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comuneros (kōmo͞onāˈrōs), in Spain and Spanish America, citizens of a city or cities when organized to defend their rights against arbitrary encroachment of government. The first great revolt of comuneros in Spain was the uprising (1520–21) of the comunidades (autonomous cities) of Castile against the measures of Emperor Charles V. In Spanish America, the revolt of the comuneros of Paraguay, led by Antequera y Castro against Gov. Diego de los Reyes Balmaseda and continuing against viceregal and Jesuit opposition from 1723 to 1735, was one of the first considerable democratic uprisings of Latin America. In the comunero insurrection of New Granada (1780–81), 60 cabildos rejected new taxes and sought reforms.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an uprising of the medieval self-governing towns of Castile in 1520–22, directed against royal absolutism and defending urban liberties.

In July 1520 the insurgent towns (including Toledo, Segovia, Murcia, Avila, Burgos, and Madrid) formed the Holy League (Santa Junta) with its center in Avila. A significant portion of the nobility, as well as some of the middle and lower clergy, supported the movement. The insurgents insisted that king Charles I (who had become Holy Roman Emperor) live in Spain and demanded removal of foreigners from the administration, regular convocation of the Cortes, broadening of urban self-government, and prohibition of the export of gold. The broad scope of the movement, which by 1521 had acquired an anti-noble character, induced the nobility to turn to the king. In the battle of Villalar (Apr. 23, 1521) the forces of the Comuneros, led by Juan de Padilla, were defeated. Padilla and other leaders of the league were taken prisoner and executed. In 1522 the resistance of the insurgents was finally broken. Government repression lasted until 1526.


Kalinina, Z. P. “Aprel’skoe vosstanie 1520 g. v Toledo.” In the collection Naukovi zapysky, vol. 2. L’vov. 1948.
Höffer, C. von. Der Aufstand der castillianischen Städte gegen KaiserKarl V 1520–1522. Prague, 1876.




participants in the anti-Spanish uprising in New Granada (present-day Colombia) between March and October 1781. The Comuneros, who numbered up to 20,000, demanded abolition of royal monopolies, decrease in taxes, and secession from Spain. Wealthy criollos, such as Berbeo and Plata, led the uprising, which began in Socorro. The real leader of the Comuneros was J. A. Galán, who gave the insurgents the name League of the Oppressed Against the Oppressors. The uprising was suppressed by the Spanish authorities and Galán and his comrades were barbarously executed, but it exerted a revolutionary influence on all the countries of Latin America.


Gonionskii, S. A. “Vosstanie komuneros v Novoi Granade (1781).” Novaia i noveishaia istoriia, 1971, no. 1.



(Confederation of Spanish Comuneros), a leftist current in the Spanish Revolution of 1820–23, which arose as a secret organization at the end of 1820. Although the members of the organization advocated struggle against the counterrevolution, they did not regard themselves as republicans. Their basic principles (popular sovereignty, social contract theory) contributed, however, to the spread of republican ideas in Spain. After the revolution prominent members of the Comuneros became republicans in exile. In the fall of 1822 the most radical of them demanded the “overthrow of the tyrant” (King Ferdinand VII). At the end of 1822 the rightist elements left the organization, which was subjected to harsh repression. After the fall of the constitutional regime the organization ceased to function.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
El mito de las libertades medievales, construido esencialmente en torno a los comuneros de Castilla y a los fueros de la Corona de Aragon, fue importantisimo para la retorica liberal durante la Guerra de la Independencia.