The city offered exemplary help to the returnees of the War of Cuba

Always Beneficent: the monument that evokes the help of the city of Vigo to Spanish soldiers

The city of Vigo has, officially, the motto of "Field, Loyal, Courageous and Always Beneficent". Where does it come from?

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The part of "Field, Loyal and Courageous" was granted by the Central Supreme Board, in the name of King Ferdinand VII, during the War of Independence from Spain (1808-1814), for having been the first city in Europe that managed to defeat and expel Napoleon's French troops after they invaded it.

As for the part that says "Always Beneficent", it was granted to the city by the Government of Spain in 1905, for the help given by the residents of Vigo to the Spanish soldiers repatriated from Cuba in 1898 , after the defeat in the war against the United States.

On November 14, 2020, the Vigo Port Authority inaugurated a monument commemorating that generous aid. Today, taking advantage of a visit to the combat supply ship "Patiño" A-14 of the Spanish Navy, I have had the opportunity to photograph it.

The monument, the work of the sculptor José Molares and located at the Muelle de Transatlánticos (Ocean Liners Dock, next to the Maritime Station), is extremely beautiful, and shows a woman in traditional Galician dress helping a battered soldier.

On the monument, on the right, there are two plaques, one in Spanish and the other in Galician, which commemorate those events. You can read here the transcription of the plaque in Spanish, traslated to English:


In 1898 and after the cessation of hostilities between the United States and Spain, there was still a huge number of Spanish soldiers in Cuba to repatriate and who were also in terrible health conditions.

Between September 2 and October 6, 1898, the repatriates began to arrive at the Ría de Vigo in a series of ships belonging to the Transatlantic Company. The people of Vigo are moved and from the first moment they turn to the battered soldiers, showering them with attention in an extraordinarily supportive behavior. Several popular revolts take place against what is considered a lack of attention towards the heroic soldiers and the indignation is such that the Government decides, probably fearing new riots, to put an end to the landings in Vigo in October. The number of people disembarked in Vigo stands at 7,406 on five ocean liners.

All the people of Vigo took to the streets to help the soldiers, showing a sensitivity that the Government itself had not had, contributing when they had, food of all kinds, clothes, medicines and cash . In view of this impressive popular reaction, the Government granted the title of "Always Beneficent" to the city of Vigo, which today is present on its coat of arms. The people of Vigo gave a notable example of solidarity and humanity, which cannot be forgotten and must be remembered.


The monument has a great expressiveness and is also made very realistic. The soldier has a Mauser Model 1893, the rifle used by the Spanish troops during the Cuban War, leaning next to him.

The soldier wears a uniform, with the number 73 on his neck and also on his backpack, in which there is a bayonet in its sheath. The man wears a bandage on his head and only has one boot. The other foot is barefoot and bandaged.

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