The madness of Níjar

Surprise has been expressed in circles, squares and other pleasingly simple geometrical arrangements of peapoles, that revolutionaries should want to destroy those who, according to Ken Livingstone and other prophets of the New Municipalism, are their nearest and dearest. What folly, my darlings!

We creaky reactionaries know that revolutions always destroy society (and often themselves) from inside out, whether in Münster in 1534, Barcelona in 1936, or (allegedly) the tea dance craze in 1990s London. This betrayal is generally followed a decade later by a restoration, which often takes off as many heads as it restores and from which future revolutionaries resolutely refuse to learn.

Here, for example, is an account of what happened in Níjar in Almería on September 13, 1759 when it was announced in the town square that, somewhere a long way away, a man they were never likely to meet had been crowned Charles III of Spain:

Afterwards they ordered that drink be brought to the great affluence of people, who consumed 1260 litres [77 arrobas] of Wine and four skins [pellejos] of Brandy, which spirits warmed up them to such a degree, that with repeated acclamations they were directed to the municipal grain store [which had the opposite function to the municipal liquor stores in US towns], from whose windows they threw out the wheat inside, and 900 reals from its Safes. Thence to the Tobacco Store, where they ordered that the Monthly Payments and the tobacco be thrown out. In the shops they practised the same, commanding, in order to add gravity to the proceedings, the spilling of all kinds of liquids and foods inside. The Ecclesiastical Authorities participated with equal efficacy, calling with a great clamour on Women to throw out everything in their houses, which they carried out with the greatest apathy, being left without bread, wheat, flour, barley, plates, mills and mortars [maybe they didn’t have pestles], and chairs, and so this town was laid to waste.

This is quoted by José Ortega y Gasset in La rebelión de las masas (1955 edition, with a prologue for the French and an epilogue for the English). He sources it to Manuel Danvila’s Reinado de Carlos III, who says he got it from a contemporary document in the possession of [Joaquín] Sánchez de Toca. Ortega comments:

Admirable Níjar! The future is yours!

He might have enjoyed the graffiti that appeared in town when Spain was admitted to the EEC and began to enjoy the radically auto-defenestrational benefits of the CAP:

Enhorabuena, europeos, ya sois nijareños / Congratulations Europeans, you’re all Nijareños now!

Después mandaron traer a beber a todo aquel gran concurso, el que consumió 77 arrobas de Vino y cuatro pellejos de Aguardiente, cuyos espíritus los calentó en tal forma, que con repetidos vítores se encaminaron al pósito, desde cuyas ventanas arrojaron el trigo que en él había, y 900 reales de sus Arcas. De allí pasaron al Estanco de Tabaco y mandaron tirar el dinero de la Mesada, y el tabaco. En las tiendas practicaron lo propio, mandando derramar, para más authorizar la función quantos géneros líquidos y comestibles havía en ellas. El Estado eclesiástico concurrió con igual eficacia, pues a voces indugeron a las Mugeres tiraran quanto havia en sus casas, lo que egecutaron con el mayor desinterés, pues no les quedó en ellas, pan, trigo, harina, zebada, platos, cazuelas, almireces, morteros, ni sillas, quedando dicha villa destruida.

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Last updated 12/07/2005

This post pre-dates my organ-grinding days, and may be imported from elsewhere.

Aguardiente (0):

Almería (4): Almería is a city in Andalusia, Spain, located in the southeast of Spain on the Mediterranean Sea, and is the capital of the province of the same name.

Andalusia (152):

Barcelona (1399):

Catalonia (1155):

Charles III (0): Charles III may refer to: Charles III, Duke of Bourbon Charles III, Duke of Lorraine Charles III, Duke of Parma Charles III, Duke of Savoy Charles III, Prince of Monaco Charles III John of Norway Charles III of Alençon Charles III of Anjou Charles III of Bohemia Charles III of East Francia Charles III of Hungary Charles III of Naples Charles III of Navarre Charles III of Spain The title Charles III of Spain was also used by Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor during the War of the Spanish Succession, ca.

Europe (9):

José Ortega y Gasset (5): José Ortega y Gasset was a Spanish philosopher, and essayist.

Kaleboel (4307):

Ken Livingstone (2): Kenneth Robert Livingstone is an English politician who served as the Leader of the Greater London Council from 1981 until the council was abolished in 1986, and as Mayor of London from the creation of the office in 2000 until 2008.

Millenarians (0):

Münster (0): Münster; Low German: Mönster; Latin: Monasterium, from the Greek μοναστήριον monastērion, "monastery") is an independent city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.

Níjar (3): Níjar is a Spanish municipality in the province of Almería, Andalusia.

Spain (1881):

Spanish literature (171):

Tobacco (3):

Wine (16):


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