Spanish version

May, 2nd

Fernando VII by Goya

Fernando VII (1784-1833) conspired against his father, Carlos IV, and forced him to abdicate. Carlos IV sought the help of Napoleon. The day before Fernando VII returned to Madrid as King,  the French General Murat had occupied the city.

A meeting was organized between Napoleon and Fernando VII in Bayona. Fernando VII handed the throne over to Napoleon, who in turn handed it over to his brother Joseph Bonaparte, known as  King Jose I of Spain.

La Carga de los Mamelucos by GoyaOn May, 2nd the people of Madrid started a revolt against the French. It was the beginning of the Spanish War of Independence (1808 - 1814).
The people in Madrid fought against a powerful enemy. They had no arms (just knives to fight swords). There were over 30.000 French soldiers and the people were not strong enough. Terrible battles were fought. A depiction of this May, 2nd can be seen in Goya´s painting -La Carga de los Mamelucos-.
On May, 3rd many people were executed. Again Goya captured this event in the Fusilamientos del 3 de Mayo.Fusilamientos del 3 de Mayo by Goya
Murat thought that he had finally crushed the people´s spirit, but the opposite happened. All over Spain people revolted against the invaders. It was difficult to fight against an organized army and so they started the Guerrillas War: small groups knowing the land and surroundings well suddenly attacked the enemy and quickly dissapeared into the mountains.
After six years of war, Napoleon prefered to sign a peace treaty with Fernando VII, obtaining his neutrality and so protecting his southern borders.
May, 2nd is an official holiday in Madrid, when we commemorate the bravery of the inhabitants of the city, although there is no special event.

@Copyright 2008, 2009 Mª Dolores Diehl Busch. All rights reserved.
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