Primo de Rivera Dictatorship: Causes, Coup, and Crisis

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  • Morocco problem: Conference of Algeciras 1906 and Spanish army suffered 2 humiliating defeats (Barranco del Lobo 1909 and Disaster of Annual 1921)
  • Picasso report: Commission was open to investigate who was responsible for the defeat of Annual
  • Social crisis: Strikes of workers in Cataluña and peasants in Andalucía due to better work conditions
  • Hard repression: Armed groups in Barcelona and Guardia against peasants in Andalusia
  • Social war broke out: Prime Minister Eduardo was killed by an anarchist in 1921

Coup d'etat: 1923

Primo de Rivera organized a coup with the consent and support of the king, conservative politicians, and industrial and landowners. Before the coup, he had substituted civil public workers with people from the army. He claimed it was a solution to stop the rise of social protest movements and inefficiency of parliamentarism.


  • Suspended the constitution and dissolved the Cortes
  • Political parties and unions were banned except the Patriotic Union
  • Less individual freedom, especially of the press
  • Suspension of Mancomunidad of Cataluña and nationalistic parties in Cataluña and Basque countries


Took advantage of international economic boom, program of Public Works, and creation of public companies like Telefonica.

Military Achievements

Alhucemas landing in 1925 ended the conflict in Morocco and established effective control over the protectorate.

Crisis of 1930-1931

Period of transition between 1930 and the Second Republic in which Primo de Rivera resigned. Alfonso XIII wanted to return to a constitutional monarchy.


  • International economic crisis (crash in 1929)
  • Opposition to dictatorship grew
  • Important sector of the army removed its support to Primo de Rivera
  • December 1930 complot against him in Jaca
  • All political parties that opposed dictatorship signed the Pact of San Sebastian in August 1930 demanding democratic elections and the establishment of a republic

II Republic

Municipal elections on April 12, 1931, resulted in a victory for republican parties. Alfonso XIII fled the country, and on April 14, 1931, the Second Spanish Republic was proclaimed.

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