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August 8, 1897, the Spanish Premier Antonio Canovas del Castillowas Assassinated to Avenge Execution of Rizal

On August 8, 1897, Sunday afternoon in Spain, a lone gunman shot then Spanish Prime Minister Antonio Canovas del Castillo point-blank, and killed him. The gunman, Italian Anarchist Michele Angine Golli, was immediately arrested, and the news was received by a country in panic. But the strangest part of this tale is how the Italian assassin invoked the name of Philippine hero Jose Rizal in his defense.

Golli confessed that he killed Canovas to avenge the Barcelona Anarchists and Don Jose Rizal who was executed in Manila over 7 months earlier, on December 30, 1896 as an instigator of the Philippine rebellion which Dr Rizal denied.

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The wife of the Premier was at a short distance away from her husband when the crime was committed, rushed to his side upon hearing the shots, and, seeing her husband dying on the ground, she bitterly reproached the murderer for his crime. Golli in reply said:

“I respect you because you are an honorable lady. But I have done my duty, and I am now easy on my mind, for I have avenged my friends and brothers at the Montjuich.”

Montjuich is the fortress of Barcelona, outside of which the Anarchists who have been sentenced to death for outrages have been executed by being shot at the back. 

Dr. Jose Rizal was held at the Montjuich before he was sailed back to Manila to face the charges brought against him and his eventual execution.

Manila born and Minister of War, General Mercelo de Azcarraga, was appointed on August 10 as Prime Minister ad interim.

Most recently, on April 2011, the City of Barcelona honored Rizal with the inauguration of the “Sala Jose Rizal” room at the Montjuich.

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