Alternate History

Chapter 7: The End of a Century (The Legacy of the Glorious)

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Part I – Brother Against Brother

A civil war is one of the worst things that can happen to a nation. It pits brother against brother, town against town, city against city, leader against leader. A civil war is horrible, for the affected nation is fighting against itself, killing its own people, destroying its own country, all because both sides think that they have the answer to make their nation great... but the only result is that the nation becomes weaker.

That was what was happening to Portugal. The republican uprising took the monarchists by surprise, and chaos ensued. Many towns were scenes of infighting between the neighbors. Troops took strategically important positions or assaulted Army barracks in order to gain control of the weaponry kept in them. Blood was spilled in many points in Portugal. Cultural and geographical lines were drawn, separating the people and the land in two parts, lines that would eventually change.

Two weeks after the assassination of Carlos I of Portugal, those lines were stabilized. Many maps would be drawn, showing the separation between the two Portugals, and now it was time to start planning. A line that ran between Figueira da Foz in the west to Monte Fidalgo in the east was the line that separated Monarchist Portugal from Republican Portugal. Nearly every city was the scenario of fights between the two factions, but by the end of the month the redoubts had been eliminated, and soon the fight was mostly North against South. The navy, fortunately for the monarchists, fell almost entirely on their side, which was fundamental since the colonies, save for some points, were also on their side.

All in all, the Republicans knew that the revolution had been a failure. They did not expect to entirely knock out the monarchy supporters, but it was their hope that the king's abdication would make many of them stand down and accept the inevitable. However, the Royal Guard's resistance had led to the King's death, giving the Monarchists a martyr to rally their cause around. Even worse, the King's brother, Afonso, had managed to escape from Lisbon thanks to the help of his aunt Queen Antonia of Spain, who helped him cross the border with Spain.

However, it did not mean that they were going to give up. Many soldiers had joined them, most of the population in the southern regions supported them, and they still had the princes with them, which could be good hostages. If they managed to defeat the Monarchist army enough times, then victory would surely be theirs.

Meanwhile, the Monarchists had their hands full with the many problems the Royal Couple's death had caused. Fortunately, Afonso's escape allowed them to have a Regent to represent Luis Filipe, who was now the King of Portugal after his father's death. One of the main tasks the Monarchists would have to carry out would be to rescue the uncrowned King of Portugal and his brother, a task that would be very hard as long as the Republicans held Lisbon. However, with most of the navy, most generals and a good half of the army on their side, they hoped to be able to defeat the traitors as soon as possible.

International reactions to the events were swift. Spain was one of the first nations to be informed of the events, and very soon the government had declared its support for the Monarchists, promising to do anything in their hands to help put down the Republican rebellion short of direct military action in Portugal. Under the orders of President Moret, Admiral Cervera set several squadrons along the coast of Portugal, to collaborate with the Monarchist navy in putting down the few ships that had sided with the Republicans and then establish a blockade of the Republican-held coast. Both RESA and its filial CESA (Cañones Españoles, Sociedad Anónima) sold much armament in the form of rifles and cannons to the Portuguese government, and not a few youngsters and veterans joined the Portuguese Monarchist army as the Brigada de Voluntários Estrangeiros.

Germany followed suit in their declaration of support for the Monarchists. In said decision weighed their friendship with Spain, the relation of the Hohenzollerns with the Portuguese Royal family through Queen Antonia of Spain, and also a bit of a desire to stick it to the British, because it was quite clear that their actions were what had led to the current situation.

The Empire of Brazil was also one of the most outspoken supporters of the monarchy. Emperor Pedro II and his daughter and heir Isabel were distant relatives of the murdered King (Pedro II's father, Pedro I, was Carlos I's great-grandfather), and this, combined with the recent pro-Republican coup that had attempted to oust Pedro II, was more than enough to convince them to help their relatives.

In France, the feelings about the issue were divided. On one side, supporting the Republicans was basically supporting someone that opposed the Spaniards, something that the French, who still held some hatred for their southern neighbors, clearly relished. However, on the other side, a Republican victory could easily give wings to the minority Republican parties that still existed despite the unpopularity of the Third Republic. It took them two weeks to reach a consensus, but in the end the government of Premier Pierre Tirard decided to remain neutral in the issue: when the dust settled and it became clear who would win the war, they would recognize that side as the legitimate one, saving themselves the headache of supporting one side that could run against their wants.

In the Americas, most nations chose to remain aloof of the events taking place in Portugal, as their distance to Europe and the blockade made it almost impossible to do anything worth at all. The only ones to choose a side, besides Brazil, were Peru and Bolivia through their alliance with Spain, although their aid was only testimonial.

In the United Kingdom, the final act of the drama that had begun with the ultimatum to Portugal resulted in the fall of the Salisbury government. At the petition of Queen Victoria, Chancellor of the Exchequer William Ewart Gladstone took the reins of the government provisionally, and Gladstone had the Foreign Office initiate an outreach towards both sides of the civil war in order to aid in finding a peaceful resolution, partially because they felt guilty about it, and partially because they hoped to regain some sort of influence over Portugal if they helped to stop the war, but to no avail. The former ambassador to Portugal, sent to Lisbon by ship, didn't even manage to arrive there because of the blockade, and the ambassador to Spain, sent to meet with the provisional Portuguese Council of Ministers, was actually threatened with a gun by one of its members.

As front-lines stabilized in Portugal, both sides managed to fortify their bases and launch initial probing attacks to ascertain how to take the other side's territory, while in the colonies fighting also took place: in Angola and Moçambique, the situation was solved soon at the satisfaction of the Monarchists, but in Guinea, Macao and Goa it was the Republicans who won. Whichever side won in Portugal, it would have to take care of the other hold-outs very soon.

The first proper attacks of the next phase of the war were launched by the Republican army, an attempt to advance along the coast to reach and take out Porto, the Monarchists' biggest city and currently its provisional capital, due to its port and its nearness to the border with Spain. The Republicans managed to take the cities of Coimbra and Aveiro despite nearly fanatical opposition to their advance and the navy's support for the defenders, but the advance petered out two months after the beginning of the war in Maceda, where Monarchist troops held off the Republican attack and pushed it back with heavy losses on both sides. The First Royal Army then used the Republicans' overstretched supply lines to their advantage, launching an attack into Águeda, which reached Aveiro five days later, and a second one towards Marinha das Ondas by Miranda do Corvo and Soure, cutting off the Republican troops that had survived the Battle of Maceda in two isolated pockets. From then on, initiative was owned by the Monarchists.

The Second Royal Army crossed the Tagus on Vila Velha de Rodão and advanced slowly but surely towards Portalegre, while the Third Royal Army traveled along the river and took Abrantes five weeks later. A week after the fall of Abrantes, the last Republican brigades in the north surrendered in Figueira da Foz. Portalegre had already fallen by then, victim of the new weapons deployed by the Monarchist army: the RESA R-5 rifle, the Spanish Army main service weapon, and the CESA CC88 field gun, both of which were being sold to them thanks to the Spanish government's collaboration.

The Third Royal Army took Entroncamento some time later, continuing their travel along the Tagus. The First Royal Army, meanwhile, did one of the most daring attacks when they boarded several ships and landed in the south, taking Marinha Grande and Leiria. The Republican Second Army attacked, hoping to dislodge them and destroy a good part of the Monarchist army. The Battle of Barosa ended in a stalemate, as the Republicans remained there, but were unable to expel the First Royal Army out of Leiria.

Monarchist advance was inexorable, unfortunately for the Republicans. The Second Royal Army reached Elvas, and the Third changed directions and took Nazaré, which allowed them and the First to catch the Republican Second Army in a pincer, destroying its battle capabilities. The First was divided in two, with one half advancing towards the east and clearing up central Portugal and the other reinforced Entroncamento, while the Third advanced towards Lisbon.

Two months later, everything between Gentias and the Estuário do Sado was isolated from the rest of Republican Portugal. As most of the Republican industrial force was there, this move became fundamental, as by isolating the region they prevented military supplies from reaching those Republicans out of the region. Then, while the First and Second Royal Armies advanced towards the south and the east, intent on wiping out all other possible Republican bases in Portugal (an advance that managed to reach its objective in mid-June with the takeover of Faro), the Third concentrated on slowly whittling down the Republican stronghold in the Tagus Estuary. A direct attack against the capital was not tested, because they feared that the Republicans might kill Luis Filipe and Manuel if desperate enough.

Setúbal fell in April, followed by Quinta do Conde in Early May and Almada almost a month later. The Republican leaders were sent messages almost regularly, promising them safe passage to any foreign country in exchange of their surrender and the return of the children to the custody of their uncle, Regent Afonso. The messengers either were not accepted inside or were answered negatively, and the fight continued.

By July, the last stronghold outside of Lisbon fell, and the armies prowled around the capital, preparing an assault. This assault took place on July 21st, when the First Royal Army entered the city covered by intense artillery fire, killing any soldier or officer that resisted and imprisoning those that surrendered. The Republican Army folded then and there, and most soldiers dropped their weapons and let themselves be taken away.

When they finally reached the Palácio de Ajuda, which had become the headquarters for the Republican leadership, they found out that several of them had committed suicide, a few others had been killed either during the war or as they tried to offer resistance to the Royal Armies. Only two men survived to be interrogated about the whereabouts of the Princes.

In the end, the saddest possibility became the truth: the two princes had died around April of illness, probably pneumonia, and the few doctors that were in the city were not able to heal them due to their lack of medical supplies.

When news of the victory reached Porto, the celebrations were curtailed by the fact that the Princes had died just a few months before, but nonetheless they took place, because they had finally finished the threat to the nation and things could return to normal. Thus, the court and the government started to move to the capital in order to restart their work as soon as possible, while the Army was directed to put down the Republicans in Guinea, Goa and Macao.

The fall of Goa in August 24th 1891 was the official end of the Portuguese Civil War.

Part II – Consequences of a War

As soon as the government settle down in Lisbon, the first task to be carried out was to judge the surviving politicians and military leaders that had led the Republican Coup. Five of the politicians were condemned to death by hanging, a few more were imprisoned in Lisbon after it was proved they had only joined the coup after its beginning, and most of them were condemned to prison for life in Angola and Moçambique.

As for the army members that had sided with the Republicans, they were harshly judged in very strict military courts. The surviving generals and ninety percent of the commissioned officers were stripped from all decorations, demoted to the rank of private and dishonorably discharged from the army in humiliating ceremonies, and for some of them this was followed by a condemn to death by firing range. Soldiers and non-commissioned officers were demoted and lost any honors they may have gained, but were allowed to join the Army again as long as they gave a personal oath to serve the Kingdom of Portugal and to never take arms against anyone if they weren't ordered to do so. Most of them accepted the offer, but some of them decided to leave the army and travel to Latin America or Indochina, joining the armies there and making a new life for themselves.

One of the war's political casualties was the Portuguese Republican Party, which became the pariah of European politics, especially after the fate of Luis Filipe and Manuel became widely known. Even if their deaths had been of illness that could not be prevented, the new Portuguese government used it as a propaganda weapon against the PRP, hanging on them the mark of monstrous child-killers that had no mercy nor heart for a pair of defenseless orphans. The two were crowned posthumously as Kings of Portugal, with Luis Filipe becoming Luís II after his grandfather, and Manuel becoming Manuel I. They would also become the symbols of the Civil War, and martyrs in the eyes of public opinion, of a conflict they had not been old enough to understand in the six months between their parents' deaths and their own. Other European Republican parties, even if they had nothing to do with the PRP, suffered similar treatment by part of the people, just because of their similar ideologies.

Slowly, Portugal recovered its normality. Fields were worked on to ensure that the harvest was not affected, buildings were repaired after the destruction from the fighting, and people returned to their homes and towns. Spain became a great support for its neighbor nation, using their own experience with such events to aid with the reforms that were needed to prevent something similar from happening again. A true democratic system replaced Rotativism, and a constitution, based on that of Spain, started to be written down for its approval in the future.

It was also under the suggestion of their Spanish counterpart that the Portuguese government started to plan several reforms to make Portugal a more efficient and egalitarian nation: the differences had pulled Portugal into the war, the similarities would bring it together. The reforms would not be sudden, though: sudden change could be a recipe for a bad situation. Better to make it relatively slow, so that the people could get used to the changes.

The foreign representatives that had left Lisbon when King Carlos I died were able to return to the Portuguese capital in order to retake residence and represent their nations to Portugal. Again, the United Kingdom was excluded from this: if anything, the hatred the Portuguese felt for their former allies had only grown, because they still put the blame of everything that had happened in the last year on the British shoulders, and even in Britain people knew the Portuguese were not entirely wrong.

The restoration of normal activities by part of the government eventually lead to the restoration of the Crown. The death of Luís II and Manuel I had left their uncle, current Regent Afonso, as the only male direct candidate to the Crown and Throne of Portugal. He had gained great popularity thanks to his leading the Monarchists through the Civil War, and many thought he might be a good replacement for his brother.

The crowning ceremony took place on September 24th 1891, a month after the end of the war and the anniversary of Afonso's brother crowning and death. This date had been chosen specifically for that meaning: one year before, it had been the end of an era, but now it would be the beginning of a new time of prosperity for Portugal and its people.

At least, that was what everyone was hoping for.

One month and a half later, those hopes were shattered.

The Congress was going to debate on the approval of the new economic laws that would change the tax system, and the King had chosen to ride there to be present. He only intended to be witness to the debates, and demonstrate his support for the democratic system, as he intended to be as apolitical as possible.

It would never be known whether the entire thing was actually planned, or if it was completely improvised. It was ignored whether it was all made by a group, or if only one person acted in it. Not even the name of the main actor became known. This lack of knowledge of the events would lead to many people making up all sorts of conspiracies to point out at someone or something as the reasons and guilty party between the event.

When the King arrived to the Congress and came down the horse, a man managed to make it through the protective cordon and knelt before the king. The guards ordered the man to move away and pointed their weapons at him, but the King waved his hand, as if to stop them from shooting the man right out.

It didn't matter. The kneeling man put his hand in a jacket pocket and pulled a sharp knife out of it. Before anyone could react, the man jumped on the King and stabbed him twice in the gut and once on the chest.

A second too late, two bullets hit the unknown man on the back, and other six on the head, killing him instantly and destroying his brain and his face.

The King was taken away on a carriage to the nearest hospital. Surgery – the rudimentary surgery that existed in the time – was practiced on Afonso VII, in order to stanch the wounds. It was not enough.

King Afonso VII of Portugal, the man who had led the country through one of its most trying times – probably near the level of the Napoleonic invasion at the beginning of the century – died at 5 PM on November 12th 1891, leaving the Kingdom of Portugal in great sadness over such a great loss, and the government with the problem of finding a new King for the second time in a year. Or, rather, a new Queen. Because, right now, the eldest heir to the throne of Portugal was none but Queen Antonia of Spain, wife of Leopoldo I, King of Spain.

Queen Antonia was, legally, the heir to the throne, leaving her and Portugal in a thorny situation. There were three possibilities about what could be done now, possibilities that depended on what the Queen chose and the people wanted. In the first place, the Queen could abdicate her rights to the Portuguese Crown to her sons. Prince Guillermo would then become the King of Portugal unless he chose to cede his rights to either the Spanish or the Portuguese Crown to his brother Fernando, who could do the same. There was also the possibility of Antonia becoming Queen of Portugal, while King Leopoldo became King Consort of Portugal. This situation was quite similar to what the Catholic Monarchs had done in their time, but there would be problems unless Guillermo and Fernando made a deal. Lastly, there was a possibility, which was to have Leopoldo and Antonia become King and Queen of both nations, and Portugal and Spain would unify into one nation.

It was a difficult thing to choose, for each option had its advantages and disadvantages, both in local and international terms. The international part, they did not care much, but it was still potentially problematic, so, after consulting with the Spanish monarchs, the Spanish and Portuguese governments decided to leave the choice to the people.

It was an strange thing to do, asking the people to make that choice, but it was also true that it might be the best way to keep things acceptable for those nations that might be opposed to the idea, which was favored by both governments.

After negotiations, it was announced that the choice would be made through a referendum that would be held on March 27th 1892. While both governments and the Spanish Royal Family stated their willingness to accept the results, whichever they were, there was an undercurrent of support for unification, which was seen by many as the possibility of increasing their nations' status in the modern world. For example, one day saw the Industry Minister of Portugal speak with several businessmen, showing them the great potential of investment in Spain were tariffs to be completely slashed if unification was achieved; another, the Prince of Asturias met with several important people in Galicia to speak about the brotherhood between the Iberian people; and perhaps a few days later it would be the mayor of Olivenza (a town that had for years been disputed between Spain and Portugal) who talked about both Iberian nations' common past.

The idea of Pan-Iberism was as old as the Romans. The Kingdom of the Visigoths had ruled over the entire Peninsula, as well as parts of northern Africa and southern France, and the Moors had managed to unify nearly all of the Peninsula save for the Christian redoubts in Asturias and the Pyrenees, the germ of the Reconquista. Portugal's independence in 1139 broke the Christian kingdoms even further than they had been, and further attempts to unify Iberia under one crown failed, such as the 1383 Crisis or Felipe II's inheritance of Portugal through his mother. The last one had happened twenty-two years before, when one of the potential candidates to the Spanish crown was former King Fernando II of Portugal.

The last years of successful policies carried out by the successive Spanish governments, the fortification of democracy in the country, as well as the friendship between both Iberian nations thanks to the efforts of Queen Antonia and the recent support for the Monarchists in the Civil War made it likelier that unification might not only be peaceful, but also lasting.

The voting started at 7 AM on March 27th under heavy security measures, which proved correct when people tried to spark riots in some cities, as well as attempts by people to vote twice that were caught by sharp-eyed workers. After the urns were closed at 10 PM, the votes were counted and the results were sent by secret courier or codified telegram to Madrid and Lisbon, to ensure no one would learn the results before it was the correct time. About 91.03% of the Portuguese people and 87.02 % of the Spanish people that could vote made use of that right.

The results were the following: Unification: 82.27% in Spain, 81.65% in Portugal. Personal union and later separation: 11.45% in Spain, 6.22% in Portugal. Independence: 6.18% in Spain, 13.13 % in Portugal.

The results were made public on the Boletín Oficial del Estado (which had replaced the Gaceta de Madrid as the vehicle of publication of all laws and government proclamations) on April 1st 1892, and it was that same day when, in front of a feverish crowd of people carrying Spanish and Portuguese flags, that President Segismundo Moret went to the balcony of the Governance Ministry to the Puerta del Sol, and said, full of pride, ¡Queda proclamada, por mayoría absoluta, la unificación de España y Portugal!

Soon, the streets became full, with much of the population joining the celebrations and enthusiastic about the fact that now all Iberian people (save for Gibraltar) would live under the same flag, and could put their weight around in the new world!

Part III – El Imperio de las Españas

While the streets were full of people celebrating the unification, the Spanish and Portuguese governments started to work in order to determine how to organize the new nation, the laws that would control it, how to ensure that joining the two nations in one did not cause any problems. A middle point had to be found to ensure all things were acceptable, a task that would not be easy at all.

The first decision taken by the joint council was that a new constitution had to be written, to take into account the unification and the many changes brought in the last years. The source of the new nation's fundamental laws would be the Spanish 1869 Constitution, which, although only twenty-two years old, had proved strong in several tests and rising to the challenges put in their way. However, before creating the new Constitution, there was the question of the Constituent Courts that had to meet to vote on whether it would be accepted or not, as well as directing the nation in the meantime.

New elections were called in August 1892, and many parties were formed or restructured to admit Portuguese people in them. The two main parties of the Spanish democracy, the Liberal-Conservative and the Democrat-Radical, merged with their Portuguese counterparts. The Republican Party reformed as the Partido Republicano Ibérico (Iberian Republican Party), even if they knew that the chance of getting any votes in Portugal was almost nil. The PSOE accepted the few Portuguese socialists in their party, but held off changing its name until it became necessary. Other parties appeared, such as the Portuguese People Party, opposed to total unification and advocating the independence of Portugal as soon as possible, although it was clear that support within Portugal would be limited, at least in the coming years.

The Constituent Courts were a clear Democrat-Radical victory, which gained a majority in both chambers. Despite this victory, however, they made sure that the Constitutional Convention was formed by people from the main parties, to make sure that everyone had a voice in the making of the new text of the fundamental law of the kingdom. The writing of the Constitution took but two months, since most of the work had been done already twenty-three years before.

The only parts that were modified were those that would directly be affected by the unification. Titles I (About Spaniards and their rights), II (About the Public Powers), IV (About the King), V (About the succession to the Crown and the Kingdom's Regence), VI (About the Ministers), VII (About the Judiciary Power) and IX (About the Contributions and Public Forces) remained unmodified, with only a few small changes to denote the Portuguese and Spanish people becoming part of the same nation.

Title III (About the Legislative Power) was modified to add a suggestion made by Democrat-Radical Senator Ramón de Campoamor, to enforce elections to take place roughly on the same weekend, in a system similar to that of the United States, and which would ensure that the elections were an actually regular affair. After some time, it was determined that elections would take place on the first Sunday of April every three years, something that was accepted by most of the Convention.

There were also modifications to change the size of the Congress and the Senate. Congress was now formed by more than 500 members, in accordance to the terms that established there was to be 1 Deputy for each 40,000 people, and even with 500 deputies each deputy was representing nearly 60,000 people. Meanwhile, the Senate would have to be diminished in size, because, at the rate of four senators per province, more than 300 would have to be crammed in the chamber. A debate ensued, and in the end an agreement was reached: the Congress would have its size fixed at 450 deputies, with each province having a number of deputies proportional to their population, and the Senate would have 2 senators per province, plus one more per Foral Region.

Title VIII (About Provincial Councils and Town Halls) was modified to include Foral Regions as part of the structure of the nation, with the two levels (Administrative and Political) included. It also defined the powers the Foral Regions had, and about the fact that those regions with political powers could have them superseded by the national government.

It was through Title VIII that the position of the Portuguese colonies in India, Macao and East Timor was determined. Being too far away from Europe, yet too small to become autonomous on their own, they were not fit for attaining Foral Region status. A suggestion by Fernão Pereira, one of the Portuguese representatives to the Constitutional Convention, was accepted: Portuguese India would eventually become its own political Foral Region, with its capital in Goa, while Macao and East Timor became part of the Philippines, much like Andorra had become part of Catalonia.

More changes were brought by the new constitution. Spanish and Portuguese became the nation's official languages. The Ministry of Public Instruction would have its hands full designing a new school curriculum that would include both languages for the entire territory, as well as history lessons, not to mention the hiring of new teachers, the construction or repairing of schools in Portugal, and many more things. Several editorials would make a killing by printing and selling Spanish-Portuguese dictionaries for schools, the bureaucracy and the general population. The proviso of regional languages was also done: regions where there was a second, widely-spoken language, would also be allowed to declare said language a co-official language, although, of course, it would be limited to said region.

Title X (About the Overseas Provinces) was changed completely: since Cuba and Puerto Rico already had their own autonomous government structures, as well as the Philippines, that part of the Constitution would be completely modified: now, Title X would be About the Symbols of the Nation.

The national flag was described as “red, yellow and blue, each stripe the same size”, a flag that combined the colors for Castile, Aragon and Portugal in one flag. It also detailed the dimensions the flag would have when it was hung in official buildings.

The coat of arms was described as “first quarter, quarterly Gules, a three towered castle Or, masoned sable and ajouré azure, and Argent, a lion rampant purpure crowned Or, langued and armed gules; second quarter, Argent, five escutcheons Azure, each charged with five plates Or, crosswise, a bordure Gules with seven Golden Castles; third quarter, Or, four pallets Gules; fourth quarter, Gules, a cross, saltire and orle of chains linked together Or, a centre point vert; enté en point, Argent, a pomegranate proper seeded gules, supported, sculpted and leafed in two leaves vert; overall inescutcheon, mullet of eight points, quarterly sable and argent; all surrounded by the chain of the Golden Fleece; helm, Or and precious stones, with eight rosettes, five visible, and eight pearls interspersed, closed at the top by eight diamonds also adorned with pearls and surmounted by a cross on a globe; supporters, Pillars of Hercules with a top of supporters, dexter a Nao, sinister a Caravel; placed on a double-headed eagle sable; placed on an armilar sphere; upper crest, tape Gules with Spain written in Hebrew, Latin and Arabic; lower crest, tape Vert with five Argent mullets of eight points; motto Plus Ultra.”

As for the hymn, it was decided that the music would be that of the Spanish hymn, the Royal March, but the lyrics were to be chosen through public contest, with people sending their lyrics and a jury formed by the King, a deputy from each Spain and Portugal, and six more people from the world of literature and music from each Spain and Portugal, forming a 15-strong committee that would pick the best lyrics. The contest would begin a month after the Constitution became official, and thousands of people from the entire nation would participate. In the end, the winning lyrics were an unlikely collaboration between two poets: Cuban José Martí and Granadino Ángel Ganivet, two men that had met in Seville during the Cuban War, symbolizing the union between all the Spanish people and the role the Cuban people (and, after them, the Puerto Ricans and Filipinos) had earned after many years. The lyrics themselves also sang to the nation's history, their role as a Great Power in the past and the rebirth of Spain after Leopoldo I's accession to the throne.

Las Españas / Están orgullosas 

Del pueblo español / Que vuelve a resurgir

Gloria a la Patria / Que supo seguir

En orbe, tierra y mar / Sol, grandeza y libertad.

Las Españas / Luchan en unidad

Contra el invasor / Y el traidor a la nación.

Viva la Patria / Que en una unión

Juntó a mil grandes gentes / Y dio luz a muchas más.

Era Al-Andalus / Hispania o Sefarad

Ahora es Iberia / Águilas del cielo azul

Con la bandera / Roja, gualda, azul

Marchamos todos ya / Hacia un futuro mejor

(The Spains / Are proud Of the Spanish people / That surges again Glory to the Fatherland / That knew how to follow In orb, land and sea / Sun, greatness and freedom. The Spains / Fight united Against the invader / And the betrayer of the nation, Long live the Fatherland / Which in an union United a thousand great people / And gave birth to many more. It was Al-Andalus / Hispania or Sefarad, Now it is Iberia / Eagles of the blue sky With the flag / Red, yellow, blue We march together / Towards a better future)

With this important part finished, the last thing to be decided was the name of the new nation. There were many possibilities, but each possibility had its own supporters and detractors. United Kingdom of Spain-Portugal was somewhat too long, and reminded the Portuguese too much of the British. Kingdom of Spain was a possibility, but it did not take into account the reality of Portugal having a different culture from Spain. Iberian Kingdom, or Kingdom of Iberia, did not sound as grand as it should be. Either way, using Kingdom as a name ignored the fact that the nation was born out of two previous nations, each with its own crown, so a more correct term would be Empire.

In the end, a choice was made, and, on October 12th 1892 (a date chosen for its historical importance, especially because that year was the fourth centenary of the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus), President Segismundo Moret, for the second time in that year, appeared on the balcony of the Governance Ministry in Puerta del Sol, and, like the previous time, many people welcomed him with cheers and applause, but this time Moret awaited for the people to calm down before starting his speech. Before that happened, Moret observed how it looked like a group of people were waving Spanish and Portuguese flags together, making him smile.

“Mis muy amados compatriotas. Hace cuatrocientos años, un grupo de marineros liderados por Cristóbal Colón descubrió un nuevo y misterioso continente al otro lado del océano Atlántico. Este nuevo mundo dio pie a uno de los más grandes periodos de la historia de España y Portugal, pues en America fue donde los dos países encontraron el punto de partida de sus imperios. Fue una desgracia el comportamiento de ambos países con los nativos, pero también fue una desgracia que ambos acabaran perdiendo sus imperios, hasta quedar reducidos a una parte de lo que antaño fueron.

“Hubo intentos en esa época de unificar las dos patrias, pero fueron todos infructuosos, ya que ninguna de ellas estaba preparada para tal cambio, y la gente de ambos lados cometió errores y tuvo equivocaciones, llevando a la separación una vez más.

“Sin embargo, hace seis meses, las gentes de España y Portugal decidieron, de mutuo acuerdo y por propia voluntad, que ambas fueran a partir de entonces por el mismo camino, unidas e iguales. Y ha sido hoy, Doce de Octubre de Mil Ochocientos Noventa y Dos, que este hecho se ha convertido en oficial. El Congreso de los Diputados acaba de votar, por unanimidad, a favor de la aprobación de la nueva Constitución de nuestra nación."

(My well beloved compatriots. Four centuries ago, a group of sailors led by Christopher Columbus discovered a new and mysterious continent at the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. This new world gave birth to one of the greatest periods of Spanish and Portuguese history, for it was in America where the two nations found the starting point of their empires. It was a disgrace, the way both nations dealt with the natives, but it was also a disgrace that both nations ended up losing their empires, until they were reduced to a small part of what they were then.

There were attempts, in that time, to unify the two nations, but all of them were unsuccessful, as neither of them were ready for the change, and people in both sides made mistakes and had equivocations, leading to separation once again.

However, six months ago, the people of Spain and Portugal decided, by mutual agreement and of their own volition, that both of them would go hence along the same path, united and equal. And it's been today, Twelfth of October of Eighteen Ninety-Two, that this fact has become official. The Congress of Deputies has voted, by unanimity, in favor of the new Constitution of our nation.)

“¡Viva España!”

“¡Viva!” said everyone in Plaza del Sol.

“¡Viva Portugal!”


“¡Viva el Rey!”


“¡Viva el Imperio Unido de las Españas!”


The celebrations over the proclamation lasted the entire day.

Part IV – What Says The World?

The results of the unification referendum had an immediate reaction in many parts of the world.

Germany was one of the first nations to answer. Kaiser Friedrich III and Chancellor Otto von Bismarck signed a joint telegram for King Leopoldo I and President Moret, congratulating them for the success of the consult, wishing them good luck and presenting them the support of Germany in any event that may transpire out of the unification. They were soon followed by Romania, whose king, Carol I, was Leopoldo I's brother, and was glad to count on having a more powerful ally.

Italy soon joined Germany and Romania in congratulating the United Empire of the Spains. King Umberto I was keen on helping unified Iberia to preserve itself, and also to prevent the advance of Republicanism, which he had begun to feel hatred for since the murder of his sister, the previous Queen of Portugal. This, combined with his total disgust with anarchism, one of whose members had tried to murder him fourteen years before, had made Umberto a solid enemy of any anti-monarchist ideas. Belgium and Netherlands soon sent their congratulations as well, followed by the Nordic nations, which were looking at the united nation with interest, especially as a greater trading partner.

In the Americas, while nations such as Brazil, Peru and Bolivia issued congratulatory messages, some were a little more reluctant in doing so, such as Chile, still somewhat upset with Spain's support for its northern rivals during the Second Pacific War. The United States was not keen on the idea of recognizing the united nation: on one side, a stable Spain was a great potential partner, but, on the other side, a stable, unified Spain would be, not only unwilling to give up Cuba and Puerto Rico, but would also have the political, economical and military power to stop any attempts to force them to do so. Not being sure of what to do, the Americans decided to dither on the matter until such a time that it became clearer what should be done. In the meantime, they unofficially accepted the Spanish ambassador as representative of the new nation.

If there was, however, one place where the news of the unification were not received warmly, it was actually two: the United Kingdom and France. Since, in both nations, April 1st was the April Fools Day (or Poisson d'Avril), the day where practical jokes are played, many newspapers referenced the date with editorials where they called the unification “the best April Fools joke of the century”. However, Prime Minister Gladstone's and Premier Tirard's governments did not see as a joke, but as something that could destroy the delicate balance between the European nations that had held up since the Congress of Vienna of 1815, even after the coughs of the several European wars of the nineteenth century.

Thus, one of their first actions was to send a joint communique in which they demanded that the referendum was ignored, and that Portugal's independence became official and recognized by Spain, adducing that their demands were in consonance with the Quadruple Alliance of 1834, to help maintain the statu quo in the Iberian Peninsula. However, the Spanish diplomat corps (now formed by Spanish and Portuguese people) cleverly argued that the Quadruple Alliance had not existed since the marriage of Isabel II to Francisco de Asís, not to mention the French declaration of war and invasion of Spain in 1870 and Britain's actions that had led to the Portuguese Civil War.

Irked by this (mostly because it was true), the two nations kept their pressure during the following months, trying to enlist others to their attempt to dislodge Spain and Portugal. Russia, immersed in Aleksandr II's project to expand the franchise to every person in his nation, finally build the Trans-Siberian Railway and trying to cut off the nobility power, nonetheless agreed to send diplomats to join the British-French venture.

However, Spain was not alone in this. Germany and Italy imitated Russia, and sent representatives to what was fast becoming an international conference over the matter. The Americans also sent a representative, as well as Austria-Hungary. Others were not as interested in the matter, and thus did not attend the meeting.

In the city of Santiago de Compostela (where the temperature was fresh enough to hold meetings without sweating), representatives from the nations involved in the crisis met to determine a course of action to follow. Naturally, soon two camps were formed. On the one side, the pro-unification camp, formed by Spain, Italy, Germany and Austria-Hungary, which argued the legality of the voting and that the entire affair had been blown out of proportion by the French and English governments. On the other side, France, United Kingdom and Russia, stating their previous argument that the Spanish-Portuguese unification was the recipe for disaster in Europe, as it unbalanced power in the continent. In the middle, the United States tried not to get drawn into any of the two sides.

Initially, neither side was willing to cede at all (although the Russian representatives were not that interested in the whole thing). However, as time passed, it became clearer that the position of the pro-unification side was firmer, especially as it became clear to French and British agents that unification was becoming quite accepted in Spain, and there were not problems save for a few discontents in both sides of the old border.

The French and British representatives, with the support of their governments, decided that, if they couldn't stop the unification, they could at least gain something out of the negotiations. Thus, they tried to reach a backroom deal with the Spanish: France and the United Kingdom would recognize the unified nation if they ceded former Portuguese India and Sabah to the United Kingdom and Gambia and Oran to France.

In the next official meeting of the Santiago Conference (as it had been dubbed in the international press) the Spanish representative politely declined the French-British offer, and then sardonically offered another deal: Spain would recognize France's absorption of Burgundy if they gave up Senegal, and the United Kingdom's formation if they ceded the land between Angola and Moçambique they had extorted out of Portugal through the Treaty of London.

There was much anger among the French and British representatives, although the others had a good laugh at what had been clearly a joke on the part of the Spanish representative. Only when the latter explained the reason behind his “offer” (to point out that the initial offer was not acceptable, although he could have said so with less polite words) did they calm, although they still felt insulted by the Spanish answer. When the British government demanded an apology for this, the Spanish replied that the British-French team had insulted Spain first, and thus they had replied in kind.

Among some minds in London had already circled the idea of bluffing, like they had done with Portugal two years before, on the possibility of declaring war on Spain, in order to prevent unification from taking place, while offering the Portuguese people political and military support for leaving the union. However, the last action by the Spanish representatives had sparked some anger in the politicians, and they were more willing to carry on with the idea. They sent orders to the fleet in Gibraltar to prepare for any possibility, and gave the Spaniards several veiled threats over the matter, in order to force Spain to back down.

This event backfired: instead of accepting the offer, Spain readied itself for war. The event was highly publicized, and soon most of Europe knew that the British had hypocritically threatened war despite their supposed claims of trying to avoid it. Diplomatic pressure from many points in Europe, as well as from inside, was what finally made cooler heads prevail among the British government, and they slowly backed off, as it became clearer that both Spanish and Portuguese desired the unification, and the latter were too ticked off with the British to even think about the idea of accepting their help for any reason, much less to prevent something they wanted.

It would still be several months until the French and the British gave up, even after the proclamation of the Constitution of 1892, but, finally, in February 1893, the two governments gave up their demands, although in their official communications to their people they made it look like they were making a big favor to the newly unified nation by allowing them to exist.

Unfortunately, the move did little to help reduce the tensions within Europe. If anything, the Iberian Crisis had not done much but to increase them, slowly pushing most European nations into two blocks, the British-French-Russian-led Entente against the Austro-German-Italian-Spanish-led Alliance. It was clear to everybody that a war was brewing in Europe: now, it was just a matter of when and why this war would happen.

Part V – Secret and Public Deals

King Napoleon IV of Corsica, and would-be Emperor of France, saw the events in continental Europe with great interest. The last years had been kind to the small island: they had managed to keep their independence against the French, keep their economy under check, establish a trading relationship with other nations (even a few French traders that did not care much about their government's claims of Corsica being a “province in rebellion” visited the Corsican ports) and managed to create their own army, which, although small, was well trained. Its hour of glory had been the invasion of Tunisia, led by the King himself, to establish a colony, small as it was, in the African continent.

Personally, Napoleon IV was happier with the fact that him and his wife, Maria del Pilar, were parents of three children: Isabel, the eldest, was now ten years old; Louis, the heir to the throne, was seven, and Letizia, the youngest, had just become three. He wanted, more than anything, to ensure that the three of them enjoyed the standing of being European princes, and for Louis to inherit the crown. For that, Corsica could either attempt to remain neutral – a chimera, considering France's ambitions and demands – or to ally with France's enemies to be protected. Ironically, this meant that Corsica's best chance of survival was to gain the support of those that had killed his father in battle, the Germans.

When he was younger, he hated those he held responsible for his exile: the Germans and the Spaniards for fighting the war, and the French for forcing him and his family to abandon their homeland. Age had, however, tempered him, and now, while he still held dislike for the three nations, he was able to push that aside when it was a matter of keeping his family, his crown and Corsica safe, none of which would be safe if France invaded. He truly desired for his nation to maintain a stance of neutrality in international affairs, like Switzerland or Sweden, but it was increasingly clear that it was going to be an impossible task.

It was, thus, a surprise, when Pío Gullón Iglesias, Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, received the visit of Sampieru Padovani, who was the unofficial Corsican ambassador to Spain – Corsica's status being still in a sort of limbo between formal independence and “rebelling province of the Kingdom of France” – and brought with him an offer from his government: the possibility of establishing closer ties between Corsica and the Alliance.

Minister Gullón replied that he could not make such an important decision without consulting the President and their German allies, but internally he knew of the importance of this: if Corsica became an ally, they could be the place of another possible naval base if there was another war with France, and it would pretty much allow them to dominate the Western Mediterranean Sea, especially when combined with the support of Italy. However, the mere act of accepting Corsica into the Alliance would certainly anger France, and, as much as the Alliance governments disliked the French, they did not want to risk a war in a moment when it was not exactly advisable to do so.

Understandably, none of the governments felt very enthusiastic about the idea. They could see the advantages of accepting such an alliance, but at the same time they were not keen on sparking a war that was completely inadvisable in the current situation. They did, however, know that, if the current French feelings of revenge remained for too much time, they would eventually crystallize into a desire for war, so, if they had more support, they could not ignore it.

Thus, they stroke an agreement with Corsica, an agreement that would remain secret for as long as possible. The Alliance nations were willing to sell weapons to Corsica for a good price, as well as provide training for Corsicans that could, eventually, fulfill the role of advisors for the Corsican Army.

Corsica was not the only nation interested in the recent happenings. Japan was currently in the middle of a war of influences with Russia over China, trying to take control of the resource rich region of Manchuria. Japan desired to control this territory as the means to feed its growing empire. They had already begun steps to take control of Korea, which they had recently signed several treaties with that they expected would be the first step towards control of the region.

However, they knew that Manchuria would be a tougher nut to crack, especially due to Russia's expansion in the Far East thanks to the efforts of the government, which, at the instance of Aleksandr II and his son Aleksandr III, had made one of its priorities the construction of a railway line between Saint Petersburg and the young, but important, town of Vladivostok, the center of Russian expansion in the region. The Trans-Siberian Railway had yet to be finished, but it was believed that it would be finished before the end of the century.

Thus, it was of interest for Japan to gain a permanent presence in the continent before Russia could cut them off. And their chance came soon.

In Korea, a peasant rebellion began, and the number of people uprising against the Korean Emperor made it possible that they could topple the government down, so the Koreans asked the Chinese to send troops to help put the uprising down. The Beiyang Army was sent to Korea in order to take care of the problem.

In a treaty that Japan and China had signed several years before, both nations had compromised to warn each other if they sent troops to Korea. Although the Chinese government had indeed sent a message to their Japanese counterparts to tell them about the troop movement, the Japanese decided to claim that this message had never been received and thus Japan was perfectly within its rights to send an army to “help” the Koreans against the invading Chinese.

However, this army was issued a set of orders that was not what the Japanese had claimed: they marched onto Seoul and captured the Emperor and the government, replacing the latter with one formed by pro-Japanese Korean nobles. The new government decided to break off all deals and treaties they had made with China and placed upon Japan the role of protector of Korea, asking the Japanese to expel the Chinese Beiyang Army from Korea. There began the Sino-Japanese War.

Over the following nine months, the Japanese troops showed their superiority over the Chinese armies, smashing them in several battles where the latter showed even more problems than those they had had a decade before, during the Sino-French War: lack of collaboration between armies, lack of modern weaponry (owed mostly to the corruption and embezzlement of the funds required for the buying of said weaponry), almost endemic low morale...

Even with everything set against them, the Chinese were able to inflict thousands of casualties to the Japanese, as well as prevent them from advancing as fast as they would like to, but it was impossible for them to totally stop their enemy.

One incident marred Japan's image in front of the whole world. The First Army, when they moved for the city of Lüshunkou in the Liaodong peninsula, taken a few weeks before, in order to take a ship in order to be transported to another place, found the city to be again in the hands of the Chinese. To their fury, it turned out that the many injured soldiers that had been left behind, as well as the small garrison that had been there as well, had been ignominiously killed by the locals, who had then taken over the city once more.

The locals were not used to actual combat, though, and they were defeated by the Japanese soldiers in only a few hours. What came after was the most horrible moment of the whole war: the Lüshunkou Massacre. The Japanese First Army, in a frenzy over the murder of their injured companions, chose to answer this affront to their honor with a ferocious attack upon the local population, killing more than three quarters of it and subjugating most of the rest to humiliating punishments. Although the practice of killing civilian hostages for the resistance of soldiers acting outside the laws of war was not unknown in Europe, the brutality of the massacre became a stain on Japan's honor that would take years, if not decades, to erase.

Still, this did not stop Japan from continuing with their advance. Seven months into the war, with the Japanese navy reigning supreme in the Yellow Sea, and the army advancing into Manchuria without a problem, the Chinese government had no other choice but to ask for peace terms.

The terms were quite harsh. In the Treaty of Fukuoka, China was forced to recognize Korea's independence (which, in practice, meant transferring vassalage of Korea to Japan), cede the Liaodong and Shandong peninsulas to Japan in perpetuity (giving Japan almost complete control of ship traffic into, and out of, the Yellow Sea), pay 200 million Kuping taels (approximately 7.5 tons) of silver in concept of war indemnities and open five ports to Japanese trade, which was also to be subjected to smaller tariffs.

This treaty scared the Russians, because it threatened their position in the east. With the Trans-Siberian railway still unfinished, and colonization of the Pacific coast still ongoing, the Japanese victory and the treaty placed Japan in a privileged position, threatening their own chance to take advantage of China's weaknesses for their own resource needs. They started, then, to search for ways to pressure the Japanese into abandoning their territorial gains, especially the Liaodong peninsula, which could become a strategic port for the Russian Pacific Navy, thus reducing the potential problems of concentrating on a port in Vladivostok, the only warm port Russia laid claim to in the Pacific Ocean.

Through the treaty they had signed three years before, the Russians were able to ensure the French government supported them on the matter, even if the French were not interested in the territory (as their interests in China laid in their southern territories). The United Kingdom was only interested in preserving its current spheres of influence within China, and chose to remain neutral in the affair. No other European nation decided to side with the Russians in the matter, because, for most of them, Japan was either too far to affect them, or they simply were not interested in supporting the Russian demands.

When the Russian ambassador met with the Japanese government, though, it was with the surprise of encountering the fact that both Germany and Spain, friends and allies of Japan since the 1870s, were supporting Japanese control over Liaodong and Shandong, as Japan had agreed to support German and Spanish territorial concessions in the weakened China. Germany, especially, was quite interested in the Jiaozhou Bay, which was near to, but not within, Japanese territory in Shandong, and hoped to be able to use it as a naval base and trade port to introduce its products into China.

The intervention was quite unfruitful for Russia, which had expected to be able to force the Japanese navy to evacuate the Liaodong peninsula only for them to then use their Pacific fleet to occupy the city of Lüshunkou and force the Chinese to accept it as a Russian naval base. Instead, they got two nations whose navies could destroy theirs, and then some, even after the reforms passed by Aleksandr II. However, the Japanese were willing to negotiate with the Russians.

In exchange of Russia accepting the Treaty of Fukuoka, Japan would acquiesce with supporting Russia's sphere of influence in Manchuria. In another deal, Japan also agreed with Germany to support a claim in Jiaozhou in exchange of their support. Spain would also eventually gain concessions in China, to be added to Macau, although such a place had yet to be decided.

This marked the beginning of the Invasion of China, a period of time in which the foreign nations would bully the once powerful empire into “allowing” them to administer certain regions. Chinese initial attempts to prevent this were unfruitful, but, with time, and as the people's consciousness over their national identity began to grow, things would begin to change... although that was still in the future.

Part VI – South of the Straits

Back in Spain, the unification process was in its last stages by 1896. The reforms brought to Portugal had been slowly changing the territory. New factories were being built, bringing jobs to the unemployed. Trade across the former border increased with the disappearance of tariffs. The cities of Lisbon and Porto, among others, saw the growth of their ports as more ships, coming from all parts of the empire, as well as southern and central America. The army was merged with the Spanish Army, trained up to better standards, and given better weaponry. The navy followed suit. There was even a source of pride for the Portuguese when the first full-Portuguese Tercio Especial, the Rei Afonso, in honor of the assassinated king.

Of course, other changes had been brought that were not as liked by the Portuguese. For example, the loss of Lisbon's status as the capital, which meant that most of its power was lost to Madrid as it was the capital of the Empire, although it still kept several administrative powers because it was the capital of the region of Portugal (the central third of the territory of Portugal). It did gain the role of biggest port of the Empire, which was an economic boon many expected would last for a lot of time.

Other parts of Portugal also became important. For example, Angola, Moçambique and Goa became fundamental points in trade with Goa and the Philippines, as well as in any potential military strategy that made it impossible for the Navy to use the Suez Canal. Plans were made, and funds allocated, to the construction of a naval base in São Miguel, the Açores' biggest island, akin to what Bermuda was to the United Kingdom. A telegraphic network also connected the archipelago to the mainland, both to communicate daily and as an advanced base/warning station in case of war.

That was not to say that Spain had been left untouched. Cadiz, Ferrol and Cartagena, the main Spanish shipyards, were improved with the most modern tools and machines, allowing the construction of new ships with which to replace the last wooden ships of the Spanish Navy, with the last of them to be retired in 1898. Railroads connected the bigger towns and cities, and dirt roads were created to connect the smaller towns to them. Factories, big and small, gave jobs to many people. Victory, in 1895, of the Democrat-Radical Party, assured that reforms would continue.

The peace was not to last forever, unfortunately.

It all began in North Africa, within the Sultanate of Morocco. Although nominally independent, Morocco had, under the terms of the Conference of Berlin, fallen within the sphere of influence of Spain. For the Sultanate, it pretty much meant that any foreign trading agreements had to go through the Spanish government, a situation that was quite disliked by their government, but, given the Spanish superiority in arms and economy, there was little that could be done. The trade was not completely one-sided: some of the most progressive members of the Spanish business circle decided to work with local rich men in the exploitation of natural resources, employing locals and, following the example of Manuel Agustín Heredia, funding schools for their workers, who would slowly become the core of a pro-Spanish faction in Morocco.

However, the events that destroyed the peace took place near the Mediterranean coast, in the Rif, a mountainous region that was populated by the Riffians, nomads that resisted any attempt to control them, and that were quite able in the art of guerrilla warfare. Slavery was still legal in Morocco, despite efforts by the Spanish Ambassador to convince the Sultan to outlaw the practice and trade, and thus the Riffians also followed the practice. Thus, when, in March 1896, they captured a party of Spanish merchants that was traveling from Melilla to Al-Hoceima, they acted as typical and took the entire group away with the intention of selling them into slavery.

However, one of the women, called Nadia Martínez [1], a local woman that was married to one of the captured Spanish merchants and converted to Catholicism, managed to escape, and survived for long enough to return to Melilla, where she was able to warn Governor Jaime Illescas [1] about the attack.

The political storm soon did what was thought nearly impossible: to unite the entire Congress of Deputies behind the same idea. A resolution to demand the Sultanate of Morocco to punish the Riffians for their kidnapping of Spanish citizens and make restitution of the goods lost in the attack was approved by unanimity by the Congress. Francisco Maura [2], who had become the Foreign Affairs Minister after the 1895 elections (as part of the government led by his brother's brother-in-law Germán Gamazo), instructed the Spanish Ambassador to Morocco, Martín Granollers [1], to give the Moroccan government an ultimatum: either the Moroccan attacked the Riffians and allowed Spanish troops to enter the Rif to search for the kidnapped people, or Spain would declare war.

Some of Sultan Hassan's advisors assured him that Morocco could easily win the war, as Allah would surely be by their side, and Moroccan numbers would be superior to whatever technology the Spanish could use. However, the Sultan knew that it was a classic damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't situation: if he chose to reject the Spanish demands, they would bring a war that Morocco was ill-prepared to fight, but, if he accepted, it would mean that Spain would further interfere in Morocco's affairs. He chose to cave in, for once choosing what would mean the least damage to his nation and his people.

A month after the incident, the Royal Moroccan Army was sent to the Rif, with orders to find the main cabilas in the region and begin a punishment attack against them. Meanwhile, two divisions of the Spanish Army, and four platoons of the Tercios Especiales, were sent to Melilla, and were soon on the warpath towards the last known position of the kidnappers. The support of the Tercios, as well as that of a few locals that had also suffered attacks by the cabilas, was important. Squad 2 of the Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar was fundamental in the deployment, for it was them that found the few traces that remained from the Riffians.

The next three months were a long drawn affair, a punishment expedition in which many men of the cabilas died in fruitless attacks against the Spanish positions, although these battles between Riffians and Spaniards also took several Spanish lives. Nevertheless, the Spanish advance was inexorable, and they eventually managed to capture the cabila that had attacked the merchants. Unfortunately, not all of the merchants had survived: three men and two women had been killed, and the rest had been tortured since their capture.

Most of the men in the enslaving cabila were killed on the spot for what they had done, and the others were arrested and taken away for their role. Women, children and the elders were offered a chance at living in Melilla, probably as a way to compensate for the deaths of the men. A few rejected the offer, preferring to join other cabilas, at least those that had not been punished in the Moroccan Army's incursions.

The influence exerted by the Spanish government on the Moroccans slowly began to increase after this event. In 1 Muharram 1314 AH [3] in the Islamic calendar, the Sultan approved a decree that established the manumission of all slaves in Morocco would happen within three years, a measure that was not welcomed by the nobles and the most traditional members of society, who saw it as a weak man being manipulated by a group of foreign heathens. A few months later, the situation worsened after the lowering of tariffs against Spanish products was implemented, and the appointment of Spanish General Antonio de Sanz Figueroa [1] as advisor to the Royal Army for its modernization, and the nobles started to conspire together. They had to get rid of all foreign influence on the Sultan, so that he could retract from the changes he had been forced to carry out and return Morocco to its previous prosperity (or, rather, return them to their previous prosperity and power, although, of course, none of them stated that part in public).

It was not a difficult task to find other nobles that would join their conspiracy: no, the difficult thing was in finding soldiers to carry out the intended attacks against Spanish objectives and to occupy the Sultan's palace to “protect” him from such undue influence. They did easily find several officers that had been downgraded by the Spanish general and some soldiers that were fanatic enough to do it, but it would take a lot of time until there were enough people. The fact that the conspiracy was able to reach the final stage was because both the care the nobles took and because the Spanish spy network in the region had become complacent and sloppy, and important details escaped their attention or didn't but were not brought to the attention of the higher echelons.

The day chosen by the nobles to begin their attack was 1 Shawwâl 1315 [4]. They expected to use the small confusion in the first day after Ramadan ended to achieve their objectives, and they ensured everyone in the conspiracy stayed ready and prepared for starting their attack on the dawn.

The occupation of the Sultan's palace was easy. Given their status as nobles, it was easy for the conspirators to enter. They then rushed towards the Sultan's chambers with a few of their soldiers, telling the Sultan that they had heard there was a conspiracy aimed at killing him, and that they were there to protect him with their lives, if it was needed. The Sultan, grateful for this, but worried nonetheless, sent a messenger to General Sanz de Figueroa, to prepare the army, but the nobles stopped the messenger and gave him a different message that ordered Sanz de Figueroa to abandon his position and give it to one of the conspirators. By the time the Sultan realized he had been duped, he was a prisoner in his own palace and the nobles had the control of most of the capital and of many other cities.

The Spanish embassy, Spanish houses and factories and some ships that were docked in ed-dār el-Bidā (better known as Casablanca) were attacked by frenzied mobs led by traditionalist clerics, that had inflamed them with speeches that decried the growing Spanish influence as the work of Shaitan (the Arabic word for Satan) and that it was their job to destroy them so that Allah once more blessed Morocco. The ambassador himself was brutally murdered by stoning, and some businessmen died in other, equally horrible ways. The few survivors were so because they happened to be away from their homes, or because they were protected by the workers that had been given jobs and an education through their efforts.

Unfortunately for the conspirators, they were unable to succeed in every front. Sanz de Figueroa, suspecting something was amiss after he read the message, chose to put the infantry and cavalry within Fez on alert, and made sure that telegrams were sent to other cities and army posts to place them on alert as well. During the last two years, he had made sure to instill in most of the soldiers and officers loyalty towards the Sultan and himself, never looking down at them, as he saw them not as inferior people, but as soldiers that simply lacked good training and weaponry. Within the day, the army was ready and alert to prevent further problems, and, although several units deserted to join the nobles, most of it stayed loyal.

The nobles tried to counter this by directing mobs towards arsenals, expecting that they would be able to overwhelm the soldiers with numbers, but tactics that they had either learned themselves or through the advisors brought by General Sanz de Figueroa proved better most of the time, forcing the people away from the arsenals. Only in a couple of occasions did the rioters enter the arsenals, allowing them to be armed, although the nobles did not realize that possession did not equal mastery, and soon formed armies with the rioters, commanded by the officers that had joined the conspiracy.

The Moroccan Civil War lasted a month, pitting the Moroccan Royal Army against the rebels. Ironically, both sides claimed to fight in the name of the Sultan, who was/had been imprisoned by the other side of the war. There were few pitched battles, and all of them fell to the side of the better armed and led Royal Army, which was also supported by Spain. The nobles were only able to gain weapons by stealing them or thanks to smugglers that traveled from French Algeria – the French were quite willing to do things that might destabilize Spanish control of their territories in Africa, but not that willing to do something that might spark a war for which they were not prepared.

In the end, the overwhelming might of the Moroccan Royal Army and the support of the Spanish forces was too much for the nobles to face. Many cities fell to both external pressure and internal insurrection, particularly as news of what the nobles had actually done spread around. One particular instance saw the city Jews work together with people from the rising Moroccan middle class to open the gates to the army.

The last city to fall was Marrakesh, where the nobles had fortified themselves, hoping that something – divine intervention, a war declared against Spain, insurrection by the people in the cities held by the Spaniards – would give them a second wind to finish what they had begun. But it was in vain, and by the time Dhū al-Qaʿda [5] started, the city had fallen and the nobles had been imprisoned. The nobles were then judged for their crimes of treason and uprising against the Caliph and condemned to death by stoning, while most of their possessions were expropriated to pay to the victims of their crimes.

The consequences of the Moroccan Civil War were many. For example, Spanish influence in the Sultanate increased even more, as the people were grateful for the intervention of the Spanish army and navy in ensuring that the war was short, and also when, in a decision that had had little precedent before, the government decided to aid in the reconstruction and improvement of the lost infrastructure. The Sultan, grateful for the fact that they had saved him, allowed these moves.

It was also a victory for those that had argued in favor of taking the long term approach to Morocco, as the improvement to Morocco's industry had aided in establishing a pro-Spanish base within the Sultanate, and the inclusion of General Sanz de Figueroa as part of the Moroccan Royal Army had ensured that most of it would be opposed to the coup.

Another consequence was that, as the role of the Jewish community in the war became better known, an undercurrent of support for the Jew people became bigger, especially in light of several events that were taking place in France, where a wave of antisemitism had poisoned many people's view of the Jews within, particularly after a Jew officer called Alfred Dreyfus was accused of spying for Germany and passing them important military secrets. Consequently, many Jews left France, either because of the pressure put on them by neighbors or because they felt nauseated by what was happening.

The Liberal-Conservative government led by Francisco Silvela, elected in the 1898 elections, really liked the idea of pulling one over the French, so they decided to support the Jews in France and, with the support of the Democrat-Radical opposition, passed the Ley del Retorno, which opened the way for all Sephardi Jews to not only return to Spain, but also to gain Spanish nationality in account of their ascendency.

Thousands of Jews in Levant, north Africa and Western Europe traveled to Spanish territories, hoping to either escape persecution in their birthplaces, to make a name for themselves in the resurgent Spanish nation or simply because they had always dreamed to be able to return to their ancestors' land. One small factor in this change was the fact that the Spanish flag had included a reference to its Jewish past in the coat of arms, something that was loved by those that made the travel.

Reactions in other parts of Europe did not wait much. In France, particularly, the fact that so many Jew people were leaving to go live in more tolerant Spain was not well received, as some extremist politicians even accused them all of being traitors and of collaborating with Spain during all the misfortunes that had hit France in the last years, many times forgetting that the French Jews had many times supported the nation during those misfortunes.

They were welcomed in Spain, though, and many of them, and their descendants, would indeed become important to Spanish society, as part of the legacy they had inherited from the Jews that had been expelled in 1492 became once more part of the Spanish culture.

[1] Invented names. [2] Antonio Maura's brother. In TTL, Antonio Maura became a lawyer and ended up marrying Constancia Gamazo (as in RL), but he never followed Germán Gamazo into politics. Francisco was, in RL, a painter, but in here he becomes a politician as part of the Democrat-Radical Party. Interestingly, in RL both Antonio Maura and Germán Gamazo started as part of the left-wing Liberal Party, but moved towards the right later in their lives. [3] June 12th 1896 [4] February 23rd 1898. I would have chosen February 15th as a joke (you know, USS Maine), but that date was in the middle of the Ramadan, and I doubt the nobles would have risked their plot failing because their soldiers couldn't eat nor drink while they were in a fight. [5] The eleventh month of the Islamic calendar, directly after Shawwâl.

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