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The Liberal Revolution is the name given to a series of revolts and coup against the increasing authoritarian rule of King Johan I in 1880 and 1881.

BackgroundEdit

Early revoltsEdit

Brunant had been experiencing minor revolts throughout the 19th century, starting with the Coup of 1800. These protests were influenced by the political situation of the country, firstly against James Carrington's allies and then to the absolutist government. In 1848, there were minor disturbances similar to others in Europe demanding the right to vote. But, this revolt was mostly supported by rich bourgeois and the lower classes failed to protest. A compromise was reached where major political offices would be appointed by King Cristian I for limited terms and local offices would be elected by landowners. This was enacted in 1852.

Johan I's ruleEdit

When Cristian died in 1859, his son Johan I, a diehard conservative and reactionary, wanted to get rid of the post of president and elections. He found lots of resistance and found it hard to do this; his own ministers even counseled against it. In the summer of 1870, he finally dissolved the post of President. Filip Van Buskirk was arrested, but his own guards planned to turn against the king and freed van Buskirk. Eventually Johan restored the President to his office. But, by then there were many republicans, leftists and anarchists who wanted to see the king go.

Peasants RevoltEdit

Peasant revolt cape cross

The Peasants Revolt broke out in December 1880. The harvest that year was terrible and farmers in the countryside were in short need for food. Wealthy landowners in Central Island found their homes and land being invaded by angry peasants demanding food. King Johan's government responded by sending 2500 soldiers to the affected regions in order to crush the protests. Over 500 peasants were killed and many more were arrested, outraging many people in the country.

Koningstad uprisingEdit

Street barricade koningstad

With news of the atrocities reaching Koningstad, the middle and lower classes were outraged. In order to prevent further uprisings against him and using an "anarchist revolt in the countryside" as a pretext, King Johan used troops to dissolve congress and declared martial law on On January 26, 1881. President Pieter Van Neyt quickly moved to the republican camp. Koningstaders, especially workers and the lower-middle classes, who had long supported a democratic republic were instigated by Marxists, anarchist and the leftists in revolting. Barricades were set up by the people in the city and clashes took place with royalist troops. Merchants and businessmen resented the power of the King and the old nobility and were quick to join the republicans. Prince Fabian, the king's brother sent in soldiers and sharpshooters to break up the revolt and by February the city was split into a republican-controlled side and a royalist side. In March 1881 some 1000 soldiers of the Royal Guard mutinied and joined the republicans. The fatal blow to Johan's rule came in late March, when republican troops under Prince Pieter and Prince Eugen stormed the Realpaleis and took it. Johan was forced to flee the capital and went to the countryside.

Republican BrunantEdit

Republican coin

1881 1/2 Th. pattern coin

In northern Cape Cross Parish, the army garrisons, with the support of communists and republicans revolted. They executed their commanders and organized a march to Koningstad in order to assist the uprising. They expected many populist uprisings across Brunant, but they never materialized. News of the defeat of King Johan led the communist-inspired troops to attempt to seize control of the capital.

In the north, the republican side was virtually in control and declared itself the Republic of Brunant (Republiek van Brunant). The republic issued crude coinage in 1881, but most of the pieces have been destroyed and only 17 coins remain today. This republic, though, soon fell apart and was unable to exercise much control.

Final eventsEdit

Communists execution

Pieter took control of the royalist armies and quickly organized a truce between the royalists and republicans in Koningstad (August 1881). He announced that he would institute universal suffrage in the country and not abuse of royal power. Furthermore he stressed that the country was at risk of a communist takeover and only cooperation between the two sides would save Brunant. The liberal upper and middle class quickly agreed to this (for fear of losing their hard-earned wealth) and the lower classes were also encourage to defend their newly-won rights.

The communist leaders in were rounded up and executed, and rebelling soldiers were punished by the new government.

AftermathEdit

While the communists were defeated there was still lots of unrest among the lower classes. In March 1882 elections were first held nationwide and Filip Van Buskirk (Liberal) was overwhelming elected president. Meanwhile King Johan had fled the country in disguise and would later make it to Lovia.

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