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Antonio Moliner

The guerrilla myth: El Empecinado (The Undaunted) and the Priest Merino URL:


The occupation of the Spanish territory by Napoleon's troops in 1808, allowed by the civil and military authorities, caused the general uprising of all provinces in the name of "Religion, Homeland and the King". Considering the impossibility to face the well equipped French army, and after a number of setbacks and failures, it was decided that a guerrilla or "irregular war" approach was needed since 1809.

The objective of the conference is to present the most characteristic traits of the main guerrilla fighters, as well as pointing out the reasons that took them to behave that way, with their most important actions, and their relationship with the regular Army and the political authorities (Junta Central, Consejo de Regencia), their contribution to the result of the war, and the mythification process of these men.

We will focus in the two most popular guerrilla fighters, antithetical in their posterior political trajectory: Juan Martín "The Empecinado" and Jerónimo Merino (Priest Merino). Both of them became referents for all men and women participating in the resistance during the War of Independence. The historiography of the 19th century and romantic literature elevated these men to the category of  heroes, as a patriotic symbol of the Spanish people and the "nation of weapons".

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