Spain’s first constitution turns 200 hundred today

Today marks the bicentenary of the enacting of Spain’s first, and the world’s third fourth, modern constitution, known as la Pepa because it was passed on Saint Joseph’s Day. (Pepe is the nickname for Joseph + “la” constitution is feminine in Spanish = Pepa.)

And, even though it didn’t last long, just six weeks (although it was also in force from 1820 to 1823 and between 1836 and 1837), it promised a lot for its time in terms of liberal democratic values.

According to Wikipedia, it “established the principles of universal male suffrage, national sovereignty, constitutional monarchy and freedom of the press, and supported land reform and free enterprise” and was apparently even used in the drafting of Norway’s constitution of 1814 and other constitutions in Latin America.

If you really feel like celebrating the bicentenary, you can even read an English version of Spanish Constitution of 1812 here.

So, as they say, ¡Viva la Pepa!


Written by Rob

Rob Lunn is a freelance legal translator based in Spain. He translates from Spanish and Catalan into English.

2 comments to “Spain’s first constitution turns 200 hundred today”
    • OK, cheers Marcin. It looks like you’re right. I had read it was the third somewhere, but I couldn’t find the article again to put a link in.

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