Puerta de Toledo [Original gate on the south of the old town opening onto the road going south to Toledo] Glorieta de Toledo (Toledo Traffic Circle) - Metro stop: Puerta de Toledo

La Puerta de Toledo
At the southern tip of the La Latina neighborhood of Madrid lies the Glorieta de Toledo (Toledo Traffic Circle) encircling the Puerta de Toledo, newest of the two remaining original gates through the wall that encircled Madrid until the middle of the 19th century. Toledo, to the south (we are looking north), was Spain's capital until Felipe II moved the government to Madrid in 1561.

In 1808 through trickery, Napoleon took over most of Spain and installed his brother Joseph as its king. The Spanish government moved to Seville and was able to drive the French north as Napoleon's fortunes waned in 1814. This period of Spanish history is dealt with heroically, if not fancifully, in the Jeanette McDonald-Alan Jones musical The Firefly (1937). With Rudolph Friml music plus the addition of the Donkey Serenade, Jones and McDonald enjoyed tremendous success playing spy and counterspy in this Spanish edition of the Napoleonic Wars.

Joseph Bonaparte started this gate as tribute to his brother, but, after the final French defeat, the gate, the third on Toledo Street, was designed and built (1816-1827) by Antonio López Aguado (architect for the Teatro Real) as a tribute to Fernando VII for driving the French out.

There are inscriptions on the monument in both Latin and Spanish. What you see in this photo is the Latin one. The Spanish inscription, presumably on the opposite side, reads:

"A Fernando VII, el Deseado, padre de la Patria, restituido a sus pueblos, exterminada la usurpación francesa, el Ayuntamiento de Madrid consagra este monumento de fidelidad, de triunfo y de alegría, Año MDCCCXXVII."
In English this is, more or less:
"To Fernando VII, the desired one, father of the homeland, restored to its peoples (with) the French incursion terminated, the Government of Madrid dedicates this monument of loyalty, of triumph and of joy, Year 1827."

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