Biography of Juan Prim y Prats (1814-1870)

General Prim. Antonio Mª. Esquivel. Romantic Museum. Madrid.

Military and politician Spanish, military of Madrid and Barcelona (1843), Minister of war under Cabinet Serrano (1868) Governor and President of the Government (1868-1870). On 6 December the year 1814, born in Reus (Tarragona), and died on 30 December of the year 1870 in Madrid, victim of a bomb attack three days earlier which even today still have been unveiled. Juan Prim was one of the most important figures of the 19th century Spanish, direct heir of the liberal faction defended by Baldomero Espartero. His participation in the revolution of 1868 was instrumental to expel the throne of Queen Elizabeth II.

Military, Prim son continued the family tradition entering the Real body of shooters as a volunteer at the beginning of the first Carlist War. After taking direct part in 35 acts of war, with only 25 years of age, he was promoted to the rank of Colonel, rise won by his heroic behavior in the combat of House Llovera. Liberal ideology, in 1841 it became one of the top supporters of the liberal regime of Espartero and got a seat in Parliament representing the province of Tarragona. However, Prim wasn't long to manifest its disagreement with Espartero by rule, quite personal and dictatorial style. The 19 of may of the year 1843, coalesced with Serrano, participated in a prominently in the sessions of the Congress that led to the fall of the Regent Espartero. Although it was not to the liking of moderates, on May 30 of the same year was promoted to general and appointed military Governor of Barcelona in order to quell the uprising in his native city by the Board of Barcelona against Queen Isabella II blood and fire. The movement was crushed on 17 August without sympathy, Act that earned him the unanimous Setdown of all Catalans, although the Crown rewarded him with the titles of count of Reus and the Viscount of Bruch.

The understanding of Prim with the moderates broke down immediately. Despite the titles and honours which granted, Narváez Government tried to remove him from the political scene naming him Governor military of Ceuta in the year 1845, since Prim did not accept. Accused of conspiring against Narvaez, Prim was imprisoned and later pardoned. Between the years 1845 to 1847, he decided to go into exile voluntarily traveling continuously through France, England and Italy. In the year 1847, Fernando Fernández de Córdoba, Minister of the Interior, rescued him politically and proposed his appointment as Governor of Puerto Rico, where implemented code black, unfavorable to the people of color, accompanied by arbitrary and not exempt of cruelty free measures that ended up causing strong signs of revulsion against his performance which ended up forcing his dismissal, on June 14 of the following year.

Back in Spain, Juan Prim resumed their task Parliamentary Deputy and Senator, printing a peculiar and very personal style of doing politics against the moderates that led to a second period of exile until the year 1853, date in which Prim moved to Turkey at the head of the military Commission of the Spanish Government that should be added to the Turkish army in the Crimean War between the Ottoman Empire and Russia. Its intervention in the conflict helped him to acquire valuable knowledge of the psychology of the Muslim world.

The triumph of the progressive revolution of the year 1854 returned to Prim to Spain, being appointed captain general of Granada. Here he became Melilla to participate in the Suppression of fiftenn insurrection (prelude to the war in Africa). For his brief but spirited performance in North African Lands, with their resounding victories in Wad-RAS and Castillejos, Prim was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general and awarded by the Queen with the title of Duke of Castillejos.

In 1861, Prim was responsible for directing the so-called "expedition to Mexico". The refusal of the Mexican President Benito Juárez to deal with external debt coupons made that France, Spain and England reach an agreement at the London Convention, held in October, whereby the three powers agreed to send joint forces to assert their rights, expressly declared not to interfere in the internal affairs of the country. Napoleón III of France breached the agreement and tried to establish the monarchy in Mexico and place your pretender Maximiliano de Austria , taking advantage of the presence of European troops. PRIM flatly refused to accept such political Carom and wrote a famous letter to the French Emperor failing hard his project. Given that France refused to rectify, Prim signed with the Mexican Minister Bent, on 19 February the year 1862, by mere personal decision, the document of La Soledad, in virtue of which the Mexican Government undertook to comply with the payment of the debts of war with Spain in return that this is not inmiscuyera on the Mexican problem. PRIM went still further to enact the abandonment of the Spanish troops in the country, Act which was followed by the British delegation, decision which was communicated without delay to the general Serrano, captain general of Cuba. O´Donnell was not fond of behavior employed by Prim, but Palacio and Congress was endorsed by a large majority.

Back to the country, in the ano1863, the policy pursued by Prim in Mexico wasn't conservative politicians, which continued attacking him from all possible fronts. This circumstance pushed him to further integrate into the ranks of the most antidinastico progressivism, appearing as one of its most genuine leaders. In economics, Prim pleaded openly protectionist with what regained fame and popularity among the Catalans. Since then, became the paradigm of a romantic Spain that longed for freedom and PROGRESSIVISM. Immersed fully in such rarefied political dynamics of his time, in the year 1864 returned to be away from Madrid to be destined to Oviedo, whose captaincy general found an environment favorable to it and their political projects. At this time Prim cooperated, first, to weaken Narvaez and O´Donnell and, with it, the safety of own Queen Isabel II, to end up becoming the ideologue of the revolt of the sergeants of San Gil, June 22 from the year 1866. In that same year he directed the Ostend meeting and traveled disguised by Italy, France and Switzerland, countries that met with the most progressive personalities in exile, Sagasta, Ruiz Zorrilla, Becerra, Olozaga and many others. Also signed with the Cuban independence leader Céspedes an agreement whereby Cuba secondary progressive revolutionary movement with a commitment that later would be given to the island a good portion of self-management. This latest project would not never met. Revolutions of Spain and Cuba, that came up with an almost exact synchronism, were born with very different and divergent ideological bases in their commitments.

Along with Serrano and Topete , Prim became military and political Chief of the uprising called the glorious in a somewhat romantic manner. September 19 in the year 1868, Prim landed in Cadiz in the company of Topete. While Serrano Royal armies inflicted a crushing defeat at the battle of Alcolea and arose victorious in Madrid, Prim followed another route, arriving on October 2 at Valencia and from there to Barcelona, the next day, in whose town threw an antiborbonico manifesto. On 7 October, Prim finally entered Madrid, invested with a tremendous heroism and become a popular myth, to the point that the decisive victory of Alcolea was attributed to him.

The first progressive government, formed on October 8, under the chairmanship of general Serrano, named Prim ministro de la Guerra. The Constituent Cortes reunited on February 11, the year 1869, parliamentary debates began to approve the new Constitution, which ended up being enacted on 6 June. The new Government appointed regent of the Kingdom to general Serrano, who in turn commissioned the formation of the new Cabinet to Prim. For Prim was not easy to govern a country like Spain so devastating and unleashed, after suffering many years of despotic authoritarianism, by numerous revolutionary tendencies, often with disparate objectives, with the emergence of new political forces, as Democrats, a political movement that came to overcome not just progressives and moderates, but also own historic liberalism represented by Primsetting the points of its programme on strict national sovereignty, universal suffrage and the rights of the individual.

PRIM, since the Government Headquarters, reserving also the portfolio of war, dedicated all his efforts, power and willingness to implement a parliamentary monarchy following the British model. This project, although with difficulties, it was opening up road attracted him the total opposition of most zealous Democrats, supporters of a federal political system and the Andalusian, and proletarian masses most affected by social and economic crises. PRIM was forced to proceed with tough to deal with the turbulence in the interior of the country. The federal party gained large pulses along all the year 1869, where he came to have 60 deputies in the Parliament. This development led to an uprising in much of the country, to be of authentic signs of severity in Valencia and Zaragoza with the executions of Guillén y Carvajal, in September and October of the year 1869.

Discarded the option of the Bourbons, Prim devoted their efforts to find a monarch for the vacant throne of Spain. These included even Baldomero Espartero. At first, the best placed was the Prince Leopoldo Hohenzollern, but his possible election aroused the suspicion of France, which embarked on a war against Prussia in which Napoleón III was defeated with a crash at the battle of Sedan of the year 1870, and that ultimately cost the throne to the French Emperor. After a frantic search by almost all the European courts, which did not lack details and behaviors of authentic literary soap opera, as the duel between the candidates don Enrique and the Duke of Montpensier, in which died first, Prim offered the Spanish throne to the Italian Prince Amadeo of Savoy, who accepted delighted. The Spanish courts endorsed the choice of Prim by 191 votes. PRIM began to be attacked by the Carlists, the Republican elements more radical and other disaffected groups of the revolution of 1968. Firm political decision to reinstate the monarchy in the figure of Amadeo de Saboya meant his own death sentence.

On 27 December the year 1870, before the arrival of King Amadeo, Prim left Congress to attend a dinner of the Masonic lodge to which belonged in the calle Arenal. In the car, his aides Nandin and Moya went with him. Having to pass before by the Ministry, as his car passed by Turk (current Marqués de Cubas), next to the Alcalá Street, was the subject of a few shots that hit him on a shoulder and in good part of the chest. PRIM was immediately transferred to the palacio de Buenavista, whose stairs climbed personally walk, where they fought unsuccessfully for three long days to survive, until he died, on 30 December.

With the death of Prim a dynasty that would never come to settle in Spain were also killed. Amadeo de Saboya, just step on Spanish soil, wanted to visit the grave of his great endorser, installed in the basilica of our Lady of Atocha. The judicial authorities instructed a cause of more than 18,000 pages without ever find the culprits or inducers of murder, mystery that contributed to overbuild still more resplendent glare that his person in life always had.


Olive grove-BERTRAND, Rafael: El caballero Prim. (Barcelona: Ed. Luis Miracle. 1952).

Olive grove-BERTRAND, Rafael: Thus fell Isabel II. (Madrid: Ed. Sarpe. 1986).

PEDROL RIUS, Antonio: The murderers of general Prim. (Madrid: Civitas. Ed. 1990).

END, E; BRODER, a. and CHASTAGNARET, G: history of contemporary Spain: from 1808 until our days. (Barcelona: Ed. Ariel. 1991).

ZARAGOZA, Christopher: I, Juan Prim. (Barcelona: Ed. planet. 1989).