Joseph somewhat reluctantly left Naples and arrived in Spain just in time for the commencement of the Spanish revolt against French rule, and the beginning of the Peninsular War. After a series of early defeats of the French by the remnants of the Spanish regular armies (stiffened by militia and guerrillas), Joseph temporarily retreated with much of the French Army to northern Spain. Feeling himself in an ignominious position, Joseph then proposed his own abdication from the Spanish throne, hoping that Napoleon would sanction his return to the Neapolitan Throne he had formerly occupied. Napoleon dismissed Joseph's misgivings out of hand; and, to back up the raw and ill-trained levies he had initially allocated to Spain—the Emperor sent heavy French reinforcements to assist Joseph in maintaining his position as King of Spain. Despite the easy recapture of Madrid, and nominal control by Joseph's government over many cities and provinces, Joseph's reign over Spain was always tenuous at best, and constantly resisted by pro-Bourbon guerrillas. Joseph and his supporters never established complete control over the country.
King Joseph's Spanish supporters were called josefinos or afrancesados (frenchified). During his reign, he ended the Spanish Inquisition, partly because Napoleon was at odds with Pope Pius VII at the time. Despite such efforts to win popularity, Joseph's foreign birth and support, plus his membership in a Masonic lodge, virtually guaranteed he would never be accepted as legitimate by the bulk of the Spanish people. During Joseph's rule of Spain, Venezuela declared independence (1810) from Spain, the first nation to do so. The king had virtually no influence over the course of the ongoing Peninsular War: Joseph's nominal command of French forces in Spain was mostly illusory, as the French commanders theoretically subordinate to King Joseph insisted on checking with Napoleon before carrying out Joseph's instructions.
King Joseph abdicated and returned to France after defeat of the main French forces to the British at the Battle of Vitoria in 1813. He was seen by Bonapartists as the rightful Emperor of the French after the death of Napoleon's own son Napoleon II in 1832, although he did little to advance his claim.
Read more about this topic: Joseph Bonaparte
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Famous quotes containing the word spain:
“How the devil am I to prove to my counsel that I dont know my murderous impulses through C.G. Jung, jealousy through Marcel Proust, Spain through Hemingway ... Its true, you need never have read these authorities, you can absorb them through your friends, who also live all their experiences second-hand. What an age!”
—Max Frisch (19111991)
“England and France, Spain and Portugal, Gold Coast and Slave Coast, all front on this private sea; but no bark from them has ventured out of sight of land, though it is without doubt the direct way to India.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“last time I saw you was the hospital
pale skull protruding under ashen skin
blue veined unconscious girl
in an oxygen tent
the war in Spain has ended long ago
—Allen Ginsberg (b. 1926)