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Riego y Núñez, Rafael del (1785–1823)

Riego y Núñez, Rafael del (1785–1823)

Rafael del Riego y Núñez (b. 24 October 1785; d. 7 November 1823), leader of a revolt (pronunciamiento) against Ferdinand VII (1820) and president of the Cortes (1822–1823) in Spain. Riego y Núñez was an army officer stationed in Cádiz on the eve of Spain's Great Expedition to quell rebellion in the New World. Disaffected with Ferdinand's treatment of the army and the proposed American campaign, Riego y Núñez and his troops proclaimed their support for the Constitution of 1812 on 1 January 1820. In February, the military uprising spread to royal armies stationed at La Coruña, Saragossa, and Barcelona. Ferdinand accepted the constitutional restoration in March and, for the next three years, presided over increasingly liberal governments led by men he had persecuted in 1814.

In Spain, the revolt established a pattern for future liberal revolutions, which would begin with an army revolt followed by provincial support and, finally, government response in Madrid. In the New World, the revolt signified the end of any chance of sending a large army to reinforce royalist forces and practically guaranteed independence for the various colonies.

See alsoFerdinand VII of Spain; Spain, Constitution of 1812.


José Luis Comellas, Los primeros pronunciamientos en España, 1814–1820 (1958).

Margaret L. Woodward, "The Spanish Army and the Loss of America, 1810–1824," in Hispanic American Historical Review 48, no. 4 (1968): 586-607.

Timothy E. Anna, Spain and the Loss of America (1983), esp. pp. 189-294.

Additional Bibliography

Pérez López-Portillo, Raúl. La España de Riego. Madrid: Sílex, 2005.

                             Suzanne Hiles Burkholder

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