Antonio Gisbert Pérez, The Execution of Torrijos and his Companions at Málaga Beach, 1888

Jose Maria Torrijos y Uriarte (aka: General Torrijos) was a Spanish Liberal soldier in the Spanish War of Independence (1807-14) who fought against the French and the restoration of Spanish King Ferdinand VII. He was imprisoned by the French, released during the Riego uprising in 1820, exiled to England, and then finally returned to Málaga by boat on Dec 2nd, 1831 with sixty men to stir insurrection. They were captured immediately and executed without trial eleven days later.

Torrijos and 48 men were killed by firing squad in two groups. Torrijos died in the first group, but for drama’s sake, Pérez depicts him in the second group who look upon their fallen compadres. Torrijos holds the hands of those closest to him as the group is blindfolded and read their last rights by Franciscan monks. Two men hug each other, two get down on their knees and pray for their lives, while others seem resigned to their fate. The scene is fraught with psychological tension.

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