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a constituent assembly in Spain during the Spanish Revolution of 1808-14. Convened on Sept. 24, 1810, on the island of León, it was transferred to Cádiz on Feb. 20, 1811, and sat until Sept. 20, 1813.
The Cortes adopted a number of important resolutions aimed at strengthening the revolution. In October 1810 it enacted a law establishing equality between Spaniards and Latin Americans and guaranteed freedom of speech and the press. In August 1811 a law was promulgated abolishing seignorial rights and privileges; and in February 1813 the Inquisition was abolished and laws directed against the religious orders adopted. The Cortes began to confiscate and sell church lands and abolished a number of taxes that had been imposed for the benefit of the church. Guilds and corporations of artisans were abolished, and free trade between Spain and its American colonies was established.
On the whole the legislation of the Cádiz Cortes embodied the chief demands of the bourgeois revolution. However, the Cortes was unable to take the lead in the struggle of the masses against the French occupation forces, which had invaded Spain in 1808, or against the forces of domestic reaction. The Cortes’ authority extended only to the small part of Spain free of foreign occupation. The Cortes could not bring itself to confiscate the land belonging to secular feudal owners and to distribute it among the peasants. The most important step taken by the Cádiz Cortes was the adoption of the Cádiz Constitution of 1812.
REFERENCESMarx, K. Revoliutsionnaia Ispaniia. In K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 10.
Maiskii, I. M. Ispaniia, 1808-1917. Moscow, 1957.
Trachevskii, A. S. Ispaniia deviatnadtsatogo veka, part 1. Moscow, 1872.