Catalan Revolt

Catalan Revolt

The Catalan Revolt (known in Catalan as the "Guerra dels Segadors" or Reapers' War) affected a large part of Catalonia between the years of 1640 and 1659. It had an enduring effect in the Treaty of the Pyrenees, which ceded the county of Roussillon and the northern half of the county of Cerdanya to France (see French Cerdagne), thereby splitting the Catalan population. The Spanish counter-insurgency efforts exhausted and ultimately contributed to Spain's decline as a world power, much in the same way as the USSR's counter-insurgency efforts in Afghanistan 350 years later would contribute to the USSR's decline.

The war had its roots in the discomfort generated in Catalan society by the presence of Castilian troops during the wars between France and Spain as part of the Thirty Years' War. Count-Duke Olivares, the chief minister of Philip IV, had been overusing Catalan resources in his wars against France. Catalan peasants were forced to quarter Castilian troops and responded on Corpus Christi day with an uprising known as 'Bloody Corpus' (Catalan "Corpus de Sang"), under the slogans "Long live the faith of Christ!", "Long live the king of Spain, our lord", "Long live the land, death to bad government". This 'Bloody Corpus' of 1640, which began with the death of a reaper and led to the somewhat mysterious death of the Count of Santa Coloma, viceroy of Catalonia, marked the beginning of the conflict. The irregular militia were known as 'Miquelets'.
Pau Claris, head of the Generalitat of Catalonia, turned the social unrest of the Catalans into a political cause and proclaimed a Catalan Republic. The Generalitat obtained an important military victory in the battle of Montjuïc (January 26, 1641). A little later, the death of Pau Claris created a difficult local and international situation, which resulted in the proclamation of Louis XIII of France as count of Barcelona and sovereign of Catalonia, Lluís I de Barcelona.

The conflict extended beyond the Peace of Westphalia, which concluded the Thirty Years' War in 1648, with the confrontation between two sovereigns and two Generalitats, one based in Barcelona, under the control of Spain and the other in Perpinyà (Perpignan), under the occupation of France. In 1652 the French authorities renounced Catalonia, but held control of Roussillon, thereby leading to the signing of the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659.

ee also

*Els Segadors ("The Reapers") is the current anthem of Catalonia. The current lyrics are from 1899.


* J.H. Elliott. " [ The Revolt of the Catalans: a Study in the Decline of Spain (1598-1640)] ". Cambridge, 1963.
* J. Sanabre. "La acción de Francia en Cataluña en la pugna por la hegemonía de Europa (1640-1659)". Barcelona, 1956. Still indispensable for its detailed coverage of the events from 1640/41 and later.

External links

* [ Museum exhibit with online information]

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