The Empecinado

Napoleon’s Nightmare

In 1808, during Napoleon’s invasion of Spain, a tragic event occurred in a small town in Burgos. Two French soldiers forced a woman into her own home. Juan Martín, a farmer from Burgos, upon learning of this atrocious act, set out in pursuit of the soldiers in order to hunt them down. Martín took refuge in the mountains and formed a group of guerrillas, killing the French.

This brave action marked the beginning of the legend of “The Empecinado”. Napoleon was forced to send his best General to capture the farmer. The Empecinado was appointed general of the Spanish army by the King himself, leading more than 10,000 men. After Napoleon’s defeat, King Ferdinand VII offered him riches and titles in order to abolish the Constitution. But El Empecinado, true to his principles, refused the offer saying that if they did not want the Constitution, they should not have sworn it.

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