Spanish territory also includes the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean and town of Llívia, a Spanish exclave inside French territory. With an area of 505,992 sq km (195,365 sq mi), it is the second largest country in Western Europe and the fifth largest country in Europe.
Glorious Revolution (1868)
The unpopularity of Queen Isabella II among the liberals, the progressives and the members of the Unión Liberal for her continual vacillation between liberal and conservative quarters triggered a broad opposition to her government. Leopoldo O'Donnell's death in 1867 caused the Unión Liberal to unravel. Many of its supporters crossed party lines and joined the growing opposition to overthrow Isabella in favor of a more effective regime.
In September 1868 naval forces under admiral Juan Bautista Topete mutinied in Cadiz. Generals Juan Prim and Francisco Serrano denounced the government and much of the army defected to the revolutionary generals on their arrival in Spain. In 1868, Queen Isabella crossed into France and retired from Spanish politics to Paris. She lived there in exile until her death in 1904.
Spain under the Hohenzollerns (1870–1918)However, the coalition of liberals, moderates and republicans were now faced with the incredible task of finding a new monarch that would suit them better than Isabella. As the Cortes rejected the notion of a republic, General Serrano was elected as regent while Prim became Prime Minister and was made a marshal. A truly liberal constitution was written and successfully promulgated by the Cortes in 1869.
After a difficult search for a suitable king that acceptable for all political spheres in Spain, Leopold of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, a Prussian prince from the Swabian branch of the House of Hohenzollern, was selected by the Cortes in 1870. Leopold’s ascension to the Spanish throne was met a strong opposition from France that feared the installation of a relative of the Prussian king would result in the expansion of Prussian influence and the encirclement of France (which later proved to be true). However, Minister-President of Prussia, Otto von Bismarck, who wanted to drag the French into war with Prussia was able to convince Leopold to approve his candidacy. Unable to tolerate this matter, France then declared war to Prussia in July 1870, resulted to the Franco-Prussian War that will led to the creation of German Empire.Early years of Leopold's reign on Spain were marked by the period of instability and uprisings both within Spain and its colonies. Just five days before his landing on the Spanish soil, Juan Prim, Leopold's main political backer, was shot by unknown assassins on December 28, 1870 and died two days later on December 30. After his coronation on January 2, 1871 as Leopoldo I of Spain, the new king now faced immediately with the incredible task of bringing the disparate political ideologies of Spain to one table. The country was plagued by internecine strife, not merely between Spaniards but within Spanish parties.
Albeit with popular support from the citizens, the French-backed Carlists were the most immediate threat for the new government as they launched a violent insurrection after their poor showing in the 1872 elections. After his main political backer got assassinated in 1870, Leopoldo I now was the main target for the assassination itself. He barely survived three assassination attempts by the Carlists and the republicans during his lifetime. A bullet from Leopoldo's 1895 assassination attempt even still remained near his abdomen for the rest of his life as the surgeons were afraid its removal would even cause a greater consequence for the king.However, the reign of Leopoldo I was always viewed as the most liberal era in pre-WWII Spain. Manuel Ruiz Zorrilla, who served as Prime Minister of Spain from 1871 to 1872 and later from 1874 to 1893, carried the economic and social reform in Spain. Universal male suffrage was first introduced in metropolitan Spain on 1876. After being at war with Cuban revolutionaries for about five years, the Spanish government finally agreed to hold a talk with the rebels on the 1874 Madrid Conference. Slavery was abolished in 1875 and Cuba granted a right to send its representatives to the Cortes.
The relations between Zorrilla's government with the Catholic Church during this period drew a similarity with the Kulturkampf that implemented by his German counterpart, Otto von Bismarck, in Prussia. Being a Freemason, Zorrilla let the government to intervene over the Catholic Church activities in Spain. However, unlike Bismarck, Zorrilla's policy regarding the Catholic Church was carried throughout his term and continued by his predecessors. It was later proven to be Zorrilla's biggest mistake as the persecution to the Catholic led the monarchy to lose its traditional support from the Catholics and helped the secular Socialists to grow significantly in Spain's political arena. Both of them later would played an important role on the overthrow of Spanish monarchy in 1918Under Zorrilla, Spain took a different foreign policy with the German Empire by pursuing a neutral, peaceful relation with the French, much to Bismarck's dismay, as Zorrilla hoped it would have stopped the French to support the Carlist rebels, especially after the rise of Georges Boulanger. As the one who played a role for installed Leopoldo I in the Spanish throne, Bismarck viewed Zorrilla as pro-French and his diplomatic acts as a "betrayal" for the German Empire. Bismarck also always refused to hold diplomatic talks with Spain unless Zorilla not participated on it.
Zorrilla was replaced by his deputy, Práxedes Mateo Sagasta, on the 1893 general election and formally retired from politics in 1894, much to his failing health and the loss of his wife. Indifferent with Zorrilla, Sagasta was a staunch liberal and continued most of his predecessor's policies during this term. An assassination attempt to King Leopoldo I in 1895 by the Carlist insurgents that suspected by the Spanish government for being backed by France, immediately re-started the hostilities between France and Spain once more and led Sagasta to break Spain's diplomatic relations with the neighboring country.
Minor border skirmishes between the Spanish and the French armies finally escalated into the Pyrenean War in 1900 after the French army crossed the Pyrenees and reached Barcelona. Despite only happening for two weeks and ending in an armistice in Andorra, the war indeed brought Spain closer to Germany. These conflicts later extended with a colonial rivalry between France and Spain over Morocco for gaining the influence over the country. Spain mobilized reserve army units in Ceuta with German aid against the French in 1903. In 1904, France and Spain agreed to partition the territory of the sultanate, with Spain receiving concessions in the far north and south of Morocco.
While losing to the Americans in the Spanish-American War in 1899, the successful effort to keep the Spanish East Indies during the Spanish-Japanese War in 1901 nevertheless boosted the national morale in Spain proper and the popularity of monarchy. In the German-Spanish Treaty of 1901, Spain sold the Caroline Islands and the Mariana Islands in the Pacific to its ally, Germany for strategic purposes. With the German colonies side-by-side with the Spanish East Indies, Spain hoped Germany would station its fleets in the Pacific that can help the Spanish in a possible war against the Japanese or the Americans.
World War I (1914–1918)
On July 28, 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia after a Serb nationalist murdered the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and his wife in Sarajevo a month before. The nations that joined the Entente and the Quadruple Alliance soon declared war to each other (except Italy which then joined war with the Entente). Despite initial reluctance to join Germany and her allies, Spain officially declared war on the Entente on August 5, 1914 after the French and British troops invaded Spanish Morocco and Spanish Guinea. The mobilization on the Spanish mainland, however, was not fully ordered until September 1914 as Spain still prepared for a mountain warfare on the Pyrenees.
On September 17, 1914, the Spanish Army, led by General Miguel Primo de Rivera, launched an offensive aimed to cross the Pyrenees and take the border town of Prats-de-Mollo-la-Preste in southwestern France. As the Spanish were prepared much better than the French for that kind of warfare, France suffered a devastating loss in the Pyrenees. The Spanish Army successfully occupied the French departments of Pyrénées-Orientales and Pyrénées-Atlantiques by November 1914 since France concentrated the majority of its forces on the Western Front.
On other fronts, the British, French and Japanese seized Spain's colonies in Africa and Asia. The ground and naval battles between Japanese and Spanish forces on the Spanish East Indies were proved to be the most notable fighting on the Asian and Pacific theatre between the Allies and the Central Powers. The fighting would last until 1916 with the Japanese victory at the Battle of Mindanao.
The Spanish suffered a great setback when the United States foreign volunteers that personally raised by U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt were sent to fight as part of the French Army in the Pyrenees in 1915. As result, the fighting in the Pyrenees became a stalemate similarly like the Western Front. This stalemate was ended after the United States formally joined the war as part of the Allies in 1917 and sent its expeditionary forces to France. In desperation and loss of morale, many Spanish soldiers mutinied and deserted from their ranks. The flu pandemic outbreak in 1918 also further deteriorated the Spanish in home-front. On November 7, 1918, Spain signed the Armistice of Pheasant Island with the Allies.
First Republic era (1918–1929)
On November 15, 1918, King Guillermo I abdicated and a Republican, Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, was named as the head of provisional government in the following days. Shortly after the king's abdication, a large-scaled revolt broke out throughout the Spanish mainland and was supported by the revolutionary wing of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE). On other side, the PSOE reformist wing, led by the party's founder, Pablo Iglesias, considered themselves to participate in the provisional government with the Republicans. Hoping to gain the workers' support, Ibáñez forged the Republican-Socialist coalition on December 1. The radical leftists who refused to join the coalition then formed the Communist Party of Spain, led first by Indalecio Prieto, on December 8, 1919.
Spain was effectively a republic by December 1919 and the authority of the provisional government had been recognized by most of the revolted soldiers and workers. On January 1, 1919, the Spanish Republic was formally proclaimed by the coalition government, much to the dismay of the monarchists who believed the question of monarchy or republic should be answered by a national assembly.
The first post-war parliamentary elections took place on February 12, 1919. The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) gained 31% plurality of the votes, while the Republican National Union (UNR) gained 27%, the right-wing Catholic National Action (ANC) 21%, the moderate Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) over 15% and the rest of 5% of votes was shared by local pro-autonomy parties such in Catalonia and the Basque Country. The Communist Party and several monarchist parties boycotted and refused to participate in the election. The PSOE-UNR coalition, now joined by the PLP and several local pro-autonomy parties, held an absolute majority of the seats. The PSOE leader, Pablo Iglesias, was elected as the first President of the Spanish Republic on March 4, 1919.
Spain and the victorious Allies signed the Treaty of Fontainebleau on August 10, 1919. According to the treaty, Spain was not obliged to pay the war reparations since the country believed can not afford the burdens due to the loss of its colonies. However, Spain must ceded Navarre to France, limited its army to 50,000 men and all Spanish overseas possessions were to be handed over to League of Nations, who then assigned them as mandates to France, Japan, Portugal, and the United Kingdom. As the United States did not join the League of Nations, Spain and the United States signed a separate peace treaty in 1921. Spain recognized the American occupation of Puerto Rico and Spanish West Africa, while the United States in return dropped its demand on Spain to pay the war reparations.
The decade of First Republic era was marked by political chaos, turbulent economic situation and strained relations between the state and the Catholic Church. The republican government was especially unpopular among the Catholics due to its anticlericalism as stated in the Republican constitution. Due to the unstable nature of the Republic, the monarchists and some high-ranking Army officers led by General Miguel Primo de Rivera instigate a coup against the elected government on September 1, 1928. Primo de Rivera then was appointed as president of eight-membered Supreme Directory. Due to its anti-leftist nature, the military coup enjoyed significant supports from the Catholics and the right Republicans. In 1929, the military junta suspended the 1919 constitution, thus legally ended the First Republic era.
Supreme Directory era (1928–1935)
Miguel Primo de Rivera served as the country's leader, entitled as the caudillo of Spain, from 1928 to his death in 1930. During his term, Primo de Rivera was able to bring stability and order to the country, while at the same time repressed the opposition and limited the press. However, shortly before his death, Primo de Rivera planned to restore civilian government and dismiss the military Directory. However, his efforts were reversed by the Directory following his death as the new leader, General José Sanjurjo, implemented more clear authoritarian rule, much to the disappointment of the Republicans and Catholic trade-unions.
The Great Depression in 1930 marked a turning point of the public support from the regime due to its inefficiency to stabilize the country's economy. In 1933, Primo de Rivera's son, José Antonio, established Falange Española ("Spanish Phalanx"). The Falange Party was mainly inspired by Italian Fascism and was republican, syndicalist and modernist in nature. Unlike other Spanish right-wing parties, the Falanges strongly opposed to the rule of Supreme Directory who they viewed as conservative and backward as well as reverted many radical policies implemented by late Miguel Primo de Rivera.
During its early years, José Antonio and the Falanges vigorously campaigned for the rearmament of the nation, restoration of Spanish international dignity and closer cooperation with Italy in order to contain the spread of international communist movement led by the Soviet Union. This campaign gained wide popular support, especially from the Spanish lower classes, as the public believed the Falanges would bring the political and social stability in Spain and was destined to restore the old glory of Spanish Empire and its people. This radical political agenda thus perceived as direct threat for the ruling regime. On April 11, 1935, de Rivera was arrested and accused for treason and conspiracy against the Republic. He was detained at prison for about four weeks.
Falange dictatorship (1935–1945)
With the help of sympathetic prison guards, on May 19, 1935, Primo de Rivera successfully escaped from his jail and fled to Paris in disguise before reached Rome on May 26, 1935. Primo de Rivera and his followers then conspired to stage a coup which will lead to the establishment of a totalitarian state in Spain.