Spanish nationalism

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The badge of the Spanish co-monarchy of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile. It officially represents the unification of Spain.[1]
Civil flag of Spain, the Spanish bi-color has been a symbol of Spain during its monarchical periods from 1785 to 1873, 1874–1931, and 1975–present, and was used by the First Spanish Republic and Francoist Spain. It has been a common symbol of Spanish nationalism. FIAV historical.svg FIAV 011011.svg
Civil flag of the Second Spanish Republic (1931–1939, in exile 1939–1977). This flag has been used by Spanish republican nationalists since 1931.[2] Note that this republican nationalism should not be confused with the Nationalist faction of the Spanish Civil War that opposed the Second Spanish Republic. FIAV historical.svg FIAV 011011.svg

Spanish nationalism is the nationalism that asserts that the Spaniards are a nation, and promotes the cultural unity of the Spanish. In a general sense, it comprises political and social movements inspired by a love for Spanish culture, language, history, and a sense of pride in Spain and its people. Spanish nationalists often reject other nationalist movements within Spain, specifically Catalan and Basque nationalism.

Spanish nationalism has been tied to the conceptions of a Castilian-based culture.[3] The Castilian language became the Spanish language. Other forms of Spanish nationalism have included pan-Iberianism and pan-Hispanism.[3] The origins of Spanish nationalism are claimed to have begun with the Reconquista — beginning with the final conquest of Granada in 1492. This resulted in a surge of patriotic sentiment among Catholic Spaniards.[3] The development of Spanish nationalism has been tied to the state-building process of the Castilian-ruled Spanish monarchy.[3]


In many Western European nation-states (Portugal, France and England), the shaping of an authoritarian monarchy, like those of the late Middle Ages, prompted a parallel secular development of the state and nation in Spain under the Spanish Monarchy's successive territorial conformations.[4] Like many nations before it, Spanish national identity and territorial dynamic gave rise to different outcomes. As a result of how the institutions responded to the changing economic and social dynamic, the idea of nationalism did not fully flourish into its contemporary frame until the Old Regime had succumbed. At the time, the clearest identification factor that existed throughout this ethnic-religious period in Spain was the form of "Old Christian" status. By the end of this period at the 18th century, the linguistic identification factor had gradually revolved around the Castilian with new institutions such as the Spanish Royal Academy.

Historically, Spanish nationalism specifically emerged with liberalism, during the Spanish War of Independence against Napoleon I of France.[5]

Since 1808 we speak of nationalism in Spain: ethnic patriotism became fully national, at least among the elite. This was unmistakably the work of liberals. The modernized elites used the occasion to try to impose a program of social and political changes. Their method was to launch the revolutionary idea of the nation as the holder of sovereignty. This idea of sovereignty is believed to have mobilized the Spanish victoriously against a foreign army and against collaborators of José Bonaparte, regarded as non-Spanish (afrancesados). The Spanish liberals turned their victory on the battlefield to an feverish identity of patriotism and the defense of liberty: as the Asturian deputy Agustín Argüelles when he presented the Constitution of 1812, "Spaniards, you now have a homeland."[6]

José Álvarez Junco

Since then, Spanish nationalism has often changed its meaning and its ideological and political proposals; respectively doceañista, esparterista, even briefly iberista (advocating union with Portugal in the dynastic crisis of 1868). The Carlism, who was a defensive movement of the Old Regime, did not regard the adjective "national" with any esteem (national sovereignty, national militia, national properties) and considered it the vocabulary of liberals (who were becoming more and more progresistas).

However, what truly shaped Spanish nationalism came in the twentieth century from the frustration of the disaster of 1898, that has been called regenerationism. It assimilated from movements very opposite one another such as the ruling bourbon-family dynasty (Francisco Silvela, Eduardo Dato, Antonio Maura), the republican opposition (that only had a brief stay in power) and even the military influence of the 1917 crisis and dictatorships of Miguel Primo de Rivera and Francisco Franco. Under the movement of panhispanism, which refers to the movement focused on the unity of Hispanic-American nations, whose origins are rooted during the period of Spanish colonization and imperialism, refers in this case to the movement that emerged after the crisis of 1898. Panhispanism was influenced by the regenerationism movement and the Generation of '98, whose authors came from the Spanish periphery and agreed to consider Castile the representation of "Spanish".These philosophers, ideologues and authors, like Ramiro de Maeztu, Ramiro Ledesma and Onésimo Redondo, founders of the JONS, and José Antonio Primo de Rivera, founder of Falange, expressed a generation frustrated with Spanish society and politics at the time. During this period, this form of nationalism incorporated a traditionalist component (with the notable exceptions of the vanguardism of Ernesto Giménez Caballero) that could be traced back to a century old belief of traditional monarchy or Catholic monarchy. It is not lay nor secular, but Roman Catholic, which would define in Francoist Spain the term, National Catholicism.

Spanish liberal philosopher and essayist, José Ortega y Gasset, defined Spain as a unity of destiny in the universal, and defended a return to the traditional and spiritual values of Imperial Spain. The idea of empire makes it universalist rather than localist, this is what makes it singular among other forms of nationalisms, but closer to others (Italian fascism).


The political transition which occurred in Spain, together with social and economic changes rooted in a detailed sense of modernization, developed from the end of Franco's time in power until the creation of the current institutions (Spanish Constitution of 1978 and Statutes of Autonomy), and produced a very sharp reversal of the social use of Spanish symbols of national identification.[7]

While peripheral nationalisms acquired a significant presence and territorial power, distinctively in Catalonia (Convergence and Union, Republican Left of Catalonia) and the Basque Country (Basque Nationalist Party, EA and so-called abertzale left), with numbers substantially lower, but still present in Navarre (Nabai) and Galicia (Galician National Bloc). The Canary Islands (Coalición Canaria), Andalusia (Partido Andalucista) and other autonomous communities have less obvious nationalism and are often grouped as regionalisms, based on linguistic or historical differential facts no less distinct than the previous ones.

In comparison to other nationalisms, "Spanish nationalism" is often referred to as [8] as españolismo,[9] an equivalent to centralism. Usually with a controversial political purpose, it may be identified with conservative nostalgia for Franco's regime [10] or with alleged state oppression in those territories, which in extreme cases (particularly ETA in the Basque Country and Navarre) is used as justification for terrorism that sees itself as armed struggle for national liberation.[11] By contrast, none of the major political parties affected by such designation of españolistas or "Spanish nationalists", self-identify as such. Instead, they use the phrase non-nationalist to separate themselves from the nationalist, which is how they usually designate the so-called "periphery" or outliers.[12]

From the majority point of view, in social, territorial and electoral terms,[13] the identification with Spain, its symbols, and its institutions have become more characteristic of constitutional patriotism or civic nationalism.[14] It seeks to respect the different visions of Spain and fit it into a pluralistic framework, inclusive and non-exclusive. Concepts which often coincide the majority's political parties, Spanish Socialist Workers' Party and People's Party, the minority's, United Left, Union, Progress and Democracy,and other regional or nationalist parties sometimes called moderate, despite maintaining deep political differences.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wendy Parkins. Fashioning the Body Politic: Dress, Gender, Citizenship. Oxford, England, UK; New York, New York, USA: Berg, 2002. Pp. 178
  2. ^ Helen Graham. The Spanish Republic at War, 1936–1939. Cambridge, England, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Pp. 31.
  3. ^ a b c d Motyl 2001, pp. 506.
  4. ^ The centralist pretension of monarchy was part of their seeking to gain authority among local and estamental privileges and every type of particularisms. Continuously, it was tensioned, since the late Middle Ages, and the Modern Era, noticeably from the different formulations of the idea of Empire from Charles V (War of the Communities of Castile, religious wars in Germany) and from hispanization of monarchy with Philip II of Spain (capitality of Madrid, Rebellion of the Alpujarras, Revolt in Flanders, Portuguese succession crisis (1580), Alterations of Aragon). The desire or decision to increase the capacity of king to intervene in each kingdom, was significantly lower among the Habsburgs that among the Bourbons, but always had a greater or lesser degree, and became explicit in documents among which the Great Memorial by Count-Duke of Olivares to Philip IV of Spain in 1624:

    Tenga Vuestra Majestad por el negocio más importante de su monarquía el hacerse rey de España; quiero decir, Señor, que no se contente Vuestra Majestad con ser rey de Portugal, de Aragón, de Valencia, Conde de Barcelona, sino que trabaje y piense con consejo mudado y secreto por reducir estos reinos de que se compone España al estilo y las leyes de Castilla sin ninguna diferencia, que si Vuestra Majestad lo alcanza, será el Príncipe más poderoso del mundo.

    Be V.M. the most important business of their monarchy, the King of Spain made, I mean, Lord, that VM is not content with being king of Portugal, Aragon, Valencia, Count of Barcelona, but work and think with mature advice secret, to reduce these kingdoms of which Spain is composed in the style and laws of Castile, with no difference in everything that looks to break boundaries, dry ports, the power to hold courts of Castile, Aragon and Portugal in the party desires, VM able to enter here and there promiscuously ministers of nations and temperament necessary that the hand of authority and the municipal councilors, judges, councils and boards of the same provinces, as were injurious to the government and the authority indecent real, which means there might be provided for all, that if VM it reaches will be the world's most powerful prince.

    The concept of natio (nation) used since the Renaissance, will subordinate to a semantic field chaired by the concept of Monarchy (José María Jover Zamora, as a comment to the memorial of Olivares and others' contemporary texts, such as Juan de Palafox y Mendoza Historia y civilización: escritos seleccionados Volumen 13, pg. 78 Universitat de València, 1997 ISBN 978-84-370-2692-3). The claim control of the monarchy (both authoritarian and absolute) of the subjects had very different causes and objectives for the later nationalism.

    The character irreducibly feudal of absolutism remained ... Army, bureaucracy, diplomacy and dynasty formed an uncompromising feudal complex that ruled entire state machine and guided their destinies. The domination of the absolutist state was the domination of the feudal nobility in the era of the transition to capitalism. His final signaled the crisis of power of that class: the arrival of the bourgeois revolutions and the emergence of the capitalist state.

    — Perry Anderson Lineages of absolutist state, pg. 37 (translated from spanish translation -El Estado Absolutista-)
  5. ^ The label nationalist has not succeeded in Spain as an auto-denomination, but the existence of a similar phenomenon to the contemporary European nationalisms has been broadly studied. The fact is related in these article: Joan B. Culla i Clarà Nacionalistas sin espejo, El País, 16 de marzo de 2007.
  6. ^ José Álvarez Junco (2001) Mater dolorosa. La idea de España en el siglo XIX Madrid: Taurus. Cited in José Uría, Página Abierta, 157, marzo de 2005 [1].
  7. ^ Antonia Maria Jimenez Ruiz "¿Y tú de quién eres? Identidad europea y lealtad a la nación" [2]
  8. ^ "El Parlament rechaza el «nacionalismo español»", El Mundo, June 1, 2001
  9. ^ Francesc de Carreras, criterio/archivos/000620.html "Catalanismo y españolismo", La Vanguardia, July 14, 2005
  10. ^ Edurne Uriarte reply to Gregorio Peces Barba Los nacionalistas españoles, ABC, January 28, 2005.
  11. ^ It is a constant of their documents, to name one, "zutabe"—communication—on September 26, 2007, in 20minutos: ETA announced that it will continue with the armed struggle until achieving "freedom"
  12. ^ Joan Romero:"La tensión entre nacionalismos en España", El Pais, 16 January 2008
  13. ^ surveys commissioned by the Ministry of Defence on "Pride of being Spanish" and "Emotion at symbols". Survey CIS on the Spanish identity versus European identity.
  14. ^ The prospect of People's Party is reflected in this article Cesar Alcala: The "constitutional patriotism" (66) cesa.htm. An article from Fernando Savater "Vivere libero" (El Pais, December 6, 2001) available at: C3% ADas / Topics 20de%%% C3% 20Autonom ADas / Patriotism 20constitucional.htm%.
  15. ^ José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero in the last phase of his first legislature, intensified the references to Spain: "Today to speak about the Spanish flag and our fatherland is talking about freedom, rights and citizenship, which is the best way to express themselves with patriotism." Quoted by Luis Ayllón: Zapatero se arropa con la bandera en sus mítines de Uruguay y Argentina en ABC, November 12, 2007. It has been included in advertising the words "Government of Spain", which had not been used before to refer to the central government or the State.