Bicentennial of The Third Marquis of La Romana

Written on January 29, 2008 by Arantza de Areilza in Arts & Cultures & Societies, Literature


Arantza de Areilza

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The Instituto de Empresa Foundation and The Madrid Royal Academic Society of the Friends of the Country inaugurate today in the Lujanes Tower of Madrid, a cycle of conferences in the memory of the Third Marquis of La Romana, Pedro Caro y Sureda (1761-1811)


Pedro Caro y Sureda was a noble and enlightened Mallorcan, whose adventures and bravery as a General in the Spanish army in the War of Spanish Independence gave him the gratitude of the Spanish monarchy and the trust of Wellington, as mentioned by Elizabeth Longforth in her book titled, “Wellington:  The Years of the Sword.” 

The Third Marquis of Romana stood out for his meticulous education acquired in the Ecole de la Trinité at Lyon, in France, and completed at Salamanca University and The Nobles Royal Seminary where he inclined towards the humanities and languages which would subsequently become of great use in his war accomplishments in Europe.   

He participated in the reconquest of Minorca and in The Battle of Gibraltar, and later went on to lead various diplomatic missions in Europe.  In 1793, the colonel of cavalry Romana fought against France in the War of the First Coalition, and, in 1802, he was named General Captain of Catalonia and Chief of Engineers Corps in 1805.  Two years later, King Carlos IV, pressured by Napoleon, agreed to send troops to support the Napoleonic army in Germany and placed at the front of the “Northern Division” the Marquis of Romana. 

Don Pedro Caro found himself in 1808 in Denmark under the order of the Mariscal Bernadotte, when the War of Spanish Independence broke out against the Napoleonic invasion and of the coronation of José I as the King of Spain.  The Marquis of La Romana and his division refused to swear an oath to the new King.   

The Marquis of  La Romana, did not trust him and with the help of the British, was able to repatriate his division to Spain.  Romana and his men, arrived in Santander where is was  appointed Commander of the Galician Armada at which point he was able to achieve the withdrawal of the French from Galicia and Asturias. 

It is, perhaps, the lucidity and the determination of the Marquis of  La Romana to celeritously repatriate his 9,000 men from Denmark to the Cantabrian Coast and from there to support the offensive against the French, that is one of the most pointed to episodes of Spanish military history.   

Today, the figure of this cultivated man is commemorated, Patron of the Arts, artifice of a splendid library and a magnificent collection of paintings of Francisco de Goya, belonging to the current Marquis of La Romana, Diego del Alcázar y Silvela, who knew how to reconcile a great diplomatic ability with the courage and the loyalty to his country in a tormented period of history, marked by the violence of war.   

The Third Marquis of La Romana is the example of the trajectory of a cultured polyglot, who enjoyed telling anecdotes such as the episode in which Manuel de Godoy offered him a false clock.  He was an enlightened man who knew how to rise to the heights that the historic moment asked of him. 


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