Heroes of May 2nd 1808!

Once in a while I dealt directly with heroes; as more often post on general historical events while traveling my road warrior ways. This time I take you to my beloved Spain in something that has strong connection to my dear France. Times have change, but nevertheless history must be obeserved and respected and of course the heroes recognised. So therefore , I took a picture in Segovia that made me write this post: hope you enjoy it as I.

If you have read my blog, you know blood runs thru my veins (Tenerife) of this wonderful kingdom of Spain. And you should know I used to lived in my beloved Madrid. If there are many wonderful cities in my dear Spain, one of the closest to my heart would be Segovia. I like to give you a historical story from right here in my dear Segovia! I have come here many many years before , in fact came with my girlfriend  over 30 years ago , later my dear late wife Martine . So , very emotional memories coming back to write on Segovia. Even if always stop in Madrid, Segovia is special for this and the magnificent stable of monuments of wonderful beauty and architecture.

The Monument to Daoiz and Velarde is an instance of public art in Segovia, it is a memorial to Luis Daoiz y Torres and Pedro Velarde y Santillán, two Spanish artillery officers who fell fighting against the French army at the 1808 Dos de Mayo uprising (May 2), in the context of the War of Independence of Spain from Napoleonic France there known as the Peninsular War. The laying of the foundation stone was held on 6 May 1908 on the occasion of the festivities taking place in early May for the 100th anniversary of the Dos de Mayo uprising.

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The monument can be described as follows: it occupies an area of 242 square metres in the Plaza de la Reina Victoria, in front of the Alcázar of Segovia, and it is enclosed by a fence. The sides of the pedestal are ornamented by two large reliefs and by two plaques displaying the coats of arms of Sevilla (Daoíz’s homeland), and Santander (Velarde’s homeland) and the respective commemorative inscriptions.  An allegory of History lies on the steps of the pedestal. it is sculpted on white marble, contrasting with a bronze relief depicting the last stand at the Monteleón artillery barracks. The other relief shows Daoiz rallying the people of Madrid, engaged in a desperate struggle against the French troops. The allegorical figure of Spain tops off the monument, holding the dying bodies of the two artillerymen in her arms, wrapped in the national flag. In the lower part there is an eagle, clutching the rock with one of its claws, fighting to pull out the flag with the other claw. The monument was unveiled on 15 July 1910 by king Alfonso XIII.

The Segovia tourist office on the Alcazar as the monument has no specific webpage but it is just in front. http://visitsegovia.turismodesegovia.com/es/monuments/alcazar

A bit of history on the two heroes. The Sevillian Luis Daoíz y Torres, had joined the army at 15 years of age and managed to reap a successful military career. An outstanding fencer and student, he trained as a gunner in the Royal Artillery Regiment in Puerto de Santa María. He participated in the defense of Ceuta against Morocco, in the Roussillon War against the French, fought against the English troops in Cádiz and defended the Spanish colonies in America. Upon his return to Spain, at the age of 41, he was transferred to Madrid in command of the Monteleón Artillery Park. The Cantabrian Pedro Velarde y Santillán had entered the Royal College of Artillery of Segovia (see post Alcazar) when he was 14 years old. After serving in Portugal he had become a teacher and an expert in cannons, but had to move to Madrid when he was appointed Secretary of the Superior Economic Board of the Artillery Corps. He was 29 years old and, through effort, he had made a niche for himself in the upper echelons of the General Staff.

The heroic captains had defended the barracks until their last breath, but all their courage had failed to stop the French. Daoíz was hit in the back with a bayonet and later riddled with stabs. Velarde died as a result of a point-blank shot to the heart. The body of Luis Daoíz, still dressed in the uniform in which he had died, was smuggled inside a box to the disappeared Church of San Martín, in the Plaza de las Descalzas. The corpse of Pedro Velarde, after being stripped and outraged by the French in the streets of Madrid, was recovered by his companions, who wrapped him with a piece of a tent from the Monteleón Park itself and took him to the same church of his partner. In 1814, once the War of Independence ended, both bodies were exhumed with all honors in front of a crowd of people who gathered to acclaim the heroes, whose remains traveled throughout Spain until they were deposited in the monument to the Heroes del Dos de Mayo in Madrid’s Plaza de la Lealtad, where they rest today.

“That unfortunate Spanish war was a real tragedy. The origin of all the misfortunes of France ” by dictator Napoleon Bonaparte.

The Memory of Madrid from the city of Madrid on the old Monteleon palace where the park was (in Spanish): http://www.memoriademadrid.es/buscador.php?accion=VerFicha&id=5225&num_id=5&num_total=17

Today in Madrid there is an Arch at the entrance to the Artillery park of Monteleón integrated to the monument of Daoiz and Velarde in the Plaza del 2 de Mayo. More from the Madrid tourist officehttps://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/plaza-dos-de-mayo

Hope you enjoy the historical story and by this get to know my beloved Spain a bit more. A bit more than just traveling but visiting Madrid and Segovia. Of course, part of my history. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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