The Spanish Constitution of 1812 was established on the 19th March 1812 by the Cádiz Cortes, Spain's first national sovereign assembly, theCortes Generales, in refuge in Cádiz during the Peninsular War. It established the principles of universal male suffrage,national sovereignty, constitutional monarchy and freedom of the press, and supported land reform and free enterprise. This constitution, one of the most liberal of its time, was effectively Spain's first (see Constitutions of Spain), given that the Bayonne Statute issued in 1808 underJoseph Bonaparte never entered into effect.
Statue in honor of the Spanish Constitution of 1812. St. Augustine, Florida
The Constitution granted Spanish citizenship to natives of the regions that had belonged to the Spanish monarchy in both hemispheres.The Constitution of 1812 included Indigenous peoples of the Americas to Spanish citizenship, but the acquisition of citizenship for any caste of Afro-American peoples of the Americas was through naturalization excluding slaves. Spanish nationals were defined as all people born, naturalized or permanently residing for more than ten years in Spanish territories. Article 1 of the Constitution read: "The Spanish nation is the collectivity of the Spaniards of both hemispheres."Voting rights were granted to Spanish nationals whose ancestry originated from Spain or the territories of the Spanish Empire.