removed by the union of Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon, whose marriage took place October 19, 1469. Isabella was eighteen years of age, Ferdinand only seventeen; but their training had been such that their intelligence and deportment were in advance of their years. They were cousins and lovers. Isabella was a blonde, with blue eyes and chestnut hair, a small but symmetrical figure, graceful and modest of carriage, intellectual, devout, charming, but not handsome. Ferdinand was tall and manly, a fine horseman, courteous, chivalrous, like his wife of the fair, Gothic type, eloquent of speech, with elegant bearing and polished manners.


These were the two who for thirty years were to reign together, who were to unite the dismembered fragments of war-harried Spain, who were to establish a throne that was to command the respect of all Europe, a kingdom whose influence was to extend around the world. And yet, if the historians are to be credited, they were so poor at the time of their betrothal that they were compelled to borrow money for their wedding. Fortunately, their credit was good, for, despite their poverty, it was known to all that they had great expectations. But their enemies pressed them hard, and it was only by stealing off in disguise, with a few attendants merely as company, that Ferdinand was able to reach Valladolid, where Isabella was awaiting him, and claim his bride.

Five years later, in 1474, Isabella’s brother Enrique, the last male of the house of Trastamare, passed away, and his sister succeeded to the throne of Castile, to which she was already entitled. In the ancient city of Segovia, with attendant pomp and ceremony, on the 13th of December, 1474, the heralds proclaimed her Queen of Castile. But her claim was disputed, and there ensued the “war of succession,” only ended by the defeat of the Portuguese at the battle of Toro, after which peace was concluded, with France and[84] Portugal, in 1479. That same year, by the death of his father, John II, Ferdinand succeeded to Aragon and its dependencies, and thus the twain found themselves virtual rulers of the best part of Spain.

With the exception of Navarre, which went to Eleanor, Ferdinand’s half-sister, and of the kingdom of Granada, still held by the Moors, united Castile and Aragon may be said to have included all Spain, from the Atlantic east to the Mediterranean, and from the Pyrenees on the north to the Straits of Gibraltar on the south, though each kingdom was independent. By the exercise of consummate skill, patience, and persistence, both in the field of war and in diplomacy, the entire peninsula, with the exception of Portugal, eventually was welded into one kingdom, and the various armies that had so frequently clashed in conflict were placed under one supreme command. This was not accomplished until after many years, but almost from the first these two wise sovereigns bent all their energies to the consummation of their purpose: Isabella in the domestic administration, Ferdinand in war and diplomacy, which was to unite Spain and expel the hated infidel.

We will not now pause to inquire their motives, but note only the vastness of the[85] undertaking. More than any other nation, perhaps, the Spanish were divided, one section speaking a French dialect, another the Basque; one province might be aristocratic, another monarchical, and yet another democratic, while every one had its own peculiar laws and rights, called “fueros.” To show the feeling of independence which pervaded Aragon, for instance, we may quote the ancient formula used in seating a king on the throne: “We, each of whom is as good as you, and who altogether are more powerful, make you our king as long as you shall keep our fueros; otherwise not.”

These fueros were charters of privileges, which had been granted by former kings, lords, or counts to the inhabitants of certain towns, particularly to those which were, or at one time had been, on the exposed frontiers, deserted by or recaptured from the Moors. The occasion had long since passed for the granting of these privileges, but the people still clung to them, jealously guarding against their infringement or revocation. In some provinces, as in the Basque region, the fueros rendered the inhabitants almost immune from service to the king or queen, free from national taxes, not liable for soldiers to serve beyond their own frontiers, etc. The first of the fueros was granted as early as 1020, and seems[86] to have been that of Leon. Then there was the Cortes, or popular assemblage of representatives from all over the kingdom, the first of Castile, consisting of a deputy from each city, having met in 1169.

Again, there was the Church to reckon with, for it was now established on a sure foundation, and the primacy of Spain, with its archbishopric at Toledo, was considered second only to the papacy in its influence and revenues. As Isabella was devout by nature, and as Ferdinand was politic, they allied themselves with the Church from the first, and though themselves swayed by its servants, made it the means toward an ultimate end, which was the consolidation of their empire and the subjugation of the people.

We have seen already that one of the forces in Spain ever acting against united effort for the expulsion of the Moors was the independence of the nobility. Castile itself derived its name from the number of its castles, mainly belonging to independent nobles, rich and warlike, possessed of vast estates, not subject to taxation or imprisonment—in fact little kings, some of them at the outset almost as powerful as their sovereigns themselves. These were the ricos hombres, who held most of the lucrative offices; next to them ranked the hidalgos and caballeros (Hijo de algo, son of[87] somebody, and caballero, a horseman, knight, cavalier, nobleman), who comprised the floating population of warriors or free lances, ready for a fight at a moment’s notice, and always spoiling for a tilt with the enemy.

These were all dealt with in due course, in one manner or another, until all were more or less firmly attached to the crown and pledged to its support. The manner in which the sovereigns attached to their service the three great military orders of Calatrava, Santiago, and Alcantara well illustrates the subtlety of Isabella and the craft of Ferdinand. These orders were founded after the models of the Hospitalers and the Templars during the Crusades; but while originally intended for warfare against the Moors, they had become possessed of vast wealth and influence during the three hundred years of their existence. They were, in fact, through their strength, their capacity to send thousands of armed cavaliers into the field, and their absolute independence, a possible menace to the crown; so, when it happened that a vacancy occurred in the grand mastership of Santiago, in 1476, the queen by intrigue secured it for Ferdinand. Eleven years later he secured that of Calatrava, and in 1494, the last of all, the grand mastership of Alcantara. Thus were the most powerful of the independent[88] military organizations secured and held in fealty to the crown. Though it required eighteen years to accomplish this, yet eventually it was brought about—an exhibition of persistence and craft which throws a flood of light upon the doings and aims of these astute rulers over regenerated Spain.

The unarmed and undisciplined masses were of little account, in the scheme of reconquest planned by Ferdinand and Isabella. But the upper classes, with their immense wealth and privileges, with their castles, princely domains, and armed retainers—these were the first objects aimed at by the sovereigns, when they were forging the weapons and welding the nation together, preliminary to their onslaught upon the Moors. Isabella, as early as 1476, revived the association of common people which had once risen against the nobles, two hundred years before, called the Hermandad, or Brotherhood, composed mainly of people of the middle class, who acted as police and detectors of crime, and in the end became powerful enough to prove an effectual check upon the arrogance of the feudal lords. When, however, the sovereigns found themselves possessed of a strong standing army, with servile soldiers to do their bidding, the Hermandad was disbanded; having served as a means to an end, it passed away.


It was during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, and early in their reign, that another factor tending to the consolidation of their power was availed of, in the establishment of the “Holy Office” of the Inquisition. That terrible tribunal, with its spies working in secret, its judges shielded from public view, its proceedings veiled in secrecy, was revived in Spain and presided over, by the infamous Tomas de Torquemada, as inquisitor general, who was prior of a Dominican monastery at Segovia. Yielding to his pleadings, Isabella consented to apply to the Pope for permission to use the institution as a means of weeding out heresy from among the Jews and Moors in her dominions. In an evil day for Spain, and to the discredit of the humanity of those days, this queen—who has received the praise of generations for her eminent wisdom, modesty, generosity, maternal tenderness, discretion, moderation—not only gave her consent, but did all in her power, to bring to the flames thousands of her subjects, whose only offence was that they differed from her on points of religious belief!

During the remaining years of Torquemada’s life, or from 1483 to 1498, it is estimated that eight or nine thousand “heretics” were burned to death at the stake. And he was but one, the first, of a line of Spanish[90] “inquisitors,” who inflicted upon others of his race, made in God’s image, entitled to compassion, the most fiendish tortures it was possible for man to conceive. We can not forget nor ignore the terrible truth that it was by the express sanction of Isabella, as well as through her connivance, that this monstrosity reared its hideous head in her kingdom, and devoured her loyal subjects. In her day was inaugurated that barbarous “solemnity” called the “auto da fé,” edict of the Inquisition, when the heretics ferreted out by the familiars of the Holy Office were marched through the principal streets of her capital, clad in robes covered with hellish emblems, flames and devils, and followed by processions of priests and monks to the great square, where they were burned at the stake; consumed by flames which even royalty considered it an honour to light and a pleasure to gaze upon!

Ferdinand, of course, was an accessory; he even forced the Inquisition upon the Aragonese, who rebelled against it; but to him have never been imputed the high and honourable qualities ascribed to the “gentle” Isabella. This, the darkest, foulest blot upon her escutcheon—which neither the plea of the exigencies of the time, nor that equally puerile argument that she lived when ideas of[91] morality and human brotherhood were crude, will avail to remove—will stand against her forever, an ineffaceable witness to the innate cruelty and bigotry of this descendant of Pedro the Cruel and Henry of Trastamare, fratricides both, and one a regicide!

But the country prospered awhile—that is, the kingdom gained in material wealth—chiefly, however, from the confiscated properties of the expelled heretics. During the thirty years between the accession of Isabella and her death—1474 to 1504—the royal revenues increased more than thirtyfold. After the discoveries in America the sovereigns were compelled to establish five great councils to manage affairs, the most important of which was the Council of the Indies, with its headquarters at Seville; but, notwithstanding, all power was more and more centralized, until after the death of Ferdinand and the accession of Charles I.




The Castilian court was established at Cordova, where Isabella and Ferdinand received the swarms of courtiers and noble knights with brilliant retinues, as well as foreign ambassadors, who swarmed hither to do homage to the Spanish sovereigns. And, though Christian and Moslem were still at enmity, the turbaned Arab, the warlike Saracen, with scimitar at his side, might be seen among the assembled thousands in the busy streets of Cordova. For, although an eternal barrier existed between these two peoples in their respective religions, and mutual hatred may have smouldered in their bosoms, yet they met and freely mingled, even intermarried, exchanged courtesies and compliments, and engaged in friendly jousts and tourneys.

But the time came when this strained condition[93] of affairs was suddenly changed, about the year 1478. The Moorish dominions, which once extended practically over all Spain, were now reduced to a single great province, or kingdom, that of Granada. Yet it was a fertile and populous province, comprising the best and most beautiful lands in the peninsula, with deep and rich valleys hidden among forest-clad mountains, the peaks of some of which reached the clouds and were covered with perpetual snows. The capital of this kingdom was founded by the Moors soon after their first arrival from Africa, in the eighth century, near the remains of a Roman town called Illiberis. It had grown in wealth and population, until, at the time of which we speak, it probably contained 400,000 inhabitants, and was surrounded by massive walls fortified with numerous towers.

Granada the capital consisted of two cities within one line of fortifications, the portion known as the Albaicin, perched on a hill, and containing the marts and dwellings of the common people, and the hill of the Alhambra, separated from the Albaicin by a deep gorge through which flows the river Darro. Here, about the year 1248, the founder of the Granadan dynasty, Ibn Alhamar, began to build that glorious palace, the Alhambra, which was completed by his grandson, Mohammed III,[94] seventy years later. Within the surrounding walls defended by ninety towers the king held court, with a retinue that constituted the nucleus of a small town in itself. The founder of the Alhambra assembled here artists and artisans from every part of the Moslem world: from Damascus and Bagdad, Cairo and Morocco; and their genius here evolved one of the most beautiful structures ever created by man. Who has not read of the beautiful Alhambra, with its pillared corridors, its assemblage of marble and alabaster columns, its halls and patios refreshed by plashing fountains, its cornices mazes of arabesques, its latticed windows, iridescent tiles, perfumed courts and gardens; and above all, its peerless situation, overlooking Granada, the Darro, the vast meadows of the vega, and with a background of cloud-capped, snow-crested mountains, shining in the sun?

More than two centuries had passed since Ibn Alhamar intrenched himself within the Alhambra walls, and purchased exemption from Christian assaults by the payment of tribute. It was just before the capture of Seville by Ferdinand the Saint that he bound himself and his people to serve the Christians as vassals, and, in consideration that his rich territory should be undisturbed, pay an annual tribute of two thousand doblas of gold[95] and sixteen hundred Christian captives, or the same number of Moors to serve as slaves. Less than three hundred years before (as we may recall) it was the Christians who paid tribute, and in the halls of the Alcázar, at Seville, were assembled the Christian maidens, shamelessly given over to the rapacious Moors. Now, however, the tide had turned, and the founder of the last Moslem dynasty on Spanish soil was glad to avert the possible loss of his kingdom by surrendering a tithe of his possessions to the Christians. Still, each ruler maintained his armies, and a state of armed neutrality existed.

Two centuries of comparative peace had broadened and strengthened the Moorish kingdom until it embraced a portion of south-eastern Spain estimated as containing more than eleven thousand square miles, with a population of three millions, including one hundred thousand valiant men of war. The natural resources of the country were enhanced by irrigation, at which the Orientals are so expert, canals and aqueducts supplied the cities and plains with water, and trade with Africa, and with the Christians of Spain, brought great wealth into the kingdom.

The King of Granada, at the time the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella united the[96] thrones of Aragon and Castile, was one Muley Aben Hassan, a descendant in direct line of the founder of the Alhambra, and when he succeeded his father, Ismael, he found himself ruler over no less than fourteen fortified cities and nearly one hundred towns, as well as many castled hamlets and villages. This fierce warrior, taking account of his vast possessions, refused longer to pay tribute to the Castilian sovereigns, and in the year 1478 a noble knight, Don Juan de Vara, was sent to Granada to demand it. He was admitted, with his retinue of cavaliers, and found King Muley Hassan seated on his royal divan, within the Alhambra, in the spacious Hall of the Ambassadors. He was received with courtesy, but when he named his errand Muley Hassan haughtily replied: “Tell your sovereigns that the Kings of Granada who used to pay tribute in money to the Castilian crown are dead! Our mint at present coins nothing but blades of scimitars and heads of lances!”

Now, the name of Granada signifies in Arabic a pomegranate; and when King Ferdinand received this insolent answer from the Moor he quietly replied, “It is well; I will pluck the seeds from this pomegranate, one by one!” and he began preparations for reducing the Moorish strongholds. But[97] he was not to strike the first blow, for the old King of Granada, confident in the wealth of his provinces and the strength of his defences, and urged on by his fiery soldiery, led an army against an isolated frontier post of the Christians called Zahara. It was naturally so strong, being perched upon a craggy crest of a mountain, that its garrison neglected to keep watch, and, one dark and stormy night, was surprised and put to the sword. The wretched captives taken in the town below were driven like cattle to Granada; and thus in the year 1481 the gauntlet of war was thrown down by Muley Hassan, King of the Moors.

King Ferdinand was willing enough to take it up; in truth, had the Moors not taken the initiative, war would have eventuated just the same, for the one darling project of the Christian sovereigns was the expulsion of the Arabs from the country. But yet again the Christian king was forestalled, though this time it was by one of his own cavaliers. The valiant Marquis of Cadiz, Roderigo Ponce de Leon, who owned vast estates in Andalusia, and could assemble a small army of his own retainers, resolved to avenge Zahara and strike a terrible blow at the Moors. Informed by his spies that the Moorish town and castle of Alhama, in the mountains of Granada,[98] were but carelessly defended, he gathered together a small force of cavalry and foot soldiers, and, surprising the garrison and scaling the walls, took both castle and town by storm.

Alhama was known as the “Key of Granada,” and was not many miles distant from the capital itself; it also was the richest town of the kingdom, and the Marquis of Cadiz and his soldiers secured a vast amount of booty, besides taking many captives. But their position was now perilous in the extreme, for when Muley Hassan learned the news he raged like a tiger and immediately set forth to retake Alhama with an army of fiercest warriors. The sufferings of the Spanish soldiers were intense, for they were cut off from water, attacked on every side, and allowed no rest; but succour came to them from an unexpected source. The Duke of Medina Sidonia—like the Marquis of Cadiz, owner of vast possessions and lord over an army of dependants, although an hereditary foe of the latter—collected a large force and hastened to the assistance of his beleaguered brethren. King Ferdinand also turned toward the scene of war; but, outstripped by the Duke of Medina Sidonia, halted on the way at Antiquera, and there began the assembling of an army, to follow up the advantage[99] so unexpectedly gained by his ardent knights and soldiers.

Thus the immediate effect of this daring assault and reprisal was the joining together in friendly rivalry of two powerful lords who had hitherto been at enmity, and the union of many other rivals in arms, so that Ferdinand soon found himself in command of forces sufficient for the accomplishment of his long-cherished designs against the Moors.

Meanwhile there were strife and dissension in the capital city of Granada. The ill-timed assault upon Zahara was deprecated by the Moors, even before their loss of Alhama, and eventually King Muley was driven from the city during a revolt headed by his own son, Boabdil el Chico.

The grief and indignation of the Moorish populace of Granada are depicted in a popular Spanish poem, with its sad refrain, “Ay de mí, Alhama!” and which Lord Byron rendered into English verse, beginning:

“The Moorish king rides up and down

Through Granada’s royal town;
From Elvira’s gates to those
Of Vivarambla on he goes.

Woe is me, Alhama!

“Letters to the monarch tell

How Alhama’s city fell;
In the fire the scroll he threw,
And the messenger he slew.

Woe is me, Alhama!”


The aged Muley Hassan was expelled, but he returned a few weeks later, and, gaining the Alhambra, made the fountains and corridors run with human blood in his endeavours to regain his crown. But in vain: Boabdil el Chico was then King of Granada, and it was foreordained that his weakness should be the cause of its downfall; for, in an assault he later made upon a Christian castle, he was taken prisoner and only released after promising to hold himself a vassal to King Ferdinand. Meanwhile the contest spread over a widening territory, until all the kingdom was aflame with war.

King Muley Hassan, who had retreated to the port of Malaga, made a raid into the dominions of the Duke of Medina Sidonia, in revenge for the part the latter had taken at Alhama, and regained his stronghold with vast plunder. An incident of this raid shows a romantic trait of Moorish as well as Spanish character. Old Muley asked some captive Christians what were the revenues of his opponent, Don Pedro de Vargas, captain of the castle of Gibraltar, whose territory he was then invading. They answered that he was entitled to an ox out of every drove of cattle that crossed his boundaries. “Then,” said the gallant old Moor, “Allah forbid that so brave a cavalier should be defrauded of[101] his dues,” and he selected twelve of the finest cattle and sent them to Don Pedro with his compliments. The latter, surprised and touched by this display of gallantry, reciprocated by sending Muley Hassan a scarlet mantle and a costly vest of silk, with his regrets that he had not been able to meet him personally in the field!

Stung by this successful raid of the Moors into the heart of Christian territory, some cavaliers, headed by the Marquis of Cadiz and Don Alonzo de Aguilar, made a foray into the mountains of Malaga, expecting to take and sack several wealthy towns. But they were ambuscaded by a Moorish army under the veteran Zagal, of Malaga, and not only vanquished, but nearly exterminated, a miserable remnant only escaping to Antiquera, on the borders of Granada. In the meantime a siege of the wealthy city of Loxa, which lies not far from Granada, was abandoned by King Ferdinand on account of the superior tactics of another Moorish veteran, Ali Atar, father-in-law of Boabdil the king, and more than ninety years of age. He, too, led the Spaniards into an ambuscade, and then set upon them with such vigour that their camp was captured and many Christians slain.

So the demon of war stalked up and down the land, with victory first with Spaniard,[102] then with Moor. Still, all the time the Spanish forces were augmenting, their territory being steadily extended by the capture of one stronghold after another, until, when King Ferdinand again sat down before the city of Loxa with a vast army, well equipped with cannon and foreign auxiliaries, he could count up more than seventy places that had fallen before the assaults of his soldiers. Among these were Coin and Cartama, and the almost inaccessible castle of Ronda, on the crest of the mountain of that name. Loxa (pronounced Lo´ha) finally fell, and then the victors were within thirty miles of the capital, Granada, against which Ferdinand’s forces were impatient to be led.

But though the ill-fated Boabdil, King of Granada—who had violated his pledge of vassalage to Ferdinand, and had hastened to the defence of the city—was among the captives, and though later the Castilians captured the important towns and castles of Illora and Moclin, within ten or twelve miles of Granada, yet the army was temporarily withdrawn. Ferdinand ravaged the vega, or plain of Granada, up to the very gates of the capital; but he was at that time unprepared to attempt its capture or siege, and so retired with his army to Cordova, whence he had set forth in May of that year.


The next year (1487), early in the spring, a mighty army might have been seen leaving Cordova, composed of twenty thousand horse and fifty thousand foot. Its destination was Malaga, the Mediterranean seaport, sometimes called the “hand and mouth of Granada”; for it was the outlet of the province, through which its trade was conducted, and also through which assistance came from the Moslems in Africa. Isabella and Ferdinand had received information that the Oriental infidels in Turkey and Egypt were preparing to make a landing here, and come with a vast army to the assistance of the last of their faith in Spain. So it was excellent strategy to first dispose of this opulent seaport, with its towers of defence, its large and hostile population, and adjacent tributary country, before marching upon the capital. The siege of Malaga was prolonged many months by the valour of its defenders. In the grim old tower above the city, the ruins of which may still be seen, a grizzled warrior, Hamet el Zegri, held out the longest, with a handful of warriors who had already tasted Christian blood at Ronda and other places; but finally he too was obliged to capitulate, and was cast into a dungeon.

From the ransoms of the Moors of Malaga Ferdinand probably derived a larger amount[104] than the Romans received from the Carthaginians, fourteen hundred and eighty years before. Many unfortunates, who could not pay the extortionate sums demanded, were carried off into slavery, to the number of more than ten thousand.

The cities of Guadix and Baza suffered in their turn the fate of Malaga, and at last Almeria, the final refuge of that brave, fierce son of Africa, El Zagal, an uncle of Boabdil, and yet his bitterest enemy. With his surrender the last of Granada’s outlying provinces also fell into the hands of the enemy, and the old warrior went over into Africa, where he was imprisoned by the King of Fez and ended his life in poverty.

During the ensuing winter Ferdinand was busy with preparations for the final attack upon the capital. He had, in truth, plucked out nearly all the “seeds” of Granada, “the pomegranate”; the time was now ripe for finishing the fruit. In his acknowledgment of vassalage, Boabdil had stipulated that, should the chances of war give to the Christians the cities of Baza, Guadix, and Almeria, he would surrender Granada itself, accepting other and inferior towns in exchange. But when the demand came for his compliance, he at first hesitated, then shut himself up within the city and bade the king defiance.


So it was, in April, 1491, that the Spanish army, fifty thousand strong, again appeared in the vega of Granada, and was soon encamped so near the city walls that the soldiers could hear the cries of the muezzins, as they sent forth the Moslem calls to prayer.




Granada, the last stronghold of the Moors in Spain, capital city of the delightful Andalusia, since called by the Spaniards “the Land of the most Holy Virgin,” was finally invested by the Castilian host. In vain flashed signal fires from the atalayas on surrounding hills; no friendly succour could now reach the beleaguered city, either from the coast, from the mountains, or from Africa. It lay like an Oriental gem, a “diamond in an emerald setting” with the green vega outspread at its feet, embossed with olive groves, glistening with silver streams, and with a background of rugged mountains flashing the sun and reflecting the moonlight from their snow-clad summits.

In this beautiful city the Moors had lived two hundred and fifty years. Its downfall was[107] hastened by the rivalry of two tribes or factions among the Moors themselves. Those of the tribe of the Abencerrages were the most noble and humane, the most favourably disposed toward the Spaniards, and are said to have been descended from the ancient kings of Arabia. But the fierce Zegris, their rivals, were of African blood, hated the Christians intensely, and retained to the last all the savage traits of the desert Bedouins. Not many years before the advent of the Christians into the vega, the Zegris had massacred the Abencerrages, beheaded the flower of their noble warriors, and the fountain basin of the Alhambra hall which still retains their name was filled with their blood.

The Zegris had conquered, but in their endeavours to overcome their domestic enemies they had so weakened their own forces that the final triumph of their hated Christian foes was the more easily assured. Ferdinand and his army came in the blossoming springtime, when the glorious vega was spangled with flowers and all Nature joyous. “He will stay through the summer, and in the autumn, as the winter rains come on, will go away,” said the Moors. “If we can hold out till winter, we can at least survive another year. Perhaps help will then arrive from Africa or from the East[108].”

But the spring faded into summer and through the long, hot months the Castilian army lay intrenched; autumn came, and still no signs of departure; instead, in place of the city of tents, with which the plain had been flecked and whitened, arose the stone city of Santa Fé, which exists in our time, and which may be seen to-day, covering the site of the Christian camp.

Then the Moors despaired of succour indeed, for hitherto it had been Ferdinand’s custom to retire to his capital for the winter season, and campaign in summer only. The Moors had planted no crops, reaped no harvests, and now gaunt famine was staring them in the face; the cavalgadas of supplies, sent to them by friendly chiefs, were captured by the watchful Christians, and their condition was most pitiable. Still, the siege had not been without its incidents of startling character, its display of chivalrous deeds of high renown; for, after the arrival of Isabella at the camp, the spirited cavaliers vied with each other as to which should perform the most daring deed, until, the Moors usually getting the best of those individual encounters, Ferdinand forbade them.

However, you may see, high up between the towers of the church subsequently erected at Santa Fé, the marble effigy of a Moor’s[109] head, which reminds us of the most notable of those encounters. One of the most defiant and insolent of the Moorish cavaliers was Yarfe the Moslem, who carried his insolence so far as one day to dash into the Spanish camp and throw his spear into the tent of the queen. To offset this reckless deed, one of the Spanish caballeros, seeing the gate of Granada one day but negligently guarded, passed the sentinels and rode into the city, right up to the door of the great mosque, against which, with the point of his poniard, he affixed a piece of wood, with “Ave Maria” printed on it. Then he wheeled about and clattered down the street, now thronging with astonished and angered Moors, and miraculously escaped, hurling cries of defiance at his enemies as he passed through the gate.

When the Moslems found the Christian emblem fastened to the door of their sacred mosque, they were beside themselves with rage, and the next day gigantic Yarfe attached the bit of wood to the tail of his horse and paraded with it, dragging in the dust, before the Spanish army. This insult was not to be borne, and as he defied any one of the cavaliers to meet him in single combat, Ferdinand was overwhelmed with petitions for permission to engage him. He reluctantly gave consent to a fiery young Castilian, Garcilasso[110] de la Vega, who, after kneeling at the feet of his beloved queen, armed himself completely and sallied forth to fight the Moor. His foe treated him at first with contempt, being almost twice his size and more finely mounted; but what Garcilasso lacked in stature he made up in spirit, and in the sight of the Christian army, and of the Moslems gathered on the battlements, he slew the infidel after a terrible combat, cut off his head, and took it to the tent of Isabella.

The site of this encounter is marked to-day with a large stone cross covered with a canopy, and between the church towers of Santa Fé still rests the marble head of Yarfe the Moor. Across the vega, at Zubia, stand several great stone crosses, also to commemorate the narrow escape of the queen, one day, from capture by the Moors. Yet another reminder of that memorable siege of Granada is the commemorative chapel on the bank of the river Xenil, which indicates the spot where Boabdil el Chico surrendered the keys of the capital; for at last, as we know, Granada capitulated, to famine rather than assault, to overwhelming numbers rather than to superior feats of arms.

On the 2d of January, 1492, the Moorish king came down from the fortified palace on the Alhambra hill with a small retinue,[111] and met the Castilian sovereigns on the right bank of the Xenil. “El Rey Chico”—the Little King—gave up what his fiercer ancestors, and particularly his own father, would have fought to defend till the last gasp. His real power had departed; the emblems of it he handed to Ferdinand, saying: “These keys, O king, are thine, since Allah hath decreed it: use thy success with clemency and thy power with moderation.” The exit of the “Little King” was more dramatic than his action on the stage of war; yet he went not out as a warrior, but as a woman. Within sight of the battlements of Granada is a gap in the hills which surround the plain, and here it is related Boabdil paused to look his last on the fair city he had so ignominiously abandoned, and wept at the remembrance of his misfortunes. And his mother reproached him with—“You do well to weep, like a woman, for what you could not defend like a man!” The scene of this incident is still known as “El último suspiro del Moro,” or “The last sigh of the Moor.”

But it was not his last sigh by any means, for he lived for years thereafter: lived to see the dismemberment of his empire, the scattering of his people, and finally to die in a foreign land, in the service of the King of Morocco. In the capitulation it was stipulated that[112] Boabdil and his subjects should do homage to the Castilian sovereigns, that they should be protected in their religious exercises, be governed by their own cadis, be exempt from tribute for three years, and within that period all who wished to emigrate to Africa should be furnished with free transportation thither. Boabdil was granted lands in the Alpuxarras Mountains, and at first lived peacefully in a secluded valley; but eventually, through the treachery or mistaken zeal of his vizier, he parted with his possessions in Spain for a sum of money, and went over to Africa, where travellers may see what is alleged to be his tomb, in the city of Tlemcen in Algiers.




The reign of Ferdinand and Isabella has been called the most celebrated, and the year 1492 the most eventful, in Spanish history. Not the fall of Granada alone made that year notable; not the culmination of a long series of wars, extending through centuries, and conducing to the final triumph of Christian arms, made the year 1492 memorable—for the youth of this age scarcely need be told that it was, in a sense, the birth year of America!

A sad and preoccupied witness of the Christian triumph at Granada, one who saw the tumultuous entrance into the Alhambra of the Spanish army, the unfurling of the Castilian banner on the tower of La Vela, the departure of the broken-hearted Moors—one Christopher Columbus was attendant through it all. Possessed with his grand idea of[114] reaching the Indies by sailing directly westward—a thing hitherto unheard of, at least unattempted—after his rebuffs at the court of Portugal he had come to Spain as early as the year 1482, and was sent by the Duke of Medina Celi to Isabella at Cordova. He followed her court to Salamanca in 1486, there had audience with the queen, and the next year appeared before the famous Council in the Dominican convent. Nothing came of that except discouragement; but he returned to Cordova the same year, whence he was summoned by Isabella to the military camp at Malaga. We have no continuous itinerary of his travels, but in 1489 he was with the army before the walls of Baza, where he probably saw and conversed with two holy men who had come from Jerusalem to enlist the aid of Spain against the infidels in the Orient.

For eight long years he was a hanger-on at court, ever fed on promises, put off with half denials, and again reassured with the prospect of assistance when the Moors should have been subjugated. At last, in 1491, weary and heartsick, Columbus resolved to depart from Spain, and on his way to the coast stopped at the convent of La Rabida, near the port of Palos, where his distinguished appearance attracted the attention of the prior. This was the turning of the tide in[115] his fortunes, for the prior had formerly been confessor to the queen, and, impressed with the scheme of his visitor, offered to intercede in his favour. He did so, and, as the result, Columbus was again ordered to wait upon the queen, and with money for the journey from the royal exchequer, set out for Santa Fé, where he arrived in time to witness, as we have noticed, the surrender of Granada. But that was no propitious time for the king or queen to engage in new adventures, with the royal treasury drained by the terrible drafts upon it for the Moorish wars, and again Columbus was disappointed, and a second time bade farewell to the court and set out for the coast. He had, however, proceeded but a few miles on his journey when the queen’s courier overtook him with the pledge of her assistance, and so he returned to Granada. The point at which he was halted by the courier was at the Bridge of Pines, still spanning the stream as of yore, and the last decisive interview is said to have been in a corridor of the Alhambra, known as the Hall of Justice.

Here, finally, amid the tumults attendant upon the occupation of Granada, on the 17th of April, 1492, the “capitulation” was signed, by the terms of which the queen was to provide the funds for the voyage, and Columbus[116] was to go forth to explore the territory and conquer the inhabitants of the unknown Western world.

Some historians have asserted, and some have denied, that the queen pledged her jewels for the necessary funds; but certainly she is entitled to all the glory of that adventure, since the prudent Ferdinand looked coldly upon the schemes of the Genoese sailor, and if his advice had been followed he would have been promptly dismissed. It required a lofty faith, a serene confidence in Providence, to embark in such an enterprise, when she may have been already sated with the glory of conquest; and once having pledged her assistance, Isabella never wavered in her pecuniary and moral support. Ten days after the “capitulation” Columbus was at Palos with the royal command for sailors and caravels to be furnished by that port, and by the 1st of August the little expedition dropped down the Rio Tinto and made its final preparations for the long voyage across the Atlantic.

All students of our history know the glorious sequel to this voyage begun under such discouragements: of the discovery of land in the Bahamas in October following; of the meetings with strange copper-coloured people whom Columbus called “Indians”; of the triumphant return of two out of the three[117] caravels that set forth, and the magnificent reception of Columbus by his sovereigns at their royal court in Barcelona. But with his departure from the Spanish coast Columbus temporarily sails out of our ken, and we must return to trace the course of events after the fall of Granada.

Happy should we be to chronicle such events as the preceding, only; to record acts of clemency and magnanimity toward the conquered peoples now absolutely dependent upon Isabella and Ferdinand for their fortunes and their lives. But almost contemporaneously with their arrival at the summit of their power, the Castilian sovereigns committed at least one act which the whole world has regarded with aversion even to the present day. Intent upon the union of the diverse peoples of their extensive kingdom under one religious faith, and perhaps with an eye to the material advantages which might also accrue, they issued an edict of expulsion against the most thrifty and law-abiding inhabitants of Spain, the Jews. These people had long been resident here, had accumulated vast properties, and under the Moors had been exempt from the persecution to which they were subject by the Goths in ancient times and by many of their successors.

Learning that this terrible edict was in[118] contemplation, the wealthier of the Jews offered an immense ransom to be allowed to remain in the enjoyment of their religion and possessions. But while this offer was under advisement by the sovereigns, and when they seemed to incline to mercy, it is said that the Grand Inquisitor, Torquemada, injected the venom of his depraved nature into the discussion with disastrous effect. Bursting into the royal presence, he exclaimed with fury, as he held aloft a crucifix: “Judas Iscariot sold his master for thirty pieces of silver. Your Highnesses will sell him for thirty thousand. Here he is, take him and barter him away!” Saying this, he dashed the crucifix upon the table and darted from the room.

Sad to relate, bigotry triumphed. The mercenary and bloodthirsty schemes of Torquemada were carried out to the full, and more than two hundred thousand stricken Jews were expelled the country, losing homes, wealth, all they possessed, which eventually reverted to the crown through the dastardly work of the Inquisition. This act of the crown, by which Spain lost some of its best subjects, was signed on the 30th of March, 1492; and thus the sovereigns, while at the same time outstretching one hand to grasp a new continent which was to yield them vast[119] treasure, yet with the other strangled domestic thrift and trade, and undermined the foundations of the kingdom they had sacrificed so much to consolidate and perpetuate.

The Jews had brought commerce and manufactures, they were skilled agriculturists, some of them learned for their time; the Moors had brought into Spain, or had developed there, a glorious architecture, schools, and colleges, renowned throughout Europe, arts, and even sciences, and had reclaimed from the desert vast areas of waste lands; they had built beautiful cities and towns, castles and palaces, which are the admiration of all who see them to-day; yet both Jews and Moors were driven from Spain as though they were its deadly enemies. Those who drove them forth were not capable of creating a tithe of what the Moors and Jews had done; to their credit is not one work of art, not one beautiful structure of renown; but they were through force of circumstance and skill at arms the conquerors, and the lives of these vastly superior peoples were at their mercy.

Had they but treated them with leniency, had they encouraged them in their peculiar industries and pursuits, Spain would probably have become the grandest nation in Europe, instead of merely rising to temporary greatness[120] and ultimately sinking to insignificant proportions. As with the Jews, so the Castilian sovereigns dealt with the Moors. Though they had stipulated on oath that they should be protected in the observances of their own religion, yet not long after, urged thereto by the inquisitors of the Holy Office, they broke their sacred pledges and turned them over to their enemies. Many professed to become converted, to escape persecution, but others were driven to rebellion, fled to the mountains and waged a bloody war until overcome by force.

Says a learned historian of that time, when the Inquisition claimed its innocent victims by hundreds and thousands: “Now a scene of persecution and cruelty began which far exceeds in atrocity anything which history has related. Every tie of nature and society was broken, every duty and every relation violated, and torture forced from all alike false accusations, betrayal of friends, confession of impossible crimes; while the actors in these horrible tragedies were shielded by impenetrable secrecy from the revenge of their victims and the detestation of society.”

Were it not for such acts as these, and had Isabella and Ferdinand inclined to mercy rather than listened to the advice of bigoted counsellors, their reign might have earned the[121] distinction of being, what many have claimed for it, the greatest that Spain ever knew. They built wisely in many things, they advanced Spain from obscurity to become a power among nations; they earned the love and regard of their Christian subjects by works promoting their welfare; but at the same time they vitiated the good deeds by their barbarous treatment of “heretics.”

It is no matter of wonder that an attempt was made on Ferdinand’s life, in Catalonia, soon after the capture of Granada, and that even Isabella was not safe from covert attack. Still, they were a well-matched pair, and, from a worldly and contemporary point of view, were all-sufficient to Spain in her time of greatest need. Isabella was calm and lucid in her counsels, inclined to benevolence and mercy where religious questions were not involved, and, as one writer has expressed it, followed after Ferdinand’s armies to garner the wheat which he had cut on the fields of war. Ferdinand was crafty, a diplomat whose match all Europe could not then produce. This is shown in his conduct of the Neapolitan wars, when he outwitted the King of France, and eventually gathered the rewards to himself, adding the title of King of Naples to his other distinctions. “Foreign affairs were conducted by the king[122] in behalf of Aragon, just as colonial affairs were for the benefit of Castile.”

They did not lack for learned and astute counsellors, such as Cardinal Mendoza, Torquemada, and Ximenes. The last named, born before his sovereigns, yet outlived them both, and to the end was a faithful, even though bigoted, servant and courtier. Chosen as the queen’s confessor in 1492, he was later appointed Archbishop of Toledo, and after Isabella’s death became a cardinal, throughout his career remaining loyal to the throne.

Another faithful servant of the Crown was Gonsalvo de Cordova, who fought magnificently against the Moors, and then was sent to carry on the wars in Naples, where Spanish arms were so triumphant that he earned the title of the “Great Captain,” and covered Ferdinand’s reign with glory.

After the death of Isabella, which occurred on November 26, 1504, Ferdinand’s diplomacy continued him in power as regent and sovereign, except for a brief term; and it was to him that Columbus vainly appealed for justice when, weak and broken from his four transatlantic voyages, he came back to endure poverty and neglect.




Although Queen Isabella assumed all responsibility for the first voyage of Columbus, and is said to have declared, “I am ready to pawn my jewels for the expenses,” yet the treasury of Aragon has the credit of providing the necessary funds. Already fifty-six years of age when he started on this voyage, Columbus had spent eighteen of the best years of his life supplicating at courts and pleading for recognition; so he was no longer blessed with health and vigour. Returning from the first triumphant achievement early in 1493, the same year he sailed from Cadiz with a larger fleet, and discovered islands farther to the south than those which he first saw and landed on, as well as the island of Jamaica. In 1498 yet another voyage revealed the island of Trinidad and a portion[124] of the north coast of South America; but, through the course of events which we can not follow in this history, he was sent home to Spain in chains by his enemy, Bobadilla. The queen, though she received him with distinction, and did all she could to soothe his wounded sensibilities, yet was unable to secure him another command until 1502, when he sailed on his last and most disastrous voyage, which ended in the wreck of his ships on the north coast of Jamaica, and his final return to Spain, worn with disease and broken-hearted from abuse. Two years after the death of Isabella he too departed this life, in the year 1506, at the city of Valladolid, where the house in which he died is still pointed out to the stranger. His remains were at first deposited in Valladolid, then taken to Seville, and about the year 1540 transported to Santo Domingo, in accordance with his last request.

Following closely in the wake of Columbus were other voyagers and other discoverers, notably Americus Vespucci, who, together with a valiant Spaniard named Ojeda, sailed along the north coast of South America from the Pearl Islands to the Gulf of Maracaibo, in the year 1499, trading with the natives, and finally returning with a rich cargo of pearls and other valuable products of their[125] barter. They not only obtained the beautiful pearls which unfortunate Columbus had somehow overlooked the year before, but they first saw those curious people, the Lake Dwellers, in the Gulf of Maracaibo, whose settlements over the water suggested the name by which the region adjacent is known to-day, of Venezuela, or Little Venice. Americus Vespucci was further rewarded, on his return, by being appointed chart-maker to the king, and eventually his name came to be applied to the continent discovered by Columbus in 1498. That, at least, was long held to be the case, but of late years it has been noticed that the word “America” may have been derived from the native name of one of the provinces on that coast, Americapan.

So we might go on tracing the extension of Spanish conquests, until these pages, which we have dedicated to outlining the history of Spain, would be filled with the doings of her valiant sons, and the numerous adventurers attracted to her service by the reports of her growing greatness. But still we can not ignore these brave conquistadores who sought fame and riches in the New World, the path to which had been opened by Columbus. Two or three years after the death of Columbus the gallant Ponce de Leon, then governor of a province[126] of Santo Domingo, went across the channel and conquered Puerto Rico, whence, in 1512, he sailed to the discovery of Florida, after his romantic search for the fabled “Fountain of Youth.” To note how, when once started, the stream of exploration and conquest flowed on unimpeded, we have but to turn to the island of Santo Domingo, discovered by Columbus in 1492, and where the first schemes of colonization were carried out.

In the year 1509 the son of Columbus, Don Diego, was appointed governor and viceroy of the island, in tardy recognition of the claim of his father to the title of “High Admiral of the Ocean-Sea.” In 1511 one Velasquez sailed over to Cuba and there established a colony, and with him, among others who subsequently became famous, was an obscure individual named Hernando Cortes, who, fired by the reports of a new land discovered to the west, was placed in command of an expedition, by Velasquez, who fitted it out; and the result was the ultimate conquest of the vast territory of Mexico, which was first brought to notice by Hernandez de Cordova in 1517. From this conquest, which was not achieved until about 1521-’22, flowed millions and millions in treasure to fill the coffers of Spain. Cortes[127] himself, a man of humble origin, was born in Spain in 1485, only seven years before Columbus sailed on his first voyage; yet he added a kingdom to the realms of Spain before he was forty years of age!

In the year 1513 the brave but unfortunate Vasco Nuñez de Balboa, from a high point in the Isthmus of Darien, saw, first of all Europeans, the vast Pacific; yet it was not until nearly twenty years afterward that Francisco Pizarro, the ignorant soldier, who was born in the same province as Cortes, in Spain, and who had served with Gonsalvo de Cordova in Italy, subjugated the native people of Peru, and made himself a virtual king. By the conquest of Peru and the murder of the Inca by Pizarro more than fifteen million dollars in treasure was secured, and ultimately the mines of that country enriched Spain for many, many years.

So, as we have seen, Spain was prolific in men of force and gallantry, who poured out their blood freely for her sake, and who ventured their lives rashly in the expeditions she sent forth. The long wars with the Moors, lasting for centuries, had brought forth a race of soldiers unequalled perhaps in any other country at that time. They seem to have been bred and nurtured for these very deeds of risk and heroism which[128] were born of their encounters with the natives of the New World; for self-denial, for intrepidity under almost insuperable difficulties. They were also fierce and cruel—how fierce and how cruel it is only necessary to read of the conquest of Mexico by Cortes; of the conquest of Peru by Pizarro; yes, of the treatment of the innocent natives by Columbus himself, who initiated the system of slavery, by which eventually they were extinguished in the West Indies. Humanity was foreign to their nature; long familiarity with the bloody work of the Inquisition in the home country, the persecution of Moors and Jews, the scenes of rapine and massacre they had witnessed and heard reported by their fathers, had accustomed these conquistadores to cruelty and merciless oppression. Even the gentlest and most merciful of them were so only by comparison, for their progress everywhere could be traced by ruin and desolation, by ravaged homes and murdered men, women, and children.

Contemporaneously with her conquests in the New World, Spain herself acquired increasing territory in Europe, not alone by force of arms, but chiefly through matrimonial alliances and succession to power. To understand how this came about, we must[129] retrace our course and bestow a parting glance upon the affairs of Isabella and Ferdinand. This royal pair, under whom Spain had at last become consolidated into a veritable kingdom, with a union of interests if not unity of purpose always, had five children born to them: Juan, the only son, born 1478, who married a daughter of Maximilian, Emperor of Germany, but died without heirs, in 1497; Isabella, born 1470, married twice, to two princes of Portugal, whose only child lived but two years; Juana, born 1479, married to the Archduke Philip, son of Maximilian, who had two sons, Charles and Ferdinand; Mary, born 1482, and Catherine, born 1485, who became the unfortunate wife of Henry VIII of England, and from whom she was divorced in 1533.

By the death of Juan in 1497, of Isabella in 1498, and of the latter’s child two years later, the succession to the throne now devolved upon Juana, in accordance with the will of her mother, Isabella, executed in October, 1504. King Ferdinand, who had so successfully administered the affairs of the crown of Castile during thirty years, was appointed regent until Juana’s elder son, Charles, should attain to his majority.

Though at first there was a disagreement between Ferdinand and Philip, Juana’s husband,[130] as to the regency, all difficulties were settled in 1505 by mutual agreement, and the next year, by the sudden death of the young archduke, the king became sole regent, and virtually ruler over all Spain. Juana, the bereaved “lady proprietor,” was crazed by this affliction, smiting upon a mind already diseased, and until her death, forty-seven years after, took no part in the affairs of the kingdom. As Juana loca, or “Crazy Jane,” she is known to history. She became most insanely jealous respecting her dead husband’s remains, would not allow them interred, and journeyed with them from place to place, always in the night; for, she mournfully said, “A widow who has lost the sun of her own soul should never expose herself to the light of day.” Thus she lived in mental darkness, in her palace of Tordesillas, for nearly half a century, an object of pity and commiseration.

Left at liberty to pursue his conquests where he would, Ferdinand first turned to matrimony, and married Germaine, a frivolous niece of Louis XII of France, in 1506. Three years later his great cardinal, Ximenes, waged war on Oran, a port on the African coast, equipped an army at his own expense—or rather from the revenues he derived from his position as Primate of Spain—and[131] took the Moorish stronghold after great slaughter on both sides. The figure of this austere and virtuous cardinal, who so faithfully served first Isabella, then Ferdinand, Juana, and finally Charles, and who found time to attend to affairs of state and to purge the kingdom of its heretics through inquisitorial fires, to carry on a war at his own cost, to found a university, to cause to be translated the famous Complutensian Bible, which employed men of learning fifteen years at the task—his is one of the sturdiest and strongest of this epoch. The University of Alcala, founded in 1500, and the renowned Bible, the last portion of which was printed in 1517, are but two of the many monuments he erected during his life.

In the year 1511 the Holy League was formed between Ferdinand and Pope Julius II, Venice, and Henry VIII of England, against the French, by which Spain was the gainer; and in 1512 Navarre was annexed to Aragon, thus welding the northern kingdoms into one. In December, 1515, Gonsalvo de Cordova, the “Great Captain,” who had won Ferdinand’s victories in Italy, passed away; to be followed but a month later by his sovereign, who expired on a morning in January, 1516, in a wretched tenement where he had been overtaken by heart disease.


He was in his sixty-fourth year; his reign had endured forty-one years, and at his death he left a reputation for ability, wisdom in diplomacy, sincere interest in the affairs of his people, and economy in the administration of the vast dominions embraced under his kingship over Spain, Naples, and the two Americas.

For more than twenty years he had borne the title bestowed upon him by Pope Alexander, in 1494, and as the great King of Spain, Ferdinand “the Catholic,” he has passed down to history and the present time. His remains were taken to Granada, where they were at first deposited within the Alhambra; but to-day all that is earthly of Ferdinand and his glorious consort repose in the magnificent marble tomb in the royal chapel of Granada, which with its exquisite carvings and memorial effigies, was executed by world-famous artists at the command of Charles, the son of Juana loca the demented queen.




Charles, elder son of Juana, and grandson of Isabella and Ferdinand, was born in the year 1500, at Ghent, and all his life held an affection for the people of his native land, which the Spaniards never shared. Still, he was virtually King of Spain at the death of his grandfather Ferdinand, and his mother, owing to her lunacy, only nominally queen. Henceforth, for more than half a century, this grandson of the King of Aragon and Queen of Castile appears the dominant figure, the greatest ruler, in Europe. “It has been said that Charles had more power for good or ill in Europe than has been exercised by any man since the reign of Augustus; and that, on the whole, he did as much harm with it as could possibly be done.”

This is the verdict of an impartial historian,[134] and seems borne out by the facts, for his long reign was chiefly one of war, and waged more for personal aggrandizement than for reasons of state. He was seventeen years of age when he first entered Spain, the year following Ferdinand’s death, and eighteen when proclaimed king at Valladolid. The interregnum had been skilfully bridged by Cardinal Ximenes, who had vigorously suppressed various insurrections caused by the dissatisfaction of the nobles and the people at the introduction of a host of foreigners, greedy and rapacious, from the Flemish country. Notwithstanding the great services of the octogenarian Ximenes, who had so faithfully served not alone the young prince, but before him his mother and grandparents, he sent him a frivolous letter containing implied reproof, which reached the cardinal either just before or just after his demise, which occurred in November, 1517. Adrian of Utrecht, subsequently Pope, succeeded Ximenes, under whom Charles’s forces met and overcame the rebels, headed by Juan de Padilla, in 1522.

In January, 1519, another great personage departed this life, in the death of Maximilian, Emperor of Germany, paternal grandfather of the young King of Spain, upon whom, in June of the same year, was bestowed[135] the imperial crown. He was thus at nineteen years of age, as Charles V of Germany and Charles I of Spain, sovereign over a vastly wider realm than any Castilian king had ever dreamed of conquering. From his father, Philip, he had inherited dominion over the Netherlands and Franche-Comté; through his mother and from Ferdinand the kingdoms of Spain; and now, by the Diet of Frankfort, he was made Emperor of Germany. It may be said that with his coronation at Aix-la-Chapelle, in October, 1520, his troubles really began; for Francis, the French king, also young and powerful, urged a right to the crown; and henceforth, until the death of the latter, in 1547, there was enmity between them.

That same year occurred the famous meeting on the Field of the Cloth of Gold, between French Francis and Henry VIII of England; but not long after Henry was fighting as an ally of Charles against the King of France. To recount their quarrels and battles would be too wearisome as well as fruitless a task; but they culminated at the famous battle of Pavia, when the French king’s army was routed, and Francis himself taken prisoner by the Spaniards, in 1524. He was not released until he had forfeited his claims to Charles’s possessions in Burgundy,[136] etc., and returned to France in January, 1526, after signing the Treaty of Madrid, and leaving as hostages two of his sons.

But Francis did not respect his promises, and soon there was war again between the two, more battles, more signing of treaties, more shedding of blood and devastation of territories, until the war-worn subjects of both sovereigns were weary of a conflict in which they obtained no gains and shared no profits. Especially were the Spaniards wroth at being repeatedly called upon to donate funds and men, men and funds, for the carrying on of foreign wars. Yet they rarely rebelled, and only grumbled and protested when the Cortes was called, knowing that it meant only more money for the king and his favourites, more sacrifices at the feet of Moloch the insatiate. Through all the years of his reign Charles was carrying on war of another kind, also, with the enemies of the Romish Church. Simultaneously with his coronation as Emperor of Germany rose the apparition of Protestantism in the person of the redoubtable Luther; and the assembling of the Diet of Worms, for the discussion and extermination of Lutheranism, was one of the first acts of the young sovereign, in January, 1521. It was an unequal fight, that between the poor peasant-priest Luther and the mighty[137] emperor; yet, though the former died in 1541, his cause eventually won—as all the world knows—and not all Charles’s efforts could strangle in its cradle the young giant of Reformation.

At the age of twenty-six Charles married Isabella of Portugal, a beautiful princess, to whom he was much attached, and who became the mother of his only legitimate son, Philip II, who was born in 1527. That same year Charles was called upon to wage another little war with Francis, who had broken his pledges and formed a league with Henry of England and the Pope. The Spanish armies, under lead of the recreant Constable of Bourbon, overran Italian territories, took and sacked the city of Rome, committing every imaginable excess, and ending by making the Pope himself a prisoner. Although his own army had committed this sacrilege, Charles pretended to be grieved at the event, particularly at the indignity offered to the person of the Pope; but only three years later he had the imperial crown set upon his brow by this same Pope Clement, who had only regained his liberty by the payment of a heavy ransom.

The treaty then signed by the hitherto hostile belligerents, called the Peace of Cambrai, was probably hastened by the threatened[138] invasion of western Europe by the Mohammedans under Soleyman the Magnificent; and it was this fear also that caused Charles to treat his Protestant subjects so leniently in Germany, when in Spain they would all have been burned at the stake or put to the sword. But he needed their valiant arms in opposing the Moslems of Turkey in their victorious progress; hence they were temporarily spared, to grow eventually into a body politic of such proportions that, to his sorrow, they eventually overcame him. He, however, vindicated his claim to be considered the champion of Christendom, in 1535, by organizing an expedition against Barbarossa, the pirate king, and liberating hundreds of Christians confined in the dungeons of Tunis. Another attempt upon Algiers, in 1541, resulted in the dispersion of the Spanish fleet by a storm, and disastrous defeat. The year 1536 was made memorable to the citizens of Ghent because, having refused to furnish their quota for carrying on the wars in France, they were treated by Charles as rebels and punished with terrible severity.

In 1540 Loyola established in Spain the order of Jesuits, which subsequently came to have such influence in religious and political affairs. The French king in 1542 renewed[139] hostilities, and after two years of warfare a peace was declared, in 1544. About this time it seemed to Charles that the occasion was ripe for a war of extermination against his Protestant subjects of Germany. At first he triumphed over their large and well-equipped armies, in 1547 defeating the Elector of Saxony and taking him prisoner. That year, also, Francis of France died, and thus the emperor was left freer to persecute those who differed from him in their religious beliefs. But a Protestant champion soon arose in the person of Prince Maurice of Saxony, whose vigorous action not only reduced the emperor to the humiliating necessity of signing a treaty of peace (August 2, 1552), but set in motion a train of events that forever made impossible his cherished project of the rooting out of Protestantism.

Three disastrous years of warfare followed the Peace of Passau, but nothing was gained for Charles, and in 1555, by the Peace of Augsburg, his hated enemy, Protestantism, scored a triumph through receiving legal recognition, by which its roots struck so deep into European soil that no efforts of the emperor’s could avail to extricate them. It is thought that the humiliation of this defeat of his lifelong scheme in behalf of the papists was the cause of his final determination to[140] abdicate in favour of his son Philip, which he did in October of the same year, 1555. His mother, Juana, died this year, having passed the whole term of her son’s brilliant reign in the gloom of insanity.

In January, 1556, he formally ceded all his Spanish possessions to Philip, and retired to the monastery of Yuste, where he passed three years more in the quietude of peaceful scenes, and finally expired on the 21st of September, 1558.

After forty years of fighting, he found nothing so delightful as the seclusion of a monastery; after mingling in the stirring scenes of a world of which he was at times the most prominent figure and centre around which it moved, he found nothing so conducive to tranquillity and happiness as the domestic avocations of gardening and carving simple toys. He had crossed central and western Europe forty times, had visited England, carried war into Africa, had battled with the French, the British, the Italians, and Turks; while at the same time his great captains had subjugated the natives of the two Americas, and deluged the western isles and continents with blood. Mexico, Peru, and Chili were reduced to submission during his reign. In 1521 the great navigator, Magellan, had passed through the straits that[141] now bear his name and circumnavigated South America, on that same voyage discovering the Philippine Islands, which were afterward named in honour of Philip II.

We should pause here to note that it was during Charles’s reign that Spain’s history became inextricably mingled with or touched upon that of every great division of the world, and that the emperor held possessions in Asia, Africa, Europe, North and South America.




The keynote of Philip’s character was bigotry. Trained in diplomacy by his imperial father, brought up in the atmosphere of royal courts, born to intrigue and bred to dissimulation, he early gave promise of a great future which he never fulfilled.

When, at his abdication, in 1555, Charles admonished his son to “fear God, live justly, respect the laws; above all, cherish the interests of religion,” he really meant, as the codicil to his will expressed, in 1558: “Keep alive the fires of the Inquisition, and exterminate every heretic in the kingdom.” And, so far as it lay in his power, the filial son obeyed the precepts of his father to the letter!

Born in 1527, at twelve years of age he lost his mother by death, and at twenty-seven,[143] or in 1554, he was married to “Bloody Mary,” Queen of England, and thus became titular King of the British Isles, though never actually and actively engaged in the affairs of that kingdom during the fourteen months of his residence there. Indirectly, the result of this alliance was a fearful persecution of Mary’s Protestant subjects, and the burning at the stake of martyrs like Latimer and Cranmer, and more than three hundred others, before she died in 1558. Fortunately for England, no children were born of this alliance, the evil results of which were shown by the war with France, into which Mary was drawn by Philip, and the loss of Calais to the English. “When I am dead, Calais will be found written on my heart,” said the unhappy queen; but the faithless husband, for whom she sacrificed so much, was not inconsolable at her death, and soon again embarked in matrimony.

In truth, Philip was already a widower when he espoused Mary Tudor, for he had been married to Maria, daughter of King John of Portugal, in 1543, who died within two years, leaving a son, Don Carlos, who became an object of suspicion to his unnatural father, by whom he was imprisoned, and probably poisoned, in 1568.

Shortly after the death of Mary of England,[144] Philip sued for the hand of her sister, Elizabeth, who scornfully repelled him, and in June, 1559, he married Isabella, daughter of Henry II of France. His marital record was completed when, in 1570, after the death of Isabella, he espoused his niece, Anne of Austria, daughter of Emperor Maximilian II. Thus within the space of twenty-seven years he had been four times married, three times to the daughters of kings and once to the daughter of an emperor. But his various attempts to ally himself with royalty—with the reigning houses of Portugal, England, France, and Austria—resulted in no direct benefit to him or to his kingdom. A curious if not revolting circumstance attending two of these marriages was, that while Mary of England was at one time the betrothed bride of his father, Isabella of France was intended for his son Don Carlos! It is supposed that it was on account of his jealousy of the relations between his lovely bride and his son that Philip persecuted and imprisoned the latter, and finally hounded him to his death.

In war and diplomacy Philip was at first more fortunate than in matrimony, for in 1557 his generals gained the important victory of San Quentin, and of Gravelines, 1558, over the French, between whom and the[145] Spanish and English a treaty of peace was signed in 1559. It was at this time that the English lost Calais, and the French much territory; the only benefits accruing to Philip of Spain, who acquired two hundred towns in Italy and the Netherlands.

Although opponents in war, Henry II of France and Philip II of Spain were of one religion, and united as against their heretical subjects; so the alliance with Isabella was quite in the natural course of events. In a tournament which followed the ceremony the King of France was accidentally killed by the Scotch captain of his guards, the Count of Montgomery; and thus Queen Isabella began in sorrow that sad, short period of married life with Philip II which was terminated by her early death.

After a visit to the Spanish Netherlands, in 1559, Philip returned to Spain, and never again set foot on Flemish soil. But he always kept those distant provinces within his ken; not with their best interests at heart, but with a view to crushing out the Protestants with fire and with sword. He left his half-sister, Margaret, Duchess of Parma, to rule in his absence, assisted by Cardinal Grenville, and with instructions to root out heresy from the land, at whatever cost. Spain at that time had its prisons filled with[146] victims of the Holy Office; its autos-da-fé, or burnings of heretics at the stake, were of weekly occurrence, no Sabbath being deemed complete without these dismal spectacles.

But in the Low Countries the infamous inquisitors encountered a resistance more formidable than from the passive wretches of downtrodden Spain. Though their streets flowed with human blood, though the flames rose from every square and market place, yet the Netherlanders opposed the attempt to subvert them. They rose in rebellion when the Inquisition was introduced, in 1565, and to suppress them the great Duke of Alva, who had won victories for both Charles and Philip, was despatched with an army considered sufficient for the purpose. This general, of consummate abilities yet of monstrous cruelty, afterward boasted that he had executed eighteen thousand men by hanging and drowning, by the rack and fire, besides the many killed in battle. He put to death Counts Egmont and Horn, drove the valiant William of Orange into exile; and the flames of war and bitterness which he kindled lasted for more than two generations, resulting in the eventual loss of all the northern Netherlands to Spain. He was rewarded by the Pope with the title of supreme Defender of[147] the Faith, but left the country pursued by the maledictions of the people. His infamous “Council of Blood” rode rough-shod over all the rights of the people, and sent to the gallows and the block the highest and the wealthiest of the country, whose properties were confiscated for the benefit of the king. At last, after the northern provinces had maintained a successful war for several years, the Duke of Alva was recalled, and the king’s half-brother, Don John of Austria, was sent in his stead. One of Alva’s last offices was to conquer Portugal for Philip, in 1580.

During this gloomy period in the Netherlands there occurred several things of importance in Spain and the farther East which had a bearing on the fortunes of the Christian world. At home a Moorish rebellion disturbed the land. Goaded to desperation by oppressive laws, hunted like beasts by the familiars of the Holy Office, at last the Moriscoes could endure no more. Many fled to the mountains and organized a rebellion, which for several years kept the Spanish soldiers actively engaged ferreting them out in their retreats and dragging them to death. “Better not reign at all, rather than over a nation of heretics,” was Philip’s declaration as the Moors begged for the retention of their[148] ancient religion and forms of dress. He was determined to make them all conform to his own ideal of religious faith; and the result was loss and irreparable disaster to the country over which he reigned as king. By the year 1572 the rebellion was crushed, its leaders all murdered, and the unfortunate Moriscoes scattered in exile far from the homes of their ancestors, where hitherto they had been peacefully tilling the soil and engaged in manufactures that redounded to the benefit of Spain.

In the year 1571, in alliance with Rome and Venice, Spain arrested the westward-flowing flood of Mohammedanism at Lepanto, one of the “decisive battles of the world,” when one hundred and thirty Turkish galleys were wrecked or captured, twenty-five thousand Turks were killed, twelve thousand Christian galley slaves liberated from their living death, and vast booty taken from the enemy.

Lepanto was the western limit of Islam’s latest advance in Europe; after that fateful battle it receded toward the Orient. But for King Philip’s insane jealousy of his half-brother, Don John of Austria, who so bravely led the Christian hosts, the allied forces might have laid siege to Constantinople; as it was, Don John sailed across the Mediterranean[149] with twenty thousand men and captured Tunis, on the African coast. It was soon after retaken by the Turks, and many years later the other Spanish dependencies went the same way.

On the other side of the Pyrenees, in France, an event occurred in 1572 peculiarly acceptable to Philip—the atrocious massacre of Saint Bartholomew’s night, when four thousand Huguenots were murdered in cold blood, through the treachery of the queen regent, Catherine de’ Medici, and her son Charles IX. In the provinces of France at least thirty thousand more fell victims of the hate and fury of their compatriots who differed from them in their religious belief; and they could not fly to Spain for succour, for there sat their inveterate enemy, who was only too anxious to interfere in the affairs of France. He had his hands full, with the encroaching Moslems on one side and the obstinate Netherlanders on the other; yet he found time to attend to all these things, and to manage the affairs of his vast empire in the New World also.

Two years after the recall of Alva from the Low Countries, or in 1575, Holland and Zealand were united under Philip’s bitterest enemy, William of Orange, and the next year witnessed the famous “Pacification of Ghent” between the Protestant and Catholic provinces,[150] by which the Inquisition was declared abolished, mutual toleration agreed to in religious matters, and a united stand maintained against the Spanish soldiery. In 1578 the free states brought about a treaty with Queen Elizabeth of England, and the next year the Union of Utrecht—a stepping-stone to their great and final declaration of independence and repudiation of Spain, in 1581. As the Duke of Parma, who had succeeded Don John of Austria, advised the removal of the head and front of the opposition in the person of the noble patriot William the Silent, Philip at once declared him a miscreant and outlaw, and offered a reward of twenty-five thousand crowns to whoever would murder him. This is the reason why Philip II of Spain has been called the murderer of William the Silent, because, instigated by the proffered reward, a miserable wretch was finally successful in assassinating William, in July, 1584. Although he himself did not point the pistol which ended the life of William the Silent, yet Philip was as actually his murderer as if he had done so; likewise of his secretary, Escovedo, of his own son, Don Carlos, of the Counts Egmont and Horn, of Don John of Austria, and thousands of others who were put to the sword, beheaded, hanged, and burned to death by his commands.


Were we writing the history of the Netherlands we might find examples of Philip’s tortures, might produce evidence of his most inhuman cruelty to his brother man too revolting, too horrible for contemplation. He reminds us of nothing so much as of a vile and venomous spider intrenched in his web at Madrid, whence radiate threads of communication to the confines of his realm—to Naples and the Netherlands, to Africa and the Americas—all connecting with the capital where sits this arch-enemy of mankind, absorbing the life-blood of his innumerable victims. This human spider rioted in scenes of blood, yet rarely shed blood directly by his own hand; his foul parasites executed his commands, and burned and strangled by his orders; he was Briareus-like; no one could escape him; no life was safe if once he wanted it. So it was that, while he gratified his hideous instincts, his country became poorer and poorer; while he sucked the blood of his prey, he also sapped the land of its vitality; his armies were numerous, his wars were costly, and as he had encouraged no domestic industries—had killed rather than fostered skilled artisans—all the vast wealth brought to the shores of Spain by her flotillas of treasure galleons was absorbed by unworthy favourites, was scattered abroad on many a battlefield,[152] or went to reward hired assassins and a mercenary soldiery. For the credit of humanity, for the credit of the cause of religion—which he pretended to champion and up-hold—we would his life were otherwise than what it was; but it has been said of him, and of his father, Charles I, that no other sovereigns with such glorious privileges, with such great opportunities for doing so much good, ever did so much harm!

The Netherlands may be considered as lost to Spain when their cause was championed by the “Virgin Queen” Elizabeth, who sent, in 1586, the Earl of Leicester to represent her with an army. It was at a skirmish attending one of the battles of this year that there fell one who has received almost immortal acclaim for his knightly courtesy: Sir Philip Sidney, who, dying, refused a cup of water that a brother soldier might be refreshed.

Though King Philip may have welcomed a war with England, as a hotbed of Protestantism and the realm over which ruled Elizabeth, whose refusal to marry him still rankled in his bosom, yet he was soon to regret it. For, in 1587, that great sea-lion, Sir Francis Drake—not then “Sir,” however, but plain Admiral—pounced upon the seaport of Cadiz, sank two hundred and fifty galleys and transports,[153] and created consternation everywhere in Spain.

The next year, in spite of Drake’s ravages, sailed the great armada—one hundred and forty ships and thirty thousand men, with friars, inquisitors, etc.—for the conquest and conversion of England: argosies in which were centred the hopes of Spain; only to be crushed and defeated by one half its number of English ships, combined with the adverse elements, so that only a pitiful remnant returned to Spanish ports. A last expiring effort at naval supremacy was made in 1595; but this fleet also was sunk, carrying with it Spain’s prestige on the ocean wave.

And at last, in misery and torture from a loathsome disease, at the age of seventy-one, in the year 1598, Philip II departed this life; his chief legacy an impoverished kingdom, his greatest monument the Escorial, that palace, monastery, mausoleum, library, upon which he had spent thirty years of time and lavished millions of treasure.




Two royal lives practically extend throughout the sixteenth century, or from the year 1500 to 1598. The lives and reigns of three of their successors carry us forward exactly a century further, for Philip III reigned from 1598-1621; Philip IV, 1621-1665; and Charles II, 1665-1700. The house of Hapsburg had come in with Charles I, who was also Charles V of Germany; it terminated in Spain in the reign of Charles II, after an even two hundred years of power.

It will do us no harm to recapitulate, that under Isabella and Ferdinand the Spanish monarchy was consolidated; under Charles I it grew to be an empire, wide-extended, world-embracing; and under Phillip II began to shrink again to meaner proportions.

Charles could not secure the empire to his[155] son, as it went to his brother Ferdinand, neither could he bestow upon him transcendent abilities; but Philip equalled him in his intensity of purpose, his capacity for protracted labour, his inclination to provoke war, and surpassed him in religious fanaticism. Both, however, were self-sufficient, needing no counsellors, no outside help to formulate their plans of action. With the incoming of Philip III we witness the beginning of a long line of favourites, of irresponsible courtiers, under whom Spain suffered for nearly two centuries more. The first was Sandoval, whom his royal servant created Duke of Lerma, and under whom (notwithstanding the death of Holland’s great ally, Elizabeth, in 1603) the United Provinces gained their virtual independence by the Treaty of Antwerp, in 1610. The Netherlands were under the comparatively mild sway of the Infanta Isabella, her armies led by the Archduke Albert and the Marquis Spinola, and opposed by Prince Maurice of Nassau. By the end of the first decade of this century the Dutch East India Company was established, and their fleets not only brought rich cargoes to Holland, but they preyed upon Spanish commerce as well. To such a condition, finally, had Philip II’s policy brought affairs, that after thirty years his former vassals, the[156] sturdy rebels of the northern Netherlands, were rejoicing over inflowing wealth, while Spain’s treasuries were empty, or exhausted as soon as replenished.

Though without that positive power for evil possessed by his father, Philip III was malignant, capable at times of great evil, as was shown in his expulsion of the Moriscoes, or the last of the Moors, in 1609. At this time the bulk of them were living in Valencia, where they were highly esteemed for their sobriety, diligence, conformity to the laws, and as skilled artisans; but owing to the suggestion of the Archbishop of Toledo, Sandoval’s brother, Philip banished them all to Africa, to the number of more than half a million, where and in the voyage thither they suffered incredible hardships. Their only blame lay in their industry and thrift, and the country soon felt their loss through a further decline of its agriculture, manufactures, and mining. Thus departed from Spain the last vestige of the Moors, whose ancestors had invaded the peninsula nine hundred years before. With them, and with the Jews, departed also in great measure the country’s prosperity. The Moors, says a writer on Spain, had brought here the cultivation of the mulberry, sugar cane, cotton, and rice. The spices and sweets of Valencia were famous, as well as the sword[157] blades of Toledo, the silks of Granada, and the leather of Cordova. Nobody knows the extent of Moorish treasure still buried in Spain; but if the Spaniards had spent as much time in tilling the soil as in hunting for the undiscovered gold and jewels, the country would be more prosperous than it is to-day.

Weak, vacillating, swayed by his wife and his favourites, Philip III was yet morose and melancholy, and eventually turned upon Lerma, forcing him to retire to his country seat, but not until after the Church had made him a cardinal.

The eldest son of Philip III succeeded him at his death, in 1521, which is said to have been hastened by the punctilious etiquette of his court, caused by delay in removing him from a fire, near which he had been seated by one of the attendants.

As Philip IV, the new heir to the throne dabbled in disastrous wars to even a greater extent than his father, and he could not prevent being drawn into the vortex of that terrible Thirty Years’ War (1618-’48) between the Catholics and Protestants of Europe. It was a legacy, indeed, from his great-grandfather, Charles, who had been compelled to a truce with the Lutherans, when he would fain have exterminated them, eighty years before.


This, the fourth Philip of the Spanish line, although called “Philip the Great,” must needs have a royal favourite in one Gasparo de Guzman, Duke of Olivarez, for whose misfortunes he served as a scapegoat. Olivarez began well, by executing a former sub-favourite, Calderon, and prosecuting Lerma for his fraudulent practices—a proceeding which has an aspect of grim humour, in view of his own subsequent venality and official corruption. He sent Spinola to war again with the Netherlands, that grave of so many Spanish soldiers; but the Dutch were now too strong for the mother of tyrants, and not many years after, in 1628, captured the Spanish treasure fleet, and in 1639 almost annihilated the Spanish navy at Dunkirk. He was scarcely more fortunate in Italy; he even ventured to match himself against that past-master of diplomacy and intrigue, Cardinal Richelieu, with a result that might have been expected. His tyranny and oppressive exactions raised a revolt in Catalonia, which lasted thirteen years; and it was about this time that Portugal threw off the coils which Philip II had wound around her and regained an independence which she has ever since retained.

The reign of Olivarez came to an end after twenty years or so of maladministration, but[159] Spain’s territorial losses went on under his nephew and successor, Luis de Haro. All through the history of these times there was always an undercurrent of war between France and Spain, now one nation and then the other being victorious. Hitherto the prestige of the Spanish soldiery had been sufficient to hold the French in check; but Turenne took from them Roussillon, in 1642, and at the battle of Rocroi, the next year, the great Condé administered a crushing defeat, so that their century-long reputation for invincibility was shattered. Condé again defeated the famous Spanish infantry at the battle of Lens, in 1648, and that same year a final peace was concluded with the Netherlands. On the sea Spanish ships were again defeated by the renowned Van Tromp, the same Dutch admiral who sailed with a broom at his mast head in token that he had swept the seas clean of his country’s enemies. Until this period the transatlantic possessions of Spain had been kept intact, though many coast cities and towns had been bombarded, and fleets of treasure galleons destroyed; but in 1665 one of Cromwell’s admirals took the island of Jamaica, and this was the beginning of such losses by Spain.

All these defeats, with but few redeeming victories, reduced Spain from the once proud[160] position she had held as dictator in European affairs to become subordinate to France, her ancient enemy. By the Peace of Westphalia, in 1648, Spain had suffered indirect defeat, as thereby the Protestants had secured religious toleration, against which Charles I and the three Philips had fought for more than a century. By this peace, also, France and Spain were left the only combatants on the field of European warfare, but in 1659 they came to terms by the Treaty of the Pyrenees; France gave back to Spain her territory of Catalonia, and Spain ceded to France Artois and Roussillon. Further, a promising guaranty of the stability of this present peace was the marriage the following year of the Infanta Maria Teresa, Philip’s eldest daughter by his first wife, to the great king, Louis XIV of France. Six years later, after a protracted struggle, the decisive battle of Villaviciosa lost Portugal finally to Spain, at the news of which the king was so affected that he swooned away, his death occurring shortly afterward, September 17, 1665.

One would think that peace might now reign between France and Spain, since Philip IV left his throne to a helpless child of four years, whose brother-in-law was King Louis XIV. But Louis the despot was a law unto himself. He no sooner saw the opportunity,[161] with Spain powerless to oppose him, and his hands free in other directions, than he promptly sent his armies into the Netherlands. Alarmed at his schemes of conquest, England, Sweden, and Holland joined together in the “Triple Alliance,” which for a while held him in check, until they tied his hands again in 1668 by the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. At the Spanish court, meanwhile, affairs were in a scandalous condition, for the queen regent was ruled at first by a German Jesuit, and later foisted into favour an agreeable young man who had been merely a page, and whose highest conception of pleasure was to occupy the place of honour at a bullfight. If it may be said of the reign of Philip IV that it was the most disastrous to Spain since that of King Roderick the Goth, little more can be claimed for that of Charles II, his son, who came into the succession in 1675, at the age of fourteen. Like all the issue of Philip II, he was weak almost to idiocy, and so superstitious that in later life he had himself exorcised for witchcraft.

His uncle, Don John, at first assisted him with his counsels, but after his death a favourite named Eguya succeeded him, to be followed by the Duke of Medina Celi, then by the Count of Oropesa; and none of them laboured for the aggrandizement of Spain.[162] By the Treaty of Nimeguen, in 1678, and by the Twenty Years’ Truce of Ratisbon, Louis XIV should have abstained from further aggressions, but his mischief-loving spirit was not to be curbed. He invaded Catalonia in 1689, bombarded Alicante and Barcelona, capturing the latter, and acted in a manner altogether in keeping with the character of this treacherous and unfaithful monarch, whose long life is but a record of infamy.

By the Peace of Ryswick, in 1697, Louis unexpectedly gave back to Spain all the territory he had conquered, an act inexplicable until the terms of the secret “Partition Treaty” became known, when it was found that he had arranged for the partition of Spain, with the assistance of other powers, by which his son the dauphin was to have the bulk of the dominions, including the Italian possessions.

Spain had now become so weak that the expected death of her king was the signal for a gathering of her royal neighbours, who sat around like vultures expectant of their prey until the pitiful apology of a monarch at last shuffled off this mortal coil. The last of his house to reign in Spain, intellectually degenerate and physically impotent, Charles II passed away, leaving no direct heir to the throne. Before his death, however, aware of[163] the coalition against the throne in the event of no successor being named, Charles willed his dominions to the electoral Prince of Bavaria, whose mother was a daughter of Philip IV. But the prince died before the king, and this reopened the question of succession, which will be treated in the next chapter.

It is one of the paradoxes of civilization that a barren or a blood-fertilized soil sometimes produces the most luxuriant growth and yields the richest harvests. So with Spain. During the century of her greatest oppression, during the years of her decadence, she brought forth the flower of her literature and of her art. We may call the era of intellectual and artistic development, or rather inflorescence, by whatever name we will—Augustan, Elizabethan, or Victorian—but the fact is, the sovereign has no claim to this distinction, for he or she merely happened to reign when this took place.

Thus we find during the reigns of the three Philips such world-renowned names as Garcilasso de la Vega, the historian; Las Casas, Oviedo, Bernal Diaz, and Cortes, military writers; Cervantes, author of the immortal Don Quixote; Lope de Vega, the[164] dramatist, minor poets in great numbers, and great painters like Murillo, Ribera, and Velasquez. Titian, even, was a friend of his patron Charles I, and spent some of his last years painting portraits for Philip II.




“The king is dead; long live the king!” Before Charles II passed away, weak and vacillating as he was, he bequeathed to his subjects a legacy of woe in the unfruitful “Wars of the Succession.” Finally, on his deathbed, through the influence of his confessor, and at the recommendation of Pope Innocent II, Charles made a will in favour of Philip of Anjou, grandson of Louis XIV of France. When he received the news of this triumph, for which he had long been scheming, the French king joyfully exclaimed, “The Pyrenees no longer exist!” meaning that from that time France and Spain would be virtually under one sovereign, that sovereign himself. This did not actually come about; but to show how nearly the interests of the two countries were allied henceforth,[166] let us examine the ancestry of the new king.

We have only to note that Philip of Anjou was the grandson of Louis, who himself was in early life married to the Infanta Maria Teresa, daughter of Philip IV, and hence, in natural course, would have claim to the Spanish succession in the event of what had now actually happened—a King of Spain dying without an heir of his own issue. But this event had been anticipated at the time of their marriage, and Maria Teresa had solemnly renounced all claim to the throne of Spain, either for herself or her heirs. This was because a just fear pervaded other nations of the two great monarchies with their dependent territories becoming united under one sovereign. To preserve the “balance of power” in Europe, it was considered necessary that they should be separately governed.

Still, Louis never quite gave up the idea of a scion of the house of Bourbon sitting on the throne of Spain, and he was prepared to sustain that resolve with all the might of his armies. He hardly dared, however, press the claims of the dauphin, his and Maria Teresa’s eldest son, but compromised on the son of the dauphin, Philip of Anjou. This was in a certain sense the better policy, for it excited less opposition from other crowned heads;[167] and as it happened, the dauphin died before Louis himself, and Philip long survived him.

The remaining candidate for regal honours, and who was slighted in the award, was Leopold, Emperor of Germany, whose mother was the daughter of Philip III, and who was also descended from Charles V’s brother Ferdinand. He at once began a war against Philip in behalf of his son, the Archduke Charles, and, being joined by England and the Netherlands, acting under the “Grand Alliance,” Europe was again plunged into the barbarities of senseless warfare.

Philip was seated in 1700, the Alliance was declared in 1701, and then quickly ensued a succession of great battles, with victories at first in favour of the allies, but eventually resulting in favour of the Bourbon King of Spain. It was during these Wars of the Succession, as they were called, that first rose to prominence the great Duke of Marlborough, who, in connection with Prince Eugene, won the famous victory of Blenheim, in 1704. This was followed by the splendid victory of Ramillies, in 1706, and by that of Malplaquet, in 1709. In truth, the allies made Louis repent of ever having undertaken to sustain his grandson on the throne of Spain, especially as at first other victories fell to the portion of the archduke, until nearly all eastern and south-eastern[168] Spain acknowledged the pretensions of “Charles III,” as he styled himself. But though Philip was twice driven from his capital, Madrid; though the rich city of Barcelona was captured by the English, and the Rock of Gibraltar taken by Sir George Rooke, in 1704; though the French empire itself seemed in danger of annihilation, yet unexpected circumstances intervened to save both Louis and Philip from destruction. That is, by the death of the Emperor Joseph, in 1711, the Archduke Charles received the imperial crown; and as the powers never intended that Spain and Germany should be again united, any more than they could tolerate the union of France and Spain, why, they all “turned right about face” and scampered away from each other as fast as they could. All this fuss about a crown would seem ludicrous, were it not for the sanguinary side of the strife—the ravaged countries, the thousands fallen in battle, the towns and cities burned, the innocent women and children massacred—all, that a certain insignificant, slow-witted hypochondriac named Philip of Anjou might seat himself upon the Spanish throne!

By the Peace of Utrecht, in 1713, he was acknowledged King of Spain and the Indies; but Milan, Naples, the Netherlands, and Sardinia[169] were given to the insatiate Louis XIV. And England, which never yet went into a war without the ultimate object of territorial aggrandizement or material profit of some sort, retained out of the general scramble all her conquests of Gibraltar, Minorca, Hudson Bay and Newfoundland, St. Christopher Island in the West Indies, and Acadia.

Poor Spain, as usual, was plucked of many of her gaudiest feathers; and thus, after thirteen years of warfare, she became blessed with a prince of the house of Bourbon instead of one of the house of Hapsburg; the only difference between the two being that one was French, the other Austrian, and neither with more than a trace of Spanish blood to substantiate a claim to the throne of Isabella and Ferdinand.

Woefully had Spain descended in the scale of nations, and basely had she mingled her blood with foreign elements, until she could no longer claim as a ruler one nearly allied to the proud nobles of Castile or Aragon. She only knew that a degenerate Bourbon had replaced an equally degenerate Hapsburg; but she must have loved the foreigner greatly, for a descendant of the Bourbon sits on the throne of Spain to-day.

In justice to Philip V—to give him his new title—it may be said that Spain has[170] been less wisely ruled than she was by him. The death of his imperial grandfather, in 1715, tempted him to break his pledges at the Treaty of Utrecht and aspire to the throne of France; but England’s fleets and the “Quadruple Alliance” soon brought him to his senses, and he abandoned all thoughts of a dual empire.

Fortunately, the country was not yet entirely drained of its resources; its people had still a little vitality remaining, and after a reign of forty-six years Philip left his kingdom in rather better condition than he had found it. Having still half the world tributary to that kingdom, the colonies of America, continually pouring into the Spanish treasury the golden products of mine and soil, the country needed only peace to enable it to recuperate. This period of rest it found during the reign of Philip’s successor and son, Ferdinand VI, who entered upon the kingly state at the death of his father, in 1746.

As so frequently happens, the best king has the shortest reign, and Ferdinand lived but thirteen years after falling heir to the crown. But these were years of tranquility and progress, during which impoverished Spain deigned to take stock of her own resources and did not go abroad to rob her[171] neighbours. Internal improvements were carried out, roads and canals built, agriculture fostered, oppressive taxes equalized, ship-building and foreign trade encouraged. The nucleus of a navy was gathered, and at the end of this reign it consisted of more than eighty frigates and ships of the line, valued at sixty million dollars.

Strange as it may seem, the Church was the greatest enemy of the people—at least, of the people’s material welfare. In the time of Ferdinand VI it had a revenue of three hundred and fifty-nine million dollars, which was greater than that of the state, and there were one hundred and eighty thousand clerical or non-producing people connected with it. The king did not interfere with its liberties, but he took steps to limit the power of the Pope, so that indiscriminate appointments were prevented; and he hindered the work of the Inquisition so much that it had but ten victims during his reign, as against one thousand during the reign of his father, and was, at last, almost starved out!

By the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, in 1748, the War of the Austrian Succession, into which Philip V had been drawn, was brought to a close and the heroic Maria Theresa confirmed in her rights. And though there was danger of trouble with England, over the “asiento[172],” it was obviated by concessions from Spain to the former’s great advantage. This asiento—literally a contract—was a special agreement by which the ships of England were entitled to trade to a certain extent with Spanish colonies, those of other nations being prohibited, especially in negro slaves from Africa.

The Seven Years’ War, which broke out in 1756 between Prussia and England on one hand, and Austria, France, and Sweden on the other, was a severe strain upon Spain’s neutrality, for both sides sought her aid. Ferdinand, however, wisely abstained from war, even though Pitt, the great English minister, offered him back Gibraltar, to reconquer which Spain had fought desperately and besieged in vain, with the assistance of the French. He still remained neutral, and Gibraltar yet rears its defiant crest under the folds of Britain’s flag.

Ferdinand’s beloved consort died in 1758, and, unlike his father in similar circumstances, he did not console himself with another, but sincerely mourned the good Barbara of Portugal, and was faithful to her memory until his own demise the following year. Altogether, Ferdinand’s reign was in such beneficent contrast to others which had preceded it that we could wish it had been prolonged. It was to his able ministers, Enseñada and Carvajal,[173] that the country was indebted for so much; but as the king would have been held accountable had they been evil counsellors, so he is entitled to credit for following their advice.

And so, when his successor and brother, Charles III, took possession of the throne, he was most agreeably surprised to find—what had not occurred before since Isabella’s time—a surplus in the treasury! To be sure, much of it, if not all, was due to the fact that the national debt had not been paid for many years; but still the credit of it belongs to the frugal Ferdinand. When Charles III came to the throne, in 1759, he brought with him an invaluable experience of a twenty-five-years’ reign as King of Naples. In the main, he followed in Ferdinand’s footsteps, yet in 1762 he joined with France in the “family compact,” by which the Bourbons engaged to support each other against all others, and this precipitated the war with England, in which, as usual, Britain came out with the lion’s share of territory. Havana in Cuba, Trinidad, Manila, and the famed Acapulco galleon with three million dollars, besides other immense booty estimated at fifteen million dollars, fell into the hands of the English. By the treaty of peace, 1763, Spain got back her principal ports only by ceding Florida to the English, and the valuable rights for cutting logwood[174] on the Honduras coast, while France gave up Canada, the Louisiana territory east of the Mississippi, and several islands in the West Indies.

Charles had able ministers in the persons of Squilaci, Grimaldi, Campomanes, and the Count de Aranda, under the last of whom was consummated the expulsion of the Jesuits from Spain, in March, 1767. Their order was suppressed by Pope Clement XIV, in 1773. Succeeding Aranda came Don José Moñino, afterward Count of Floridablanca, as prime minister. He was in power when the American colonies of Great Britain declared their independence, and, like France, sided with the colonies—not because of love for them or sympathy with their aims, but because of an apparent opportunity offering for striking a blow at England through her colonial possessions.

An insurrection in Peru, guided by the Inca, Tupac Amaru, had to be crushed, but Spain joined with France in a desperate attempt to retake Gibraltar, and in naval demonstrations, with the customary results: that they were repulsed from the Great Rock, and their fleets destroyed or scattered, particularly in the West Indies. In 1783, at the Peace of Versailles, at which the independence of the United States was established, Florida[175] and Minorca were restored to Spain, but the loss her navy had sustained was irreparable.

In 1786 a peace was declared between Spain and Algiers, by which thousands of Spanish captives were released from slavery, and the piratical incursions from which the coast country had long suffered were ended. Two years later Charles III passed away, at the age of seventy-three, having done much to earn the gratitude of his country.




When, at the age of forty, in 1789, Charles IV ascended the throne of Spain, he for a while retained in power his father’s great prime minister, Floridablanca; but soon, it seems, his wisdom failed him. After dallying awhile with this faithful servant, who was succeeded by Count Cabarrus, then by the patriot Jovellanos, Charles gave up all attempts to rule wisely, and abandoned himself utterly to the guidance of his wife, who was as capricious and depraved as any of her sex who had ever before ruled over a Spanish king. In 1792 the queen managed to install her own favourite, Manuel Godoy, a young man of low birth, in the seat of the statesman Aranda, and had him raised to the rank of a Spanish grandee, as Duke of Alcudia. Henceforth, for many years, poor Spain was to witness the[177] humiliating spectacle of a good-natured but weak sovereign, ruled by his vicious wife and her creature, and to become familiar with family scandals which were a disgrace to the nation.

Perhaps Charles would have made mistakes enough if he had been left to himself, for early in his reign the world was amazed at the horrible cruelties of the French Revolution, and he, as a Bourbon allied to the family of Louis XVI, was placed in a most embarrassing position when the excesses of the revolutionists culminated in the execution of the king. All Spain rose in protest against this barbarous act, and urged King Charles to declare for vengeance; but he sat supinely in his palace, and did nothing more than to send a feeble protest and a feebler army against the regicides. The new-born republic did not wait, however, for him to declare war, but sent a force into Spain, which quickly invaded the frontier and soon defeated the allied Spanish and Portuguese in several battles. The triumphant republicans were only checked when they held the peninsula at their mercy, for, as history has told us, they were at the outset invincible. They snatched victories from defeats, turned defeats into victories: these desperate outlaws, battling against the rights of kings and the oppressions[178] of a decadent nobility. They were equally victorious over the allied armies in the Netherlands also, and soon we have the edifying spectacle of this Bourbon King of Spain entering into treaty with the red-handed murderers of his royal kinsman. This was in 1795, at the Treaty of Basel, arranged by the vainglorious Godoy, who won thereby great rewards in lands and honours, and also the title of the “Prince of Peace.” Further, by the Treaty of Ildefonso, in 1796, distracted Spain turned completely around and entered into an offensive and defensive alliance with France against England. Retribution was swift and sure, for the next year her fleet was shattered at the naval fight of Cape St. Vincent, Cadiz was attacked by the English, and she lost the island of Trinidad in the West Indies, besides having her merchant marine ruined and her colonial trade all but destroyed.

At the instigation of Napoleon, who was now foremost in the affairs of France, Spain declared war against her sister kingdom, Portugal, though sorely against her will, as—if for no other reason—the queen’s favourite daughter, Carlota, was the wife of the Prince Regent of Portugal. But in 1801 that kingdom was overrun by an army composed of seventy-five thousand men, fifteen thousand of which were French and sixty thousand[179] Spanish, and the “Prince of Peace” won new honours for himself by his active participation. Spain, in common with other European countries, secured a brief breathing space by the Treaty of Amiens, in 1802, but by this treaty England was confirmed in her captures and came out triumphant.

Napoleon’s act in disposing of Louisiana to the United States for the paltry sum of fifteen million dollars, was a vast benefit to America, but a violation of good faith, inasmuch as Spain had ceded that territory to France, only three years before, with the expressed condition that no other country should ever obtain it. Still, she meekly bore this bitter humiliation, for she was under the domination of the conqueror of Europe, who soon imposed yet heavier conditions upon her. He found a pretext for violating the peace with England, and Spain also, who had purchased her neutrality by a monthly payment, in 1804 declared war against the Britons for seizing her homeward-sailing galleons with their wealth of treasure from the American colonies. England had done this as a measure of self-defence, foreseeing that, with the sinews of war which this colonial treasure would purchase, Spain would not hesitate to cast her lot with Napoleon and France.


The conflict that ensued put an end forever (so far as human ken can forecast) to Spain’s ascendancy at sea. Her supremacy, indeed, had long since departed; not since the times of the “invincible armada” had she been a powerful factor to reckon with upon the ocean. But it was during the war that followed that the combined French and Spanish fleets, under Villeneuve and Gravina, were sought out and attacked by Lord Nelson. Off Trafalgar, October 25, 1805, occurred that memorable naval battle by which the fleets were shattered, and England obtained, coincidently with the death of Nelson, the title which she has since so proudly borne, of “mistress of the seas.” She was thenceforth supreme upon the ocean, and the colonies of France and Spain were at her mercy.

The Spanish-French alliance had changed since the time of the “family compact,” for what then was a natural union between sovereigns allied by blood and interests, was now a most unnatural connection between two totally dissimilar organizations. Especially since Napoleon had so cruelly put to death the young Duke d’Enghien, a scion of the Bourbon house in 1804, Spain regarded France with averted eyes. The repugnance of the king could not be overcome, and even the skill at dissimulation possessed by the artful[181] Godoy could not suffice to hide from Napoleon the fact that his great adversary, England, was higher in favour than himself. He took a characteristic revenge, and by compelling Spain to become a party to the dismemberment of Portugal, by the Treaty of Fontainebleau, placed her in a position from which she could not retreat. This was in 1806, and the same year a French army under Junot invaded Portugal and drove the royal family into exile. The next year, however, it became evident that not Portugal alone, but Spain as well, was the object of the great Napoleon’s ambition. The wonder is that she had escaped so long, when already Germany, Italy, Austria, Prussia, the Netherlands, and even the vast empire of Russia, had been invaded by him and made subject to his will. But Spain’s hour had come; the giant now felt the moment propitious for her conquest. Under pretext of marching his troops through Spain to Portugal—as by the treaty he was permitted to do—Napoleon massed his soldiers at all the passes of the Pyrenees, and, before the king and court were well aware of his plans, had obtained full possession of the frontier, and was sending forward Murat and his battalions to the capital, Madrid. Terror-stricken, the royal family resolved at once to flee to Mexico. But when the people[182] learned this, realizing that all this misery had been brought upon them by the corrupt and faithless Godoy, they rose en masse and sacked the palace, seeking everywhere for the prime minister, whose life would have been forfeited if he had not escaped by hiding in a closet. This ebullition showed Charles IV the futility of longer clinging to the shadow of what he had formerly possessed, and he formally abdicated, on March 17, 1808, in favour of his son Ferdinand, the Prince of Asturias.

France had experienced her Reign of Terror; she now had her master, Napoleon, who looked upon his small empire as too restricted for his towering ambitions, and cast around for some other thrones to occupy. He saw, with that clearness of perception for which he was noted, that the throne of Spain was divided against itself: the king against the queen, Godoy the Prince of Peace against them both, and the son of the king at enmity with the other three. In truth, it was charged by Godoy that he had conspired to kill, or at least to dethrone, his father, and he was thrown into prison until he pretended to relent and ask forgiveness. Ferdinand, hated by his mother, despised by the prime minister, and accustomed to regard his father as an obstacle in the path of his ambition,[183] was an altogether unlovely character, dark, sinister, with the making of another Philip II in him, had but the times been propitious. He was, however, the popular idol, and the misguided people hailed with joy this new accession to the line of royalty, under the title of Ferdinand VII.

It was not long that he was permitted to enjoy the royal prerogatives, nor the malicious satisfaction of retaliating upon his enemies. Confiding in the supposed friendship of Napoleon, he sent back to Portugal the Spanish troops which his father had recalled in anticipation of a French invasion, and unsuspiciously placed himself in the emperor’s hands. With consummate duplicity, Bonaparte allured first Ferdinand, then his father, the queen mother and Godoy, over the frontier to Bayonne, where he indeed had them at his mercy, and then revealed his true intentions. In a word, he frightened Ferdinand into an abdication, his father into renouncing forever his claim to the throne, in return for a pension and paltry honours, and Godoy he dropped as unworthy of attention.

Ferdinand was promised an income of one million francs, a palace, and—captivity. Meanwhile, Napoleon called an assembly of the notables—such as would come at his call—forced upon them a new Constitution, and[184] made them swear allegiance to the new king, who, of course, was one of his own family—his brother Joseph, until then King of Naples. Joseph himself, by nature unfitted for kingship, amiable, humane, was yet unable to resist his imperious brother. Against his own inclinations he was forced to take the throne; but not all the ability and resources of Napoleon could keep him seated there. For though Napoleon, after he had finished this work to his mind—had dethroned two kings and seated another—returned to Paris and other victories, yet the people over whom he had placed his brother Joseph absolutely refused to accept him. An outbreak at Madrid was only quelled after many French soldiers and Spanish citizens had been massacred, and affairs wore such a threatening aspect that re-enforcements now poured through the Pyrenean passes to the number of one hundred thousand men. Marat did the best he could, other French generals co-operated; but within a week or so after he had entered the Spanish capital, Joseph was compelled to retreat to the frontier.

These, in brief, were the beginnings of the famed Peninsular War, which lasted from 1807 to 1814, and inflicted incalculable misery upon the Spanish and Portuguese people.[185] The Spanish fought desperately, but without common purpose or direction. At the first siege of Saragossa, made memorable by the valiant defence of its inhabitants, Palafox and the romantic “Maid of Saragossa,” the French were repulsed; but at the second they took the city, with terrible slaughter. Joseph was a second time compelled to abandon Madrid, and a second time to return; for his brother was furious over the acts of the Spanish rebels, and determined to subdue the country. Perhaps he would have accomplished this in the end, though the whole nation was now aroused; but the Spaniards bethought themselves to appeal to England for assistance. The British ministry saw its way clear to fight the universal conqueror in Spain and Portugal in a manner not possible on the soil of France; so they sent out Moore and Wellington, and other tried generals, with armies behind them and fleets to support them, and they began operations in Portugal. At first they were successful in compelling Marshal Ney to evacuate Portugal; but in Spain Sir John Moore was driven back upon the port of Coruña, and met his death—the same General Moore whose defeat and burial are immortalized in heroic verse. Napoleon himself hastened to Spain and organized victories with two hundred thousand men, so that for[186] a time “brother Joseph” was secure on the throne upon which his imperial master had so unceremoniously seated him. But with his departure reverses came again; for, though driven away at first, the British returned.




The same month of July, 1808, in which Joseph Bonaparte was proclaimed King of Spain at Madrid, the British troops were despatched to Portugal. After Junot had been expelled from that kingdom the genius of Napoleon reorganized his armies, until the French in Spain numbered not less than four hundred thousand men, which he left divided into eight corps under as many generals and marshals. Soult invaded Portugal, and was promptly driven out by Wellington; while King Joseph, with eighty thousand men, was defeated at Talavera, July, 1809. During the ensuing winter Wellington constructed that famous line of earthworks, twenty-nine miles in length, known as the lines of Torres Vedras. The French had then captured every city of note in southern Spain except Cadiz,[188] and Wellington foresaw the necessity of preparing an impregnable base for retreat, in case he was pursued by the overwhelmingly powerful forces of the enemy. His foresight was justified when General Massena, with sixty-five thousand soldiers, moved against him in the spring of 1810. He retreated slowly behind his lines of defence, taking with him all the available sustenance of the country, and Massena, unable to force the works, and in effect starved out, after losing thirty thousand men, sullenly retreated northward. Following him cautiously, the English general, in the spring of 1811, overtook and whipped him in a battle fought in April, and for the third time rid Portugal of the French invaders. After this, by a succession of skilfully planned battles, and with victory alternating defeat, Wellington persistently advanced, until in August, 1812, he entered Madrid. He had not yet accomplished his purpose, however, of ridding Spain of the French, who still had nearly two hundred thousand men in the field. He was compelled to retire again in the direction of his protecting earthworks; but in the spring of 1813, finding himself now commander-in-chief of an army of two hundred thousand men, seventy thousand of whom were Anglo-Portuguese veterans, Wellington advanced boldly northward, and at[189] Vittoria, on the 21st of June, met and overwhelmingly defeated the French under King Joseph, who fled from the field “with a ‘Napoleon’ (coin) in his pocket, and leaving another Napoleon in a predicament.” After that, Wellington’s advance was an almost uninterrupted series of victories, until, by February, 1814, he was well over the frontier and investing cities on the soil of France. But by that time Bonaparte himself was a fugitive, having abdicated, and the capital of France was in possession of the allied armies.

In this manner did the British fight the battles of Spain and drive from her soil the armies of France. It was not altogether a disinterested task, of course, but a sagacious move of the highest diplomacy, for, as England’s ministry had foreseen, Spain became the “grave of France.” By continually weakening his armies to accomplish her conquest, Napoleon only paved the way for the complete triumph of his enemies in the north: the allied forces of Prussia, Russia, and Austria. Wellington received great rewards from his own country, and Spain eventually bestowed upon him vast estates, which his descendants own to-day. Here, also, he first met and checked the great conqueror of Europe; and he utilized the invaluable experience of this five-years’ war the next summer, when, on[190] the field of Waterloo, he finally crushed Napoleon, and drove him into eventual exile at St. Helena. He may truly be called the saviour of Spain, for, aside from a few detached battles and a desultory though persistent guerrilla warfare, the Spaniards conducted no wise scheme of defence. The battle of Vittoria shows the relative parts played by them and their allies, when their total loss was but 553, the Portuguese 1,049, and the English 3,308. This was the end of the great “Napoleonic storm cloud” that burst over distracted Europe and shattered against the Spanish Pyrenees.

“The unfortunate war in Spain was the first cause of the misfortunes of France,” wrote the exiled Napoleon years afterward, when in St. Helena. His first step, after he found it impossible to retain Joseph on the Spanish throne, was to treat with Ferdinand, still a prisoner, in December, 1813. But before he could return the latter to his country he himself was deposed, and another Bourbon, Louis XVIII, had entered Paris as the choice of the allied conquerors.

Amid universal ovations Ferdinand assumed his intermitted reign, first promising to support the liberal Constitution which the Cortes presented for his acceptance. The[191] Spaniards had spent more time in framing a Constitution than in fighting, and this guarantee of the people’s rights was a very liberal instrument—on paper. If Ferdinand had kept his pledges to sustain it, his would have been a very limited instead of the very absolute monarchy it was. But he did not keep his word, for the Inquisition, which had been abolished, was restored; the Jesuits were recalled; and of the liberal statesmen, who had at heart the good of Spain, some were sent to the galleys, and others executed. In fact, the despicable Ferdinand had learned nothing in his exile; a true Bourbon, he was at perpetual enmity with the people and republican institutions. Yet his countrymen had recalled him, supported him in power, and bared their necks to the naked sword of his despotism. The ignorant masses certainly ruled in Spain when Ferdinand VII, “worst of the Bourbon kings,” came back to his own. But even fools have feelings, and some of them rose against him in 1822, and he, true to his Bourbon instincts, called to his aid the Holy Alliance. French troops under the Duc d’Angoulême, to the number of one hundred and fifty thousand, came pouring into the peninsula, and stayed there five years, until the base monarch’s hold upon his throne was fixed again.


Bolstered by foreign troops, Ferdinand gave vent to his brutal instincts by imprisoning thousands of his subjects who had ventured to protest against this incarnation of corruption and venality; he executed the leaders, banished others, and perpetrated atrocities such as he delighted in.

His most beneficent act toward his harried kingdom was the involuntary deliverance afforded by his death; but even then he left a legacy of civil war, that has lasted to the present time.

Like his great predecessor, Philip II, whom he so much resembled, he married thrice, his last wife being his niece (as was Philip’s), Maria Christina, daughter of the King of Naples. Hitherto childless, Ferdinand was delighted, on the 18th of October, 1830, at the birth of a daughter to Queen Christina. It was her birth that inaugurated the civil wars to which reference has been made, and of which we will treat in the following chapter.

Momentous events happened during the reign of Ferdinand VII, which reduced his kingdom from a world-embracing dominance almost to the confines of the Iberian Peninsula. When, in the first decade of this century, the Emperor of France turned his greedy eyes toward Spain, she possessed territory[193] now included in Florida, Mexico, Central America, all South America save Brazil; the islands of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and a portion of Santo Domingo in the West Indies, besides the Carolines and Philippines in the East, and her present possessions on and near the western coast of Africa and in the Mediterranean. When it was seen by her colonies that Spain was too weak to resist the imposition of a foreigner upon her throne, their bolder spirits realized that the moment had arrived for deliverance from her oppressions. The standard of revolt was raised in Mexico, 1808; in Venezuela, 1810; Buenos Ayres, Chili, and Peru followed the movement, until, before the death of Ferdinand, every American colony and every island had been lost to Spain except Cuba and Puerto Rico. Long and sanguinary were the struggles between the desperate Spaniards and the aspirants for freedom; but in the end the patriots conquered, and continental America was freed from Spanish misrule. Florida was ceded in 1819 to the United States, which ultimately acquired a vast portion of Mexican territory by conquest and treaty.




The greatest, most illustrious reigns in Spain have been those inaugurated by the placing on the throne of princes already of age, trained in kingly affairs and able to rule without assistance. The weakest, most deplorable reigns have been those where princes or princesses nominally occupied the throne, and regencies or successions of favourites actually held the power. A king or queen should be one pre-eminent for strength and virtues, a leader, a ruler, capable of guiding and fostering the best interests of the subject people. But the Spaniards, through their false notions of chivalry, their romantic ideas of majesty, have lost sight of the primal principles of kingship. Provided that a fantastic figure be elevated to the august position—whether a weak and juvenile[195] scion of royalty, or a gilded and bedizened puppet of rags and putty—it may for a time command their worship and blind adoration! This national trait is admirable, were nothing expected of a king or queen but to act as an ornamental figure-head. Unfortunately, in a nation composed of such diverse and irreconcilable elements as exist in Spain, much more is expected—is demanded.

When, in 1833, at the death of the king, the infanta, Maria Isabella II, was held up for the adoration of the people, most of them fell down and blindly worshipped. The Cortes assembled at Madrid and swore loyalty to the three-year-old queen and her mother, the regent, while the unthinking people went wild in their fervent declarations of devotedness to the heiress of the most corrupt, most intolerant sovereign that had disgraced the throne in many years.

But there was an instant protest from a minor portion of the people, led by the late king’s brother, Don Maria Isidor Carlos de Bourbon; not because of the silly spectacle afforded by placing the reins of power in the hands of a puling infant, but because Don Maria Isidor Carlos de Bourbon wanted the throne for himself! In truth, but for King Ferdinand’s “pragmatic sanction,” abrogating the existing “Salic law” (excluding females[196] from the succession), Don Carlos had every reason to believe he would himself be king. He was born in 1788, or a year before the “pragmatic sanction” was put forth, he was next in line of the male successors, and he meant to “succeed.” So he started a revolution, and thus began, in 1833, the first of that long series of battles, massacres, outrages, known collectively as the “Carlist Wars.”

Don Carlos had been banished by Ferdinand to Portugal for venturing to protest against the very thing that happened later, and after the king’s death he came over the frontier between France and Spain with a small army. His chief adherents were found in the country of the Basques, those brave, peculiar, liberty-loving but bigoted people in the north of Spain, who have dwelt from time immemorial in their beautiful mountain valleys, and whom we have noted at the very beginnings of Spanish history as strenuous opponents of oppression and defenders of their rights, real or imaginary.

Among other rights which they claimed were the ancient fueros—charters or privileges—by which, in consideration of valiant services in the past, they were exempt from most taxes, from enforced military service, etc., and they recognised the ruler of the[197] country not as king or queen, but merely as lord. It was given out by the Carlists that these fueros were to be taken from them by the “liberals,” or adherents to the queen regent, and that only by assisting the really legitimate sovereign (Don Carlos, of course) could they still continue to enjoy their ancient immunities. So they flocked to the Carlist standard, and opposed to them and their associates were the Christinos, or supporters of the queen regent Christina. For seven years they fought, victory first with one side, then with the other. At one time the queen regent and her court were on the point of fleeing the country; the Carlist guerrillas were at the gates of Madrid; but by the persistence of General Espartero, commander of the Christinos, in May, 1840, the last of the pretender’s forces were driven over the frontier. Terrible excesses were committed on both sides; the Carlists, particularly, under the savage Cabrera and Zumalacarregui, showed what the Spaniard is capable of when his evil passions are aroused. “Those days that I do not shed blood,” said the cruel Cabrera, “I do not have a good digestion!” He punished with death the giving of a drink of water to a wounded enemy, and he butchered in cold blood numerous innocent women, children, and aged men. A[198] Christino garrison once surrendered to him on the stipulation that their lives and their clothes should be spared to them. He performed his part by stripping them of their clothing and setting his men to chasing and shooting them until the last one fell! And these conflicts were between men of the same nationality, sometimes of the same township and canton; thus showing to what a state of moral degradation these people had arrived.

A short period of peace ensued, but the Carlist conflict has been continued intermittently until the present day. The first Don Carlos died in 1855, and his eldest son, the Count of Montemolin, fell heir to the feud, making an unsuccessful attempt at revolution in Valencia in 1860; but died in 1861. A brother succeeded to the claims as Juan III, and he, in 1863, renounced them in favour of his son, grandson of the first Don Carlos, or Charles V. He is the present Don Carlos, or Charles VII, known as the Duke of Madrid, and was born in 1848. He was implicated in Carlist uprisings in 1869, 1870, and 1872, and personally instituted his greatest campaign in 1873, which was suppressed, while the Basques, his devoted adherents, were deprived of many privileges. As a French “legitimist,” he has also a claim to the throne[199] of France, and was at one time expelled from that country; but has since been permitted to return, whence he has conducted clandestine operations against the Spanish crown. And now, with a child sovereign and a queen regent again in Spain, the conditions are similar to what they were in 1833. There is still, after more than sixty years, a Don Carlos as claimant to the throne; but to-day, even more than then, the moral influence of Europe is against the “pretender,” and in favour of the “legitimate” sovereign.

The present queen regent, Christina of Austria, mother of the boy king Alfonso XIII, possesses—what Queen-Regent Christina of Naples did not have—the respect and confidence of her people. Christina of Naples, the mother of Isabella, forfeited the good opinion of all her subjects by her gross immorality, and in 1840 she was compelled to renounce her regency in favour of the prime minister, Espartero, who as general of her armies had won the victories over the Carlists, and leave the country. Her daughter, as Isabella II, was early declared to have reached her majority, and in 1846 was married to her cousin, Don Francisco de Bourbon, while her sister, the infanta, was married to the Duke of Montpensier, son of Louis Philippe of France. These were the infamous[200] “Spanish marriages” arranged by Louis Philippe in the hope of securing the succession to his house.

The story of her reign is not an inviting one, revealing as it does the instability of the Spanish character and the corruption of the court and queen. Spain’s foreign relations had been strengthened by the “Quadruple Alliance” between England, France, Portugal, and Spain, and liberal statesmen were numerous who would have served her faithfully. Under Burgos, in Christina’s time, wise plans were made for the development of commerce, internal improvements, and the regulation of church and state. Blindly cognizant that the church had in some way possessed itself of a vast portion of the nation’s wealth, many advocated confiscation of church properties. In 1835 the cry was, “Down with the monks!” and hundreds of these helpless though useless persons were massacred. The country’s resources seemed at the last ebb, when the able banker Mendizabel came to the rescue; but he accomplished no more than the several “Constitutions” (of which at least three were put forth in twenty-five years) to remedy the existing troubles. The reason was that the real secret of their troubles lay in the people themselves: the masses, complacent[201] in self-sufficient ignorance; the intelligent portion without patriotism, self-seeking politicians.

Espartero was overthrown and went into exile in 1843. In 1844 arose a strong military government under the veteran Narvaez, who kept order and sustained the throne until 1851. Meanwhile the French Revolution of 1848, though it unsettled Spain not a little, was safely tided over. In 1854 insurrections broke out in various parts of the country, and to appease the people a national “Junta” was formed, with the recalled Espartero and O’Donnell at its head. The latter continued to direct affairs more or less until 1858; in 1859 he created a diversion of public sentiment by a short war in Morocco, and in 1861 the island of Santo Domingo was annexed.

Between this time and 1866 the changes in the ministry were numerous, from O’Donnell to Miraflores, and back again to Narvaez and O’Donnell; but in 1866 a serious insurrection under General Prim broke out, which was suppressed and the leaders exiled. A more successful rebellion was inaugurated in 1868 by the naval fleet under Admiral Topete, at Cadiz. Prim and Serrano, the exiles, returned; the rebels and royal troops fraternized, and Queen Isabella, then at the baths[202] of San Sebastian, was sent over the frontier, never to return.

Without being specific in charges against her, it may be mentioned that her subjects, debased as many of them were, yet demanded a queen with higher moral purpose—more like the Isabella of old, less like the disreputable queen-mother Christina. She had reigned, in a fashion, for thirty-five years, including the regency. She was banished in 1868, since which time she has lived in Paris, where she made her home after her exile, ever true to the traditions of Ferdinand VII and his times.




“A daughter of kings: if I were a man I would go to my capital!” indignantly declared Isabella, when the appalling news reached her that the royal army was defeated. But instead, she sought safety in flight, leaving to the successful revolutionists the difficult task of providing a government in place of the one they had overthrown. Distrust and suspicion were rampant, and those who had declared the pronunciamiento were at their wits’ ends what to choose: a democratic monarchy, a constitutional monarchy, or a republic; but during the interregnum the patriot Serrano stepped into the breach. A thankless task was his, as president of the provisional government, though he was assisted by such able men as Prim, Minister of War; Topete, Minister of Marine;[204] Zorilla, Minister of Commerce; Figuerola, of Finance; Ortiz, of Justice; Lopez de Ayala, of the Colonies; and Sagasta, Minister of the Interior.

They were glad to resign, the following year, and subscribe to a constitution which provided for the restoration of a constitutional monarchy.

The constitutional monarchy was very beautiful, as an idea; but while Serrano ruled as “regent for the interregnum,” the throne of Spain “went begging about Europe,” seeking a royal occupant. General Prim was insistent upon the candidacy of Prince Leopold, of Hohenzollern, a relative of King William of Prussia, at which Napoleon III took alarm; and though the prince promptly resigned his candidature, the French emperor demanded further that Prussia should give a guarantee that she would at no future time sanction his claims. King William refused to give this assurance, and Napoleon made this a pretext for declaring that war against Prussia which ended so disastrously for his empire and for France.

Isabella’s brother-in-law, the Duke of Montpensier, as well as Fernando of Portugal, were considered, but rejected for political reasons; and even sturdy old Espartero refused the crown, showing the possession of[205] greater wisdom than the one upon whom it was finally bestowed—Don Amadeo, Duke of Aosta, the second son of Victor Emanuel of Italy.

The reception he received was presaged by the assassination of Prim, in December, 1870; but Amadeo was crowned a few days later, on January 2, 1871, and entered heartily into the duties of his unsought kingship. Two years later, after having been several times the object of assassination and of insults innumerable, he became convinced that modern Spain was different from that Spain which had besought a foreign prince to rule over it in the eighteenth century, and sorrowfully abdicated.

Monarchical rule having failed them, the Spaniards now turned to a republic, as the ideal toward which they had striven through these hopeless, turbulent, and chaotic years. But they did not take into account their inborn reverence for a king, their superstitious faith in the sanctity of the royal office; and so the “republic” had a thorny road to travel, first under Señor Pi y Margall, the first “president of the executive power,” lastly under the great jurist, orator, and patriot, Emilio Castelar.

Away back in the time of the regent Christina, that queen was troubled by the[206] dissensions of the so-called liberals, who, split into two parties, the moderados and the progresistas, impeded whatever advance might have been possible had the occupant of the throne been inclined toward the people.

So now, the actual arrival of the republic found dissensions among the very “patriots” who should have served it disinterestedly and with fervour. The misnamed “republic” served but as a bridge for another king to pass over from exile to the throne.

When Prim was dying, mortally wounded by unknown assassins, he whispered to a friend, “I die, but your king is coming!” The king came, and went; the “republic” came, and went out in the coup-d’état of January, 1874, with militarism triumphant, and the administration of the government in the hands of military officers. Their action in putting down anarchy and ending the civil war—for “Don Carlos” had again taken the field, with his Basque retainers, in support of his inalienable “male succession”—would seem to prove that Spain, like Mexico, needed the mailed hand of the military dictator to force it into paths of prosperity and development.

Serrano might have been that dictator; but if he had designs, they did not succeed, for he soon resigned in favour of one who proclaimed[207] himself “the first republican in Europe”—no less a personage than the seventeen-year-old son of Isabella the exile, who was ferreted out by the king-makers and offered the crown, that a Bourbon might again occupy the throne of his ancestors.

The Spaniards were now content, for had they not travelled the road of republicanism and found it a failure? tried the rule of a foreigner, and found him wanting? At last they were in possession of their own again! In his veins ran the blood of Isabella the corrupt; but his reputed father was an amiable man, and so was the new king, Alfonso XII, who was proclaimed at Madrid in January, 1875.

The faults, the traits, of Alfonso XII were inherited. Even his death, less than eleven years after his coronation, is said to have been caused by constitutional ills. But, so far as he could, he nobly lived up to his intentions to give Spain peace and renewed prosperity. Six years before the people had shouted, “Away with the Bourbons!” yet here again was a Bourbon on the throne. He could not forget the line from which he descended, nor the treatment his mother, also a Bourbon, had received; yet his reign approached what the people had so long desired. Able ministers assisted him, according to the[208] humour of the hour: first under General Martinez Campos; then under the leadership of Canovas del Castillo; again under the liberal Señor Sagasta. Through all these changes, however, Alfonso preserved the goodwill of his subjects; yet he was the object of the base assassin’s aim on three different occasions.

Despite the good offices of imperial match-makers, who would have married him to some great princess of a reigning house in Europe, Alfonso persisted in wedding his own choice. He married his cousin, Marie de las Mercedes, daughter of the Duke of Montpensier—a love-match which death disrupted less than six months later.

Kings may marry, but kings may not mourn; so within another six months he was united to the Archduchess Maria Christina, niece of the Emperor of Austria, who, the story goes, when she had heard of Alfonso’s first marriage, was so disappointed that she entered a convent. A child was born and named Mercedes, after the former queen; then yet another daughter; but no male heir to the throne before the death of the king, which occurred on the 25th of November, 1885. Whether his death was caused by excesses, as has been sometimes charged, or by his chivalrous insistence upon visiting the[209] afflicted cholera districts of his kingdom, mattered little to the people, who mourned sincerely for their brave young king, cut off in the flower of his manhood, with his great schemes unaccomplished.

For the first time since the death of Ferdinand VII, more than fifty years before, the vaults in the Escorial were opened for the reception of another occupant. In accordance with an ancient custom, when the funeral cortège arrived at the door of the Escorial, the keeper within demanded, “Who would enter here?” One of the attendants answered, “Alfonso XII would enter,” and the door was thrown open. Even then Alfonso was not considered as officially defunct, until the lord chamberlain, drawing back the cloth of gold covering his features, addressed him: “Señor, señor, señor,” and, receiving no reply, said solemnly: “His Majesty does not answer; then indeed the king is dead!”

The king was dead; to his place succeeded his elder daughter, little Mercedes, Princess of the Asturias, during whose minority the queen-mother reigned as regent. For the seventh time in five hundred years a minor sat on the throne of Spain. The first of whom we have record was Ferdinand IV, at the beginning of the fourteenth century;[210] he died young, and was succeeded by an infant son, Alfonso VI; at the end of that century there was another child-king, Henry III, from 1390 to 1406; and after him John VI, who reigned from 1406 to 1454; Charles II, who came to be king at the age of fourteen, in 1676; and Isabella, the age of three, in 1833. Child kings and queens, babes in arms enthroned in nurses’ laps, and unscrupulous regents during their minorities, seem to have been a Spanish evil!

But the child queen Mercedes was not to reign long, for six months after the death of Alfonso XII the queen gave birth to a son, and this posthumous heir succeeded to the throne as Alfonso XIII, while yet unable to understand the fearful dignities that were thrust upon him. He was thus the eighth infant sovereign to rule Spain from the nursery within the past five centuries—perhaps may be the last; for as people grow older they are supposed to grow wiser; though all rules may have their exceptions, and perhaps the Spaniards are exceptions to all rules!

Still, we can not withhold our admiration from a chivalrous sentiment, however foolish it may seem to sober sense; and when it was suggested to Emilio Castelar, the lion-hearted orator and statesman, that this might be a good time for a re-trial of the republic, he[211] probably voiced the national feeling when he said: “We can not make war against a woman and a child!” That is the unthinking, sentimental side of it; but if the people had been brave enough to have said: “While we do not wish to war against a woman and her child, yet we will set this infant aside until he has shown what manner of man he becomes,” would it not have been far less cruel to her and to him, and more to the credit of a nation desirous of keeping pace with a progressive civilization?




Although the present King of Spain, Alfonso XIII, is the great-great-grandson of Charles IV, Don Carlos V, the “pretender,” is also a great-grandson of that monarch, and has probably a more strictly legitimate claim to the throne than its occupant. Yet again, the mother of Alfonso XIII, the Queen-Regent Christina, although frequently alluded to by some of her subjects as “that Hapsburg woman,” can claim an unbroken line of descent from Isabella and Ferdinand, through Ferdinand I, second son of “Juana Loca” and Philip of Burgundy. Thus the ancestry of his maternal parent may be said to legitimize this titular King of Spain, while his posthumous birth “has excited a feeling of pitying loyalty which may help to secure the Bourbon dynasty in the last kingdom which is left to it.”[1]


Spain, under the regency, has been governed by a constitutional monarchy, which was proclaimed in 1876. By its Constitution, the king is inviolable; he is the executive, and the power to make laws is vested in him and the Cortes, which comprises a senate and a congress, coequal in authority. The senators are of three classes: First, those by their own right, as grandees of the kingdom, privileged through their titles and possessions; in the second place, those nominated by the Crown; in the third, those elected by the communal and provincial states, the church, universities, etc. Congress is composed of deputies, at the rate of one to every fifty thousand in the population; though since 1878 Cuba has been entitled to one in every forty thousand of free inhabitants paying taxes to the amount of twenty-five dollars annually.

The whole country is, or should be, represented in the legislative power, and by the Constitution mutual checks are placed upon both king and Cortes; for while the former issues his decrees, yet they must be countersigned by one of his ministers, and he can not marry without their approval. Further details of government are divided amongst the ministers—of war, marine, agriculture, commerce, public works, justice, finance,[214] colonies, foreign affairs, and a president of the council.

Thus, while the king might be morally responsible for an unpopular law, yet he could not be held accountable through his inviolability, and the odium of it would fall upon the ministers of his appointing, who might placate popular resentment by resigning. This explanation will account for the frequent changes in the ministry, not only during the reign of Alfonso XII, but under the regency. After the death of Alfonso XII, and after the queen regent had taken the oath of allegiance to the Constitution, a ministry was formed under the leadership of the great Liberal, Señor Sagasta, to whom the Conservative Canovas promised his support, as well as the Republican Castelar. Beneath the shadow of their great calamity, all parties nobly rallied to the support of the queen with a loyalty which was, if anything, intensified by the birth of the infant Alfonso XIII, on May 17, 1886. But in September of that year a revolt broke out under General Villafranca, in which ten thousand men were more or less implicated, and which was suppressed only after great exertions on the part of the loyal troops. The premier, Sagasta, had pledged himself to reforms of many kinds, but he had the greatest difficulty in redeeming them[215] without the support of the Government officials, who were as corrupt as they were numerous; for, since the times when Spain owned vast colonial possessions, there had always been a corrupt official class revelling in the uncounted millions that overflowed from the colonial treasury. Even so late as 1888 it was estimated that nearly three million dollars were embezzled during that year by civil employees, and thus the annual deficit was vastly enhanced.

So, Liberal and Conservative ministries alternated every little while, sometimes Canovas being in power, and again Sagasta. The position of prime minister to the regency was at best a thankless task, and only the highest patriotism could induce one to accept its onerous duties. In 1893, for instance, Señor Sagasta was stoned by a mob at San Sebastian; and in 1896, on the 7th of June, that upright and patriotic statesman, Señor A. Canovas del Castillo, was assassinated by an Italian anarchist; at the same time, other anarchists were attempting to excite a revolution by means of bombs and dynamite. The trivial pretexts upon which a ministry might be overthrown are illustrated in an incident of the queen regent’s journey from Madrid to Valencia on matters of state. She intrusted her nominal powers to the[216] Infanta Isabella, as also the military watchword; but the latter concluded that she would take a little journey, and she in turn informed the military governor, General Campos, that the “watchword” would be given him at the proper time by her sister Eulalia. Thereupon General Campos announced that, inasmuch as Eulalia was married to the Duc de Montpensier, who held only the military rank of captain, he, a general, could not, of course, receive the countersign from a subordinate! The Minister of War being appealed to, General Campos resigned, and the affair was not concluded until after the resignation of the entire ministry, and Premier Sagasta had twice surrounded himself with a new body of advisers. It would seem, indeed, that etiquette, not patriotism, was paramount at the court of Spain! Next to etiquette, superstition perhaps holds rank; for quite recently the bones of a thirteenth-century saint were carried through the streets of Madrid, followed by a procession of eight hundred priests, in order that a threatened drought might be averted and the war with Cuba concluded.

At the beginning of the year 1898 Spain’s colonial possessions in America comprised Cuba and Puerto Rico, the former with an[217] area of about 45,000 square miles, and a population then estimated at 1,600,000; the latter, about 3,600 square miles in area, and with 813,000 inhabitants. In Asia, the Philippine Islands, about 2,000 in number, 114,300 square miles in area, and with a population of about 8,000,000; the Carolines and Palaos, 560 square miles in area, and 36,000 population; the Sulu Islands, 950 square miles, and 75,000 inhabitants; and the Marianne or Ladrone Islands, 420 square miles in area, and with 10,000 population—a total of 164,830 square miles, and 10,521,000 people. In Africa and off its west coast, several small colonies, aggregating 3,650 miles in area, and 461,000 population. A grand total in America, Asia, and Africa of about 168,480 square miles, and 10,982,000 population. Thus, notwithstanding her enormous losses in the past, Spain still held foreign possessions, at the opening of 1898, with an aggregate area nearly seven-eighths that of the mother country, and a population more than half as large.

Three centuries and more ago Spain swayed the world, the possessions pertaining to her great empire being vaster than those to-day controlled by Great Britain. Her losses began near the close of the sixteenth century, under Philip II, when her North African provinces slipped away; under Philip[218] III she lost Naples, Sicily, and Burgundy; early in the seventeenth century she lost the Netherlands; a little later, the rich Spice Islands of the East; in 1640, Portugal; in 1659, the Pyrenean provinces of France; in 1704 Gibraltar fell into British hands, and has been retained by Britain ever since; in 1800 Louisiana was ceded to France, and that vast territory was forever lost when it was sold by Bonaparte to the United States in 1803. The first quarter of the nineteenth century saw the severance from Spain of all her South American colonies, Central America, Mexico, and the Floridas; the year before its close she lost her last remaining islands in the West Indies—Cuba and Puerto Rico; and in Asia, the Philippines and the Sulus.

Rapidly reviewing the barbarous colonial policy of Spain—a policy which has been consistently cruel and rapacious ever since it was inaugurated in the time of Ferdinand and Isabella—the only wonder is that she so long retained such vast and distant possessions, separated from the governing country by broad oceans, and containing peoples so numerous and dissimilar. The first large island discovered by Columbus, which still retains its native name of Cuba, was inhabited by Indians of gentle nature, courteous and kind. They were numerous also, and[219] cultivated the most fertile portions of the island. For nearly twenty years after the discovery Cuba was left in peace; but when the settlements were founded, the barbarities of Haiti and the Bahamas were re-enacted, the Indians were enslaved, and reduced to such a condition of misery that hundreds killed themselves in despair. It was not many years, in truth, before they had entirely disappeared, having been murdered, directly and indirectly, by the despicable Spaniards.

To fill their places, the Spaniards imported negro slaves from Africa, who were treated, like the Indians, with excessive cruelty, but who were more tenacious of life than the unfortunate aborigines, and their descendants constitute a large proportion of the Cuban population at the present time. One of the largest and wealthiest of Spain’s islands beyond the sea, Cuba early became a prey to Spanish adventurers and English freebooters. For more than three hundred years, except for a short period in 1762, Cuba has been in the clutches of Spain, her lands cultivated until within a few years by slave labour, her revenues plundered by rapacious officials. Gradually there has grown up a native population, distinct from the “peninsular” Spanish—a population speaking[220] the same language as the immigrants from the home country, yet differing from them, inasmuch as about half the islanders have mulatto or negro blood in their veins, and are looked upon and treated by the “peninsulars” as inferiors.

During more than three hundred and fifty years the natives patiently submitted to oppression and extortion in every form; but the political disquietude in Spain was soon reflected in her colonies, and long after the loss of Mexico, Central and South America to the motherland, Cuba attempted to break the chains that bound her to Spain. There was an uprising of the blacks in 1844, and in 1851 a filibustering raid under General Lopez, a Venezuelan, who was killed in his third invasion of the island, as well as several filibusters from the United States. An offer to purchase the island, shortly after, made to Spain by the President of the United States, met with no favour, as Spanish pride and interests were against it.

The most serious revolt against the Spaniards occurred in 1868, consequent upon the distracted condition of Spain during the revolutionary proceedings which exiled Isabella II. The leader of this revolt, Carlos de Cespedes, was subsequently elected president of a republic which the insurgents finally set up, and[221] for ten years, during which at least seventy-five thousand Spanish soldiers perished in the island, and the natives suffered every conceivable indignity from the “peninsulars,” the war was waged, only to be concluded by a deceitful promise of reforms which were never granted. General Martinez Campos, then the Captain-General of Cuba, and authorized representative of Spain, signed the “capitulation” of El Zanjon in 1878, by which the insurgents were induced to surrender, under a pledge that their demands should be acceded to; but Señor Canovas, then Prime Minister of Spain, refused to recognise this treaty, and so all their terrible sacrifices came to naught. It was but natural that the patriots should feel resentful; but they remained quiescent for seventeen years, at the end of which period, in February, 1895, the long-smouldering embers of revolt again burst into flame.




While it may be difficult to write a dispassionate account of a war in which the sympathies of the writer have been ardently enlisted on one side as against the other, and to paint a picture which lacks the perspective afforded by the lapse of time, yet an attempt will be made to present such an account and such a picture as will stand the test of unprejudiced criticism.

The object of the insurgents during the ten years’ war was to secure reforms in the national administration, actual representation in the Cortes, and amelioration of their intolerable condition. They secured nothing, for though eventually granted the privilege of representation, in 1878, this privilege was nullified by the representatives being mainly selected from the ranks of the peninsulars themselves![223] And now, in 1895, having in mind the duplicity by which they had been tricked, the Cuban patriots aimed at nothing less than independence! This idea of actual and complete severance from Spain they have consistently persisted in from the very first; and when the end came, finding them impoverished and starving, their ranks decimated by war and disease, they still clung to the rock of independence, upon which they purposed to found their long-cherished republic.

Dominated by this grand idea, animated by a resolve that nothing could shake, the leaders of the revolt of 1895 were mainly those who had survived the war of 1868-’78, such as the brothers Maceo, Gomez, and Garcia. The veteran Gomez was their recognised chief, and under him they withstood the assaults of Spanish arms for more than three years, the number of Spanish soldiers at the termination of the struggle amounting to more than one hundred thousand. Spain sent to Cuba her best commanders and the flower of her soldiery, many thousands of whom, fighting the cause of despotism against that of freedom, fell victims to Spanish barbarities. The redoubtable General Campos, the “pacificator” of the former war, was sent out with ample means and placed in supreme control; but, though with one hundred[224] thousand troops at his command, after the cost of the war had mounted to more than sixty million dollars, he was recalled, and the notorious General Weyler sent in his place.

Whatever may be charged against General Campos, he was at least humane, as compared with his successor. It was through no fault of his, but owing to the perfidy of the home Government, that the treaty of Zanjon had not been respected; and it was even charged against him in Spain that he rather favoured than earnestly combated the insurgents. At all events, no such charge could be brought against the inhuman Weyler, who at once began a war of extermination, laid waste the country, and committed such atrocities that his name will ever be held in detestation by succeeding generations. Unable to overcome the insurgents in honourable warfare, Captain-General Weyler inaugurated a system of butcheries that caused a shudder to run through all civilized communities when informed of his wanton waste of human life. Although he had behind him the vast resources of Spain, held command of an army four times as large as the combined forces of the insurgents, and could have summoned to his aid a magnificent array of naval vessels, yet he could not cope with those half-starved, ragged, and[225] nearly naked patriots, fighting for their lives and for their liberties.

When captured—which was not often—the insurgents were treated as bandits, and suffered ignominious deaths; and it is no palliation of Spanish crimes to say that the insurgents themselves adopted the barbarous methods of their enemy. Little can be said in excuse of the atrocities committed on either side, for the system of warfare they were pursuing was not honourable. Yet, despite the knowledge that they were courting certain death by their insistence, the insurgents put forth every effort to drive the Spaniards within the towns and cities, and were in the main successful.

General Weyler divided the whole island into departments, and across it, from northern to southern coast, at intervals stretched a system of rude fortifications called a trocha, guarded by his soldiery. Through these trochas the insurgents broke repeatedly, at one time sweeping the island from the eastern province of Santiago to the extreme western province of Pinar del Rio. In the spring of 1896 even Havana felt a tremor of fear at the coming of the native hordes, which encamped within striking distance of the forts around the city. But though the gallant Antonio Maceo raided around Havana[226] and ravaged Pinar del Rio, he met death finally through treachery, and the immediate danger was averted. There was at no time any real danger that the capital and other strong cities like Matanzas, Cienfuegos, and Santiago should be attacked and overcome, since the insurgents had no artillery, little ammunition, and insufficient forces to reduce and capture the strongholds of the Spaniards. But they made their camps in inaccessible fastnesses, pursuing a guerrilla mode of warfare, pouncing upon the enemy suddenly without warning, and carrying off his stores and ammunition trains, blowing up the tracks and viaducts of railroads, setting fire to unprotected plantations, and destroying the growing crops of tobacco and sugar cane. And what the insurgents failed to destroy, General Weyler seized, having determined upon a policy of destruction and extermination that would eventually reduce this fair island, so long known as the “Pearl of the Antilles,” from a most fertile country to an uninhabited desert. To this end he issued his edicts of “reconcentration,” by which all inhabitants of the country districts were ordered to concentrate in and around the cities, and their farms and gardens were destroyed. This was for the purpose of depriving the insurgents, who ranged the country[227] parts and subsisted upon the natives who sympathized with them, of all food and supplies whatsoever. An inhuman policy, but not original with Weyler, for Spaniards had pursued it before, though in times when the amenities of civilization were not recognised as they are to-day; and the whole military world repudiated it and reprobated its authors.

No tongue, no pen, can adequately describe the sufferings, the callous cruelties, that ensued when the reconcentrados—as these unhappy victims of Weyler’s edicts were teamed—were finally gathered in the cities, where they could be watched by the tyrant’s soldiers. For, though they were assembled by his orders, against their inclinations, having abandoned homes and farms, every means of subsistence, they were left to starve and die with scarcely any effort being made for their relief. First scores, then hundreds, then thousands, starved in the streets, fell and died like dogs; fathers of families were compelled to witness the agonizing sufferings of their children, without the possibility of affording them relief; mothers lost their little ones by slow starvation, while themselves enduring the torments of diseases induced by their condition. One by one, family after family, finally the inhabitants of whole villages[228] and hamlets, perished miserably, and it at last seemed evident to Weyler that his policy would prevail and the insurgents succumb to starvation, if not to powder and bullets.

But meanwhile—though the author of all these torments gloated over the miseries he had created, though he grew immensely rich from the plunder of his victims—his soldiers could not prevail against the intrepid insurgents. They hid in caves and swamps, they grew gaunt and weak from starvation, but they still persisted in their determination to resist to the death.

So far as possible, through suppression of news, through accounts of victories never achieved, successes never gained, and reports of insurgent atrocities never perpetrated, the Spaniards had misinformed the world at large regarding conditions in Cuba. The Spanish queen, who was concerned with a mother’s solicitude for the throne upon which her boy-king sat; the Spanish people, inured to cruelty through traditions from the past and the bullfights of modern times: the people of the “motherland” of Cuba, gazed complacently upon these unparalleled sufferings of a rebellious population; but the rest of the world finally protested.

“This is not war; this is butchery; these[229] atrocities must cease!” was the universal protest. Still, the cause of humanity, while broad as the world and of universal acceptation, at first found no champion. The weeks and months went by, and the reconcentrados died like wild beasts, neglected, spurned, by their captors, apparently forgotten by all fellow-creatures. And yet hands were stretched out to them, hearts were bleeding for them (though vainly, perforce), in a country adjacent to their island, from which it is separated only by a channel less than one hundred miles in width. One hundred miles away, only a few hours’ sail, lay the borders of a nation pledged to the maintenance of human rights and the righting of human wrongs. Why, then, could it not step in and stay the progress of that car of Juggernaut before it was too late?

Why, indeed? Why did not England, Russia, or Germany stay the hand of the Turk when he was cutting the throats of helpless Armenians? of the Moslem, when he was murdering the Christian people of Crete?

Because international diplomacy has recognised the right of a country or nation to deal with its recalcitrant subjects as it may deem best. When nations go to war it is seldom for the righting of real wrongs, but[230] on some trivial pretext like that which precipitated the conflict between France and Germany in 1870—a country’s “injured honour,” but rarely its injured people!

The time arrived, however, when Cuba’s neighbors in the United States could no longer turn a deaf ear to the appeals of suffering humanity so near to their shores. It is true that the people of the United States had been outspoken in their sympathy long before; that a Cuban junta had found a refuge in New York, whence it sent relief and planned expeditions for the benefit of the insurgents. In accordance with international usage, the Government of the United States used every effort to frustrate the plans of the junta and to maintain an attitude of neutrality, since the insurgents had not been accorded belligerency—that is, their cause was not recognised by nations—and in the eyes of the nation with which they were at war they were only rebels against lawful authority. It was a delicate situation for the Americans: their sympathies enlisted in behalf of the Cuban rebels, yet constrained by their regard for the laws from giving them governmental assistance!

For several years, and during at least two administrations, the majority of the newspapers of the country had urged Congress to[231] accord the Cubans belligerent rights, by which their status as fighters would be defined and their acts in a sense legitimized. At last the clamour became so great that Congress could no longer ignore what was the very evident wish of the people of the United States; yet it is doubtful if decisive action would have been immediately taken had not an incident occurred which shook the nation to its very centre.

The condition of things in Havana became so alarming that the consul-general of the United States requested the presence of a war vessel for the protection of Americans there, and the battleship Maine, one of the finest in the navy, was sent on a friendly visit to that port. It has since been shown that her presence was unnecessary at that time; but, at all events, the Americans were well within their rights in sending her there, and she was received with the usual honours. Shortly after her arrival, however, on February 15, 1898, while lying peacefully at the buoy to which she was shown by the Spanish captain of the port, she was blown up and sunk, with two hundred and sixty of her officers and crew.

Through the country shot a thrill of horror at this dastardly act, succeeded by instant and universal demands for vengeance. Calm[232] counsels prevailed, however. A board of inquiry was convened by order of the President, and after weeks of calm investigation, during which the American public awaited the result with splendid forbearance, yet with ever-increasing determination to punish the actual perpetrators of this fiendish deed, it was officially announced that the explosion which had wrecked the Maine and sent so many of her brave men into eternity was from without, and presumably from a submarine mine!

Now, submarine mines of the size and power sufficient to sink a great battleship can not be placed in position by mere individual effort; and the instant inference was that the Spanish Government, which had caused the harbour of Havana to be furtively mined, was, if not the actual criminal, the cause of the crime! Still, even when this conviction was forced home upon those most unwilling to believe in the criminality of Spain, President McKinley refused to commit himself to hasty action. It was not until the 20th of April, when, as he himself confessed, he had “exhausted every effort to relieve the intolerable condition of affairs at our doors,” that he availed himself of the authority conferred upon him by Congress to intervene in Cuba, using the military and naval forces of the United States, and sent an[233] ultimatum to Spain. He had wisely treated the Maine explosion, aggravating as it was, as an incident merely; but as affording conclusive proof “of an intolerable state of things in Cuba, sufficiently acute to warrant the intervention of the United States.”

On the very day of the ultimatum to Spain, the Spanish minister at Washington demanded his passports, and on the next day the American minister left Madrid. War was virtually declared on the 21st of April, 1898.




President McKinley had opposed the inclination of the people for immediate hostilities, and did not sanction an appeal to the arbitrament of battle until he had exhausted every device of diplomacy; yet, when once committed to war, he was most energetic in his efforts to prepare the country for its task. Himself a soldier, having served gallantly through the civil war between the States, he knew the value of immediate action. On the 22d of April he issued a proclamation declaring the principal ports of Cuba in a state of blockade, and on the 23d, a call for one hundred and twenty-five thousand volunteers to serve for two years or the war. A further call was later issued, raising the number of volunteers to two hundred thousand, and this appeal was eagerly responded to by the patriotic[235] people. They showed the sincerity of their convictions by their acts, and the quotas of the various States were rapidly filled; camps of instruction were established in the East and South; arsenals, foundries, shipyards, and all branches of military and naval construction, were soon the scenes of unsurpassed activity.

In a message to Congress, in 1898, President McKinley had said: “The long trial has proved that the object for which Spain has waged the war can not be attained. The fire of insurrection may flame or may smoulder with varying seasons, but it has not been, and it is plain that it can not be, extinguished by present methods. The only hope of relief and repose from a condition which can no longer be endured is the enforced pacification of Cuba. In the name of humanity, in the name of civilization, in behalf of endangered American interests which give us the right and the duty to speak and to act, the war in Cuba must stop.”

“In view of all this, the Congress was asked to authorize and empower the President to take measures to secure a final termination of hostilities between Spain and the people of Cuba, and to secure in the island the establishment of a stable government, capable of maintaining order, observing its[236] international obligations, insuring peace and tranquility, the security of its citizens as well as our own, and for the accomplishment of those ends to use the military and naval forces of the United States as might be necessary; with added authority to continue generous relief to the starving people of Cuba.”

The response of the Congress, after nine days of earnest deliberation, was to pass the memorable joint resolution declaring:

“First, That the people of the island of Cuba are, and of right ought to be, free and independent.

“Second, That it is the duty of the United States to demand, and the Government of the United States does hereby demand, that the Government of Spain at once relinquish its authority and government in the island of Cuba and withdraw its land and naval forces from Cuba and Cuban waters.

“Third, That the President of the United States be, and he hereby is, directed and empowered to use the entire land and naval forces of the United States, and to call into the actual service of the United States the militia of the several States, to such extent as may be necessary to carry these resolutions into effect.

“Fourth, That the United States hereby[237] disclaims any disposition or intention to exercise sovereignty, jurisdiction, or control over said island except for the pacification thereof, and asserts its determination when that is accomplished to leave the government and control of the island to its people.”

This resolution was approved by the Executive on the next day, April 20th. A copy was at once communicated to the Spanish minister at the capital, who forthwith announced that his continuance in Washington had thereby become impossible, and asked for his passports, which were given him. He thereupon withdrew from Washington, leaving the protection of Spanish interests in the United States to the French ambassador and the Austro-Hungarian minister.

Congress had voted the President, in anticipation of war and the necessity for preparation, the sum of fifty million dollars, to be used at his discretion; and this money was soon spent for powder, guns, forts, and mines, for coast defence, auxiliary ships for the navy, cannon, army and naval stores, medicines in vast quantities, and clothing for the new recruits.

“Under the direction of the Chief of Engineers, submarine mines were placed at the most exposed points. Before the outbreak of war permanent mining casemates and[238] cable galleries had been constructed at nearly all important harbours. Most of the torpedo material was not to be found in the market, and had to be specially manufactured. Under date of April 19th, district officers were directed to take all preliminary measures, short of the actual attaching of the loaded mines to the cables, and on April 22d telegraphic orders were issued to place the loaded mines in position. The aggregate number of mines placed was 1,535, at the principal harbours from Maine to California.”

The standing army of the United States in time of peace did not exceed twenty-five thousand men, but the State militia afforded drafts of soldiers who were soon converted into good fighting material in the various camps of instruction.

One beneficent effect of this appeal to arms in support of a cause which enlisted the highest sympathies, was the obliteration of all sectional lines that had existed on account of the civil war between the States. Many Confederate veterans, who had fought against the Union, now hastened to offer their services in its defence. A wave of patriotism swept the country from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the Great Lakes to the Florida Channel. The solidarity of the country[239] was made apparent when such brave officers of the civil war as Generals Lee and Wheeler, who had fought on the “losing side,” sought and obtained positions of a rank commensurate with their great abilities. It was conclusively shown that the Americans had not, as often charged by their enemies, become weak and effeminate in sordid pursuits, and lost to all sense of honour and moral obligations.

The nation, then, responded nobly to the President’s call for soldiers and supplies, and within a week its naval vessels were blockading the ports of Cuba, and its armies moving southward to a base whence they could promptly invade the enemy’s territory. On the 27th of April the Spanish batteries of Matanzas, Cuba, were shelled by Admiral Sampson’s flagship, the New York, and other war vessels, though without any material advantage. On the 29th of April a Spanish fleet, commanded by Admiral Cervera, and consisting of four armoured cruisers and three torpedo boats and “destroyers,” left port in the Cape de Verde Islands and sailed for West Indian waters.

At the outset it was believed that the Spanish navy was vastly superior to that of the United States, for there were several battle ships of vast tonnage and heaviest[240] armament, and cruisers of greater speed than any possessed by the Americans. So, when it was at first rumoured, then asserted as a certainty, that a formidable Spanish fleet was headed toward American shores, all was anxiety along the Atlantic coast. Nothing is more certain than that the Spaniards, had they but possessed the necessary dash and vigour, might have ravaged a portion of the coast and destroyed several cities before their enemies’ scattered fleets could have concentrated to destroy them. But while at the outset Spain had cruisers and battle ships, torpedo boats and “destroyers,” in numbers exceeding their opponents, yet there was one factor she had overlooked—the men who manned the ships and trained the guns! While the American navy was at first inferior, in guns and ships, to that of Spain, yet the men had been trained to a higher state of efficiency, than the Spanish sailors, as will be shown a little later on.

But while a state of terrible suspense prevailed regarding the whereabouts of Admiral Cervera’s Spanish fleet, then presumably on its way to destroy the coast cities of the United States, there transpired something in the far-away isles of the Pacific that at once dissipated the gloom and restored confidence.


When, at the outbreak of the war, Great Britain declared all her ports neutral—that is, not open to war vessels of either combatant—the United States Asiatic squadron, consisting of four protected cruisers, two gunboats, and a despatch boat, was lying in the British port of Hong Kong. Driven out of this port by the proclamation of neutrality, Commodore George Dewey, in command of the squadron, acting under orders from Washington, steamed direct for the Philippine Islands, valuable possessions of Spain, discovered by Magellan in 1521, and settled by Spaniards in 1565. He may have had orders to go to the Philippines in any event; but now that he was deprived of a port, Commodore Dewey felt constrained to take possession of another; so at daylight on the morning of the 1st of May, 1898, his little fleet was discovered by Spaniards on the watch groping its way, over sunken mines and between defensive batteries, into the bay of Manila! The rich city of Manila, and perhaps the entire Philippine chain, consisting of about two thousand islands, was to be the ultimate prize; but the immediate objective was the Spanish fleet assembled for the protection of the capital. This fleet, consisting of seven cruisers and several gunboats, was at last discovered by Commodore Dewey,[242] drawn up in battle array in the harbour of Cavité, an inlet of Manila Bay, and at once attacked.[2]

Then ensued a scene of carnage, and ultimately a victory, which was, perhaps, all things considered, without a parallel in history. For, though the opposing vessels were very well matched, and their crews were about the same in number, in a few hours every Spanish ship was either blown up or sunk, and the land batteries of Cavité were completely silenced! The Spanish loss was terrible, amounting to three hundred and eighty-one in killed and wounded; but on the American side not one was killed, only nine were wounded, and eventually every man returned to duty!

Such a decisive victory for the Americans, and such a crushing defeat for Spain, had its effect upon the respective countries, raising the spirits of the “Yankees,” and correspondingly [243]depressing those of the Spaniards. The city of Manila, which was dependent upon the fleet for its protection, was now absolutely at the mercy of the American commodore; but he, as merciful as he was brave and invincible, refrained from bombarding it, preferring to await the arrival of troops for its capture. As soon as possible troops were despatched to the Philippines; but it was the last week in May before the first were aboard the transports, and about a month more before they arrived at Manila. Eventually some twenty thousand American troops were concentrated at Manila, and then the city was assaulted and captured, on August 13th, by the combined action of the army and navy.

It was a strange chance that threw the Philippines into the hands of the United States; for, in the first place, it is said that when the New World was divided between Portugal and Spain, by the celebrated “bull” of Pope Alexander VI, in 1493 (according to which all discoveries after that west of an ideal meridian were to belong to Spain, and those east to Portugal), the Philippines would rightfully have fallen to the last-named country. But by a mistake of Magellan, their discoverer, they were placed twenty or thirty degrees nearer to America than they really[244] were, and the error was never rectified. So, through an error of the great Magellan, and the prowess of the gallant Dewey, the United States were put in possession of one of Spain’s most valuable colonies.

It is said that republics are ungrateful; but if the American Republic has been open to that accusation in the past, it nobly redeemed itself during the campaign against the Spaniards. Commodore Dewey was at once advanced to the rank of rear admiral, and the thanks of the nation were conveyed by its President to the brave sailors under him, with the promise of substantial emoluments later on. The moral effect of this victory was vastly greater than the mere material acquisitions; for it corrected a long-existent misapprehension in Europe as to our abilities, and advanced us at once an immeasurable distance in its estimation.

Meanwhile in the United States every effort was still put forth to equip the armies, to perfect the fleets, and to bring the conflict to an early and honourable close. Without animosity toward their foes, with the highest motives and incentives, the Americans yet relaxed no endeavour in the vigorous prosecution of the war.

The first American victims fell on May 11th, in an engagement with the batteries of[245] Cardenas, Cuba, when, Ensign Bagley and four sailors on the gunboat Winslow were killed by Spanish shells; and the next day, in the bombardment of San Juan, Puerto Rico, one sailor was killed. This bombardment was merely an incident in the search of our fleets for Admiral Cervera’s squadron, the whereabouts of which remained a mystery for three long weeks. During this time a “flying squadron” was organized and held at Newport News, under command of Commodore Schley, ready to steam to the succour of whatever point should be menaced by the Spanish ships, either North or South. At last it became known that the Spaniards had been seen in the West Indies, and the flying squadron sailed for those waters. Admiral Sampson meanwhile was cruising in the Caribbean Sea, seeking an engagement with the Spanish fleet; and as it was thought that the enemy might seek shelter at San Juan, a port on the north side of the island of Puerto Rico, it was visited; but with no result other than the bombardment of the fortifications by the American fleet, though without inflicting any material injury.

Word came at last that Admiral Cervera had, in a roundabout way, safely reached the landlocked harbour of Santiago de Cuba on May 19th, and there he was “bottled up,” a[246] few days later, by the flying squadron, which was soon re-enforced by the fleet under Admiral Sampson, who took command. Even then, there was much doubt as to the actual location of the Spanish squadron, until Lieutenant Victor Blue by a daring reconnoissance penetrated the enemy’s lines, at the risk of being captured and shot as a spy, and ascertained beyond peradventure that the fleet was in the harbour of Santiago.

While the United States Government had been concentrating troops at Tampa, and its fleets at Key West and off the port of Havana, yet it was apparently uncertain at which point to invade Cuban soil, until the arrival of the Spanish fleet at Santiago suddenly determined the future theatre of war. As the destruction of Admiral Cervera’s powerful squadron was of more importance than anything else, all the energies of the Government were now put forth to accomplish it. The fleet under command of Admiral Sampson included the largest and most heavily armoured cruisers and battle ships, besides smaller craft, as gunboats and torpedo destroyers. Added to these, the splendid battle ship Oregon, which had been ordered from San Francisco to the theatre of war, arrived during the blockade of Santiago after a memorable “run” around South America and[247] through the Caribbean Sea. Thus the American admiral had a fleet vastly superior to that within the harbour; but the problem was, how to get at it! Securely intrenched behind the frowning hills around the harbour entrance, which latter was filled with torpedoes and submarine mines, the Spanish squadron was for the time safe from harm.

A constant watch was kept on the narrow entrance to Santiago’s harbour, on one side guarded by the ancient Morro Castle, and on the other by more modern batteries, upon which at night were trained powerful electric search-lights; and not a moment passed during any twenty-four hours in which the captive squadron could have escaped unobserved from the trap in which it was caught.

The actual invasion of Cuba was begun on the 10th of June at the bay of Guantanamo, to the eastward of Santiago, by a force of six hundred marines, when several men were killed before a secure camp could be obtained. Among the great results of this occupation was the capture of the submarine cable station, by means of which fleet and army were soon put in communication with Washington.

On the 3d of June a deed of heroism was performed in the sinking of the collier Merrimac across the narrow channel of Santiago[248] harbour by Lieutenant Hobson and a crew of seven men. This was done under a heavy fire from the Spanish batteries, and while exposed to the torpedoes set off by the enemy when they discovered this attempt to obstruct the channel. Lieutenant Hobson and his men escaped death almost by a miracle, only to fall into the hands of the enemy, by whom they were taken to the Morro and imprisoned. The attempt to block the channel and thus absolutely prevent the escape of the squadron within, was unavailing; but this does not render the deed the less heroic. And to show of what material the American navy is composed—a navy that has been derided by Europe and made the object of ridicule by some citizen politicians—it was reported that hundreds volunteered for this desperate enterprise, even though well aware that it meant to those who took part in it almost certain death!

In response to the request of Admiral Sampson, who represented that he would not risk forcing the harbour entrance, filled as it was with mines, an expedition of sixteen thousand men was soon afloat on transports in Tampa harbour, Florida, and after long delays, reached the coast of Cuba, off Santiago, on the 22d of June. These troops, comprising the Fifth Army Corps, commanded[249] by General Shafter, were soon landed at Baiquiri and Siboney, despite the tremendous surf, and lost no time in possessing themselves of the country adjacent.

As time was precious, the troops of General Shafter’s command were landed rapidly, each man with three days’ rations and two hundred rounds of ammunition, and the van was pushing for Santiago while the rear was disembarking. They encountered little opposition at first, and the second day, or on the 23d of June, a base of operations was secured by the capture of Juragua. On the 24th the first blood was spilled, when the dismounted cavalry, known as the Rough Riders, were attacked, several miles beyond the most advanced position, at La Guasimas, and lost sixteen in killed and fifty-two wounded. This attack by the Spaniards upon troops struggling through a tropical thicket was referred to by the men themselves as merely a skirmish, and did not for a moment cause them to falter.

The Spaniards withdrew from their advanced positions, and a few days after the skirmish at La Guasimas eight thousand troops, under Generals Wheeler and Lawton, occupied the hamlet of Sevilla without opposition. The first great battle was a week later, on the 1st of July, when a general advance[250] was ordered upon the outworks of Santiago. Two important positions were taken and held, that of El Caney by General Lawton, consisting of a strong blockhouse defended by rifle pits, and San Juan Hill by General Kent. Both positions were gallantly and obstinately defended by the Spaniards, and it was only after repeated charges by our troops that they were taken. The charge up the steep slopes of San Juan Hill, led by Colonel Roosevelt, compelled the unstinted admiration of the foreign attachés representing various European governments, who could not sufficiently praise the gallant “initiative,” as they called it, of the American soldier. After two days’ hard fighting the men intrenched and lay down on their arms, with a loss of two hundred and thirty killed and more than twelve hundred wounded. Volunteers and regulars vied with each other in deeds of bravery, in individual heroism, and it would be impossible to mention every hero of this fight. The Spaniards fought well also, and as they possessed weapons superior to those of the Americans, and cartridges loaded with smokeless powder, and were in the main sheltered behind intrenchments, they had a great advantage.

Within the fortifications of Santiago were about fifteen thousand soldiers under General[251] Linares; without, as many Americans under General Shafter, who by two days of fighting had gained positions whence they could command the city. Re-enforcements were constantly arriving, and soon the heavy siege guns would be brought to the front and the Spaniards driven from the forts and intrenchments. At first a general assault was contemplated by the Americans, but this idea was abandoned when it was found that the enemy was so strongly intrenched, so desperate, and equipped with superior arms.

While the American general was undecided what to do, a new diversion was caused, on the morning of July 3d, by the fleet of Admiral Cervera making a sudden dash for liberty. The admiral’s position had become, or soon would become, untenable, and he was forced to the desperate determination to fly out in the face of the Yankee war ships and take the one chance for liberty. About half past nine in the morning the lookout on the battle ship Texas gave the alarm: “The fleet is coming out!” Signals were set, but the black smoke from the funnels of the fleet betrayed their design, and the battle ships Iowa and Oregon, and the armoured cruiser Brooklyn, at once hastened with all steam toward the harbour entrance.

It was a magnificent spectacle: that of[252] the gathering war ships speeding toward the Spanish squadron, which, with the Infanta Maria Teresa, Admiral Cervera’s flagship, in the lead, followed by the Cristobal Colon, the Vizcaya, the Almirante Oquendo, and the two torpedo destroyers Furor and Pluton, steamed slowly into view, and then, with increasing speed, turned down the western coast.

What followed then was a test of speed and endurance, for it had long been maintained that the Spanish war ships were the superiors of the American in these respects. What then ensued quickly proved the contrary to be true, for within one short hour three of the great battle ships were driven ashore and sunk, riddled with shells, and with flames bursting from every port. The Texas, Oregon, Iowa, and Brooklyn dashed upon them like eagles swooping upon their prey, pouring in terrible broadsides and sweeping their decks with their rapid-fire guns. The great thirteen-inch shells tore through the belts of steel armour, smashed the boilers and machinery, setting fire to the magazines, and in a short time completely disabling the pride and boast of the Spanish navy. The two torpedo destroyers, which had been so much exploited as terrors of the sea, were disposed of in a few minutes by the Texas, Iowa, and Gloucester, and sunk with a loss[253] of two thirds of their crews. Meanwhile, the Cristobal Colon, the only ship remaining, was speeding along the coast, with the Oregon and Brooklyn, followed by the New York, Admiral Sampson’s flagship, in close pursuit. But it was a vain attempt at escape; about fifty miles from the harbour of Santiago the Colon was driven ashore, shattered by shells and on fire in many places. This was at one o’clock, and thus it had taken less than five hours for the glorious Yankee ships with their gallant crews to destroy the Spanish squadron and capture its officers and crews. And this was effected with a loss to the victor of but one man killed, while the losses of the Spaniards amounted to more than six hundred killed and thirteen hundred prisoners!

This disparity in casualties might be considered miraculous were it not for the notorious fact that Spanish gunners can not shoot, and that on this particular occasion many of them were intoxicated and fired wildly; while the Yankee sailors, trained by long practice, made all their shots “tell” with terrible effect. It was then seen that, more than to battle ships and belts of armour, more than to speed and calibre of cannon, the American nation was indebted for victory to the men behind the guns! The Spaniards were brave even to rashness; they may have fought[254] equally well with the Americans, yet they did not possess their skill, their tenacity of purpose, their intelligence.

It was a glorious victory, yet tempered with regret for the fallen foe. The national sentiment of pity and sympathy was voiced by Captain Philip, of the Texas, who, when his crew sent up shouts of exultation at the sight of the shattered Vizcaya’s men driven from their guns by an explosion, cried out: “Don’t cheer, boys; those poor fellows are dying!” And every effort was put forth to save the survivors, by those who so recently had been intent upon their destruction.




The loss of Cervera’s fleet nearly broke the Spanish heart—at all events, its proud and haughty spirit. For, while it was not expected that Spain (which had not gained an important naval victory since that of Lepanto over the Turks, in 1571) would eventually win, yet it was thought that some meed of glory might accrue from its great armament and expenditure for fighting machines. At the end of the war—for this victory virtually ended it—Spain’s naval losses amounted to thirty-seven vessels of all classes, or about one half of her entire navy, and forty per cent of her total tonnage, valued at more than twenty-seven million dollars. Her killed in battle numbered at least two thousand, the wounded many more; while the total killed in the naval engagements on the American[256] side numbered only seventeen, with less than one hundred wounded.

Two weeks after the fleet was destroyed Santiago surrendered, and with it there fell to the victors the entire eastern province of Cuba, with twenty-two thousand prisoners of war. By the terms of capitulation, all soldiers and officers of the Spanish army in and about Santiago were transported to Spain at the expense of the United States Government. The thirteen hundred prisoners from Cervera’s fleet were at first taken to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where they were well housed and kindly cared for; the officers were confined at Annapolis, where their treatment was such as to call forth the most lively expressions of gratitude from the captured admiral and his colleagues. As there were no American prisoners for whom to exchange these unfortunates, they were finally released and sent home, about the middle of September, 1898.

Santiago surrendered on July 17th, and eight days later General Nelson A. Miles, with several thousand troops landed at a port of Puerto Rico and captured the important city of Ponce. His invasion was skilfully planned and was being carried out with consummate strategy, when, after nearly all the southern and western settlements had fallen[257] into his hands, operations were stopped by orders from Washington. On the day following the landing of American troops in Puerto Rico the United States Government had been approached by the ambassador of France, acting in the interests of Spain, who asked upon what terms the President would consent to peace.

Although American arms were everywhere triumphant, and American fleets preparing to invade the Mediterranean and ravage the coasts of Spain itself, yet the President, still consistent in his attitude—as desirous of peace, yet determined to exact justice for the oppressed—cordially welcomed the overtures from Spain. In view of the overwhelming victories of the United States, and the fact that the country was but just beginning to draw upon its vast resources, the provisions of the preliminary protocol were liberal in the extreme. These were, the independence of Cuba, the cession of Puerto Rico and one of the Ladrone Islands to the United States, and the question of jurisdiction over the Philippines, with other minor matters, to be left to a joint commission. These terms were agreed to by Spain on the 9th of August, and the protocol for a treaty of peace was signed on the 12th. Immediately upon the signing of the protocol orders were sent to all United[258] States military and naval commanders to cease operations against the enemy at once. The blockades of Cuban and Puerto Rican ports were declared lifted; the war, in effect, was ended.

The American soldiers were arrested in mid-career of victory, with swords uplifted and guns aimed at the enemy; nevertheless, though many of them wept for very rage at being baffled in their designs, they obeyed implicitly the commands emanating from Washington. In the far-off Philippines, however, where brave Dewey and his sailors had been for months awaiting the arrival of sufficient re-enforcements to take and occupy Manila, warlike preparations still continued. On the day following the signing of the protocol, and before the news had reached the islands, the defences of Manila had been assaulted and carried by our soldiers, the city taken, together with more than seven thousand prisoners, and the capital of the Philippines became an American possession. Owing to the difference in time between Manila and Washington, the victory was assured but a few hours after the negotiations looking to peace had been concluded. As there was no direct cable from Manila to the United States, and despatches had to be sent by vessel to and from Hong Kong, seven[259] hundred miles away, Admiral Dewey and General Merritt, commanding respectively the naval and land forces in the Philippines, had acted without knowledge of the peace proceedings, and thus fortuitously Manila was taken before the war was officially ended. This fact had an important bearing upon the subsequent negotiations of the peace commissioners, who were appointed later by the Governments of Spain and the United States, and met in Paris to arrange the final terms, as by the fall of the capital of the Philippines the whole group was virtually conquered.

The situation was complicated by the actions of the Philippine insurgents under General Aguinaldo, who were already in revolt against Spain before the Spanish fleet was destroyed by Dewey’s squadron. As in Cuba, the natives of the Philippines had suffered for centuries from Spanish oppressions, and their condition of late years had been one of chronic revolt; terrible atrocities had been committed on both sides, and neither party had given evidence of a capacity for government or for advance in the paths of progress and civilization. Upon the arrival of the American fleet and army the insurgents had made common cause with the United States; but each side viewed the other with distrust. The Spaniards, hemmed in between the land[260] forces of Aguinaldo and the fleet and soldiers of the Americans, displayed great bravery in a hopeless cause; but at the very last, convinced of the futility of resistance, surrendered to the latter. They distrusted the insurgents, but put faith in the promises of the Americans, which promises were kept to the letter; and the transference of authority from Spanish to American hands was accomplished without disturbance.

The total duration of this war between Spain and the United States was only one hundred and fourteen days! Within that brief period this country had raised and equipped an army of two hundred thousand men; established camps of detention and instruction in various parts of the land; had increased the navy by more than double its number of vessels before the war; had provided for a war loan of two hundred million dollars (which was entirely taken by a patriotic people); for a war revenue, which was borne without a murmur; had blockaded the ports of Cuba and Puerto Rico; had taken the eastern provinces of the former and the western of the latter; and yet the American giant had but just begun to bestir himself when the war was ended!

Still, it was no matter for boasting; for the[261] United States, with a population of more than seventy millions, and its immense territory—even though poorly equipped, with a small navy and smaller army—was certain to prevail in the end over Spain, with its population of only eighteen millions, and two hundred thousand miles of area. But again, at the beginning there was not so great a disparity, for the army of Spain on a peace footing was one hundred and twenty thousand men, and on a war footing half a million. Its navy also (on paper) was superior to that of the United States, and at the outset it was supposed the latter would suffer most severely, though ultimately it might win.

What, then, was the cause of Spain’s premature discomfiture and utter collapse? Perhaps, without arrogating to themselves any superior virtues, the Americans may not be mistaken in ascribing it to the corruption of her body politic, to her pride, her refusal to accept a lesson from experience. Above all, she was fighting a forlorn hope; her cause was foredoomed to failure, because it was the cause of mediævalism, of the collective cruelties of ages long agone; and the moral sense of the world was against her. She was reaping the harvest of retributory justice—the field sown by Alva and Cortes, by Pizarro and Philip II—yes, by Isabella[262] the Catholic and Columbus! And what gall of bitterness to the Spaniard, in the reflection that the greatest nation in that hemisphere brought to the knowledge of Europe by Columbus, should be instrumental in wresting from Spain the first among the islands he discovered, and her last possessions in America!

In justice to Spain, we should note that she had seemed desirous of averting the war. In response to President McKinley’s diplomatic suggestions, through his minister at Madrid, she pledged herself to inaugurate reforms, recalled the cruel Weyler, and substituted the pacific General Blanco; revoked the edict which had proved the death-knell of the reconcentrados, and proposed for Cuba an autonomist government.

But all too late! She could not bring to life the thousands of starved and murdered Cubans, could not efface from the page of history the record of her multitudinous cruelties. It became necessary that the war should be fought: that Spain should be punished for her ignoring of the common rights of humanity, her trampling upon the sacred brotherhood of man.

With a queen regent whose court will compare favourably for purity of morals with any other in Europe, and a titular king yet[263] an innocent child; with public men like Castelar and Sagasta devoted to reform; with valorous soldiers and sailors blindly obedient, and a common people adherent to the monarchy: yet Spain’s system of government is one of the most hideous relics of ancient despotism.

And what can be expected or predicted of a nation which, in its total population of eighteen millions, contains at least twelve million illiterate persons; in the Cortes of which it was recently seriously proposed to endow a school for bull-fighters; in which cock-fighting and bull-fighting are the national pastimes; where the successful bull-fighter is the popular hero, and half a million dollars are annually expended for bulls and horses to be slaughtered in the arena; where eight millions of the people have no trade or profession, and there are nearly one hundred thousand professional beggars; where, though agriculture is the chief employment, the land is broken up by means of wooden ploughs; where, though rich in mineral resources, the mines are farmed out to foreign companies or their revenues hypothecated to brokers abroad; and finally, where everything taxable groans beneath its burden.

It is not inexplicable to the student of history that Spain, with a formidable navy,[264] yet was rendered helpless in two engagements; with more than one hundred thousand soldiers in Cuba, yet surrendered after but one city had been besieged and taken, and whose vast colonial possessions fell to pieces and crumbled like a house of cards.

Was it chance alone that chose Santiago as the crucial battle ground—Santiago, where, twenty-five years before, scores of American sailors, men of the Virginius, were stood against the white walls of a slaughter-house and butchered in cold blood?

Was it chance alone that directed the events of war so that the West Indies should be the scene of final conflict—the Antilles, which Spain had depopulated in the first century of her rule, and made desert places of fair isles which once supported millions of innocent and happy inhabitants?

Was it strange that a nation guilty of such enormities should lack the moral courage, the sound heart and core of integrity, necessary to withstand the impact of another nation goaded by the spectacle of those iniquities to righteous indignation?

While mourning the losses of the war, with a heart still bleeding for their sons done to death in battle and by disease—and they were not few—the people of the United States will never regret that they went forth[265] to fight for a principle. They have won the commendation, they have compelled the respect, of the world powers; yet more than that: have given evidence of a moral and physical virility which, it was feared, the past generation of enervating peace had impaired.

“It is gratifying to all of us,” said President McKinley, in a speech at a peace jubilee in celebration of the cessation of hostilities, “to know that this has never ceased to be a war of humanity! The last ship that went out of the harbour of Havana before war was declared was an American ship which had taken to the suffering people of Cuba the supplies furnished by American charity. And the first to sail into the harbour of Santiago after the war ended was another American ship bearing food supplies to the starving Cubans. And I am sure it is the universal prayer of American citizens that justice and humanity and civilization shall characterize the final settlement of peace, as they have distinguished the progress of the war.”




No better summary of the progress and achievements of the war has been given than in the words of the President, addressed to a vast assemblage at the Trans-Mississippi Exposition, in October, 1898:

“Our army had years ago been reduced to a peace footing. We had only nineteen thousand available troops when the war was declared, but the account which officers and men gave of themselves on the battlefields has never been surpassed.

“The manhood was there and everywhere. American patriotism was there, and its resources were limitless. The courageous and invincible spirit of the people proved glorious, and those who a little more than a third of a century ago were divided and at war with each other, were again united under the[267] holy standard of liberty. Patriotism banished party feeling; fifty millions of dollars for the national defence was appropriated without debate or division, as a matter of course, and as only a mere indication of our mighty reserve power.

“But if this is true of the beginning of the war, what shall we say of it now, with hostilities suspended and peace near at hand, as we fervently hope? Matchless in its results! Unequalled in its completeness and the quick succession with which victory followed victory! Attained earlier than it was believed to be possible; so comprehensive in its sweep that every thoughtful man feels the weight of responsibility which has been so suddenly thrust upon us. And, above all and beyond all, the valour of the American army, the bravery of the American navy, and the majesty of the American name, stand forth in unsullied glory, while the humanity of our purposes and the magnanimity of our conduct have given to war, always horrible, touches of noble generosity, Christian sympathy and charity, and examples of human grandeur, which can never be lost to mankind. Passion and bitterness formed no part of our impelling motive, and it is gratifying to feel that humanity triumphed at every step of the war’s progress.


“The heroes of Manila and Santiago and Puerto Rico made immortal history. They are worthy successors and descendants of Washington and Greene, of Paul Jones, Decatur, and Hull, and of Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, and Logan, of Farragut, Porter, and Cushing, and of Lee, Jackson, and Longstreet.

“New names stand out on the honour roll of the nation’s great men, and with them unnamed stand the heroes of the trenches and the forecastle, invincible in battle and uncomplaining in death. The intelligent, loyal, indomitable soldier and sailor and marine, regular and volunteer, are entitled to equal praise as having done their whole duty, whether at home or under the baptism of foreign fire. Who will dim the splendour of their achievements? Who will withhold from them their well-earned distinction?

“The faith of a Christian nation recognises the hand of Almighty God in the ordeal through which we have passed. Divine favour seemed manifest everywhere. In fighting for humanity’s sake we have been signally blessed. We did not seek war. To avoid it, if this could be done in justice and honour to the rights of our neighbours and ourselves, was our constant prayer. The war was no more invited by us than were[269] the questions which are laid at our door by its results. Now, as then, we will do our duty. The problems will not be solved in a day. Patience will be required—patience combined with sincerity of purpose and unshaken resolution to do right, seeking only the highest good of the nation, and recognising no other obligation, pursuing no other path but that of duty.”

With the signing of the protocol hostilities ceased, and by the middle of August, 1898, the war had virtually ended. Each Government appointed commissioners to arrange for the evacuation of Cuba and Puerto Rico, and by the 18th of October the latter island was in exclusive possession of the United States. Owing to the presence in Cuba of so large a number of Spanish troops—more than one hundred thousand—and the great extent of that island, the evacuation proceedings were more slowly carried out, and it was not until the 1st of January, 1899, that Havana, the capital, was delivered into the sole care of the Americans.

Meanwhile, peace commissioners had been appointed by each country, five by Spain and five by the United States, who met in Paris the first week in October. After long and deliberate sessions, and not without some friction from their divergent views, a treaty[270] of peace was concluded, which was signed by all the commissioners on the 10th of December, and presented to the Executive of the United States the day before Christmas.

Although the United States occupied the position of conqueror, and was in a situation where it could exact its own terms, still it did not presume upon its advantages, and was exceedingly generous in its treatment of the fallen foe. By the capture of Manila, the capital of the Philippines, the Americans had practically acquired possession of that vast group in Asiatic waters. Nevertheless, the United States agreed to pay the Spaniards the sum of twenty million dollars, and to repatriate all Spanish troops then on service there.

By the terms of the protocol, confirmed by the treaty, Puerto Rico and its adjacent islands in the Atlantic were ceded to the victors without reservation, and became American property. In the East the island of Guam, in the Ladrones, was ceded as a coaling station, and the vast archipelagos of the Philippines and Sulus. The island of Cuba, while freed from Spanish tyranny, did not directly become a possession of the United States, as that Government had distinctly disclaimed any intention of assuming sovereignty over it except for its pacification only. “Spanish[271] rule,” declared President McKinley, in his message to Congress of December 8, 1898, “must be replaced by a just, benevolent, and humane government, created by the people of Cuba, capable of performing all international obligations, and which shall encourage thrift, industry, and prosperity, and promote peace and goodwill among all the inhabitants, whatever may have been their relations in the past. Neither revenge nor passion should have a place in the new government. Until there is complete tranquility in the island, and a stable government inaugurated, military occupation will be continued.”

The complete transfer of authority was not unaccompanied by disturbance, either in the Philippines or in Cuba. In the former islands the native insurgents, mistrusting the humane intentions of their new masters, manifested a spirit of turbulence which indicated that they would have to be pacified before intrusted with the full measure of freedom. In truth, it would appear that the actual war was a minor matter compared with the gigantic task the United States had undertaken of preparing the diverse peoples to walk in the paths of progress and higher civilization.

In Cuba, filling the places made vacant by the withdrawal of the Spanish soldiery, the American army gradually possessed itself[272] of every strategic point, and by the 1st of January, 1899, the island was practically held by the Americans. At noon of that day the Spanish flag was hauled down and the Stars and Stripes hoisted in its place, above the historic Morro Castle, where the banner of Spain had floated (except for a brief intermission) for nearly three hundred years. Captain-General Castellanos, who had succeeded General Blanco in November, and was then in command of the Spanish forces, met the American commissioners at the palace in Havana, and resigned his authority over the island in the following words:

“According to the protocol of peace, signed August 12th, I, obeying the orders of the government of her Catholic Majesty, the Queen-Regent of Spain, and in the name of her son, his Majesty the King, deliver the island of Cuba to the Government of the United States, represented by your commission.”

General Wade, chief of the American commissioners, made an equally brief reply, and then gave this important trust into the keeping of General Brooke, the military governor.

As General Castellanos left the palace for the steamer on which he was to take his departure, the American soldiers drawn up in[273] the plaza presented arms, the officers saluted with their swords, and the American military band played the royal Spanish march.

This unfortunate Spanish official, to whom had been intrusted the disagreeable duty of relinquishing into foreign hands the supreme authority over Cuba, was profoundly moved, and, as he heard the salutes being fired in honour of the American flag, which had now supplanted the emblem of Spain, he said, brokenly: “This is the most bitter moment of my life. I pray that none of you will ever suffer what I am suffering now.”

Thus he departed, carrying with him the sympathy and esteem of those who but recently had been his foes. The spirit of goodwill and fraternal feeling was never more manifest than between the Spaniards and Americans in Cuba; for with the cessation of strife disappeared all animosities of whatever nature. Only the Cubans, who had been prevented for important reasons from participating in the final demonstrations attendant upon the occupation of Havana, and who allowed themselves to distrust the motives of the conquerors, held aloof at first and seemed to cherish revengeful feelings.

But when General Castellanos advanced to General Menocal, a Cuban high in authority, and said, “I am sorry, sir, that we have[274] been enemies, having the same blood in our veins,” the latter answered generously: “Sir, we fought for Cuba. Now that she is free, we are no longer enemies!”

All animosities seemed then to be forgotten, and it would appear that the United States had already succeeded in its pacific mission of intervention, as the air was rent with the cries of “Viva España!” “Viva America!” “Viva Cuba Libre!

If a spirit of revenge had been cherished by the Americans, it must needs have been appeased that afternoon, at the sight of American soldiers marching through the capital city of Havana, with the former Consul-General Fitzhugh Lee at their head, and in the harbour the Stars and Stripes floating from a spar above the sunken war ship Maine.

There seems every reason to believe that the noble aspiration of the great American Executive will be realized:

“As soon as we are in possession of Cuba, and have pacified the island, it will be necessary to give aid and direction to its people to form a government for themselves. This should be undertaken at the earliest moment consistent with safety and assured success. It is important that our relations with this people shall be of the most friendly character, and our commercial relations close and reciprocal.[275] It should be our duty to assist in every proper way to build up the waste places of the island, encourage the industry of the people, and assist them to form a government which shall be free and independent; thus realizing the best aspirations of the Cuban people.”

The city of Santiago is already a notable object-lesson of the benefits of American rule, where soldiers from the Cuban army and impoverished pacificos have been generously paid by the military governor to assist at the work of reform.

America has shown that her declaration of sympathy with suffering humanity in the Spanish islands: in the Philippines as well as in Cuba, were not idle words spoken for effect upon the outside world, but the voicing of a principle which has been consistently adhered to, not only through the din of battle but in the hush of peace. And not the least of her victories is that over herself—second only to that which has brought to her side (compelled by admiration of her deeds and inherent love for valorous performances) the “motherland” of America: England, home of the sea-kings, Drake and his colleagues who assisted at the destruction of the armada; Nelson, who buried Spanish prestige in the watery grave of Trafalgar. International[276] comity advances to a higher plane, international obligations acquire a new significance, when nations are inspired by mutual respect and regard.

At the opening of the nineteenth century Spain’s sway extended over nearly one half the total area of the three Americas, her possessions in the western hemisphere being estimated at 6,750,000 square miles. At its close she held no territory here, and her flag had disappeared from the isles and continents discovered by Columbus and conquered by her soldiers.

At the beginning of this century the United States controlled less than a million square miles of territory; at its ending, more than 3,600,000! While it was once claimed by Spain that on her vast empire the sun never set; of the American possessions, since the acquisition of the Philippines, it is literally true.

This reversal of relative conditions at the close of the century must be apparent even to the Spanish nation, now contracted within the ancient confines of the Iberian Peninsula, shorn of prestige, glory, and colonies.

Paradoxical as it may seem, yet Spain’s losses by war may eventually become her gain; for her colonies had long been clogs upon her progress, and had devoured her[277] substance greedily. No longer compelled to maintain a large standing army, or to send abroad the flower of her young manhood, Spain can devote to agriculture and manufactures, to art and literature, the forces that were worse than wasted in camp and on the battlefield.

She has no worse enemies than those of her own household; but still on her borders rises the fateful apparition of Don Carlos the pretender. In time, perhaps, if the lessons of the war are heeded, the Spaniard may be able to perceive the absurdity of that boastful Spanish proverb, “Whoever says Spain, says everything!”




Abbas, uncle of Mohammed, 46.

Abbasides, sect of the, 45.

Abdalasis, 43.

Abdelmummen, 67.

Abderrahman, Prince, 46, 47.

Abderrahman III, 49.

Abencerrages, the, 45.

Abu Bekr, 45.

Acapulco galleon, the, 173.

Aguilar, Alonzo de, 101.

Aix-la-Chapelle, Treaty of, 161, 171.

Alarcos, battle of, 67.

Alaric, 25, 26.

Alaric II, King, 28.

Albaicin, the, 93.

Alcala, university of, 131.

Alcantara, order of, 87.

Alcázar of Seville, 95.

Alfonso I and II, 57.

Alfonso the Victorious, 58.

Alfonso VI, 64, 66.

Alfonso VIII, 67, 73.

Alfonso IX, 74.

Alfonso X, 75.

Alfonso XI, 76.

Alfonso XII, 76, 207, 209.

Alfonso XIII, 76, 210, 212.

Algeciras, battle of, 77.

Alhama, fortress of, 98.

Alhamar, Ibn, King of Granada, 93, 94.

Alhambra, the, 94.

Ali Atar, Moorish warrior, 101.

Almansor, the Great, 52, 63.

Almeria, fall of, 104.

Almirante Oquendo, Spanish war ship, 252.

Almohades, sect of the, 66.

Almoravides, sect of the, 67.

Alva, Duke of, 146, 147.

Amadeo, Don, 205.

America, discovery of, 116.

Americus Vespucci, 125.

Americapan, aboriginal American word, 125.

Andalusia, province of, 28, 106.

Anne of Austria, 144.

Aranda, Count, 174.

Armada, the Great, 153.

Arians, the Gothic, 30.

Art and literature, 163.

Aryan Kelts, the, 4.

Asiatic squadron, the U. S., 241.

Asiento, the, 171.

Asturias, Prince of the, 182.

Asturias, Princess of the, 209.

Atawulf, 26.

Attila the Hun, 28.

Augsburg, Peace of, 139.

Austria, Don Juan of, 148.

Auto da fé, the, 90, 146.

Ayeshah, wife of Mohammed, 46.


Babieca, the Cid’s war-horse, 67.

Bagley, Ensign, U.S. Army, 245.


Balboa, Vasco Nuñez de, 127.

Barbara of Portugal, 72.

Barbarossa, pirate king, 138.

Basel, Treaty of, 178.

Baza, fall of, 104.

Berbers, the African, 62.

Bernardo del Carpio, 58.

Blanco, Captain-General, 262, 272.

Blockade, the Cuban, 239.

Bloody Mary, 143.

Blue, Lieutenant Victor, 246.

Boabdil, King of Granada, 100, 102, 110, 112.

Bobadilla, 124.

Bonaparte, Joseph, 184, 187, 189.

Bourbon, Constable of, 137.

Bourbon, Don Francisco de, 199.

Bourbon, the house of, 166, 169, 177, 180, 207.

Bridge of Pines, Granada, 115.

Brooke, General, U. S. Army, 272.

Brooklyn, the battleship, U. S. Navy, 251-253.

Burgos, Spanish statesman, 200.


Cabrera, Carlist general, 197.

Cadiz, city of, 78.

Cadiz, Marquis of, 97.

Cæsar, Julius, in Spain, 21, 22.

Calais and Queen Mary of England, 145.

Calatrava, military order of, 87.

Califas (or caliphs), 43.

Califate (or caliphate), the Western, 45.

Campos, General Martinez, 208, 214, 221.

Campostella (or Compostella), 52.

Carlists, the, 196, 198.

Carlos, Don, the pretender, 195, 198.

Carlos, Don, son of Philip II, 143.

Carthage, city of, 9.

Castelar, Emilio, 205.

Castellanos, Captain-General, 272.

Castile, kingdom of, 86.

Castillo, Canovas del, 208, 215.

Catherine, Queen, 129.

Catholic, Ferdinand the, 132.

Cato in Spain, 10.

Celtiberians, the, 5, 17.

Celts, or Kelts, 4.

Cervantes, author of Don Quixote, 163.

Cervera, Admiral of Spanish fleet, 239, 240, 245.

Cervera, Admiral, at Santiago de Cuba, 246, 251.

Cervera, Admiral, a prisoner, 256.

Cervera’s fleet, destruction of, 252.

Cespedes, Carlos de, 220.

Ceuta, coast of Africa, 37.

Charlemagne, Emperor, 48.

Charles Martel, 44.

Charles I (Emperor Charles V), 129, 133, 135, 136-140.

Charles II, King, 154-162.

Charles III, King, 173, 175.

Charles IV, King, 176-182.

Charles IX, King of France, 149.

Chico, el Rey (Boabdil), 111.

Child-kings of Spain, 209.

Christina of Naples, 199.

Christina, Queen-Regent, 209, 212.

Christinos, the, 197.

Cid Campeador, the, 68, 71.

Cimbri, invasion of the, 20.

Clement, Pope, 137.

Colonial policy of Spain, 218.

Colonial possessions, 216, 218.

Columbus, Christopher, in Spain, 112, 114, 123, 124.

Columbus, Diego, 126.

Complutensian Bible, the, 131.

Condé, the Great, 159.

Congress, United States, and Cuba, 235.

Congress, United States, resolutions in, 236, 237.

Constance, Princess, 80.

Constantius, 27.

Conquistadores, the, 125, 128.

Cordova, city of, 50, 51, 92.

Cordova, Gonsalvo de, 122, 131.

Cordova, Hernandez de, 126.

Cortes, the Spanish, 81.

Cortes and Constitution, 213.

Cortes, Hernando, in Mexico, 126.

Council of Blood, the, 147.

Cristobal Colon, Spanish warship, 252.

Cuba, island of, 218, 220.

Cuba, Indians of, discovered by Columbus, 219.

Cuba, revolts in, 220.

Cuba, insurgents of, 221, 222.


Cuba, reconcentrados of, 227.

Cuba, sufferings of natives of, 228-330.

Cuba, invasion of, by U. S. troops, 247, 248.

Cuba, evacuation of, by Spaniards, 269.

Cuban junta in the United States, 230.


Darien, Isthmus of, 127.

Dewey, Commodore, U. S. Navy, 241.

Dewey, Commodore, victory of, at Manila, 242.

Drake, Sir Francis, 152, 153.

Don Carlos, the pretender, 195, 198.

Dutch East India Company, 155.


Egica, Gothic King, 33.

Elizabeth, Queen, of England, 144, 150, 152, 155.

Enghein, Duke of, 180.

Enrique, Don, 76, 83.

Ervigius, King, 32.

Escorial, the (Escurial), 153.

Espartero, General, 197, 201, 205.

Euric, King, 28.

Exilona, Gothic Queen, 43.


Family Compact, the, 173.

Farther Spain, under the Romans, 18.

Ferdinand the Saint, 74.

Ferdinand IV., 76.

Ferdinand of Arragon, 80.

Ferdinand married to Isabella, 82.

Ferdinand besieges Malaga, 103.

Ferdinand besieges Granada, 108.

Ferdinand, attempted assassination of, 121.

Ferdinand, second marriage of, 130.

Ferdinand, death of, 131.

Ferdinand VI, 170, 172.

Ferdinand VII, 182, 183, 191-193.

Floridablanca, Count, 174.

Flying squadron, the U. S., 245.

Forum judicum, the, 75.

Francis, King, of France, 135, 137, 139.

Fueros, ancient privileges, 85, 196.

Furor, Spanish torpedo destroyer, 252.


Garcia, General, Cuban patriot, 223.

Garcia the Trembler, 61.

Genseric the Vandal, 28.

Germaine, Princess, 130.

Ghent, city of, 138.

Gibraltar, Rock of, 38, 77, 172.

Godoy, Manuel, Prince of Peace, 176.

Gomez, General, Cuban patriot, 223.

Gonzalez, Count Ferhan, 60.

Goths, a kingdom of the, 25, 40, 42.

Gloucester, U. S. gunboat, 252.

Gracchus, in Roman Spain, 18.

Granada, province of, 93, 96, 106.

Granada, siege of, 105.

Grand Alliance, the, 167.

Great Captain, the, 122.

Guadalete, river, 40.

Guadix, fall of, 104.

Guantanamo, Bay of, 247.

Guasimas, La, fight at (Cuba), 249.


Hacam II, Moorish king, 50.

Hamilcar Barca, 9, 10.

Hannibal, son of Hamilcar, 10, 12.

Hapsburg, house of, 154.

Haro, Luis de, 159.

Hasdrubal, the Carthaginian, 10, 15, 16.

Havana, Cuba, in American possession, 269, 272, 273.

Henry of Trastamare, 79, 80.

Henry II, of France, 145.

Henry III, 80.

Henry VIII, of England, 129, 131, 135.

Hercules, in Spain, 7.

Hercules, Pillars of, 8.

Hermandad, the, 88.

Hermenigild, Gothic king, 30.

Hesperides, Gardens of the, 8.

Hicham I, Moorish king, 49.

Hijra, el (Hegira), flight of Mohammed, 36.


Hispania, ancient Spain, 18.

Hither Spain, of the Romans, 18.

Holy Alliance, the, 191.

Holy League, the, 131.

Holy Office, the, 89, 146.

Huelva, mines of, 9.

Huguenots, massacre of the, 149.


Iberia, ancient, 1.

Iberians, the, 4, 6.

Ildefonso, Treaty of, 178.

Indians, the, first seen, 116.

Indians, persecution of the, 128.

Infanta Maria Teresa, war ship, 252.

Inquisition, the, 75, 89, 146.

Inquisition, victims of the, 120.

Insurgents of Cuba, 221, 222.

Insurgents of the Philippines, 259, 271.

Iowa, U. S. battle ship, 251, 252.

Isabella, Queen, early life of, 80.

Isabella, marriage of, to Ferdinand, 82.

Isabella, death of, 122.

Isabella, family of, 129.

Isabella of France, 144.

Isabella of Portugal, 137.

Isabella II, birth of, 195.

Isabella II, reign of, 195-200.

Isabella II, banishment of, 202.

Islamism, sway of, 42.


Jamaica, lost to Spain, 159.

James I, King of Aragon, 74.

Jesuits, expelled from Spain, 174.

Jews, edicts against the, 117, 119.

John of Gaunt, 79, 80.

John I, King, 80.

John II, King, 80.

Juan, Prince, 129.

Juana, Princess (Juana Loca), 129, 130.

Julian, Count, the traitor, 34.

Julius II, Pope, 131.

Junta, the Cuban, 230.

Junta, the Spanish, 201.

Juragua, Cuba, capture of, 249.


Kent, General, U. S. Army, 250.


Lawton, General, U. S. Army, 250.

Lee, F. H., U. S. Consul-General, 251.

Legitimists, the French, 198.

Lens, battle of, 159.

Leon and Castile, kingdoms of, 64.

Leon, Ponce de, 125.

Leopold, Emperor, 167.

Leopold, Prince, 204.

Leovigild, King, 30.

Lepanto, naval battle of, 148.

Lerma, the Duke of, 155, 157.

Linares, General, in Cuba, 251.

Long, Secretary, U. S. Navy, 242.

Lope de Vega, dramatist, 163.

Lopez, General, 220.

Louisiana, sale of, 179.

Louis XIV, of France, 160.

Louis XVIII, of France, 190.

Louis Philippe, of France, 199.

Loyola, the Jesuit, 138.

Lozena, Count, 68.


Maceo, General, of Cuba, 223, 225.

Madrid, Duke of, 198.

Magellan discovers the Philippines, 241, 245.

Maiden tribute, the, 59.

Maine, battle ship, sinking of the, 231.

Malplaquet, victory of, 168.

Manila, city of, Philippines, 241.

Manila, capture of, by Americans, 258.

Manila Bay, battle of, 248.

Marat, General, in Spain, 184.

Maracaibo, Gulf of, 125.

Maria Christina, Queen, 195.

Maria de Padilla, 80.

Maria Teresa, Princess, 160.

Maria Teresa, Queen, 166.

Marlborough, Duke of, 168.

Mary Tudor, of England, 143.

Massena, General, 188.

Maurice of Saxony, 139.

Maximilian, Emperor, 134.

McKinley, President of the United States, 232.

McKinley, President, proclamation of, 234.

McKinley, President, message of, 235.


McKinley, President, addresses of, on the war, 265, 266, 269, 274.

Medici, Catherine de, 149.

Medina Celi, Duke of, 114.

Mendizabel, Señor. 200.

Mercedes, Maria las, Princess, 208.

Merrimac, collier, sinking of, 247.

Merritt, General, U. S. Army, 259.

Mexico, discovery of, 126.

Mines, submarine, 231, 238.

Moderados, a political party, 206.

Mohammed (or Mahomet), flight of, 36.

Mohammed and his successors, 45.

Mohammed ben Abdullah, 66.

Montemolin, Duke de, 198.

Montpensier, Duke de, 199.

Moore, Sir John, death of, 185.

Moorish kingdom, the, 95.

Moors, expulsion of the, 147, 156.

Morro Castle, Santiago de Cuba, 246.

Moslem invasion, the, 36, 40, 44.

Muley ben Hassan, King of Granada, 96, 100.

Musa, the Arab conqueror, 37, 40, 42, 43.


Naples, Ferdinand, King of, 121.

Napoleon Bonaparte, invades Spain, 178, 181.

Narvaez, General, 201.

Naval victories of the United States, 242, 253.

Naval losses by Spain, 255.

Navas de Tolosa, battle of, 73.

Nelson, Lord, death of, at Trafalgar, 180.

Netherlands, the Spanish, 145.

New York, the U. S. battle ship, 253.

Nimeguen, Treaty of, 162.

Nuño Rastro, Count, 68.


O’Donnell, General, 201.

Olivarez, Duke of, 158.

Ommiades, the, 46.

Oppas, Bishop, 39.

Oran, captured by Ximenes, 130.

Orange, William of, 146, 149.

Oregon, U. S. battle ship, 246, 251, 253.

Oropessa, the Count of, 261.


Pacification of Ghent, the, 149.

Palos, the port of, 114.

Parma, Duchess of, 145.

Partition treaty, the, 162.

Passau, Peace of, 139.

Pavia, the battle of, 135.

Peace, Treaty of, with the United States, 266, 270.

Peace commissioners appointed, 269.

Pedro the Cruel, 78, 79.

Pelayo, the Cave King, 55.

Peninsular wars, the, 184.

Peru, the conquest of, 127.

Philip, Archduke, husband of Juana, 129.

Philip, Captain, U. S. Navy, 254.

Philip II, son of Charles I, birth, 137.

Philip II, accession to throne of, 142.

Philip II, character and marriages, 142, 143.

Philip II, cruelty, and final end, 151, 153.

Philip III, accession and reign, 154-157.

Philip IV, accession and reign, 157-160.

Philip V, accession and reign, 165-170.

Philippine Islands, the, 241.

Phillipine Islands, U. S. troops in the, 243.

Phillipine Islands, cession of, to United States, 270.

Phœnicians settle in Spain, 6, 8, 9.

Pinar del Rio, Cuba, 226.

Pi y Margall, Señor, 205.

Pizarro, Francisco, exploits of, 127.

Placida, Roman princess, 27.

Pluton, Spanish torpedo destroyer, 252.

Pompey subdues revolt in Spain, 20-22.

Prim, General, 201, 205, 206.

Prince of Peace, the, 178.


Prisoners, Spanish, taken and sent home, 256.

Progresistas, the, 206.

Pronunciamiento, the, 203.

Protestantism, rise of, 136, 139.

Protocol of peace with the United States, 257, 259.

Puerto Rico, island of, 126.

Puerto Rico, invasion of, by U. S. troops, 256.

Puerto Rico, cession of, to the United States, 270.

Pyrenees, Treaty of the, 160.


Quadruple Alliance, the, 170, 200.

Quixote, Don, and Cervantes, 163.


Rabida, Convent de la, 114.

Ramiro, King, 59.

Ratisbon, Truce of, 162.

Recared, King of the Goths, 31.

Reconcentrados of Cuba, 227, 229, 262.

Richelieu, Cardinal, of France, 158.

Ribera, Spanish artist, 164.

Rio Tinto, 114.

Roderick, last of the Goths, 33, 34, 39.

Roland, the legend of, 48.

Roman civilization in Spain, 23, 24, 26.

Romans, famous, born in Spain, 24.

Roncesvalles, Pass of, 48.

Roosevelt, Colonel, U. S. Volunteers, 250.

Ryswick, the Peace of, 162.


Sagasta, Señor, Spanish statesman, 203, 214, 215.

Saguntum, siege of, 11.

Saint Bartholomew’s Night, 149.

Sampson, Admiral, U. S. Navy, 239, 245, 253.

Sancho the Fat, 61.

Sancho the Fourth, 76.

Sandoval, Duke of Lerma, 155.

San Juan, Puerto Rico, bombardment of, 245.

San Juan Hill, Cuba, battle of, 250.

Santa Fé, city of, 108.

Santiago, military order of, 87.

Santiago de Cuba, fall of, 247, 256, 275.

Saragossa, Maid of, 185.

Scipio, Cneius, 13.

Scipio, Publius Cornelius, 14.

Scipio Africanus, 16.

Scipio Africanus Minor, 19.

Serrano, Señor, 201, 206.

Sertorius, 20.

Seven Years’ War, the, 171.

Shafter, General, U. S. Army, 249, 251.

Sigric, King, 27.

Soldiers, bravery of United States and Spanish, 250.

Soleyman the Magnificent, 138.

Spanish minister demands passports, 237.

Spanish marriages, the, 199.

Stilicho, Roman general, 25.

Succession, Wars of the, 165.

Suevi, the barbarian, 25.

Sulla, Roman general, 20, 22.


Tarifa, town of, 37, 38.

Tarik el Tuerto, Moorish commander, 37, 38, 41, 42.

Tarshish, Phœnician, 6.

Tartessus, Phœnician, 6.

Texas, U. S. battleship, 251, 252.

Thirty Years’ War, the, 157.

Theodifred, Duke, 33.

Theodoric, King, 28.

Tolosa, battle of, 74.

Topete, Admiral, 201.

Torquemada, Tomas de, Inquisitor, 89, 118.

Torres Vedras, intrenchments of, 187.

Trafalgar, naval battle of, 180.

Triple Alliance, the, 161.

Trocha, military line of defence, 225.

Tromp, Admiral Van, 159.

Tupac Amaru, Inca of Peru, 174.

Twenty Years’ Truce, the, 162.


Ulfilas the Goth, 29.

Ultimo Suspiro del Moro, 111.

United Provinces, 155.

United States, war with the, 234.


United States, possessions of the, 276.

Utrecht, Peace of, 168.

Utrecht, Union of, 150.


Vandals invade Spain, 26.

Vara, Don Juan de, 96.

Vargas, Don Pedro de, 100.

Vega, Garcilasso de la, 110, 163.

Vegetation of Spain, the, 2.

Vela, Tower of the, Granada, 113.

Velasquez, Spanish painter, 164.

Venezuela, discovery of, 125.

Vespucci, Americus, voyages of, 124.

Versailles, Peace of, 174.

Victims of Cuban war, 244.

Victories, American naval, 242, 253.

Viriathus, 19.

Viscaya, Spanish war ship, 252.

Visigoths, invasion of the, 28.

Vittoria, battle of, 190.


Wade, General, U. S. Volunteers, in Cuba, 272.

Walia, King, 27.

Wamba, King of the Goths, 32.

War with the United States begun, 234.

War appropriations, bonds, etc., 232.

War, duration of the, with the United States, 260.

War, summary of gains and losses, 260.

War, ending of the, 269.

Waterloo, battle field of, 190.

Wellington, Duke of, in Spain, 185, 187, 189.

Westphalia, Peace of, 160.

Weyler, Spanish general, in Cuba, 224-227, etc.

Wheeler, General, U. S. Volunteers, 249.

William the Silent, 150.

Witica, King, 33.

Worms, the Diet of, 136.


Ximena, wife of the Cid, 69, 70.

Ximenes, Cardinal, 122, 130, 131, 134.


Yacoub, Moorish prince, 67.

Yarfe the Moor, 108.

Yussef, African Emir, 45.

Yussef, Moorish King, 64, 65.

Yussef, Cid, 67.


Zagal, el, Moorish warrior, 101, 104.

Zahara, fortified town, 97.

Zallaca, battle of, 65.

Zanjon, Treaty of, 221.

Zegris, the, African warriors, 107.

Zubia, crosses of, near Granada, 110.

Zumalacarregui, Carlist general, 197.



[1] Encyclopædia Britannica.

[2] This was the order cabled to Commodore Dewey from the Navy Department:

Washington, April 24, 1898.

Dewey, Hong Kong: War has commenced between the United States and Spain. Proceed at once to the Philippine Islands. Commence operations at once, particularly against the Spanish fleet. You must capture vessels or destroy. Use utmost endeavours.

Long” (Secretary of the Navy).


—Obvious print and punctuation errors were corrected.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Spain, by Frederick Albion Ober


***** This file should be named 47125-h.htm or *****
This and all associated files of various formats will be found in:

Produced by Giovanni Fini, Juliet Sutherland and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at

Updated editions will replace the previous one--the old editions
will be renamed.

Creating the works from public domain print editions means that no
one owns a United States copyright in these works, so the Foundation
(and you!) can copy and distribute it in the United States without
permission and without paying copyright royalties.  Special rules,
set forth in the General Terms of Use part of this license, apply to
copying and distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works to
protect the PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm concept and trademark.  Project
Gutenberg is a registered trademark, and may not be used if you
charge for the eBooks, unless you receive specific permission.  If you
do not charge anything for copies of this eBook, complying with the
rules is very easy.  You may use this eBook for nearly any purpose
such as creation of derivative works, reports, performances and
research.  They may be modified and printed and given away--you may do
practically ANYTHING with public domain eBooks.  Redistribution is
subject to the trademark license, especially commercial



To protect the Project Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting the free
distribution of electronic works, by using or distributing this work
(or any other work associated in any way with the phrase "Project
Gutenberg"), you agree to comply with all the terms of the Full Project
Gutenberg-tm License available with this file or online at

Section 1.  General Terms of Use and Redistributing Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works

1.A.  By reading or using any part of this Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work, you indicate that you have read, understand, agree to
and accept all the terms of this license and intellectual property
(trademark/copyright) agreement.  If you do not agree to abide by all
the terms of this agreement, you must cease using and return or destroy
all copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in your possession.
If you paid a fee for obtaining a copy of or access to a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work and you do not agree to be bound by the
terms of this agreement, you may obtain a refund from the person or
entity to whom you paid the fee as set forth in paragraph 1.E.8.

1.B.  "Project Gutenberg" is a registered trademark.  It may only be
used on or associated in any way with an electronic work by people who
agree to be bound by the terms of this agreement.  There are a few
things that you can do with most Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works
even without complying with the full terms of this agreement.  See
paragraph 1.C below.  There are a lot of things you can do with Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works if you follow the terms of this agreement
and help preserve free future access to Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works.  See paragraph 1.E below.

1.C.  The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation ("the Foundation"
or PGLAF), owns a compilation copyright in the collection of Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works.  Nearly all the individual works in the
collection are in the public domain in the United States.  If an
individual work is in the public domain in the United States and you are
located in the United States, we do not claim a right to prevent you from
copying, distributing, performing, displaying or creating derivative
works based on the work as long as all references to Project Gutenberg
are removed.  Of course, we hope that you will support the Project
Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting free access to electronic works by
freely sharing Project Gutenberg-tm works in compliance with the terms of
this agreement for keeping the Project Gutenberg-tm name associated with
the work.  You can easily comply with the terms of this agreement by
keeping this work in the same format with its attached full Project
Gutenberg-tm License when you share it without charge with others.

1.D.  The copyright laws of the place where you are located also govern
what you can do with this work.  Copyright laws in most countries are in
a constant state of change.  If you are outside the United States, check
the laws of your country in addition to the terms of this agreement
before downloading, copying, displaying, performing, distributing or
creating derivative works based on this work or any other Project
Gutenberg-tm work.  The Foundation makes no representations concerning
the copyright status of any work in any country outside the United

1.E.  Unless you have removed all references to Project Gutenberg:

1.E.1.  The following sentence, with active links to, or other immediate
access to, the full Project Gutenberg-tm License must appear prominently
whenever any copy of a Project Gutenberg-tm work (any work on which the
phrase "Project Gutenberg" appears, or with which the phrase "Project
Gutenberg" is associated) is accessed, displayed, performed, viewed,
copied or distributed:

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

1.E.2.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is derived
from the public domain (does not contain a notice indicating that it is
posted with permission of the copyright holder), the work can be copied
and distributed to anyone in the United States without paying any fees
or charges.  If you are redistributing or providing access to a work
with the phrase "Project Gutenberg" associated with or appearing on the
work, you must comply either with the requirements of paragraphs 1.E.1
through 1.E.7 or obtain permission for the use of the work and the
Project Gutenberg-tm trademark as set forth in paragraphs 1.E.8 or

1.E.3.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is posted
with the permission of the copyright holder, your use and distribution
must comply with both paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 and any additional
terms imposed by the copyright holder.  Additional terms will be linked
to the Project Gutenberg-tm License for all works posted with the
permission of the copyright holder found at the beginning of this work.

1.E.4.  Do not unlink or detach or remove the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License terms from this work, or any files containing a part of this
work or any other work associated with Project Gutenberg-tm.

1.E.5.  Do not copy, display, perform, distribute or redistribute this
electronic work, or any part of this electronic work, without
prominently displaying the sentence set forth in paragraph 1.E.1 with
active links or immediate access to the full terms of the Project
Gutenberg-tm License.

1.E.6.  You may convert to and distribute this work in any binary,
compressed, marked up, nonproprietary or proprietary form, including any
word processing or hypertext form.  However, if you provide access to or
distribute copies of a Project Gutenberg-tm work in a format other than
"Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other format used in the official version
posted on the official Project Gutenberg-tm web site (,
you must, at no additional cost, fee or expense to the user, provide a
copy, a means of exporting a copy, or a means of obtaining a copy upon
request, of the work in its original "Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other
form.  Any alternate format must include the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License as specified in paragraph 1.E.1.

1.E.7.  Do not charge a fee for access to, viewing, displaying,
performing, copying or distributing any Project Gutenberg-tm works
unless you comply with paragraph 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.8.  You may charge a reasonable fee for copies of or providing
access to or distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works provided

- You pay a royalty fee of 20% of the gross profits you derive from
     the use of Project Gutenberg-tm works calculated using the method
     you already use to calculate your applicable taxes.  The fee is
     owed to the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark, but he
     has agreed to donate royalties under this paragraph to the
     Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.  Royalty payments
     must be paid within 60 days following each date on which you
     prepare (or are legally required to prepare) your periodic tax
     returns.  Royalty payments should be clearly marked as such and
     sent to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation at the
     address specified in Section 4, "Information about donations to
     the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation."

- You provide a full refund of any money paid by a user who notifies
     you in writing (or by e-mail) within 30 days of receipt that s/he
     does not agree to the terms of the full Project Gutenberg-tm
     License.  You must require such a user to return or
     destroy all copies of the works possessed in a physical medium
     and discontinue all use of and all access to other copies of
     Project Gutenberg-tm works.

- You provide, in accordance with paragraph 1.F.3, a full refund of any
     money paid for a work or a replacement copy, if a defect in the
     electronic work is discovered and reported to you within 90 days
     of receipt of the work.

- You comply with all other terms of this agreement for free
     distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm works.

1.E.9.  If you wish to charge a fee or distribute a Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work or group of works on different terms than are set
forth in this agreement, you must obtain permission in writing from
both the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation and Michael
Hart, the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark.  Contact the
Foundation as set forth in Section 3 below.


1.F.1.  Project Gutenberg volunteers and employees expend considerable
effort to identify, do copyright research on, transcribe and proofread
public domain works in creating the Project Gutenberg-tm
collection.  Despite these efforts, Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works, and the medium on which they may be stored, may contain
"Defects," such as, but not limited to, incomplete, inaccurate or
corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other intellectual
property infringement, a defective or damaged disk or other medium, a
computer virus, or computer codes that damage or cannot be read by
your equipment.

of Replacement or Refund" described in paragraph 1.F.3, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, the owner of the Project
Gutenberg-tm trademark, and any other party distributing a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work under this agreement, disclaim all
liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including legal

defect in this electronic work within 90 days of receiving it, you can
receive a refund of the money (if any) you paid for it by sending a
written explanation to the person you received the work from.  If you
received the work on a physical medium, you must return the medium with
your written explanation.  The person or entity that provided you with
the defective work may elect to provide a replacement copy in lieu of a
refund.  If you received the work electronically, the person or entity
providing it to you may choose to give you a second opportunity to
receive the work electronically in lieu of a refund.  If the second copy
is also defective, you may demand a refund in writing without further
opportunities to fix the problem.

1.F.4.  Except for the limited right of replacement or refund set forth
in paragraph 1.F.3, this work is provided to you 'AS-IS', WITH NO OTHER

1.F.5.  Some states do not allow disclaimers of certain implied
warranties or the exclusion or limitation of certain types of damages.
If any disclaimer or limitation set forth in this agreement violates the
law of the state applicable to this agreement, the agreement shall be
interpreted to make the maximum disclaimer or limitation permitted by
the applicable state law.  The invalidity or unenforceability of any
provision of this agreement shall not void the remaining provisions.

1.F.6.  INDEMNITY - You agree to indemnify and hold the Foundation, the
trademark owner, any agent or employee of the Foundation, anyone
providing copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in accordance
with this agreement, and any volunteers associated with the production,
promotion and distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works,
harmless from all liability, costs and expenses, including legal fees,
that arise directly or indirectly from any of the following which you do
or cause to occur: (a) distribution of this or any Project Gutenberg-tm
work, (b) alteration, modification, or additions or deletions to any
Project Gutenberg-tm work, and (c) any Defect you cause.

Section  2.  Information about the Mission of Project Gutenberg-tm

Project Gutenberg-tm is synonymous with the free distribution of
electronic works in formats readable by the widest variety of computers
including obsolete, old, middle-aged and new computers.  It exists
because of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and donations from
people in all walks of life.

Volunteers and financial support to provide volunteers with the
assistance they need are critical to reaching Project Gutenberg-tm's
goals and ensuring that the Project Gutenberg-tm collection will
remain freely available for generations to come.  In 2001, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation was created to provide a secure
and permanent future for Project Gutenberg-tm and future generations.
To learn more about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation
and how your efforts and donations can help, see Sections 3 and 4
and the Foundation information page at

Section 3.  Information about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive

The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation is a non profit
501(c)(3) educational corporation organized under the laws of the
state of Mississippi and granted tax exempt status by the Internal
Revenue Service.  The Foundation's EIN or federal tax identification
number is 64-6221541.  Contributions to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation are tax deductible to the full extent
permitted by U.S. federal laws and your state's laws.

The Foundation's principal office is located at 4557 Melan Dr. S.
Fairbanks, AK, 99712., but its volunteers and employees are scattered
throughout numerous locations.  Its business office is located at 809
North 1500 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84116, (801) 596-1887.  Email
contact links and up to date contact information can be found at the
Foundation's web site and official page at

For additional contact information:
     Dr. Gregory B. Newby
     Chief Executive and Director

Section 4.  Information about Donations to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation

Project Gutenberg-tm depends upon and cannot survive without wide
spread public support and donations to carry out its mission of
increasing the number of public domain and licensed works that can be
freely distributed in machine readable form accessible by the widest
array of equipment including outdated equipment.  Many small donations
($1 to $5,000) are particularly important to maintaining tax exempt
status with the IRS.

The Foundation is committed to complying with the laws regulating
charities and charitable donations in all 50 states of the United
States.  Compliance requirements are not uniform and it takes a
considerable effort, much paperwork and many fees to meet and keep up
with these requirements.  We do not solicit donations in locations
where we have not received written confirmation of compliance.  To
SEND DONATIONS or determine the status of compliance for any
particular state visit

While we cannot and do not solicit contributions from states where we
have not met the solicitation requirements, we know of no prohibition
against accepting unsolicited donations from donors in such states who
approach us with offers to donate.

International donations are gratefully accepted, but we cannot make
any statements concerning tax treatment of donations received from
outside the United States.  U.S. laws alone swamp our small staff.

Please check the Project Gutenberg Web pages for current donation
methods and addresses.  Donations are accepted in a number of other
ways including checks, online payments and credit card donations.
To donate, please visit:

Section 5.  General Information About Project Gutenberg-tm electronic

Professor Michael S. Hart was the originator of the Project Gutenberg-tm
concept of a library of electronic works that could be freely shared
with anyone.  For forty years, he produced and distributed Project
Gutenberg-tm eBooks with only a loose network of volunteer support.

Project Gutenberg-tm eBooks are often created from several printed
editions, all of which are confirmed as Public Domain in the U.S.
unless a copyright notice is included.  Thus, we do not necessarily
keep eBooks in compliance with any particular paper edition.

Most people start at our Web site which has the main PG search facility:

This Web site includes information about Project Gutenberg-tm,
including how to make donations to the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation, how to help produce our new eBooks, and how to
subscribe to our email newsletter to hear about new eBooks.