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Number 4. July of 1998. Spanish language  Principal menu

Joaquín Costa Martínez


He was born in Monzón (Huesca) in 1.846 and he expired in Graus (Huesca) at 8 of November of 1.911. He is defined himself as "an aragonés peasant lined in intellectual". Joaquín, was the first of the many children of the second marriage of a farmer. From his infancy he demonstrated a clear intelligence and a great interest to the books, that to him gave certain qualifying between their companions. His extreme poverty caused many interruptions in his education. He studied in the Institute of Huesca (Spain), being earned the sustenance working with a his distant relation that was master of works. Then he noted the first symptoms of his disease (progressive muscular distrophy).

In the Exposition of Paris of 1.867 he was elected craftsman observant disciple, and there conceived ideas for his first book: "Ideas noted in the Universal Exposition of 1.867 for Spain and for Huesca". After achieving the baccalaureate in Huesca and he being made master and land-surveyor, procured brilliantly in the University of Madrid the Law Licentiate (1.872) and Philosophy and Letters (1.873); and the doctorate in Law (1.874) and in Philosophy and Letters (1.875). His intention of obtaining work in Madrid was seen truncated when, in a short trip to Huesca, is enamoured of a youth of Huesca from a good family (neo-catholic). He would get work in Huesca, but by his "Krausictics" trends, he was rejected by the youth; since then, he was devoted to the intellectual life only.

In the area of the History, combined his knowledge of Laws with his comprehension of the mores, of those which collected data not of Aragón only, but of Spain. His projects were appreciated by Hinojosa and by R. Altamira also. Of always he supported that the remedy to the evils of the country, would come revitelizeing and with the continuation of the ancient mores and social organizations that, cost to him the consideration of romantic and facilitated to him the link to other movements, as the Free Teaching Institution where explained History and Administrative Law. There he edited "The Bulletin" from 1.880 to 1.883. He was also representative of the Institution for the Pedagogic Congress of 1.882. His passion by the education, maintained to him in touch with the University Extension and the "Ateneo of Madrid", of the that he was President of the Historical Sciences section in 1.895. From year 1.896 to 1.897, discoursed on customary Law in the Superior Studies School, organizing inquiries after, as the famous of the "Oligarchy and Bossims".

One of the last acts of his life, it was the adhesion to the Historical Studies Center (March of 1.010) projected by Giner, Hinojosa and Castillejo. He directed his effort to improve the internal life of the country, and to that this one was participating in the Colonial Europe Movement from 1.882 to 1.887, being extended this anxiety to the Spanish interest in Africa and to the participation of propagandistic labor of the Abolitionist Society. He was one of the first in requesting autonomy for Puerto Rico and parliamentary representation to Philippines; wished the Hispanic - Portuguese Union in an Iberian block with respect to Africa. He exercised influence on the Society of Africanistics and Colonialistics, that evolved until to be converted into the Commercial Geography Society, whose "Revista" (Magazine) established and drafted himself. For this activity he had contact with cartographers (Coello and Beltrán, and Rózpide). The political events made to him to be separated of all "colonialistic" zeal. In 1.899 wrote almost propheticly that might be sold or be given these territories, Fernando Poo inclusive.

He criticized the shift system of the parties and the wrong use of the elections, but established the Contributor League of Ribagorza from the one which propeled social improvements and especially his HYDRAULIC POLITICS, Joaquín Costa portraitbeing candidate to elections in 1.895-96, but without success. He did not despair and on account of the disaster of 1.898 creates the National League of Producers to follow with his agrarian, municipal, economic and administrative reforms plan. To the League, were joined other groups being formed the National Union, of the one which he was president and ally with Basilio Paradise and Santiago Alba. This Union was failed in 1.900-1.901, but Costa did not abandon his political vocation and in a speech given in the Central Fronton of Madrid, he was declared republican himself. He was elected to Courts by Gerona, Zaragoza and Madrid, but without occupying seat. In 1.904 he communicated his resignation to the party, causing out in 1.906 apparently by his broken health. His last political act was in 1.908 with his report about the Anti-Terrorism Law. Always he maintained academic activity, but never received the university recognition. In 1.880 he was a member of the Real Academy of the History and also referee in the Aragoneses Juriconsults Congress of Zaragoza; in 1.884 he is vocal of the Foreign Legislation Commission and in 1.887 guest to be teacher of the Real Jurisprudence and Legislation Academy. He was admitted (in 1.901) in the Moral and Political Sciences Academy. For his trend "krausistics" drift he did not obtain ever his ambition: to be an University professor; though he was proposed, in several occasions, to the chair of History of Spain. As attorney and notary, he provided his "Reform of the public faith" that cost to him many enemies. In 1.895-1.904, was seen drawn into the famous case of "La Solana", of tragic consequences in 1.930.

Already in his maturity, he maintained relationship to an erudite dowager, of who had a daughter that adopted, before she is married. Costa died in Graus (locality that he was knowing from 6 years old), 8 of November of 1.911. He was buried in the Torrero Cemetery of Zaragoza. For Aragón, it is the area for which he understands, explores and defends to the Nation. Thus, he expressed "I am Spaniard two times, because I´m from Aragón". Aside from articles, speeches, manifestoes and forewords, let 42 books; between them: Iberian Studies (Madrid, 1.891-95); Agrarian Collectivism in Spain (Madrid, 1.898); Oligarchy and Bossims(Madrid, 1902); Reconstitution and Europeization of Spain (Barcelona, 1.902); The life of the Law (Madrid, 1.876). Furthermore, they exist many more written collected posthumously in the "Costa Library".

* Manuel Tomé Bosqued.

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