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Rafael del Riego y Nuñez

Riego y Nuñez, Rafael del (räfäĕlˈ dĕl rēāˈgō ē nōˈnyāth) [key], 1785–1823, Spanish general and revolutionary. Taken captive (1808) by the French during Napoleon's Spanish campaign, he returned from imprisonment in France in 1814. In 1820 he assumed leadership of a revolutionary band of liberals and military officers that protested the monarchical absolutism of King Ferdinand VII and reinstated the Cortes constitution of 1812 in Spain. Serving as commander of the revolutionary forces in Aragón during the ensuing civil war and later as president of the Cortes, Riego had mixed success against the invading French army that came to Ferdinand's assistance. He was captured in 1823 and executed for treason. Although his historic role was brief and ineffective, a favorite tune of his troops, the Himno de Riego, became the national anthem of Spanish republicans for the next century.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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