History - Franco's dictatorship

Franco's dictatorship

The civil 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.   

A grave in a Huelva cemetery holds the body of a man who changed the course of the Second World War. Read about Operation Mincemeat. 

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. Read about the history of Malaga Airport, tourism development in Torremolinos and the famous faces of Torremolinos, and the celebrities of 1950's and 60's 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.