The history of Spain has been marked by several popular uprisings, the two most notable of which are the struggle against the occupying forces of Napoleon Bonaparte and the Spanish Civil War. These two historical events have inspired many works in both belle artes and popular culture that are significant for the Bold Caballeros and Noble Bandidas project. Famous examples of fine arts that refer to these events include Goya’s 1814 painting El tres de mayo and Robert Capa’s 1936 photograph Death of a Loyalist Soldier. Wartime heroes such as Juan Martín Díaz ("El Empecinado") and Agustina de Aragon inspired movies, songs, and art. One example of popular culture's recognition of Napoleon's Peninsular War is the 1957 film The Pride and the Passion.

The Spanish word “guerrilla,” which means literally a “little war,” became the basis for the English use of the word ( which is pronounced akin to "gorilla") as a person who engages in irregular warfare and especially as a part of an independent group. The proper Spanish word for such a fighter is “guerrillero.”

Guerillas at the Gate: Spain's Popular Uprisings Influence Art, Popular Culture, and Language