Tomas Zumalacarregui


Tomás de Zumalacárregui was a Spanish general responsible for several significant victories during the Carlist War, a civil war that took place following the death of King Ferdinand VII. Born in Basque Country, Tomás first joined the Spanish army during the French Invasion of Spain, and he served in two seiges before he was taken prisoner. He escaped and returned home briefly before joining with a band of geurillas, but he disliked their poor conduct and reenlisted with the regular army as an officer. He was soon raised to the rank of captain, but his royalist tendencies made him highly unpopular with his fellow officers, especially once the Revolution of 1820 broke out and divided monarchial sympathizers from their more liberal opposition. In order to evade accusations concerning his political stance, Tomás fled to France, where he became an officer in a royalist regiment. By 1832, he had been named military governor of Ferrol, and near the death of Ferdinand VII he led the absolutist party that favored the king's brother Carlos as successor.

Ferdinand, however, had different plans, and after his passing his daughter Isabella was proclaimed sole ruler of Spain. As an enemy of the new government, Tomás' pay was reduced, and he was ordered to live under police observation. For his part, the governor did not act until he had received word from Carlos, and with his leader's permission he escaped with his troops to the Arakil Valley. Within a few short months, Tomás had organized his forces into a real army, and he soon gained full possession of Navarre and the Basque Country. His troops won battle after battle, until at last Carlos was safe to join his headquarters. The late king's brother, however, regarded Tomás with suspicion and feared his significant influence with the soldiers. Even so, Tomás remained loyal to the would-be ruler, even when his direction to beseige Bilbao resulted in a musket wound to the governor's leg. The injury was small, but Carlos insisted upon putting Tomás in the care of his own doctors, where he passed away soon after, possibly from poisoning.

Key events during the life of Tomás de Zumalacárregui:

Born in Basque Country.
Served in the Battle of Tuleda during the French invasion of Spain.
Received his commission as captain.
Escaped to France after his fellow officers petitioned for his removal.
Returned to Spain as an officer of a royalist regiment.
Became a colonel.
Was named military governor of Ferrol.
Carlist Uprising following death of Ferdinand VII.
Wounded by a musket bullet in the leg, later died from resulting complications.

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Hero of the Carlists  in  Historical Tales: Spanish  by  Charles Morris

Short Biography
Ferdinand VII Bourbon king, restored to the throne of France after the Napoleonic Wars, refused to work with liberal constitution.