Madrid Mayor Alberto Ruiz Galardon last week opened the exhibition “Madrid, 2 de Mayo. 1808-2008. Un pueblo, una nación (One people, one nation), at the Conde Duque Cultural Centre, one of several events to mark the 200th anniversary of the start of the War of Independence, known as the Peninsular War in Britain. On that date, a 4,000-strong mob armed with little more than knives, bricks and boiling oil took on well-trained and well-armed French troops in the belief that they were saving King Ferdinand VII from being kidnapped and taken to France. The French put down the uprising in a matter of hours and topped it off with the arbitrary execution of 41 men and women, which Goya immortalised in his painting “Dos de Mayo”.

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