When World War I broke out in Europe in the autumn of 1914, a young diplomat was sent to Jerusalem to take charge of the Spanish consulate in the city. Antonio de la Cierva y Lewita, better known as Conde de Ballobar, recorded the events he witnessed and described his experiences and opinions in a unique document that has become an invaluable resource for historians. Ballobar's diary provides an unparalleled insight into late Ottoman Jerusalem - and the upheavals of wartime life in the city - and includes a detailed account of the battle amongst the local churches over control of the city's holy places. Also touching upon the spread of Zionism and the establishment of British rule, Ballobar writes as a privileged observer of an exceptionally complex historical period. Available in English for the first time, this book will be essential reading for students and scholars of the late-Ottoman Empire and World War I in the Middle East.
Antonio de la Cierva y Lewita - Conde de Ballobar and Duque de Terranova - was born in Vienna in 1885 where his father was serving as Spanish military attache. In 1911 Ballobar entered the Spanish consular service and in May 1913 Ballobar was appointed consul in Jerusalem. In 1920 he married Rafaela Osorio de Moscoso and the year after Ballobar resigned his commission as consul and moved back to Spain where he served the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with different assignments. Between 1949 and 1952 he served again as consul in Jerusalem and until 1955 as director of the Obra Pia. Ballobar died in Madrid in 1971 aged 86. Eduardo Manzano Moreno is Research Professor at the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC) and Director of its Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales (CCHS). His research has concentrated on the history of Muslim Spain and the political implications of historical memory. While studying at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, he came across references which led him to identify, locate and publish in Spanish the Diaries of Conde de Ballobar. His recent publications include, "The Iberian Peninsula and North Africa", in The New Cambridge History of Islam; Epocas Medievales and La gestion de la Memoria. Roberto Mazza is Assistant Professor in the Department of History, Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL. He is also Research Associate in the Department of History at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.