The Spanish Civil War began on 17 July 1936 with a military uprising at the Melilla garrison in Spanish Morocco. The garrison at Tetuán rose shortly afterwards and by the 19 July garrisons had risen all over mainland Spain. Initially the fighting was localized and confused. In some areas such as Burgos and Salamanca there was little resistance to the military rebels. In others areas, like Barcelona and Madrid, armed workers joined with loyal members of the security forces to quickly put down the rebellion.
The military establishment in the areas that remained loyal to the Republic was seriously compromised and viewed by many with suspicion. As an alternative to relying solely on the loyal military, militia units were hastily organized by the main unions, the CNT and UGT and by the various left-wing and Republican parties.
The militia units were able to stabilize a front line in Aragón and in the mountains to the north of Madrid. In the south however, they fared badly against the veteran troops of the Spanish Foreign Legion and Moroccan Regulares commanded by General Franco. With the rebels moving swiftly towards Madrid the Republican government attempted to create a new Popular Army with a unified command to face the mounting threat. This process was in the nascent stages when the rebel army arrived at the gates of Madrid. This web site examines the major battles that took place in Spain from that time until the end of the war.