Juan Martin Diez
Other names: El Empecinado El Empecinado
Job / Known for: Guerrilla leader and military general
Left traces: He fought against the French invasion
Date: 1775-09-05
Location: ES Castrillo de Duero, Valladolid
Date: 1825-08-20 (aged 50)
Resting place: ES Burgos cemetery, Burgos
Death Cause: Hanging
Spouse: María Antonia Santos Platero
Children: Juan Martín Santos, María Antonia Díez, María del Carmen Díez, María del Pilar Díez, María de la Concepción Díez, and José María Díez.
Parent(s): Juan Martín and María Díez.
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I will die as I have lived: defending my country and my ideas.
About me / Bio:
Juan Martín Díez was born in a peasant family in Castrillo de Duero, Valladolid, Spain on September 5, 1775. He had a passion for military affairs since his childhood and participated in the War of the Pyrenees against France when he was 18. He married María Antonia Santos Platero in 1796 and settled in Fuentecén, Burgos, where he worked as a farmer until the French invasion of Spain in 1808. He then organized a group of guerrillas composed of his friends and relatives to fight against the invaders. He earned the nickname El Empecinado (the Undaunted) for his courage and persistence. He fought in many battles and skirmishes along the Duero river basin and other provinces, harassing and defeating the French troops with his superior knowledge of the terrain and his unconventional tactics. He was promoted to the rank of captain in 1809 and later to brigadier general in 1812. He also collaborated with the regular Spanish army and the British allies led by Wellington. He was a supporter of the liberal Constitution of 1812 and opposed the absolutist monarchy of Ferdinand VII, who abolished the constitution after his restoration in 1814. He joined the liberal uprising of 1820 and defended the constitutional regime against the royalist forces. He was captured by the royalists in 1823 and imprisoned in Pamplona. He was later transferred to Roa de Duero, where he was sentenced to death by hanging on August 20, 1825. He died with dignity and courage, refusing to ask for pardon or mercy. His body was buried in Burgos cemetery. He is regarded as one of the most prominent figures of the Spanish War of Independence and a hero of liberalism. His life inspired many writers, artists, and historians. His name is honored in many streets, squares, monuments, and institutions throughout Spain. His legacy lives on in the Spanish people's struggle for freedom and democracy.
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