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The Great Spanish Exile of 1823

24 Nov 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm


Instituto Cervantes London



History Talk: The Great Spanish Exile of 1823

The Instituto Cervantes in London is delighted to welcome Dr Gregorio Alonso (University of Leeds), Dr Jesús Sanjurjo (University of Cambridge) and Prof Catherine Davies (University of London) to explore ‘The Great Spanish Exile of 1823’. They will discuss this important event in Spanish history, which marked a period of political upheaval and the forced departure of many liberal and progressive Spaniards, either by choice or out of necessity to avoid political persecution.

After two decades of intense Anglo-Spanish conflict and close collaboration, the Liberal experiment in Iberia ended abruptly. In September 1823, the Liberal exodus to London began. One thousand Spanish families sought and found asylum there, and a further four hundred would also settle on the Channel Islands over the decade.

In the English capital, most of them lived in the suburb of Somers Town, in the area of Euston-Saint Pancras, where a tightly knit community developed quickly. The majority of the refugees were military officers, but also among them were noted intellectuals, politicians, and skilled workers. Many were highly educated and put their minds to writing, translating, and publishing to make a living.

Some of the most prominent Liberal politicians and essayists of the time actively participated in a wave of new intellectual activity catalyzed by London’s vibrant political and cultural life. London became a central hub for Spanish-speaking intellectuals from Spain and the Americas during this time.

Event copresented by the Embassy of Spain to The United Kingdom and the Instituto Cervantes London.

About the speakers

Gregorio Alonso
Dr Gregorio Alonso is Associate Professor in Hispanic History at the University of Leeds. He completed his doctoral training at the London School of Economics, Università Roma III, and L’École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales. He worked as Lecturer in European Studies at King´s College London from 2005 to 2009, and was appointed by the University of Leeds in September 2009. His research ranges from the study of political and religious conflicts in Modern Europe and Latin America to the making of the liberal and the Catholic traditions during the Nineteenth Century. His publications include the monograph La nación en capilla. Ciudadana Católica y cuestión religiosa en España (Comares: 2014) and two co-edited volumes: The Politics and Memory of Democratic Transition. The Spanish Model (Routledge: 2011) and Londres y el Liberalismo Hispánico (Iberoamericana/Vervuert: 2011). He is currently working on a monograph on the European experience and legacy of the Latin American Libertadores before, during, and after the independence process.

Jesús Sanjurjo
Dr Jesús Sanjurjo FRHistS is an Early Career Fellow of the Leverhulme and Isaac Newton Trusts at the University of Cambridge and Corpus Christi College. Before joining Cambridge, he was a lecturer in Latin American History at the universities of Cardiff and York. He earned his PhD in July 2018 from the University of Leeds, for which he was awarded an AHRC-WRoCAH Doctoral Studentship. His first book, In the Blood of Our Brothers. Abolitionism and the End of the Slave Trade in Spain’s Atlantic Empire, 1800–1870 (University of Alabama Press, 2021) was selected as a finalist for the prestigious Paul E. Lovejoy Prize. In 2023, the Spanish translation of the monograph will be published by Editorial Comares. His current major research project, ‘Black Soldiers of the Caribbean: Race, Slavery and Radical Politics,’ interrogates the intersection of Blackness, radical politics, slavery, and self-emancipation in the Caribbean during the Age of Revolutions.

Catherine Davies
Prof Catherine Davies is Emerita Professor of Hispanic and Latin American Studies at the School of Advanced Study of the University of London. Her current main research area is the history and culture of Spain and Latin America 1800-1850 and relations with Great Britain. She has published books on gender, literature and culture in Spain and Cuba, particularly on abolitionism and liberal thought. Likewise, she published with Hilary Owen and Claire Brewster South American Independence: Gender, Politics, Text, a book that deals with gender and literature in the Latin American wars of independence.