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History of the Count of Spain

The Count of Spain “The best way to govern the Catalans is to not govern them at all”

Charles of Espagnac, Cousserans, Cominges or Espagne, known in Catalonia as Count of Spain and in Spain as Charles of Spain (Castle of Ramefort, Foix, Languedoc, August 15, 1775 – Organyà, Alt Urgell, February 2, 1839) was a French nobleman and soldier at the service of the Bourbon monarchy of the Kingdom of Spain. He was Marquis of Espagnac and Baron de Ramefort in France as well as Great of Spain or Spain Count.

Son of the nobility of Foix, he was forced into exile in Mallorca when the French Revolution broke out. In 1792 he entered the service of the Spanish Bourbons and joined their army, with which he participated in the Great War and the French War, where he took part in the most important battles and sieges. From there he left with the rank of Lieutenant General at the age of 40. After the war he renounced to return to France and Fernando VII Spanishized his noble titles as Count of Spain and Great of Spain.

In the 1920s, with the military pronouncement of Irrigation, he began to fear that the country would fall into a revolution similar to the French Revolution and radicalized his ideas. He was the King’s representative at the Congress of European Monarchs in Vienna and led the 100,000 Sons of St. Louis of the French army to invade Spain and restore the deposed Ferdinand VII. In 1827 he was sent by King Ferdinand to suppress the absolutist uprising in Catalonia known as the “Malcontents’ Revolt”. He eliminated the rebellious bosses and razed everything to the ground with blood and fire, even though he sympathized with their ideas. The same year, he took over from the French occupiers of Barcelona and was appointed Captain General of Catalonia and Military Governor of Barcelona, where, endowed with absolute powers, he proposed to eliminate the liberal focus that the Catalan capital represented.

COOLTUR Turisme Cultural - Il.lustració de l'execució del comte d'Espanya

That’s when his black legend began and showed that he was a character endowed with paranoid and mentally unbalanced cruelty. He was always on the lookout for a Masonic and liberal conspiracy against the Crown (and his person). His term in office in Barcelona ended with dozens of summary executions, hundreds of prison sentences in North Africa and thousands of banishments outside the city. His drums and misogyny were legendary, even within his family. Some of the most controversial measures taken by the Count of Spain against Barcelona’s liberals were the banning of fashionable hats, barrettes or the fact that young people left their hair long (he reminded him of the Revolution). Later he forbade the moustaches, considering that he was suspected of hiding the person he was carrying. He banned ointments against brunettes and oils for women’s hair removal. He had a game of gypsies for the Barcelona Plan that chased the girls with braids to shave their heads and the Mossos followed the same instructions inside the walls. At Christmas he closed the cafés, shops and fairs to encourage spiritual recollection. He usually went to mass with all the scapulars and medals and simulated ecstasy from time to time. He had the rosary prayed at the end of the working day in the factories, under penalty of imprisonment if someone left him. He could spend hours in the Palace window looking for suspects in the Sea Portal while drinking a mixture of Rum and Brandy. He created a Secret Police to arrest and torture liberals, and they raided their homes indiscriminately at night. The detainees were brought before a court that accepted bribes and betrayals. The three summary executions he called for were always thirteen individuals. Once shot, the bodies were mutilated and exposed in the Esplanade of the Citadel where the Count danced a march before the dead. It was said that Ferdinand VII himself thought of his actions: “It may be crazy, but for these things there is no other”. He will Process and shoot a horse to throw it to the ground and march an infantry battalion on foot out to sea until they almost drowned. Finally in 1832, when absolutism began to fall, the new government proclaimed an amnesty and General Llauder replaced the Count as Captain General. He left the city protected to avoid a lynching and went to Genoa in exile. His government had the opposite effect of what he wanted for Barcelona and its surroundings: from his repression, the world hated absolutism to the death.

Once the King died and the Carlist War began, he took part (evidently) in favour of the Child Carlos María Isidro and the absolutists. He entered France in 1838 to take over the Carlist leadership in Catalonia. From Berga he applied the same formula as in Barcelona: Discrepancy was punished by hanging, he filled the prisons and exiled moderate absolutists. In the spring of 1939, it razed Olvan, Manlleu, Ripoll and Gironella; made of weapons that the Carlist peasants turned against the Carlists themselves. In the end, the Catalan commanders were dismissed by the Central Command. Instead of being taken to France, his men threw him into the Segre with a stone tied around his neck. It is said that his skull was walked through medical cabinets in Europe, in order to study the frenological origins of evil.

Here you can find out more about the Carlism, and the wars that took place during the 19th century.

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