Cannon of a primitive kind were used in Spain comparatively early. A large variety of names was given to these pieces, such as cerbatanas, ribadoquines, culebrinas, falconetes, pasavolantes, lombardas or bombardas, and many more; but the oldest, commonest, and most comprehensive name of all was trueno, "thunder," from the terrifying noise of the discharge. This word was used for both the piece and the projectile. The Count of Clonard quotes Pedro Megia's Silva de Varias Lecciones to show that gunpowder was known in Spain as early as the eleventh century. "Thunders" of some description seem to have been used at the siege of Zaragoza in 1118; and a Moorish author, writing in 1249, describes in fearsome terms "the horrid noise like thunder, vomiting fire in all directions, destroying everything, reducing everything to ashes." Al-Jattib, the historian of Granada, wrote at the beginning of the fourteenth century that the sultan of that kingdom used at the siege of Baza "a mighty engine, applying fire thereto, prepared with naphtha and with balls." The Chronicle of Alfonso the Eleventh describes in a quaint and graphic passage the crude artillery of that period, and the panic it occasioned. At the siege of Algeciras in 1342, "the Moors that were within the city threw many 'thunders' at the (Christian) host, together with mighty balls of iron, to such a distance that several overpassed the army, and some did damage to our host. Also, by means of 'thunders' they threw arrows exceeding great and thick, so that it was as much as a man could do to lift them from the ground. And as for the iron balls these 'thunders' hurled, men were exceedingly afraid thereof; for if they chanced to strike a limb they cut it off as clean as with a knife, and though the wound were but a slight one, yet was the man as good as dead; nor was any chirurgery that might avail him, both because the balls came burning hot, like flame, and because the powder which discharged them was of such a kind that any wound it made was surely mortal; and such was the violence of these balls, that they went through a man, together with all his armour."

Towards the close of the same century the testament of Don Pedro Tenorio (see p. 256), the bellicose archbishop of Alcala de Henares, who ruled that diocese from 1376 to 1399, contains the following passage: - "Item. We bought crossbows and bassinets both for foot and horse, together with shields, pikes, javelins, darts, lombards, hemp, powder, and other munitions for the castles of our Church; of which munitions we stored the greater quantity at Talavera and at Alcala de Henares, purposing to deposit them at Cazorla and in the castles of Canales and of Alhamin, which we are now repairing after they were thrown down by the King Don Pedro, and for the tower of Cazorla, which we are now erecting. And it is our will that all of these munitions be for the said castles and tower; and that no one lay his hand on them, on pain of excommunication, excepting only the bishop elected and confirmed who shall succeed us; and he shall distribute them as he holds best among the aforesaid castles. And all the best of these munitions shall be for the governorship of Cazorla, as being most needed there to overthrow the enemies of our faith; and we have duly lodged the shields and crossbows, parted from the rest, upon the champaign of Toledo; whither should arrive more shields from Valladolid, that all together may be carried to Cazorla."

Spanish Swords ( Royal Armoury, Madrid)

Spanish Swords ( Royal Armoury, Madrid)

The article from which I quote this passage adds that the palace of the archbishop at Alcala de Henares was fortified with cannon until the beginning of the nineteenth century.1

Cannon are mentioned with increasing fre-quency throughout the fifteenth century; and in the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella we read of lombards of enormous size, which had to be dragged across the Andalusian hills and plains by many scores of men and beasts; which frequently stuck fast and had to be abandoned on the march; and which, even in the best of circumstances, could only be discharged some twice or thrice a day.

In reading documents and chronicles of older Spain, it is easy to confound the early forms of cannon with the engines similar to those employed by the Crusaders in the Holy Land, and built for hurling stones or arrows of large size. Such engines were the trabuco, the almajanech or almojaneque, the algarrada, and the fundibalo or Catalan fonevol. Beuter, in his Chronicle of Spain and of Valencia, describes the latter as "a certain instrument which has a sling made fast to an extremity of wood.....made to revolve so rapidly that the arm, on being released, projects the stone with such a force as to inflict much harm, even in distant places, whither could reach no missile slung by the hand of man."

1 Escudero de la Pena; Claustros, Escalera, y Artesonados del Palacio Arzobispal de Alcala de Henares; published in the Museo Espanol de Antiguedades.

Turning to portable Spanish firearms, we find that the precursor of the arquebus, musket, and rifle seems to have been a weapon which was introduced about the middle of the fifteenth century, and called the espingarda. Alfonso de Palencia says it was employed against the rebels of Toledo in 1467; and the Chronicle of Don Alvaro de Luna relates that when this nobleman was standing beside Don Inigo d'Estiifiiga, upon a certain occasion in 1453, "a man came out in his shirt and set fire to an espingarda, discharging the shot thereof above the heads of Don Alvaro and of Iingo d'Estuniga, but wounding an esquire."

As time advanced, portable firearms of first-rate quality were made throughout the northern Spanish provinces, and also in Navarra, Cataluna, Aragon, and Andalusia. The inventory of the Dukes of Alburquerque mentions, in 1560, "four flint arquebuses of Zaragoza make.....another arquebus of Zaragoza, together with its fuse," and "arquebuses of those that are made within this province" {i.e. of Segovia). Cristobal Frisleva, of Ricla in Aragon, and Micerguillo of Seville were celebrated makers of this arm; but probably these and all the other Spanish masters of this craft derived their skill from foreign teaching, such as that of the brothers Simon and Peter Marckwart (in Spanish the name is spelt Mar-cuarte), who were brought to Spain by Charles the Fifth.1

Firearms 78Marks Of Toledan Armourers (15TH 17Th Centuries), From Swords In The Royal Armoury At Madrid

Marks Of Toledan Armourers (15TH-17Th Centuries), From Swords In The Royal Armoury At Madrid

The Royal Armoury contains some finely decorated guns, made for the kings of Spain at the close of the seventeenth century and early in the eighteenth, by Juan Belen, Juan Fernandez, Francisco Baeza y Bis, and Nicolas Bis. The last-named, pupil of Juan Belen, was a German; but all these gunsmiths lived and worked at Madrid. Nicolas was arquebus-maker to Charles the Second from 1691, and afterwards held the same post from Philip the Fifth. He died in 1726, and the Count of Valencia de Don Juan says that in 1808 - that is, before it was plundered by the mob - the Royal Armoury contained no fewer than fifty-three weapons of his manufacture. One of the guns which bear his mark, and still exist, is inscribed with the words, "I belong to the Queen our lady" (Isabel Farnese, first wife of Philip the Fifth), combined with the arms of Leon and Castile, and of the Bourbon family. This weapon was used, or intended to be used, for hunting.

1 The brothers Marckwart, or possibly one or other of them, are believed to have stamped their arquebuses with a scries of small sickles, thus:

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Diego Esquivel, another gunsmith of Madrid, was also famous early in the eighteenth century, as, later on, were Manuel Sutil, Jose Cano, Francisco Lopez, Salvador Cenarro, Isidro Soler (author of a Compendious History of the Arquebus-makers of Madrid), Juan de Soto, and Sebastian Santos.

Swinburne wrote from Cataluna in 1775; "the gun-barrels of Barcelona are much esteemed, and cost from four to twenty guineas, but about five is the real value; all above is paid for fancy and ornament; they are made out of the old shoes of mules."

Bridona Saddle (15th Century. Royal Armoury, Madrid)

Bridona Saddle (15th Century. Royal Armoury, Madrid)

Until 1793, the smaller firearms of the Spanish army were made at Plasencia in Guipuzcoa. In that year the government factory, where hand-labour alone continued to be used till 1855, was removed to Oviedo. To-day this factory employs about five hundred workmen. In 1809 Laborde wrote that "firearms, such as fusees, musquets, carbines, and pistols are manufactured at Helgoivar, Eybor, and Plasencia; at Oviedo, Barcelona, Igualada, and at Ripoll; the arms made at the latter city have long had a distinguished reputation. Seven hundred and sixty-five gunsmiths, it is estimated, find employment in the factories of Guipuzcoa."

Both Townsend and the foregoing writer give a good account of Spanish cannon at this time. According to Laborde, "two excellent founderies for brass cannon are royal establishments at Barcelona and Seville; in the latter city copper cannon are cast, following the method recom-mended by M. Maritz. Iron ordnance are made at Lierganez and Cavada." Townsend wrote of Barcelona, in 1786; "The foundery for brass cannon is magnificent, and worthy of inspection. It is impossible anywhere to see either finer metal, or work executed in a neater and more perfect manner. Their method of boring was, in the present reign, introduced by Maritz, a Swiss. Near two hundred twenty-four pounders are finished every year, besides mortars and field-pieces."