José Antonio Primo de Rivera

José Antonio Primo de Rivera
José Antonio Primo de Rivera
Member of the Congress of Deputies
In office
30 November 1933 – 7 January 1936
Constituency Cádiz
Personal details
Born José Antonio Primo de Rivera y Sáenz de Heredia
April 24, 1903(1903-04-24)
Madrid, Spain
Died November 20, 1936(1936-11-20) (aged 33)
Alicante, Spain
Resting place Valley of the Fallen (1959-)
40°38′31″N 4°09′19″W / 40.641944°N 4.155278°W / 40.641944; -4.155278
Nationality Spanish
Political party Falange
Other political
National Monarchic Union (-1931)
Relations Miguel Primo de Rivera
Profession Lawyer
Religion Roman Catholicism

José Antonio Primo de Rivera y Sáenz de Heredia, 1st Duke of Primo de Rivera, 3rd Marquis of Estella (April 24, 1903  – November 20, 1936), was a Spanish lawyer, nobleman, politician, and founder of the Falange Española ("Spanish Phalanx"). He was executed by the Spanish republican government during the course of the Spanish Civil War.



José Antonio Primo de Rivera was born in Madrid on April 24, 1903, the oldest son of General Miguel Primo de Rivera, Prime Minister and Dictator under the monarchy of King Alfonso XIII of Spain. From his father he inherited the title of Marquis of Estella (Navarre). Although he never married he is reputed to have had several girlfriends, one of them rumoured to have been Elizabeth Asquith, the daughter of former British Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith (see entry "The Possible Relationship between Primo de Rivera and Elizabeth Bibesco" in this article's Discussion page).

His mother died when he was five years old, and he was subsequently raised by his father's sister. He was privately taught at home, and learned English and French.[1][2] When at university, he did not attend lectures until the second year of his undergraduate studies.[3] He spent his summer holidays in the country estate of an uncle where he learned to ride horses and learned to hunt.[4]

Primo de Rivera went on to study law at the University of Madrid between 1917 and 1923. He helped to organize the student union there, "Federación Universitaria Escolar," which opposed the higher-education policies of his father. His undergraduate academic record is mixed. He obtained a grade of A+ in second-year Civil Law, in Private International Law and in Forensics; he got an A in Spanish History, in Political Economics, in Administrative Law, in Taxation Law and in Business Law; but he failed four times: Civil Law twice, History of Spanish Literature once and Criminal Law once. He took undergraduate and graduate courses simultaneously and he obtained both his Bachelor and Doctor degrees in the same year, 1923.[5]

After graduating he picked the "One-Year Volunteer" option to do his military service while his father was dictator. He served with the Ninth Dragoons of St. James cavalry regiment stationed at Barcelona. He was court-martialed for punching a superior officer, Brigadier General Gonzalo Queipo de Llano.

Queipo de Llano had written a defamatory letter against an uncle of Jose Antonio and against the Dictator himself. Jose Antonio, ready to defend the honour of his family abused by the Republican general, went to the café where the latter used to socialize, and after asking whether he was the author of the writing, and after receiving the general's affirmative reply, delivered a spectacular punch that made the general roll on the floor, sparking a free-for-all between the companions of Jose Antonio and the companions of the general.[4]

The tribunal meted out a very lenient sentence, the temporary demotion from the rank of second lieutenant.

In 1925 he became a registered lawyer and opened an office on a side street of Madrid very near the confluence of three principal avenues.[6] In 1931 he was invested "Perpetual Dean of the Illustrious College of Lawyers of Madrid."[7]

In 1931 he constituted "Agrupación al Servicio de la República" (Assembly at the Service of the Republic)[7] and paradoxically ran for office under the monarchist banner of "Unión Monárquica Nacional";—he failed to get elected.[8]

He was detained briefly in 1932 for collaboration in General Sanjurjo's attempted coup.[8]