The country was established on July 1, 1810 by Napoleon I, who unified the nations of Spain and Portugal into the Iberian Union. The Union captured Gibraltar and Andorra in World War II.
EstablishmentIn 1807, Napoleon's armies invaded Portugal. Because the British did not help Portugal, the capital city of Lisbon was taken and the nation fell to France. In 1808, French soldiers crossed the Spanish-Portuguese border and the Pyrenees Mountains and invaded Spain. The capital city of Madrid was taken, and Joseph Bonaparte, the elder brother of Napoleon, was crowned King of Spain. The first problem presented to him was Spanish guerrillas roaming the countryside. The Spanish and French Armies forced the guerrillas out of Southern Spain and near the border with Portugal. Joseph then led a daring assault against the guerrillas known as the Battle of Badajoz, defeating the guerrillas. With the guerrilla threat ended, Spain and Portugal were merged to form the Iberian Union. Joseph Bonaparte was then crowned Joseph I, King of the Iberian Union. Following the establishment of the nation, the Iberian Union embarked on a campaign against the pirates of the Barbary States. The Iberian Armed Forces were created with an Army and Navy as branches. An attack on the Tripoli Harbor ended the war, and the Iberians made the harbor the beginning of their colonial empire. The Union, France and other European nations would continue the campaigns in what is known as the Mediterranean Campaigns.
Economic Growth and Patriots
The period following the Mediterranean Campaigns, during the 1820s, saw the Iberian Union experience a large economic boom, along with France and other allies. With the victory in northern Africa, tributes to the pirates did not have to be paid, which made trading easier. Iberian merchants were in large cities such as Tripoli, Derne, and Algiers, and goods were traded. Colonies were started all along Africa's northern coast, but Iberian progress was checked by France, who made sure there were enough space for their colonies. The Spanish also opened up trade with Ireland, which newly became an independent nation. Powerful Spanish merchants, bosses, and gangs ruled parts of many Irish cities, such as Dublin and Cork.
However, all was not well within the Iberian Union. Underground groups were working toward the end of the monarch in Spain and the overthrow of Joseph I. These people, known by the Loyalists as the Patriots, were in large numbers in cities of Lisbon and Barcelona. Many people living in Madrid supported the Patriots, but were afraid of saying it out loud for fear of the ruthless Iberian Army. The Patriots were working with revolutionary groups in France, and the French regions of Germany and Italy. Many Patriots planned to rebel, but it would not happen until 1848.
In 1845, King Joseph I died, which led to his daughter, Zenaide Laetitia Julie Bonaparte, taking the throne as Zenaide I. As the transition from rulers began, so did rebellions across the Iberian Union. However, the rebellions were contained by the powerful French and Italian armies. In 1848, both left Spain to deal with rebellions across Europe in the War of 1847. The Patriots lost fear of the French Army, and the rebellions spread once more. By early 1849, Lisbon was taken, and the Loyalists lost their most important port of the western coast. In 1850, both Barcelona and Madrid were taken, forcing the Queen to flee to Italy, where she was welcomed. The Iberian Union became a democracy, and the first political party, the Patriot Party, was formed. Leopoldo O'Donnel became the first president of the Iberian Union.In 1852, the Iberian Union invaded the Balearic Islands to finish off the Loyalists, who retreated there after the Loyalist defeat on the continent. However, the Kingdom of Italy, which had defeated a democratic revolution, lent their hand to the Loyalists, starting the Iberian-Italian War. The war existed on the Balearic Islands, North Africa, Southern France, and eventually Italy where the Iberians struck the final blow by capturing Rome in 1855, ending the war. The Balearic Islands were given to Spain, as well as Southern France, and the Loyalist threat was finally defeated.
In the mid-1870s under President Manuel Ruiz Zorrila, the Iberian Union and their colonies went under a period of industrialization and modernization. The army was expanded significantly, with state of the art weaponry being used. The army was then sent to the Ivory Coast of Africa, where they conquered land from the natives and giving them to settlers. Large farms and plantations were set up, and agricultural products were abundant. Many were shipped to the motherland, and machinery came back from the Union. The city of Abidjan became New Iberia's capital. Factories and railroads were set up, connecting the colony from inland to the coast. Trade was also abundant with the nearby American colony of Liberia, and in 1884 a railroad was completed that connected Monrovia to Abidjan.
From 1876 to 1881, the Iberian Union was involved in the Continental War, a European-wide war. The Republic of Italy had invaded the Kingdom of Italy, but the Kingdom had stopped the Republic's advance. To aid the Republic, the Union sent weapons, ammunition, food, and water. The Republic was aided by this and slowly advanced. In response, the Kingdom declared war on the Union. The Union responded by blockaded the Tyrrhenian Sea and sending ground troops to the peninsula. The Italian defense had stiffened, and a stalemate occurred. In 1881, a peace treaty was signed.