The Public University of Navarra just published the book ‘The liberal Confederation of the Mountain of Navarra (1836-1837) ‘, by the professor of Contemporary History and honorary professor at the aforementioned university Ángel García-Sanz Marcotegui. With this work the author wants to contribute to a more correct interpretation of the Carlist wars in Navarra, break with the image of the liberals as foreign to it and at the same time repair “the liberal memory”. The 192-page book is priced at € 15 euros in paper version and € 9 in electronic format.
Its first chapter briefly deals with the demography, society and politics of the eastern Navarrese Pyrenees in the first half of the 19th century. The second focuses on the anti-Carlist uprisings registered in that region during the Seven Years’ War, one failed in 1834 and another that was consolidated in 1836-1837, when the valleys of Aezkoa, Roncal and Salazar were grouped into the liberal Confederation of the Mountain of Navarra. The vicissitudes of the “confederate country” are described and how the unequal presence over time of regular troops from both sides influenced it.
As the author indicates, these valleys, then Basque speakers, acted in the line that in order to fight the Carlists it was necessary to “counter-revolutionize Navarre against Navarre”. To do this, they created arms and defense boards and put over 2,000 men on arms, led by professional civilian soldiers of theirs, accustomed to guerrilla warfare, who knew the territory and were willing to defend it from the Carlists.
The support of the population of the three valleys and Valcarlos for the anti-Carlist uprising was quite widespread and its authorities showed their commitment to the Queen’s side, the Constitution, “the national liberties” and “the national cause”.
In the third chapter the occupation of the pronounced valleys and its disarmament at the end of 1837 are detailed to show the difficult trance that its inhabitants then went through. Information is also offered about how the liberal imprint of these valleys, especially that of Aezkoa, gave rise to a singular socio-political microclimate that survived until the civil war of 1936-1939.
The study is completed with a biographical appendix that includes the profiles of a few dozen professional military personnel, mobilized countrymen and priests from the region who stood out for their affiliation to liberalism.
The author acknowledges that “all the aforementioned raises questions whose answer would help to reveal the extent of the uneven alignment of the different regions of Navarra in the Carlist wars and, fundamentally, the reasons that explain it.”
Ángel García-Sanz Marcotegui is currently an honorary professor at the Public University of Navarra. Among his latest books are ‘Navarrese Liberals in the First Carlist War. The Frankish Bodies and the Mutiny of 1837 ‘(2014) and’ Navarrese Liberals through their Texts (1821-1823) ‘(2018).