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Resistance On The Iberian Peninsula
“Liberté, égalité, fraternité (Liberty, Equality, Fraternity),”
Scream French revolutionists as they guillotine monarchists heads,
Then crown Napoleon Bonaparte Emperor of France,
Who commands the French forces in wars raged across Europe.
The Grande Armée has defeated the ‘Fourth Coalition:’
And in 1807, horses stomp pulling supplies and cannons,
With allied French and Spanish marching battalions;
To punish Portugal for not enforcing the Continental System,
Of the trade blockade to paralyze Great Britain.
The invasion completed, Napoleon seizes the moment,
And occupies Spain to control the Iberian Peninsula.
The Spanish are incensed and there are popular uprisings,
“Ve a cosa francés, déjanos en paz!’
(“Go home Frenchmen, leave us alone!”)
On the Third of May 1808, the French retaliate,
In answer to the Spanish patriots rebellious mêlée,
Against Napoleon’s Egyptian mercenary brigade,
The Mamelukes: The day before in Madrid, Spain.
“Vive la France!” Scream Frenchmen in a foreign land.
Then round up Madrilène citizens rebel or not,
And herd them to la Montaña del Príncipe Pío,
(Prince Pius Mountain) outside the Spanish capital,
To be executed without trial; no mercy is given.
Predictably, a martyr steps forward sacrificially,
Death is eminent, so take most of the glory.
“Disparame desarmado! Larga vivda gratis España!”
(“Shoot me unarmed! Long live free Spain!”)
Who no more wants to die than they of the firing squad.
In line stand soldiers of the French unit,
With Charleville muskets cocked and bayoneted,
Awaiting orders to squeeze the triggers,
To shoot the Spanish resistance fighters.
Already a heap of bodies lie on the ground,
Where blood floats and is splattered on the mound.
Fellow countrymen watch, cry and pray
For their brothers in arms and wait to be slain.
In times of war there is weariness of slaughter,
Orders are given and horrors enacted,
By night lantern a volley of shot breaks the silence,
As if God above will not see the atrocities committed.
1) French Revolution: 1789 to1799 (overthrew the monarchy and established a republic and crowned the Corsican Napoleon Bonaparte as Emperor and Dictator).
2) Coalitions: Were names given to the Allies of Europe who fought against the French during the Napoleonic wars. In all there were 7 Coalitions in wars lasting from 1803 to1815.
4th. Coalition: consisted of Saxony, Prussia, Russia, Saxony, Sweden and Great Britain in war against France (1806 to1807) in which France was victorious.
3) “The Second Treaty of San Ildefonso” signed Aug. 19, 1796 between the First Republic of France and Spain thus, becoming allies and combining their forces to fight against the British Empire.
4) Continental System: a Napoleonic policy instituted after the defeat of the 4th. Coalition consisting of a blockade in which France, neutrals and French allies were not allowed to trade with the British.
Portugal continued to trade with Great Britain after the Continental System proclamation and thus, allied French and Spanish troops invade the Kingdom of Portugal (Nov. 19 to 30, 1807).
5) Due to Spain’s declining economy and unstable political situation, Spain’s value as an ally was suspect and highly questionable. Napoleon ordered more troops into Spain which was very unpopular with the Spanish people, resulting in the abdication of the Spanish King, Charles 1V in March, 1808. Instead of assisting another Spanish successor to the throne, Napoleon appointed his younger brother, Joseph Bonaparte King of Spain and the French occupation of Spain. This sparked riots in Madrid and revolt against French rule.
6) Iberian Peninsula: the second largest European Peninsula after the Scandinavian. It is known as Iberia and includes Spain and Portugal along with a small part of France, Gibraltar and Andorra.
7) Mamelukes: originally Muslim slave soldiers and Muslim rulers of slave origins. During the French Campaign in Egypt (1798 to 1801), Napoleon formed his own Mameluk corps and brought them back with him to France in 1799. Napoleon wrote to his successor upon leaving Egypt, that he had purchased 2,000 Mamelukes from Syrian merchants with whom he would form a special detachment of which he did; a cavalry squadron in Napoleon’s Imperial Guard.
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