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This name uses Spanish naming customs; the first or paternal family name is Daoíz and the second or maternal family name is Torres.

Luis Daoíz y Torres
Estatua Daoiz 001.jpg
A statue of Daoíz in Seville showing him in the act of refusing his orders from the junta and resolving to fight the French
Birth nameLuis Gonzaga Guillermo Escolástica Manuel José Joaquín Ana y Juan de la Soledad Daoíz Torres
Born(1767-02-10)February 10, 1767
Number 70 Calle del Horno, Seville
DiedMay 2, 1808(1808-05-02) (aged 41)
Buried (40°24′59″N 3°41′34″W / 40.41638°N 3.692887°W / 40.41638; -3.692887 (Monumento a los Caídos por España))
Years of service1782–1808
UnitRoyal Regiment of Artillery, 3rd Seville Artillery
Battles/warsCeuta (1790), Oran (1791), War of Roussillon (1794), Anglo-Spanish War (1796–1808), Peninsular War (1807), Dos de Mayo Uprising (1808)

Luis Daoíz y Torres (Seville, 10 February 1767 – Madrid, 2 May 1808) was a Spanish artillery officer and one of the leaders of the Dos de Mayo Uprising that signalled the start of the Spanish War of Independence. Daoíz's surname is derived from the town of Aoiz in Navarre and he was descended from a long line of Spanish gentry with soldiering associations dating to the Reconquista. Daoíz's great grandfather married the daughter of the Count of Miraflores de los Angeles and Daoíz spent much of his early life in palaces owned by the family. He was born in Seville and, after receiving a Catholic education, trained at the Royal School of Artillery in Segovia. Daoíz saw action against the Moors in Spanish North Africa, where he was commended for his bravery and promoted to lieutenant. He also served against the French in the short-lived War of the Roussillon where he was captured. After refusing to serve in the French army, he was imprisoned.

After his release he served on secondment to the Spanish Navy during the Anglo-Spanish War, participating in the Defence of Cadiz and on convoy duty to the Americas, for which he was rewarded with promotion to captain. He tired of the sea and rejoined his artillery regiment. His subsequent duties included assisting in the manufacture of new guns for the horse artillery, attending the signing of the Treaty of Fontainebleau with France and participating in the 1807 invasion of Portugal. He returned to Madrid in 1808 and was a leader of the Dos de Mayo Uprising in which he assisted civilians resisting French efforts to remove the royal family from Spain. His defence of the barracks at Monteleón was the only action that day in which the Spanish army fought the French and, although ultimately unsuccessful, it inspired the Spanish War of Independence. He died in the fighting and has been commemorated as a national hero.


Luis's oldest known ancestor is Don Berenguer D'Aoiz, who was named for the town of Aoiz in Navarre and fought in the Reconquista of Spain from the Moors.[1] Members of the family subsequently served in the militia, including Don García Garcés D´Aoiz who fought at the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212, a decisive Christian victory and a turning point in the Reconquista.[1][2] Other ancestors fought in the 15th century Granada War, the 16th century conquest of Naples and in 17th century Flanders.[2] Luis's great grandfather, Joaquín D´Aoiz, was sheriff of Gibraltar in the mid-17th century when he was forced to hand the territory over to the British, the family subsequently moving to El Puerto de Santa María and changing their surname to Daoíz.[1][2] Joaquín's grandson Martin married Francisca Torres Ponce de León, daughter of the Count of Miraflores de los Angeles, in 1766 and their son Luis was born in a palace owned by the Miraflores family in Calle del Horno, Seville.[2]

Early lifeEdit

Luis Daoíz was born on 10 February 1767 and baptised the same day as "Luis Gonzaga Guillermo Escolástica Manuel José Joaquín Ana y Juan de la Soledad Daoíz Torres".[1] Daoíz lived for much of his childhood at the palace in Calle del Horno, spending some of his summers at a house in Calle Iglesia (now renamed Calle de Daoíz) in Mairena del Alcor.[2] He was educated at the Colegio de San Hermenegildo Jesuit college in Seville up to the age of 15, when his parents decided that he would become an officer in the Spanish Army, which their families considered a career suitable for a gentleman.[2][3] Daoíz's father was able to arrange the necessary paperwork for him to enter the elitist artillery corps which only permitted noblemen to take commissions.[2]

The Alcázar of Segovia, home of the Royal School of Artillery

Daoíz entered the Royal School of Artillery at Segovia as a cadet on 10 February 1782 and graduated as an ensign on 9 February 1787.[2][4] According to his entrance report he had a dark complexion, brown hair, large eyes and a small stature, being less than five feet tall.[2][5] At the school Daoíz excelled at mathematics and sports, in particular saber fencing and was able to speak French, English, Italian and Latin in addition to his native Spanish.[1][3] After graduation Daoíz was assigned to the Real Regimiento de Artillería (Royal Regiment of Artillery) at Puerto de Santa Maria.[2] He was able to use a considerable private income from property and farms owned by his family around Gibraltar to supplement his official salary.[2]

Army careerEdit

Daoíz volunteered to help defend Ceuta against the Moors in 1790 and was given command of an artillery battery. He remained in North Africa to assist with the defence of Oran in 1791, spending part of the time with a unit of miners.[1][3][4] Daoíz was commended by his superiors, including artillery Brigadier Andres Aznar, for his courage and zeal in the battles and was promoted to lieutenant on 28 February 1792.[4][6] After Spain joined the First Coalition against Revolutionary France, Daoíz participated in the War of Roussillon, in the Pyrenees, from March 1794 but was captured in a French counterattack on 25 November 1794.[4] He was held as a prisoner of war at Toulouse where he turned down an offer of freedom and a commission in the French Army, which was short of artillery officers.[2][4] After the Peace of Basel ended the war between France and Spain on 22 July 1795, Daoíz was released and made his way back to El Puerto de Santa Maria.[2]

The British blockading squadron at Cadiz

Spain signed the Second Treaty of San Ildefonso in 1796, allying itself with France against Great Britain and beginning the Anglo-Spanish War. On 11 July 1797 Daoíz was placed in charge of a gunboat in the Defence of Cadiz, commanded by Admiral Jose de Mazarredo y Salazar, against the British blockading squadron.[3][4] During the defence his gunboat, No. 5, was involved in an attack on the British third-rate HMS Powerful.[7] Later that year he was seconded to the Spanish Navy, which was short of trained officers, for service aboard the 74 gun ship San Ildefonso.[2] Daoíz sailed twice with the vessel to the Americas, escorting galleons.[1][3] During this time he assisted the ship's captain, Jose de Iriarte, by acting as a translator during negotiations with foreign officials and found time to write a short treatise on the instruction of soldiers and sailors.[2][4] Whilst with the ship in Havana, Cuba, in November 1800 Daoíz was reading back issues of a gazette and was surprised to find that he had been promoted to captain on 4 March 1800, whilst at sea.[1] He did not enjoy the long trips away from Spain and requested a land based posting, serving initially as a lieutenant in the infantry before joining the newly formed 3rd Artillery Regiment of Seville on 7 July 1802.[1][2] Had he stayed aboard the San Ildefonso Daoíz may have seen action with the ship at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.[2][4]

On 2 December 1803 Daoíz was ordered by General Godoy to be seconded to the Royal Bronze Foundry.[4] There he sat on a committee, headed by Brigadier Maria Vicente Maturana, to decide the design and oversee the production of new light guns for the horse artillery.[2][4] Daoíz agreed to wed a noblewoman from Utrera in 1807, the marriage ceremony taking place in spring the next year.[2] In 1807 Daoíz was commander of the Spanish artillerymen that attended the signing of the Treaty of Fontainebleau, an agreement between Spain and France to split up Portugal into three smaller states, and was part of the Franco-Spanish force that invaded Portugal to enforce that treaty.[1][4] He moved with his regiment to Madrid in 1808 and took command of a battery of the 2nd company (some sources say 3rd company) at the former palace of the Duke of Monteleón.[2][3] He became known to the men under his command as "el Abuelo" ("the grandfather") due to his relative age and good temperament.[3]

Dos de MayoEdit

Joaquín Sorolla's depiction of the defence of Monteleón

As part of the Treaty of Fontainebleau, French troops began to arrive in Spain and occupy strategic points. Marshal Joachim Murat was ordered to Madrid with 30,000 troops and began taking control of the main palaces and barracks of the city, which had just 2-4,000 Spanish troops in its garrison.[2] The presence of a French garrison was resented by much of the populace and Daoíz himself had to be restrained from fighting a duel with a French soldier he overheard insulting Spain in a tavern.[3] On 2 May a crowd, hearing of French plans to send members of the Spanish royal family away to France, gathered outside the Royal Palace in Madrid to protest.[8] It is not known how the fighting started, but the British consul, John Hunter, recorded that by 11 am French troops were firing musket volleys into the crowded square and fighting had spread across Madrid. French troops were dispatched to take possession of the Spanish barracks to secure their arms and ammunition.[9]

Daoíz, the highest-ranking officer at the Monteleón barracks found himself in command of just 4 officers, 3 NCOs and 10 men.[2][3] He sought reinforcements at his regimental headquarters and returned with the 3rd company of the 2nd Battalion, a further 33 men and 2 officers.[2] Daoíz's orders from the local junta were to remain in the barracks and co-operate with French forces but, after conferring with Captain Pedro Velarde y Santillán, he decided that the French troops were hostile to Spain and that they would defend the barracks against any French interference.[2] By this time a large crowd of civilians had gathered at the barracks, requesting weapons with which to oppose the French, and Daoíz ordered the armoury opened to them.[8] With 9 cannon, and 120 soldiers and armed civilians under his command, Daoíz now made arrangements for the defence of the barracks.[2] A battery of 24 pounder guns were placed at the main gate facing into the street and were loaded with canister shot by their military and civilian crews.[2] A small detachment of French stationed near the barracks were captured by Verlarde and their weapons and ammunition distributed to civilians.[10]

Manuel Castellano's 1862 painting of Daoíz (centre) receiving his fatal wound

According to Hunter, when the first French troops advanced up the street to take possession of the barracks they were fired upon and several were killed before they halted to await reinforcements and occupy neighbouring buildings.[9] Soon the French commanding officer, General Joseph Lagrange, had around 2,000 men in the area.[2] French battalions, including a unit of Imperial Grenadiers, made two assaults on the guns, but both were repulsed, and the Spaniards captured a French colonel.[10] A third wave of French troops reached the artillery lines and fired into the barracks, killing many of the defenders including Velarde, before charging with fixed bayonets.[2][11] Hunter claimed that Daoíz, who had been shot in the hip, continued to issue orders despite his wound and was wounded twice more whilst fighting the French with his sabre.[2] Daoíz is said to have been stabbed in the back with a bayonet and killed whilst approaching a French officer waving a white flag of truce.[11] The dying Daoíz was dragged away by his men, who continued to fight within the barracks buildings before surrendering at the request of Spanish Captain-General the Marquis de San Simón.[2][3] The Spanish at Monteleón had held out against superior French numbers for around three hours.[12] Daoíz was 41 years old when he died, and had over 26 years of continuous service in the Spanish Army.[13]


Goya's The Third of May 1808

The French surgeon is said to have insisted on treating Daoíz before tending to his own men, but his efforts were in vain and Daoíz was buried in the Church of St Martin alongside his men.[2][3] Velarde, who spearheaded the uprising alongside Daoíz, was also killed, but another artillery officer, Lieutenant Ruiz, managed to escape.[14][15] Members of the Junta went around the city asking for resistance to stop, and by 2am the next morning calm had been restored.[11]

Marshal Murat convened a military tribunal, chaired by General Emmanuel Grouchy, that morning to summarily try and sentence anyone found in possession of a potential weapon.[11] Many Spaniards lost their lives, and artist Francisco Goya, who witnessed the aftermath of the executions, painted his famous painting The Third of May 1808 to commemorate this event.[11] The fighting and executions claimed at least 154 French and 409 Spanish lives and inspired resistance to the French across the country, signalling the start of the Spanish War of Independence.[16] After Daoíz's death his wife entered a convent in Seville.[2][11]


The Monumento a los Caidos por España which holds Daoíz's remains

Daoíz is commemorated as a leader of the initial resistance against French rule in Spain and, along with Velarde, is remembered in many monuments across the country. The ashes of Daoíz and Velarde, with those of others involved in the Dos de Mayo uprising, were transferred to the Monumento a los Caidos por España in Madrid after its construction in 1840.[17] The monument originally served as a memorial to those who lost their lives on the Dos de Mayo but on 22 November 1985 King Juan Carlos I redesignated it in memory of all Spaniards who died in war and it now serves as Spain's national Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.[18]

One of the lions outside of the Congress of Deputies

In 1852 a plaque was erected on the spot where Daoíz's house stood in Seville, being replaced in 1869 by a twice lifesize statue depicting the pivotal moment of the Dos de Mayo when Daoíz decided to disobey his orders and resist the French.[2] A monument commemorating the "Martyrs of Liberty" who died on 2 and 3 May stands on the spot of Murat's executions and contains representations of both Daoíz and Velarde.[19] A monument to Daoíz also stands in Segovia, where he studied at the artillery academy and in Madrid the two statues of lions that stand outside of the Spanish Congress of Deputies building are popularly known as Daoíz and Velarde.[20] The Premio Daoíz military honour is awarded once every five years to an artillery officer in the Spanish Army.[21] The award in memory of Daoíz is for services to the nation in the preceding five years and the honorary sabre is presented by the monarch in a ceremony held at the Alcázar of Segovia on 2 May.[22]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Un Sevillano Forjó la Independencia". ABC de Sevilla (in Spanish). 2 May 2008. Retrieved 3 October 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag Domínguez, José Manuel Navarro. "Luiz Daoiz" (in Spanish). Retrieved 3 October 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Melero, María Casas (2 May 2008). "Otra vez: '¿Todos a una!'". (in Spanish). Retrieved 3 October 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Daoíz y Torres, Luís". ARBIL (in Spanish) (47–48). 4 February 2004. Retrieved 3 October 2010.
  5. ^ Tamarit, Emilio (1851). Memoria Historica del dia 2 de Mayo de 1808. Madrid: Establecimento Tipografico de Andres Pina. p. 16.
  6. ^ Ramirez, Braulio A. (1849). Corona fúnebre del 2 de mayo de 1808. Madrid: Impr. de la Vda. de D.R.J. Dominguez. p. 29.
  7. ^ Ramirez, Braulio A. (1849). Corona fúnebre del 2 de mayo de 1808. Madrid: Impr. de la Vda. de D.R.J. Dominguez. p. 30.
  8. ^ a b "Spain". Deutsches Historisches Museum. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  9. ^ a b "Documento" (in Spanish). ABC Newspaper. Retrieved 2 October 2010.
  10. ^ a b Wilson, Charles M. (2008). Liberty or Death!. Victoria, Canada: Trafford. p. 42. ISBN 9781425158521.
  11. ^ a b c d e f Wilson, Charles M. (2008). Liberty or Death!. Victoria, Canada: Trafford. p. 43. ISBN 9781425158521.
  12. ^ Spencer, Forrest Eugene (1918). Trozos de Historia, a Spanish Historical Reader (in Spanish). Boston, USA: Ginn and Company. p. 23.
  13. ^ Tamarit, Emilio (1851). Memoria Historica del dia 2 de Mayo de 1808. Madrid: Establecimento Tipografico de Andres Pina. p. 17.
  14. ^ Martinez, Maria Lara; Martinez, Laura Lara. La Guerra de la Independencia a través de sus protagonistas (1808-1814) (in Spanish). Liceus, Servicios de Gestió. p. 3. ISBN 8498220726.
  15. ^ Spencer, Forrest Eugene (1918). Trozos de Historia, a Spanish Historical Reader (in Spanish). Boston, USA: Ginn and Company. p. 24.
  16. ^ "Protaganistas" (in Spanish). Memoria de Madrid. Retrieved 3 October 2010.
  17. ^ "Estudio Arqueológico Informativo de las Obras de Nuevos Aparcamientos Subterráneos en la plaza de la lealtad" (PDF) (in Spanish). City of Madrid Archaeological Study. Retrieved 22 January 2011.
  18. ^ "El Rey inaugura el monumento a los caídos por España en presencia de ex combatientes de los dos bandos". El Pais (in Spanish). 23 November 1985. Retrieved 22 January 2011.
  19. ^ Spain and Portugal: Handbook for Travellers. Baedeker. 1898. p. 68.
  20. ^ "Los leones de las Cortes bajan del pedestal". El Pais (in Spanish). 1 November 1985. Retrieved 22 January 2011.
  21. ^ "El Rey presidió en Segovia la entrega del Premio Daoiz". El Pais (in Spanish). 3 May 1983. Retrieved 22 January 2011.
  22. ^ "El Rey entrega el sable del Premio Daoíz al teniente general Rodríguez Cerdido". El Mundo (in Spanish). 7 May 2008. Retrieved 22 January 2011.