A hoax called Spain | Babelia


It was in March of last year when the British historian and journalist Lucy Worsley dismantled before the BBC cameras one of the greatest hoaxes in history: the victory of Elizabeth I of England over Felipe II after the failed attempt of the Spanish king to disembark in Britain. “Everything is absolutely false,” he explained in the television series Royal History’s Biggest Fibs (The biggest hoaxes in real history). With a similar vindictive spirit the essay appears Fake news from the Spanish empire. Legendary black lies and hoaxes, (The sphere of books, 2021), of the journalist and historical popularizer Javier Santamarta del Pozo.

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Spain, writes Santamarta, is like Schrödinger’s cat. “Something like the cat is alive and dead at the same time inside the box. In this case, Spain exists and does not exist. If you commit genocide in America, Spain exists! If we talk about the fact that the first parliament with citizens emerged in Spain, thus recognized by UNESCO, in the Cortes of León in 1188, then Spain does not exist. If we talk about the evil Inquisition, it must be called Spanish. But if we talk about the Laws of Burgos of 1512 [que reconocían a los indios como hombres libres con derecho a la propiedad], that legislation is not Spanish. I know that the island of Santo Domingo was initially called Hispaniola (not La Castellana or something similar) and that the wild comeindios Hernán Cortés baptized those Mexican lands as New Spain. But not because there was an old Spain, no. Have we not agreed that Spain does not exist? “

In the play, with a sly style, the author questions numerous truths historical. “No one could understand, more than a Spaniard, that when the V Centenary of the moment in which history becomes universal with the discovery of a new world arrives in 1992, the first thing the Secretary of State mentions for the celebration, Luis Yáñez, is that the scheduled events do not mean “the celebration of the genocide of the Indians by the Spanish conquerors.” “Can anyone think that it would be normal for the V Centenary of an epic like the First Circumnavigationn was it boycotted by the Spanish government itself, as did the first vice president, Carmen Calvo, asking the historian Álvarez Junco to certify that this feat was not Spanish (sic)? ”.

Santamarta also embarks on a crusade to show that the black legend against Spain exists and that it is rampant in the media and even in exhibitions. He gives as an example the Museum of the Inquisition in Granada, where “a kind of Nazarene is shown as a dark executioner, next to a guillotine”, a machine invented in France at the end of the 18th century to execute prisoners.

The disseminator complains, over and over again, that in recent times, fundamentally promoted by pro-independence governments, the idea that “Spain neither exists nor has ever existed” has spread. “It is evident that Spain in itself is a fake news that we have been swallowing since Alvarez Encyclopedia until today. Well, we already see and read that not even the Catholic Monarchs were kings of Spain. It’s more. That on the death of Isabel I her husband, Fernando II of Aragon and V of Castile, never used a similar title [rey de España]”. “But the case”, Santamarta continues, “is that even this Fernando II or V, the catholic To find out, he did nothing more than sign until after Queen Elizabeth died as Grace King Ferdinand of Spain. Not to mention the History of Spain, by Alfonso X, in 1274; wave Chronica de España, by the Barcelona-born Francesc Tarafa, in 1565, “where he calls both kings of Spain”.

The journalist recalls that the councilor of the Generalitat of Catalonia and MEP Clara Ponsatí intervened on February 11, 2020 in the European Parliament to highlight the expulsion of the Jews in 1492 with these words: “This first episode of anti-Semitism, which Adolf Hitler admired and he tried to overcome, it prevails as the cornerstone of the Spanish tragedy and its record of intolerance ”. However, the independence policy forgot that the Jews were expelled and their property confiscated by King Philip Augustus of France in 1182; of Silesia in 1159; of England, with Eduardo I, in 1290; from France repeatedly in 1306, 1321. 1322 and 1394. From Austria in 1423, “after persecution and hundreds of burned Jews, children will be confiscated, expelled and forcibly converted.” In 1424, they were exiled from Cologne: from Linz in 1439; of Bavaria in 1442; from Parma in 1488 and from Milan in 1490. “But who was inspired by the Leader? Well, on the looks of our Catholic Monarchs, of course! But the point is that, if we pay attention to what Hitler said about this Nazi queen, things do not add up when he defined her as “the greatest whore in history.”

Cover of the essay 'Fake news of the Spanish empire'.  scored by Javier Santamarta.
Cover of the essay ‘Fake news of the Spanish empire’. scored by Javier Santamarta.

Santamarta tries to dismantle, likewise, with the humor that “the Spanish caused a genocide in America, which wiped out 95% of the original population.” And he composes with irony. “To speak of the 23 universities created in America since 1533 I think it would be unnecessary. Absurd on the other hand, since if there were genocide to the population, why so many, since there were not so many settlers? Is it that they all had to get a degree as soon as they arrived, or that, to top it all, the evil Philip II ordered in 1588 the creation of chairs for indigenous languages ​​in the universities from Lima and Mexico? “

It also places special emphasis on the historical hoaxes related to Catalonia and recalls, for example, that every September 11 the political leaders of the autonomous community pay tribute to the chief counselor Rafael Casanova, as an example of a historical figure committed to the independence of the country. But Santamarta collects that the defenders of Barcelona, ​​in front of the troops of Felipe V, defended another king, Carlos, the one of the Austrian cause, “because it was a war of succession, not of secession, that was the one of gone With the Wind”. He explains that Casanova defended the city by carrying the “banner of Santa Eulalia, not a senyera, and less with a Cuban star. Santa Eulalia, patron saint of Barcelona, ​​to make matters worse, is considered the first patron saint of Spain before Santiago. Of fireworks ”.

And it ends with Casanova’s harangue to the Austrian defenders. “Sirs, children, and brothers; Today is the day to remember the courage and glorious actions that our nation has carried out at all times. Do not say malice or envy that we are not worthy of being Catalan and legitimate children of our elders. We fight for ourselves and for the Spanish nation. Today is the day to die or win. And it will not be the first time that this city was repopulated with immortal glory, defending its king, the faith of its religion and its privileges ”.

Fake news from the Spanish Empire. Legendary black lies and hoaxes. Javier Santamarta del Pozo. The Sphere of Books (2021). 238 pages. Price: 17.90 euros.

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