Caudillo

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Caudillo (pronounced roughly as 'cow-DEE-yo', IPA: /kaʊ ˈdiː jo/) is a Spanish form of late Latin capitellum, from caput 'head' + the diminutive suffix '-ellu-'. It means 'head of state', or 'head of government', and has come to be used of (and by) populist leaders who come to power, often through violent means, as a result of popular support. They are usually dictators, with considerable charisma. There have been many caudillos in South America, where a political form is known as caudillismo; in Europe, the term has largely been reserved for the falangist General Franco (Francisco Franco y Bahamonde (1892-1975)). Franco was a Spanish general who led a rebellion in 1936 against the newly elected Popular Front left wing government, starting the Spanish Civil War, which lasted from 1936 to 1939. As head of state of Spain, he was known as 'Generalissimo' and El (the) Caudillo. Franco adopted the term as a direct translation of Mussolini's title of il Duce, which was rendered in German as der Fuhrer by Adolf Hitler.