Between a humanitarian ethos and the military efficiency: The early days of the Spanish Red Cross, 1864–1876

Part of the Neuere Medizin- und Wissenschaftsgeschichte book series (NMW, volume 20)


Spain was officially represented at the preliminary international conference the “International Committee for the Assistance to Sick and Wounded Soldiers” (better known as the “Geneva Committee”) organised at Geneva in October 1863; and joined the Red Cross one year later on the occasion of the first Geneva Convention in August 1864.

This article explores the ambivalence between the humanitarian ethos and the military efficiency in the early Spanish Red Cross through the works of Nicasio Landa (1830–1891). A medical major of the Spanish Military Health Service, the co-founder of the Spanish section of the Red Cross in 1864, and its general inspector in 1867, Landa was its most active promoter, and responsible for its connections with the Geneva Committee and other national sections of this international association during its early times. He was not only an active correspondent, but also a prolific author of monographs, leaflets and articles in specialized and daily newspapers on humanitarianism and war medicine, in addition to being the founder of the Spanish Red Cross journal La Caridad en la Guerra in 1870.


Suspension System Geneva Convention General Inspector Military Health Prolific Author 
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© Centaurus Verlag & Media UG 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dept. of Historical Sciences — History of ScienceCSIC-IMFBarcelonaSpain

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