8. The Tragic Week
The Terrible Week, which took place between July 25th and August 2nd, 1909, was either a tragic week or a triumphant revolution, depending on who you ask. It was a disaster from the wealthy’s point of view.
Poor laborers led by a coalition of union leaders and anarchists revolted in Barcelona and other towns in Catalonia. They set fire to hundreds of structures, most of which belonged to the church. And all they wanted was a small draft to fight a tiny colonial war in Morocco—surely it couldn’t be that bad, right?
The impoverished were not convinced. They rioted after the Spanish imposed a draft, which males could avoid by paying a 6,000 reales fee. Even though they had been told they would never be recruited again, soldiers who had already fought in past conflicts were included in the conscription.
The poor went to enormous rallies, which quickly turned riotous for this reason, plus a whole lot of hate toward elites and the church. The army was eventually called in and began firing on the people.
Over 100 demonstrators had died by the time the Tragic Week ended. Following the protests, the Spanish government retaliated violently, detaining tens of thousands of people.
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