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Performing Monarchy and national identity in the liberal culture : the case of Galicia (1858)

A performance da monarquia e a identidade nacional na cultura liberal: o caso da Galiza (1858)
La performance de la monarchie et l’identité nationale dans la culture libérale : Le cas de la Galicia (1858)
Margarita Barral Martínez
p. 69-84

Resumos

Neste artigo analisamos a difusão da identidade nacional na Galiza, no contexto da cultura liberal em formação. Tomamos como pretexto um evento histórico: a visita da rainha Elizabeth II a Galiza, em setembro de 1858. O estudo foi feito através de uma confrontação crítica de fontes contemporâneas e na literatura sobre o processo de nacionalização em Espanha e sobre o papel da monarquia no desenvolvimento e na disseminação da nation-building. Estuda-se a pompa performativa da monarquia e a sua manipulação de recursos como a história, a religião, juntamente com elementos e atores do espaço provincial-regional que serviram para representar culturalmente a comunidade nacional.

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1The set of identity images and symbols were evident in Europe from the late 18th century. Over the subsequent decades, these representations coexisted and fought with other national identities with the aim of building a national past in political areas and communities. However, it was through the publication of Arno J Mayer’s book The persistence of the Old Regime : Europe to the Great War (1981) when the importance of the monarchic rituals in the Europe previous to 1914 emerged, with the aim of justifying the survival of the aristocratic order. A vision of the travels of the French sovereigns and their significance and function from the middle ages until the XIX century is also presented in Jacques Revel’s work, A invenção da sociedad (1990).

2The idea of performing monarchies applied to the XIX century has caused a revision of the classic historiography in the last few years, positioning the monarchies as obsolete institutions ; in the past and out of step with contemporary modernity. One of the most influential works was by David Cannadine on employing the expression « The invention of tradition » applied to the British monarchy in « The Context. Performance and Meaning of Ritual : The British Monarchy and the «Invention of Tradition«, c. 1820-1977 », by Eric Hobsbawm and Terrace Ranger (dir.), The invention of Tradition (1992). The British case continues to be the best known. Queen Victoria and Edward VII became quintessential national symbols, with works like The Monarchy and the British Nation, 1780 to the Present (2007), by Andrzej Olechnowicz (ed.). Among the most recent contributions referred to the dramatic and theatrical representation of the monarchy in parades and public acts with the purpose of exercising a nationalizing role in the contemporary age, we will highlight the chapter of Jaan Van Osta, « The Emperor’s New Clothes : The Reappearance of the Performing Monarchy In Europe, c. 1870-1914 », by Jeroen Deploige and Gita Deneckere (eds.), Mystifying the Monarch : Studies on Discourse, Power and History (2006), and the monograph of the magazine Memoria and Ricerca directed by Catherine Brise and Javier Moreno, Manarchie, nazione, nacionalismo in Europa (1830-1914), 42, 2013.

  • 1 Ferrán Archilés outlined a panorama of the studies concerning Spanish nationalism from a critical (...)
  • 2 Thus define, among others, A. Confino: «Lo Local, una escenia de toda nación», Ayer, 64, 2006 (4) (...)

3Studies concerning the nationalization processes in Spain have been very productive in the last three decades and the classical thesis has started to be questioned. This thesis, heavily influenced by traditional French historiography, refers to the weakness of the process during the implantation of the liberal state that came to justify the proliferation of regionalisms and alternative nationalisms from the end of the 19th century1. The relations between political and cultural history and the development of transnational perspectives regarding the subject also allow us a better understanding of this problem : the building of modern states were determined by centralizing models but in the struggle for power in the establishment of the liberal political culture, the national identity was helped by cultural diversity from regional, provincial and local levels by way of concentric circles that mix together and complement each other2.

  • 3 Works referring to the history of the Spanish crown, due to lack of space we will only cite the w (...)

4During the regencies of María Cristina and Espartero and the reign of Isabel II (1833-1868), political and social volatility was a permanent feature in which implementation of liberal ideology and culture in Spain was developed. Isabel de Borbón has gone down in history as a trusting and naive woman, manipulated by a « camarilla of courtiers » that had ambitions that were not at all in agreement with the real needs of the people3.

5The idea of homeland was idealized during the first half of the 19th century from the heroes who fought against the invading French. However in the local discourse the adaptability of the terms homeland and patriotism was evident and in the second half of the century it was already a feeling where the local-provincial specificity was forming part of the national identity being built. Patriotism appears as nationalism, a feeling that is trivialized and acts in the ordinary political process. The most obvious manifestation of this happened in episodes related to recreational and festive public celebrations, such as for the visit of Isabel II to Galicia in 1858.

  • 4 On the term banal nationalism, M. Billig: Banal Nationalism, London, SAGE publications, 1995.

6This paper analyses how, through the staging and theatricality of the monarchy during events organized on the official visit to Galicia in 1858, this contributed to the process of nation-building, while intending to make a contemporary modernisation of the Crown. In this performing monarchy and the banal nationalism that it carried, the indigenous element, the ethnolinguistic and folkloric specificity was added as essence of the hegemonic identity that was intended4.

Galicia in the Isabel period

  • 5 X. Carmona and J. Nadal: El empeño industrial de Galicia: 250 años de historia (1750-2000), A Cor (...)

7The primary sector was the basis of the State’s wealth ; in the case of Galicia, it was an agriculture limited by the organization and operation of land ownership and with three defining elements : the limited number of farm owners, behind the times techniques of cultivation and the abusive presence of landlords (nobility and clergy). This situation began to change from the existence of two fundamental measures : the end of restrictions to sell land and the ecclesiastical confiscations. In addition, there was a small industry and travelling traders, both internally as well as with Castile. However, all this was dying away by the mid-19th century with only the salt preservation industry capable of surviving until the end of the century5.

  • 6 For an analysis of the interpretations – resistance or liberal revolution – see J. Beramendi: De (...)

8The relationship between centralism and decentralization was intense in Galicia during the Ancien Régime. There did not exist a real self-government throughout this period, despite the existence from the 16th century of the Junta del Reino de Galicia. From 1840 the situation changes from the beginnings of Galician provincialism, a differentiated current within the Spanish progressive movement and concentrated mainly around the University of Santiago de Compostela. The leaders of the movement defended the recognition and existence of a language and culture of their own, following the postulates of Romanticism. However, this cultural discovery also led them to defend concerns of political bias, by denouncing the backwardness in which the region found itself due to centralism. These sprouts of pre-Galician nationalism were ended by the repression following the 1846 uprising. This episode is recognized as the starting point of Galician nationalism. The fact that the role of these first provincialists was always sheltered under the banner of progressivism would lead historiography alien to the galeguista approach to interpreting this episode as an act of resistance to the moderate government of Narváez, or even as a forerunner of the liberal revolution of 18486.

9It would be a group formed in the Liceo de la Juventud in Santiago who would from the 1850s interpret what happened in 1846. In this elite are writers, historians and journalists who excelled in the final third of the reign of Isabel II : Benito Vicetto, Rosalía de Castro, Manuel Murguía, Eduardo Pondal and others. Unlike its precursores, this generation moved away from political action and limited themselves to defend the culture in newspapers like La Oliva or El Miño ; Manuel Pintos writes A gaita gallega (Pontevedra, 1853), a work marking the beginning of the Rexurdimento. From the economic point of view the period between 1853 and 1856 was critical. In addition to the bad harvests, many of the few industries and commercial entities of the community collapsed and this migration started to define Galician society.

10In central government around the 1850s moderatism was already in a deep crisis and with a very negative economic situation due to the stagnation of the previous governments at a time when European capitalism needed new markets and with a Crown not able to resolve conflicts without resorting to repression. In this environment the 1854 revolution took place, the most complete Spanish version of the European revolution of 1848. The uprising started as a military rebellion and ends in urban revolt ; the Galician university students also joined this episode.

  • 7 As a demonstation of the discredit and inmorality of the sovereign and her camarilla would be the (...)

11After this episode the figure of Isabel II gave way to the people as protagonist of regeneration and freedom, which in turn led to question the continuity of the sovereign. The myth of the throne against the people, based on the dichotomous relationship between the popular desire for freedom and the natural tendency of the monarchic institution to absolutism, was from this point exploited, especially by the Republicans. It should be added to this situation the same reality of the camarilla of courtiers of theocratic bias directing the will of a sovereign accused of an ungrateful, wasteful and « immoral » nature that did not fit with Catholic and Bourgeois morals of the time7.

  • 8 See the works of R. Villares: La propiedad de la tierra en Galicia, 1500-1936, Madrid, Siglo XXI, (...)

12After the triumph of the revolution, General Espartero was appointed prime minister and the general captain of Galicia, José María Sanz, mobilized the progressives to constitute the Juntas de Salvación with the objective of following the orders of the new prime minister. Within days, all Galicia positioned themselves on the side of the rebels. The legislative reforms of the Bienio Progresista caused a period of positive economic growth that also helped the nation-building and the consolidation of liberalism, although for the Galician region the effects of this legislation had a minor effect because the confiscation process would be different to the rest of the State because it differed in two particular variables : the foro as a type of lease of communal land and wealth, which was not held by the municipality but by neighbourhoods8. The Galician region would be ultimately included in the railway plan through the line Palencia-A Coruña, approved by Congress in April 1858.

  • 9 I. Burdiel: Isabel II. Una biografía (1830-1904), Madrid, Taurus, 2010, p. 536 e 573.

13However the succession of governments since 1856 revealed the political exhaustion in which moderatism found itself and O’Donnell achieved the Liberal Union leadership thanks to his ability to lead the group of generals and politicians who stood out in the 1854 revolution, but with the lack of a real party structure. Although the birth of the future Alfonso XII on 28 November 1857 had given some peace to the sovereign, from the summer of that same year Spanish policy had been reduced to « absolute confusion between national interest and scheming. » Both the political and the morale prestige of the Crown were badly damaged and « identification between monarchy and religion as an expression of the Spanish nationality (...) did not hold water »9.

The queen visits Galicia

  • 10 See C. García: «La Reforma constitucional durante el Gobierno Largo de O’Donnell», Rúbrica contem (...)
  • 11 I. Burdiel: Isabel II…, p. 509.

14The series of trips that the O’Donnell unionist government organized for the Royal Family to have « walkabouts » between 1858 and 1866 across the peninsula should be placed in context of the strategy to improve the image of the queen. After the formation of the government on June 30, the president was aware of the need to change the Crown’s image and reconcile the sovereign with the people thus to advance the consolidation of liberal culture10. O’Donnell, unlike his predecessors, always encouraged her willingness to travel in order to match the people’s enthusiasm for the queen. The leader of the unionists saw these trips as a mechanism of the monarch’s public representation from a liberal-modern viewpoint, also practiced by other European royal courts11. Through « visual » access the queen sought to join the people to the Crown, the apex of the pyramid that represented a constitutional monarchy. It was hoped that the qualities that characterized the sovereign would reach the people with the aim of promoting the national identity that came hand in hand with liberal culture, as well as adapting the monarchic institution to changing times.

  • 12 This mechanism of monarchic propaganda still lacks the overall comparative viewpoint in order to (...)

15In this environment five trips were promoted between 1858 and 1866 through which the Royal Family visited Spain and Portugal : between May and June 1858 they visit Alicante and Valencia and between July and September Valladolid, León, Asturias and Galicia. Between September and October 1860 they travelled to the Balearic Islands, Catalonia and Aragon ; in the summer of 1861 they were in Santander ; from September to October 1862 in Andalusia and Murcia and in December 1866 in Extremadura and Lisbon12. Thus, these trips were actually elements of political-royalist propaganda and of promotion of Spanish liberal nationalism, a modern attempt to achieve popularity and cohesive identity for the liberal-Isabelline cause, in addition to being employed as a campaign to improve the queen’s image after the disappointment of the 1854 revolution and because of rumours concerning the true paternity of price Alfonso.

  • 13 W. M. Kuhn: Democratic Royalism. The Transformation of the British Monarchy, 1861-1914, New York, (...)

16The reconsideration of the importance that the monarchic institution could have in the establishment of the national feeling in the contemporary period is what would lead David Cannadine to talk about « invention of tradition ». While it is true that this crown’s protagonist role in the implementation of nation-building begins to be demonstrated from the historiographic contributions from the last decade, also is the fact that it consisted primarily of a process of recovery and adaptation of monarchic traditions ; it would not be at any time about innovating through practice but of readjusting the institution to contemporary reality13.

  • 14 For the study of the trip chronicle see M. BARRAL: A visita de Isabel II…, pp. 112-130.
  • 15 Juan de Dios de la Rada y Delgado: Viaje de SSMM. y AA. por Castilla, León, Asturias y Galicia, v (...)

17The royal family were in Galicia between 1 and 14 September 1858 and visited Ferrol, A Coruña, Santiago de Compostela, Betanzos and Lugo14. The writer of the official chronicle, Juan de Dios de la Rada, had contributions from José Rodríguez Seoane for the Antiguo Reino de Galicia ; José Montero Aróstegui (historian and chronicler), Pedro Suárez, Santiago Durán (frigate captain and the assistant General of the Department of Ferrol), Trinidad Garcia Quesada (director of Marine engineers), for the city of Ferrol ; Remigio Salomón (writer and judge) ; Luis Arevalo (« wealthy merchant »), Juan Pedro Vincenti (Bank Secretary and known in the « republic of the letters »), José Bellón (chief engineer of the Province) ; Rafael Milan and Navarrete (writer and director of república de las letras) and Federico la Riva (editor Fomento de Galicia). For the city of A Coruña, Narciso Cepedano (mayor), Isidro Sanchez Salgues and Ramon Mosquera y Montes (Literary University professors), for the city of Santiago ; Antonio Castro and Martinez (archaeologist) and Manuel Antonio Valés (artist) for the city of Lugo. The political, economic and cultural elite joined the organization and celebration of the visit to Galicia acting as a means of transmission of nation building and through the monarchic institution15.

18It was always intended to show that Isabel II was greeted with affection and that the queen showed reciprocal feelings through her spontaneity. The King Consort, Francisco de Asís, the Princess María Isabel, who was almost seven years old, and the Prince of Asturias, the future Alfonso XII, who was not yet one year old, accompanied Isabel II. The Prime Minister and the Minister of State, Calderón Collantes, completed the range of authorities. Among the members who joined from Galicia were the civil governors, mayors and councillors, bishops and prelates, the local corporations and industrial and trade commissions.

  • 16 La Época, 28 and 30.8.1858; El Clamor público, 7.9.1858; La España, 20.8.1858, 18.9.1858; El muse (...)

19Liturgical acts were organised as well as parades, visits to farming centres and exhibitions, offerings of local products, festivals and celebrations with cavalcades of allegorical floats, light shows, banquets, besamanos (royal audiences), serenades, public outings and walkabouts along the main streets of the towns, where Alfonso was displayed as a symbol of dynastic continuity. The enthusiasm of the society that is reflected in both the official chronicle and the newspapers shows us that everything happened with great expectation and popular enthusiasm when receiving and accompanying Isabel II during her stay. The applause and cheers along with canticles, hymns and verses that were recited on the passing of the procession parades, both in Galician and Castilian, and the bagpipes and lyrical poetry folk mixed with melodies of the military bands and ringing of the churches’ bells convey to us the spectacle and enjoyment of the festive atmosphere in which the Galician people received the monarchs16. The local governments made efforts to live up to the occasion and host the Royal Family in appropriate conditions.

Performing monarchy and patriotic-nationalistic propaganda

20The role of the elite of the different administrations and the delegations who accompanied the royal entourage followed a previously established hierarchy. This gives us the idea of ​​a social reality still of a traditional and absolutist type. This elite’s objectives were to praise the actions of the unionist government and applaud the efforts of the host authorities. The presence and support of these elite were also used in the dissemination of the Spanish national feeling : they gave prestige to the monarchic institution, still closely linked to the powerful and the traditional nobility. Although it is true that there is a lack of specific data to determine the attendance at the organized events, contemporary sources give us a picture of crowded events where the participation of the people, also allows us to talk about a certain horizontality in the social representation.

21Visit organizers employed a whole number of propaganda resources to give shape to the political and social image that they intended to convey, not only of the queen but also of the Crown and the Government, that is, of the liberal political culture and of the adherence to it. Four recurring elements stand out :

  • 17 This is an example of the regional literature to which is referred A.-M. Thiesse: «Centralismo es (...)

22a) The interpretation of history is essential to legitimize and extol the figure of Isabel II and her heir, the future Alfonso XII. The official chronicle commissioned a renowned historian, whose stories show interest in the past and emphasize myths and legends (Celtic neopaganism, superstition and witchcraft), to link the monarchy with towns and cities that are visited, making the historical monarchs appear as heroes until the arrival of Isabel II to the throne. An aspect that stands out in this adapted romantic story is the constant exaltation of the ancient and medieval periods against an Ancien Régime (absolutism under the dynasty of Austria) almost absent in the story. The continuing struggle for freedom of the people from the Middle Ages until the reign of Isabel II (liberalism under the Bourbon dynasty) is inferred through the myths and symbols that the new nationalist historiography was building. At this point the comparison to Isabel the Catholic further enhances her figure as legitimate heir and as a symbol of Spanish unity. In this same discourse the local and regional-provincial history serves as basis for the history of the nation being built17.

  • 18 P. Nora (dir.): Les leiux de mémoire, Editions Gallimard, Paris, 1986, 3 vols.

23Another aspect related to the use of history that stands out in the chronicle is the connection between the past and the contemporary moment through a precedent of what we understand today as « places of memory » through two works by Pierre Nora18. Isabel II and her family’s pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint James the Apostle in the Holy Year 1858 reaffirmed the traditional union between throne and altar, with great symbolic identity for Spain.

  • 19 Juan de Dios de la Rada y Delgado: Viaje de SSMM…, pp. 574-575. In the contemporary period religi (...)
  • 20 See E. Fattorini: Il culto mariano tra ottocento e novecento. Simboli e devozione. Ipotesi e pros (...)

24b) The apostolic tomb links another recurring element in the spread of nation-building : religion. The official chronicle also mentions religious bigotry, superstition (it even goes as far as mentioning exorcism) and the sacrilegious aspect that had for a long time defined Galician ethnicity19. On arrival at each town and city the queen was received under Pallium and the Te Deum was sung. Marian devotion, widespread in the second half of the 19th century in Europe and with a romantic aspect connecting with elements of Catholic symbolism such as motherhood and the feminine virtues20, was also used by the queen, visiting the representations of Sª Estrela and the Virgin of Atocha in A Coruña and Sª Soedade and the brotherhood of the Rosario at Santiago Cathedral.

  • 21 A. Mª. de Cisneros: Álbum de vistas monumentales de Santiago dedicado a S.M. la Reina, Santiago, (...)

25c) The appeal to the idea of ​​progress is also reflected through the exaltation of the economic interests of the time, something that could even be contradictory with these traditional values. A connection between ​​progress and monarchy was always strived for, in addition to influencing the idea that this connection was one of the most noteworthy achievements of the Isabel period. P​rogress became one of the stimulus of the national collective imaginery : the railway, the telegraph, the editing of colourful and illustrated magazines and the albums, with the fascination with photography as a mirror of the new social reality that liberal culture implanted, intended to convey a modern reality. This feature gained strength especially in three visits : Ferrol, from the technology of the naval dockyard and the activities of the shipbuilders ; A Coruña, with the inauguration of the works where in the future the northern railway line would arrive ; and Santiago with the visits to the Literary University and Compostela Exhibition21.

  • 22 La España, 19 and 23.09.1858; La Época, 22.09.1858. Among the documentation conserved at the Fond (...)

26d) The fourth element exploited by organizers and chroniclers of the trip was charity, a function that should analysed in relation to religion and charity of the absolutist period and not so much with a meaning of charitable function in the most liberal sense (social service) within the 19th century constitutional culture. In a traditional popular imagery, and still very sacralised, the population appreciated with admiration the charitable side and royal munificence. Thus, the alms offered by Isabel II during her visit to Galicia was a very exploited theme : in the five itineraries she made a tour of the hospices and centres for the poor, destitute, orphans and religious institutions devoted to charity, where she made large donations22.

Aesthetics and symbolism of nation-building

27The organization of the visits and celebrations of the events and parades led to a show of nationalist symbolism unknown until that date in the Galician reality. Through decorative and recreational protocol the popular masses joined a Spanish national feeling that went beyond the absolutist patriotism that had been spread with the myth of the War of Independence. It was a fleeting nationalism, very banal and media-based. The most representative symbols were :

28a) The ad hoc ephemeral structures : tombstones and inscriptions that were made to adorn the itineraries of the visit, triumphal arches (Ferrol, A Coruña, Santiago and Betanzos) ; floating landing stages (Esteiro Naval Dockyard, Ferrol) ; glass canopies (at Cantón de Porlier, A Coruña) ; tents with artificial gardens (in the district of San Caetano, Santiago), thematic and allegorical floats participating in public parades (A Coruña) and neo-Mudejar castles (Lugo). This architectural style that will become an element of Spanish nationalism plastic art during the 19th century, positioned within European historicist trends.

29The inscriptions on the triumphal arch installed at Ferrol’s Praza da Constitución referred to the support that naval industry and infrastructures received under the reign of Isabel II and to the nation in the global sense :

  • 23 Juan de Dios de la Rada y Delgado: Viaje de SSMM. y AA…, pp. 658-659.

« Reign of Isabel II, promotion of the Naval Dockyards and the Navy : Galician Railway : Telegraphs : Lighthouse : Bank in the provincial Capital : Roads : Docks : Hospice : Mutual Aid : Local improvements « , » To Isabel II : You are welcome, queen and lady, to this classical land of loyal subjects, to admire the creative mind who erected these huge dockyards at the foot of the town of Ferrol, in honour and benefit to the Hispanic nation »23.

30These collective achievements that were requested through the tombstones and inscriptions show both the queen’s identification with the idea of ​​progress and that the Galician community saw this occasion as an unmissable opportunity to request infrastructures that would allow it to overcome industrial and economic discrepancies compared to the more developed regions.

31b) The monuments and art. These allowed the visits organizers to praise the deeds of Isabel’s II ancestors and exaggerate the importance, more symbolic than real, of the towns and cities. Among the monuments cathedrals stand out, especially Santiago Cathedral, as well as churches, convents and monasteries.

  • 24 C. Reyero and M. Freixa: Pintura y escultura en España, 1800-1910, Madrid, Cátedra, 1995, pp. 115 (...)

32In addition to the emphasis placed on architectural monuments there are some notable mentions of sculpture (Santa Soedade in Santiago Cathedral, related to Marian devotion) as well as paintings (a portrait of the queen which Isabel de Borbón presented to Ferrol shipyard corporation and four representations of the effigy of St. James the Apostle given to the sovereign). Included here are the illustrations of local customs and first modern photographs as shown in the chronicle and the Álbum de Vistas Monumentales de Santiago showing items of local and provincial imagery assimilated into the national imagery under construction : archetypal characters with regional costumes, city and religious monument views, monumental buildings and ephemeral architecture with official propaganda. The essence of the cultural and moral features of Galicia were brought out through the plastic arts, the representation of customs and a provincial culture which was intended as the essence of national identity.24

33c) Flags, banners and burgees, the banner of Castile, the royal shields with weapons, the myrtle and laurel crowns and lights and woven silk in not less symbolic colours were also elements adorning pavements, the streets, the avenues, the institutional buildings and the private homes (of the elite), the pavilions and the boxes for the celebrations and other ephemeral constructions.

34d) Poems, sonnets, canticles, hymns and other literary formats that were recited and the leaflets distributed at parades in Spanish and Galician. From the rich local and provincial culture that institutions used in the spreading of nation-building, Galician (a popular language without codification or legal status), had an especial symbolic recognition as essence of the homeland. In these compositions we find the expressed intention of extolling the queen and the Galician people’s gratitude for her visit, in addition to making historical references that connected with the sovereign. Writers such as the provincialist Juan Manuel Pinto gave a voice to the farmers through some verses that speak to the « Royal Pilgrim » of the subsistence crisis that Galicia had gone through. In these literary works there are expressions referring to « Iberian people » linked to « monarchy », « jewel of the homeland » (Isabel II), « the country that loves you so much » (Galicia), « Hispanic Nation » and « proud Spain ». The collaborations such as those of Pintos and other provincialists like Santiago Montenegro and Villamar and Vincent de Turnes are proof that the fledgling galeguista movement (Galicianism) still did not shelter alternative political overtones but it was put to the service of the Crown and the State, in short, to collaborate in the intended banal spreading of nationalism.

35e) The names of boats, ships and frigates showed the use of history and the link between throne and altar as the nation’s base and the support to liberalism of the Bourbon dynasty (Isabela la Católica, Santa Rosalia, Loyalty, Narvaez, Francisco Assisi). The same happens with the street names (Calle Real in Ferrol and Calle Reina in Lugo), the dock gate of Ferrol dockyard (Puerta del Principe), one of the city wall gates of Lugo (Principe Alfonso) and the locomotive that would arrive in Galicia (Prince Alfonso).

36f) The sounds of the Royal March, present in all the acts, as well as other military tunes, the firing of volleys and cannons and the parade of troops also emphasized the value of military courage in national symbolism.

37If to this is added this the spectacle and staging of parades with allegorical floats, the sounds of bagpipes and popular songs that were spread and recited and the fact that the sovereign dressed children in typical costumes, it gives an idea of how these events helped to build a close and national image of Isabel II regarding Galicia and therefore of Galicia united to Spain. The public took pleasure from the physical closeness of the royals and their spontaneity, as well as enjoying the time of party and celebration they were experiencing. Many spectators limited themselves to enjoying the event and even taking advantage of the economic opportunities through the commercial boost occasion offered. People were moved more by feelings of idealisation and religiousness and not so much by the messages transmitted by the authorities. Nevertheless, these generalities cannot deny the success of a certain degree of acceptance of a Spanish nationalism, fleeting and media-based, in a people defined by a daily reality very distant from the performing Monarchy.

The elite vs. the people

38The political elite, business elite and cultural elite were the groups who expressed their support for the trip and its significance, through financial and material donations to organize the event or through direct participation. This position is primarily reflected in four ways :

39a) As members of the public institutions and the local and provincial representation committees who became part of the official delegation. An uncompromising support was always seen.

  • 25 Something similar can be seen in other European countries like Italy; S. Cavazza: «El culto de la (...)

40b) As composers of poetic composition and canticles distributed as leaflets with choruses that people sung as the monarchs passed, with members of provincialism among them. Although it could seem that the public this was directed to was constituted by high social sectors, in the midst of all this show of lyrical declamation and popular lyrical poetry these compositions were also contributing to the promotion of national feeling in the lower social strata25.

  • 26 El Museo universal, 30.09.1858; La Época, 27.08.1858; Revista católica, sept.-1858; El Fomento de (...)

41c) In relation to the above, the positioning of the publishing world, as part of the elite and responsible for publications aimed at a literate and politically active sector. The newspapers joined the range of the mechanism of popular enthusiasm propaganda with the visit of the queen, thus becoming didactic elements in the promotion of nation-building26.

  • 27 Revista católica, sept. 1858, p. 78.

42d) The support of the clergy. The Church was the unconditional complement of the monarchic institution in Spain. This section includes receptions under Pallium, the Te Deum and the Masses celebrated for the monarchs as well as visits to major religious temples ; the visit to the tomb of the Apostle in the Holy Year 1858 turned Isabel II into catholic majesty, the Royal Pilgrim27.

  • 28 La Joven Galicia, 12 and 19.02.1860.
  • 29 For the aforementioned view of the war in Africa in Galicia see J.Beramendi and S. Taboada: «Guer (...)
  • 30 Regarding the deserters in the 19th century, J. Balboa: O problema das quintas en Galicia durante (...)

43A year after the visit, O’Donnell’s government goes to war in North Africa and the successes of these campaigns were also employed in aid of national exaltation. The civil and religious elites supported from the beginning the intention of restoring the Spanish imperialism and strengthen the « Spanish nation » feeling28. Newspapers of different tendencies maintained a similar attitude by emphasizing the role of the army and the military, while not stating the percentages of victims29. However this institutional and clerical support does not seem to have been mirrored either by the provincialist elite or among the people. Although the question was entertained in urban areas, where again the popular enthusiasm at the time of the victory celebrations appears, as in the celebration of the Tetuán triumph in the city of Santiago, the finding of a considerable number of deserters offers some clue about the relative national-patriotic identification of Galician militiamen30.

  • 31 M. Fernández Magariños, «A’Reina en Santiago»; Q. García Calvo, «Á S.A.R. Doña María Isabel Franc (...)

44After the publication of A gaita gallega by Pintos in 1853, the second book fair of the Rexurdimento was the celebration of the Juegos Florales of Galicia in A Coruña in 1859. Despite most of the works presented being written in Spanish, a prize was awarded to a poem in Galician, A Galicia, by Francisco Añón. In the publication of the works (1862), poems and sonnets presented to the royal family in 1858 are compiled but no composition referring to the Moroccan war is included31. That is to say, these compositions remained in popular memory and in the educated elite, but they were devoid of the nationalistic weight that it intended to encourage.

Finally

45During the celebrations for the visit of Isabel II to Galicia in 1858, the local and provincial-regional aspects had occupied an area in the spread of national identity : the expression of tradition turned into the essence of the nation, the kingdom’s inhabitants common heritage. The permeable boundary between local and national liberal identity was evident, even if it was temporary and perhaps justified in the festive atmosphere that was organised using the image of the Crown as a means of transmission.

46The elite joined forces to ensure the recreational and festive means where Galician folklore and Spanish symbolism mixed to recreate the performing monarchy and the nationalistic ritual that it entailed. The ethnolinguistic variety of the Galician people joined the trilogy of Crown (Bourbon), Church (Catholic) and Progress (liberal) to solve the equation of nation-building promoted through the monarchic institution. Thus, the crown showed an unmistakable aspiration to continue through adapting to the new times liberalism announced and progress. A modern marketing campaign in agreement with the advances of the age existed to communicate the idea of a unifying monarchy par excellence of the nation. However, although the nationalistic process that flowed through the parades and celebrations ran through the elites and also reached the rest of the population, this happened in a very high-profile and banal way.

  • 32 F. Archilés: «Lenguajes de nación. Las «experiencias de nación» y los procesos de nacionalización (...)

47In Galicia, with a ethnolinguistic specificity of its own, the means employed to spread nation-building at the time of the visit of queen Isabel II were charged with Spanish symbolism and aesthetic. There still did not exist a provincial Galician feeling with alternative political connections and the trip belonged to a time of spreading of Spanish identity that sprouted supported by political liberal culture. However, once the trip had finished, the confluence between the Galician and the Spanish identity was not so obvious within the people and the acceptance, if any, of the banal nationalism deployed was very weak. The transmission of an identity through direct or coded messages reaches an active recipient, the citizens, where the assimilation of the concept of nation is more or less successful depending on a series of variables in which the private aspect and the particular circumstances largely determine the acceptance of this identity, the one that Ferrán Achilés defines as « experiences of nation » and Fernando Molina as « personification of the nation »32.

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Notas

1 Ferrán Archilés outlined a panorama of the studies concerning Spanish nationalism from a critical perspective of the thesis of a weak nationalization in «Melancólico bucle: Narrativas de la nación fracasada e historiografía española contemporánea», by I. Saz and F. Archilés (eds.): Estudios sobre nacionalismo, y nación en la España contemporánea, Zaragoza, Prensa Universitarias de Zaragoza, 2011, pp. 245-330. Francisco J. Caspitegui carried out a study of the works referring to Spanish nationalism between 2007 and 2013: F. J. Caspitegui: «The nationalization of the masses and the history of Spanish nationalism», Ayer, 94, 2014, pp. 273-285.

2 Thus define, among others, A. Confino: «Lo Local, una escenia de toda nación», Ayer, 64, 2006 (4), pp. 19-31 and X. M. Núñez: «The region as Essence of the Fatherland: Regionalist Variants of Spanish Nationalism (1840-1936)», European History Quarterly, 31 (4), 2001, pp. 483-518.

3 Works referring to the history of the Spanish crown, due to lack of space we will only cite the works of E. García, M. Moreno and J. I. Marcuello: Culturas políticas monárquicas en la España liberal. Discursos, representaciones y prácticas (1880-1902). Valencia, PUV, 2013; R. A. Gutiérrez: «Isabel II, de símbolo de libertad a deshonra de España», by E. La Parra (coord.): La imagen del poder. Reyes y regentes en la España del siglo XIX, Madrid, Síntesis, 2011, pp. 221-282; and I. Burdiel: Isabel II, Una biografía (1830-1904), Madrid, Taurus, 2010.

4 On the term banal nationalism, M. Billig: Banal Nationalism, London, SAGE publications, 1995.

5 X. Carmona and J. Nadal: El empeño industrial de Galicia: 250 años de historia (1750-2000), A Coruña, Fundación Pedro Barrié de la Maza, 2005, pp. 61-90.

6 For an analysis of the interpretations – resistance or liberal revolution – see J. Beramendi: De provincia a nación. Historia do galeguismo político, Vigo, Edicións Xerais, 2007, pp. 83-87.

7 As a demonstation of the discredit and inmorality of the sovereign and her camarilla would be the work Los Borbones en pelota, 1868-1870. For a study of this see I. Burdiel (ed.), SEM: Los Borbones en pelota, Zaragoza, Institute Fernando el Católico, 2012.

8 See the works of R. Villares: La propiedad de la tierra en Galicia, 1500-1936, Madrid, Siglo XXI, 1982 in ÍD.: Desamortización e réxime de propiedade, Vigo, A Nosa Terra, Vigo, 1994; Mª. J. Baz Vicente: «Reforma liberal e propiedade foral na segunda mitade do século XIX: o quebranto xurídico da superioridade do directo dominio», in J. Balboa and H. Pernas: Entre nós. Estudios de Xeografía, Arte e Historia en homenaxe ó profesor J.M. Pose Antelo, Santiago de Compostela, Universidade de Santiago, 2001, pp. 777-809; J. Balboa: «La propiedad de la tierra en la Galicia contemporánea», in J. de Juana and J. Prada (eds.): Historia contemporánea de Galicia, Ariel, Barcelona, 2005, pp. 441-459; ÍD.: O monte en Galicia, Xerais, Vigo, 1990.

9 I. Burdiel: Isabel II. Una biografía (1830-1904), Madrid, Taurus, 2010, p. 536 e 573.

10 See C. García: «La Reforma constitucional durante el Gobierno Largo de O’Donnell», Rúbrica contemporánea, 1, 2012, pp. 95-110.

11 I. Burdiel: Isabel II…, p. 509.

12 This mechanism of monarchic propaganda still lacks the overall comparative viewpoint in order to measure its true reach and limitations, but we now have some studies showing the absence of critical voices about these beyond the short notices limited to describing the public opinion about the sovereign. There was no direct criticism towards the figure of the sovereign and the chronicles and newspapers used enthusiastic and bland descriptions to avoid censorship. M. Barral: A visita de Isabel a Galicia en 1858: monarquía e provincialismo ao servizo da nacionalización, Santiago de Compostela, Sotelo Blanco, 2012 and P. Carasa: La reina en la cuidad: usos de la historia en la visitas de Isabel II a Valladolid, 1858, Valladolid, Ayuntamiento de Valladolid, 2007.

13 W. M. Kuhn: Democratic Royalism. The Transformation of the British Monarchy, 1861-1914, New York, Palgrave, 1996.

14 For the study of the trip chronicle see M. BARRAL: A visita de Isabel II…, pp. 112-130.

15 Juan de Dios de la Rada y Delgado: Viaje de SSMM. y AA. por Castilla, León, Asturias y Galicia, verificado en el verano de 1858, Madrid, Aguado impresor de Cámara de S.M. y de su Real Casa, 1860.

16 La Época, 28 and 30.8.1858; El Clamor público, 7.9.1858; La España, 20.8.1858, 18.9.1858; El museo universal, 30.9.1858; Faro de Vigo, 19.8.1858; El Miño, 11 and 15.09.1858.

17 This is an example of the regional literature to which is referred A.-M. Thiesse: «Centralismo estatal y nacionalismo regionalizado. Las paradojas del caso francés», Ayer, 64, 2006 (4), pp. 33-64.

18 P. Nora (dir.): Les leiux de mémoire, Editions Gallimard, Paris, 1986, 3 vols.

19 Juan de Dios de la Rada y Delgado: Viaje de SSMM…, pp. 574-575. In the contemporary period religion was reinforced in proportion to the political and cultural modernization of the European states and the religious and secular elements converge in the European nationalism of the late 19th century, which led certain authors to speak of «nationalization of religion» and/or «consecration of the nation». See H.-G. Haupt: «Religión y nación en la Europa del siglo XIX: algunas consideraciones en perspectiva comparada», Alcores, 2, 2006, pp. 159-175; J. Louzao: «Nación y catolicismo en la España contemporánea. Revisitando una interrelación histórica», Ayer, 90, 2013 (2), pp. 65-89.

20 See E. Fattorini: Il culto mariano tra ottocento e novecento. Simboli e devozione. Ipotesi e prospettive di ricerca, Milan, Franco Agneli, 2009 (7th edit.). For the particular case of Spain see Francisco J. Ramón Soláns: Usos públicos de la Virgen del Pilar: de la Guerra de Independencia al primer franquismo, Tesis doctoral, Universidad de Zaragoza – Université Paris 8, 2012.

21 A. Mª. de Cisneros: Álbum de vistas monumentales de Santiago dedicado a S.M. la Reina, Santiago, Lit. de Jorge Osterberger, sept. 1858.

22 La España, 19 and 23.09.1858; La Época, 22.09.1858. Among the documentation conserved at the Fondo Municipal de Santiago is found a file of letters written by citizens asking for help and charity faced with a situation of need and poverty in which windowers with soldiers discharged from the army because of injury and without benefits. Arquivo Histórico University of Santiago (AHUS). Fondo Municipal. Festas e Celebracións. Doc. 1.353: «1858. Los Reyes en Santiago».

According to the calculation of Pedro Carasa of the Isabel’s II munificence, it only would amount to 0.5% of the sovereign’s total expenses during her reign. P. Carasa: «Isabel II y la cultura de la pobreza», in J. S. Pérez Garzón (edt.): Isabel II. Los espejos de la reina, Madrid, Marcial Pons, 2004, pp. 111-140; 136.

23 Juan de Dios de la Rada y Delgado: Viaje de SSMM. y AA…, pp. 658-659.

24 C. Reyero and M. Freixa: Pintura y escultura en España, 1800-1910, Madrid, Cátedra, 1995, pp. 115-138.

25 Something similar can be seen in other European countries like Italy; S. Cavazza: «El culto de la pequeña patria en Italia, entre centralización y nacionalismo. De la época liberal al fascismo», Ayer, 64, 2006 (4), pp. 95-119.

26 El Museo universal, 30.09.1858; La Época, 27.08.1858; Revista católica, sept.-1858; El Fomento de Galicia, 31.07.1858. Even Galician nationalist newspapers like El Miño carried this speech: «[the royal family] have been received enthusiastically (...) they are very pleased with their visit», El Miño, 11.09.1858. The same happened in the Basque Country, F. Molina: La tierra del martirio español. El País Vasco y España en el siglo del nacionalismo, Madrid, Centro de Estudios Políticos y Constitucionales, 2005, pp. 45-49 e ÍD.: «Modernidad e identidad nacional. El nacionalismo español del siglo XIX y su historiografìa», Historia Social, 52, 2005, pp. 147-171; 147 e ss.

27 Revista católica, sept. 1858, p. 78.

28 La Joven Galicia, 12 and 19.02.1860.

29 For the aforementioned view of the war in Africa in Galicia see J.Beramendi and S. Taboada: «Guerras y nacionalización en la Galicia del siglo XIX», in M. Esteban de Vega and Mª. D. de la Calle (eds.): Procesos de nacionalización…, p. 224.

30 Regarding the deserters in the 19th century, J. Balboa: O problema das quintas en Galicia durante o Sexenio revolucionario, 1868-1874. Tese de licenciatura, Universidade de Santiago, 1984.

31 M. Fernández Magariños, «A’Reina en Santiago»; Q. García Calvo, «Á S.A.R. Doña María Isabel Francisca»; and S. Montenegro, «O’Príncipe D’Asturias na sua entrada en Ferrol», among others. In J. P. López Cortón, Álbum de la Caridad. Juegos florales en La Coruña, La Coruña, Imp. Del Hospicio provincial, 1862, p. 186, pp. 186, 341 and 395.

32 F. Archilés: «Lenguajes de nación. Las «experiencias de nación» y los procesos de nacionalización: propuestas para un debate», Ayer, 90, 2013, pp. 91-114. F. Molina: «La Nación desde abajo. Nacionalización, individuo e identidad nacional», Ayer, 90, 2013, pp. 39-63.

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Referência do documento impresso

Margarita Barral Martínez, « Performing Monarchy and national identity in the liberal culture : the case of Galicia (1858) », Ler História, 68 | 2015, 69-84.

Referência eletrónica

Margarita Barral Martínez, « Performing Monarchy and national identity in the liberal culture : the case of Galicia (1858) », Ler História [Online], 68 | 2015, posto online no dia 27 Novembro 2016, consultado no dia 24 Outubro 2017. URL : http://lerhistoria.revues.org/1742 ; DOI : 10.4000/lerhistoria.1742

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