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Juan Prim, Spanish general and statesman
Reus, Monument to Prim sculpted by Josep Llimona

Juan Prim, Marquis of los Castillejos, Count of Reus, Viscount del Bruch (Catalan: Joan Prim i Prats, comte de Reus i vescomte del Bruc, marquès dels Castillejos; Spanish: Juan Prim y Prats, conde de Reus y vizconde del Bruch, marqués de los Castillejos) (December 12, 1814 in Reus, Catalonia – December 30, 1870 in Madrid) was a Spanish Catalan general and statesman.

Contents

Life

Prim was the son of Lieut.-Colonel Pablo Prim. He entered the free corps known as the volunteers of Isabella II in 1834, and in the course of the Carlist War he rose to the rank of lieutenant-colonel and had two orders of knighthood conferred upon him. After the pacification of 1839, as a progressist opposed to the dictatorship of General Espartero, he was sent into exile. However, in 1843 he was elected deputy for Tarragona, and after defeating Espartero at Bruch he entered Madrid in triumph with General Serrano. The regent Maria Christina promoted him major-general, and made him condé de Reus and vizconde del Bruch.

General Narvaez, the prime minister, failed to understand what constitutional freedom meant, and General Prim, on showing signs of opposition, was sentenced to six years' imprisonment in the Philippine Islands. The sentence was not carried out, and Prim remained an exile in England and France until the amnesty of 1847. He then returned to Spain, and was first employed as captain-general of Puerto Rico (Governor of Puerto Rico) and afterwards as military representative with the sultan during the Crimean War. In 1854 he was elected to the cortes, and gave his support to General O'Donnell, who promoted him lieutenant-general in 1856. In the war with Morocco he did such good service at Los Castillejos or Marabout, Cabo Negro, Guad al Gelu and Campamento in 1860 that he was made marqués de los Castillejos and a Grandee of Spain.

He commanded the Spanish army in Mexico when it refused to consent to the ambitious schemes of Napoleon III. On his return to Spain he joined the opposition, heading pronunciamentos in Catalonia against generals Narvaez and O'Donnell. All his attempts failed until the death of Narvaez in April 1868, after which Queen Isabella fell more and more under the influence of the Jesuits, and became increasingly tyrannical, until at last even Serrano was exiled. In September 1868 General Serrano and General Prim returned, and Brigadier Topete, commanding the fleet, raised the standard of revolt at Cádiz. In July 1869 General Serrano was elected regent, and Prim became president of the council and was made a marshal. On the 6th of November 1870 Amadeo, Duke of Aosta, was elected king of Spain, but General Prim, on leaving the chamber of the Cortes on the 28th of December, was shot by unknown assassins and died two days later. The Cortes took his children as wards of the country; three days afterwards King Amadeo I swore in the presence of the corpse to observe the new Spanish constitution. This is due to the fact that Prim had searched all the European courts of the time trying to find a monarch who was not opposed to being democratically elected. He is quoted for saying that "looking for a democratic monarch in Europe is like trying to find an atheist in heaven". Amadeo of Savoy was the most fitting that consented.

Bibliography

Two biographies of General Prim down to 1860 were published in that year by Gimenez y Guited and Gonzalez Llanos. See also L. Blairet, Le General Prim et la situation actuelle de l'Espagne (Paris, 1867); Guillaumot, Juan Prim et l'Espagne (Paris, 1870); and Prim, by H. Leonardon (in French, 1901), which contains a useful bibliography.

References

External links

See also

Carl Schurz, Reminiscences, New York: McClure Publ. Co., 1907, Vol. II, Chap. 6, pp. 293–297. Schurz was the United States' ambassador to Spain in 1860. In his Reminiscences, he gives a short biography of Prim up to that time as well as his recollections of his own talks with Prim and the Spanish court.

Preceded by
Rafael De Aristegui y Velez
Governor of Puerto Rico
1847-1848
Succeeded by
Juan De La Pezuela y Cevallos
Preceded by
Francisco Serrano y Domínguez, Duke de la Torre
Prime Minister of Spain
1868-1869
Succeeded by
Juan Bautista Topete y Carballo
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