Fortanete

Difficult times
for fidelity

Difficult times for fidelity

This locality constitutes an intermediate step in the access to the heart of the Carlist Maestrazgo. The local authorities strove to maintain loyalty to the queen’s rule. At the same time, the existence of large pine forests in the municipality offered shelter to the main Carlist leaders, such as Carnicer, Quílez, Montañés, El Serrador, Forcadell and Cabrera, throughout the war.

For their part, the liberal generals always counted on Fortanete for the assault of Cantavieja, hence its inhabitants came to see in its streets Elizabethan officers of the renown of Espartero, O’Donnell, or the Marquis de las Amarillas.

© José Luis Cano

Ringing of bells

When the Royal Expedition

Approach point

The Infante Don Alfonso

The Carlist leader Joaquín Quílez was hit by General Soria’s troops at the top of the Cuesta Blanca on August 4, 1836.

The Royal Expedition made a long journey through Catalan, Valencian and Aragonese lands before heading towards Madrid, where its objective was set.

The approach of the liberal armies to Cantavieja was attempted most of the time from Fortanete.

In the Second Carlist War, Prince Alfonso, brother of the pretender Charles VII, was appointed head of the Carlist army of Maestrazgo.

The wounded were able to reach Cantavieja with difficulty, leaving many dead in the field. To prevent the news of the defeat from spreading, Quílez ordered that the bells be rung in the towns to pay homage to him. In this way, the sensation of having prevailed over the liberals was transmitted, “an old and ordinary tactic -said El Emigrado del Maestrazgo-, and a way of sustaining and reviving the spirit of a party”.

In July 1837 he arrived in Maestrazgo. The bulk of Don Carlos’ troops were established in Cantavieja, La Iglesuela and Mirambel. The liberal general Espartero, taking advantage of that pause of the enemies, tried to combine with general Oráa to intercept the Carlist expedition. For this purpose, it was presented in Fortanete on July 30. He managed to get the Carlist advances to retreat, but the great Carlist army, a few days later, continued on its way to Madrid.

In the fall of 1839 O’Donnell established his headquarters in this town to begin the assault on the heart of the Cabrera territory. The harshness of the winter and the difficulty in obtaining rations momentarily paralyzed the operation.

In April 1840 it was Pedro Agustín Girón, Marquis of Las Amarillas, who occupied Fortanete with five battalions, two squadrons and a mountain battery. It was the last stages of the war, when the liberal troops were preparing to assault the main bastions of Cabrera’s power. He fortified the town and tried to establish stores for the siege of Cantavieja.

On June 28, 1874 he was in Fortanete when he gave the order to General Marco de Bello to attack Teruel. The action was a failure. In a house in Fortanete there is a room known as the Infanta’s room because his wife, the Infanta Maria de las Nieves de Braganza, stayed there.

The sound of bells was an effective means of communication for the inhabitants of the countryside.
The sound of bells was an effective means of communication for the inhabitants of the countryside.
The presence of Don Carlos (recognised as king by his supporters) at the head of the Expedition provided a powerful impetus for its advance towards Madrid.
The presence of Don Carlos (recognised as king by his supporters) at the head of the Expedition provided a powerful impetus for its advance towards Madrid.
Military map of Fortanete and its environs, 1839.
Military map of Fortanete and its environs, 1839.
Alfonso Carlos de Borbón y Austria-Este, brother of the pretender Charles VII.
Alfonso Carlos de Borbón y Austria-Este, brother of the pretender Charles VII.

Ringing of bells

The Carlist leader Joaquín Quílez was hit by General Soria’s troops at the top of the Cuesta Blanca on August 4, 1836.

The wounded were able to reach Cantavieja with difficulty, leaving many dead in the field. To prevent the news of the defeat from spreading, Quílez ordered that the bells be rung in the towns to pay homage to him. In this way, the sensation of having prevailed over the liberals was transmitted, “an old and ordinary tactic -said El Emigrado del Maestrazgo-, and a way of sustaining and reviving the spirit of a party”.

The sound of bells was an effective means of communication for the inhabitants of the countryside.
The sound of bells was an effective means of communication for the inhabitants of the countryside.

When the Royal Expedition

The Royal Expedition made a long journey through Catalan, Valencian and Aragonese lands before heading towards Madrid, where its objective was set.

In July 1837 he arrived in Maestrazgo. The bulk of Don Carlos’ troops were established in Cantavieja, La Iglesuela and Mirambel. The liberal general Espartero, taking advantage of that pause of the enemies, tried to combine with general Oráa to intercept the Carlist expedition. For this purpose, it was presented in Fortanete on July 30. He managed to get the Carlist advances to retreat, but the great Carlist army, a few days later, continued on its way to Madrid.

The presence of Don Carlos (recognised as king by his supporters) at the head of the Expedition provided a powerful impetus for its advance towards Madrid.
The presence of Don Carlos (recognised as king by his supporters) at the head of the Expedition provided a powerful impetus for its advance towards Madrid.

Approach point

The approach of the liberal armies to Cantavieja was attempted most of the time from Fortanete.

In the fall of 1839 O’Donnell established his headquarters in this town to begin the assault on the heart of the Cabrera territory. The harshness of the winter and the difficulty in obtaining rations momentarily paralyzed the operation.

In April 1840 it was Pedro Agustín Girón, Marquis of Las Amarillas, who occupied Fortanete with five battalions, two squadrons and a mountain battery. It was the last stages of the war, when the liberal troops were preparing to assault the main bastions of Cabrera’s power. He fortified the town and tried to establish stores for the siege of Cantavieja.

Military map of Fortanete and its environs, 1839.
Military map of Fortanete and its environs, 1839.

The Infante Don Alfonso

In the Second Carlist War, Prince Alfonso, brother of the pretender Charles VII, was appointed head of the Carlist army of Maestrazgo.

On June 28, 1874 he was in Fortanete when he gave the order to General Marco de Bello to attack Teruel. The action was a failure. In a house in Fortanete there is a room known as the Infanta’s room because his wife, the Infanta Maria de las Nieves de Braganza, stayed there.

Alfonso Carlos de Borbón y Austria-Este, brother of the pretender Charles VII.
Alfonso Carlos de Borbón y Austria-Este, brother of the pretender Charles VII.