Madrid - Dos de Mayo - Photos

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Madrid - Dos de Mayo
2nd May 1808
The Royal Palace
French troops entered Spain in October 1807 "just passing through on their way through to Portugal". This was facilitated by a treaty made by Charles IV and his unpopular and corrupt Prime Minister, Godoy. This was very unpopular with the people of Spain.

Charles IV left Madrid in March 1808 and travelled south in anticipation of a full-on French invasion. While he was passing through Aranjuez, south of Madrid, there was an uprising which first forced him to dismiss Godoy and then led to his abdication in favour of his son, Ferdinand VII. They were both then "invited" to Bayonne by Napoleon who interred them in France until 1814.

On 2nd May 1808 the French moved to remove the remaining members of the Royal family from their Madrid Palace. Crowds gathered to oppose this and Marshal Murat ordered a detachment of the Imperial Guard and other troops to control them. Shots were fired and widespread rioting broke out.
The Royal Palace
General views and the Dos de Mayo memorial there.
Puerta del Sol
Scene of major rioting. Memorials there on the Regional Government building to Dos de Mayo and the March 11 2004 train bombings.
Plaza del Dos de Mayo
This is on the site of the artillery barracks of Monteleón. While most of the regular Spanish Army were confined to barracks, men from here resisted, led by  Luis Daoíz de Torres and Pedro Velarde y Santillán who are commemorated here. They died in the French assault.
Goya's commemorative paintings.
In 1814, Francisco de Goya, who had previously been court painter, was commissioned to paint two works commemorating the Dos de Mayo.

His first, The Second of May 1808: The Charge of the Mamelukes shows the ferocity of both sides. This is set close to Puerta del Sol.

On the evening of 2nd May, Murat set up a military commission, headed by General Grouchy, which condemned all those captured with any sort of weapon to death.
Goya's second, even more famous painting, shows the French firing squad as an impersonal, rather sinister force pitted against the defiant figure standing out in white.

There is evidence that Goya painted two other works in the same series, a revolt at the royal palace and a defense of artillery barracks. If so, it's probable that these were suppressed as the authorities became increasingly fearful of popular revolt.

(Note. I saw these in the Prado but photography is not permitted there. These are scans of postcards.)
Other memorials.
There are many other memorials which I didn't see.

In particular there are the Monumento al Pueblo del Dos de Mayo de 1808 near the Royal Palace and the Monumento a los Caidos por España near the Prado.

(Photos from Wikipedia.)
Text and photos copyright John Haines 2015-19.
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