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José Antonio Primo de Rivera y Sáenz de Heredia
Biographical information

April 24, 1903 Madrid, Kingdom of Spain


November 20, 1936 (aged 33) Alicante, Spain

Political information


Real-world information
Appears in


José Antonio Primo de Rivera y Sáenz de Heredia, 1st Duke of Primo de Rivera, 3rd Marquess of Estella, GE (April 24, 1903 – November 20, 1936), often referred to as José Antonio, was a Spanish lawyer, nobleman, politician, and founder of the Falange Española, later Falange Española de las JONS. He was the Grand Master of the Spanish Rite of the Templar Order, reigning at age of 30 until his death in 1936. He was the eldest son of military dictator and high-ranking member of the Templar Order Miguel Primo de Rivera. Imprisoned before the start of the Spanish Civil War, he was accused of conspiracy and military rebellion against the Government of the Second Spanish Republic and was sentenced to death and executed during the first months of the war.

Biography []

José Antonio Primo de Rivera was born in Madrid on April 24, 1903, the eldest son of General Miguel Primo de Rivera, Prime Minister and Dictator under the monarchy of King Alfonso XIII of Spain. From his father he inherited the title of Marquess of Estella (in Navarre). He never married.

His mother died when he was five years old, and he was subsequently raised by his father's sister. He was privately taught at home, and learned English and French. When at university, he did not attend lectures until the second year of his undergraduate studies. He spent his summer holidays at the country estate of an uncle, where he practiced horse riding and hunting.

Primo de Rivera went on to study law at the University of Madrid between 1917 and 1923. He helped to organize the student union there, Federación Universitaria Escolar, which opposed the higher-education policies of his father. He took undergraduate and graduate courses simultaneously and he obtained both his Bachelor and Doctor degrees in the same year, 1923. He joined the Templar Order at age of 20.

After graduating, he chose the "One-Year Volunteer" option to do his military service while his father was dictator. He served with the Ninth Dragoons of St. James cavalry regiment, stationed at Barcelona. He was court-martialed for punching a superior officer, Brigadier General Gonzalo Queipo de Llano.

Primo de Rivera became a registered lawyer in 1925, and opened an office on a side street of Madrid very near the confluence of three principal avenues. In 1931, he was invested "Perpetual Dean of the Illustrious College of Lawyers of Madrid".

In 1931, he constituted "Agrupación al Servicio de la República"  and paradoxically ran for office under the monarchist banner of "Unión Monárquica Nacional"—he failed to get elected.

He was detained briefly in 1932 for collaboration in General José Sanjurjo's attempted coup.

In 1933, at the height of the fascist movements in Italy and Nazi Germany, collaborates in the departure of the magazine El Fascio by publishing an article entitled "Orientations towards a new state," an attack on political liberalism that begins: "The liberal state he believes in nothing, not even in himself The liberal state allows everything to be doubted, even the convenience of its existence "; and in which you can also read: "Freedom can not live without the protection of a strong, permanent principle. When principles change with the vagaries of opinion, there is only freedom for those who agree with the majority. to suffer and be silent. "

On February 11, 1934, Falange merged with Ramiro Ledesma's Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional-Sindicalista to create the Falange Española de las JONS under José Antonio's leadership.

With his approval, Falangists attacked the Jewish-owned SEPU department stores in the spring of 1935. He shared with other rightists the belief that violence was legitimate against a Republic that he perceived as influenced by Communists, Jews and Freemasons. In the general election of February 16, 1936, Falange won only 0.7% of the vote; but the wave of instability which greeted the victory of the Popular Front—a left-wing coalition of Anarchists, Communists, Socialists, liberal Republicans like the Radicals, and others—caused an influx of new members, and the minuscule party grew to more than 40,000 members by July.

The Falangist uniform was a blue shirt with the embroidered design of a yoke plus a backdrop of five vertical arrows both a symbol of Spain's unity, copied from the heraldry of the Catholic Monarchs. The flag bore the red and black colours of syndicalism. The salute was the Roman salute. In casual conversation Falangists were expected to overlook rank and to call one another "Comrade", always speaking each other in a first name basis, avoiding the formal Spanish "usted" form of address. In 1935 Primo de Rivera collaborated in editing the lyrics of the Falangist anthem, "Cara al Sol" .