Biography of Gaspar Alonso "El Bueno". Duque de Medinasidonia Pérez de Guzmán (¿-1664)

Spanish nobleman born in uncertain date and died in Toro (Zamora) in 1664, known as the good. He belonged to one of the oldest noble families of the Crown of Castile and also the richest. He was, the son of Juan Manuel Domingo Alonso Pérez de Guzmán, happened to this in 1636 under the title of 9th Duke of Medinasidonia, was also Marquis, count and Lord of Sanlúcar de Barrameda and count of Niebla. Both his father and his grandfather had been respectively appointed captain general of the coast of Andalusia and captain general of the sea ocean. He was also captain general of the armies in Portugal, and gentleman of the Chamber of the King. With the post of Governor general of Andalusia revolted against King Felipe IV in 1640.

Character of limited intellectual capacity, belonged to the main branch of the House of the Guzmán. The count-Duke of Olivares , favourite of King Felipe IV, or private belonged to one of the last branches of olive groves, of the House of the Guzmán. Both branches of the Guzmán and olive groves were facing each other, in fact, his father, the 8th Duke of Medinasidonia, had had positions of responsibility during the reign of Felipe III when the Duke of Lerma was private or worth of this monarch. With the count-Duke of Olivares, valid or deprived of King Felipe IV, he climbed to power another branch of the family. The count-Duke of Olivares thought that it was possible the reconciliation of both branches through the marriage of his daughter María with Gaspar Alonso Pérez de Guzmán, but the marriage was not finally carried to term.

The confrontation of Medinasidonia with the Duke had already from the time of the eighth Earl, which passed to his son the preeminence of the elder branch of the family, to which they belonged, on the of the count-Duke. At the time of the uprising in Evora which took place in the summer of 1637, the count-Duke of Olivares ordered the Duke of Medinasidonia, as Governor general of Andalucía and captain general of the armies of Portugal, to organize an army. Gaspar Alonso Pérez de Guzmán was applied in the order in which received and in a short period of time had an army of 6,000 men. Without, however, both these military provisions, and other character more conciliatory, they failed and eventually the Kingdom of Portugal ended separate and independent from the rest of the territories under control of the Spanish monarchy. However, the implications of the of Medinasidonia were much deeper, since when the final lifting took place December 1, 1640, by the Duke of Braganza, who was proclaimed King of Portugal as Juan IV, this was married to Doña Luisa de Guzmán, sister of Medinasidonia. It was with attempts made by the Duke of Olivares to quell this rebellion, when it rippled the discouragement among members of the high nobility, since was given command of the troops to a relative of the Duke, the count of Monterrey, which had less range than the rest of the nobles, so these, including that of Medinasidoniathey returned to their Lordships and so it showed their opposition to the Government of the Duke. The degree of discontent was such that some nobles, who wanted to take advantage of the weakness and multiplicity of fronts that had to serve the monarchy, thought of revolting against the King.

The noble Andalusian revolt

Medinasidonia inherited resentment that his father had against the valid or private from the King, but, as we saw, did not inherit the common sense and moderation of his father. Had also attended the slow but inexorable decline of its heritage due to auxiliary duties, economically and militarily, the monarch when it requested. This was joined by the aversion against the forms of Government of the valid, characterized by authoritarianism and its severity. All of them served as a perfect breeding ground for that at the request of one Member under the House of Guzmán, Francisco Antonio de Guzmán, 6th Marquis of Ayamonte, which was considered the real instigator of the revolt, Gaspar Alonso Pérez de Guzmán promoted an uprising of the Andalusian landowning nobility.

The objective of this uprising was not clear. It has been thought that it was declared independent, with the rank of Kingdom, the region and the Indies the rest of territories of the Spanish monarchy. The future throne thought that it was assumed by Medinasidonia due to the category and age of the title, to the possessions of his family in that region and to the charges at the same. Also, it was thought that only wanted to force Felipe IV to that expel olive groves of the Government. Either way to carry out the same requested outside help. He thought in Portugal, but also in Holland and France. Of Medinasidonia wrote a letter to the Duke of Braganza, now King of Portugal, as we mentioned was married to a sister of Medinasidonia. in this letter requesting his help to the rebels. However, the person who was responsible for delivering the letter to its destination and had different Sancho, gave it instead to the count-Duke of Olivares. In this way the attempted uprising was exposed without that initially the rebels had evidence of such circumstances. Similarly, the Duke already knew of such attempt at uprising through a network of private informants who always kept him informed of all matters that the thought suitable. Thus, the message confirmed suspicions that I already had. With this information in its possession the count-Duke of Olivares called to court the Duke of Medinasidonia, whose first idea was the ignoring of the letter which requested their presence and also to get rid of committed documents and then request the help of the Dutch and Portuguese fleets who then ravaged the Andalusian coast. However Olivares insisted his appeal on two more occasions, came to the Madrid Court, while the Duke sent his nephew Luis Méndez de Haro to Andalusia. This had the order ensure Gaspar Alonso Pérez de Guzmán to travel to Madrid. The Duke of Medinasidonia came to Madrid 10 September 1641 and that day had a private interview with the valid from the King. To pressures that it exercised, the Duke confessed his involvement. What came next was an attempt of the count-Duke of save face, that of Medinasidonia wouldn't be part of his family, and end the attempt.

The Duke stayed first in the Palace of the Buen Retiro to the Ayamonte was arrested in Andalusia. On 21 September, and in the company of the Duke of Medinasidonia had an audience with the King, fell at the feet of the same, confessed his guilt and asked for forgiveness. The King took him by the shoulders and told him his pardon. On 29 September and because of that the plot and its completion had been kept secret, but began to spread rumors about the same, the Duke of Medinasidonia wrote a proclamation, which became public, in which challenged to duel his brother-in-law and King of Portugal, who ignored it. Medinasidonia was then transferred to the residence that possessed the count-Duke of Olivares at Loeches and obtained the Royal pardon, in fact participated in the campaign of Portugal, but with the condition that is not presented never in their possessions of the Duchy of Sanlúcar. But the 19 July 1641 came into the city amid the clamor of his vassals. After this, Olivares ordered him to go to Burgos immediately, stopped you in Vitoria and was interned him in the castle of Coca. With the uprising attempt made already public a year after it happened, a judicial process opened and that it wanted to debug the responsibilities. Sought at all times show the attempt as a personal company of the Marquis of Ayamonte and the Duke of Medinasidonia, which hid itself consciously that there were secessionist attempt of an arrogant aristocracy which had never been fully subjected to the authority of the monarch. The Marquis of Ayamonte was sentenced to death and executed seven years after the attempt of revolt. The Duke of Medinasidonia saved but the Duchy of Sanlúcar de Barrameda was incorporated in a forced way to the heritage of the Crown.


HELLIOT, J. H., the count-Duke of Olivares. Criticism, Barcelona, 1990