Lies a fourth copy of the oldest regional newspaper

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The Murcian historian Julio Muñoz Rodríguez, a specialist in the War of the Succession, finds in the historical collection of the University of Seville an edition of ‘La Gazeta de Murcia’ dated October 12, 1706, a time when Murcia resisted the second invasion attempt by the troops of Archduke Charles of Austria

Only three copies of the oldest newspaper in the region, ‘La Gazeta de Murcia’, are known to date. The researcher Julio D. Muñoz Rodríguez, doctor of history, secondary school teacher and collaborator at the University of Murcia in the field of the history of thought and social and political movements, has just found a fourth specimen in Seville. It took them 70 years to get it that way. “Those first three copies came across as very casual. In the late 1950s, Julio Gómez de Salazar, a scholar who visited the newspaper library of Madrid, came across these three copies, which have also been skipped, and many of us thought there must be more copies, but there are not. t. Why weren’t more found? “Because Murcia,” says Julio Muñoz, “suffers with large libraries, with large historical bibliographic collections, and for various reasons. Because we didn’t have a university then. Because a lot has been burned, it has been lost, it has been sold, a lot of funds have been destroyed… and we are scrawny about that. So what we can find must be outside.” The famous monastery of San Francisco, for example, should have had a magnificent library, “but it burned down in AD 31, and the famous library of Count Roche vanished, was sold and destroyed .”

In these cases, unless causation intervenes, because the discovery of historical documents of value also depends on it, since the collections of many libraries are digitized all over the world, not only in Spain, catalogs arise, and crosses happen to sources and databases, Julio Muñoz found in the historical collection of the University of Seville a new issue of ‘La Gazeta de Murcia’, dated October 12, 1706. The three previous ones that were known were from August 10 and 24 and September 23, 1706 «I don’t know why it came out now, it must be that they included it, but at some point I’ll find out. My surprise was capital, because it is a very interesting song.

That summer of 1706 is great in the history of Spain, in general, but especially in the territory of Murcia. We are in the War of Succession, Felipe V de Borbón against Archduke Carlos of Austria, “but it is precisely that summer”, recalls Julio Muñoz, who wrote his thesis on the War of Succession in Murcia, “the Austrian troops had conquered practically the whole kingdom of Valencia, Catalonia and Aragon entered and entered Murcia. In fact, Murcia becomes a front wall, a frontier. For what purpose? It is not because Murcia had value, but because Murcia is before Andalusia and Andalusia is the door to America. For what essentially pursued in the War of Succession is to control America’s silver ».

In a somewhat fortuitous way, the historian continues, Murcia will become a frontier, “which, moreover, has no soldiers, because there are very few soldiers paid by the king, a ridiculous number, a dozen or two dozen, and the one great achievement that has not yet been given importance is that Murcia shines in one of the great episodes of its history because with almost no soldiers more will come because Belluga asks for it, it is the population that takes up arms it is an international war, but also civil war, and here the huertanos, the craftsmen, the small local nobility will be the protagonists of that defense, which is why it is more relevant.

In particular, the copy of ‘La Gazeta de Murcia’ found at the University of Seville puts the reader past the first attack on September 4, 1706, which saw Murcia irrationally get rid of Austrian conquest, because the logical thing to do is that Murcia had fallen. «But against all odds, Murcia resisted on September 4, 1706, and the Austrian troops, faced with the impossibility of entering the city, thus fortified and armed, retreated. And in early October, they make the second attack attempt, which is counted in this localized instance. In addition, it provides us with very valuable information, because there is little information about that second attack. What is told is the second attack and the capture of Orihuela, which immediately follows. Murcia was always Bourbon, despite the siege and the division of the population during that month and a half. Murcia’s resistance is the impetus he will later have to conquer Orihuela in early 1706, and on November 19, Cartagena, “the great Austrian city of the kingdom”, emphasizes Julio D. Muñoz Rodríguez.

How many copies of ‘La Gazeta de Murcia’, the first regional newspaper, could appear? “We are in the realm of the hypothesis,” emphasizes Muñoz, “but I calculate that these papers appear in different cities in the summer of 1706, because Madrid has fallen. Felipe V has had to leave Madrid, the Archduke’s troops have entered, we are at the moment of the greatest tension and the lowest expectations of the Bourbons’ cause, and what the Bourbon side is doing since it has no control over ‘La Gazeta de Madrid’ , is to publish a series of newspapers, as propaganda organs, to counter the lack of control it has. Newspapers appear in Granada, Burgos, Alcalá… and also in Murcia, the great Bourbon frontier».

‘La Gazeta de Murcia’ was a four-sided, two-page newspaper that began to appear in July 1706 and continued until October or November, until the fall of Cartagena. “If we take that as valid, it could have been four months of publication, down to a week issue, and about 16 issues more or less, it’s a matter of guidance and my opinion. So many other copies can turn up.” The preservation of newspapers is complicated in a historical period when there are no newspaper archives, “and finding a tracked historical sequence is complicated,” the researcher emphasizes.

Muñoz will tell in the magazine ‘Murgetana’ of the Alfonso X Royal Academy of Murcia all these details of this fourth issue of ‘La Gazeta de Murcia’, which, in addition to his dissertation, he continues to analyze. In 2018, a publication was made with a preliminary study of the three instances of this tool of Bourbon propaganda found so far, as Antonio Vicente Frey Sánchez said in a presentation note at the time.

Source: La Verdad

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