History - Andalucia Pre and Post-Civil War

Andalucia in the 20th century: monarchy, civil war and dictatorship

The devastating loss of Spain's last colonies, Cuba and the Philippines, led to political instability and further economic decline. In 1913 Blas Infante, the "father of Andalucia" began his fight for an Independent Andalucia. The Seville Expo in 1929 provided a grand stage for Andalucia to display its industrial and cultural prestige, and re-establish ties with its ex-colonies, with Plaza de España as its magnificent centrepiece.

 Meanwhile, opposition to the autocratic young King Alfonso XIII increased, with Anarchists and Communists gaining strength. This social unrest culminated in the deposition of the monarchy and the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, in 1936, when the Republic was overthrown by General Franco and his Nationalist movement, backed by the combined forces of Hitler's Nazi Germany and Mussolini's Fascist Italy.

The war finished in 1939, with hundreds of thousands of lives lost on both sides, including many in Andalucia, notably Malagueños. Scores of foreigners, including American, British and Canadians, fought in the International Brigades, on the Republican side, which was composed of Anarchists, Communists, Socialists and other left-wing groups.

Although Spain did not openly take sides in World War II, Franco lent his support to the Axis, as a result of which Spain suffered the disastrous effects of an international blockade after the conflict.

During the Dictatorship, political opposition and free speech of any kind were suppressed, and the Church enjoyed unchallenged power, particularly in children's education and orphanages. Under Franco's rule women had few rights (they couldn't have a job or own a property without the permiso marital, their husband's permission). Andalucia became somewhat a forgotten backwater, and many Andalucians emigrated to Catalonia and France. However a number of blocks of VPO (Vivienda de Protection Oficial) homes for low-income families were built in the region, as well as essential reservoirs for water storage.

In the 1950s, Americans established military bases in Rota and Moron de la Frontera. The following decade saw an economic boom fuelled by the new package tourist industry, starting in Torremolinos, with the more upmarket set already settled on Marbella.

On 22 December 1963, a Dutch-built, Greek-owned cruise ship called the TSMS Lakonia was sailing off Madeira when it sank. A British Naval vessel recovered many of the bodies (passengers were mostly British and Irish) and took them back to Gibraltar.