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The Cover
October 16, 2002

Portrait of General José Manuel Romero

Author Affiliations

The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate, MD, Senior Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2002;288(15):1817. doi:10.1001/jama.288.15.1817

In 1808, Napoleon Bonaparte used the power struggle among family members of the reigning Bourbon monarch Charles IV to occupy Spain. Heretofore France's ally in the naval war against Britain, that alliance had been shaken in 1805 when Nelson handed the French navy a decisive defeat at Cape Trafalgar. Any thoughts of France as a naval power were no longer tenable, yet the Spanish royal family continued to hold Napoleon as friend and protector. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Helped not a little by the dalliance between the queen and her lover, Napoleon played royal father against royal son with all the cunning of a skilled torero; when both had become weakened and confused, he stepped in like the matador and claimed his prize. He made his brother, Joseph Bonaparte, king of Spain. Joseph would last on the throne for five years, until 1813, though not without widespread and prolonged resistance. Ironically, the resistance came not so much from the royal family or from the administration as from the people themselves throughout the peninsula (whence the term guerilla, diminutive of guerra, war). After Joseph's departure, Ferdinand VII, son of Charles IV, resumed the Spain throne. Despite a simmering popular discontent he would keep it for almost 20 years, until his death in 1833.

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