Hispanic History and Traditions -

EmuWarsVeteran

Cream Pangolin
kiwifarms.net
why are there so many antisemitic town and village names in spain?
also why is your food so much worse than the food in Portugal?
also also why is spain so expensive? its worse than most other holiday destinations but just a bit cheaper than the equally bad Italy.
-Because fuck them that's why. Jokes aside, the Jews tried to fuck over the Spaniards repeatedly back during the reconquista, trying to use how divided the various christian factions were to take control of them. Needless to say, people took exception to that, and while once Castille got to power they were generally tollerated so long as they stayed in the jeweries or simply integrated and abandoned their faith, before that a lot of lords made a good name for themselves by slaughtering jewish tribes. I must admit you germans made them all look like chumps in the end though, daymn.

-That's some major talk right there buddy!

-Because you krauts keep going to the expensive places! Catalonia and the Balears are expensive as fuck, and shit to boot, 'cause they don't need to get better. Meanwhile poor Galicia is cheap as fuck and amazing to boot but people just ignore it! And here in andalusia we're much better than levante and relatively affordable but get less tourism, not that we can really be sad about the amount of tourism we get, it's more than alright.

(EDIT: Actually it seems you caught onto that fact as this year andalusia is experiencing considerably higher tourism than Catalonia and Balears, so that changed. Well done! Poor Galicia's still alone though.)

Like which?
The most famous was "Castrillo Matajudios", "Jewkiller Town", which after ample international outrage wound up changing its name, and hilariously chose "Castrillo Mota de Judios", translated "Town of the Jewish Taint." Which ain't much better!

But yeah can't remember them now but there is a LOT of antisemitic town names over here. I mean really, every year in the Carnaval de Villanueba they lynch the Peropalo, a figure in the shape of a jewish man, conmemorating the genocide of 1391, the names are just the tip of the iceberg.
 
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EmuWarsVeteran

Cream Pangolin
kiwifarms.net
One thing I'd like to know: is there a Spanish tradition which doesn't involve cruelty to animals?
Carnaval, las Fallas, la Tomatina, las Uvas, Cuaresma, Semana Santa, and actually most traditions. At least if you don't count cruelty to humans as cruelty to animals... 'cause most our our traditions are not good for your health.

We do have a lot traditions that can be debatably said to involve cruelty to animals, like San Fermin, San Martin, etc. But to be fair that is a very small proportion of our traditions, we have just kept alive way more traditions than most areas, specially 'cause every region got its own.
 

Stoneheart

Well hung, and snow white tan
kiwifarms.net
-That's some major talk right there buddy!
Francesinha are just the best

-Because you krauts keep going to the expensive places! Catalonia and the Balears are expensive as fuck, and shit to boot, 'cause they don't need to get better. Meanwhile poor Galicia is cheap as fuck and amazing to boot but people just ignore it! And here in andalusia we're much better than levante and relatively affordable but get less tourism, not that we can really be sad about the amount of tourism we get, it's more than alright.
Croatia is closer, has superb beaches and you can have a feast and get super drunk for 20€.

Malaga is not as nice.
 
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Imperial Citizen

For the Empire!
kiwifarms.net
-Because fuck them that's why. Jokes aside, the Jews tried to fuck over the Spaniards repeatedly back during the reconquista, trying to use how divided the various christian factions were to take control of them. Needless to say, people took exception to that, and while once Castille got to power they were generally tollerated so long as they stayed in the jeweries or simply integrated and abandoned their faith, before that a lot of lords made a good name for themselves by slaughtering jewish tribes. I must admit you germans made them all look like chumps in the end though, daymn.
How would the Jews try to take over christian factions? Wouldn't they have to be in the Church to have influence over them? I knew that some of the kings protected them because of the moneylending, so was the taking control of them just a way to ride out the reconquista without getting killed?
 

EmuWarsVeteran

Cream Pangolin
kiwifarms.net
The Battle of Cerignola. Part 1:

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So, I think it’s time we talk about one of the most crucial times in Spanish History, the time of Los Tercios, and the Spanish dominance of the entire sodding west, which most agree could be counted as starting with Seminara and Cerignola in 1503 and ending 140 years later, in Rocroi. And what better way to start that one of the battles that signalled the beginning of this period, and the beginning of the end for feudalism as it was known. The Battle of Cerignola, aka Agincourt 2.0. I chose this battle not just due to its symbolic importance though, but also because as I will discuss later, the battle itself taught some very important lessons to a very important man, being possibly the very reason why the Tercios looked like they did. Also, I must admit I really love this battle for a separate reason. Said reason being it was a massive fucking shitshow of incompetence on the French side. So let’s all laugh at the croissants for a bit, shall we?

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In 1501 the French monarch Louis XII broke the Treaty of Granada, which according to who you ask was either entirely unexpected or completely expected. Knowing my opinion on France you might know what side I fall in, but I must say, while I fall within that side I do not do it due to hubris or vile towards the gabachos, but because to be honest. That treaty was shite!

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The treaty of Granada was written by Louis XII, or most likely his advisors because god knows he wasn’t the brightest... Then again that might explain why it was so incompetent. And ratified by the Catholic Kings the 11th of November 1500. Hilariously enough this treaty didn’t even get to the Pope for actual confirmation until June 1501, yet first incident that could be considered its first rupture had already happened on March of that year. So I am not kidding or exaggerating here when I say the treaty was exceedingly shit.

So let’s first see what it was so I can explain why it was so stupid. At its core the treaty was an attempt by Louis to, well, survive. See, he had ascended to the throne on the 7th of April 1498, and as the Second Italian War started in 1499 his position seemed to be quite unstable. France was still supposed to be one of the big boys, don’t get me wrong, and at this time seemed to dominate Western European politics and warfare, with the brits dodging it by virtue of being better at sea. But Spain was quickly turning into a near existential threat, as we will discuss on the epilogue, and the Ottomans were making quick progress on land the Baguettes had sworn to protect.

And so, using their mutual war with the Turks as an excuse, Louis hoped to secure a military alliance with the Spaniards so as to consolidate his position, and hopefully send the Spanish and Ottomans into a collision course that would cripple both, giving him a chance to restore French Supremacy. He would not however get his wish, and he can thank whoever drafted this glorified patch of asswipes for it. Let’s therefore now explain what the treaty established, so we can see how it failed at everything and nearly ensured the coming war.

  • Louis XII renounced to Cerdaña and Rosellón, and Fernando of Aragon renounced to his claim on Montpellier, this was to ensure neither side had claims left on any territory currently owned by the other.
  • Both armies swore to participate on the conquest of Sicilia Citerior, France on the north and Spain on the south, against the Turks.
  • Once conquered, Sicilia Citerior would be divided between both sides equally, with Fernando getting Apulia and Calabria, the southern provinces, while Louis got Abruzzo and Terra di Lavoro to the north.
  • This treaty would be kept secret until the French Army arrived in Rome.
Doesn’t seem so bad, now does it? Just an equal distribution of territories and military alliance against a foe they were both planning to eliminate anyway. Right. Let me point you to the names used for the Provinces, and indeed the fact that there’s only 4 of them. Sicily had gone on to have 12 provinces since Alfonso I, it had long stopped using the system implemented by the document, and indeed the old distribution was ill defined, with provinces having claims to overlapping territories due to being at war when that system was used, meaning by trying to fraction Sicily the old way instead of using the provinces that currently existed the treaty ensured France and Spain would now have territorial disputes over said areas. On top of that the treaty also didn’t take into account the local economics, putting frontiers with heavy taxation on areas which currently depended on each other for things like food and wood, giving the local lords all the more reason to try to push for said claims in an attempt to move the frontier to shapes that better fit their needs, to the detriment of the other side. Which is exactly what happened, until the French Army officially broke the treaty when called upon to move said frontier by force against the wishes of the Spanish lords when the dispute got too heated, causing the Spanish to respond with a war declaration.


I am not kidding here when I say that not signing anything would’ve genuinely made it less likely that the situation would develop into open war, because at the time they were both Catholics, and the Holy See was somewhat peckish about Casus Beli, so were it not for the conflict between the petty lords on Italian provinces, both sides would’ve had less reason to actually fight each other, meaning that following the natural distribution, which is to say whoever takes land from the Turks keeps whatever land they took, would’ve actually prevented the war. Do you now understand why this treaty was objectively, hilariously incompetently written? Honestly my only question is how the fuck no one spotted the bloody issue before both sides had already signed it!

And so, things got a little bit heated and there was a tad of a kerfuffle involving a lot of very angry men with long sticks poking each other. I mean, this was the middle ages, everything eventually led to angry men poking each other back then.

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As the conflict started the Duke of Nemours forced Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, aka el Gran Capitán to retreat into the city of Barletta, and Gonzalo is the key figure in this tale. Indeed, in later posts you’ll come to know his name quite well, as he was the man who came to design the Tercios and define warfare in Europe for the next 140 years, but at this point in time he was just a very proficient and innovative Andalusian general. Gonzalo had earned the unofficial title of el Gran Capitán (meaning the “Great Captain”), given to him by his men, by managing to both be seen by the lower ranks as “one of their own” due to his extensive military background and pragmatic views, yet also manage to consistently make his superiors, even the Catholic Kings themselves, listen to reason and follow his advice, which probably had to do with the fact that he was part of the family of Fernando de Aragón and had known him since they were kids. But also was due to his undeniable charisma and capacity to explain even the more complex issues with relative ease. He was quite an interesting man from an early age, coming from a fairly humble branch of an extremely noble family, he was a warrior by birth, being counted amongst the greatest knights at the service of the Maestre of the Order of Santiago, the most important Spanish knightly order, and he had certainly taken notes during his time serving the order, having learned to read and write at an early age it seems he was as much of a scholar as he was a fighter, having been the author of documents recounting his experiences on the field of battle and extrapolating his conclusions long before he’d finally come to relevance within the Spanish Court. He understood war in a way few of even the most veteran generals could, and understood his men, both lowly and highborn, even better.

But back to our tale, from Barletta el Gran Capitán waged guerrilla warfare against the French, which they found exceedingly annoying. For those that don’t know, Spain has always been extremely proficient at Guerrilla, since the time of the pre-roman Iberians and all throughout the Reconquista the combination of frontline armies with extensive guerrillas had been how Spaniards saw war, and indeed those same tactics would manifest even as late as the Spanish Civil war, just with an ever-increasing amount of firepower involved. And these tactics would come to be extremely efficient in the Italian conflicts, due to the similar geography. The French on the other side, like a large segment of Europe, still thought war was far more organized, and that armies should march in, banners up, in bright uniforms. Thinking guerrilla was meant more for peasants, barbarians and lower ranks. So the Baguettes left a long trail of exasperated documents criticizing the Spaniards for their “barbarism”, which mostly prompted their rivals to laugh their ass off and keep doing it with the reassurance that they were indeed inflicting sufficient damage. I mean really I don’t know what they expected. “Oh yeah sorry we didn’t realize our tactics were dishonourable, we’ll just go use yours, which we know will leave us at a disadvantage, so we don’t offend you anymore!” Fucking kek.

On top of that there were multiple incidents of Spanish and French knights fighting in singular duels during this early period, as el Gran Capitán was biding his time waiting for reinforcements to come. The most famous of said duels took place the 21st of September 1502, involving 11 knights of either side, ending with a death, a surrender and 9 gravely wounded on the French side and only 1 surrender and 2 gravely wounded amongst the Spanish. Hah!

Suffice to say, the French were not accustomed to clownworld, and clownworld is exactly what the Spanish were best at, which they used to great advantage during the larger part of the conflict in preparation for the frontlines to finally crash.

And finally, on the spring of 1503, reinforcements came and the Spanish could finally push on. To advance as quickly as possible el Gran Capitán ordered the knights to ferry the infantry on their horses and push the carts around, this was met with protests by the cavalry, but he shut them by being the first to do so, which for the time was seen as a fairly fucking obscene act, but that’s how he got his god damned name, he didn’t give a shit about appearances. And thanks to the added mobility the Spanish got to Ceriñola with ample time to prepare their defences against the French counter-attack, getting to digging a trench and erecting a palisade. And so by the time the Duque of Nemours arrived he found the village had already been occupied and fortified, and the Spanish had planned the coming battle in advance.
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(That is the actual map of the battle btw.)

And so, let’s finish this little introduction with a good old fashioned ROLE CALL! YAAAY! Honestly, I can’t be the only one that finds the way armies are made and the gear the soldiers use to be one of the most interesting ways of dissecting the mentality of a certain faction within its era. Often times I’d say what people relied on for actual combat is the most telling part of their philosophy. Even to this day, how much weight they give to planes, artillery, support weapons and the like can tell you quite a bit about our now greatly standardized militaries.

But let’s stop the brainfarting and get onto it. On the right corner, a heavyweight champion, fighting to maintain its title as king of Western European Warfare, which it has kept since the end of the Hundred Years’ War, the old glory with the white flag!

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The French practically sneered at the idea of infantry ever being as important as cavalry, and this was an understandable mistake, they counted with what was at the time considered the best heavy cavalry in the world, the gendarmes, and the great effect they had in the Hundred Years’ War was undeniable.

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The Gendarmes were the biggest fish in the pond, the most well trained, disciplined, armed and armoured cavalrymen of their time, up to this point they had answered to the initial introduction of handcannons by making their armour even thicker, which had worked for them pretty well so far. They were the heaviest lancers, using the impressive size and muscle the Western European Horses had acquired through years of selective breeding to carry at impressive speeds a full suit of White Armour and Shaffron, they were for all intents and purposes the medieval equivalent of a heavy tank, and much like the Tiger in WW2 they made up for their outrageous cost not just with exceedingly good battle results but also the impressive psychological toll their mere sight imposed on the enemy.

The Gendarmes were essentially considered the epitome of what Europe meant, they were so manly that they could all wear skirts and hourglass figure armour and still look badass. (No seriously they wore that and it is hilarious and I love it.) So rich that they could go to war with the most ridiculous bling around despite their number. And so noble that tales of their deeds on the style of Arthurian Legends plagued pop culture at the time. The Gendarmes were the image of the European feudal system. They were the rulers and champions of the strongest factions within the old continent. They WERE Europe.

I did start the prologue by warning you this tale was plagued by French incompetence... Let it be known that, as always, I mean the incompetence of their leaders, not their soldiers.

The Baguettes had to admit however that as much as they’d want to send nothing but large masses of armoured horsemen to war they needed to supplement that with at least some infantry, mostly because of the need for ranged weaponry and cost, which is why they also brought some light infantry.

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French “Light Infantry” was made up of a combination of crossbowmen and pikemen, with the last just standing behind the first waiting for any flankers while their ranged comrades tried to help the war effort with projectiles. They were poorly trained peasants with very little gear of extremely poor quality and only about as much armour as they managed to loot, which wasn’t much because the noblemen got dibs on the loot first too, so it’s more like what they managed to hide. In general, they were expected to “weaken” the enemy by raining projectiles on them, but even their noblemen didn’t expect them to be anything other than a distraction and a way to dispatch other light infantry with pikes sometimes.

The French however, despite their utmost irreverence towards their own infantry, at least seemed clever enough to catch on to the fact that the rest of Europe was starting to bring more of it, specially Spain, and it seemed to work, which is why they asked their friends, the Swiss, for a few mercenaries. The Swiss of course being at the time considered the masters of heavy infantry warfare thanks to their Pike Squares.

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The Pike Square as implemented by the Swiss was a mixture of heavy and light pikes, only difference being the amount of armour, rank and experience, which placed the “coseletes” (armoured pikemen) up front (to protect against projectiles) and gave them support by “picas secas” (unarmoured pikemen) and Halberdiers, the role of this last element being to come forward and break enemy formation when two pike blocks collided. I will explain these tactics in more detail in a future post, at least I hope to get to that anyway, so suffice to say, this was the standard tactics for the time, and indeed the same used by the German Landsknechts. Just a big ol’ block of pointy sticks with support of heavy infantry with shorter weapons that slowly got close to the enemy until they could sandwich them against something and decimate them. A horrifying yet awe inspiring, extremely disciplined, slow moving, uncaring machine that ate men and shat out gore.

That aside, while the Fanfarrones sneered at skirmishers, thinking such “dishonour” to be for lesser men, well, they knew damned well lesser men would be needed to win the god damned war, and as with the Swiss they simply left the tactics they couldn’t stomach to professionals, in this case a certain caste of mercenary horsemen typical of the Balkans.

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Stradiots were the opposite of the Swiss Pikemen in many ways. These mercenaries from the Balkans were a type of light cavalry that learned quite a bit from fighting Turks and Mongols, and took pride in their capacity to flank the enemy and harass ranged troops with great efficiency, they used hit and run tactics, usually carrying ranged weaponry (although not necessarily), to exploit any break in enemy lines and were the predecessor of the now fabled Hussars, although they had considerably less training and renown than their later counterparts. I should also specify that I mean Early Stradiots. As lated indeed they abandoned their ranged weapons got a bit more armour and well basically became proto-Hussars until indeed they were replaced by the Hussars altogether, but that wouldn’t happen until the rise of gunpowder which was about to happen but, well, this battle is historically recognized as the moment where shit changed, so, it hadn’t done so just yet. But it was coming...

Finally I should mention the artillery. Although as you’ll see it took very little part in this battle.

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The French had the superior artillery by far. And indeed were at the forefront of land artillery manufacturing at the time. They had started using horse artillery, while other armies used mules to carry the guns, and started doing so indeed because they had equipped their cannons with permanent wheels and had started to use mobile artillery pieces that could use hit-and-run tactics. Because of course the French managed to get their cannons to spend most of the battle fleeing... Jokes aside, their guns had the superior range by far, although their projectiles tended to carry less mass than those of other countries, as they had started to think of artillery as a mobile support force, which would come to help them greatly once Napoleon took charge.

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And so for this battle report Brettonnia’s army list looked like:

-3000 Light Infantry.

-3000 Swiss Pikes.

-1500 Stradiots.

-2000 Gendarmes.

-26 Artillery Pieces.

Or in other words. Practically the very definition of a basic bitch standard army made by a “meta” worshipping twat. Although, to be fair, the French and Swiss practically invented the fucking meta, so insert “we were doing it before it was cool” meme here for hipster points. Either way, with 9500 men plus artillery and support, and such a strong combo of heavy infantry and heavy cavalry, considering the strategies of the time the Fanfarrones really did have reason to feel real good about this conflict, they had superiority of numbers, armour, and training. Pity they didn’t take into account one little innovation that the Spanish just so happened to bring today...

And it seems my verbosity has exceeded even my predictions and I am now faced with having to cut this spoiler in two. See you on the next part! Hopefully.

Click here for the continuation.
 
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EmuWarsVeteran

Cream Pangolin
kiwifarms.net
The Battle of Cerignola. Part 2:

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(That is the actual map of the battle btw.)

And on the left corner, fresh out of the Reconquista, the new rising star that finally put an end to the reign of the Moorish kings on the west, ready to crusade anew and find America by pure fucking accident!

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Ah what to say about Spain. Many things actually. To understand Spain it’s best we look at the Balkans and vice versa. I like to explain the situation of Spain as what the Balkans would be had they managed to unify, for many reasons. The Arabic influence in our culture is very similar, the amount of different cultures and factions is pretty much the same, it’s just that here they’re “regionalists” while there they’re “nationalists”, essentially, change “Ottoman” for “Moor”, “Eastern Roman Empire” for “Western Roman Empire” and “Slavic” for “Celtic” and it’s the exact same fucking thing. Only difference is our kings somehow managed to keep the whole damned thing together. Sometimes I wonder just how fucking powerful the Balkans would’ve become had they managed the same feat... And then I remember, that’s probably precisely why the surrounding factions put so much effort into ensuring it’d never happen, seems after they managed to chain us they decided they’d rather make sure there were no repeats. But, point is, some of those reasons apply here greatly, as indeed Spanish military tactics are much closer to those seen on the Balkans than to those found on the rest of Western Europe. Just in a much, much larger scale.

This of course means a great reliance on skirmishers, light infantry and cavalry, with a larger proportion of ranged troops and indeed a general disregard for the shock cavalry tactics that had up to this point defined the battlefield. It wasn’t so much that they had no heavy cavalry, as we’ll see they did have some, but it was considerably lighter than the French and much, much lower in number, with most of the weight going to the infantry.

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So let’s indeed start by mentioning said Infantry. The Coronelía was the fresh new unit el Gran Capitán had cooked up, and soon after this conflict he’d use them as a base for the new Tercios. Indeed technically the Tercios were just a bunch of Coronelías put together, the organization never disbanded it just got grouped. Either way, more on that another time, as today the Tercios are just an embryonic idea that has yet to mature.

The Coronelías were quite interesting. You may have noticed that the French had standardized their military units into Gendarmes and auxiliaries, while the Swiss did the same into Pikemen and auxiliaries. This was the common way to see war at the time, a very “Roman Legion-esque” way of handling unit formations by focusing on one aspect and getting the rest either from untrained militias or just foreign mercenaries. Spain couldn’t quite do this right from the start, it had too many regions each of which did whatever the fuck it wanted. Almogavars, Ginetes, Crossbowmen, Empavesados, you fucking name it if it existed some part of Spain was gonna use it, and refuse vehemently to adapt to the others unless there was a very good technological reason to do so, so trying to get people to organize in Spain was... Well it was a lost cause really.

And yet the Coronelía kinda put a partial end to that. Don’t get me wrong, they still got some very disparate units, but this new military method quite simply embraced that fact, adapted to it, and made sure it stopped being a weakness. What the Coronelía did to weaponize Spain’s clown world approach to warfare was separate the troops into 2 halves which in turn were divided into 2 quarters each.

The first division was between melee troops and ranged troops. Shouldn’t be too hard to guess what the difference was, and it said each unit should hopefully carry 50% of each. This is the first and most vital difference between Spanish infantry and those of everyone else. In essence, Spain’s model to Infantry as codified by the Coronelias could best be described as a Heavy version of Light Infantry, which is to say, usually it was Light Infantry units that had such a distribution of ranged to melee troops, this formation arising from the need to have pikemen babysitting the archers due to flankers, but the actual “Heavy Infantry” formations were the purely melee solid blocks of Pikemen with shorter melee weapons as support. Ironically enough, despite the Tercios coming to be known due to being massive pike formations, the biggest innovation they carried is the fact that in fact it had a much lower proportion of pikemen than other armies, and for all intents and purposes used the “Light Infantry” template as the base for its more professional core, whereas everyone else discarded such formations as lowly and meant for untrained cannon fodder. And turning so-called cannon fodder into the core of its armies might as well be the best description of what Spain did in a way... Kind of fitting I guess.

Then it separated melee troops between Pikemen and everything else. Pikemen were of course necessary to stop Cavalry and flankers, and would with time become the bigger part of the melee troops, but at the time it didn’t quite matter too much if they were the most, just that they were at least half. As for everything else, typically these were called the “Escudados”, “shield bearers”, because most of them carried shields, like the most famous version, the Rodeleros. However pretty much any melee troop that wasn’t a pikeman fell into this range, Empavesados (Typical of Galicia.) still used gear “a la Romana” (meaning “on the style of the roman legion”, as in they literally still used a rectangular shield and fucking javelin long past the point where gunpowder was fucking common, long live those ballsy motherfuckers), Halberdiers (Typical of, well, rich people, really.) used, well, halberds, the Montanteros, (near exclusively German, and indeed there is no recording of a single Iberian Montantero, but there is of Montanteros working for the Tercios, typically Landsknechts that decided to join the Spanish units.) used motherfucking Greatswords, etc. The organization said this group should, well, exist, but be less than half of the melee troops. The reasoning being that they were useful to harass other infantry and break frontlines of pikeblocks, but weren’t as vital as the pikemen. With time this prediction would prove right as their number greatly diminished in comparison with the pikemen.

Finally, the ranged troops were divided between skirmishers, which went around the sides, and ranged troops which went up front. The skirmishers using faster firing but weaker weapons, while the ranged troops used the big guns. Which again he argued should be at least 50% skirmishers, but still having a good amount of ranged troops. Which once more would prove to be the best god damned prediction he could’ve fucking made, as while the roles were quite ill defined the skirmishers consistently outnumbered the ranged troops pretty much every single time from that point on. That said, you may want some examples of the difference between skirmishers and ranged troops, you know, to understand it a bit better. And the answer is “it’s fucking complicated buddy”, originally, before gundpowder, the point was the dardos would be the skirmishers (note, “dardo” roughly translates as “dart” but at that point wasn’t just the term for short javelins, I’ll go into more details with the Ginetes. But for now just think of javelins), while crossbows were for ranged troops. As gunpowder was introduced “shotguns” (what at the time was called a shotgun) were skirmishers while the crossbow kept its place as the ranged troop weapon, and this was the configuration during this battle btw, later on the crossbows got replaced by the arquebus, which started the longest period where the definitions of “arquebus” and “shotgun” got progressively more incomprehensible until “shotgun” simply stopped being used as a term as the difference became simply between different length and calibre of arquebus, which later led to the arquebus being the skirmisher gun while muskets took the place as ranged weapon, until the musket crowned itself king of warfare leading to the dissolution of the Tercios as Napoleonic Warfare took over. Confused yet? Good, so is everyone else. Old timey early attempts at standardization were a fucking mess.

But when it came to ranged weapons, I must mention, as I said before this battle happened exactly as Crossbowmen were still considered the ranged troops and Shotgunners the skirmishers. And indeed el Gran Capitán had lobbied for further implementation of Shotgunners as they had in the past fallen behind the number of Crossbowmen simply because people had more experience with Crossbows and it would not be until after his reforms during and after this war when the crown got more control over the types of missile weapons in their armies by directly supplying the ammo with the soldier’s pay. So again, it was about to happen, just not quite there yet.

But the point is made, unlike prior attempts at professionalizing part of the military, this system was quite flexible, not just allowing, like most, for most lords to simply use for their retinues whatever they wanted, which had resulted in most of them doing the exact same fucking thing on each country, but instead implementing a system that ensured a variety of weapons per unit by organizing the troops each region sent in ways that combined their strengths, allowing for the full professionalization of even the lowest ranks of infantry while also embracing the insane diversity of tools they were given, turning it from a weakness which drove prior generals to madness due to the lack of standardization into one of the biggest strengths of the Spanish military, as the pseudo-standardization allowed it to adapt quickly to most situations while also resulting in units which weren’t an amorphous mess of local tactics poorly stitched together, as they had been in the past.

This also allowed Spain to indeed standardize and professionalize it’s whole military apparatus, which is why the Tercios are nowadays called the “first modern military”, they weren’t quite different from the Landsknechts when it came to bureaucracy, indeed they copied their system when it came to establishing pay and duties, but they applied it universally instead of just to mercenary contingents, and came to fully nationalize the military branch of the government.

And so Spanish infantry, despite having a similar composition and strategy to the “light infantry” everyone else used, was treated for all other intents and purposes as their “heavy infantry” and managed to fill the role of both to near perfection, giving rise to the massive Tercios simply by combination of units for larger battles. And this system, originally made by el Gran Capitán merely as a way to simplify and organize Spanish units in a manner that palliated its biggest weaknesses, accidentally came to redefine warfare for a god damned century and a half, and would have enormous implications for the social structure as a whole.

Don’t you hate when you try to organize your army and accidentally destroy feudalism. Jeez. World’s just gone crazy huh.

But of course infantry was not the only tool in Spain’s arsenal, at least not yet, because as always rich fucks wanted to go around in horses being fancy and shit. So of course we have to talk about the Cavalry.

armadura tres cuartos IV.jpg


The Spanish men-at-arms, (aka Gendarme-equivalents) could be as armoured as the Gendarmes, but nearly never actually were. Instead the immense majority were demilancers. For those that don’t know, look at the picture at the beginning of this segment, it is the representation of the celada’s gear at the time. As you can see, demilancers used unarmoured horses, shorter and lighter lances, and “3/4ths” armour, which was basically the same as the gendarme’s full armour but ending the leg armour on the frontal upper leg. Again, some implemented full armour, el Gran Capitán himself being one of them, some used bigger lances, some (the immense minority) even had a shaffron. But there were also some that used even less armour, and indeed that’s what later would lead to the repopularization of “half armour” as used by the Winged motherfucking Hussars. Basically it was a bit ill defined, but in general Spanish celadas were consistently shitter than French Gendarmes.

And this had two reasons. First is that Spanish Doctrine was not as favourable to heavy cavalry as European Doctrine. El Gran Capitán himself repeatedly stated in his writings that cavalry was at its best chasing ranged troops around, destroying supply lines, and harassing support and artillery. And he was famous for saying the biggest weight of cavalry when fighting blocks of melee infantry shouldn’t be, as the European heavy cavalrymen tried, breaking the line, but instead getting in and causing as much damage as possible once the line had been broken by the infantry. Quite simply, el Gran Capitán and multiple of his contemporaries directly warned against the use of heavy cavalry charges like the ones the Gendarmes hoped to accomplish. Which of course left the question: Why bother armouring that much if you don’t plan to smash yourself against the enemy line? And as it turns out the answer is “yeah, there’s not that much of a reason, huh.”

Second of course was loot. Much like every other military non-noble Spanish Armymen appropriated a large amount of their gear by looting. However, while light infantry was near starved due to getting last dibs under the hierarchal system of other countries, the Coronelías admitted the infantry as part of the professional core. Meaning they comparatively got a lot more loot. And more loot for the infantry means less loot for the cavalry, which in turn couldn’t sell that loot for money, meaning they were a bit starved when it came to gear. And horse armour was really fucking expensive! But that’s the issue with Heavy Tanks ain’t it. Too much buck for that bang.

This by the way is why the French were so exasperated with Spanish raiders during the war. They knew damned well their supply lines would be ambushed, they always were. But it was typically delinquents, scouts and other lowborn scum doing the dirty job while knights prepared for the big battle, meanwhile Spaniards just sent full blown highborn demilancers in heavy armour to sneak around and fuck them up, which French caravan guards were definitely not ready to face. Of course taking into account Spain’s long and storied history with Guerrilla Warfare they should’ve known our nobles could indeed sneak, but that is until you consider the archetypal noble knight’s folly, they were very good at putting themselves on the enemy’s skin and considering what they’d do, but they sucked at actually understanding what their enemy would do. All sympathy, but no empathy. This could indeed be considered the biggest weakness of the French Army, being the driving factor behind most of the incompetence plaguing its leaders. They were so used to fighting the British and other Central European Powers they eventually convinced themselves everyone shared their values and tactics. And boy would such arrogance come to bite them in the ass soon enough.

But despite heavy cavalry being used by Spain as glorified light cavalry with a bit more armour, they still had their light cavalry too, because as I mentioned during the infantry segment, Spain just doesn’t do standard, apparently.

Jinetes en la Batalla de Higueruela.jpg


First of I must point out, I probably already triggered a lot of Spanish speakers on this forum by using the “G”, so let me explain. Ginete is how it was written at the time, long after that as Spanish grammar changed the term became Jinete, but by that point this specific kind of troop was extinct, and instead the term was being used for all light cavalry indistinctly, so technically this troop is called Ginete, and is a distinct word from the term Jinete, which is much broader. I know that’s confusing as all hell but welcome to fucking history motherfuckers.

That done with, the Ginetes were also referred to as “Caballos Ligeros”, “Light Horses” due to being, well, Light Cavalry, and indeed they pretty much just filled that whole damned role for Spain. You might wonder then if this means they were comparable to the Stradiots, since I mentioned so much the comparisons between the Balkans and the Peninsula. And yes they god damned are!

Indeed they come from the exact same fucking thing, that is to say they were light cavalry built upon tactics learned from the Muslims and meant to harass supply lines and flanks without seeing much real combat. And indeed later down the line they would eventually be replaced by the Estradiotes, that being the Spanish term for a Stradiot, once they became half armor wearing pseudo-Hussars. There were a few differences though of course, starting with status. Where the Stradiots were mercenaries, the Ginetes were part of Andalusian lower nobility, typically Hidalgos. You might be wondering then if this means the most famous Hidalgo of all, Don Quijote de la Mancha, was a Ginete. And yes he god damned was. How can we know?

The shield. Ginetes were defined by the shield they used, and it was a very particular shield, a cured leather Adarga, also known as a “heart shaped” shield. This was a kind of shield introduced into the peninsula by the moors, used by the Ginetes due to its light weight and large area. This would by the way be why they were eventually replaced by the Estradiotes, as at that point the only real difference between the two was the kind of shield and the Adarga had long since stopped being as useful as it had been in the past due to the advances in gunpowder weaponry. On top of this, of course, Ginetes used unarmoured horses and a sword. They could then carry a variety of other weapons such as maces, axes or warhammers, and varying degrees of armour, with most wearing little armour, but some getting as far as half armour or even further, though those cases were oddities. Finally, Ginetes used the dardo. Let’s talk about that one.

Empavesados arrojando lanzas a la carrera - Batalla de Higueruela.jpg


Dardo at the time was just the Spanish word for any and all long pointy sticks with normal heads. Spears, lances, javelins and short javelins were all referred to as dardo. But not halberds or other polearms with weird heads. You may wonder why. Well, I will get into Spain’s history with thrown spears and javelins in the future, hopefully, but suffice it to say since long before the Romans Iberians loved chucking spears at shit, and they kept this tradition alive for the longest time. This however led to a very... Liberal interpretation on what could be thrown. This is best exemplified by how French scholars who saw Spanish troops in battle tried to explain it, as they came to distinguish between “Javelins”, those being spear-like weapons that were designed specifically to be used as throwing weapons, and the “Grosse Javelin De L’Espagne”, translated as “Fat Spanish Javelin”, which were any kind of dardo which they were fairly sure wasn’t designed to be thrown, but was in the hands of one of the kinds of Spanish Troops which they knew would indeed chuck it eventually.

And yes, by the way, we do in fact have multiple recorded historical instances of knights throwing their heavy lances at the enemy. Because it seems it doesn’t matter how heavy or unwieldy the pole is, if it can be chucked it’s only a matter of time before it gets chucked. No exceptions. Sometimes I wonder if the reason Spaniards used halberd heads on pikes from the beginning while some experimented with simpler designs at first was just to make sure they were not added to the list of “dardos” and wound up getting thrown at the enemy before a charge.

So, when the documents say they carried one or more dardos as main weapon, it becomes a bit hard to know if it is specifically meant to be a spear or they might be carrying short javelins around. And indeed early records depict Ginetes as carrying practically all kinds of dardos, from copying Almogavar tactics with the Semperferrum (Short Iberian javelin made entirely out of metal, without a wooden shaft.) to carrying lances. But it does seem that with time they settled on the spear and stopped throwing it without good cause, turning into standard light cavalry. Which is exactly what happened to the Stradiots, (Except with bows instead of just javelins) until the Ginetes got replaced by them. Funny how that goes, huh.

And with this there is only one last player to be mentioned for this battle. I mentioned before the Spaniards had to wait for reinforcements due to severe numerical inferiority and lack of gear. Said reinforcements came in the shape of a company of mercenaries from germany, you might’ve heard of those like them...

Landsknechte.jpg


The Landsknechts, or as the Spanish called them “Lansequenetes”, were a kind of mercenary band born in germany and derived from the political mess of the Holy Roman Empire. They were for all intents and purposes equal to the Swiss, with heavy infantry formations in the shape of large pike squares. Later down the line the Lansequenetes would learn from the Spanish and come to basically use units which were very similar to the Tercio albeit smaller and better armed, for which they’d combine their pikes with ranged weaponry, but at the time they were mostly just heavy pikes. But they were the damned best at it! Or at least that’s what everyone except the Swiss said, and really. Who cares about what the Swiss think? Either way, compared with the Swiss their doppelsöldner (Non-pikemen elite troops, called that way because their pay was twice that of normal men.) were more varied, sometimes using greatswords instead of just halberds, which would later become their icon in pop culture, despite the fact that they were in fact an oddity. Eh, can’t blame pop culture for that one, giant motherfucking swords are badass as shit, and the Landsknechts really were bloody badass. But of course you knew that already, they were krauts! Say what you will but Germans manage to make war look obscenely cool like no one else does.

Finally we get to artillery, and if the French sneered at infantry, it was artillery that the Spaniards sneered at. I mean, they knew of the efficiency of artillery at the time, they just didn’t trust their own artillery, and with good reason.

índice.jpg


Spanish artillery was, quite frankly, shit. That’s not to say Spain didn’t know how to make good cannons, oh quite the opposite, it made some of the best heavy artillery pieces the world over. But the good shit got sent to the fleet, and the second priority were the naval forts, and stationary defences on towns and land forts were the third, it was SIEGE artillery after all, not FIELD artillery, so the actual armies were left with whatever shit they could get their hands on, except on coastal battles, where Spain made ample use of naval artillery support. As a result Spanish soldiers nicknamed their artillery pieces “Espantaburracos” (Donkey Scarer, “donkey” in this case being used as an insult instead of referring to the animal, the word to refer to the animal without insulting is “burro”, “burraco” is always a pejorative.) because they tended to be outdated, cheap, light, already worn out glorified firecrackers with little to no precision, poor range, no standardization leading to poor understanding by their operators and generally just really subpar results compared with the rest of Europe, specially France. Indeed between malfunctions due to the material and malfunctions due to the aforementioned lack of standardization leading to catastrophic bouts of incompetence Spanish Artillerymen earned a reputation for being just one step away from blowing themselves up. So yeah, Spanish artillery was quite literally considered a bad joke amongst its fellow soldiers, which will be very important just as the battle begins.

Ceriñola.jpg


So let’s now get into the numbers involved in Karl Fran- I mean el Gran Capitán’s army list.

-1000 Ginetes, led by Próspero Colonna and Pedro de Paz.

-2000 Infantry in Coronelías, led by Pedro Navarro, Francisco Pizarro and García de Paredes.

-2000 Landsknechts, whose leaders’ names I couldn’t find.

-700 Men-At-Arms, led by Fabricio Colonna and Diego de Mendoza.

-13 Artillery Pieces.

(By the way. Can you tell that the sources I got most intel from were focused on the Spanish side of the war? Yeah couldn’t find much from the French, probably because of the language barrier.)

So that makes for 5700 men and 13 cannons, meaning they were outnumbered considerably. Even worse the Cavalry was completely outmatched too, and it seemed most of the battle would be defined by the Infantry, which also had a much larger “light infantry” component when compared to the French counterpart due to the reliance on the hybrid system for their core unit. The Spaniards however counted with 2 advantages, the first was having prepared the terrain in advance, they were playing on their field. The second was the implementation of shotgunners amongst the ranks of the Coronelías, compared with the French Light Infantry’s reliance exclusively on Crossbows and Pikes. Would they prove decisive for this battle? If you haven’t been catching onto the heavy foreshadowing up to this point you might be braindead. Of course they did!

And so, the armies faced each other, and the French felt quite good about themselves. The Spaniards may not have reason to feel as good, but they knew what they were getting into, this is precisely why they had waited for the Landsknechts to get there. And they had utilized that time to plan the next battle in detail. All they needed was to not fuck it up.

138807919-3d-character-showing-powder-keg-and-plunger-detonator-3d-rendering-isolated-on-white-.jpg


Hey. Remember how I said on other threads that ever stating out loud “just don’t fuck it up” was basically considered the very definition of “jinxing it” in Spain? Yeah so... Time I tell you why Artillery would not matter at all for this battle.

On the French side, the battle occurred before their artillery could get there, so it literally took no part on it at all, it just never even made it to the field of battle, and was later captured by the Spaniards after they crushed the main army. Woops, spoilers.

As for Spanish Artillery. When they tried to shoot the cannons for the first time one of the artillerymen accidentally dropped his wick unto the powder keg and blew the entire group up, taking them all out of combat. Upon seeing the giant ball of fire behind his lines and understanding what had happened as the battle was about to begin el Gran Capitán decided to proclaim “¡Buen Anuncio! ¡Estas son las luminarias de la Victoria!”, “Good Omen! Those are the luminaries of victory!” which most interpret as a fairly successful attempt at heightening the morale of his soldiers by taking their minds off of the handicap. But I like to think they were so fucking used to their cannons being completely useless that he just said it as the god damned punchline to the continuous joke that was Spanish Artillery at the time.

And with that, let me cut this story here for now, as I fear I’m definitely going to have to cut this one in two too, on the next part we will talk about the battle at large and what followed it. So I hope you join me in this tale of misadventure and horror as the military tactics that had come to define an era crashed frontally against those that would come to define the next with results that would come to scar both sides, albeit for very different reasons.

Click here to read about the battle.
 
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EmuWarsVeteran

Cream Pangolin
kiwifarms.net
How would the Jews try to take over christian factions? Wouldn't they have to be in the Church to have influence over them? I knew that some of the kings protected them because of the moneylending, so was the taking control of them just a way to ride out the reconquista without getting killed?
At the time many of the petty lords were mercenaries, and spanish lords came from many different european powers whom they had ties to. Certain jewish tribes got caught repeatedly using these two factors to lie and pay certain lords to unknowingly attack the troops of others to cause added conflict amongst the Christian side, mostly hoping to fuck over the larger factions for profit. Do take into account at that time they had not yet been declared heretics and the official strategy due to european laws for most spanish lords (although admittedly not all) was to let them live and do commerce with them when needed. But after they got caught that strategy changed very quickly. And after Spain unified and they yet again got fucking caught repeatedly trying to destabilize the region and trigger the crypto-muslims into calling for holy war again, well, the purge was declared on their stupid asses. I for one have no fucking pity for them. You don't just keep poking that bear and get away with it. Do take into account conversion meant immediate pardon, indeed the inquisition wouldn't even exist until after the purge, and was only created because of all the fucking cryptos commiting acts of terrorism. All they had to do to not get killed was not provoke the spanish, and they did the very opposite of that, constantly, without any possible reason to or anything to gain from it! Is it really a fucking wonder spain is considered one of the most antisemitic countries to this day? I have a very good idea why, we had to deal with the hook nosed fucks! No wonder poland is second on the list. When everyone that deals with a group for a long period of time winds up calling for genocyde against them, maybe there's a fucking reason why, and it's about damned time americans get the point 'cause they're doing the same shit to you right fucking now.
 

Imperial Citizen

For the Empire!
kiwifarms.net
All they had to do to not get killed was not provoke the spanish, and they did the very opposite of that, constantly, without any possible reason to or anything to gain from it!
Oh there would a very good reason to keep the Christians fighting each other; prevent them from killing your tribe. Both the Muslims and the Christians want you dead or converted. And when the holy book that you all three share repeatedly states that bad things happen to Jews if they lose their identity, no shit that they are going do whatever they can to survive.

Though I am surprised that you claim that Spain is one of the most antisemitic countries in Europe. Any time Europe and antisemitism is mentioned it’s always Eastern Europe, Germany, France or the Brits. My guess is that any antisemitism has a lot to do with the reconquista fuckery than it has to do with the 6 million?
 
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EmuWarsVeteran

Cream Pangolin
kiwifarms.net
Why are Spaniards (read: Catalans) into poop jokes?
Man fuck if I know. They're weird.

Oh there would a very good reason to keep the Christians fighting each other; prevent them from killing your tribe. Both the Muslims and the Christians want you dead or converted. And when the holy book that you all three share repeatedly states that bad things happen to Jews if they lose their identity, no shit that they are going do whatever they can to survive.

Though I am surprised that you claim that Spain is one of the most antisemitic countries in Europe. Any time Europe and antisemitism is mentioned it’s always Eastern Europe, Germany, France or the Brits. My guess is that any antisemitism has a lot to do with the reconquista fuckery than it has to do with the 6 million?
Conversion was a much better deal than what everyone else, including the jews, offered. And again, at first the spaniards only wanted the moors out and were as ok with the jews as everyone else (read: enough to tollerate them but certainly nowhere near enough to like them) by the end though? Look at it this way: after centuries of slavery, war and terrorism by the cryptos the Moors got an offer: integrate or be expelled, and the ones that didn't take it were sent straight to morocco, where they quickly found out they were considered the wrong denomination of muslims and their "fellow believers in allah" would turn out to be far more violent than the christians were. And yet the jews despite having been as opressed as the christians under the moors and not being an open part in the war didn't get the same offer, they instead got "convert or die". All I'm saying is, when even the moors got enough good will to be sent back home, when the same faction that has proven such near infinite patience sees a jew and immediately goes "KILL MURDER SLAUGHTER ERRADICATE EXTERMINATE EXTERMINATE EXTERMINATE!!!!" Maybe it's because the damned jews really did manage to piss them off far more than the fucking muslims in the end.

As for spain being antisemitic, it ain't me saying it. It's USA universities in a study financed by the ADL. Can't remember when it was but I remember they proclaimed 76% of spanish population was antisemitic, followed by rhe poles with 75. Now admittedly I don't actually think spain is the most antisemitic country, and was saying it more in jest because I find such study hilarious, specially because I'm fairly sure there's some (ejem muslim ejem) countries that would score near 100% (ejem palestine ejem), but yeah the ADL has been waging war on spain for our supposed antisemitism for years now, every few years they come back with the propaganda.
 

friends o' niall

DOIN' 180 ON THE DON! VALLEY! PARK-WAY!
kiwifarms.net
I've always found it amusing that you southern Spaniards pronounce things like "estación" as "etsación".

I remember passing by the Falangue flag and thinking it looks pretty cool,
Say what you will about the Francoist rule, their branding game (as is common with authoritarian regimes) was on point:

IMG_20200711_192853.pngIMG_20200711_193027.png
Fig. 11 was the social assistance logo. Can't get much more based than that.
 
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Maskull

Your an ignorant idiot
kiwifarms.net
What's the likelihood that the Basque and Catalans will someday get their way and split Spain in three?
 
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Oglooger

God isn't dead!BUT I'LL GET THAT BASTARD SOME DAY!
True & Honest Fan
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I've always found it amusing that you southern Spaniards pronounce things like "estación" as "etsación".
How the fuck can you even pronounce talking like that? and I thought the Barcelonan lisp or my regional accent being sing-songy is bad
 

EmuWarsVeteran

Cream Pangolin
kiwifarms.net
I've always found it amusing that you southern Spaniards pronounce things like "estación" as "etsación".



Say what you will about the Francoist rule, their branding game (as is common with authoritarian regimes) was on point:

View attachment 1441697View attachment 1441699
Fig. 11 was the social assistance logo. Can't get much more based than that.
Well that's a new one. The pronounciation I mean. As for the francoist logom sadly you're wrong. Oh I don't mean those logos weren't badass, but they were all from prior falangist movements. Or at least the badass parts were. Except maybe fig 11 I haven't seen that one before and you're damned right it's based. As for the logos actually added by franco:

1280px-Flag_of_Spain_(1945–1977).svg.png

"So let's just grab the busiest version of the spanish shield, and then add even more weird and unnecessary details. Make the crown unnecessarily ridiculous too, no don't actually search for a version with historical reasoning just sprinkly bollocks on it. I'm going for "seizures" as a motif. And make the eagle substantially uglier, I want spikes all over it. Oh and don't forget to add the background details in red so they're only barely visible, no need for an outline to make then apparent I'd rather people can barely even tell how the flag's supposed to look."
1280px-Coat_of_Arms_of_Juan_Carlos_of_Spain_as_Prince.svg.png

"Oh what's that we're restoring the borbons? I know. Grab the last monarchic shield and then smack evey authoritarkan simbol you can find on it. Yeah I want them to remember: no democracy bitches. I'm sure foreign powers won't pressure the king into adding that shit as soon as I'm dead. Oh also add them all in red this time too so they can't be seen well when against the flag, which is how they'll be most of the time. In fact modify the collar so its red too, let's see how long they take before they spot that one, and change the lion back to red so it looks uglier. Yeah I'm still fucking with people for no reason."

What's the likelihood that the Basque and Catalans will someday get their way and split Spain in three?
'Bout as good as my chance of winning the lottery, and I don't play...
 

Maskull

Your an ignorant idiot
kiwifarms.net
'Bout as good as my chance of winning the lottery, and I don't play...
I'm sure they'll continue to do their damnedest. As foreigner my view is that there's enough external investment in the nation for the rest of the world to never allow disintegration.

I've read plenty of Spanish and Basque literature. Most recently published was written decades before I was born and I know near nothing about the current landscape of your national literature. If you know who would you say are the predominant voices in fiction writing and poetry today?
 
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