The origin of “Spain is different”
It was Napoleon, not the Spanish government’s tourist ministry, that first used this phrase. Napoleon was referring to the type of warfare — guerrilla combat — that the Spanish used to defeat his army. The French weren’t accustomed to anything but “glorious” warfare and were eventually put down by the armed civilian uprisings.
According to Nicole Gottieri, the Chief Curator at the National Archives of France:
Spain at that time was far behind all the other countries in Europe. Napoleon considered the Iberian Peninsula another world — with people from the Dark Ages - dominated by clergy, according to Napoleon, who were illiterate, ignorant, and fanatical. He thought that there would be no resistance whatsoever. Napoleon didn’t take the trouble to study the country he was going to invade. He didn’t think the Spanish people had the will to hold on to their independence. - PBS
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