Dos de Mayo Uprising

The Dos de Mayo or Second of May Uprising of 1808 was a rebellion by the people of Madrid against the occupation of the city by French troops, provoking the repression by the French Imperial forces

Dos de Mayo
Part of the Peninsular War
El dos de mayo de 1808 en Madrid

The Second of May 1808: The Charge of the Mamelukes, by Francisco de Goya (1814).
Date2 May 1808
Madrid, Spain
Spain Spain France French Empire
Commanders and leaders
Pedro Velarde y Santillán  
Luís Daoíz de Torres  
Jacinto Ruiz y Mendoza
Joachim Murat
Casualties and losses
200[1]–500 dead,[2] including 113 prisoners executed[2] 31[1]–150 dead[3]


El Dos de Maig. Defensa del Parque de Artilleria de Monteleón, en Madrid, el día Dos de Mayo de 1808.
Second of May 1808: Pedro Velarde takes his last stand.

The city had been under the occupation of Napoleon's army since 23 March of the same year. King Charles IV had been forced by the Spanish people to abdicate in favour of his son Ferdinand VII, and at the time of the uprising both were in the French city of Bayonne at the insistence of Napoleon. An attempt by the French general Joachim Murat to move the daughter and her children along with the youngest son of Charles IV to Bayonne[4] sparked a rebellion. Murat was the brother-in-law of Napoleon, and would later become king of Naples. Initially the governing council of the city refused the request from Murat, but eventually gave way after receiving a message from Ferdinand VII who was also in Bayonne at this time.

Beginning of the uprising

On 2 May a crowd began to gather in front of the Royal Palace in Madrid. Those gathered entered the palace grounds in an attempt to prevent the removal of Francisco de Paula. Marshal Murat sent a battalion of grenadiers from the Imperial Guard to the palace along with artillery detachments. The latter opened fire on the assembled crowd, and the rebellion began to spread to other parts of the city.

What followed was street fighting in different areas of Madrid as the poorly armed population confronted the French troops. Murat had quickly moved the majority of his troops into the city and there was heavy fighting around the Puerta del Sol and the Puerta de Toledo. Marshal Murat imposed martial law in the city and assumed full control of the administration. Little by little the French regained control of the city, and many hundreds of people died in the fighting. The painting by the Spanish artist Goya, The Charge of the Mamelukes, portrays the street fighting that took place.

There were Spanish troops stationed in the city, but they remained confined to barracks. The only Spanish troops to disobey orders were from the artillery units at the barracks of Monteleón, who joined the uprising. Two officers of these troops, Luis Daoíz de Torres and Pedro Velarde y Santillán are still commemorated as heroes of the rebellion. Both died during the French assault of the barracks, as the rebels were reduced by vastly superior numbers.

Impact of the uprising

Monumento 2 mayo Madrid (Marinas) 02
The Heroes of the Second of May memorial, Madrid

The repression following the crushing of the initial rebellion was harsh. Murat created a military commission on the evening of 2 May to be presided over by General Grouchy. This commission issued death sentences to all of those captured who were bearing weapons of any kind. In a statement issued that day Murat said: "The population of Madrid, led astray, has given itself to revolt and murder. French blood has flowed. It demands vengeance. All those arrested in the uprising, arms in hand, will be shot."[5] All public meetings were prohibited and an order was issued requiring all weapons to be handed in to the authorities. Hundreds of prisoners were executed the following day, a scene captured in a famous painting by Goya, The Third of May 1808.

On the same 2 May, in the nearby town of Móstoles, the arrival of the news of the repression prompted Juan Pérez Villamil, who was secretary of the Admiralty and prosecutor of the Supreme War Council, to encourage the mayors of the town, Andrés Torrejón and Simón Hernández, to sign a declaration of war calling all the Spaniards against the invaders. The name of this declaration was "Bando de los alcaldes de Móstoles" or "bando de la Independencia" which translates to "Declaration of Independence".

The uprising in Madrid, together with the subsequent proclamation as king of Napoleon's brother Joseph, provoked resistance across Spain to French rule. While the French occupiers hoped that their rapid suppression of the uprising would demonstrate their control of Spain, the rebellion actually gave considerable impetus to the resistance. In the weeks that followed there were further rebellions in different parts of the country.

The Second of May is now a public holiday in the Community of Madrid. The place where the artillery barracks of Monteleón was located is now a square called the Plaza Dos de Mayo, and the district surrounding the square is known as Malasaña in memory of one of the heroines of the revolt, the teenager Manuela Malasaña, who was executed by French troops in the aftermath of the revolt.

Several memorials to the heroes of 2 May are located over the city, including the Monumento a los Caidos por España (Monument to the fallen of Spain).

See also


  1. ^ a b Glover, p. 51
  2. ^ a b Charles J. Esdaile in The Encyclopedia of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars by Gregory Fremont-Barnes (main editor) (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2006) 596.
  3. ^ Chandler, p. 610
  4. ^ Oman, Charles (1902). A History of the Peninsular War. 1. Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 60.
  5. ^ Cowans, Jon. "Modern Spain: A Documentary History". University of Pennsylvania Press, May 2003. ISBN 0-8122-1846-9


  • Chandler, David G. The Campaigns of Napoleon, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995). ISBN 0-02-523660-1
  • Esdaile, Charles J. The Peninsular War, (Penguin Books, Paperback, 2003), 640 pages, ISBN 978-0140273700.
  • Gates, David. The Spanish Ulcer: A History of the Peninsular War, (Da Capo Press 2001). ISBN 0-306-81083-2
  • Glover, Michael. The Peninsular War 1807-1814, (Penguin Books 2003). ISBN 0-14-139041-7

External links

1808 in France

Events from the year 1808 in France.

1808 in Spain

Events from the year 1808 in Spain.

Army Museum of Toledo

The Museum of the Army (Spanish: Museo del Ejército) is a mid-level museum located in Toledo, Spain. It is housed in two linked buildings, the city's historic Alcázar (castle) and a purpose-built extension. This museum contains a lot of miniature replicas of battles, and other things.

The history of the museum goes back to 1803 when the royal military museum was established in a building in Madrid known as the Palacio de Monteleón. The building also served as a barracks for artillery units and it was attacked and looted by the French when they suppressed the Dos de Mayo Uprising of 1808. The museum was set up again, but in 1827 it was divided into two sections: the Museo de Artillería and the Museo de Ingenieros. Later the collections were unified and housed in the Hall of Realms.

In the twenty-first century the collections were moved from Madrid to Toledo. The new premises offered much more space, although the site was not without controversy because of its associations with the Siege of the Alcázar, an episode in the Spanish Civil War. The new museum was opened in 2010 by Felipe, Prince of Asturias.

Battle of Tudela

The Battle of Tudela (23 November 1808) saw an Imperial French army led by Marshal Jean Lannes attack a Spanish army under General Castaños. The battle resulted in the complete victory of the Imperial forces over their adversaries. The combat occurred near Tudela in Navarre, Spain during the Peninsular War, part of a wider conflict known as the Napoleonic Wars.

Spanish casualties were estimated to be about 4,000 dead and 3,000 prisoners out of a total force of 33,000. The French and Poles lost no more than 600 dead and wounded out of a total of 30,000. This is one of the battles whose name was engraved on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

Battle of Évora (1808)

The Battle of Évora (29 July 1808) saw an Imperial French division under Louis Henri Loison attack a combined Portuguese-Spanish force led by Francisco de Paula Leite de Sousa. Encountering Leite's smaller body of soldiers outside Évora, the French easily brushed them aside and went on to storm the city, which was held by poorly armed townsmen and militia. The French butchered the Portuguese defenders and brutally sacked the town.

The hated Loison was known among the Portuguese as the Maneta (One-Hand), because of his amputated arm. From savage acts such as those committed at Évora, the saying ir para o Maneta (going to the One-Hand) appeared and is still used today in Portugal as a metaphor for "dying".

The clash occurred during the Peninsular War, phase of the Napoleonic Wars. Évora is located about 110 kilometres (68 mi) east of Lisbon.

In November 1807, a French army led by Jean-Andoche Junot mounted a successful Invasion of Portugal supported by allied Spanish troops. For several months, the French were able to maintain themselves. However, the Spanish Dos de Mayo Uprising against the French in May 1808 was quickly followed by a Portuguese revolt. Abandoning the north and south regions of the country, the French concentrated their forces to hold central Portugal. Junot sent Loison east to relieve the garrison of Elvas Fortress. After defeating the Portuguese-Spanish force at Évora, Loison reached Elvas. But he was soon recalled to help repel a British army under Sir Arthur Wellesley that landed on the coast north of Lisbon.

Clara del Rey Calvo

Clara del Rey Calvo (1765 - 1808) was a Spanish war heroine. She was married to a soldier, Manuel González Blanco, and participated with her husband in the street fight battle of the Dos de Mayo Uprising in Madrid, where she was killed. Her two children was awarded a medal for her act. A street in Madrid is also named for her.

Iglesia del Buen Suceso

The Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Buen Suceso, commonly known as Iglesia del Buen Suceso was a church of Madrid that delimited the eastern part of the Puerta del Sol (Madrid). The church comes from a remodeling of the Hospital Real de la Corte (Royal Hospital of the Court) (built in 1483). Was doing functions of church and hospital since 1590. Its lonja was meeting place for several centuries. The church's clock would be important during this period until it was installed one of better performance on the Real Casa de Correos. Its demolition coincided with the Confiscation of Mendizábal that left space for the later expansion that was done for the Puerta del Sol.

After a years the church back to the fore because in the year 2009 found its foundations during an extension of the Madrid Metro, the works connected the Estación de Sol with the network of Cercanías Madrid. It changed the height of the foundations and made a museum of the church displaying its remains.

Irish Legion

Napoleon's Irish Legion (French: Légion irlandaise) was a French light infantry battalion established in 1803 for an anticipated invasion of Ireland. It was later expanded to a four battalion regiment with a depot and won distinction in the Walcheren Expedition and the Peninsular War. It was disbanded in 1815.

Juan Lombía

Juan Lombía (1806 in Zaragoza – 1851 in Madrid) was a Spanish actor, author and theatre impresario. As an author, he only remembered today for his 1808 El sitio de Zaragoza, a one-act prologue dedicated to the Dos de Mayo Uprising. As impresario at Teatro de la Cruz, he was responsible for the staging of numerous works by José Zorrilla, among them Don Juan Tenorio.

Luis Daoíz y Torres

This name uses Spanish naming customs; the first or paternal family name is Daoíz and the second or maternal family name is Torres.

Luis Daoíz y Torres (Seville, 10 February 1767 – Madrid, 2 May 1808) was a Spanish artillery officer and one of the leaders of the Dos de Mayo Uprising that signalled the start of the Spanish War of Independence. Daoíz's surname is derived from the town of Aoiz in Navarre and he was descended from a long line of Spanish gentry with soldiering associations dating to the Reconquista. Daoíz's great grandfather married the daughter of the Count of Miraflores de los Angeles and Daoíz spent much of his early life in palaces owned by the family. He was born in Seville and, after receiving a Catholic education, trained at the Royal School of Artillery in Segovia. Daoíz saw action against the Moors in Spanish North Africa, where he was commended for his bravery and promoted to lieutenant. He also served against the French in the short-lived War of the Roussillon where he was captured. After refusing to serve in the French army, he was imprisoned.

After his release he served on secondment to the Spanish Navy during the Anglo-Spanish War, participating in the Defence of Cadiz and on convoy duty to the Americas, for which he was rewarded with promotion to captain. He tired of the sea and rejoined his artillery regiment. His subsequent duties included assisting in the manufacture of new guns for the horse artillery, attending the signing of the Treaty of Fontainebleau with France and participating in the 1807 invasion of Portugal. He returned to Madrid in 1808 and was a leader of the Dos de Mayo Uprising in which he assisted civilians resisting French efforts to remove the royal family from Spain. His defence of the barracks at Monteleón was the only action that day in which the Spanish army fought the French and, although ultimately unsuccessful, it inspired the Spanish War of Independence. He died in the fighting and has been commemorated as a national hero.

Mamelukes of the Imperial Guard

The Mamelukes of the Imperial Guard was a cavalry squadron of Napoleon I's Imperial Guard.

Monumento a los Caídos por España (Madrid)

The Monumento a los Caídos por España (English: Monument to the Fallen for Spain), popularly known as the 'Obelisco' ("Obelisk") or the 'Monumento a los Héroes del Dos de Mayo' ("Monument to the Heroes of the Second of May"), is a monument in Madrid, Spain located in Plaza de la Lealtad, between the Madrid Stock Exchange Building and the Ritz Hotel, next to the Paseo del Prado.

The monument is built on the place where General Joachim Murat ordered the execution of numerous Spaniards after the Dos de Mayo Uprising of 1808. After various attempts to create a memorial as an homage to the participants of the uprising, the inauguration of the monument took place on May 2, 1840, the anniversary of the event. On November 22, 1985, King Juan Carlos I re-inaugurated the monument as a memorial to all those who gave their life for Spain, including those that died in conflicts other than the Peninsular War. Since then, a flame fuelled by gas has been constantly burning on the front of the monument. This parallels other war memorials around the world of national symbolic importance, frequently known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.


Móstoles (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈ]) is the second-largest city in population belonging to the autonomous community of Madrid. It is located 18 kilometres southwest from central Madrid. Móstoles was for a long time only a small village, but expanded rapidly in the twentieth century.

To some extent it is a dormitory suburb of Madrid, but it is also home to several polígonos (industrial estates). The city also hosts the main campus of the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos.

Paula Echevarría

Paula Echevarría Colodrón (Candás, Carreño, Asturias, 7 August 1977) is a Spanish model and actress.

Peninsular War

The Peninsular War (1807–1814) was a military conflict between Napoleon's empire and Bourbon Spain (with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland allied with the Kingdom of Portugal), for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when the French and Spanish armies invaded and occupied Portugal in 1807, and escalated in 1808 when France turned on Spain, previously its ally. The war on the peninsula lasted until the Sixth Coalition defeated Napoleon in 1814, and is regarded as one of the first wars of national liberation, significant for the emergence of large-scale guerrilla warfare.

The Peninsular War overlaps with what the Spanish-speaking world calls the Guerra de la Independencia Española (Spanish War of Independence), which began with the Dos de Mayo Uprising on 2 May 1808 and ended on 17 April 1814. The French occupation destroyed the Spanish administration, which fragmented into quarrelling provincial juntas. The episode remains as the bloodiest event in Spain's modern history, doubling in relative terms the Spanish Civil War.A reconstituted national government, the Cortes of Cádiz—in effect a government-in-exile—fortified itself in Cádiz in 1810, but could not raise effective armies because it was besieged by 70,000 French troops. British and Portuguese forces eventually secured Portugal, using it as a safe position from which to launch campaigns against the French army and provide whatever supplies they could get to the Spanish, while the Spanish armies and guerrillas tied down vast numbers of Napoleon's troops. These combined regular and irregular allied forces, by restricting French control of territory, prevented Napoleon's marshals from subduing the rebellious Spanish provinces, and the war continued through years of stalemate.The British Army, under then Lt. Gen. Sir Arthur Wellesley, later the 1st Duke of Wellington, guarded Portugal and campaigned against the French in Spain alongside the reformed Portuguese army. The demoralised Portuguese army was reorganised and refitted under the command of Gen. William Beresford, who had been appointed commander-in-chief of the Portuguese forces by the exiled Portuguese royal family, and fought as part of the combined Anglo-Portuguese Army under Wellesley.

In 1812, when Napoleon set out with a massive army on what proved to be a disastrous French invasion of Russia, a combined allied army under Wellesley pushed into Spain, defeating the French at Salamanca and taking Madrid. In the following year Wellington scored a decisive victory over King Joseph Bonaparte's army in the Battle of Vitoria. Pursued by the armies of Britain, Spain and Portugal, Marshal Jean-de-Dieu Soult, no longer able to get sufficient support from a depleted France, led the exhausted and demoralized French forces in a fighting withdrawal across the Pyrenees during the winter of 1813–1814.

The years of fighting in Spain were a heavy burden on France's Grande Armée. While the French were victorious in battle, their communications and supplies were severely tested and their units were frequently isolated, harassed or overwhelmed by partisans fighting an intense guerrilla war of raids and ambushes. The Spanish armies were repeatedly beaten and driven to the peripheries, but they would regroup and relentlessly hound the French. This drain on French resources led Napoleon, who had unwittingly provoked a total war, to call the conflict the "Spanish Ulcer".War and revolution against Napoleon's occupation led to the Spanish Constitution of 1812, later a cornerstone of European liberalism. The burden of war destroyed the social and economic fabric of Portugal and Spain, and ushered in an era of social turbulence, political instability and economic stagnation. Devastating civil wars between liberal and absolutist factions, led by officers trained in the Peninsular War, persisted in Iberia until 1850. The cumulative crises and disruptions of invasion, revolution and restoration led to the independence of most of Spain's American colonies and the independence of Brazil from Portugal.

The Second of May 1808

The Second of May 1808, also known as The Charge of the Mamelukes (in Spanish: El 2 de mayo de 1808 en Madrid, or La lucha con los mamelucos or La carga de los mamelucos), is a painting by the Spanish painter Francisco Goya. It is a companion to the painting The Third of May 1808 and is set in the Calle de Alcalá near Puerta del Sol, Madrid, during the Dos de Mayo Uprising. It depicts one of the many people's rebellions against the French occupation of Spain that sparked the Peninsular War.

Both paintings were completed in a two-month time frame in 1814. Today they are displayed in Madrid's Museo del Prado.

This is worse

This is worse (Spanish: Esto es peor) is an etching and wash drawing by the Spanish artist Francisco Goya (1746–1828). Completed between 1812–1815, though not published until 1863, it forms part of his Disasters of War series, which Goya created as a visual protest against the violence of the 1808 Dos de Mayo Uprising and subsequent Peninsular War of 1808–1814.The image is based on a scene which occurred in Chinchón in December 1808, at a time when Goya's brother was living there as parish priest. When two French soldiers were killed by Spanish rebels, the French retaliated by massacring local men. Goya shows the mutilated body of a rebel impaled on the branches of a tree at two points – through his anus and shoulder blade. The victim's head is turned towards the picture's viewer, in a motif that echoes the title of another work in the Disasters series - One cannot look. His right arm has been chopped off above the elbow. In the background, French soldiers carry on with the massacre. The drawing contains sexual undertones in that the victim appears to have been raped.

The figuration of the dead man is based in part on the Hellenistic fragment of a male nude, the Belvedere Torso, by an Athenian sculptor. Goya had earlier made a black wash drawing study of the statue during a visit to Rome. However, he subverts the classical motifs used in war art by adding a degree of theatre – the branch through the anus, animated shoulders and close framing. The man is naked, itself a daring presentation for Spanish art in the 19th century.An 1863 print of This is Worse was purchased by the National Galleries of Scotland in 1967.

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