The Popular Will: Reformism, Radicalism, Republicanism & Unionism in Britain 1815-1960

Part 5, Chapter XV
V, XV: The Powers of Accord

As 1890 arrived, Joseph Chamberlain grew concerned that the revolutionary energy of the Teal days had subsided. The arrival of the LDP and SDF as opposition forces had forced him to conclude that the inertia and lethargy that beset other “National” movements, the Liberal and National Parties under Peel and Palmerston, respectively, threatened to engulf the Unionist Party. The Unionist Party had intended to be above sectional interests and united by moving British interests forward. Still, amid the ongoing crisis, it had become a reactionary force. Nothing represented this reaction than the March 1890 reshuffle of his cabinet, which saw none other than Senator Cecil rise to the role of Foreign Secretary.


Senator Robert Cecil, the former Marquess of Salisbury, British Foreign Secretary, 1890-1893

The old Conservative elements of his party had long been seeking to integrate the remaining Tories into the party. Cecil, the arch-royalist, was the kingmaker for such an alliance. The arrival of Boulanger, with his radical-nationalist Government, persuaded President-Regent Stanley to advise Chamberlain that a steadier head and a less aggressive approach might be the best port of call regarding the French threat. Chamberlain reluctantly agreed and appointed the old Lord Salisbury to the position, partly to lessen the impact of the Progressive Unionists, some of his old Democratic brethren who followed him to the Unionist Party. While most regard the Government formed in 1892 as the start of the “Conservative Unionist” phase of the party, it is undoubted that it begins here, in my view. While the remaining two years of the Parliamentary term would bring some Radical legislation in the form of the Second Programme, its reactionary turn was confirmed by Senator Cecil’s appointment.

Senator Cecil’s first task was to attend a conference between the United States, Germany, and Britain over its pacific holdings after a long, drawn-out disagreement over Samoa. The three powers had attempted to agree three years earlier, but this attempt failed in the last days of the pre-Unionist era. Still, with stability beginning to return, Chamberlain believed the Foreign Policy sphere would provide the revolutionary zeal to counteract the lethargy. Senator Cecil was a relaxed, witty, and intelligent figure who had been under-utilised due to his royalist leanings. With the Clarence Street Affair extinguishing his last hopes for restoration, he and many Tories cut their losses with the Union. They firmly sided with Chamberlain and Churchill from 1890 in the aftermath of the General Strike. A revolutionary party had become the establishment party of the right in just three years, much to Chamberlain’s chagrin.

Chamberlain had high hopes for Senator Cecil’s ability to protect British interests in the pacific and wanted Cecil to return from the conference with a critical victory: preparing the Pacific colonies for Union in the same manner as India and Canada before. He called on the President-Regent to send the Premier of New South Wales, Henry Parkes, as a delegation member to further this aim. Parkes delivered a speech in late 1889 advocating the Union of the Australian colonies into a federation. Still, Chamberlain wanted to push this further: creating a “Union of Australasia,” which would unite the colonies in Australia with the pacific holdings, creating an economic power in Britain’s control in East Asia. Creating this Union did not necessarily clash with the outcomes of the other two powers, who desired trading routes in the pacific. The most significant contention was to be hand with US Secretary of State James Blaine, who, along with Harrison, wished for US hegemony over the Pacific through the creation of protectorates. Germany wanted to protect its pacific interests, seal a colony in the pacific and protect existing trading posts.


Henry Parkes, the first Prime Minister of Australasia, 1892-1896

Each power had a considerable stake in the region. The US had acquired a fueling station in Pago Pago in Tutuila in 1878 in exchange for protecting Samoa. Germany had gained concessions at Apia on Upolu, a neighboring island, a few years later. Britain influenced the region through the British Western Pacific Territories, created in 1877, in New Zealand and Australia. Instability had been caused in the region by royal succession in Samoa. The Samoan Monarchy wasn't hereditary but achieved by consensus among tribes. After the death of the previous monarch in 1880, Tafa'ifa Malietoa Laupepa assumed the crown, but the tribes were not in accord about his ascension. Colonial interests in the region did their best to beset the instability and support Laupepa, but still, war threatened the region. It was only the intervention of the US in the area that allowed a peace treaty to be imposed and allowed Laupepa to rule. The Tafa'ifa was still beholden to the colonial powers and in a difficult position. As Germany noticed lawlessness in its colonial outposts, it began to cool its interest in Laupepa. The US stood by Laupepa but was equally cooling on his power over Samoa.

In 1885, the Germans and British decided to overthrow Laupepa, with the Germans moving to take full protectorate status of Samoa. In 1887, the Germans moved to take complete control of Samoa, with resistance organised by Mata'afa Iosefo, who proclaimed himself the new Paramount Chief. The Germans threatened Mata'afa Iosefo and issued an ultimatum to the new King with the threat of total annexation in 1889. This threat required a response from the US and Britain. Britain had tried to use its friendly relations with the Germans to force them to back down, but it was no use. The US sent three warships to Samoa, facing off against three German warships. The two remained at loggerheads until a cyclone destroyed all six in March 1889. Throughout the year, relations were incredibly tense between the Germans and Americans. With Britain sitting between the two powers, Chamberlain identified creating a lasting peace in the pacific as a critical foreign policy objective to protect the British interests in the region. The colonial powers also had a distant but pertinent threat of France, who controlled Indochina after the Sino-French War in 1884-85. With a bellicose imperialist leader in power in France, Britain believed that division between the powers would allow the French to expand their holdings.

Cecil built upon this initial belief from Chamberlain with his thoughts that balance and isolation between Britain and friendly naval nations needed to be maintained to isolate France. Cecil believed in isolationism through diplomacy and thought concessions in the region would allow Germany, the United States, and Britain to cohabit peacefully. It was through this prism that the powers called the Washington Conference.

The Washington Conference also acted as a broader conference of delegates: Italy, the Balkan Kingdom, Sweden-Norway, and Japan all sent some representatives to the meeting, regarding it as a more comprehensive meeting of the "Little Concert," the power base of European diplomatic affairs. The preliminary discussions were between the “Big Three”: Cecil, Blaine, and Bismarck, but ancillary meetings continued throughout the delegates' four-week stay in Washington. An agreement was reached, brokered by Senator Cecil, that would establish a condominium in Samoa protecting all interests on the island, with Germany controlling Savaii in its entirety and America controlling Upolu. Merchants from all three nations would have free access to the waters on both islands, and disagreements would be arbitrated between the two nations in dispute by the third nation. Germany would have the right to annex its portion of Samoa, while the US could restore Laupepa or declare a protectorate over the island. Cecil had achieved a sense of peace between the powers.

In exchange for this, Cecil and Parkes informed the Germans and Americans that preparations would be made for the British holdings in the region to be combined into a Union - its Australian colonies acting as a federation, with Western Pacific Territories protected by the British Navy in conjunction with the new Union of Australasia.

Parkes stated, with approval from Senator Cecil and Prime Minister Chamberlain, that the British would seek to prevent future instabilities in its territories by removing traditional methods of governance. In Parkes' proposal, the six colonies in Australia and New Zealand would be admitted as entire states. At the same time, British New Guinea, New Caledonia, Santa Cruz, Fiji, Tonga, Cook Islands, and Society Islands would have their traditional leaders removed, joining the Union as occupied territories. Federation would achieve two aims: it allowed Parkes to resolve the disunited colonies and their administration of the Australian colonies and allowed Britain to put "trusted" colonial administration in charge of outposts under a single colonial appointee. Throughout the rest of 1890, the British Navy sought to place more troops, often recruited from Parkes supporters and the hardcore Unionists that comprised Chamberlain's most prominent supporters in the motherland.

At this point, there was no overarching authority in the Australian colonies despite Parkes' insistence that they create one. He had attempted to do so, without success, in 1885 but found political instability in the motherland the blockade to such progress. Now, in 1890, with stability growing in the body politic in the Union, Parkes thought this was the time for this to change. Opposition came from the individual colonies and their elites, who wanted to protect their sphere of influence, and smaller states, fearing that the larger states would swamp them.

Parkes called a convention between the various colonies' leaders and administrators from the pacific territories. The larger colonies were unmoved by the promise of generous aid from Britain to administer the pacific territories. The smaller colonies were still concerned by the threat of domination by New South Wales and Queensland, the largest states. Still, under pressure from Britain, the delegates agreed to a 96-point plan for a Constitution that bound the British interests in the Pacific into a single fiscal and political union. The Union would establish a bicameral Australasian Parliament consisting of a President-Regent’s representative and a Senate of an equal number of representatives appointed by Colonial Parliaments. A House of Commons made up of delegates apportioned by population would control a more limited number of areas of competence than in Britain and Canada at the behest of small and large states.

The political organisation was modelled on the Union of Britain, and the British Parliament made one change to the lexicon upon its ratification: all the Unions would be headed by a representative styled the Vice-Regent rather than the Governor-General that had come before it. Parkes had initially favored the Commonwealth of Australasia moniker, but the Colonial Office indicated that the state would need to be called a Union. Entry into the Union would be voluntary, and after receiving a guarantee of equal representation in the upper house, the Senate, New Zealand signed on, but Western Australia did not. They would wait until the beginning of the new century to join the Union. In 1891, each colony held a referendum to join the new Union. New Zealand and New South Wales would be most closely contested (and allegations of ballot stuffing persisted for years afterward), but six colonies and seven territories were bound together. On January 1st, 1892, President-Regent Stanley signed the Union of Australasia Act. The third Union was born. The new Vice-Regent of Australia, Henry Robert Brand, issued writs for an election. Parkes, forming a “Unionist Party of Australia,” won a healthy majority. He would administer the new Union until he died in 1896.


Parkes speaking to the National Australasia Constitutional Convention, 1891 in Melbourne

The Washington Conference also created a new harmony between the great Naval Powers. Discussions between the three powers and Japan saw accord over each respective naval sphere, despite German insistence that Japan was an inferior power. The powers signed a treaty, and each delegation could return to its legislature and declare a victory. Senator Cecil returned to the Senate and, in a statement, described the situation. “We have achieved a measure of peace between the great, civilised nations of the world. This peace has been brought about utilising the urge for accord between nations. Such accord has been achieved.”

From this day forward, the collection of powers comprising Germany, the United States, the Union of Great Britain, Italy, the Balkan Kingdom, and Japan would become known as the “Powers of Accord,” or simply “The Accord.” They would become a critical military alliance in the future.
Part 5, Chapter XVI
V, XVI: The Panic of 1890

The rapid expansion of the joint-stock company influenced the economy of the major developed nations. Since the economic revolution of the joint-stock company, global enterprises had been allowed to pursue risk on behalf of shareholders without risking the general finances of individuals, meaning companies could invest and attempt large grand undertakings without the worry of embroiling individual shareholders in the financial dealings. After 1856 and the Joint Stock Companies Act, limited companies had become legal corporate bodies, separate from their shareholders. This fueled a global investment mania that had seen speculative bubbles in the railways, which nearly torpedoed the economic system itself.

After the ferocious growth of the 1870s and 1880s, a malaise began to set in. The First Programme sought to reduce this malaise in Britain by providing capital investment for infrastructure development. Still, this investment reduction caused stagnating wages, resulting in worker discontent and the 1889 General Strike. Despite intervention in France and Great Britain, the stagnation had begun to hold. A parliamentary committee was formed in 1888 as part of the First Programme to discuss the crisis and concluded that the rise in the value of gold had been the primary cause of the stagnation and caused deflation: less gold was required to buy goods. This summary was opposed by many economists at the time, who pointed out that prices had not risen uniformly: Tobacco prices had risen by nearly 100 percent, Indigo prices, and the cost of meat had also risen sharply between 1880 and 1890.

The gold hypothesis was found wanting to explain the discovery of gold in holdings towards the end of the 1880s of the British South Africa Company, which had increased the global gold supply under British command. The increase in the gold supply did not affect prices. The real reason for the rise in prices was a toxic mixture of lousy credit, middle-class investment in fraudulent enterprises, the formation of cartels like the British South Africa Company, and the unscrupulous dealings of banks. This house of cards would collapse in 1890.

The reason for the collapse was Argentina. Throughout the second half of the 18th century, immigration to the country fueled economic growth. Enterprising businessmen traveled to the end of the Earth to make money for themselves by creating joint-stock companies. These companies would take advantage of mineral wealth in the country, sending the excess profits back home to shareholders who would be rewarded for their risk. When shareholders couldn't be found, banks would loan the money with the promise of a healthy return. The Argentine state welcomed these visitors and used the influx of people to justify a massive expansion of its debt, which had risen steadily over this period. When the debts became significant, and the population increases remained the same, the Government borrowed more to cover the interest on the debts. A cycle had begun. All over the world, the profits from speculation like these had influenced banks' desires to take on larger and larger portfolios of debt. The Argentine Government willingly stimulated all this. Capital investments increased, and British banks, particularly, had been keen to finance the capital investments to lead to a more general feeling of financial control of the developing world by the Union of Great Britain. The banks, you see, were part of the Unionist spirit of the age. Britain was littered with get-rich-quick schemes in the leadup to the crisis, and many of the British middle class had fallen for the lies backed by banks.


Without Bread or Work by Ernesto de la Cárcova, showing the effect of the 1890 inflationary crisis on Argentina

Global suspicion of financial interest in Argentina began to rise during the latter half of the 1880s. Financiers began to hear troubling stories of worthless assets being purchased on credit globally, an epidemic in Europe but endemic in Argentina. Houses and factories built with credit were then abandoned. The same proprietors built houses and factories built on further credit under new joint-stock companies in another part of the country. Global financial institutions wised to this by early 1890 and began to cease lending to the Argentine government, forcing them to service debts by selling its gold, further fueling inflation. In July, the inflation became unbearable for ordinary Argentines, who rose up and toppled the Government of Miguel Juárez Celman and the National Autonomist Party. The Radical Civic Union, led by Leandro Alén, took over after an armed takeover of the Buenos Aires Artillery Park. Alén was initially supported by a faction of the police who looted military arsenals and took over the capital. Eventually, the National Autonomist Party resigned and urged the military to support the Civic Union. Leandro Alén discovered that corruption had been a huge element of Miguel Juárez Celman's Government and the entire country was a bubble about to burst.

The largest lender to the Argentine market was the House of Barings, an ancient institution that conducted its dealings with fierce secrecy. It was overexposed to the oncoming crisis in Argentina. By August 1890, Alén announced that the country had run out of gold and would default. The head of the bank, Unionist Senator Edward Charles Baring, admitted in September that Barings Bank might be insolvent due to the investments. Only a loan would prevent a global collapse of the banking sector, so an international consortium of banks, including the Bank of England and Rothschild Bank, provided a loan negotiated by Chancellor Randolph Churchill on behalf of his political ally. The whole thing was kept secret until November, when The Beehive obtained documents that certain workers within Barings had known about the financial misdealings but hid them from investors. Middle-class investors, ordinary people, lost their entire wealth overnight as their investments became worthless. Despite this, contemporary economists praise the actions of the international consortium, believing their intervention prevented an absolutely catastrophic global recession. Elsewhere, after the crisis, Banks tightened credit, which had dire consequences for agricultural producers in Britain and America. A global recession occurred. Against this backdrop, the Farmer-Labor Party would campaign for the first time in the United States midterm elections.
Supplemental: 1890 United States Midterm Elections
Supplemental: The 1890 United States Midterm Elections

The Farmer-Labor Party at 125: The Party of People’s Power
, Jules Witcover, 2014

“The 1890 midterm elections came at the worst possible time for the Republican administration. The financial panic around the global financial system has seen credit drying up, and farmers struggled from the twin crisis of the effects of the McKinley Tariff and a lack of capital. Workers saw a fall in wages throughout the early Autumn, and the sense that the Republicans had no economic competence grew amongst urban and rural workers alike.

Luckily for them, a new political force was claiming to represent the two sides of the working-class divide. The Farmer-Labor Party was established to confederate trade groups with the Farmers Alliance movement and create a unified working man’s party in the United States. Both the Democrats and Republicans had been working hard to alienate their voter bases between 1888 and 1890, opening a political gap for the party.


Farmer-Labor Party Congressional and State Legislature Congress, 1890.

The Republicans had become beset by nativism, and President Harrison’s administration and state committees had pushed for English-only education, angering German and Dutch protestants who wanted more flexibility. The Democrats had been engaged in a bitter internal conflict that would soon also plague the Republicans, between Progressives, like William Jennings Bryan, and Conservative ‘Bourbon’ Democrats, mainly representing the South. While the Democrats went into the election more widely favored to win seats, it was by no means a popular electoral force.

When the Farmer-Labor Convention adopted its platform, it surprisingly opposed English-only education and won the support of a multi-confessional alliance of Irish Catholics and Northern European protestants. Its general opposition to prohibition (a stance that would not be all-encompassing) attracted these groups to the Farmer-Labor Party further and brought more voters from the Republican Party. While the business and middle-class vote stayed with the GOP, workers fled the main parties.

The transfer of voters from Republican to Farmer-Labor was more pronounced than from the Democrats, and many voters switched from Republican to Democrat. As such, the Democrats won a healthy majority in the House, winning 220 seats to the GOP’s 70. The sensational news was the 42 seats where Farmer-Labor won, giving them a sizable caucus in the new Congress. In the Senate, the Farmer-Labor Party won the balance of power, winning six seats to the Democrat’s 39 and GOP’s 43.

In gubernatorial elections, Farmer-Labor won control of Governor’s houses in North & South Dakota, Oregon, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, and Nevada. They also won minority status in Alabama, Wyoming, and, most impressively, New York, where Henry George led a faction that won 41 seats in the New York State Assembly. Farmer-Labor, it turned out, was here to stay.”
Last edited:
Here is a quick update on where we are with all this. Sorry about the delay in January with new updates. I hope that the 1890 Midterm and the French reaction to the Washington Conference updates will be enough to whet your appetite for the upcoming updates.

I recently returned to Spain, an element I wanted to explore but couldn't find the time for. This has ballooned a little bit, and in adapting my notes, I've produced an extended supplemental series that will bring us up to date on Spain and take us from 1873 to 1890. This period will have implications for the rest of the piece, so I've made one or two adjustments to the wording of a few previous updates to bring it into line.

The series is called Spain: La Era Revolucionaria and comprises nine chapters. It is linked but separate from the main TL, but subsequent updates concerning Spain will draw heavily from the text. Once it's completed, we'll head into the 1890s and the descent into The Turbulence, which is the topic of the next book in the series, from 1898 to 1925. La Era Revolucionaria should set us up for the global situation perfectly and will have pretty immediate implications for France, Britain, and the United States. It also opens us up to Portugal, who'll be explored more between 1890-1898.

The supplemental is finished but needs a read-through, so it'll probably arrive in the coming days.
Last edited:
Supplemental: France after the Washington Conference
Supplemental: France after the Washington Conference

French Foreign Policy 1889-1902: An Introduction
Frédéric Bozo, 2016

“France was aware of diplomatic wrangling as the Powers of Accord emerged. The French Great Chancellery was mindful of the agreement and territorial changes in Samoa and began looking for a diplomatic response. Boulanger was also informed of the decision and was said to be furious. He knew the impact the combined strength of German and British naval power could successfully blockade the French. The country began to look for allies to occupy Germany to pull resources away from its naval operations. The French Foreign Ministry began funding Polish nationalist groups in the German Empire and heavily funded the Serbian state with Austria-Hungary in the aftermath of the Balkan War of Independence. More than anything, they needed allies in the great European powers.

The most obvious was the Russian Empire, and the reactionary Tsar Alexander III was a willing partner for a state looking to stop the liberal turn in Germany and Britain. Russia was the first to recognise France’s new government, while Britain and Germany stalled, sowing discontent towards the powers with the French public. Russia, too, had been experiencing anti-German and British sentiment. The British had been a long-time rival in Central Asia, and Russia deemed it to have undermined Russian prestige with its proxy intervention in the Balkan War of Independence.

In the press, anti-British slants were typical in St Petersburg’s active newspaper scene. Germany had long been a rival of Russia, but in the aftermath of the Balkan War of Independence, this had increased. This perceived injustice can be summed up by one Petersburgian Newspaper, which said that the “British and the Prussians had adopted the cowardly stance of hiding behind subversive action against Slavs and encourage action that will spill Slav blood. God will soon spill theirs.”

Tsar Alexander and General Boulanger got on incredibly well, and the two met immediately after the convocation of the first Legislature of the new state on his first visit. While the two powers signed no treaties or agreements, the two were courting a close relationship.

Russia’s alliances brought new potential partners for the French. Throughout 1890, a series of bombs in Serbia undermined the fragile peace in the Balkans in the aftermath of the war. The Balkan Kingdom blamed Austria for the attacks. Believing the Kingdom would collapse, Russia and Austria began to negotiate in September a compromise over its territorial ambitions in the region. They secretly agreed to spheres of influence; Austria-Hungary would annex Bosnia, Montenegro, and Northern Serbia, while Russia would annex Bulgaria, Southern Serbia, Macedonia, and the entirety of Thrace. Albanian and Romania would be under a protectorate state but nominally independent.

For Russia, this would be a massive undertaking but would allow Tsar Alexander to unify the Slavs under one Empire and enable the Tsar to call himself the protector of all Orthodox Christianity. It would also cause war with Italy, Germany, and Britain. For Austria, it would continue its growth and access the prestige of new lands without a nationalist menace on its doorstep. For them, it was nothing dissimilar to the partition of Poland.

The German government was outraged upon finding out the details, which diplomats in Vienna leaked to the German press. The Kaiser ordered a meeting with the Austrian Ambassador, and Wilhelm sent an angry correspondence to Franz Joseph describing his displeasure at the events. The fallout meant the Germans believed the Austrians were no longer trustworthy partners. As part of the response, the Kaiser abandoned Austria as an ally. The connection between Russia and France and the budding alliance of Russia and Austria was beginning to become a triangular affair. Informally throughout late 1890, Grand Constable Boulanger and Grand Chancellor Dillon visited the Emperor and Foreign Minister of Austria in Vienna and began to arrange an alliance. The Russian Ambassador to Vienna, Prince Aleksey Borisovich Lobanov-Rostovsky, also attended. The existence of an informal bloc started here in late 1890.

France, however, needed a partner in its backyard, and Boulanger desired a quick military victory to expand its counter-organization to the growing anti-French bloc in Europe. It looked to its turbulent neighbour to the south, Spain.”
Supplemental: La Era Revolucionaria Part 1-3
Supplemental: La Era Revolucionaria Part 1-3

Part 1: The Seeds of Democracy
La Era Revolucionaria in Spain is undoubtedly a critical part of the turn Europe faced in the mid to late 1870s and was prominent in the mind of Republicans in Britain throughout this period. Spain had abolished its monarchy in 1873, and as the Republic was declared, several intellectuals returned from France, bringing the ideas of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon to the various cities and settlements around the country.

One of these intellectuals was Francesc Pi y Margall. Pi developed a reputation in Radical circles by providing the Spanish translation of Proudhon’s work. Setting a radical departure from liberal constitutionalism and towards anarcho-communalism, Pi headed home to build a new state built without the ruthless authority which had, in his eyes, crushed the perfect utopia two years earlier in France: the Paris Commune. He called his ideology “Pactism,” which would see a new Spanish State built from pacts between the Municipalities to form States and between the States to create a nation. If anything, this belief spread too well around Spain.

The newly declared Republic faced internal threats from two sources in 1873: the Third Carlist War and attempts by Conservatives to restore the Bourbon dynasty. The first saw followers of Don Carlos in the North attempting to ascend him to the throne, and Carlist forces occupied a significant territory in the Basque and Catalan lands; the second saw pressure from Restorationists undermining the Republic.

The conflict was between those opposed to the country's centralisation, like the Carlists and Federal Republicans, and the Monarchists and Moderate Republicans, who wanted an efficient, centralised bureaucracy. Subsequently, the matter of Centralism and Federalism divided both the Monarchists and the Republicans. The lack of a unified Republican movement made the prospects for the Republic bleak, and it burned through three Presidents in its first year. The final appointment of 1973, Pi y Margall, leader of the Federal Democratic Republican Party (FDRP), initially resigned after a month in April. Still, he was persuaded to return by a Republican movement seeing power slip through its fingers. The return of Pi y Margall would prove to be the Republican’s best decision.


Francesc Pi y Margall, President of the Spanish Executive Power and a member of the first Junta Ejecutive de Comisarios (1874-1880)

Pi was a federalist and radical but believed that the combination of the army and the enthusiasm of the cantons would be the best way to secure the Republics’ long-term future. These funds allowed the state to limp through a crisis organised by Radicals, who wanted a centralised Republic modelled on the French Third Republic. Several strands of political thought influenced the party Pi led; the British Provincialist Movement, the French Proudhonist Movement, and Classical Republicanism, with preferred models ranging from the French and United States Constitutions to the heavily decentralised Swiss Constitution.

These varying strands split Spanish Republicans in three ways: intransigents, representing the left; centrists, representing the Federalist centre; and moderates representing the Centralist right. The intransigents wanted a “bottom-up constitution” modelled on Switzerland, the centrists wanted a constitution based on the United States, and the moderates wanted a centralised Republic based on France. Ideologically, Provincialist sentiment in Britain and the Republican undercurrents in the Radical Party tended to align best with the Federalists. At the proclamation of the Republic, keen Federalists Dilke and Bradlaugh sent congratulatory notes.

The International Working Man’s Association was also prevalent but followed the Bakuninist line rather than the Marxist line. The FRE-AIT, the Spanish section of the International, was hugely popular among elements of the Republican movement – but aligned with the Anarchist movement rather than the Socialists, as was common in many other countries. After 1872’s Hague Congress, when the Marxists expelled the Anarchists from the International, the Spanish Federation separated, and Marxism was no longer the dominant force in the country.

The centrists, who followed a more traditional Socialist line, were led by Pi and the intransigents by José María Orense. Both Margall and Orense wanted a Federal Republic. Still, the journey to such a Republic was the sticking point. Owing to the Anarchist tendencies of the intransigents, they believed that the only way to create a Republic was to have a revolution. Pi had spent most of his life preaching this philosophy but wanted to conduct the affair in a controlled manner than would avoid outside conflict. This decision was centred on whether to hold a Constituent Cortes or build something entirely new.


Jose Orense, leader of the Intransigents and future Federal Commissioner

Most importantly, Pi wanted to avoid two outcomes: a Centralised Republic or a Monarchist victory. A Constituent Cortes would likely lead to the declaration of a Federal Republic, but it couldn’t be guaranteed. Still, Pi needed help to receive buy-in from the populous for an election, and Carlist forces occupied many parts of the country. At this moment, Pi was despondent, likely to be the leader of a short-lived Republic confined to the dustbin of history. British advisors from the Radical Party arrived in Madrid in May 1873 and made quite an impression on Pi. They convinced Pi to seize the moment and fulfil his ambition to build a Pactist state from the bottom up rather than the top down. One of the three advisors was Charles Dilke, who travelled to Spain in June for a month at the height of his Republican mania. He was radialised by the atmosphere of euphoric federalism Britain lacked and said, “the seeds of a Democratic state are here, and I believe that President Pi can fertilise them.”

Part 2: Nationalists & Internationalists
Throughout Spain, the traditions of previous revolutions and revolutions from history melded to form a unique stew of lexicon. Juntas, the instrument of democratic decision-making from the 1812 Revolution, were joined by demands for “Cantons” to be developed, influenced by the Swiss Constitution. Soon Orense added a bastardised element from yet another revolution. As the threats to the Federal Republic began to seem more and more serious, intransigents formed “Public Health Committees,” influenced by the Committee of Public Safety in the French Revolution, as a critical administrative tool.

Such organisational verve struck fear into the hearts of the moderates, who did not want a social revolution to accompany the political revolution. Radicals feared repression, like the Radicals of the Paris Commune before. Pi would be forced to tread a line between the two, bringing the radical departure from the old desired by the intransigents while comforting moderates that the federal republic would be no threat to them. He was officially affirmed as the Provisional President of the Executive Power and the Republic by the National Assembly on May 9th, 1873. With this power, he declared that he had cancelled the elections to the Constituent Cortes. The cancellation was an exceptionally provocative move from President Pi y Margall. He did not have the support of most of his party, less so the permission of those against him. To replace it, he called for a National Convention of Deputies from across Spain to discuss the direction of the state. He intended to boost his democratic credentials and bring the intransigents on his side.

The President worked with Orense to develop a plan that would allow him to coordinate such a Convention. At the same time, Conservatives were incensed by the move from the Intransigents and Centrists. Now encompassing the Moderate Republicans, they believed Spain was about to be subsumed by lawlessness, thanks to the actions of the collective Federalist movement. FRE-AIT, the Intransigents, and the Centrists actively supported the convocation of a Convention and prepared for its start in July 1873. Until then, Pi declared the National Assembly the Provisional Convention and purged it of its Conservative members to give the Intransigents and Centrists a clear majority.

In the regions, this coalition of FRE-AIT, the Intransigents, and Centralists began to put their stamp on their neighbourhoods. They formed Juntas, declared Cantons with neighbouring Juntas, began to write Cantonal Constitutions, raised militias, and assumed the responsibility of states. There was hostility between the Moderate Republicans, who occupied municipal administration, and workers, who wanted to build new forms of government in the cities and regions.

In one city, Alcoy in Valencia, the Federal Republican Mayor, Agustí Albors, resisted the FRE-AIT and Intransigent preparations for the Congress and insisted that the municipality would stay loyal to the Conservative and Moderate members of the Cortes, purged from the National Assembly. These members had been sitting in a parallel Madrid assembly and declared Emilio Castelar their Chairman, opposed to the cancellation of the Constituent Cortes election.

Rumours circulated that Albors and his fellow Moderates would elect a Cortes regardless and declare a unitary Republic, which they thought would be stronger than the Federation planned by the Intransigents. The leader of the local chapter of the FRE-AIT, Severino Albarracín, headed to the Place de la Republica on June 5th to demand that the Mayor and the Municipal Administration resign and submit themselves for arrest for plotting against the Federal Republic. The FRE-AIT was utterly dominant in Alcoy, and some 2,000 workers influenced by the group were led to the Place to surround it and demand that Albors give himself up. A group of Civil Guards inside the building attempted to break out, and a two-hour melee occurred, and in the fighting, Mayor Albors, members of the Civil Guard, and seven civilians were killed. Orense blamed the Civil Guard and the administration for failing to respond to the popular will and proposed that Volunteers of the Republic, a militia formed by Republican sympathisers, take over domestic policing.


Death of Mayor Albors in Alcoy, in the initial phase of the Era Revolucionaria

The Director of the Civil Guard, Mariano Socías del Fangar y Lledó, then responded by publicly supporting Castelar’s parallel government. Castelar indicated that it intended to seize power, declare the National Assembly’s purged members as the Constituent Cortes, and declare a Unitary Republic against the wishes of the majority of the population. As President of the Executive Power, Pi ordered the Volunteers of the Republic to disarm the Civil Guard across the country and arrest the leaders of the other administration. The President indicated, way beyond his actual power, that “no stone must be left unturned to find the agents that seek to destroy the Federal Republic.” The Volunteers became heavily fused with the FRE-AIT forces during this time, and supporters of the Federal Republic radicalised, organised without rank, and handled discipline through a system of committees rather than officers. Finally, a meeting in Madrid elected a Central Committee to coordinate their efforts.

At this time, the distinction between the groups in Republican Spain began to crystallise. Groups loyal to the Federal Republic, including the Juntas, Cantons, and the Intransigents and Centralists in political terms, began to coalesce into the “Federal forces,” or to borrow the name of the FRE-AIT, the Internationalists. Groups loyal to the Unitary Republic were known as the Nationalist forces. In reality, the Nationalists were significantly better armed but lesser in numbers. They would soon be required to find allies if they were to survive.

The Internationalists were strong in cities, with the Volunteers of the Republic, and in Naval ports. The Nationalists began to align themselves closely with anti-Carlist Monarchists, liberal Catholics, and the rural population. They controlled what remained of the traditional Spanish Army Officer Corps, the Civil Guards, and volunteers recruited by the Catholic Church hostile to the anticlerical nature of the Federal Republic. Carlists, too, had a provisional government located in the North of the country, where they were given unchecked power and freedom to organise and roam. The Nationalist Government recruited Francisco Serrano, 1st Duke of la Torre, to build a loyal base of armed followers to secure the status of the Unitary Republic, based in Salamanca.

The Duke of la Torre began to convey to the Nationalist leaders that a unitary state would be unable to consolidate power without a King, so he urged the leaders to come to a conciliatory agreement with the followers of Bourbon Monarchists to allow the ascension of Alfonso as King of Spain. He found a frosty reception to such an idea, believing it would end any hopes of unification of the Republic with the Federalists. In reality, the declaration of a rival unitary administration had long since quashed such hopes.

Part 3: Nationalists & Internationalists
President Pi y Margall used the freedom of the outlaw status of his rivals to push ahead with the Federal Convention. Juntas formed across the Federal Republic’s territory, followed by Cantons declared in Murcia, Madrid, Valencia, and Andalusia. Pi agreed with the Internationalists, who had declared a Catalan State, to sign a “pact of autonomy” to bring the Catalonians within the wider Federation, bringing a powerful lobby and the city that hosted the FRE-AIT Congress into the Internationalist wings. Following a brutal expulsion of Nationalist Republicans from many administrations, nearly the whole of the South and East, as well as Madrid, was administered by the Internationalists. With the peace between the Catalan State and the Internationalists in August 1873, the President felt he could finally call the National Convention.

The Convention was due to be made up of over 2,800 delegates, but just over 1,800 attended, representing the critical power brokers in the new Republic. Three hundred were reserved for delegates from the Volunteers of the Republic’s Militia Committees and Sailor Committees, 600 representing the Cantons allocated by population, and one representative for each of the 857 Juntas that had been declared since the Internationalists took power.

Cantons represented at the 1873 Federal Convention
Catalonia, Aragon, Cartagena, Valencia, Andalucia Alta, Andalucia Baja, Madrid, Malaga, Sevilla, Balearic Islands, Castilla la Veija, Castilla la Nueva

The FRE-AIT controlled just under a third of the seats available, and the united Intransigent and Centrist members of the Federal Democratic Republican Party held about 40%. Various radicals and Independents controlled the rest – but the summary of Pi before the plenary meeting was that a compromise between the FDRP and the FRE-AIT would be the only way to pass a pactist, bottom-up constitution for Spain. Orense, Pi y Margall, and Severino Albarracín began negotiating how the new Constitution would look. While there were disagreements, the three were able to hash out a compromise that would about serve as a middle point between all of their points of view.

As you would expect, the group's plenary meeting on June 23rd was chaotic, with the 1,800 packing into the Teatro Real, renamed the Teatro de Oriente by the Madrid Junta. The Convention established multiple interlocking bodies to draft the new document and rule Spain between drafting and adopting the constitution. The body voted to establish an executive sitting permanently, the Executive Council/Board of Commissioners, Junta Ejecutiva de Comisarios, or JEC. This five-man body would hold the powers of the Head of State and Head of Government until the constitution's passage. Convention members modeled the body on the Commissions formed in the Cantons, which oversaw the functioning of the Cantonal Government and collectively shared power. While a Chairman would be appointed (eventually Pi) and the nominal Head of State in the interim, his control would be no greater than any of his fellow Comisarios.


Facade of the Teatro Real, the birthplace of the Democratic Federation of Spain

Another body, the Comisión Central de Supervisión (CCS), would scrutinise the work of the JEC would between sessions of the whole convention. Half of its members were appointed by the representatives of the Cantonal Governments and half by the Convention as a whole. This comprised around 200 members and would sit in longer sessions. Essentially, the JEC would draft proposals, which would be approved by the CCS and adopted at the next full meeting of the Convention.

The Internationalists dubbed the proposals “The Temporary Pact,” and the structure would govern Internationalist Spain until the final draft of the new Constitution was adopted. The Convention met to elect the JEC and CCS during this plenary meeting, electing the Federalist triumvirate of Pi y Margall, Orense, Albarracín alongside Nicolás Estévanez Murphy, the Internationalist Military Governor of Madrid, and finally, and perhaps most surprisingly, Manuel Ruiz Zorrilla, former Prime Minister of Spain, to the JEC. Pi advocated passionately for his inclusion above the heads of some of the other members of the Internationalists, believing that Zorrilla would act as a bridgehead between the Internationalists forming the Federation and more radical members of the Nationalist coalition. The CCS was also elected, dominated by the FRE-AIT and the more politically radical members of the FDRP. Several more moderate members had also been elected to the Convention and opted to attend.

Outside Madrid, the Nationalists looked on with scorn. Thrust out of the capital, they retreated to Salamanca, the academic town 214 kilometres away. In the halls of the prestigious University, Castelar’s Government decided that more moderate monarchists could attend and participate in debates despite not having been elected to the National Assembly. The National Assembly, in its composition, was perhaps a better representation of the national mood of the Spanish people, as it was divided between Monarchists, Moderate Republicans, and even a certain number of Centrists and Intransigents. Many were members of the Convention and the National Assembly, and a few attended both sessions and attempted to bring the two groups together.

Castelar took the stage and, in one fell swoop, alienated the radical members of the National Assembly by declaring that the primary article of the new Constitution should be that "Spain is an indivisible, unitary state."

Not a Republic. A state. One of the unelected delegates, the Duke of la Torre, was said to have had a wry smile across his face as a din erupted across the hall. Republicans of all types knew what was happening here; the Moderates would sacrifice the whole Republic to prevent Federalism. For the Centrists and Intransigents present, it was all they needed to walk away with their consciences. For many Moderate Republicans, hitherto allied with Castelar, it was a sign that they had supported someone who had only lukewarm support for the Republic they had created together not a few months earlier. The use of the word State, rather than Republic, Castelar insisted, was not to walk back the proclamation of the Cortes but to leave the question open to the Constituent Cortes to decide the form of government. But, indeed, the Republic was the only option? Suddenly, to many Nationalist Republicans, this was not guaranteed. An Intransigent member said in the chamber:

"And so this chamber, after it declared that the form of government was the Republic, in my opinion and accordance with my principles, has no powers other than to enact the Republic. This very afternoon summarises the fear of the members of the Convention in Madrid: that, given the opportunity, the Republic would be tossed aside. That pig, Castelar, insisted it was the cantons, which were in their right, in my opinion, to be established within their sovereignty because they had been able to do it without permission from men like him, that were the blockade to the establishment of the Republic. It is not. Well, I hold that the Convention has not been in any way ... a movement of ruin, death, and desolation, as you supposed, but a movement that is a natural consequence of the very Republic that you have proclaimed and tossed aside."

While the plenary session of the National Assembly didn’t see the end of attempts for Internationalist members to contribute, even among the broader Republican base, confidence began to waver in Castelar. Republicans suspected his alliance with members of the moderate royalist movement meant he intended to restore the monarchy. The JEC stoked the flames of discord, posting a proposal for the convention the next day to guarantee “the eternal Republic” in its constitutional draft. Republicans began to side more with the Internationalists than the Nationalists.


Emilio Castelar, head of the National Assembly-aligned Government

Having not intended to involve the Monarchy, Nationalists united gradually on Alfonso, with a highly constitutional monarchy to bring “Order and Security” to the indivisible Spanish nation. After the State motion passed, most Republicans left the National Assembly, and several new members looked for membership in the Convention. The military and the majority of the Civil Guard supported the Nationalists, as did the church and the establishment. Castelar formed a “Coalition” government of politicians of previous years. The Convention held popular support, but power and military might were in the now more united Nationalist forces.
Last edited:
Supplemental: La Era Revolucionaria Part 4 & 5
Supplemental: La Era Revolucionaria Parts 4 & 5

Part 4: The First & Second Universal
The Convention met to form the Drafting Commission that would determine its proposal for the future of Spain. Pi and Orense led the committee and produced a draft in only 96 hours. Its first innovation was its name – “The Universal” of the Federation of Spain, not the Constitution. It was designed to be the overarching organic law of the land as declared by the whole of the Spanish State, not a constitution declared by some politicians in Madrid. The group decided to keep the document short and grouped it into six chapters, a preamble, personal power, legislative power, executive power, relational power, and judicial power.

The Preamble was a declaration of aims, transforming Spain into the Democratic Federation of Spain (Federación Democrática de España, Federation, or FDE), a “union of sovereign people bound in the spirit of cooperation and goodwill.” It bound the Federation, comprised of sovereign Cantons, to provide “peace, order, and good government” for the benefit of all in Spain. It guaranteed language rights to all minorities, the respect of the “many communities who reside within the Federation’s borders,” and the Federation would be composed of the sovereignty in the people, delegates to the central power, with the people in ultimate control of all power. It enshrined the principle of subsidiarity, where power should be exercised by the nearest possible authority, embedding decentralisation as a core theme. It also established the principle of subdividing the institutional capacity of the Federation between the following five chapters.


Flag of the Democratic Federation of Spain adopted by the Federal Congress in 1873

The second chapter focused on personal power and granting personal freedoms: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of assembly, freedom of thought, and freedom of mobility. The Federal Congress exercised legislative power, a two-house chamber that could legislate in areas of national importance, both directly elected by universal male suffrage. It oversaw the Volunteers of the Republic, as only the Federal Congress could appoint a Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. It also controlled the navy, railways, the national budget, foreign affairs, the approval of treaties, and national defence. Finally, it had the power to initiate Universals (or constitutional laws), subject to popular support.

The Congress comprised two chambers, the Council of Communities (sometimes called the Communal Council) and the Council of Deputies. The Council of Communities allocated seats between the cantons, each receiving four. Juntas representing large cities, like Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Valencia, and the Islands, would receive an additional two members. Members were not given a salary but could serve indefinitely. The Council of Deputies distributed its 250 deputies proportionately by Junta, but members could only serve non-consecutive terms. While the Federal Congress could only pass laws with the agreement of both houses, there were three sources of initiative; legislators, commissioners, and the people who could submit laws for recommendation.

As sovereignty ultimately resided in the people, the constitution placed heavy emphasis on direct democracy: every Councillor and Deputy was subject to recall by petition, and petitions could also introduce laws, veto legislative measures, and propose constitutional changes - all subject to a majority vote, with all elections held under universal male suffrage. Similar provisions were in effect at the Cantonal and Junta level. The Federal Congress would conduct joint sittings to elect new members of the JEC and had the power to pass universals subject to appeal by petition. To aid with the organisation of legislative proposals, the Congress would also elect a much smaller fourteen-man Comisión Central de Supervisión (CCS), which proposed the timetable and presided over joint sessions. Each member, or “Supervisor,” would sit for one seven-year term, with two elected each year by the Congress.

Members of the Executive Board of Commissioners (JEC) held the executive power of the state and acted as a combined collective Head of State and Government. Neither the Congress nor the people could recall a Commissioner once elected for a nonconsecutive seven-year term. Collectively they approved laws, could initiate legislation, represented Spain abroad, could refer legislation to a referendum, held a suspensive veto of one year on any bill, organised government commissions, and made appointments.

The convention designed the JEC as a coordination body rather than a government. It was the centre point between the Volunteers, the Legislature, the Judiciary, the Cantons, and the outside world. There were seven commissioners, renewed a member at a time every term of the Federal Congress. The JEC held the executive and the ‘relational power,’ as it was the highest representation of the people’s sovereignty in the Federation - so it claimed the ability to intervene in interstate disputes and acted as the mediator in any squabbling between the different layers and powers.

Finally, the JEC would be given the right to appoint the Commission of Common Justice (CJC), the highest judicial power in the Federation, subject to congressional approval. The law in the Federation would be bedded in the principle of subsidiarity, with most local courts dealing with the judicial process. Municipal courts, Cantonal courts, and a Federal Court did exist, but mainly as appellate courts. The Court could not intervene between different layers unless prescribed to by the relational power, the JEC, but acted as a final resort court of appeal.

The Convention approved the draft by a margin of 1688-56 and declared the establishment of the Democratic Federation of Spain. They invested provisional power in the JEC and CSC until elections could be called and announced the formation of the commissions that would conduct government business. The Convention established the Commissions of Public Heath, Economic Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Posts and Telegraphs, Finance, and Justice. Most importantly, a Commission for National Defence was established, which would guard the territory and maintain the political relationships with the Volunteers of the Republic, the Federal Navy, and the Sailors and Soldiers Committees. The Convention didn’t elect the Commissioners for National Defence and Justice until after the Universal had been declared, and its members selected General Juan Contreras as Commissioner for National Defence (and Commander-in-Chief of the Volunteers of the Republic), and an intransigent with links to the FRE-AIT, Francisco Diaz Quintero, acting as Justice Commissioner.

First Federal Executive Board of Commissioners (1873-1880)
General Juan Contreras - Commissioner for National Defence, FDRP
Francisco Diaz Quintero - Commissioner for Justice, FRE-AIT
Francisco Pi y Margall - Commissioner for Public Health, FDRP
Severino Albarracín - Commissioner for Economic Affairs, FRE-AIT
José María Orense - Commissioner for Finance, FDRP
Manuel Ruiz Zorrilla - Commissioner for Foreign Affairs, RDP
Nicolás Estévanez - Commissioner for Posts & Telegraphs, FRE-AIT

Elections to the new body were scheduled for the new year, and all the Commissioners could be re-elected into their posts. The people celebrated the drafting of the Universal across Federal Spain. Public celebrations erupted across the areas controlled by the Internationalists. In Nationalist Spain, the mood was more restrained. The civil guard and army units had begun occupying several friendly regions.


Convention delegates celebrate the adoption of the Universal of the Democratic Federation of Spain at a meeting of the CCS in the old Cortes chamber

Having approved the Universal, the Convention took the document on tour to build popular support for its enactment. It organised a tour of the territory held by the Cantons over the next three weeks, complete with the ceremonial collection of signatures in support of the Federation. Across the country, people travelled to these sites to support the Federation, and some even signed their names in blood. Those who did sign became collectively known as the 'Covenanters' and became some of the most loyal supporters of the Federation. Every Volunteer for the Republic would sign the covenant also. When this was complete, the Convention collected nearly 3 million signatures. The convention decided to assemble one final time to receive the signatures in support on July 9th, 1873. They also called an election to the first Federal Congress, which would serve until 1880.

The new Federal Congress elected was overwhelmingly made up of the FDRP and FRE-AIT, with a number of the Radical Democratic Party, Zorrilla's faction, gaining seats. The Congress didn't recognise party-political differences but split into factions. The FRE-AIT, the most deliberately classical Anarchist movement aligned with the International, received around eighty d deputies and eleven councillors. The FDRP was the most avidly pro-Government party and received approximately 95 deputies and eighteen councillors; the RDP represented the moderate federalists and received around twenty deputies and five councillors. The other members were non-partisan, usually soldier representatives or genuinely local working people. One journalist for the Times described the plenary session on August 25th as “like a market or bazaar, with ragged clothes, men with no shoes, and militiamen after militiamen wandering around the palace.”

Volunteers made up nearly 60% of all the Congressmen. While Pi and Orense, and the other members of the JEC schemed and worked the numbers to jostle for places on the various commissions, one man knew where power lay - General Contreras. The Federal Congress met to appoint new Supervisors, with fourteen spots up for grabs. Contreras, who stepped in as interim President of the Congress, preceded to watch as the FRE-AIT and FDRP delegates disagreed with every proposal and seized into paralysis within the first morning of debate.

The RDP and most of the Independents left as a shouting match occurred between the two groups. This was unexpected, as the two had navigated the Convention together, but ruling proved a different beast. The FRE-AIT wasn’t popular outside a few large cities and was feared by many in the middle class. The FDRP was expected by most to lead the government and found the Federation through institution building. The FRE-AIT saw the mutualist undertones of the Universal and believed power was automatically theirs. While these debates enraged, General Contreras found a slate of moderate candidates who could muster a majority to move the session on.

Among these Supervisors would be Josep Llunas, who would act as the Chairman of the CCS and would be a key Contreras ally. With Llunas acting as President Officer, the Federal Congress was presented with an ambitious series of proposals. These included universal laws on the abolition of slavery and the total separation of church and state, legislation on the apportionment of all disamortized land amount the pedantry, the legal right to syndication in workplaces, free and compulsory secular education, and a near total land reform that would encourage the creation of cooperatives. The proposals came from a mix of factions and a mix of sources, as universal proposals were popular initiatives.

In contrast, a mix of commissioners and congressmen proposed the legislation that formed the basis of revolutionary social reform. Some congressional members were apprehensive, but a private meeting of the Volunteers at the Congress, chaired by General Contreras, led to their near-unanimous consent, regardless of the desires of the factions who wanted a robust debate.

The first session’s laws were called the “Second Universal,” colloquially referencing their impact, and many regarded Contreras as the ablest of the new regime. Seeing this tide turn away from the pre-Convention factions, Commissioner Pi attempted to cosy up to the unknown power broker and formed an influential group within the JEC that included himself, Contreras, and Orense. The three steered the country through the opening years of Federation with Llunas and Blas Pierrad, a leading member of the Central Committee of the Volunteers. Their control, in relatively moderate hands, proved vital. Danger was to come.

Part 5: The Descent into War
The ruling group surrounding Contreras, Pi, and Orense, ranging from across the JEC, CCS, Volunteers, and the Federal Congress, looked to manage the FRE-AIT and access a compromise based on the constitution with the Nationalists, something that the Anarchists would not accept. The FRE-AIT had already bent a significant amount in adopting the Universal and taking its seats in Congress, as it advocated for the violent overthrow of the state to create stateless anarchism. They would not accept a compromise with the Nationalists that would most likely cede further power from the Cantons to the Federation. Contreras believed that the oncoming battle would be between monarchists and republicans but believed that eventually, the republican groups would unify under the Federation.

Contreras’ hypothesis indicated that the Nationalists would eventually recognise a monarchy under Alfonso, bringing further military power under its capabilities. It would then consider the Federation the lesser military threat and conduct a war with the Carlists in the north that would unite Spanish Royalism under the Bourbons. Then, having secured the loyalty of all royalists, it would turn on the Federation. His view was a remarkably accurate estimation of the situation, but Contreras was not believed by many within the JEC, especially the FRE-AIT members. By allying with Commissioners Pi and Orense and using the Volunteers in the CCS and the Congress to manage legislation, they could prepare for this eventuality and the unavoidable outcome of the declaration of the Federation – a Civil War in Spain.

The Volunteers were not a well-funded or armed force. The Civil Guard across the East Coast looted much heavy weaponry from arsenals as the Monarchists and Nationalists escaped. General Contreras, Commissioner of National Defence, Commander-in-Chief, and Chairman of the Volunteers Central Committee, insisted that the Volunteers should conduct preparations for a full invasion by the Nationalists. Juntas in large cities were asked to place traps in the town, ready for barricades, and recruit more Volunteers. Numbering around 8,000 in total, the Volunteers outnumbered the Carlist and Nationalist forces, but arms were hard to come by, and most wielded swords or pikes.

Contreras asked the Commissioner of Foreign Affairs, former Prime Minister Zorrilla, to investigate an arms purchase. As an unrecognised government, this would be challenging to manage. A purchase of 5,000 M1858 Podewils rifles from a Bavarian count gave a much-needed boost of weaponry, but the guns were nearly 20 years old and often had faults. Fortifying the major Internationalist cities had greater success; by December 1873, significant fortifications were completed in over 30 towns controlled by Juntas. Volunteers also grew to over 10,000 in just over three months.


Commissioner for Foreign Affairs, Manuel Ruiz Zorrilla

Meanwhile, the Nationalists moved on with their plan for Spain, with what remained of the Constituent Cortes writing a Draft Constitution, presented to its members in full in October 1873. Nationalists left the ultimate controller of the executive power incredibly vague, indicating that the Cortes would have the right to choose and appoint a Sovereign authority on behalf of the people. The Duke de la Torre led a bloc within the Senate that openly advocated peace with the Monarchists. To his credit, Castelar resisted openly and called on the Monarchists to respect the Republic.

On the Duke’s orders, the Spanish Nationalist Army comprising the Armed Officer Corps, Civil Guard, and remaining soldiers who hadn’t defected, led a disastrous series of attacks on the Carlist positions in the Basque Provinces in December 1873 to break its resistance. After a humiliating defeat in San Sebastián on November 7th, the Duke blamed Castelar for sabotaging the military plans to beat the Carlist rebellion. On December 11th, 1873, as General Contreras reported to the JEC that the number of Volunteers had reached 10,000, the Duke de la Torre led a coup, arresting Castelar and his entire government, with the Constituent Cortes, stripped of its remaining Republicans, calling on all factions but the Internationalists, Republicans, and Carlists to form a government of national unity. This government began work a day later and called Alfonso to return to the Spanish throne, restoring the Bourbon monarchy. Castelar and his Government, in an ultimate irony, were held in Madrid by the JEC after escaping from Salamanca. Fellow Republicans fled in their droves.

Spain fractured in three ways; political radicals in the Federation, ultra-conservatives in the Carlist territory, and constitutional monarchists in the Kingdom.

Alfonso returned to Spain and was coronated as King Alfonso XII on January 3rd, 1874. He guaranteed the new constitution, promised to introduce universal suffrage, and adopted a range of measures from the popular 1812 constitution. There was a straightforward problem: no one cared about him or the Nationalists except for the Restorationist Monarchists.

Moreover, the JEC held a public meeting the day after the coronation, and one of the audience members quizzed Contreras about the situation. “What do you think this means for the Federation?” He asked. “Nothing except the so-called Kingdom might ask to borrow some things from the palace,” Contreras responded. Commissioner Pi was also asked in Congress about the situation and cheered on by newly converted Moderates; he replied, “the only new development in this saga is the confirmation we were right to proceed without the Constituent Cortes. We welcome those who have come to that conclusion since the Duke took power.”


King Alfonso XII, known as El Belicista, or the Warmonger
However comical the Federation believed the coronation was, Spain was in a dangerously balanced situation with three sides vying for power. However outwardly self-assured they were, the Pi-Orense-Contreras trifecta was acutely aware that the peace was fleeting. Having restored the Crown, the Nationalists had brought the Church, a more significant number of the former Army, and thousands of god-fearing peasants to their coalition. Foreign aid was sure to follow, too, as the Bourbons had allies in the ruling elite in France and Italy. Restoring the Monarchy was a political move that greatly benefited the Nationalists.

Foreign aid subsequently arrived in the form of updated weapons and the latest French rifles and artillery pieces, fresh from the Franco-Prussian War. The Nationalists, true to Contreras’ prediction, attempted to break the well-fortified Carlist resistance at Navarre in the Basque Provinces and the North once again and made progress at the cost of over 2,800 lives, all lost in three days of battle. Finally, with much of the city destroyed by artillery, the Carlists fled to Northern Catalonia. Their retreat was brutal, and the Carlists destroyed every civilian settlement on the route to its new base.

The Battle of Navarre terrified the population of the Federation, who feared that whoever won the Carlist War would launch a brutal campaign against the Internationalists and the Federation. FRE-AIT members across the Federation attempted to alleviate this concern. Still, a stunning putdown from a Federal Republican member in Congress summed up the mood after the Anarchists had again played down the threat of repression from the Spanish Army. “Yes, of course, and if they do come, we can head to the thriving Paris Commune,” he said, inferring the crushing of the Commune would be the fate of the Revolution if it didn’t protect itself.

Anarchists believed that if they ignored the state, it would go away. However, with foreign aid, better weapons, and more trained soldiers, the Spanish Army would not simply go away. They, and the Carlists, would need to be defeated. General Contreras asked the Central Committee of the Volunteers to prepare for an advance to consolidate the Federation’s territory on January 11th, 1874. This advance would primarily be successful but would see the first armed interaction between the Spanish Army and the Volunteers, with two Spanish Army corporals, killed as the Federation cleared Salamanca, the home of the Kingdom’s Government, of all Nationalists. The Spanish Army responded by moving artillery pieces through under-guarded roads to within the outskirts of Madrid and launching an assault on the capital, killing 70. “Brutes,” one newspaper said, “have launched an assault on the civilian population. Spaniards murdered innocent Spaniards today!”


General Contreras, Commissioner for National Defense and Chairman of the Central Committee of the Volunteers of the Republic

After the assault on Madrid was repelled, the Nationalist Government proclaimed that “civilians that interact with either enemy of the Crown will be considered an outlaw.” This proclamation began the Nationalist’s four-month, two-front war, where they attempted to clear out the Carlists in the North and the Federation in the South and East using brute military force. A gunboat, the Numancia, sailed up and down the East Coast of Spain, firing artillery at Valencia, Barcelona, and Cartagena. The Spanish Army hired mercenaries from France, who took advantage of good pay in the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War and the Panic of 1873. The Volunteers dug in and were viciously effective defenders, losing no major cities in four months before the Nationalists abandoned the offensive to knock the Federation out of the war.

The people attributed much of this success to Commissioner Pi and General Contreras, who coordinated the defence of the Federation through intelligent strategy, strong leadership, and an excellent propaganda department. Both stayed in Madrid during the artillery strikes and travelled extensively, and publicly, through the East Coast as the Spanish Navy attempted to blast them into submission.

The final blow for the Nationalists, when the Volunteers in Murcia sank Numancia on May 13th, 1874, occurred as Pi, Orense, and Contreras met with the Naval Committee in Valencia that would engage and defeat the ironclad ship later that day. Meeting the “three Commissioners,” as the People collectively called them, was described as the “luck the sailors needed” by the boat’s leading midshipmen.
Supplemental: La Era Revolucionaria Parts 6 & 7
Supplemental: La Era Revolucionaria Parts 6 & 7

Part 6: The End of the Carlists
The FRE-AIT suffered greatly in popular opinion thanks to its absence of realpolitik in the face of overwhelming hostility from Nationalists. Two FRE-AIT members of the CCS resigned after being caught trying to escape Madrid during the onslaught. With extremely popular with the Sailors, the Volunteers, and the general population were firmly behind the triumvirate now.

The second phase of the war saw the Nationalists and Carlists engaging in renewed heavy fighting in the North of the Country while the Federation consolidated throughout 1874. The front lines were fluid at this time, and swathes of the countryside were either nonbelligerent or actively hostile to the Federation. To ensure rural support, Congress passed a comprehensive land reform to turn the countryside into cooperatives. In addition to the breakup of previous Crown lands, thousands of acres owned by emigres were divided up and given to peasants. An agricultural commission coordinated food supply and guaranteed farmers a market for their goods in cities. Orense also created a mutual-credit bank for cooperatives, which allowed them to attempt to improve infrastructure and farming techniques. Soon, in Inernationalist-held territories, peasant farmers were utterly loyal to the Federation.

These gains were material, however, as the reality of war meant that control by the JEC, CCS, Volunteers, and Congress was inevitable. An “Emergency Universal” passed in July 1874 suspended Cantonal laws abolishing the death penalty and allowed the Federation to intern subjects deemed questionable. It also empowered the Commission for Public Health, controlled by Commissioner Pi, to investigate any counterrevolutionary activity. Within the first four months of its creation, 8,000 suspected Nationalists were arrested and held in a prison camp outside Sevilla. The Emergency Universal was required to be renewed by Congress each year: it would renew each year of the Congress’ first term.

Aware that the Nationalists would turn their attention to the Federation at some point, the Central Committee of the Volunteers began to conduct war planning. They relied on the Carlist-Alfonsist conflict to drag on, with the effect of the two sides' outside backers, France for the Carlists and Italy for the Bourbons, to hesitate from throwing good money after bad. This strategy was working. In August 1874, the Carlists sieged Bilbao, with both sides suffering incredible losses. Neither emerged from the battle with credit: 12,000 Carlist fighters fought a drawn-out, six-week battle to overcome 1,200 Civil Guards, losing 3,000 men. Eventually, the Nationalist officers fled the city secretly, leaving 1,000 Civil Guards to be slaughtered defending the Kingdom. As a memento of the victory, Carlos VII carried an amulet from the teeth of the dead of the Battle of Bilbao.

As 1874 dragged on, the Federation started receiving small-scale attacks from the Carlists and the Nationalists. Concentrated in the northeast, Nationalists attacked Barcelona in September 1874, and an Italian gunboat again targeted Valencia after a federal naval ship fired upon it by mistake. The Nationalists made a third attempt to recover the Basque provinces and were nearly successful. Still, the 17,000-man Carlist garrison in the city prevented it from falling to the Spanish Army. A second attack, on the home of the Carlist Government in Estella, was more successful. Generals Torcuato Mendiri and Dorregaray ordered a retreat to Bilbao in early October, a significant victory for the Nationalists.

The Nationalist Government felt that the victory at Estella was the beginning of the end for the pretenders to the national authority of Spain, but they were mistaken. The Carlists would hold on and retake Estella within two months with a further thousand losses on both sides. In December 1874, General Arsenio Martinez de Campos overthrew the Duke de la Torre in a coup and established a military government in its territory. He also prorogued the Cortes and declared a State of Emergency that would last unit the end of the conflict.


General Arsenio Martinez de Campos, Military Ruler of Spain
The coup had an unintended consequence as a manifesto produced by General de Campos received backing from several Carlist supporters, most notably Ramon Cabrera. With the Federation continuing to build and strengthen its institutions, Cabrera considered the Federation the biggest threat to Spain and urged the two sides to compromise. Carlos VII responded with a sweeping purge of his government’s ranks throughout early 1875, with the effect of seeing nearly 2,000 officers and soldiers defect to the Spanish Army. What remained was more ideologically committed to Carlos but weaker in numbers. A general offensive wouldn’t occur again by the Carlist forces.

It recommitted to a guerrilla campaign that desired to be deadly to Spanish forces in the country's north. An attack in Lacar, outside Estella, in March 1875 killed 25 soldiers, followed by 30 separate incidents and ambushes across the Basque provinces and Western Catalonia. The weakness of the Nationalists tempted the Federation to launch another offensive into western Spain in the Spring of 1875, capturing Zamora, Palencia, and Segovia. Wishing to prevent a two-front war, the Nationalists doubled down on their campaign against the Carlists. General Jenaro de Quesada finally led a successful offensive to clear the Carlists out of the vast majority of Western Catalonia in August 1875, only to lose it to a detachment of Volunteers of the Republic led by General Contreras himself.

The Carlists retreated again to the Basque provinces and retook Bilbao in the Summer of 1875 after a significant arms shipment from France. A Nationalist General, Fernando Primo de Rivera, was tasked by General de Campos to finish the Carlists and led a recruitment drive around Northern Spain to raise a force to wipe out the occupation of the Basque provinces completely. The Spanish Army raised a hundred thousand men, most forcibly conscripted. Within seven weeks after marching on Estella for the third time in late July 1875, the Nationalists finally had a string of victories that led to the Carlist Armies collapsing. Carlos VII was arrested and executed in December 1875.

A garrison of 75,000 soldiers, some locally recruited, occupied the Basque provinces and brutally maintained order, banning Basque customs and its language. The failure of Carlism splintered its adherents, and some began to drift towards the pluralist Federalists, who craved a return to an Independent Basque governmental framework. Despite that, mainstream Basque nationalism, like Carlism, would be a hugely conservative force, for now rejecting the pactism and anarchism of the Federation. Basque nationalists began to advocate openly for a Basque army and an independent state.

To the west, in Catalonia, the front line of the conflict between the Federation and the Kingdom of Spain was emerging. With an independent Militia, the Catalan State launched a unification drive to bring all Catalan lands under its control. This led to the first large-scale conflagration between the Federation and the Spanish Army at Girona in October 1876. Better trained and with incredibly high morale having defeated the Carlists, the Nationalists thumped the Catalan Militias, and the Volunteers were called to sure up Barcelona from attack. The Nationalists subjected the city to three weeks of intense bombardment but failed to be captured in yet another impressive defensive victory for the Federation.

Another Nationalist offensive in the winter of 1876 recaptured much of Western Spain, but an attempt to take Madrid stalled. The Nationalists did, however, manage to siege Salamanca and capture the city in December 1876. Further victories in the west followed, and the Nationalists looked on top. The Federation needed a way to draw troops away from the mainland and concluded that an alliance with the insurgents in the colonies would be the best way to weaken the Spanish Army - it would look to the colonies.

Part 7: Propaganda of the Deed
General Contreras travelled to Cuba in January 1877 to speak to Lt. General Antonio Maceo Grajales, the second-in-command of the Cuban insurgency army. The two agreed to an alliance to see Cuba win its independence should the Federation defeat the Kingdom of Spain. In exchange, the Cubans were to increase attacks on the Spanish Army, forcing them to commit more troops. The Federation had no presence in the Empire, and all the country’s colonies remained in Nationalist hands. Still, the Nationalist administration maintained a minimal presence in Cuba, leading to the insurgents gaining the upper hand in the Ten Years’ War. Cuba dramatically increased its military operations in the aftermath of the alliance, with 250,000 soldiers sent to the colony in May 1877.

This caused yet another lull in the domestic conflict, but things changed in May 1878 as the Cuban lines collapsed. A treaty was signed, and the Nationalists scored another significant victory, releasing 100,000 soldiers back to the mainland to use the momentum to crush the Federation. In the preceding four years, however, radicals and anarchists worldwide had begun flooding Spain to support the FDE. Foreigners in the FRE-AIT, and the International Brigades of the Volunteers swelled in numbers and brought funding, weapons, and new vigour to the organisation. It would need it, as it was about to face the most significant assault of the conflict so far.

In February 1879, the returning Spanish Army troops were put to work on a general offensive in the east of Spain to try and reclaim some territory. The attack caught the Volunteers off guard, and the Nationalists reclaimed swathes of FDE-held land. Salamanca and parts of Western Catalonia were the main successes of the Spanish Army. Furthermore, the successful bombardment of Cartagena was also a significant victory for the Spanish Navy, which had struggled to compete with the less well-armed but more mobile Federation fleet. Spanish Army units were let loose on the local populous after victory. Soldiers burned many communal farms and kidnapped women and children. Volunteer units over the front line complained of an emerging smell of death from the villages occupied by Nationalists. Fear of reprisals was commonplace as the Nationalists continued their victories throughout early 1879.

Spurred by this change in fortune, the Spanish Army used its base in Salamanca to launch another assault on Madrid finally. While the city's population was firmly Federal, the defence of other cities and the desire for individual units to protect their towns rather than travel to Madrid for a defence of the capital meant a perfect storm was occurring. After seven weeks of ruinous fighting, which destroyed much of its historic city centre, Nationalist columns finally entered Madrid. The JEC, Congress, and CCS fled to Valencia for safety.

Spanish Army grew in confidence all over the Federation territory. Victories were hollow, however. As a pronouncement by the Central Committee of the Volunteers specified, "resistance committees" were established in occupied territory, moving the method of attack to conventional warfare that had characterised the conflict up to now to guerrilla warfare. With small chains of command, more nimble columns, and the cooperation of civilian partisans looking to defeat the Kingdom, the Spanish Army's worst nightmares in late 1879 were not of the battlefield but attacks on where they slept and ate. The Anarchist influx was crucial to this push to make life intolerable for the occupying soldiers and restore morale in the Federation. A phrase began to emerge: "Propaganda of the Deed."

Propaganda of the Deed was encouraged by the state institutions in the Federation. It was a sign that the population did not support the Kingdom and that local people were behind the Federation. It was an extremely disorganised affair. Individual units acted on their own will but attributed it to the Federation. Cells threw bombs at barracks, destroyed railways, and seemingly randomly targeted people. Only when General Contreras sought to build up lines of communication did its effectiveness as a fighting tactic improve. Between the fall of Madrid and the end of the year, Federal cells assassinated 15% of the officer class of the Spanish Army. Most of the attacks were from civilians who cooperated with Federation units that raided Nationalist-controlled territory. Conversely, the Nationalists began to recruit bands of assassins who raided the Federation's territory and murdered prominent local Internationalists. As the decade drew to a close, no side had a clear advantage, and the conflict looked set to take a new guerrilla turn.

As 1880 opened, the country held two competing elections; the King had dissolved the long-prorogued Constituent Cortes, and the Federal Congress term ended. After the elections, the Generals remained in control of the Cortes, but moderates and Volunteers had gained more control of the Congress from the FRE-AIT. The "Consolidationist" camp, centred around General Contreras, formed the basis of the new JEC. Pi, Orense, and Contreras were each term-limited and couldn't serve on the JEC, so they organised their support to elect a continuity Commission. Contreras retreated to the Central Committee of the Volunteers, while Pi and Orense were elected as Supervisors. Despite Orense's death in 1880, power had been shuffled but still lay in the hands of the ruling faction.

As the new Congress and the Cortes began their work, a new threat troubled Spain. Basque Nationalists, unhappy with the suppression of voting in the Cortes Election, rebelled in large numbers. An insurgency lasting just over three months drew valuable resources away from the Kingdom. In November 1880, Conservative Basque Nationalists declared the 'Basque State,' a national homeland encapsulating the Basque Provinces. Its founders rejected both the Kingdom and the Federation and won the support of much of the Basque population.

A problem of their own making, Anarchists began to cause trouble for the Federation at the beginning of the new Congress, too. Groups who declared their loyalty to the Federation attacked Madrid and killed 37 civilians, despite the JEC and the Central Committee of the Volunteers denying knowledge of the attacks. The bombing was propaganda of the deed attack from disgruntled members of the FRE-AIT, who believed the Federation was moving away from its Anarchist principles.


An Anarchist bomb explodes in a Paris theatre during the Propaganda of the Deed campaign

These attacks began to occur more frequently, and underground armed groups worldwide began to descend on Spain for training and selling weapons. The bottom-up nature of the Volunteers meant that guns and explosives were bought from, and sold to, these groups. To Congress, the Anarchists were a dangerous member of the pro-Federation Coalition. To the rank and file Volunteers, they were comrades. Attacks on border postings, presumed by Anarchists to be funnelling Nationalist arms shipments, became equally as common. An attack on Puigcerdà in August 1881, in Western Catalonia, changed the direction of the war when it killed three French border guards, six Nationalist soldiers, and ten civilians. The French Government demanded an explanation from someone: neither side could give any information about how it happened.

The deaths reignited French attention to the conflict. Suddenly, the French wanted this quagmire to end, and Leon Gambetta's government was not going to support the Anarchists. They poured heavy military resources into the Spanish Army and used bases in Corsica to attack the Federation's east coast holdings. Anarchists from all nations responded by taking their battle to the French directly in the name of the Federation. Anarchists detonated seven bombs in Paris in 1882 alone. Basque militias also gave French authorities a bloody nose in the French Basque country, as they demanded to join the Basque State. The increased resource for the Spanish Army brought greater conventional success: it captured Seville in August 1882, but the growth of irregular Federation columns and small-scale local uprisings cost soldiers and morale. By the end of 1882, the Federation was in control of about 35% of the country's territory, the Kingdom around 60%, and the Basques controlled the overwhelming majority of the Basque lands.

The Basque Army was comprised of political movements hostile to the Nationalists and the Internationalists, and attacks on both frequently occurred in late 1882. The Federation and Basques fought in Western Catalonia, while the Basques attempted to fend off the Nationalists at Burgos. Both battles were indecisive and left destruction in their wake. In the ensuing battle in Burgos, for example, nearly 3,000 civilians were killed as Basque Army laid siege to the town for five days and used looted artillery to smash it into a pulp.

General Blas Pierrad led the defence of Lleida from the Nationalists simultaneously. In December 1882, the estimated casualties for the whole conflict, including the wider colonial conflict, topped 100,000. General Campos told the King that it would take a further five years to completely clear mainland Spain of all rebels, which would more than likely see the deaths of upwards of 250,000. King Alfonso, without consulting Campos, spoke to his allies, the French and Italians, and indicated that he wanted to come to some agreement with all sides to end the conflict. The French and Italians reacted harshly to this suggestion and cut Alfonso out of the decision-making process. Campos was firmly in control of the Kingdom. For all involved, the winter of 1882-83 revealed what they had feared for some time: the conflict was a stalemate.
Supplemental: La Era Revolucionaria Parts 8 & 9
Supplemental: La Era Revolucionaria Parts 8 & 9

Part 8: The New Ulcer
In response to the stalemate, General Campos asked for French and Italian armed intervention to decisively turn the conflict in the Kingdom's favour. While the French were keen to intervene, they were uncertain of Germany's reaction as French intervention in the Spanish Crown was considered a red line for the Prussians, and they felt that raising a force would be politically problematic. Conversely, Italy was wholly unwilling to intervene. Its naval intervention had seen two ships sunk and seeing that King Alfonso was losing sway with the regime as a whole, it cooled on its support for General Campos. This coincided with a broader drift between Italy and France that would see the country gravitate towards the Powers of Accord. France and the Spanish Kingdom reached a face-saving agreement in February 1883, where French weaponry would flood, along with military advisors and mercenaries. Alfonso protested, and the Nationalist Government subsequently put him under house arrest. When the Italians learned this, they broke relations with Campos and the Kingdom of Spain.

The Federation realised something was afoot when Italian ships began to pull away from the east and withdrew from the naval conflict on March 1st, 1883. A few weeks later, the reinforced Spanish Army launched an all-out attack on the FDE and the Basques, which caught the Internationalists off-guard. After a few days, the Spanish Army seemingly had its triumphant breakthrough against the Republicans, breaking the Western Catalonia Front and beginning to march on Barcelona.

The Catalan State Government retreated to Valencia, taking most of the civilian population with them, but after a rallying cry echoed by every Junta calling for the defence of the FDE. Fifty-thousand men were given pikes, swords, makeshift cannons, bombs, and a few thousand rifles to defend the city. On April 5th, 32,000 men from the Spanish Army and 22,000 mercenaries launched their attack. General Contreras led the Volunteers into the various buildings and basements and launched surprise attacks and ambushes on the incoming Spanish Army. With the remaining population's support of the Volunteers, the Nationalists were forced out within two weeks, but the Internationalists failed to advance. Barcelona became the front line of the war, and the Internationalists began to call the Battle of Barcelona the "Miracle on the Besòs."


Internationalist forces raise the Red Flag in Barcelona after the victory of the Volunteers

A week after the Internationalists retook Barcelona, General Contreras was pulled to a field hospital, having suffered a stroke. His doctors had indicated that he had suffered several strokes over the last year, and it was a miracle he was still alive. On the night of May 6th, 1883, the Federal Congress heard of Contreras' illness, to an outpouring of sympathy from around the FDE. Learning that he was in Old Hospital de la Santa Creu, Nationalists and French mercenaries in the suburb of Horta-Guinardó decided to shell the Hospital to injure or kill the General. News of the targeting of a hospital serving a high number of civilians wounded in the battle horrified supporters of both the Kingdom and the Federation. However, it was effective. A blast killed General Contreras, already wholly paralysed, and 300 civilians.

The death of General Contreras united the FDE in grief. Seen as a brave and commanding figure, he represented the fight for the Federation. His death, and the manner of it, was seized upon by the Internationalists, who had the political capital to portray the Kingdom as a regime of terror. Internally, a fierce reaction against all signs of the Monarchy, symbols, the church, and aristocracy took grip across its territory. Churches were burned out, Internationalists ripped down symbols, and gangs destroyed noble lands. In the Kingdom, the violence was seen as justification for the ends; in the Federation, the death of Contreras provoked the Volunteers to pursue any means to win the war. The hit on Contreras was useless: he was soon to die anyway. Killing him only made the Volunteers angry.

General Pierrad soon also died, and Antonio Galvez Arce was elected as the Chairman of the Central Committee of the Volunteers and Commissioner for National Defence. Galvez Arce, known as General Antonete, was an Intransigent farmer by origin, and steeled himself during the various uprisings of the 1860s and 70s He found that more significant numbers of the FRE-AIT joined in the days and weeks after the death of Contreras, and was supported by these men. General Antonete also had the benefit of open waters on the east coast to allow shipments from Italy and Africa, a more hospitable international climate to the Federation after the hospital bombing, access to greater finance from the foreign Anarchist fighters, and weaponry from sympathetic anti-Monarchist movements. French mercenaries continued to make horrendous civilian attacks on the FDE, furthering the feeling that the Kingdom was cruel in the eyes of the liberal countries of Europe. As 1884 arrived, another factor came to the fore: the Union of Britain.


Commissioner Antonio Galvez Arce, Chairman of the Central Committee of the Volunteers and head of the National Defense Commission

The Union had been reeling from the Sudan Crisis and the controversial 1884 election but had emerged with a Coalition Government that was radical and anti-French. Franco-British relations had been worsening since the Gambetta Affair, and Britain was looking to the continent to build an anti-French alliance. Giving the French a bloody nose in Spain, where Napoleon had to succumb to his "ulcer" eighty years prior, would be a great distraction to build up military strength and encircle the French, Chamberlain thought. Chamberlain even described the conflict as having the potential to be "the New Ulcer for the Parisians."

While Churchill was less than convinced that arming Anarchist bombers was a wise move, public opinion had shifted in Britain since the Santa Creu bombing, and Chamberlain believed he could take advantage. Britain became the first country in the world to recognise the Democratic Federation of Spain just weeks after the Coalition took office. This move was supported by scores of Democrats, too, but there were significant reservations from the Tories in his Government. Chamberlain massaged the fears by saying, "this move only establishes our principle that the popular government of Spain is the Federation, and we respect the popular will." He added, "this does not mean that military means are being sent from Britain to the Volunteers, nor does it mean that any will be sent in the future."

This was a lie. Britain financed and supplied weapons to the Federation throughout the rest of the 1880s and allowed them to push the Spanish Army back in December 1884 and retake the whole of Catalonia in March 1885. The Volunteers retook Sevilla in April. Anarchist flying columns also renewed a campaign of bombings but limited them to government and army buildings in Madrid and the rest of Nationalist Spain. They also targeted agencies in France suspected of hiring and paying mercenaries. They began an assassination campaign that took out the French Ambassador to Spain, Léon Geoffray, along with several senior figures in the summer of 1885. The arrival of machine guns to the eastern front of the conflict alerted the French that outside help was being sought. They immediately suspected the British were to blame.


Léon Geoffray, French Ambassador to Spain, assassinated by Anarchist terror cells

Allying with the FDE also secured the continued use of the British port of Gibraltar, which had been held off from the Internationalists by a robust British Army presence on the rock. Relieving the tension with the Federation allowed numbers to pass through the Mediterranean relatively easily and increased the pressure on France during the Sudan Conflict. It also allowed them to make threats on Corsica, and British ships were the first foreign ships cleared to land in Federation harbours since 1874 when Congress made a pronouncement to reopen ports controlled by the Internationalists.

This also coincided with political change within the Federation, as (now) Supervisor Pi formed a new organisation in 1885, the Federation of the Workers of Spain (FTE), which was designed to be a more moderate Internationalist faction within the Congress. The moderates followed with the formation of the Alianza Democrática de España (ADE) and regionalists with the Pacto Federal de Nacionalidades (PFN) the same year. These three groups restored the tone of the Federation from radical, anti-state Anarchism to more moderate federal republicanism and increased its credibility with diplomatic circles. After the four main factions (the FTE, FRE-AIT, PFN, and ADE) jointly called for the end of civilian bombing and assassinations in late 1885, the Cortes Government refused to engage, which was seen poorly by the international community. Moreover, an attempt by Commissioner Llunas of the JEC to meet with a delegation of the Cortes to negotiate an end to the conflict was rebuffed, further damaging the Kingdom's reputation.

Britain was soon joined by several other countries, including Germany and Greece, in recognising (or at least having practical relations with) the FDE. General Antoneteled a string of military victories to swing momentum again. A series of peasant uprisings in the winter of 1885 destabilised the Kingdom after a poor harvest in the autumn of 1885.


Queen Regent Maria Christina of Spain, Regent after the death of King Alfonso XII

November brought further hardship for the Kingdom, as King Alfonso XII died after suffering from tuberculosis. His final days were spent in agony under house arrest, and the ruling elite somewhat welcomed the death. The Queen-Regent, Alfonso XII's wife, Maria Christina of Austria, was carrying an heir and was a devout Catholic. Maria Christina's regency brought closer relations with Pope Leo XIII and the French Conservative movement, who would assume a more significant role in French affairs in the coming three years. Unfortunately for Queen Regent Maria, Alfonso's death would coincide with a massive offensive that would see the Federation retake large swathes of lost territory. The first months of 1886 were difficult for the Kingdom, which faced an open rebellion in the countryside.

Part 9: The Pact of Pamplona
The birth of a male heir in Spain in November 1886 crowned Alfonso XII's son, Alfonso XIII, as King of Spain but under the regency of Maria. While this gave the Cortes a welcome piece of good news, further developments in enemy-controlled Spain dampened the enthusiasm.

A shock agreement between Sabino Arana, head of the Basque Nationalist Party, Euzko Alderdi Jeltzalea (EAJ), and the Federation of Spain in January 1887 resulted in the March signing of the Pact of Pamplona. The pact acknowledged the Basque State’s right to Independence but guaranteed its freedom of association with the Federation. In return, the Basque Army ceased hostilities with the Federation. The pact reconstituted the Basque State as two equal autonomous entities, the Chartered Canton of Navarre, and the Basque State, which would both receive seats in the Federal Congress. The Basque State would be immune from laws on religion, would continue to allow Jesuits, and would finally be able to maintain an independent militia.


Sabino Arana, leader of the Basque Nationalists and signatory of the Pact of Pamplona

While the Chartered Canton of Navarre would be governed similarly to the other Cantons, the Basque State would be allowed to write its constitution, with a Basque National Council, a collective seven-man governing council, responsible to a unicameral Parliament, the Eusko Legebiltzarra. Commissioner Llunas, acting as head of the Federation's Public Health Commission, brought the Pact to Congress for approval. Despite fierce opposition from the FRE-AIT, it was approved and subsequently endorsed by a national referendum. The Basque Constitution proposed by Arana and the EAJ was so influential that the Catalan State renamed its Governing Junta to the Catalan National Council in 1887.

The Pact of Pamplona was a morale-zapping blow for the Nationalists and put the Federation on a clear path to victory. Having been stuck in nearly fourteen years of conflict, Spanish politics was moving decidedly in the direction of the Federal Republic. An assault on the interior of the Nationalists' territory in the summer of 1887 forced the Volunteers to the outskirts of Madrid. Subsequently, the King and Queen Regent relocated to Galicia in August. Volunteers, supported by 5,000 Basque fighters, broke the Nationalists' lines on August 29th, 1887, and retook Madrid after three days of fighting. This was the first time in nearly eight years that the Federation had held the capital, and it took no time to relocate the Federal Congress back to the ruins of the historic city.

The session in Madrid would be the closing session of the Second Congress. In a triumphant mood, nearly six million voters headed to the polls to elect new Congressmen, Cantonal Legislatures, and Juntas in the Federation's territory. Four of the five new factions that had entered Spanish federal politics, the FTE, ADE, PFN, and EAJ, agreed on a slate of Commissioners and Supervisors after winning a healthy majority. The FRE-AIT's caucus shrunk, and the Pactists excluded them from the negotiations. While the EAJ did not wish to be included in the JEC, it received one seat on the CCS. The FTE, ADE, and PFN were all represented on the Commission, with Pi, Antonete, and Llunas representing the FTE, Zorrilla returning as Foreign Affairs Commissioner with Eduardo Benot as members of the ADE, and Valentí Almirall i Llozer representing the PFN. Finally, a signal of the unifying force that the Federation had come to represent, Emilio Castelar, former President of the Spanish State and a member of the ADE, was elected as the Commission's seventh member. The Pactist Coalition, as it became known, had total control of both houses of Congress.

At the Cantonal level, more moderate Republicans began to engage with the Federation, and the ADE absorbed significant non-Anarchist political elements. Moderates formed ADE-majority administrations in several Cantons. Centrist Republicans shunned in the opening years of the conflict were welcomed back to the political decision-making process, and anticlericalism slowed significantly. Newly reappointed Commissioner Pi called the election "the largest expression of democratic will in Spain's history."

This moderate turn allowed Britain and Germany to posture more publicly for the end of the conflict and the abolition of the Spanish Crown. The unionist policy remained in support of the Federation, and Prime Minister Chamberlain stated in a speech in 1888 that the "French intervention in Spain must cease. Spaniards have chosen their preferred method of Government, and it is not to be ruled by the Generals in Galicia." Looking at yet another defeat, France faced internal problems and could not help. Italy was firmly in the orbit of the Powers of Accord, Germany wanted to prevent French power from growing, and a new power was about to enter the fray in the form of the United States.

America had remained aloof from the conflict in Spain but was increasingly interested in developments in the Spanish Colonial Empire. The Empire provided the Nationalists with men, trade, and a network for arms shipments. Still, its two most significant colonies, the Philippines and Cuba, were strategically located and piqued the interest of Imperial hawks in the U.S. Congress. The Latin American community in New York had supported Cuban Independence fighters in the Ten Year's War. Seeing political capital up for grabs, US politicians began to posture towards intervention in the Spanish Empire. With mounting losses on the Home Front, the Spanish Army was forced to recall several soldiers from active duty in the Philippines and Cuba to protect what remained of the Kingdom of Spain. By now, the Kingdom comprised between a third and a quarter of the Spanish mainland, its colonial properties in Africa, and those in the Americas and the Pacific. If the Kingdom could be pushed out of the mainland and forced to retreat, its position would be tenuous in the Americas and Pacific.


Spanish troops in Havana, Cuba, during the Spanish Civil War

In 1888, isolationist Benjamin Harrison's victory in the Presidential Election hampered the hawkishness of Congress. Still, the U.S. formally recognised the Democratic Federation of Spain during the plenary session of the 51st U.S. Congress. It opened an embassy in Madrid soon after, indicating that intervention was coming. Commissioner Zorrilla headed to Washington as the year closed and was able to secure an arms deal that would continue to bulk up the Volunteers' military might and pen in the Kingdom, which spent the year in a fruitless attempt to break out of its Northwestern stronghold.

Full intervention from any of the powers still looked a distant prospect, but the hammer blow that was expected throughout 1888, pushing the last of the Spanish Army out of the mainland, did not arrive. The new year came with the King and Queen Regent, their Ministers, and the remaining members of the Rump Cortes in Galicia continuing to coordinate offensives. This survival was made possible because of the support of Portugal, whose Monarchy feared the arrival of a radical republic on its doorstep. While domestic politics in Portugal was split on the issue, the ruling class would stop at next to nothing to protect the Kingdom and prevent the Federation from uniting Spain. It offered military support and bases on its border with Spain. The Portuguese Monarchy also financed parts of the Spanish state to the tune of a significant proportion of the national wealth.

The long, sixteen-year march toward a Republic in Spain was nearing its end throughout the following year. However, each time a knockout blow looked inevitable, the Spanish Army, still under the control of General Campos, managed to string plucky victories from the jaws of defeat. The events of August 1889, and the rise to power of General Boulanger, shifted the probabilities of the conflict once again. Seeking a military victory, Boulanger looked to Spain as a way to restore honour and, conversely, cause the Brits and Germans a headache. Looking to enlarge France's colonial footprint, he too thought that the Spanish Empire could be integrated into the French sphere of empire and looked at its most prominent supporter, Portugal, as another potential avenue for expansion. An alliance of France, Spain, and Portugal's overseas holdings could be a cornerstone of an anti-Accord sphere of influence. The Kingdom's dogged resistance made Boulanger believe it was a French intervention away from victory.

His desire to intervene in the conflict was enhanced by the Washington Conference and the fear that the French would be locked out of the Pacific by Germany, the United States, and Britain. An Austrian Queen Regent also ensured that Austria's loyalties would remain with the Bourbons and that any conflict would bring the two countries closer together. With the Kingdom still plodding along, to the tune of about a fifth of the landmass of Spain, in 1890, it seemed there couldn't be a better scenario to announce on the biggest stage that France was back. Count Dillon urged Boulanger to remain controlled and measured and wait for the perfect opportunity to attack. A moment in which Portugal, Austria, France, and the Spanish Kingdom would be perfectly aligned and would support such a movement. A perfect storm of the new Democratic-controlled Congress in the US, the Union of Britain's desires for expansion in Africa, and Internationalist incursions into French territory would provide such a moment.
Last edited:
On an unrelated note what is the POD that diverged this tl from ours and didn't let the Great Reform Act to pass?
The POD is that William IV is murdered and Victoria's reign starts with a regency under Princess Victoria, who is subsequently murdered. Frustrated Whigs seize power through the Privy Council, emboldening the British liberal middle-class for the rest of the 19th century.
Part 5, Chapter XVII
V, XVII: The Rose Coloured Map, and the 1890 Ultimatum

In 1890, no empire on the planet seemed more potent than the British Empire. It had experienced a high level of growth in the 1880s and now had an unrivaled claim to territory in Africa, India, and the Pacific. The British were applying a greater hold on the Ottoman lands, with keen interests in the Arabian peninsular, and held a controlling interest in the Indian subcontinent from Afghanistan to Burma. It had Hong Kong and the Straits in Asia, and its reach stretched across the Pacific, managed by the emerging Union of Australasia.

In Africa, British rule touched each of the corners of the continent. In the South, long-held colonies formed the most developed of the British possessions in the continent; in the North, a British-controlled Egypt ruled supreme over Sudan; in the West, Britain had grouped its holdings into the British West Africa Administration; similarly, in the East, Britain controlled an area combined into the British East Africa colony. Britain used these colonies to extract wealth and resources through chartered companies, like the British South Africa Company, which extended its influence into the hinterlands of Africa and expanded its hold further.

The difference in colonisation in Africa between the beginning of the 1880s and the 1890s had undoubtedly been the frenzy spurred by the Congress of Berlin. The concept of effective occupation meant that countries could no longer make historical claims to territory but needed to provide an effective governing force in any region to stake a claim to sovereignty. Britain had been remarkably good at this in the preceding five years, expanding its hold over the continent with a professional army that formed financial and governmental administration for its colonies. The overarching policy of Unionisation meant that a gradual path towards effective government remained in place, and the Colonial Office expertly managed the affairs in British possession.

In Southern Africa, Britain, Germany, and Portugal held claims to territory. Germany had annexed a South West African colony in 1884. Britain had control over the Cape Colony, various smaller protectorates in the region, and suzerainty over the Boer Republics in South Africa. Portugal, meanwhile, had tentative control over a West and East African colony on either side of the territory in the basin of the Kafue River. This region was not under any protectorate as of 1890, despite overtures from British interests, especially from Cecil Rhodes.

Rhodes was a firm believer in the Imperial project since his arrival in Africa in 1871 and, despite deep sadness at the loss of the Crown in 1875, proceeded to believe that British Imperialism was a force of civilisation around the world. He once said, "to be born British is to win first prize in the lottery of life," and assumed that the British were destined to complete a leadership role in the emerging industrial world. Despite living in Cape Colony, he had worked in the diamond trade around the Kafue River, which had enriched him greatly, and he was elected to the Cape Parliament aged 27 in 1881. He believed that to enrich the Union of Britain, control of the world's diamond supply would need to be entirely in British hands, so he sought financing to create a monopoly over the diamond fields in southern Africa. With help from Rothschild's bank, he consolidated diamond production by early 1890 into a single joint-stock company, De Beers. This consolidated operation controlled the Kimberley Diamond Mine, nicknamed the "Big Hole," which generated a considerable portion of the supply of the world's diamonds. The British South Africa Company, which Rhodes founded in 1889, looked to further British interests in the area around the Zambezi river. This expansion of British protection in the region brought it into conflict with the Portuguese claims in the area.

Portugal had been keen to continue the doctrine of historical claims as one of the longest-surviving imperial powers in Europe. Its colonial adventure began in the 1500s, but by now, the cost and the weight of colonial endeavours had begun to take their toll. Effective occupation was a costly business, and with the motherland surrounded by the ongoing chaos of the Spanish Civil War, in which the Portuguese were involved at great expense, Rhodes believed that the British could use its superior financial might to offer them a route out. The Berlin Conference had left British-Portuguese relations in disarray, as both claimed overlapping areas.

Portugal had claimed a contiguous colony between its two holdings without an effective occupation force to manage it. On the other hand, Britain had a more effective occupation force but relied on the British South Africa Company to manage its claims. The impact of the Berlin Conference's decision to award the Congo basin to King Leopold, too, and the German influence in South West Africa heightened the competition between the two countries for imperial expansion. After giving assurances from the British about freedom of movement around the Zambezi river, Portugal produced a map dubbed the "Rose coloured map" to show the extent of its claimed sovereignty over the region.


King Luis I of Portugal, the penultimate King of Portugal

Rhodes' motivation for Empire transitioned from financial reasons to imperial prestige after he was elected Prime Minister of the Cape Colony in 1890. Before, the protection of the British South Africa Company had been his main concern after his belief that Britain was destined to civilise the world took over. Rhodes desired a South African expansion northwards, clashing with Portugal's claims. It is important to note that before he was elected the Cape's Prime Minister, he received support from the Boers by advocating a distinctly South African, rather than British, expansion north. Guided by British principles, South Africa wanted to colonise a large tract of land in the southern continent, in the eyes of Rhodes supporters. This belief was furthered by the discovery of gold in the Transvaal, which transformed the Boer Republics from agrarian states to wealthy cosmopolitan societies. Rhodes believed this was part of a divine plan for white Europeans to discover the continent's riches and use them to build a new society. By 1890, Rhodes was well known in the Union of Britain thanks to devoting a large amount of financial support to the Unionist Party, which bedded interests in the region. His political faction in the Cape Parliament was also dubbed the "Unionists."

Prime Minister Chamberlain met with Rhodes in London in October 1889 to discuss Imperial policy, wishing to further his desire for an Unionisation process in South Africa. Rhodes agreed and respected Chamberlain's lofty imperial ambitions. In a meeting between the Prime Minister, Rhodes, and the Colonial Secretary, Rhodes insisted that he could extract wealth from Katanga (part of the Congo Free State) and the regions around the Kafue and Zambezi Rivers. Rhodes also began to discuss the concept of a 'Cape to Cairo' railway, which would unite British African holdings and create an Empire connected by a transcontinental railway. A believer in the theatrical element of politics, Chamberlain was mesmerised by Rhodes' vision of a contiguous African holding from North to South and authorised the investigation of further northward expansion. Upon informing the Foreign Secretary, Senator Robert Cecil, of this, the Senator was flabbergasted, believing such an experiment would be complete folly. In 1889, a minor clash between the Portuguese, led by the African explorer Serpa Pinto, and British South Africa Company police south of the Congo River showed that an agreement would have to be reached.


Cartoon illustrating Cecil Rhodes 'Cape to Cairo' plan to build an intercontinental African railway.

Senator Cecil was tasked with enacting the policy of allowing the British South Africa Company to occupy areas around the Zambezi and Kafue Rivers unimpeded. To do so, he would have to look to take the Portuguese out of the picture. The new King of Portugal, Carlos I, was a practical and informed man who had spent time in the Union before the end of the Monarchy and arrived for a state visit in October 1890 accompanied by António de Serpa Pimentel, its new Prime Minister. Serpa Pimentel was a member of the Regenerators, a faction close to the King.

Tension was rising in Portugal over the ongoing cost of supporting the Nationalists in Spain, a policy supported by both of the dominant parties in the Chamber of Deputies. A Republican faction ardently supported the Democratic Federation of Spain in the Civil War but was nationalistic and imperial in its beliefs. The Portuguese political elite believed that lusoimperialism was a vital element of the Portuguese identity, and failure to maintain Portugal's colonial empire would be a bitter blow to national prestige.

Following the clash, Senator Cecil indicated that Britain would refuse arbitration on African matters, despite Portugal's insistence that they should take place. While King Luis was in the audience with President-Regent Stanley, Cecil issued a memorandum to the Portuguese Government demanding the withdrawal of Portuguese troops from Mashonaland, Matabeleland, and the Shire-Nyasa region. The Union of Britain, egged on by Rhodes, claimed full sovereignty over these regions, despite the presence of Portuguese interests for centuries:

"What the Union's Government requires and insists upon is the following: that telegraphic instructions shall be sent to the governor of Mozambique at once to the effect that all and any Portuguese military forces which are actually on the Shire or in the Makololo or the Mashona territory are to be withdrawn. The Union Government considers that without this, the assurances given by the Portuguese Government are illusory. Mr. Petre [British Ambassador to Portugal] is compelled by his instruction to leave Lisbon at once with all the members of his legation unless he receives a satisfactory answer to this foregoing intimation in the course of this evening, and the Union ship Enchantress is now at Oporto waiting for his orders."

The ultimatum caught the Portuguese off-guard, and they backed down, believing the British would invade should they refuse. Upon arriving home, the King and the new Prime Minister were humiliated. The Portuguese nation was tarnished, and Republicans, growing in strength, used the unpopularity of the Portuguese Government to further their calls for the abolition of the Monarchy.

Historians today regard this ultimatum as folly, as it pushed Portugal into the Austro-French sphere of orbit and further strengthened the will of the Portuguese to intervene in the Spanish Civil War. Britain began to occupy the Mashonaland, Matabeleland, and the Shire-Nyasa region through chartered companies rather than creating an expensive formal administration; however, clashes between the British South Africa Company and Portuguese colonialists continued throughout 1890 & 1891. Portugal would begin to align with France and Austria and would sign a Treaty with both powers the following year. However, The Portuguese Monarchy would never recover, and within two years, it would suffer the same fate as befell the Spanish Crown: exile from its territory.
Last edited:
Part 5, Chapter XVIII
V, XVIII: The Two Empires

The story of Portugal before the Turbulence, while regarded as one story, is essentially two: that of Portugal and Brazil. While Portugal entered 1890 as a Kingdom, Brazil overthrew its Monarchy in 1889 in a militaristic seizure of power. A prolonged decline preceded Pedro II's removal as Brazil's Emperor, but the country made many advancements in the 49 years of his reign.

Brazil had become an emerging international power, had developed economically, and began to look to take its place among the concert of nations. While Brazil stepped confidently forward, the Monarchy's issues started in the 1850s, when Prince Imperial and heir presumptive Alfonso was killed, leaving the country without a male heir.


Emperor Pedro II of Brazil

The death of the male heir left Isabel as Princess Imperial, but Pedro believed that the institution had suffered a terminal decline with the lack of a stable male heir. His opinion, shared by most of the royal court, was that despite being constitutionally legitimate, Isabel's ascension as Empress would be ruinous for the Empire.

This belief radiated from the royal court, and without the sovereign's faith in the Crown's longevity, it doomed the Empire to a slow decline. Brazilians could ignore the subject as long as Pedro was alive. Still, when his health began to fail in the early 1880s, a combination of population metamorphosis and fatalism surrounding the institution meant that when the military seized power in 1889, Pedro did not lack the ability but the will to fight back. He had already withdrawn from public life, accepted exile in Portugal, and brought the Imperial House of Braganza with him.

The end of the Monarchy was not an abrupt end to an institution that was unpopular; quite the opposite. Pedro and the Monarchy were popular in Brazil. Brazil had industrialised quickly, laid the ninth-largest rail network in the world, and looked set to join the western European nations as a significant economic power. The Empire of Brazil was technologically advanced, bringing the continent's first telephone, electric street lighting, and factories to the streets of its realm.

It was democratic, with one South American general celebrating "the only Republic in South America: the Empire of Brazil." Subjects had freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and millions of poorer residents had voting rights.

Brazil was a military power, and the Brazilian Navy was one of the strongest in the world. The Imperial family was of no cost to the nation, had no civil list, and engaged in little pomp and ceremony. Pedro had built a regime centered firmly on the connection between him and a generation of government men who aided Brazil in the direction of progress.


Ship of the Imperial Brazilian Navy, 1889

By the end of his reign, that generation, who ruled with Pedro in the early days, began to retire. The new generation coming through lacked deference and believed that the lack of pomp and ceremony was a sign that Brazil did not need a monarchy. A common trope about Brazil was that Pedro had made himself redundant by 1889. Pedro was remarkably popular with the people, but his popularity was personal, not intertwined with the monarchy.

Three political reasons combined to see the end of the Monarchy in 1889. The first was the unpopularity of Isabel and her husband, the Count of Eu, with the elites in Brazil. Second, an interlinked reason with the first, was Isabel's decision, while acting as Regent, to declare the end of slavery through the Golden Law in 1888, which brought her respect among commoners but lost support for the institution among slave-owning landowners, who became known as "Republicans of Revenge." The final reason was a growing Republican movement from within the Army.

This political movement was left unchecked by the convention in the Empire of Brazil that while the military was under civilian control, its members could openly practice in the political sphere. Having lost much of its prestige to the Navy, the Army sought a strong dictatorial leader to lead a Republic. Combined with the lethargy exhibited by both Pedro II and Isabel, this was a toxic combination and led to their exile in 1889.

Still, within the people, sympathy for the Empire remained. Rebels inaugurated the Republic against a regime that had seen significant progress, abolished slavery, built a democratic society, and protected unrestricted freedom. The coup in 1889 was not a popular initiative. The Army organised the coup against the will of the majority of the people.

Within Brazil, a counter-revolution was desired by many within the establishment, who formed the Diretório Monárquico do Brasil, or Directory, a year later to revive the Empire and its 1824 Constitution. This movement encapsulated the elites of pre-Republican life. It did not have widespread popular support but had sympathetic elements in many sections of the Brazilian population.

As Pedro arrived in Oporto, the port city in Portugal, he arrived on the shores of a state descending into chaos. Its rapidly disintegrating ruling Monarchy to the East, Spain, and its new Democratic Federation had emboldened Republicans to agitate in Portugal for a Republic, potentially on the same Internationalist lines as the FDE.

A group around Oporto known as the Cenáculo, consisting of Antero de Quental, Eça de Queiroz, Guerra Junqueiro, and Ramalho Ortigão, had sprouted up in the mid-1880s and gained followers preaching that Portugal should join with Spain in the Internationalist Republican experiment.

The cost of Portuguese military action in Spain, in terms of lives and money, mounted towards the end of 1890. As Pedro relaxed in his Villa, Portuguese lawmakers, and King Carlos attempted to balance a budget that was becoming incredibly difficult to maintain. To Republicans, Portuguese lives were wasted in pursuit of a conflict that did nothing but promised to bankrupt them.

Portuguese pride was also hurt enormously by the British Ultimatum, which curbed Portugal's colonial exploits and contracted its 300-year-old empire. Pedro II wrote in November 1890 that "we have left a stable country which surprisingly shed its government, to an unstable country seemingly unable to shed its rulers."

As the only country directly involved in the Spanish Civil War, it suffered heavy casualties at the hands of the Volunteers of the Republic. Still, it suffered just as many desertions and defections. Contemporary government reports estimate that upwards of 5,000 soldiers fled their posts in 1890 to fight against the Portuguese state in the last six months. Portugal responded by introducing stricter military discipline and limited conscription, which only angered ordinary citizens more. Riots in Oporto against conscription were commonplace after it was announced.

Even among Monarchists, apathy was rampant. King Carlos was underperforming as a monarch, and the state seemed hampered by decay. Support for the institution of Monarchy was strong in many elements of the population, but Carlos was deemed unfit for the role. Especially overseas, Portuguese military officers began to plot the removal of Carlos and the current government in the Metropole and his replacement with a new administration. Brazil was well aware of the problems facing Portugal and placed an outright moratorium on Portuguese immigration in late 1890 to prevent any influx of pro-Monarchy immigrants.


Drawing of the Oporto Revolt

The Baring Crisis set off a chain reaction of events leading to King Carlos' position becoming untenable. As global credit dried up, investors became worried that the Argentine debt problem, and the lack of liquidity, was more widespread than thought. Learning of the crisis, banks began reevaluating their liabilities and government debt. Having used a significant percentage of its gold reserves to prevent an Internationalist victory in the Spanish Civil War, Portuguese bonds were considered risky, and credit dried up. Portuguese soldiers fighting in the Northeastern Front of the Spanish Civil War were left unpaid in January 1891, and mutinies intensified.

The Cenáculo was at the forefront of supporting the Internationalists and formed the Confederação dos Sindicatos dos Trabalhadores Portugueses (CSTP) in March 1891, which acted as the Portuguese chapter of the Internationalist Movement. Portuguese anarchist cells began to attack government buildings, assist those resisting conscription, and agitate for the end of hostilities and a National Convention to decide a new form of Government.

Meanwhile, the Portuguese state continued to struggle with the problem of a lack of credit, culminating in a police strike in Oporto due to wage cuts which turned violent as Portuguese Army units were called in from Galicia to suppress the strike. In the melee, the CSTP declared the formation of a Cidade Livre de Oporto (CLO), an independent city-state encapsulating the city and its surrounding regions, with the support of the police in the city.
Part 5, Chapter XIX
V, XIX: O Expulsos

With Pedro II residing in the city with the rest of his family, significant alarm broke out in Brazil at the news of their danger. Brazillian Monarchists urged the Republican Government, led by military leader Deodoro da Fonseca, to revoke the expulsion law that saw them ordered to leave the mainland and allow them to travel back to Brazil. President Fonseca refused, adding to his growing unpopularity outside of the military establishment and landed classes.

Private initiatives began to rescue the Imperial family and relocate them elsewhere. The Directory raised funds, and the Brazilian Navy, heavily Monarchist in its leanings, donated a rescue ship that they intended to save Brazilian citizens from the chaos engulfing Oporto. Fonseca reacted to this subordination by suspending several naval officers, seizing the ship, and arresting several groups of Monarchists.


Deodoro da Fonseca, President of the Brazilian Republic

Meanwhile, the rebellion began to spread in Portugal outside Oporto, encapsulating much of the North. As the Kingdom brought in soldiers from the South and Gunboats were sailed up the coast of Portugal to quell the rebellion, the CLO and Oporto Police began to take hostages, including Pedro II, Isabel, and the Count of Eu.

The 15-year-old second in line to the Brazilian Imperial throne, Pedro de Alcântara of Orléans-Braganza, Prince of Grão Pará, escaped disguised as a pauper. It was lucky, too, as the Royal Portuguese Navy, unaware of the presence of the Emperor and his family, bombarded the city on March 28th, 1891, killing Pedro, Isabel, the Count of Eu, and nearly 700 others. News of the deaths reached Lisbon, and Carlos was said to be greatly personally affected by it, losing much of his will to rule. Seeing the destruction around him, he appealed to France and Austria to support him and launch an invasion force to push the Internationalists out of Oporto.

However, the city's strategic location in the north meant it could cut off the supply of arms from its neighbour, the Kingdom of Spain. Already weak, despite the efforts of the Portuguese Army, the Spanish needed help to establish supply lines, and the Portuguese were left relying on supplies arriving by sea from French ports in the west.

Portugal appealed to Britain, but having broken relations over the Ultimatum; Senator Cecil was unwilling to guarantee the Kingdom despite his desires to support Monarchism in Portugal. When rebels seized naval ships in Oporto harbour and began raids on Portuguese vessels in April, the situation seemed tenuous. With support from the Federation, Portuguese Republicans broke out of Oporto and launched attacks on the rest of the country.

In contrast to the Spanish Civil War, the conflict on the Portuguese mainland was swift. Republicans and Internationalists took large swathes of territory throughout April and landed on the outskirts of Lisbon within four weeks. In contrast to their Spanish counterparts, Monarchists did not stay and fight the capitulation. Instead, hundreds of thousands fled the country. Seeing the writing on the wall, the Portuguese Government prepared plans to evacuate the mainland throughout May.

The King created two divisions of the Portuguese Army on May 18th: the internal legion, which would join with the Spanish Army in Galicia, and the external legion, which would establish a government-in-exile somewhere. The first had nearly 15,000 conscripts, while the second retained a smaller 10,000 professional force and would be supported by the evacuation of the Portuguese Navy.

This division would allow the peninsular to rid itself of the broader problem of Republicanism while retaining support in the colonies. Consequently, evacuations began, looting weapons, food, and other amenities onto boats. At the same time, the city's population faced decreasing supplies and having given prior warning of the evacuation, a group of anarchist bombers infiltrated the city. They attempted to assassinate King Carlos and his family in revenge for the bombing of Oporto.

When angry locals informed the cell of the intent to evacuate the royal family through the Lisbon Naval Base, they could sneak among those attempting to flee and plant bombs in each harbour. While they escaped unharmed, several thousand civilians fled the chaos onto the boats. As naval ships left the port, the boat carrying King Carlos, his wife, and the heir to the Portuguese throne, Luís Filipe, Prince Royal of Portugal, sank with no survivors.

Communication between the Portuguese naval vessels was poor, and the officers and government never agreed on an evacuation location. Around 30% would end up in Portuguese West Africa, welcomed by a loyalist colonial administration. Unaware of the prohibition on their immigration, most of the Portuguese Navy, the External Legion, and nearly 90,000 Portuguese refugees fled the Kingdom to Brazil. Among them was Pedro de Alcântara, discovered and recognized by a minor noble family in Santarém, outside Lisbon. The unacclaimed Emperor of Brazil was alive and heading back to his homeland thanks to the efforts of the Portuguese Navy.


Pedro de Alcântara, future Emperor Pedro III of Brazil and Nova Lusitania

Portuguese radicals urged the Internationalists to occupy Portugal and integrate the country into the Federation. Another group, the Carbonária, amassed in Lisbon to declare a Republic on the day of the flight of the King, unaware of his death. A member of the moderate Republican opposition in Oporto, Augusto Manuel Alves da Veiga, agreed and declared that the CLO was to dissolve itself and join the Portuguese Republic. Despite the leanings of the CSTP, Internationalists accepted that joining the Federation would not be acceptable to the Portuguese people yet.

Colonial administrations in Portuguese West and East Africa declared their opposition to the Portuguese Republic and their loyalty to the Monarchy. Despite that, when the news that King Carlos had died reached the colonies, there was confusion about the heir apparent. Afonso, Duke of Porto, was the immediate claimant but disappeared during the crisis and was later reported dead. A Miguelist claimant, Maria das Neves of Portugal, was unacceptable to most Portuguese establishment and had never resided in the country. Portugal had lost its Monarchy, Monarchists and was suffering a succession crisis.

The refugees created by the traumatic events of May 1891, dubbed O Expulso (the Expelled), spread across the rest of the Portuguese-speaking world. A large proportion of Expluso immigration was to Brazil, accompanied by naval officers and armed units. On the journey, Prince Pedro quickly enamored himself with his fellow refugees, and became a popular and friendly child, despite the death of his mother, father, and grandfather. Stories of his kindness, good nature, and bravery spread as Portuguese pinged around the Atlantic looking for a home.

On a stop in Cape Verde, Portuguese sailors made contact with the Directory and informed them of the presence of the Prince among the refugees. Two high-ranking officers in the Brazilian Navy, Admirals Custódio José de Melo, and Saldanha da Gama were informed and arranged transport for the new Emperor, undetected by the Republican forces. A vessel, Sete de Setembro, intercepted the ship he was sailing on and smuggled him into the country through Salvador.

The first Expulso ships began to arrive in Belém, Fortaleza, and Recife in mid-June 1891 and were quickly apprehended by state officials. Those who traveled further south to Salvador, Rio de Janeiro, and Porto Alegre were luckier. A revolt against the Republic had been launched by those opposed to the Military, and large parts of the south were in rebel hands.

The sight of weapons, anti-Republican soldiers, and money looted from Portugal was a much-needed boost to the rebellion, which had the tacit support of the Navy, which had itself lost a position of prominence to the Army with the founding of the Republic. The combination of the arrival of the Monarchist Portuguese troops, wealth from the Expulsos, the Brazilian Navy’s coordination with the Directory, and this federal revolt would pose a severe danger to the Brazilian Republic. Well-funded, well-armed, and led by the grandson of the popular Emperor, the Directory was able to coordinate an overthrow of the Government in November 1891.
Last edited:
Part 5, Chapter XX
V, XX: The Restoration & Establishment of Nova Lusitânia

Pedro’s voyage to Brazil was well-documented and engrossed Portuguese patriots around the colonial empire. With no reasonable heir to the Portuguese throne outside the Miguelist branch, discussion among elites in the Portuguese colonial empire turned to whether Pedro would be a suitable candidate for the new King of Portugal, albeit exiled from outside the mainland. In Brazil-proper, Pedro's issue wasn't his support but disagreements over who would act as the regent until the 15-year-old Pedro was able to be acclaimed as Emperor. With Isabel and the Count of Eu dead, relatives ranged from the uninterested, like Prince August Leopold of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, to the highly questionable, like Prince Pedro Augusto, who had suffered a mental breakdown while he was evacuated from Brazil and nearly killed a captain.

The Directory took precedence from the previous regency, from 1831-1840, and decided to assume a three-year control of affairs by a triumvirate of José Antônio Saraiva, Gaspar da Silveira Martins, and Custódio José de Melo. Soon after, they proclaimed the restoration of the 1824 Constitution and the Empire of Brazil. Martins promised the Federalists that once Pedro III was acclaimed, work would begin on a new constitution that would entrench Federalism as a fundamental right of the Provinces, which would become the States of Brazil. Ironically, the eventual Constitution, adopted in 1895, would be based on the 1875 British Constitutional Laws.


Gaspar da Silveira Martins, the first Prime Minister of Brazil post-Restoration

The pressing issue in the Lusophone territories was the direction of travel the colonies would take after exterminating the Royal line. The evacuation scattered thousands of Portuguese Explulsos across Portugal's possessions; West Africa, East Africa, Cape Verde, Guinea, and to a lesser extent, Portuguese India and East Timor.

The distribution of the Expulsos throughout the Luso-African possessions led to hasty reorganisations of colonial administrations. "Emergency Administrations" often ousted sitting governors focused entirely on recapturing the mainland. Cape Verde was the most important of these, thanks to its proximity to Portugal. The islands acted as the hub of the Explusos activities in the region, much to the annoyance of the West Africans.

The Colonial Governor of Cape Verde, José Guedes Brandão de Melo, had met with the entourage of Prince Pedro and was mightily impressed with the efforts of the young boy and the Expulsos heading to Brazil. When news came that Monarchists had restored the Empire, Brandão de Melo gathered officials on the Island to propose pledging its allegiance to the Empire of Brazil and asking for protection from it.

Urged by the Expulso Community in Brazil, Martins accepted and claimed a protectorate for Brazil over Cape Verde. The colony's nearest neighbour, Portuguese Guinea, followed, and its Governor, Luís Augusto de Vasconcelos e Sá, asked for protection. Soon, the two significant colonies of East and West Africa followed. Martins sent a plenipotentiary to tour France, Belgium, Germany, and Britain in January 1892 to secure recognition for these claims.

Uninterested in the Portuguese colonial holdings and believing the situation would be temporary, the three powers shrugged. However, this did not extend to India, and Colonial Administrations in the Portuguese sections of the subcontinent were occupied nearly immediately by the British. In exchange for accepting that Portuguese colonies in India had been disestablished, the British allowed Lusophones to continue governance over East Timor and Macau.

The Portuguese Republic heavily disputed this settlement to transfer Portugal's empire to Brazil, but without a strong Navy, it could not respond. Losing its colonial empire pushed the new Republic further into the sphere of the Democratic Federation of Spain, and the Republic signed a Treaty of Friendship with the FDE shortly after the acceptance of Brazilian claims to the Portuguese colonies.

Pedro indicated to the Regency in Brazil that he did not want to usurp the Portuguese crown. If the Lusophone colonies were uniting under his Empire, he was uncomfortable assuming control under occupation. Therefore, with recognition for their claims upheld, the Regency decided to make a clean break with the Portuguese crown and establish a separate jurisdiction under Brazil's protection - The Protectorate of Nova Lusitânia. When Pedro was finally acclaimed in 1894, he was crowned "His Imperial Majesty Dom Pedro III, Constitutional Emperor and Perpetual Defender of Brazil and Protector of Nova Lusitânia." The two became collectively known as the Luso-Brazilian Empire.

Edited 19/2/2023 to change the name of Novo Lusitânia to Nova Lusitânia
Last edited: