1855 Catalan general strike

In 1855, Catalonian workers went on strike following the dubious trial and execution of labor leader Josep Barceló Cassadó [ca]. It was the first general strike in Spanish history. A factory director was killed in Sants during the strike. As labor unions expanded in the next century, strikes became commonplace in Barcelona.[1]


The strike took place during the Baldomero Espartero government of the Bienio progresista during the reign of Isabella II which began with the revolution of 1854 which included the proclamation of June 28, 1854 and the coup lead by Leopoldo O'Donnell, with the support of France and Britain.[2][3]


Workers initially mobilized against mechanization, specifically in relation to the spinning of yarn. This was called the Conflicto de las selfactinas [es].[4]

Due to new freedoms acquired after the Revolution of 1854 and the tolerance of the Espartero government, workers' associations were developed, with thirty associations forming a central council. But the newly appointed captain general of Catalonia, General Zapatero, put an end to tolerance and began a policy of repression of the labor movement.[5]


  1. ^ Gow, Richard (2016). "Civil and Military Relations in Spain in the Context of World War I". Small Nations and Colonial Peripheries in World War I. BRILL. p. 133. ISBN 978-90-04-31001-8.
  2. ^ Conflictividad social y revuelta política en Zaragoza, 1854-1856, Vicente Pinilla Navarro, Diputación General de Aragón, 1985, pág. 206
  3. ^ La financiación exterior del capitalismo español en el siglo XIX, María Teresa Costa, Edicions de la Universitat de Barcelona, 1982, ISBN 84-7528-051-X, pág. 43
  4. ^ Bando del general Zapatero durante la huelga de 1855, en El trabajo en España: de la crisis del sistema gremial a la flexibilización, Álvaro Soto Carmona, 2003, ISBN 84-96190-30-7, pag. 72
  5. ^ Fontana, Josep (2007). La época del liberalismo. Vol. 6 de la Historia de España, dirigida por Josep Fontana y Ramón Villares (in Spanish). Barcelona: Crítica/Marcial Pons. ISBN 978-84-8432-876-6.

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