- Rafael Casanova i Comes
- Josep Moragues i Mas
- Antonio de Villarroel y Peláez
- Francesc Macià i Ambert, Bac de Roda
- Sebastià de Dalmau i Oller
- Francesc de Castellví i Obando
- Rafael Nebot i Font
- James Fitzjames Stuart, first Duke of Berwick
- Restaino Cantelmo-Stuart i Brancia, seventh Duke of Popoli and Prince of Pettorano
- Josep Aparici i Fins
- Marie-Anne de La Trémoille, princess des Ursins
- Ermengol Amill i Moliner
- Maria Anna de Copons de Cordelles i d’Armengol
- Charles II
- Archduke Charles of Austria
- Philip of Anjou. Philip V of Spain [V of Castile and IV of Aragon]
- George I of Great Britain and Ireland
- Louis XIV of France [the Great, the Sun King]
- Ramon Frederic de Vilana-Perlas i Camarasa
- Elisabet Cristina of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
- Joan Baptista Basset i Ramos
- Narcís Feliu de la Penya i Farell
- Juan Antonio Llinàs y de Ortiz Repiso
Rafael Casanova i Comes
(Moià, 1660? – Sant Boi de Llobregat, 2 May 1743)
Rafael Casanova was the son of a rural property owner from the Bages region of Catalonia. When the Austriacists triumphed in the Barcelona of early 1706, he was appointed third councillor of the city on the death of his predecessor. Following defeat of the Bourbon troops laying siege to Barcelona (1706), Archduke Charles rewarded him with the title of honorary citizen, which entitled him to attend sessions of the Royal Braços and the last Assembly of Braços, held in the summer of 1713, which decided that the city should resist at all cost. Casanova was also one of five members of the secret assembly set up to evaluate proposals made by the general commander of the Army of Catalonia, Antonio de Villarroel. Six months later he reached his political peak when the Council of One Hundred appointed him Chief Councillor in substitution of Manuel Flix, who advocated surrendering the city. This effectively made Casanova the commander of the city’s Coronela, or urban militia. At the end of August 1714 the city authorities rejected his suggestion to accept a temporary armistice and gain time to reorganise the army while awaiting the arrival of an allied convoy from Majorca. Though his proposal had gone unheeded, Casanova maintained a courageous attitude in the last days of the siege and on 11 September, holding high the flag of Santa Eulàlia and escorted by the city’s leading citizens, he led the final counter attack at the Jonqueres embankment. He fell wounded in the leg and was taken to the Mercè school. At three in the afternoon, Colonel Pau de Thoar followed the advice of the general commander of the army Antonio de Villarroel, calling for talks and the initiation of proceedings to surrender the city to the Duke of Berwick. Fear of repression by the supporters of Philip V led Casanova’s family and friends to declare him dead and secretly take him to his wife’s family house, where he went into hiding. He would not appear in public again until 1719, when he took advantage of an amnesty to resume his career as a lawyer.
Josep Moragues i Mas
(Sant Hilari Sacalm, 28 February 1669 – Barcelona, 20 March 1715)
The death of his father meant Josep Moragues had to take charge of running the family estate. During the Nine Years’ War (1688-1697) he joined an armed body of men known as the Miquelets from the vegueria or administrative jurisdiction of Vic to confront the French troops, and in 1705 was one of the groups of Vigatans or citizens from Vic who rose up against the Bourbon viceroy Francisco Fernández de Velasco. He was a driving force behind the Treaty of Genoa (1705) by which Catalonia entered the War of the Spanish Succession on the side of the allies in exchange for military support from England. Disputes among the Vic rebels led to him enlist with the army of Archduke Charles rather than the Catalan Royal Guard. The Archduke made him a colonel in the cavalry and, after fighting on the Empordà front, he was promoted to general and became governor of the Castle of Castellciutat, in the Seu d’Urgell. Following the capitulation, the French took his family hostage in an attempt to make him surrender; he responded by freeing them and taking refuge in Cardona, where he placed himself under the orders of the Marquis of Poal, Antoni Desvalls i de Vergós. Cardona was the last pocket of resistance, finally surrendering on 18 September 1714 and, despite accepting the terms of capitulation, Moragues was summoned to Barcelona and placed under surveillance by the Captain General. Fear of being arrested persuaded him to flee to Majorca, but he was taken prisoner before he could embark. The Bourbon authorities condemned him to death and executed him as a traitor, and his head was left hanging in an iron cage above the Portal de Mar gate to Barcelona, where it remained until March 1727. His wife and other family members were imprisoned and not released until after the signing of the Treaty of Vienna (1725), which represented the definitive end of the conflict between the two pretenders.
Antonio de Villarroel y Peláez
(Barcelona, 3 December 1656 – La Coruña, 22 February 1726)
When the War of the Spanish Succession broke out Antonio de Villarroel was a general in the Bourbon army, but he fell into disgrace when the Duke of Orleans, who had been responsible for the military campaigns in Valencia and Aragon, lost the confidence of Philip V and the princess des Ursins (1709). Villarroel had fought in several victorious battles with the duke, including those of Almansa, Requena, Balaguer and Lleida. Whether he was exiled or simply sought refuge in Galicia is not known, but he remained there some two years. Though he re-joined the Bourbon forces in 1710 the constant rumours and suspicions aroused by his actions drove him to switch allegiance to the Austriacist side. He distinguished himself in the defence of Villaviciosa de Tajuña (Guadalajara) despite the allied defeat, and organised the withdrawal from Aragon (1711). On initiation of the siege of Barcelona he was appointed commander-in-chief of the forces of Catalonia and was consequently responsible for organising the city’s defence. Villarroel responded to the Bourbon offensives with a daring attempt to take troops out of the city, led by Josep Bellver i Balaguer. The manoeuvre was aimed against the lookouts for Bourbon miners who were tunnelling through the walls of Barcelona. On 12 August 1714 the Bourbons attacked the city in a foray known as the Battle of the Bastion of Santa Clara; despite the success of those defending the city, who managed to take the position, it became evident that there were numerous breaches in the wall. On 4 September 1714 the commander of the Bourbon siege, the Duke of Berwick, called for the city leaders to negotiate its surrender. Antonio de Villarroel advocated capitulation, but the civic authorities opposed his suggestion and forced him to stand down as commander. Nonetheless, during the final assault on 11 September he chose to remain at the side of the Catalan troops he had led until that moment. He was wounded in the attack against the Pla d’en Llull and when informed that Rafael Casanova had also been injured gave the order to surrender. Bourbon troops captured him together with twenty-five other military commanders, violating guarantees given in the terms of capitulation. Antonio de Villarroel and his fellow officers were taken to Alacant Castle, where they arrived on 29 October. The following month they were transferred to the prison of La Corunya and it was there that he would eventually die, on 22 February 1726.
Francesc Macià i Ambert, Bac de Roda
(Sant Pere de Roda de Ter, 28 May 1658 – Puig de les Forques, Vic, 2 November 1713)
Francesc Macià i Ambert was the son of a landowner farmer in the vegueria or administrative jurisdiction of Vic. He married the heiress or pubilla to the Mas Bac de Roda de Ter estate and adopted her name, being known from them on as Francesc Macià i Bac de Roda, or simply Bac de Roda. Like so many other Catalans from the Vic area, he fought against the French in the Nine Years’ War (1688-1697). Family ties drew him to the group led by Carles de Regàs, also known as the Vigatans due to their Vic origin. The group had been in dispute with the new king, Philip V, and his viceroy, Francisco Fernández de Velasco, since 1704. This had led them to establish contacts with the pretender to the Austrian throne, Archduke Charles, through Prince George of Hesse-Darmstadt, who promised them that an Anglo-Dutch fleet carrying Archduke Charles would land troops in Barcelona in the summer of 1705. In May that year, the Vigatan noblemen from Vic turned against the viceroy and granted powers to their representatives to sign the Treaty of Genoa (1705) between England and Catalonia. Bac de Roda’s military activity was intermittent from 1707 to 1713, being interrupted twice due to his advanced age. After the frustrated attempt to organise the rear-guard attack on the troops laying siege to Barcelona (1713-1714) he demobilised his army and went into hiding in his house in Sant Pere de Roda de Ter. He was betrayed and captured by Bourbon soldiers led by Feliciano de Bracamonte, who ordered him to be hanged at a spot known as Puig de les Forques, in Vic. His death unleashed a wave of Austriacist revenge in which the Marquis of Poal ordered the execution of Miquelet leaders who had backed the Bourbons.
Sebastià de Dalmau i Oller
(Barcelona, 29 November 1682 – Vienna, 2 August 1762)
Sebastià de Dalmau i Oller was the son of Amador Dalmau i Colom, a merchant who made his fortune in the import-export trade and was eventually able to buy the ships he used to carry out his business activities. Both father and son were imprisoned in June 1704 by viceroy Francisco Fernández de Velasco, accused of having formed part of an Austriacist plot, but released on the entry of Archduke Charles’ troops into Barcelona (1705). The new monarch rewarded them with the rank and privileges of knight, and Sebastià became one of his most faithful followers. When informed some years later of the Convention of L’Hospitalet (22 June 1713) under which, by virtue of the provisions of the Treaty of Utrecht, imperial troops would hand over control of the cities of Tarragona and Barcelona to the Bourbon forces with no guarantee whatsoever that the Catalan constitutions would be respected, he opted to stay in Barcelona rather than leave with the Archduke’s army, which had been his initial intention. During the months of the Bourbon siege Dalmau employed his fortune to pay the wages owing to General Rafael Nebot’s troops and to finance the Regiment de la Fe. In August 1713 he was one of the colonels in the expedition organised by the Military Deputy of the Generalitat, Antoni Francesc de Berenguer, which left Barcelona in a bid to contact the different pockets of resistance remaining inland and open a front in the rear-guard of the forces laying siege to the capital. Following a long pilgrimage through the Catalan heartland Berenguer decided to abandon his men on the beach at Alella and return to Barcelona with the military high command. Dalmau was reluctant to obey that order, but eventually complied and embarked with the other officers. In the city he became one of the pillars of the governing body or Junta de Govern, which designated him as their representative in peace negotiations with the French troops, in April 1714. During the final months of the siege Dalmau used his fortune to pay the artillerymen’s wages and rebuild the city’s fortifications. Like Villarroel, Dalmau advocated surrendering the city at the beginning of September, but the Junta refused. Following the wounding of Casanova on 11 September, he met with the leading authorities to agree the city’s capitulation. Eleven days later he was detained and for a decade was dragged from prison to prison until finally being released in 1725. On recovering his liberty he left for Vienna, where he lived and pursued his military career until the end of his days.
Francesc de Castellví i Obando
(Montblanc, 15 February 1682 – Vienna, 15 September 1757)
Francesc de Castellví i Obando was the son of the aristocrat Ignasi de Castellví i de Ponç, veguer or chief magistrate of Montblanc, from whom he inherited the barony of Rocafort de Queralt. Little is known of his participation in the War of the Spanish Succession prior to the last Bourbon siege of the city of Barcelona (1713-1714), during which he held the rank of captain of the 7th Company of the 2nd Batallion of the Barcelona militia, or Coronela. He was wounded on 12 August 1714 but nonetheless took part in the battle of 11 September. Following surrender, he suffered reprisals in the form of confiscation of his land and freedom under surveillance, reasons for which he decided to join the guerrilla faction led by Pere Joan Barceló i Anguera, otherwise known as Carrasclet. Feeling persecuted, Castellví took refuge in the monastery of Vallbona de les Monges, where two of his sisters were nuns. It was there that he began the huge task of gathering together as much information as possible about the war. Castilian troops detained him for some months in 1718, following which he sought safety in the castle belonging to his relatives, the Armengol family, in Rocafort de Queralt. In contrast to the majority of Catalan Austriacists who returned to Catalonia following the Treaty of Vienna (1725), it was not until then that he arrived to the capital of the Empire, where he quickly formed part of the community of exiles that still remained in the Court. During the thirty years he resided in Vienna he wrote his extensive work, Narraciones Históricas desde el año 1700 el año 1725 (Historical Narratives from 1700 to 1725) which, despite not being published until 1997-2002 (in four volumes), is an exceptional documentary source of details of the history of the War of the Spanish Succession. The historian Salvador Sanpere i Miquel discovered the manuscript in the central archive of the House of Habsburg in Vienna (Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv) in the late 19th century and made a copy of it for the National Library of Catalonia (now the National Archive of Catalonia). Castellví wrote this history to place on record facts that would become extinct with the memory of the vanquished and distorted in the histories of the victors.
Rafael Nebot i Font
(Riudoms, 21 January 1665 – Vienna, 6 September 1733)
Born into a family of the lower nobility of Catalonia, Rafael Nebot i Font and four of his eight brothers were career military men. Two of them (Joan and Josep) abandoned Philip V’s army prior to the Revolt of the Vigatans (1704), while he and two others (Alexandre and Antoni) remained loyal to the monarch. Josep went into hiding and Joan fled to Gibraltar seeking the protection of the allies, while Rafael was ordered to lay siege to the Rock. His cavalry regiment, in which his other two brothers also served, was later sent to Denia to fight General Joan Basset’s Austriacist troops. The Bourbon army was forced to split into two groups and while the largest of these marched to Catalonia to defend Barcelona, Rafael was dispatched to protect Valencia and contain the Denia revolt. Using the Nebot brothers who supported him as intermediaries, Archduke Charles sent letters to Rafael attempting to convince him to join his cause. Finally, in December 1705, Rafael Nebot and his men abandoned the supporters of Philip V (known in Catalonia as Filipists) to enlist with the Maulets of General Basset. After entering Valencia his detachment received orders to help Barcelona, which was once again under siege, this time by the Bourbon army (1706). They subsequently fought several military campaigns before returning to the Catalan capital to defend it against the second Bourbon siege (1713-1714). He was appointed military commander of the expedition led by the Military Deputy of the Generalitat, Antoni Francesc de Berenguer, which was tasked with bringing together the Austriacist resistance scattered throughout central and Pyrenean Catalonia to launch an attack on the rear-guard of the forces besieging Barcelona. The expedition failed in its objective to break the Bourbon siege despite having mustered more than two thousand men, whom the Military Deputy decided to abandon in Alella rather than order them to enter the city, alleging that the presence of such a contingent could give rise to conflicts due to the scarcity of food available to its residents. Rafael was responsible for executing the Military Deputy’s controversial orders and in enforcing them would meet with the resistance of Colonel Sebastià de Dalmau and the disobedience of Ermengol Amill and Manuel Moliner. When the governing body or Junta de Govern of the city heard of this, it had the expedition commanders arrested. On New Year’s Eve 1714 and with the complicity of some of his former subordinates, General Nebot was able to escape and flee to Majorca, from where he would travel on to Vienna. On his arrival in the Court, the Emperor dismissed all charges against him and offered him a place in the imperial army to continue his military career, which would culminate in his being named Count of Nebot.
James Fitzjames Stuart, first Duke of Berwick
Moulins, France, 21 August 1670 – Philippsburg, near Karlsruhe, Germany, 12 June 1734
James Fitz-James Stuart was the illegitimate son of King James II of England and VII of Scotland (1685-1688), who had sought exile in France following the execution of his father (1649), Charles I of England. In 1704, during the War of the Spanish Succession, King Louis XIV of France appointed him as commander-in-chief of the Bourbon army on the peninsula front. He was relieved of his command on two occasions however, the first upon his defeat in the Portuguese campaign (July 1704), and the second after his triumph at the battle of Almansa (1707), though he would finally be recalled to put an end to the siege of Barcelona (1714). The French monarch appointed him a Marshal of France following his successful expedition against Nice (1706), and subsequently awarded him the titles of Duke of Fitz-James and Peer of France following the Almansa victory. Philip V of Spain designated him lieutenant viceroy of Aragon and created the title of Duke of Llíria for him, granting him the fiefdom of the village of Xèrica. In July 1714 he relieved the Duke of Popoli, who had been besieging the city of Barcelona for eleven months. Berwick adopted tactics that were far more aggressive, such as the launching of 40,000 shells on the city in just one month (August). He would also prove inexorable when negotiating the terms of surrender with city representatives following his victory. He returned to Spain in 1718, but on this occasion to combat Philip V’s troops in the War of the Quadruple Alliance. Years later he was chosen to lead the French Army of the Rhine in the War of the Polish Succession (1733-1738), and was struck by a cannonball and died in 1734 while fighting in the siege of Philippsburg.
Restaino Cantelmo-Stuart Brancia, seventh Duke of Popoli and Prince of Pettorano
(Naples, 1651 – Madrid, 16 January 1723)
Restaino Cantelmo-Stuart Brancia was a Neapolitan aristocrat and soldier who entered into the service of the Spanish monarchy during the reign of Charles II as a cavalry captain, eventually rising to the rank of field marshal (1702). This last promotion was Philip V’s way of rewarding him for having successfully repressed the Austriacist conspiracy to organise an uprising in Naples led by the Prince of Macchia (1701). When the Austriacist troops arrived in Valencia he was dispatched to Barcelona together with a company of Italian guards made up of leaders of the Neapolitan nobility to reinforce the city’s defences against the Austriacist siege (1705). The terms of capitulation signed with Archduke Charles allowed him to withdraw together with the entire Bourbon high command, his family and the company of Neapolitan guards, without any of them swearing allegiance to the Archduke. As a consequence of the Austriacist victory in Naples (1707) his properties and fiefdoms were confiscated and he would never recover them, though they were finally returned to his son following the signing of the Treaty of Vienna (1725). Appointed Captain General of Catalonia in 1713, Philip V had him conduct a merciless, repressive campaign against the pro-Austrian Catalans. In late July 1713 he initiated the siege against Barcelona, but despite the land and sea blockade he was unable to break the city. He also failed to prevent the expedition led by the Military Deputy of the Generalitat, Antoni Francesc de Berenguer, into central and northern Catalonia in an attempt to gather together men and resources. The duke responded to the expedition with outrageous virulence, unleashing a wave of repression wherever the Austriacists had passed. At the beginning of March 1714 he resumed the systematic bombardment of Barcelona, which had been interrupted during negotiation of the Treaty of Rastatt (1714). The perseverance of the Barcelona resistance forces forced Philip V to replace him with the Duke of Berwick. He spent the last years of his life in the Court of Philip V, where he formed part of the Councils for War and Finances of the king and was appointed senior steward to the Prince of Asturias.
Josep Aparici i Fins
(Caldes de Montbui, 1 May 1654 – Barcelona, 16 December 1731)
Josep Aparici i Fins was the son of a worker who rose through the social ranks thanks to his dedication to business and the service of the Bourbon monarchy. At the age of twenty-three he moved to Barcelona to enter the service of the Baron of Maldà, Jaume Cortada i Sala. In 1699 he was appointed fourth councillor of the city of Barcelona. Shortly afterwards, in 1701, he was admitted into the aristocratic and erudite Acadèmia dels Desconfiats (Academy of the Distrustful), where he gave a speech on occasion of the celebrations marking Philip V’s arrival in Barcelona. He played a significant role during the Courts of 1701-1702 in distribution of the donation they made to the monarch prior to closing their sessions. His opinions revealed a longing for reform of the Diputació del General (General Council) and he added his voice to proposals for the improvement of Catalonia’s commercial and industrial activity. When Archduke Charles landed in Barcelona, Aparici was temporarily separated from the Catalan institutions and would not return until called upon to oversee the distribution of the donation of the Courts of 1705-1706. He fled the city during the last Bourbon siege of Barcelona (1713-1714) and sought refuge in Mataró, where most of the Bourbon supporters were to be found. There he was recruited to the Bourbon side by José Patiño, the general superintendent of Justice and Treasury, who entrusted him with the task of presiding over the Real Junta Superior de Justicia y Gobierno (Royal High Council of Justice and Government), which had become the first Bourbon government of Catalonia, and was architect of the Decree of Nova Planta (1716). Aparici was subsequently offered a seat on the Supplies Board. After the fall of Barcelona, Patiño took advantage of Aparici’s knowledge of the geography and economic structure of the Principality to have him promote a new tax based on French fiscal reforms. The cadastre (tax on personal wealth) was conceived to be levied on movable and immovable goods and was intended to replace the imprecise fogatge taxes (literally hearth tax, which was calculated on the basis of the number of fireplaces in a municipal area). However, differences with the new Bourbon Administration led to his being ostracised into the Confiscations Accounts Office, and he ended his career in the Administration as a junior official in the Taula de Comuns (an early version of the savings banks) in Barcelona.
Marie-Anne de La Trémoille, princess des Ursins (Orsini in Italian)
(Paris, 1642 – Rome, 5 December 1722)
Marie-Anne de La Trémoille, princess des Ursins, was the daughter of the French aristocrat Louis II of Trémoille, Duke of Noirmoutier. Philip V was only seventeen years old when proclaimed king of Spain and his grandfather, Louis XIV, thought it best to have someone help the young monarch and his wife, Maria Luisa of Savoy, familiarise themselves with the Spanish Court. The person chosen was the princess des Ursins, and in April 1702 she was made lady-in-waiting to the Queen. The princess thus became the most powerful person in the Court, given the influence she would have over the monarchs. This power would be instrumental in frustrating the Geertruidenberg peace talks (1709), at a time in which Louis XIV was demanding that his grandson abdicate the Spanish crown in favour of Archduke Charles. Just as the matter seemed settled, the princess issued her request to be made governor of the Netherlands, a proposal that had the support of Philip V. The French king rejected her demand, which led to the talks ending in failure and the princess falling into disgrace in the Courts of Versailles; the only power she continued to hold was her relationship with Queen Maria Luisa of Savoy. Aware of her weakness, when the queen died on 14 February 1714 the princess des Ursins advised Philip V to marry again, to the Duchess of Parma Elizabeth Farnese, confident that this would allow her to conserve her influence. The duchess had been described to her as a submissive angel but was soon discovered to be quite the contrary, and the moment the marriage was consecrated the princess was dismissed as lady-in-waiting and escorted to the French border. Marie-Anne de La Trémoille ended her days in Rome, at the Court of the exiled English king James III.
Ermengol Amill i Moliner
(Bonestarre, Pallars Sobirà, 1665 – Crotona, Calabria, 1732)
Ermengol Amill i Moliner was the son of a well-to-do country family from the Pallars region of Catalonia. His reasons for joining the army remain unknown, but in 1705 following the Austriacist revolt led by the Vigatans he was appointed colonel of a regiment of mountain fusiliers. He went on to reap success after success and became one of the leading military figures of his day, whether in the incursion into the north of France at the side of Josep Moragues, at the siege of Barcelona, in Valencia, or in central Catalonia. In August 1713 he took part in the expedition organised by the Military Deputy of the Generalitat, Antoni Francesc de Berenguer, and commanded by Rafael Nebot. When the mission failed, Ermengol disobeyed his superiors’ orders and refused to embark with them, preferring to continue attempting to breach the rear-guard of the forces laying siege to Barcelona rather than abandon his men on the Alella beach. Months later he succeeded in breaking through the Bourbon lines and entered Barcelona, where he testified in favour of his friend, General Rafael Nebot, in the court-martial organised as a result of the Alella withdrawal. In early 1714 he placed himself under the orders of Antoni Desvalls, the Marquis of Poal, who was entrusted with organising the army of central Catalonia from Cardona castle. Ermengol was living in the castle when it surrendered on 18 September 1714 and despite the terms of capitulation signed with the Bourbon troops they took him prisoner and transferred him to Gerona, from where he was able to escape to France and make his way to Vienna. He continued his military career in the Imperial Court, participating in the wars against the Ottoman Empire and in prince Eugene of Savoy’s advance into the region of Timisoara and Banat, until being captured by the Ottomans during the siege of Zvornik (Bosnia). He was released in 1718, but with his health broken as a result of the tortures that had been inflicted upon him. Charles VI appointed him governor of the castle of Crotona, in the kingdom of Naples, and he held that post until forced to step down through ill health in 1730. He continued to live in the castle however, up to his death in 1732.
Maria Anna de Copons de Cordelles i d’Armengol
Maria Anna de Copons de Cordelles i d’Armengol was the daughter of Ramon de Copons, Lord of Llor, a line of Catalan nobility stretching back to the 13th century, and Josepa d’Armengol, daughter of the Baron of Rocafort, Antoni d’Armengol. Maria Anna’s first marriage was to Josep Subirà i Julià, Baron of Eroles and of Abellà, who took part in the Courts of 1701-1702 and 1705-1706. She was widowed and a little later married again, to Francesc d’Areny de Queralt i de Torralla, second Baron of Claret and a member of the Assembly of Braços of 1713, who was made Count of Areny by King Charles III. Her sister Caterina was married to Josep Antoni Mata i de Copons, Count of Torre de Mata, one of the captains of the Barcelona militia or Coronela as well as member of the Council of War. At the time of the last Bourbon siege of Barcelona (1713-1714) she was in Alella where the Baron of Querchois, commander of the Bourbon garrison, paid her frequent visits. During one of these, on 25 January 1714, she discovered that the commander had received orders from the Duke of Popoli to march with his troops to Mataró, as an assault was expected to be launched on the town by four hundred fusiliers who had embarked from Barcelona to attack the Bourbon rear-guard. Her insistence that the commander should not leave or that he should simply send a detachment resulted in the Baron showing her the duke’s order as justification for his departure. It was then that Maria Anna instructed the Austriacist merchant Salvador Lleonart to leave for Barcelona that very night to warn Colonel Ermengol Amill and his men, who were about to set off for Mataró. He also advised the government and commander-in-chief Antonio Villarroel, and as a result the assault on Mataró was halted. The Duke of Popoli had received a tip-off and had reinforced the town with over 1,300 men, a move which would have inevitably turned Colonel Amill’s expedition into a disaster. Some two hundred years later, the Catalan historian Santiago Albertí would define Maria Anna de Copons as “the little Mata-Hari”.
Charles II of Spain
(Madrid, 6 November 1661 – Madrid, 1 November 1700)
Charles II of Castile and the Crown of Aragon (1665-1700), popularly known as “the Hexed”.
Charles’ mother, Mariana of Austria, served as regent of the Spanish monarchy following the death of his father Philip IV (1665), until he was able to ascend to the throne in 1675. In Catalonia his reign was marked by repeated confrontations with the expansionist policies of King Louis XIV of France. The Spanish monarch’s impositions on the Catalans through the billeting and provisioning of soldiers would eventually lead to outbreak of the Revolt of the Barretines (1687-1689). This period also witnessed an increase in royal interventionism in taxes levied by the Catalan government, the Generalitat, which was sinking ever-deeper into debt due to Catalonia having become one of the scenarios of the Nine Years’ War (1688-1697). Nonetheless, a few members of the Catalan bourgeoisie were able to cash in on the financial emergencies and needs occasioned by the war, reason for which the lawyer and historian Narcís Feliu de la Penya would declare that Charles II was the best king Spain had ever had.
He was the last king of the Austrian dynasty to occupy the Spanish throne. The combination of his frail appearance, ill-health and sterility meant that succession to the crown quickly became an international issue. During the last years of his reign, Charles II placed himself at the head of government action, advised at all times by his wife, Maria Anna of Neuburg. International diplomacy and the Spanish Court reached agreement in 1696 that Joseph Ferdinand Leopold of Bavaria, great-grandson of Philip IV of Spain, should succeed Charles II, but the premature death of the pretender three years later (1699) raised new tensions. The “French party” in the Court and the ambassador of Louis XIV lent their support to the claim of Philip of Anjou, grandson of the king of France, while the queen, together with English, Dutch and Imperial diplomacy, backed the Austrian candidate, Archduke Charles, the son of Leopold I, Emperor of the Holy Roman-German Empire. Finally, on 3 October 1700 and just a few weeks before his death, Charles II decided to name Philip of Anjou in his will as his successor, in return for a commitment that the Spanish monarchy would not be broken up. The sudden death of Charles II and his decision to leave the monarchy to the House of Bourbon would lead to eruption of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714), confronting the alliance between Castile and France, which backed Philip, and the coalition formed between the United Dutch Provinces, England and Austria, supporting the pretentions of Charles of Austria.
Archduke Charles of Austria
(Vienna, 1 October 1685 – 20 October 1740)
Charles III of the Crown of Aragon: Catalonia (1706-1714), Majorca (1706-1715), Valencia (1706-1707), Aragon (1706-1707), Sardinia (1706-1720)
Charles IV of the Kingdom of Naples (1706-1714 / 1720-1738) and of Sicily (1720-1734)
Charles VI, Holy Roman-German Emperor (1711-1740)
Charles was the second son of Emperor Leopold I and his third wife, Eleonor Magdalene of Neuburg, a princess of the Palatinate, and grandson of Emperor Ferdinand III and the Infanta Maria Anna of Spain. On the death without legitimate issue of King Charles II (1700), the Archduke became a pretender to the Spanish throne, but in his will Charles II had left his kingdom to Philip of Anjou, the grandson of Louis XIV of France and great-grandson of Philip IV of Castile. This dynastic conflict would eventually lead to outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession. The Archduke quickly enlisted the support of England and the United Dutch Provinces in an alliance under the Treaty of the Hague (1701) to confront the alliance of the Bourbon monarchies of France and Spain. Archduke Charles was proclaimed king of Spain in Vienna on 12 September 1703 and arrived at the Catalan coast on 22 August 1705 as commander of the fleet which was to coordinate the siege of Barcelona. The city surrendered on 9 October and a month later the Archduke swore to uphold the Catalan constitutions, being proclaimed king under the name of Charles III. The following year the fortunes of war turned and from April 1707 his armies suffered several defeats, such as at the Battle of Almansa, which brought about the fall of the kingdoms of Valencia and Aragon under the power of the Bourbons and concentration of the Austriacists in the Principality of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands. Just when he was suffering the worst setbacks on the peninsula, Charles III received news of the death of his brother, emperor Joseph I, which forced him to return to Vienna to be crowned the new emperor of the Holy Roman-German Empire in 1711. This signified the end of support for the Austriacist cause from its European allies, who were unwilling to accept such a powerful monarch, and consequently the beginning of the end of the "case of the Catalans". Peace negotiations with the Bourbons began to take place as from 1713, while the Catalans who continued to resist were abandoned to their fate. Archduke Charles, now Emperor Charles VI, would not sign the final peace agreement with Philip V until the Treaty of Vienna (1725), following which his foreign policy would focus on combatting the Turkish threat in the Balkans.
Philip of Anjou. Philip V of Spain [V of Castile and IV of Aragon]
(Versailles, 19 December 1683 – Madrid, 9 July 1746)
Philip V of Castile (1700-1724 and 1724-1746)
Philip IV of Aragon (1700-1705)
Philip IV of the kingdom Naples (1700-1713) and of Sicily (1700-1706)
The poor health of the Spanish monarch Charles II gave rise to numerous conspiracies in the Madrid Court aimed at designating his successor. Supporters of the Bourbon monarchy succeeded in having the king name Philip, Duke of Anjou and the grandson of Louis XIV, as his heir and he was duly proclaimed king. Initially the territories encompassed in the Crown of Aragon accepted the new monarch, but fascination for the political model of his grandfather soon led to his breaching the Catalan constitutions to which he had sworn allegiance in 1701. The monarch’s actions aroused great concern among the Catalan population and certain sectors of the lower nobility (the group from the plain of Vic, known as the Vigatans) began to conspire with European powers in favour of the crown being worn by Archduke Charles of Austria. Philip V’s reaction against the rebel subjects supporting his adversary was furious and uncompromising. After taking control of the kingdoms of Valencia and Aragon he ordered the suppression of their laws through constitution of the Decree of Nova Planta, an act which convinced many inhabitants of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands to continue with their resistance. They were defeated however and Philip V imposed the dissolution of their institutions and abolition of their constitutions (Decree of Nova Planta), establishing implacable military control. Once he had overcome the Catalans, the aim of Philip V was to recover the Italian territories he had lost as a result of the Peace Treaty of Utrecht (1713).
Behind this foreign policy was his wife, Isabella Farnese, who exerted influence over the king in favour of her own line of descendency. Philip V soon began to show symptoms of deteriorating mental health, which would lead to his abdicating in favour of his son, Louis I of Spain. The new monarch ascended the throne in 1724 but died that same year, obliging Philip V once again to assume the crown, and he remained king until his death in 1746.
George I of Great Britain and Ireland
(Hannover, 28 May 1660 – Osnabrück, 11 June 1727)
George I of Great Britain and Ireland (1714-1727)
Even before ascending to the throne, George I was sympathetic with the "case of the Catalans", despite the passive way in which the English Court had dealt with ambassador Pau Ignasi de Dalmases i Ros, who had sought their support in the last year of the reign of Queen Anne. The queen’s death on 1 August 1714 made George, elector of Hanover, the first British monarch of the House of Hanover. He lived in Germany and on his way to England stopped off in the Hague on 18 September 1714 to meet with the Catalan ambassador to the United Dutch Provinces, Felip de Ferran de Sacirera, when neither of them were yet aware that Barcelona had capitulated. That interview resulted in the new monarch issuing orders to his representative in Paris, Matthew Prior, to urge Louis XIV to prevent the surrender of Barcelona and enable the city’s resistance forces to sign a treaty with the besieging Bourbon armies. In parallel, the British regency was already engaged in negotiations to station a fleet off the coast of Barcelona until the conflict ended, which would guarantee supply of food to the city and the freedom of its inhabitants to leave.
The Tory government however succeeded in delaying the decision to send the fleet until the regency had secured the king’s consent. Eighteen days after the fall of Barcelona the king arrived in London, but the new British government, with a majority of Whigs and thus sympathetic to the Catalan cause, did not convene with his presence until 17 March 1715. Despite the Whigs’ support, the king preferred to adopt a policy of fait accompli and turned his back on the Catalans. During the early years of his reign, George I maintained an active presence in British foreign policy: in 1717 his participation was decisive in constituting the Triple Alliance, formed by France, the United Dutch Provinces and Great Britain, which sought to ensure compliance with the agreements of the Treaty of Utrecht (1713) which had put an end to the War of the Spanish Succession. It became the Quadruple Alliance on inclusion of the Holy Roman-German Empire in 1718. The underlying intention of this league of nations was to hold back the aspirations of Philip V to accede to the throne of France. The resulting conflict represented a huge failure on the part of Philip V, who was forced to abandon his idea of uniting the kingdoms of France and Spain.
Louis XIV of France [the Great, the Sun King]
(Saint-Germain-en-Laye, 5 September 1638 – Versailles, 1 September 1715)
Louis XIV of France (1643-1715)
Aware of the extensive physical, intellectual, and emotional disabilities of Charles II and his inability to produce descendants, at the end of the 17th century the French and the Imperial Courts conspired over the legacy of the Spanish monarch. Unexpectedly, just before dying in 1700 Charles II named Philip of Anjou as his successor, but laying down the condition that the territories of the Spanish and French monarchies could never be united. Louis XIV, who until then had been a strong advocate of the division of the Spanish possessions in order to appease the European Courts, accepted the late king’s wishes and supported his grandson’s claim to the throne. The European powers reluctantly acquiesced to the decision, but were angered by the Sun King’s petulant attitude in prohibiting English imports to France and refusing to recognise William III as the legitimate sovereign of England, instead lending his backing to the pretensions of William’s Catholic adversary, James II. These circumstances would eventually trigger the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession. At first the French had some successes, but following the Battle of Blenheim (13 August 1704) their fortune changed. In 1709 the war seemed lost and Louis was forced to make peace with the allies. Finally, accession to the Imperial throne of Archduke Charles (1711) reversed the terms of the negotiations and Louis XIV and Philip V signed the peace with Great Britain and the United Dutch Provinces in the Treaty of Utrecht (1713), and with the Empire in the Treaty of Rastatt (1714). These agreements ensured the recognition of Philip V as sovereign of Spain, but denied him any right of succession to the French crown. Spanish territories in the United Provinces and Italy were apportioned to the Empire and the kingdom of Savoy, and in exchange Louis XIV withdrew his support of “The Old Pretender” to the English throne. The consequences of the war were disastrous for France, and Louis XIV left a monarchy that was completely bankrupt, relinquishing control of the seas to Great Britain.
Ramon Frederic de Vilana-Perlas i Camarasa, Marquis of Rialb (1710-1741)
(Oliana, 1663 – Vienna, 5 June 1741)
Ramon Frederic de Vilana-Perlas was a notary public by profession and honorary citizen of Barcelona (as a member of the urban aristocracy) from 1698. From the outset he gave his allegiance to the Austriacist cause, reason for which viceroy Francisco Fernández de Velasco had him imprisoned in June 1704. He was released in 1705 following Barcelona’s surrender to the Austriacist troops. With the arrival of Archduke Charles he would become one of his most trusted men and personal secretary, and as such the signatory of all articles of the new Catalan constitutions approved by the Courts of 1705-1706. When Charles III left Barcelona to be crowned emperor, Ramon de Vilana-Perlas became the right-hand man of the Holy Roman Empress Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel during her period as General Governor of Catalonia (1711-1713). On 19 March 1713 he accompanied the royal entourage to Vienna, and from the Imperial Court sent his brother-in-law Francesc de Verneda to Barcelona as a secret commissioner of the emperor to keep the flame of his commitment with the Catalan resistance forces alive. Ramon de Vilana-Perlas played a significant role in negotiations for the Treaty of Rastatt (1714); nonetheless, he could do nothing to defend the “case of the Catalans” and maintain their privileges and constitutions. He was presented with a second opportunity a decade later, with the Treaty of Vienna (1725) which, though representing an end to the Emperor’s pretentions to the Spanish throne, also signified a general amnesty and authorisation for the Austriacist exiles to return to Catalonia and recover their lands and possessions. In the Court of Vienna Ramon de Vilana-Perlas continued with his role as Secretary of State and Cabinet Secretary; he presided over the Council of Spain or “Secret Council” and later accepted the post of secretary for Affairs of the North (Austrian Low Countries) until his resignation in 1737. This position would transform him into one of the most influential figures in the Austrian Empire.
Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
(Brunswick, 28 August 1691 – Vienna, 21 December 1750)
Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel was the daughter of one of the most distinguished protestant families of the German monarchy. As result of her engagement to Archduke Charles she was obliged to convert to Catholicism, which she did on 1 May 1707 in the city of Bamberg. On 25 July of the following year she disembarked in the port of Mataró and proceeded to Barcelona, where the Archduke established his Court. Her arrival strengthened Austria’s commitment to the Catalan cause. Some days later, on 1 August 1708, she married the Archduke in the Church of Santa Maria del Mar. The Court’s presence in Barcelona led to the refurbishment of the Palau del Virrei (Palace of the Viceroy), otherwise known as the Palau Reial (Royal Palace) and attracted numerous groups of musicians and artists to the city. Celebrations for the royal wedding included small-scale performances in the Llotja of the first Italian operas to be staged in Spain, composed by Antonio Caldara. On the death in 1711 of his brother Joseph I, Emperor of the Holy Roman-German Empire, Archduke Charles had to leave Barcelona for Vienna to be crowned the new emperor. He left Elisabeth in charge of the government of the monarchy’s Spanish territories, with the inestimable help of Ramon de Vilana-Perlas, the emperor’s personal secretary and right-hand man. Negotiations for the Treaty of Utrecht (which was finally signed on 11 April 1713) resulted in the empress and the royal retinue leaving for Vienna in March 1713. Catalonia was left in the hands of the allied Field Marshal Count Starhemberg, who would undertake organisation of the withdrawal of his forces a few months later despite the promise given to guarantee Catalan institutions at the international level. Empress Elisabeth always kept alive the sweet-and-sour memories of her stay in Barcelona, as demonstrated by her sarcophagus, on which a low-relief is reproduced depicting the city seen from the sea.
Joan Baptista Basset i Ramos
(Alboraia, Valencia, 1654 – Segovia, 15 January 1728)
Joan Baptista Basset i Ramos was a career military man, despite being born into a family of cabinet makers. He was one of the commanders of the Anglo-Dutch fleet which Archduke Charles sent to the peninsula from Lisbon in 1704 to ensure his succession to the Spanish throne. Basset disembarked in Denia, where he became the highest authority, with the bulk of the army marching on to Valencia. While awaiting reinforcements, he led the popular uprising against the authoritarian government of Philip V, a cause which was joined by peasants revolting against their feudal lords and merchants and artisans in favour of free trade with England and the Netherlands. Basset’s army was popularly known as the Maulets and quickly gained the mistrust of the Austrian pretender. Archduke Charles was proclaimed king of Spain in Madrid on 2 July 1706, at the same time as the English General Lord Peterborough was dispatched to Xàtiva to capture Basset, who was imprisoned despite popular protest. Following the defeat of Almansa on 25 April 1707, he was released to regroup Austriacist forces and attempt once again to open a new front in Valencia which, despite his best efforts, he was unable to do. His figure reappeared during the Bourbon siege of Barcelona (1713-1714) as commander of the city’s artillery, fighting to the end. He was captured ten days after the capitulation together with the rest of the Austriacist military high command, and following detention in various prisons arrived in Segovia in 1719. His precarious state of health led to his being freed some months before the signing of the Treaty of Vienna (1725), under the condition that he should not leave Segovia where, impoverished and dying, he spent his last days in the care of the Jesuits. On 21 June 1727 and just a few months before Basset’s death, the emperor restored his honours and appointed him lieutenant general.
Narcís Feliu de la Penya i Farell
(Barcelona, 1642 – February 1712)
The son of a family of merchants from Mataró, Narcís Feliu de la Penya i Farell studied law at the University of Barcelona though he never practiced as a lawyer, being drawn to commerce at an early stage in his professional career. As from 1683 he would be one of the pillars of the Board of Trade established in Madrid. During those years he expounded his ideas on economics, based essentially on safeguarding Catalan textile production through protectionism, fiscal unification of the monarchy and the creation of a huge trading company. He did so through the publication of two works: Político discurso (1681) (Political Discourse) and the Fénix de Cataluña (1683) (The Phoenix of Catalonia); his theories failed to have the impact he had hoped for in Madrid however, and he returned to Barcelona in 1690. His anti-Fascist attitude, fuelled by the memory of the fall of Barcelona during the French siege of 1697, and his certainty that the model to follow was that of the European commercial nations led him to back Archduke Charles as the successor to Charles II. He conspired against Philip V and was imprisoned on two occasions, finally being released when the Archduke’s troops entered the city following the 1705 siege. The culminating point of his political influence arrived during the Courts of 1705-1706, when Archduke Charles was proclaimed king and he was able to make some of his economic ideas a reality. Feliu de la Penya subsequently turned down the monarch’s proposal to appoint him as his personal secretary. He then withdrew from active politics to devote himself exclusively to writing the Anales de Cataluña (1709) (Annals of Catalonia), in which he told the history of Catalonia in a rhetorical way in an attempt to explain why the Catalan industrial and commercial bourgeoisie had opted for the Austriacist alternative, basing their decision on the need to join a Europe-wide political and economic project.
Juan Antonio Llinàs y de Ortiz Repiso
(Lucena, Cordoba, 1789 – Paris, 1854)
The great-grandfather of Juan Antonio Llinàs y de Ortiz Repiso was Joan Antoni Llinàs i Farell, one of the Barcelona patricians who best embodied Catalan constitutionalism and most frequently attended the meetings of the Conference of the Three Commons (1697-171). And he did so on different occasions as representative of the three different institutions. In parallel, he took part in the economic project being undertaken by his cousin, Narcís Feliu de la Penya; all of which led to him being considered one of the pillars of Austriacist support in Barcelona, as demonstrated by his being a member of the Junta de Govern or governing body of the city up to its capitulation. Two of his sons died fighting the Bourbons laying siege to the Catalan capital, and he and another of his sons, Joan de Llinàs i Escarrer, were arrested by the authorities on 22 September 1714, subsequently spending almost five years in various Spanish prisons. Both returned to Barcelona in 1719, and Joan Antoni Llinàs died a few weeks after arriving.
His great-grandson, Juan Antonio Llinàs y de Ortiz Repiso, was born seventy years later and, like his father and grandfather before him chose a military career. He fought in Denmark under the orders of Napoleon and when the Peninsula War (1808-1814) broke out did so against his former allies. With the triumph of liberal ideas he soon abandoned the army to enter politics, becoming a key figure in Catalan revolutionary liberalism. He had to flee into exile on several occasions, which enabled him to gain first-hand knowledge of the ideas of French, Belgian and Italian romantic revolutionaries. In October 1841, when some two years had elapsed since his return to Barcelona, he was chosen to preside over the Junta de Vigilància (revolucionària) or Board of (Revolutionary) Oversight, which governed the city and confronted the moderate threat presented by some of its factions. From his position as head of the Board he set about the task of demolishing the city’s fortress, known as the Citadel, an act which he announced by recalling the history of why it had originally been built, “to dominate our grandparents, who also knew how to defend public freedoms”. His aim was not entirely met, and with the return to government of more moderate progressive elements the fort was rebuilt (1842). Once again, Llinàs was forced to take the road of exile to Paris, where he lived the last twelve years of his life as a staunch defender of republican, democratic and federal ideas. The Citadel survived until the 1868 Revolution, when it was attacked and its fortifications and walls demolished. Months later it was nothing more than wasteland, with the only structures that remained standing being the main buildings of the fortress interior. However, in response to an initiative supported by the president of the Spanish government Joan Prim i Prats (General Prim) and other Catalan parliamentarians in the Congress of Deputies, in late 1869 the monarchy returned the lands of the Citadel to the city of Barcelona to enable a huge park to be built upon them.