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The San Francisco call. [volume] (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, April 24, 1898, Image 19

Image and text provided by University of California, Riverside; Riverside, CA

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85066387/1898-04-24/ed-1/seq-19/

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T try g eneral de^ 19 clearly
try for Bome«a
I out Spain just no o£ all
I evidenced at the » libra rie3
-*- the large cities ia* demands
have been so pestered placed all
of the P^ l V«nVto^our {dends> the
the books la^° here the people
enemy." on sh ,\ for themselves,
can Pic* them out^for « constitute 3
The kingdom of bP western
what might be «*£•» reac hes do^n
arm of Europe, fn^LJgm Africa. It
and almost touches nortjer^ three
ls a true peninsula, Medite rrane-
Sdes by the the Atlantic
an the Bay of Biscay a neck o£
Ocean, and b> of Gi^
land to France. TbeS of lt3
raltar, cut from the s^ com .
Bouthern extremity, com Mediterr a-
S* {f V^^roi-ned and g ax-
SS-V^S* Britain.
Spain Is a monarchy founded by the
union of the lio-uses of Aragon and Cas
tile during the fifteenth century. She
has been ruled intermittently by the
houses of Aragon, Bourbon, Savoy and
Hamburg for 400 years, except once
when Joseph Bonaparte was proclaim
e <j Kinp; by his brother, the Emperor
N:ifi>>lt j i>n and rmee when the country
was B republic, during 1873 and 1874.
The house of Bourbon are in power at
present, although its supremacy is op
THE present century ha 3 been the
most disastrous in Spanish history,
when the loss of the most precious
Jewels in her crown, her territorial
T-npst'ssions, are considered. The
chances are that the year 1900 will
see her stripped of ::11 her 'land outside
her ancient homestead lying betw.een,
posed by the CarHsts, who claim a
bar sinister interferes with the purity
of the descent. The present King is
Alfonso XIII, who, however, is but 12
years old, and whose mother, Maria
Christina, is the regent of the country.
The present constitution of Spain was
proclaimed in 1876. It proclaims the
government to be a constitutional mon
archy, the executive resting in the
King, the power to make laws "in the
cortes of the King." The cortes are
the Pyrenees and the seas, and which
she recovered from the Moors after
such a hard struggle before Columbus
(]i:-iipvered America in 1492. That dis
covery gave to her almost the whole of
South America and much of North
and Central America. Every island
of. th.c West Indies group pf any
HMIKJCS I nAI tiivfy
■ ■■^^ifeSi-IPPEb FROM /k
importance floated her flag. For cen
tu>ies f.hf drained these couimi'js of
every bit of revenue, just as of late
years she has drained Cuba. In the
days of her might and glory she ruled
over some of the widest and richest
possessions in history. Then gradually
these possessions began to full away
from her, just as Cuba and the Phil
ippine Islands are breakup away to
day. Mostly these possessions were
lost by successful revolutions.
The present nineteenth century has
been the most disastrous in Spain's
eventful career, and in all the long
Btriiig of one hundred unlucky years
each of which could be relied upon for
support In time of war. Any Spaniard
above the age of 19 is liable to be
called upon to serve in the permanent
army for three years. From this part
of the army the soldier passes to the
actiw reserve lor three years' service,
and from thence to the sedentary re
serve for six years' service. By paying
1500 pesetas any one may escape serv
The colonial army requires every
able-bodied subject to serve eight years
in the various reserves. Thus most of
the King's subjec „ are militiamen, and
it is estimated that in time or need
Spain could easily mobilize an efficient
army of 1.083,595 men. The standing
arnv numbers about 70,000 men, al
though recent levies make thi . num
ber nearer 100,000. Spain's navy is like
wise capable.
Most of these ■ essels have a normal
speed of 20 knots and several, notably
the Viscaya and the Maria Teresa, ex
the decade between 1820 and 1830 was
the most unlucky to her. The year 1800
dawned for her with the loss of prac
tically the whole of the Mississippi val
ley. This great slice in North America
cut from the crown was followed by
the loss of smaller- strips of territory
in South America. Between IS2J and
W^f^ o *^ Ws%&s \1
ceed this rato. Spain also has a num
erous tleet of torpedo-boats and tor
pedo-boa, destroyers. Her fighting
navy is manned by 1002 officers, 9000
marines and 14.000 sailors, bes.-es about
1000 mechanicians of various kinds.
This is in fact the army, and this the
navy which will protect the beautiful
Spanish cities which have known less
change since the days of the Moors
than almost any other in Europe. Spain
is not after all, a modernized nation
in the sense that other nations are
modernized. Her people are governed
by the s- irit of Quixotism that caused
Isabella to pledge her jewels SO that
Columbus might start westward; that
caused Ferdinand and his consort to
move their throne chairs "r> to the very
walls of the Moorish strongholds that
the example might incite f.e chivalrous
bravery of their followers; that caused
the houses of Urna and De Leon to
pledge their estates that the Moors
mi^ht be driven >om the Alhambra.
1830 revolutions sputtered and exploded
all along the Pacific slope of the Andes
and with every explosion i T-tes like
Bolivia, Venezuela, Paraguay, Colom
bia, lUttKUay. Argentina, Chil*, Pe^u.
Guatemala and Mexico dropped off into
independent existence.
Some of them went by purchase, but
most of them by force of arms; In
either case Spain found herself too
weak to hold on.
The sixteenth century saw Spain the
richest, the most powerful and most
magnificent nation on the face of the
earth. The twentieth century is likely
to see her among the lowliest.

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