LOS CERRILLOS’ HISTORY

 

Closer in time, we arrive to the 20th century, when the owner of Pago los Cerrillos was General D. Francisco (Pancho) Aguilera, with rather open-minded convictions although enormously faithful to the monarchy of Alfonso XIII. He chose his country residence, “Los Cerrillos”, as a meeting place with his comrades in arms with whom he organized his coup strategies against the dictatorship of Miguel Primo de Rivera, which led him to the first coup attempt in the so called “Sanjuanada”. Liberal generals Valeriano Weyler and Francisco Aguilera y Egea participated in the conspiracy, along with prominent members of the “old politics” like the reformist Melquiades Álvarez, Sánchez Guerra, Villanueva.

At the begining, what Sánchez Guerra and Villanueva wanted, was to return to the Constitution of 1876 and form a new government, which could be chaired by a general, probably Dámaso Berenguer, head of the Military House of Alfonso XIII. According to the historian Eduardo González Calleja, the election of Berenguer “can be understood as an indication of the very probable collusion of the king, whose differences with the dictator, notorious for a long time, had been sharpened after the formation of what was called the Civil Directory, the constitution of the Patriotic Union as a government party and the first steps for the implementation of a new parliamentary and constitutional system ”. But finally the objective of the coup would be the call for the election of a new Parliament, that could have the support as well of the republican parties.

Meanwhile, General Aguilera sought military support, especially among the artillery men due to his confrontation with the Dictator Primo de Rivera. The most valuable support he got was that of the General of Valencia, Alberto Castro Girona.

On January 14, 1929, an agreement was signed to establish a Revolutionary Committee that included three members: a military man (probably General Eduardo López Ochoa), a monarchist (Sánchez Guerra himself) and a Republican (Alejandro Lerroux, proposed by Santiago Alba). In the political program of the platform, a new element of great importance was introduced : the call for elections for the Parliament would be preceded by the removal of King Alfonso XIII, and that a referendum would be held to decide the new government. As of January 25, several committee delegates toured all of Spain to communicate to the committed military units —21 Artillery regiments and several Infantry and Aviation regiments— the date and time that had been agreed for the uprising.

But the uprising did not win and the Ciudad Real gunners were court-martialed. Despite this, but, as Eduardo González Calleja points out, it was “evidenced that the Army was beginning to withdraw its support for Primo de Rivera, since the individual votes of some members put pressure on the General of the First Region (General Navarro) and he opted for clemency. The court case ended up at the Supreme Court of War and Navy, that cancelled the sentences of death penalty and life imprisonment, and softened the rest. The Supreme Court ruling, signed on December 18, 1929, sentenced the 37 chiefs and officers to between one and twelve years in prison and the Colonel of the Joaquín Paz Faraldo Regiment to twenty years in prison.

This is how, the dictator Primo de Rivera himself, commented the result of the war councils in an article written for La Nación a few days after his fall : “The events of Ciudad Real and Valencia, not that serious on their own, but the way the participants were sentenced in the War Council, gave me the discouraging impression that the Army, that had always showed the highest correctness and fidelity to the citizenship and to the Dictatorship, had moved away from both. It indeed impress the King and myself and I began to think that the Dictatorship was reaching its natural life end”.

This made Los Cerrillos, in a way, the place in La Mancha as well, where the end of the dictatorship of Miguel Primo de Rivera was forged and as such, an important center for the protection of the principles of an open, plural and free society in accordance with the trends that were evolving in other countries of the Old Europe. Despite this, the truth is that everything ended a few years later, both in Spain and in the rest of Europe, in the endless and terrible wars that we obviously know, between 1936 and 1939, the Spanish Civil War and between 1939 and 1945 the Second World War.

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