Spanish version

The Marquis of Salamanca


Marquis of SalamancaJose de Salamanca Mayol was born in Malaga in 1811. His father was a doctor, specialisted in epidemics. After Fernando VII came back again, he was accused of helping the French and sent to prison. This made Jose de Salamanca be aware of the danger of expressing one´s political ideas and of some envious people as his father was reported without being guilty.

After school Jose was awarded a grant to study in Granada and later he studied Law at the University there.

In Granada he met Mariana Pineda who was his first love although she did not feel the same way about thim. This relation made him learn about the real social situation the country lived in and to support the liberal movement.


Mariana Pineda and Torrijos

Jose took part in the uprising of colonel Salvador Manzanares , supported by Torrijos , which failed. Mariana Pineda was arrested and sentenced to death because she had embroidered a flag for Manzanares. Salamanca also took part in the uprising led by Torrijos. Torrijos and his followers were all captured.

General SerranoTorrijos had a brother working at the court in Madrid and Salamanca was sent to the capital in order to ask the king for mercy. At the same time, another horseman was riding to Madrid to inform the king about the uprising. He was general Serrano.

When Salamanca arrived in Madrid, Torrijos´ brother did not even read the letter . Next day king Fernando VII ordered “Execute them all”.

Queen María Cristina needed the liberals as allies in order to fight the carlistas and the Church. Little by little Jose de Salamaca became part of her closer circle. He made her win a lot of money.


Political Life

A dead Mayor

Thanks to the good relationship his family had with Cea Bermudez, Salamanca was appointed mayor of Monovar, a little town near Alicante. He was 22 years old. For him politics was a way of protecting his businesses, of getting more influence. Maybe if he had known the end result, he would have chosen another job.

He defeated an uprising of the carlista movement.

In 1834 a plague devastaded Murcia and Alicante. This illness caused one of the strangest incidents in Salamanca´s life. He got ill and apparently died. They were already going to bury him, when he woke up frightening all those who were holding a wake for him.

He returned to Malaga to recover from the illness and seized the opportunity to get married to Petronila Livermore (May 1835).

The Livermores

The patriarch of the family was Thomas Livermore and Page from Ireland. He started a Petronila Livermoretanner business together with Pedro Salas, whose daughter he married. They lived in Malaga and had 8 children, 6 daughters and 2 sons. The daughters were very popular among Malaga´s society as they were very pretty. Isabel, one of them, married Manuel Agustín Heredia , a brilliant businessman. Some time later he would help Salamanca with his first businesses and it was partially thanks to him that he had such a great success

Petronila , who married Jose de Salamanca was the youngest daughter. They got married in 1835. They had two children, Fernando (1841) and Josefa (1846). Petronila came to Madrid with her husband, although she did not like to take part in social activities. She attended the official lunches her husband used to organize for his friends. But she almost dedicated all her time to charity. When Salamanca started travelling more, having more lovers and going from social lounge to social lounge (tertulias), Petronila became more and more isolated and dedicated her time only to her children and religion.

After getting married and while Salamanca was thinking about returning to Monovar he was appointed examining magistrate and afterwards deputy for Malaga at the court. He was 25 years old.

Meetings and Finance

Marquis of Salamanca at age 34In Madrid he lived at calle Alcalá. He used to attend social meetings specially those where the romantic writers used to meet. He walked through he streets of Madrid realizing how dirty and unorganized the streets and houses were.

He met a businessman from Uruguay, Jose de Buschental and his wife, María Pereira de Castro . At their home they organized cheerful meetings which were attended by the most important people of the moment. They started at midnight and lasted for hours. Jose de Salamanca used to attend these meetings frequently.

Buschental took him to the Stock Exchange and taught him whatever he needed to know about it. So he learnt about the close relationship between Stock Exchange and politics, the need to be informed. Soon Buschental relied on the young man´s knowledge. They both worked together in several official contracts, Buschental with his money and Salamanca with his work.

Salamanca´s brother-in-law, Serafin Estebanez Calderon , had been appointed governor of Logroño. Through him Salamanca met several noblemen that supported the liberal party. Estebanez worked with him for many years and became one of his most reliable friends.

Salamanca helps the Government

The Spanish government owed money to English capitalists. They had not paid them for five years. Due to his commercial and personal abilities they sent Salamanca to London in order to arrange a delay in the payment. Together with his brother-in-law, Heredia and other businessmen they paid the interests, i.e. the Spanish Government finally owed them the money.

Salamanca, Salt and Stock Exchange

Marquis de Salamanca at age 40Together with Buschental Salamanca got the salt monopoly which would produce millions. He would have this business until 1846. He started many of his enterprises creating a company, but eventually he was left alone. This did not discourage him. If he was convinced that the business was good, he went on alone and always got the help he needed convincing other businessmen or polititians. Of course, there were many that were constantly against any of his ideas.

Following Buschental´s advice regarding the Stock Exchange, Salamanca won a fortune. Many followed his advice and won with him. The problem rose whenever they lost their money. Not all of them knew to loose like Salamanca, and they immediately blamed him for their loss.

During that time he met queen Maria Cristina and her second husband, the duque of Riansares. Through his advice they won a lot of money at the Stock Exchange. Their relationship was a constant cause of criticism.

One day Salamanca won three milion reales, a lot of money for that time. During the night he started thinking about all the people that now owed him their money and had lost everything. Next morning he went to the Stock Exchange and said his famous sentence: "Perdono a tutti! " writing off their debt.

Among his many activities he was also involved in Spain´s first public bath house and an important company renting luxury carriages.

Salamanca, women and the Circus Theater

Salamanca was a womanizer. Like with his enterprises he had to get them quickly. If he did Guy Stephannot, he went for the next one. There is almost nothing written about his lovers, although one is known, Guy Stephan , a dancer. Half of Madrid was almost crazy about her. Salamanca saw her in the Teatro Circo Price located at Plaza del Rey. The theater was in a bad condition, not like the theaters he had visited during his trips to London or Paris. So, he just bought the theater and turned it into one of the most elegant and modern theaters in Europe. Guy Stephan continued with her performances, received the applause of an enthusiastic audience and expensive presents from Salamanca. Their relationship lasted for years and, eventually, she even tried to repay him when he was broke (what he did not accept, of course).

Apart from Guy Stephan and her fans lead by Salamanca (they were called “guyisits”), there was another dancer performing in the theater, Fuoco. Her fans were lead by General Narvaez, in those days one of Salamanca´s fiercest enemies. This situation was well known in Madrid and many discussion held about it.

Salamanca was always very generous with his lovers. Some of them got a lifetime maintenance, others became jewels or a house. It was said that at a certain street which does not exist any more and that went from calle Serrano to Paseo de la Castellana he had all his lovers living in different houses. It also seems that he had several illegitimate children.

Salamanca and Politics

He was deputy for Malaga, Almeria, Granada, Albacete and senator for life since 1864. He belonged to the moderate party who governed in 1847 together with Rios Rosas, Canovas del Castillo and General Serrano. All this during the times of Queen Isabel II.

Jose de Salamanca as Secretary of Treasury (1847) started several economic measures in order to modernize the system. Whatever he did, they always accused him of proffiting from it. After some time as minister he even became President of the Government. Afterwards Narvaez became President. It seems that he was angry with Salamanca as he lost a lot of money at the Stock Exchange. For years they had many problems, but in the end the could retake their friendship again.

The Getaway

After being Secretary of Treasury his enemies accused him of having benefited from this Queen Maria Cristinajob. One night the police came to arrest him. Salamanca fled and took refuge in the Belgium embassy. Some days later he went to the Danish embassy that was in the same building. Unfortunately the embassador, not following international law, allowed the police to enter the embassy and look for Salamanca. Salamanca hid in a chest on which one of his prosecuters sat while the others were searching the building. The police did not find him.

Salamanca realized that he could not trust the embassador and so returned to the Belgium embassy. But it was time to do something more definite. He could not stay at the embassy forever. One night a carriage stopped in front of the embassy and a man wearing a black cape got in a most suspicious way. Of course, the police immediately followed the carriage through he streets of Madrid. Meanwhile Salamanca left a few minutes later. He left the country dressed like a soldier with a platoon that was going to the French border.

Salamanca and the Railroad

Salamanca went to Paris where he immediately started contacting people seeking for new businesses. Unfortunately he could not install the first railway in Spain as the line from Barcelona to Mataro started in 1848. Salamanca´s palace is burnt down

Salamanca sold the Circus Theater as he needed more money for the railroad from Madrid to Aranjuez. In 1849 an amnisty was granted and Salamanca could return to Madrid.

Two years later the railway to Aranjuez was inaugurated.

In Aranjuez Salamanca ran the bullfight arena and also organized horse races so that Aranjuez became a popular place to go.

They even got a "Tank engine 14" which had a top speed of 120 kilometers per hour.

During the coup d´etat of 1854, a mob assaulted Salamanca´s palace and destroyed almost everything, his collection of paintings, furniture…. The marquis fled and went to Albacete where they treated him very well. Some time later he bought there some land and built his famous house “Los Llanos”. The field was used for agriculture and hunting. He returned to Madrid one year later.

General Narvaez

As his palace had been burnt to ashes he looked for a new place where to build the new one. Finally he chose Recoletos street. Currently his palace belongs to the BBVA bank and is its exhibition site. The architect in charge of the building was Narciso Pascual y Colomer , who also built the Cortes or Parliament. The palace was inaugurated with a splendid ball in 1858.

After finishing his palace, the marquis dedicated his time to railways in France, Italy, Germany, Portugal and the United States. In fact, there is a city in US named after him.

He finished the railway from Madrid to Alicante and also to Toledo.

An anecdote for two Pesetas

In January 1859 a group of writers and journalists wrote a letter to Salamanca inviting him to lunch with them in a cheap tavern where you could eat for two pesetas. They thought it was a good idea as it was always the marquis who invited people. They were more or less sure that he would not accept their invitation. But he did. On January 15th they had lunch together and certainly enjoyed it. The news quickly spread through Madrid and everybody talked about it for weeks.

Marquis and Count

Salamanca bought the palace of Vista Alegre which Fernando VII had built for his wife , Statue of RossiniMaría Cristina . He enlarged it and decorated it with the most exclusive furniture.

Eventually, in 1863, he was granted the title of marquis and a year later of count of Los Llanos.

In those days his fortune surpassed the 400 million pesetas.

During one of his many trips abroad he visited Pesaro in Italy. It was Rossini´s birthplace. Salamanca admired the composer very much and was astonished that there was no monument honouring him. He immediately asked for a statue to be made and it was placed in a square dedicated to Rossini in 1864.

In 1866 Petronila died. Salamanca was very sad and silently mourned his wife for over a year.

The Barrio de Salamanca

palace of the marquis de SalamancaSince 1854 one of his greatest undertakings was the development of a new suburb, the barrio de Salamanca . In 1864 he had already bought two square kilometers of land. The different streets were designed and the only thing left was to start with the buildings. He tried to establish a company to lead the project but, as so many times before, int he end he was alone. And he went on. The main problem was the difficult political situation. The changing governments made it more difficult to get credit form banks and Salamanca could only rely on his own fortune. He lost a lot of money at the Stock Exchange and so, in 1866, he had no cash left. He had to look for money paying very high interests.

In 1867 he sold part of his art collection in Paris. Among the paintings several works by Velazquez and Goya.

Marquis de Salamanca at age 60In 1870 Serrano and Claudio Coello streets and their cross streets were finished. Although this part of Madrid was considered the “outskirts” of the city, little by little people started coming to this area. Mainly because the buildings had the latests innovations, like running water and bathrooms. In order to make the district even more accesible, Salamanca contacted the British tramway company "Asher Morris " and in May 1871 the first tramway in Madrid began service. It went from Puerta del Sol to the end of barrio de Salamanca. They were still horse-drawn tramways. On the first day many authorities mounted on it, over 200 people waving flags and cheering. A big catering was organized by Lhardy to honour all the guests.

In 1872 Salamanca entered the tobacco monopoly and two years later he built a new bullfight arena in Madrid.

Unfortunately from this moment on the econocmic situation became worse and worse. Maintaining his expensive life-style Salamanca was obliged to sell another part of his art collection. In 1876 he sold his palace in Recoletos and afterwards most of his properties including his estates in Portugal and rance. He even sold his shares at the railway company.

Last Job

In 1881 a new enterprise caught Salamanca´s interest: the expansion of Zurriola in San Sebastian. While working at this project in San Sebastian he felt ill. He returned to Madrid. On January 21rst 1883 he died in his palace in Vista Alegre.




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