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I Wonder Why...?

I will be writing about aspects of Spanish history and their traditions. I am a very curious person and have always needed to know "why" they do it, and "how" it came about. So over the years while living in Spain I have made a conscious effort to discover "el porque de las cosas" and I will be sharing them with you. I hope you find it as fascinating as I do.

How Napoleon wanated to change the Map of Spain
Tuesday, February 22, 2022 @ 7:42 PM

In the year 1810, José I, brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, the victorious French general who ended up proclaiming himself emperor until his defeat by the British and Prussians at Waterloo, reigned in Spain.

Spain had suffered the French invasion, from which it would manage to free itself in 1814 at the end of the War of Independence and which, according to many analysts, was the beginning of the end for Napoleon.

During this French occupation, the Spanish government sponsored by Paris wanted to administratively reorganise the entire country, and among other changes, wanted to impose a division by provinces very different from the current one.

The design was carried out by José María de Lanz and Zaldívar, who was inspired by the administrative division of France. The idea was to take advantage of natural features and try to make each province approximately the same size.

Lanz did away with historical names and wanted each province to be named after the dominant river or rivers. Thus, there were Ebro and Jalón, Guadalquivir Bajo, Duero and Pisuerga, Segura or Miño Alto.

In addition, new, not necessarily traditional, capitals were established: towns such as Astorga, La Carolina, Ciudad Rodrigo or Jerez became provincial capitals.

 

          Napoleon's Map of Spain

Napoleon's Map of Spain

 

The problem is that this method ignored historical realities and decisions were made such as dividing Zaragoza into two provinces. Finally, the end of the French occupation put an end to this scheme and in 1833 one very similar to the current one would be adopted.

 

                  VIDEO IN ENGLISH



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