America and the Making of Baldomero Espartero

Saturday, January 3, 2015: 11:30 AM
Conference Room I (Sheraton New York)
Adrian Shubert Sr., York University
Baldomero Espartero was one of the most important political figures in 19th century Spain, a general who won a civil war, became a national hero, served as Regent and Prime Minister, and even became a candidate for the throne. But before this, Espartero served for ten years in America fighting to preserve the empire against movements for independence, and in this paper I argue that these ten years that made him. Espartero left Spain in 1815 a poor junior officer with limited experience, few contacts and fewer prospects. He returned to Europe in 1825 a wealthy and well-connected general with significant experience fighting counter-insurgency as well as on more traditional battlefields. It was an astonishing transformation. Only this man could have had the even more astonishing career that followed and without America, this man would never have existed. More than a fascinating individual story, the example of Espartero is an example of a trans-Atlantic life and of the important influence of America on historical events in Spain.
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