Anyone who has visited Plaza de la Merced will have doubtless spotted the enormous obelisk located right in its centre. However, you may be surprised to find out that it actually sits atop a mass grave.
It contains the remains of General José María de Torrijos y Uriarte, and 48 others, who were put to death after leading an ill-fated expedition to overthrow King Ferdinand VII of Spain in 1831.
In 1813, Ferdinand VII was restored to the Spanish throne by the British, having rejected the liberal constitution of 1812. His repression of any opponents to his autocratic rule drove many into exile, including General Torrijos, who sought refuge in London and became the leader of a group determined to defend the cause of liberty in Spain.
They set sail (financed largely by Robert Boyd, a former British Army officer in India from Northern Ireland, who also accompanied the expedition) and eventually landed on El Charcón beach near Fuengirola.
They had been expecting to lead an uprising. However, they had been betrayed. The governor of Malaga, Salvador González Moreno, sent a message to Madrid asking what he should do with the rebels. King Ferdinand VII wrote back: “Shoot them all”.
As a result, they were shot by firing squad on San Andrés beach in Malaga, on 11 December 1831.
In 1842, eleven years later, the obelisk was put up by popular demand as a monument to Torrijos and all the men who died with him.
They now lie buried beneath it, with the exception of Boyd, who was buried in the English Cemetery.
Daryl moved to Malaga permanently in 2014 having first fallen in love with the city on his Erasmus year. After working for many years at local expat newspaper SUR in English, Daryl gained expert knowledge in life from the perspective of foreign residents and decided to co-found Malaga Guru in 2016.