Biography of Arsenio Martínez Campos (1831-1900)

Madrazo: General Martínez Campos.

Military career and Spanish politician, President of the Government in the year 1879. He was born in Segovia, on December 14, 1831, and died at Zarauz, while it summer, on September 23, 1900.

After a quick military career at the Academy of the largest State, in 1854, he was appointed member of the General staff, in whose school would later become Professor. He ascended to the rank of Commander of the cavalry weapon. He was appointed in charge of Aragón, with troops commanded by general sweet, to suppress the Carlist outbreaks. In 1860 he was sent to Africa, to be then used in the expedition which, together with France and England, sent Spain to Mexico, during the Government of Benito Juárez. In 1869 he fought, for the first time, Cuban insurgents. It remained on the island until the year 1872, developing a brilliant campaign that earned him the promotion to brigadier.

Due to his fame, with the proclamation of the Republic I, in 1873, the command of one of the Catalan brigades was entrusted to suppress a new Carlist outbreak. The campaign did not obtain desired outcomes, due to the great discipline and low morale that reigned among the soldiers. The President, Salmeron, put him at the helm of the Valencian army, where Martínez Campos forcefully suppressed the cantonalistas uprisings in Cartagena and Alicante.

The first Republic

The chaotic political situation that was Spain since the implementation of the Republic I drove him to conspire in favour of don Alfonso, son of the destitute Queen Isabel II, in exile. He managed, after overcoming various obstacles, proclaim him King of Spain in Sagunto, on December 29, 1874. The success of the coup became the most prestigious military of the restoration to Martínez Campos canovista. Shortly after, on January 24, 1875, he managed to put an end to the Third Carlist War, thanks to a set of quick operations by Catalonia. Bright services were rewarded with promotion to captain general, granted on March 27, 1876. In November of the same year, the Government entrusted the army of operations in Cuba, replacing general Jovellar. In his new Cuban tour, adopted a policy of war humanist and conciliatory, since he was aware of how difficult that would be done with the situation through the exclusive use of the weapons. He gave generous Ordinances in favour of deserters, it demanded a human and dignified treatment of vanquished insurgents Islanders, released even to many prisoners, etc. At the same time, Martínez Campos deployed a large military activity that ended up making transfer to insurgent leaders, which soon abandoned weapons and signed the peace of Zanjón on February 28, 1878.

With the signing of this peace, the prestige of Martínez Campos came up, if possible, even more, what caused that, on his return to Spain, King Alfonso XII ordered him the formation of Government, task carried out with elements of the conservative party. Martínez Campos, in addition to hold the Presidency, took charge of the portfolio of war. However, a statement which said that, if it were up to him, he decretaría total freedom for blacks, it was fitted in a posture of uncomfortable what had to give up his position and passed to the ranks of the Liberal Party, led by Práxedes Mateo Sagasta, in whose first Government of the year 1881 returned to deal with the portfolio of war. On the death of King Alfonso XII, in November 1885, Martínez Campos was the mediator between Cánovas de Castillo and Sagasta in the Pact of Pardo, which established peaceful shift in power between the parties led by both.

On November 26, 1893, again on the war around Melilla, he was appointed general in Chief of the Spanish army in Africa, and then Ambassador extraordinary to the Maghreb sultan, he met, in January 1894, managing to sign a peace treaty that put an end to the contentious African.

His last military action was made again in Cuba, to rise to power, in 1895, Canovas de Castillo, who sent him to the island in view of the high hardness that it has acquired the new Cuban rebel outbreak. The Spanish Government committed itself, once again, in the great experience of general Martínez Campos and the gifted humanist who deployed in the former island confrontation. But their efforts crowned did not see the success, since the insurgents, possessed by a great spirit of independence and counting with the invaluable help of the United States, ignored all peace proposals launched by Martínez Campos. The bitterness caused by the failure of his mission, Martínez Campos returned to Spain; He was replaced by general Valeriano Weyler. Once in Spain, he was appointed President of the Supreme of war and Navy, which resumed its political life until his death, in Zarautz, on September 23, 1900.

If as politician Martínez Campos did not have sufficient ability to succeed, as military if he had the wisdom to know to join arms with the diplomatic work, which could put an end to several disputes which were bleeding the country, as the Carlist War and the Cuban insurrection.

Monument to Martínez Campos. Benlliure. Madrid.

Benlliure: Martínez Campos. Senate. Madrid.


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