Francisco Ferrer y Guardia

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Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia

Francesc Ferrer y Guàrdia (10 January 1859 - 12 October 1909), (known as Francisco Ferrer i Guardia in Englishpr shortly Francisco Ferrer), was a Spanish Catalan "free-thinker" and anarchist.

He was born in Alella (a small town near Barcelona). A supporter of Spanish republican leader Ruiz Zorilla, Ferrer was exiled to Paris with his wife and children in 1885. Divorcing his first wife in 1899, he remarried a rich Parisian teacher some time after.

In 1901 he returned to Spain and opened la Escuela Moderna (The Modern School) to teach middle-class children (then) radical social values, the school was free. In 1906 he was arrested and accused of helping with Mateu Morral's attack on King Alphonso XIII and released a year later. His school failed and closed while he was incarcerated.

Early in the summer of 1908, after his release from jail, he wrote the story of the Modern School. The book was called The Origins and Ideals of the Modern School and was translated into English by Joseph McCabe and published by the Knickerbocker Press in 1913.

When the martial law was reused in 1909 during the Tragic Week, he was arrested, convicted without any proof and executed by firing squad at Montjuich Fortress in Barcelona on 13 October.

After his execution, numerous supporters of Ferrer's ideas in the United States formed what were called Modern Schools, or Ferrer Schools. The first and most important Modern School was formed in New York City in 1911, and then later a community was founded around a school, known as Ferrer Colony and Modern School.

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