Biography of José de. Marqués de Salamanca Salamanca y Mayol (1811-1883)

Financial and Spanish business man born in Malaga in 1811 and died in Madrid in 1883. He/She was one of the most singular figures of 19th-century Spanish. Billionaire, art collector, investor risk, José de Salamanca ruined several times, but presumed not having never left without paying a debt. His name has been associated with one of the most exclusive districts of the city of Madrid, where there is an effigy dedicated to his person.

He studied law by parental diktat, and graduated in law from the University of Granada. Supporter of the Liberal Party, was in love with Mariana Pineda, although it never was. After finishing his studies, he/she held the position of Mayor of the town of Monóvar (Alicante), and was also a Councillor for the town of Vera (Almería), where it was elected member. In 1837, and to occupy his post in Congress, José de Salamanca moved to Madrid, where he/she became a regular member of talk shows and guest in the best halls of the capital. At that time he/she began to reveal himself as an excellent finance through some risky investments, which made him increase his modest personal assets.

The fame of Salamanca as a negotiator and businessman came to the ears of the Minister of finance, who asked him to travel to London to get an adjournment in a debt contracted by Spain with the London Stock Exchange. The Mission of Salamanca was a complete success, but he/she refused the compensation that was offered in Exchange for his efforts, which acquired a fair reputation for disinterested gentleman. By then, he/she already had a considerable personal fortune, founded thanks to smart stock investment. He/She was installed in a Palace of the calle Alcalá, furnished with extreme taste, and surrounded himself with every kind of comfort: for example, his was the first House in Madrid to have full bathroom. Also in those years offered to State lease and explode during five years the tobacco of salt, committing to doubling revenues generated that business until then. The Ministry of finance accepted, and Salamanca increased his fortune while also increasing State revenues.

A too risky stock market operation made the heritage of Salamanca suffered a notable decline. It paid strictly all its creditors, but this setback caused him to lose his friendship with Narvaez, who was a partner investor. Salamanca decided to spend some time away from Spain, and for a few months he/she traveled through Europe, using his time studying about a business that was gaining strength on the continent: the railroad. When he/she returned to Spain applied everything I learned in a project which already had cherished: the establishment of a railway line between Madrid and Aranjuez. February 7, 1751, the Queen Elizabeth II was the first train ride between the two towns, whose duration was less than an hour and a half. It was the first of other prosperous businesses in the field of railway, and indeed Salamanca came to representing the California Society of New York railways in Europe.

From his time as Mayor, Salamanca was attracted to political life. Perhaps that is the reason why he/she agreed to deal with the portfolio of finance in the Government of Serrano. It wasn't a bad Minister, but after pop up some hostility between him and Queen Isabel II, the arrival in the Government of his former partner and current enemy, Narvaez, ended the political career of the financial. On this occasion, he/she left Spain to live a season in France, where he/she learned that in his country he/she was accused of fraud to the Treasury. He/She returned and defended before Congress, and used an irrefutable argument in your favor: when entered in the Government he/she was a rich man, and at that time it was almost ruined. The financier was freed from prison, but knew that he/she had become a political corpse.

They were hard times for Salamanca, and those who did not know him claimed that he/she was finished. But they were wrong, because Salamanca invested little capital that still retained in new railways lines. Finished were once sold to the State by 15 million pesetas. With that amount, fabulous for the time, started new businesses that soon flourish. Also, and after having been declared by his friends vocational Bachelor, married Petronila Livermore. His was not too happy marriage, and he/she was limited to two children to her husband and suffer the emotional ravings of Salamanca with patient resignation.

When it seemed that somehow the life of Salamanca was already on the right track, the bursting of the Vicalvarada returned to put your life upside down. He/She was accused of continue to work in the shade with the newly fallen Government, and the Tycoon had to leave the country, but he/she returned shortly after when the Regency of Esparterowas established. It was then when Salamanca decided that it was time to build a residence to suit you, because until then it had always occupied palaces that others sold him. Thus began the construction of an elegant Palace in Madrid's paseo de Recoletos, an immediate area to the Cibeles and puerta de Alcalá, and then not even was urbanized. Salamanca bought low-priced a lot of land in the vicinity of what would become his home. The Palace of Salamanca, a real masterpiece of French inspiration, which was decorated with valuable works of art and paintings of the great masters of European painting, was the first of a series of buildings that formed a district which was given its name. Salamanca had just become a promoter, and built several multistory homes (huge all of them) with the purpose that become the place of residence for the new bourgeoisie Madrileña, already in full rise.

The Palace of Salamanca astonished his contemporaries. It was surrounded by a garden where planted exotic flowers and trees from various countries, had an excellent library where there were dozens of incunabula and rare books, and a private gallery that was considered the best in Europe. There were paintings by Goya, Velazquez, Rubens or Tiepolo, many of them purchased at auction in Europe houses.

This was the period of greatest splendor of José de Salamanca. In 1866, Queen Isabel II granted him the title of Marquis of Salamanca, with greatness of Spain. He/She could remain covered before the King. His personal fortune was exceeding 400 million reais. His palace was one of the favorite places for the high society of Madrid. You could not ask for anything more, but Salamanca was not satisfied. That followed risking their capital investment experts discouraged. In a series of bad bag sessions that culminated with the descent of the railway values, lost more than 100 million reais. The matter were not so serious do not coincide with another economic collapse. Because the luxurious residences that the Marquis of Salamanca had made to build were sold well below the expected price. Apparently, persons who were considered that area mapped by the own Marquis was too far away from the Center (must say that today the District of Salamanca is one of the most expensive and sought-after Madrid, and its streets are in the so-called "golden mile" Madrid, where shops and most exclusive signatures). The fact is that with the sale of those buildings, Salamanca was losing money, because the housing construction was carried out by means of loans at very high interest.

Salamanca was ruined. Hounded by creditors, he/she even think of committing suicide. As your credit in major banks was exhausted, had to sell his palace of Recoletos and his fabulous collection of paint to cater to its creditors.

He never stopped working and risk in small businesses whose profits ate the interests of its past debts. He/She paid almost all before he/she died in 1883 of pneumonia in his Madrid mansion of Vistaalegre, which was also mortgaged to the last brick.

Marta Rivera de la Cruz

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