“Catalan separatists out to appease Berber jugulators”

Christmas has come early for ultra-nutty separatists, Plataforma per Catalunya (PxC), after a fortune teller said on telly that they had purchased the winning number in the big seasonal lottery. However, the calls they’re apparently getting from mini-lot repurchasers all over Spain (sorry, “the Spanish state”–IRA-speak rules…) will of course not persuade them to take their eye off normal, rational politics. Leader-in-chief Josep Anglada isn’t a frequent blogger, but here‘s a little gem from July. Pretty-damn-crazy separatists, ERC, presented a parliamentary motion calling on Spain to apologise for the wars it fought in the Rif, now in northern Morocco. ERC does lots of pissy little things like this in order to provoke Spanish nationalists, but this time it also succeeded in getting up Anglada’s nose:

At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, thousands of mountain infantry- and artillerymen from various Catalan camps–Bruch Barracks (Barcelona), Sant Climent de Sescebes (Girona), etc–died on battlefields, and it is known that at least 2000 of these were murdered, jugulated and chopped up by Rif tribesmen.

In 1909 Catalan relief troops had their throats cut 10 km from Melilla [now a Spanish enclave in Morocco]. On July 22, 1921 General Silvestre’s column of 1000 soldiers was defeated in Izzumar and all had their throats cut by Rif troops. On July 25, Aráujo surrendered and all 650 soldiers were murdered and were jugulated in Igar by Rif troops. On July 28, General Navarro was surrounded and murdered by riffraff [sadly this is a false etymology; neither is street Arab what it seems, and the jury’s still out on the Arab street] in Mount Arruit barracks along with 2114 soldiers and 1100 civilians and nuns. In August of the same year the position held on Mount Arruit surrendered under the guarantee that the lives of the 3000 Spaniards would be respected, but when the fortress doors were opened, the Rifeños jugulated, murdered and chopped up more than 3000 Spaniards [evidently others had crept in for the party], raped all the women and nailed the corpses to the gates.

In the mid-20th century–in March 1949, to be specific–before Moroccan independence, the military authorities ordered that the victims of Mount Arruit be disinterred, and on August 5 troops of the 10th regiment of sappers began the exhumation of 2996 skulls (jugulated years before) and transferred them to 16 mass graves in Melilla cemetery, where today one can still see thousands of tombs with Catalan and Spanish names.

[We should not allow] the memory of thousands of Catalan and Spanish jugulated in Africa by Moroccan troops to be dishonoured now. All that ERC hopes to achieve with this type of proposal is to attract the future vote of the thousands of Berbers now living in Catalonia.

I wonder whether Anglada’s jugulation fixation is personal–he has something of Dracula about him–or historical. The French-sponsored Catalan rising of the 1640s and 50s constitutes the peak period for documented jugulation in Catalonia (see José Pellicer de Ossau Salas y Tovar’s contemporary Avisos), but my impression is that honours were fairly evenly shared.

The Avisos make for reading that is grisly (“Our Forces also tried to jugulate as many Catalans as they could” (1640)) but informative. In particular, the incidence of jugulation between “allies” and against compatriots compromises the traditional reading of the conflict as a Catalan uprising against Castilian power (resistance was country-wide–see eg RA Stradling, Philip IV and the Government of Spain, 1621-1665):

1639: The Catalans have taken a place called Pià [?], making war with such ferocity that they jugulated more than 500 French, not wishing to take a single prisoner.
1641: Otrosí says that in Igualada the Catalans jugulated 200 French.
1642: French and Catalans have sacked and burnt Tamarite de Litera and 30 other places with fury, jugulating without distinction men, women, children, priests and friars, demolishing churches without sparing sacred things with the strangest cruelty ever seen, even throwing infants into the rivers.



  1. Ya a finales del siglo XIX y principios del XX, miles de soldados de infantería y artillería de montaña de varios acuartelamientos de Catalunya: Cuartel del Bruch (Barcelona), Sant Climent de Sescebes (Girona), etc., murieron en el campo de batalla de los cuales se tiene constancia que al menos 2000 fueron asesinados, degollados y descuartizados por las cabilas rifeñas.

    En el 1909 tropas catalanas de reemplazo son degolladas a 10 Km. de Melilla. El 22 de julio de 1921, la columna del General Silvestre con 1000 soldados es abatida en Izzumar y todos son degollados por las tropas rifeñas. El 25 de julio, rendición de Aráujo con 650 soldados que son asesinados y degollados en Igar por tropas rifeñas. El 28 de julio, el General Navarro es cercado y asesinado por los rifeños en el cuartel de Monte Arruit con 2114 soldados y 1100 civiles y religiosas. En agosto de ese mismo año, la posición de Monte Arruit se rinde bajo la promesa de respetar la vida de los 3000 españoles y españolas, al abrir las puertas de la fortificación, las arcas rifeñas degollan, asesinan y descuartizan a más de 3000 españoles, violan a todas las mujeres y clavan en las puertas a los cadáveres.

    Ya a mediados del siglo XX, concretamente en marzo de 1949, antes de la independencia de Marruecos, por orden de autoridades militares se procede a desenterrar a las víctimas asesinadas en Monte Arruit y el 5 de agosto del mismo año, tropas del regimiento de Zapadores nº 10 comienzan la exhumación de 2996 cráneos (degollados años atrás) y se trasladan a 16 fosas comunes al cementerio de Melilla, donde hasta el día de hoy se puede observar miles de tumbas con apellidos catalanes y españoles.

    Anglada añade que no se puede permitir que la memoria de miles de catalanes y españoles degollados en África por tropas marroquíes, sean precisamente ahora humilladas y que lo único que pretende ERC con este tipo de proposiciones es buscar el futuro voto de los miles de Bereberes que residen hoy en Catalunya.

  2. 1639: Los Catalanes han tomado un Lugar llamado Pià, haciendo tan mala guerra que degollaron más de 500 Franceses, sin querer tomar ningún prisionero.
  3. 1641: Otrosí se dice que en Igualada los Catalanes degollaron 200 Franceses.
  4. 1642: Han saqueado i quemado Franceses i Catalanes a Tamarit de Litera, con mala Guerra, i otros 30 Lugares, degollando indistintamente Hombres, Mugeres, Niños, Clérigos y Frayles, derribando los Templos, sin perdonar a cosa sagrada con la más rara Crueldad que se ha visto, hasta hechar las Criaturas en los Ríos.

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