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Battle of Alcolea, 7 June 1808


Battle of Alcolea, 7 June 1808

The battle of Alcolea, 7 June 1808, was a French victory early in the Peninsular War. By the summer of 1808 large parts of Spain were in revolt against the Spanish, but Napoleon had received overly optimistic reports from Spain, and did not realise the true extent of the uprising. As a result he decided to dispatch a number of flying columns from Madrid to deal with what he believed were a number of separate revolts. General Pierre Dupont was dispatched to deal with the revolt in Andalusia at the head of a column of 13,000 men – one infantry division and two cavalry brigade. Dupont’s force was very inexperienced. His infantry division only contained one veteran French battalion, along with six battalions of raw recruits, two from the Paris Municipal Guard, one from Helvetic Confederation and four battalions of Swiss mercenaries previously in Spanish service, while his cavalry force was made up entirely of recruits.

Fortunately for Dupont his first Spanish opponents were even less experienced. The Junta of Andalusia had placed Don Pedro de Echávarri, a retired colonel, in command of their forces. He commanded a force of 10,000-12,000 volunteers, who only received their arms a few days before the battle, supported by 1,400 regulars with eight guns. Echávarri needed more time to create an effective army, but it was essential that he attempted to defend Cordova, and so he decided to defend the bridge at Alcolea. With more experienced troops his plan may have had a chance of success. He used his regular troops to defend the bridge itself. The volunteers were split up. Part of the force was posted alongside the regulars, while the rest were hidden on the far side of the river. Once the French began to attack the bridge, this force was to attack the French flanks.

Dupont reached the bridge on 7 June. He began the battle by bombarding the Spanish position, before ordering an attack on the defenders of the bridge. The Spanish regulars defending the bridge began to be pushed back. The Spanish then launched their crucial flank attack, but Dupont’s inexperienced cavalry proved to be superior to the Spanish volunteers, and drove them off. The Spanish regulars defending the bridge were then overwhelmed, and the remaining volunteers fled, not stopping until they were well past Cordova. The Spanish suffered 200 casualties, while the French only lost 30 dead and 80 wounded.

Dupont’s army then approached Cordova. The city was undefended, although the gates were closed. While negotiations were underway a few scattered shots were fired at the French, and Dupont used this as an excuse to break off negotiations and attack the city. Once inside Cordova Dupont lost control of his troops, who brutally sacked the city. The sack of Cordova and the Spanish response to it played a crucial part in making the Peninsular War unusually brutal.

Dupont’s triumph was short lived. On 19 July 1808 he was forced to surrender at Bailen (or Baylen), the first major defeat suffered by a Napoleonic army. Napoleon himself was furious, and Dupont was disgraced, while the victory helped to encourage Napoleon’s enemies across Europe.

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Contents

The French detachment of 3,800 soldiers under General of Brigade François Xavier de Schwarz emerged from Barcelona on June 4, advancing in the direction of Saragossa–Lleida. A rainstorm that day slowed their march considerably the delay gave time for local Spanish forces, composed of militia from the neighboring villages, Spaniards volunteers (sometent), and Swiss and Walloon soldiers from the Barcelona garrison (2,000 men), to mobilize for action. The Spaniards were led by General Antoni Franch i Estalella and deployed along Bruc Pass.

The resulting stand was a success, [1] and the French under General Schwarz were turned back to Barcelona with the loss of 360 dead, 800 wounded, 60 prisoners, and one gun captured. The Partisans also captured an Imperial Eagle, adding to defeat a humiliation for the French army. [2]

French army Edit

  • Schwartz Column - Brigadier-General Francis Xavier Schwartz, Commander in Chief
    • 1st Regiment Neapolitan line (2 battalions - 1940 men)
    • 2 Line Regiment Switzerland (3rd battalion - 580 men)
    • 2nd Regiment of the line (3rd battalion - 610 men)
    • 1st Regiment of Chasseurs Neapolitan (2 squadrons - 160 men)
    • 3rd Regiment Provisional cuirassiers (1 squadron - 100 men)
    • 11° Italian artillery company (section 1 - 2 guns)

    Spanish forces Edit

    • General Antoni Franch i Estalella, Commander in Chief
      • 260 regulars and militia (Captain José Viñas)
      • 200 regulars and militia (Francesc Riera Balaguer)

      A second French sortie on June 14 led by General of Division Joseph Chabran succeeded only in putting to the torch several buildings in El Bruc after being defeated and repelled by the Spanish forces led by Joan Baiget. On 15 June, the Spanish attacked the French in their painful withdrawal to Barcelona, causing to Chabran more than 500 dead and wounded. [3]


      Contents

      The French detachment of 3,800 soldiers under General of Brigade François Xavier de Schwarz emerged from Barcelona on June 4, advancing in the direction of Saragossa–Lleida. A rainstorm that day slowed their march considerably the delay gave time for local Spanish forces, composed of militia from the neighboring villages, Spaniards volunteers (sometent), and Swiss and Walloon soldiers from the Barcelona garrison (2,000 men), to mobilize for action. The Spaniards were led by General Antoni Franch i Estalella and deployed along Bruc Pass.

      The resulting stand was a success, [1] and the French under General Schwarz were turned back to Barcelona with the loss of 360 dead, 800 wounded, 60 prisoners, and one gun captured. The Partisans also captured an Imperial Eagle, adding to defeat a humiliation for the French army. [2]

      French army Edit

      • Schwartz Column - Brigadier-General Francis Xavier Schwartz, Commander in Chief
        • 1st Regiment Neapolitan line (2 battalions - 1940 men)
        • 2 Line Regiment Switzerland (3rd battalion - 580 men)
        • 2nd Regiment of the line (3rd battalion - 610 men)
        • 1st Regiment of Chasseurs Neapolitan (2 squadrons - 160 men)
        • 3rd Regiment Provisional cuirassiers (1 squadron - 100 men)
        • 11° Italian artillery company (section 1 - 2 guns)

        Spanish forces Edit

        • General Antoni Franch i Estalella, Commander in Chief
          • 260 regulars and militia (Captain José Viñas)
          • 200 regulars and militia (Francesc Riera Balaguer)

          A second French sortie on June 14 led by General of Division Joseph Chabran succeeded only in putting to the torch several buildings in El Bruc after being defeated and repelled by the Spanish forces led by Joan Baiget. On 15 June, the Spanish attacked the French in their painful withdrawal to Barcelona, causing to Chabran more than 500 dead and wounded. [3]


          Introduction

          In the annals of history, there are probably no warfare operations more brutal than guerrilla fighting or more futile for a large standing army such as the French occupation army in 1808-1814 continental Spain. Early in the nineteenth century, a French autocrat named Napoleon sent invading troops to Spain and Portugal in order to block the British from using ports on the Iberian Peninsula to ship goods into the European Countries.

          This project of extraordinarily exceeding ambition was thereafter named the &ldquoContinental Plan&rdquo, as it aimed to have British manufactured goods blocked from entering into the markets of France, Italy, Belgium, Holland and other nations under military imposed domination.

          In this essay, the primary motives and the ensuing results of this invasion into the Iberian Peninsula have been examined.

          The political and diplomatic blunderings of the Emperor of the French are another matter of disquisition, pointing out that although Napoleon&rsquos conquering ambitions were claimant, he exhibited weakness in diplomacy, and that it was especially a colossal strategic stalemate violating the liberties and the legitimate sovereignty of the Spanish people.

          His political decisions were inclined to a personal thinking autonomy and often based upon handing out favors to friends and relatives, a still reviving manifestation of nepotism, and an abuse of power, as when the crown of Spain was given to his brother Joseph.

          In the Peninsular conflict, Napoleon wholly underestimated the individual capabilities, the patriotic zeal, and the martial attitudes of the common people further, he did not consider at all that the lived religious experience of the people, and their deep faith, would have been the true banner in the oncoming struggle against the foreign oppressors.

          The Spanish Bourbons were devout Catholics as the majority of the Spanish people were since long centuries. In metropolitan France the Church had greatly suffered the constrictions and persecutions during the social turmoil of the French Revolutionary events (1789-1794), as well were other parts of the Empire subjected to the days of Napoleon&rsquos despotism. Fidelity to God, to the Church, and the monarchy, was a much stronger and brighter horizon of life in the Peninsula.

          History often repeats itself through the time: Rome&rsquos legions tried to subdue Spain territories, but did not acquire better results than the French foreign armies obtained in years of convulsive reactions. In the twentieth century, during the Second World War (1939-1945), Germany&rsquos heavy casualties caused two-front war against Russia armies and Western Europe Allied powers proved a disaster of endless proportions. Guerrilla warfare had paramount analogies as it was the nemesis of the United States military confrontation in the Southern Asian strategic sphere (Vietnam).

          Pitilessly engaged in Spain and Portugal, Napoleon contended with both a double-front war (against the Anglo-Lusitanian-Spanish regular forces) and the guerrilla tactics of the Spanish insurrectional parties. Against all odds, that proved an unbearable weight and the final destruction.

          As the famous exile stated in his Memoirs at St. Helena, &ldquoThat miserable Spanish affair is what killed me!&rdquo.

          The Napoleonic invasion of Spain[1] was a reproachable military affair, and the similarities to a colossal blundering had a remarkably regressive strategic outline for the post 1804 conquering politics of the Empire. From the year 1807 to 1814, French troops tried to overwhelm Portugal and Spain through major operational strategies overall military planning attempted to hold the conquered territories against the determined efforts of the British forces, Portuguese militias, Spanish regulars, and Spanish unsurrectional levies: the guerrillas.

          Military operations were conditioned by severely tested complications and hard fought resistance efforts on the battlefields by opposing forces. Overawed by foreign phalanges (the French contingents numbered almost 300,000 equivalences on ground at the zenith of their presence disappointing enough, the troops were quite often limited in tactics, such as the possibility of easy concentration), the belligerancy was usually referred as the Peninsular War.

          When Spain&rsquos royal dynasty were imprisoned by Napoleon, and their armies defeated and partially destroyed, the Spanish people rose up in arms to oppose the foreign invader and the threat of war hung over the country. New interim governments came into life &ndash the juntas &ndash corroborated by the vigour of newly formed insurrectional levies and aggressive fighting-parties (guerrilleros). Contemporaries called these salient events the levantamiento de 1808, or revolución de 1808, straightly referred in English as the Revolution of the year 1808. However remarkable were the magnitude and the blood-sheddings of these conflicts they marked an inter-active turning point in the history of the contending countries.[2]

          Portuguese and Spanish societies were revolutionized by the shocking waves of years-long warfare.

          Because of the compelling dictates of the military contest, fiercely fought siege operations ensued towns underwent systematic destruction of houses, palacios (i.e. noble mansions), and churches.

          The ravages and convulsions wrought by the invaders had a seemingly conditioning mark of despondency on the urban societies, which had to endure unmentioned spoliations and abominable recrudescences of cruelty and slaughter.

          Food shortage, then heavy a burden, was a further incidence, therefore providing victuals became an onerous and demanding task in consequence, countrysides and hamlets were subjected to excessive plundering.

          Although victorious were the opening strategic moves, French martial glories suffered telling blows to the laurels, like in the consuming defeat suffered at the batalla de Bailén, on July 18-22, 1808 (in the Prado Museum, a polychromatic reproduction of the clashing, entitled La Rendición de Bailén, or La Capitulación de Bailén , has been masterfully painted in 1864 by José Casado del Alisal).

          Any history researcher delving deeper on this topic, will be prone to consider that, because of prolonged war emergencies and local intricacies on land, the strategic frame (and its cohesive applications concerning the defence of the Spanish Nation) did represented the main source of popular worrying, and the ultimate focus of everything happening in the devasted Iberian Peninsula [3] .

          The Hydra of the Political Power, and the Inefficiency of the Operations

          Invading Spain was a cumbersome failure its political incongruities were manifested by the contituted order of the peoples &ndash largely substantiated on the centuries-old establishment of the monarchic sovereignty &ndash and it strongly marked the devolution of the French system which was conditioned by Napoleon&rsquos strong will (and quite unrestrained ambition for ever growing territorial annexations).

          Under the circumstances, any right of applied democracy was &ndash apparently &ndash delegitimized to the Spanish society. However, this unfolding adventure was as upsetting a paradox as in like manner were Napoleon&rsquos mounting ambitions, and a blameful coup d&rsquo epée which revealead his ineptitude in popular politics.[3] The Corsican General exhibited all the limits of his actual political experience, and he should not have embarked upon the political contingencies of another country on the contrary, in the sustained role of French emperor, he had to act as a shrewd moderator with acumen and diplomatic ductility.

          His enthusiastic mental projections and easy military planning were to be eluded in a short period. Optimism made him consider the possibility of a rapid conquest. Spanish territories, despite their rugged mountainous extension, were thought to be only a minor obstacle. For one&rsquos intellectual capabilities, and seemingly multifaceted history interests, ignoring the lessons of classical history that proved a colossal strategic mismatch with culture.

          A stirring memento would have been sufficient to know that it took nearly two hundred years for Rome dominate the land, but not securing their sphere of dominance in Iberia.

          The lesson of this peculiar theme of ancient history, and its military outcome, were not of marginal importance, but, due to conceited attitudes, these references of knowledge were practically neglected in the steps of diplomacy and political behavourism.

          The Spanish quagmire, a most appropriate term used to suitably define the continued empasse facing the French invading armies, presented lacerating contradictions. The real motivations of the military invasion were dictated by the ambiguity of Napoleon, and by severe discrepancies of his ego dominated by unquenching ambition and uncontained harassments of vainglory. A further strident remark, by comparison with the military command, was represented by the 1804 honorific title of Emperor conferred by popular consent (the proclamation as emperor of the French was issued by the Senate on May 18 coronation followed instead on December 2, in the cathedral of Notre Dame, in Paris).

          Beyond any fairly rethorical conception, the title had its majestic power and resonances. Imperator, for the ancient Roman civilization, was the one who detained the supreme command &ndash imperium &ndash of the troops in one military campaign Caius Iulius Caesar (100-44 B. C.) had this title, and so Iulius Caesar Ottavianus Augustus (63 B. C.-14 A. C.), it passed then to properly designate the head of the Empire.

          La guerre d&rsquo Espagne failed because Napoleon Bonaparte applied the only idiosyncratic paradigm he had wrongly followed and experienced since the first Italian campaign of 1796-1797: conquest, through military invasion that meant hegemony (and geo-strategical accomplishment) through strong military powers. It was the heavy toll of post-revolutionary military campaigns, and long range offensive pushings of the armées de la Republique.

          And Napoleon&rsquos steadly affected personality was subdued by this eighteenth century inheritance, as well as by the thematic postulations of the guerre preventive, contrast and weakness of the whole French society uprooted in the smoking forge of Mars.

          The Corsican General had lost his projectual liberty and his life-giving personality in twelve years of conflits quite on the contrary, intead of following the brigh horizon of his intellectual talents, he was enslaved to the dictacts of characterial instability.

          As it seems, there is every evidence &ndash reading through coeval historical narratives &ndash that protracted warfare urgencies had effectively absorbed his human identity, and pushed him well ahead to the limits of his intellectual border zone.

          The Man and His Mask: the Farce is Over

          Nearly twenty-five years ago, I had the finest possibility to acquire a history work of definitely a talented English historian &ndash to say the least. This outstanding masterpiece, an invaluable detailed narrative, is well preserved in my collection. Quite after a time, a narrative passage which focused the dichotomy of democracy imposed by coercive resources and heavy applied military constrictions, is still a spouting source of deep reflection. Words so ensued in a critic specification:

          &ldquo[&hellip] the summer of 1808 saw Napoleon&rsquo s power stagger under terrible blows. Not only did he lose Spain and Portugal and the subsidies which they had meekly paid, but most of the 15,000 Spanish troops which had served him on the shores of the Baltic &ndash in 1807, King Charles IV agreed to provide a divisional force to bolster French army contingents in Germany this auxiliary division of the North was headed by a talented General-officer named Don Pedro Caro y Sureda, marqués de La Romana (October 2, 1761-January 23, 1811) &ndash found means to slip away on British ships and put a backbone into the patriotic movements in the north of Spain. But worst of all was the loss of that moral strength which he himself reckoned as three-fourths of the whole force in war.

          Hitherto he had always been able to marshal the popular impulse on his side. As the heir of the Revolution he had appealed, and not in vain, to the democratic forces which he had hypnotized in France but sought to stir up in his favour abroad. Despite the efforts of Czartoryski and Stein to tear the democratic mask from his face, it imposed on mankind until the Spanish Revolution laid bare the truth and at St. Helena the exile gave his own verdict on the policy of Bayonne: &ldquoIt was the Spanish ulcer which ruined me&rdquo.

          The author: John Holland Rose (1855-1942) the work, entitled The Life of Napoleon I, was a 1903 publication edited by George Bell and Sons, London.

          Quotations is from Vol. II, p. 173.

          Pondering on the Spanish problem, Napoleon had forever a mark of repentance:

          «I embarked very sadly on the Spanish affair, I confess: the immorality of it was too patent, the injustice too cynical, and the whole thing wears an ugly look since I have fallen for the attempt is only seen in its hideous nakedness deprived of all majesty and of the many benefits which completed my intention» &ndash Napoleon.

          Appendix

          For the King and for the Country: t he bando of the Alcaldes of Móstoles

          The municipal bando (i.e. proclamation) was issued and officially signed on May 2, 1808, by the Alcaldes (i.e. mayors) of Móstoles.

          Its urgent necessity originated from the popular levantamiento (i.e. uprising) which had happened at Madrid, against the presidial French troops who were stationed in the capital town.

          To gave it authority, and legitime ordinancy, the bando was signed by 73 years old Andrés Torrejón García, alcalde ordinario de Móstoles por el Estado Noble, and Simón Hernández Orgaz, Estado General u Ordinario, aged 62.

          Further, the bando compilation was due to Don Juan Pérez Villamil y Paredes (he was born at Santa Marina, Puerto de Vega-Navia, on May 1, 1754), a jurisconsult and Asturian writer &ndash and it was soon widespread in many places laying in the surroundings of the way to reach the Extremadura.

          It is essentialy recognized that the bando had a very specific and basically determined intention.

          That was aimed as a petition for auxiliary forces: that is to alert the people of Toledo and Extremadura to soon order into the field the milicias, and to provide adequate armed support and covering to Madrid. Acting under the present circumstances of striking necessity, it was a most urgent calling to arms to repell the French invaders. The text, asking for outstanding patriotic efforts to save the homeland, denoted reverberating exhortations of honour and popular determination it read as follows:

          "Señores Justicias de los pueblos a quienes se presentase este oficio, de mí el Alcalde de la villa de Móstoles: b

          Es notorio que los Franceses apostados en las cercanías de Madrid y dentro de la Corte, han tomado la defensa, sobre este pueblo capital y las tropas españolas de manera que en Madrid está corriendo a esta hora mucha sangre como Españoles es necesario que muramos por el Rey y por la Patria, armándonos contra unos pérfidos que so color de amistad y alianza nos quieren imponer un pesado yugo, Después de haberse apoderado de la Augusta persona del Rey procedamos pues, a tomar las activas providencias para escarmentar tanta perfidia, acudiendo al socorro de Madrid y demás pueblos y alentándonos, pues no hay fuerzas que prevalezcan contra quien es leal y valiente, como los Españoles lo son.

          Dios guarde a Ustedes muchos años. Móstoles dos de Mayo de mil ochocientos y ocho.

          "Gentlemen Justices of the peoples to whom one was presenting this office, of me the Major of the town of Móstoles :

          It is well-known that the Frenchmen placed in the outskirts of Madrid and inside the Court, have taken the defence, on this cardinal people and the Spanish troops : so that in Madrid it is pouring out at this hour a lot of blood as Spaniards is necessary that we die for the King and for the Homeland, arming ourselves against the perfidious some that his colour of friendship and alliance they want us to impose a heavy yoke, After having taken possession of the August person of the King let&rsquo s proceed so, to take the active providence to punish so much perfidy, coming to the help of Madrid and other peoples and getting well, since there are no forces that prevail against whom it is loyal and brave, as the Spanish are.

          God keeps to you many years. Móstoles on the second of May of one thousand eight hundred and eight. Andrés Torrejón. Simón Hernández ."

          The person who was entrusted to made known this bando in Andalucía was the postillion Pedro Serrano, and he soon progressed via Navalcarnero, and Talavera de la Reina.

          The news were to reach Sevilla, Córdoba, and Cádiz.

          And it was nearly one month later, on June 6, 1808, that the Junta Suprema Central was established at Sevilla &ndash aka: Junta Suprema Central de Sevilla.

          Chronology

          1807, 27 October: in a secret convention signed at Fontainebleau, Spain agreed to support the Continental System, and Napoleon&rsquos hegemony views implying the partition of Portugal (in three kingdoms: the kingdom of Northern Lusitania the Algarve, in the South, plus the Alentejo and the Portugal reduced with the remaining part of the territory) between France and Spain November: in pursuance of the above-mentioned treaty, French army corps under the leadership of Jean-Andoche Junot occupied Portugal the ruling family, the Braganza, and King João VI, escaped to Rio de Janeiro (Brasil) without opposing armed resistance.

          1808, February: on the cunning pretensions to have reinforcements sent to Junot, exceeding numbers of French troops entered through Spain territories Barcelona, Figueras, Monjuik, Pamplona (29 February), and St. Sebastian were put under French control &ndash that was a fairly complex strategy to gain possessions of strongholds, and a political escamotage to secure Spain to France&rsquos domination.

          17 March: flanking of the Spanish monarchial establisment mutiny and revolt of Aranjuez by which hereditary Prince Ferdinand VII eliminated the pernicious influences of Godoy.

          19 March: Palace revolution: deposition of King Charles IV (Carlos IV de Borbón Portici, November 11, 1748-Rome, January 20 1819) and Minister Manuel Godoy Álvarez de Faria Ríos Sánchez Zarzosa (Badajoz, May 12, 1767-Paris, October 7, 1851) Ferdinand VII (Fernando VII de Borbón, San Lorenzo de El Escorial, October 14, 1784-Madrid, Sepetember 29, 1833) ascended to the throne.

          23 March: French Marshal Joachim Murat, Grand Duke of Berg, entered the town of Madrid.

          14 April: Napoleon arrives at Bayonne.

          2 May: popular uprising in Madrid &ndash levantamiento del dos de Mayo &ndash against the French invaders &ndash savagely crushed by Murat&rsquos troops. One of the townsfolk who lost their lives was Doña Manuela Malasaña Oñoro, a 15-year-old bordadora (i.e. seamstress) native of M ó stoles. The intrepid young girl (daughter of Juan, and of Maria Oñoro, lived in calle de San Andrés num. 18) had run to the prompt defence of the artillery park at Monleón (nowadays Plaza del 2 de Mayo), but she was put in chains and executed because she had been discovered carrying a pair of tijeras (i.e. scissors), that were considered in that brutal circumstance an offensive weapon. Her mortal remains were buried in the Hospital de la Buena Dicha dedicated to Nuestra Señora de la Concepción.

          3 May: execution of hundreds Madrilene prisoners, who have been captured bearing white and fire weapons &ndash considered as straight evidence of their connection and support with the violent anti-French rising.

          5-6 May: the monarchs of Spain, Charles and Ferdinand met Napoleon at Bayonne, and were coerced to abdication thus favouring a foreign power, in the person of Joseph Bonaparte (one of Napoleon&rsquos brothers).

          6 June: first battle of the Bruch.

          7 June: battle of the bridge of Alcolea.

          14 June: second battle of the Bruch.

          15 June: Joseph Bonaparte is proclamed king of Spain &ndash it is the revolt against the invaders.

          20 June: first siege of Gerona.

          21 June: fight at the River Cabriels.

          24 June: fight at the Cabrillas defile Spanish efforts are uncessfull to prevent Marshal Bon-Adrien-Jannot de Moncey from reaching Valencia.

          8 July: an assembly formed by seventy-five notables officially promulgated the Constitution of Bayonne. The document virtually transformed the Spanish absolute monarchy in a constitutional monarchy. June-August: the heroic siege of Zaragoza was lead by José de Palafox.

          14 July: victory of Jean-Baptiste Bessières at Medina del Rio Seco against the Anglo-Spanish troops leaded by Joaquín Blake y Joyes.

          19-23 July: At Bailén, French army units sent to conquer Seville are captured by the insurretional forces.

          General Pierre Dupont de l&rsquoÉtang 18,000 army force is surrounded, and defeated by the Spanish troops lead by Don Francisco Javier Castaños Aragorri Urioste y Olavide, Count of Castaños y Aragones.

          27 July - 20 August: second siege of Gerona.

          1 August: King Joseph and the court evacuated Madrid.

          August: a British expeditionary force counting a combat-manpower of 12,300 equivalences landed in Portugal, near Figuera da Foz, at the mouth of the River Mondego, under the command of Sir Arthur Wellesley.

          13 August: Madrid is taken by the Spanish.

          14 August: the first siege of Saragozza is over Dominique-Honoré-Antoine-Marie Vedel is forced to have his troops withdrawn largely on the tactical consequences of the débâcle at Bailén.

          17 August: combat of Roliça (Portugal) &ndash Wellesley defeated the French troops under Général Henri-François Delaborde.

          21 August: the French forces are inflicted a signal battle success at Vimeiro (British losses: 720 killed and wounded French casualties: 2,000 killed and wounded, plus 13 artillery pieces captured).

          30 August: having not adequate strategic option to safely reach the French forces in Spain, Junot is compelled to negotiate a convention at Cintra acting on its application, Lisbon is surrendered to the British, thus allowing the repatriation of his army units to metropolitan France on the Royal Navy sailing vessels.

          27 October: Spanish defeat near Logrofio.

          29 October: defeat of Zornosa.

          30 October: Napoleon enters in Spain with 135,000 men.

          5 November : battle of Valmaceda.

          7 November: Combat at Guenes.

          9 November: French occupation of Burgos.

          11 November: combat of Espinosa.

          11 November: Napoleon enters Burgos, and staying up to 20 November.

          10-11 November: victory of Espiñosa.

          11 November: combat of Gamonal.

          23 November: battle of Tudela.

          30 November: battle at the mountain pass of Somo Sierra.

          4 December: capitulation of Madrid.

          The French sovereign promulgates the Décrets de Chamartin (i.e. decrees of Chamartin): the feudal rights are abolished, the Inquisition tribunal is abolished, the monasteries are secularized and theirs large possessions swallowed.

          16 December: battle of Cardadeu.

          21 December: cavalry action at Sahagun: Henry William Paget defeats César-Alexandre Debelle.

          22 December: passage of the sierra de Guadarrama.

          29 December: battle of Benavente.

          Bibliographical note and further reading

          Chandler , David, G.. The Campaigns of Napoleon. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1966.

          Esdaile, Charles, J. The Spanish Army in the Peninsular War. Manchester University Press, 1988.

          Esdaile, Charles, J. The Peninsular War. Penguin Books Ltd., 2003.

          Esdaile, Charles, J. Fighting Napoleon. Guerrillas, Bandits and Adventures in Spain 1808-1814. Yale University Press, 2004.

          Fletcher, Ian, Cook, Andy. Fields of Fire: Battlefields of the Peninsular War. Da Capo Press, 1994.

          Fletcher, Ian, Duke of Wellington (Foreword), Chandler, D., Esdaile, Charles, J., Haythornthwaite, Philip, J., Griffith, P., Gill, J., Chamberlain, P., Grehan, J.. The Peninsular War: Aspects of the Struggle for the Iberian Peninsula. Spellmount Publishers Ltd., 1998.

          Fletcher, Ian. The Campaigns of Wellington, Vol 1. The Peninsular War 1808-1811, Vol. 2. The Peninsular War 1812-1814. The Folio Society, 2007.

          Gates, David. The Spanish Ulcer: A History of the Peninsular War. Cambrige, MA.: Da Capo Press, 1986.

          Glover, Michael. The Peninsular War, 1807-1814: A ConciseHistory. David & Charles, Newton Abbot Archon Books, New York, 1974.

          Glover, Michael. Legacy of Glory: the Bonaparte kingdom of Spain . Scribners, 1971 Leo Cooper, London, 1972.

          Napier, William, F., P., Sir. History of War in the Peninsula and in the South of France from the Year 1807 to the Year 1814. London, George Routledge & Sons, 1814.

          Glover, Michael. English Battles and Sieges in the Peninsula. London , John Murray, 1910.

          Oman , Charles, W., Sir. A History of the Peninsular War. Oxford , Claredon Press: 1902.

          Oman , Charles, W., Sir. Wellington&rsquo s army, 1809-1814. London: Edward Arnold, 1912.

          Southey, Robert. History of the Peninsular War. J. Murray, 1837.

          Suchet, Marshal Duke D&rsquoAlbufera. Memoirs of the War in Spain. Pete Kautz, 2007.

          Weller, J.. Wellington in the Peninsula. Greenhill Books, 1999.

          Amade. Voyage en Espagne. Paris, Auch, Encelin et Pochart, s.d.. (1822-1823).

          Beauchamp, Alphonse. Histoire de la guerre d&rsquo Espagne et de Portugal, pendant les années 1807 à 1813. Plus la campagne de 1814 dans le midi de la France, par le colonel sir John Jones, avec des notes et des commentaires. Paris, Germain Mathiot - Mongie - Lemmonier, 1819.

          Belmas, J.. Journaux des Siéges faits ou soutenus par les français dans la Péninsule de 1807 à 1814. Paris, 1836.

          Clerc, Lieutenant-Colonel. La Capitulation de Baylen. Paris, 1903.

          Espinchal, Hippolyte, D&rsquo. Souvenirs militaires. Pub. par F. Masson et F. Boyer. Paris, Ollendorff, 1901.

          Fugier, A.. Napoléon et l&rsquo Espagne. Paris, 1930.

          Gonneville (Colonel de). Souvenirs militaires. Publiés par la comtesse de Mirabeau, sa fille, et précédées d&rsquoune étude par le général baron Ambert. Paris, Didier, 1876.

          Grasset, A.. La Guerre d&rsquo Espagne. Paris, 1914.

          Guillon, E.. Les Guerres d&rsquo Espagne sous Napoléon. Paris, 1902.

          Laffaille (Général). Mémoires. Toulouse-Paris, Privat et Didier, 1931.

          Larchey, L.. Les Suites d&rsquo une capitulation. Paris, 1884.

          Lejeune (Général). Sièges de Saragosse. Paris, Firmin-Didot, 1840.

          Nogues (Général). Mémoires sur les guerres de l&rsquo Empire. Pub. par le baron A. de Maricourt. Paris, Lemerre, 1922.

          Paulin (Général baron). Les Souvenirs. Pub. par le capitaine du génie Paulin-Ruelle son petit-neveu. Paris, Plon, 1895.

          Percy (Baron). Journal de campagnes. Pub. d&rsquoaprès les manuscrits inédits avec une intro. par E. Longin. Paris, Plon, 1904.

          Pichon, L. A.. De l&rsquo État de la France sous la domination de Napoléon Bonaparte. Paris, H. Nicolle, 1814.

          Rogniat, Joseph (Baron). Relation des Siéges de Saragosse et de Tortose par le Français dans la derniére guerre d&rsquoEspagne. Paris, 1814.

          Roux, G.. Napoléon et le Guêpier espagnol. Paris, 1970.

          Thiry, J.. La Guerre d&rsquo Espagne. Paris, 1966.

          Titeux, Eugène. Le Général Dupont. Puteaux-sur-Seine, Prieur et Dubois, 1903.

          Vedel (Comte). Précis des opérations militaires en Espagne, pendant les mois de juin et de juillet 1808, avant la capitulation du général en chef Dupont, à Baylen et Andujar. Suivi de pièces justificatives. Paris, Gueffier, s.d..

          Victoires, Conquêtes, désastres, revers et guerres civiles des Français, de 1792 à 1815. Paris, C. L. F. Panckoucke, 1818-1822.

          Chandler , David, G. Le Campagne di Napoleone. Rizzoli Editore, Milano, 1981.

          Oman , Charles, W., Sir. I Marescialli di Napoleone. Rizzoli Libri S.P.A., Milano, 1988.

          Las Cases, De, Emmanuel. Il memoriale di Sant&rsquo Elena. Gherardo Casini Editore, Roma, 1962.

          Alvarez Valdes, Ramon. Memorias del levantamiento de Asturias en 1808. Imprenta del Hospicio Provincial, Oviedo, 1889.

          Armas, De, Rumeu Antonio. El bando de Móstoles. Madrid, 1940.

          Artola, Miguel. Los afrancesados. Madrid, 1989.

          Artola, Miguel. La Guerra de la Independencia. Madrid, 2007.

          Arzadun, Juan. Fernando VII y su tiempo. Madrid, 1942.

          Belmas, J.. Zaragoza, 1808 y 1809. Los Sitios vistos por un francés. Edición de Herminio Lafoz. Ed. Comuniter, 2003.

          Casamayor, F.. Diario de Los Sitios de Zaragoza (1808-1809). Ed. Comuniter, 2000.

          Daudevard de Ferussac, André-Etienne-Just-Paschal-Joseph-François. Diario histórico de los Sitios de Zaragoza. Vertido al español por F. J. J.. Casa Editora: Librería de C. Gasca, Zaragoza, 1908.

          Lafoz Rabaza, Herminio. El General Palafox. Heroe de la Guerra de la Independ encia. 2006.

          Lopez Tabar, Juan. Los Famosos Traitores. Los afrancesados durante la crisis del Antiguo Régimen (1808-1833). Madrid, 2002.

          Madrid, el 2 de mayo de 1808. Viaje a un día en la Historia de España. Madrid, 1992.

          Moral Roncal, Antonio M.. El reinado de Fernando VII en sus documentos. Ariel, 1998.

          Notes:

          [1] Terminological definitions do sensibly vary, according to the parts (and responsabilities) involved in the conflict. In France, this conflict is still denominated Guerre d&rsquo Espagne. In Portugal, it is generally mentioned as the French Invasions in Spain, the most common and notorious definition is Guerra de la Independencia (i.e. War of Independence), otherwise stated as Guerra de Independencia Española (i.e. War of Spanish Independence).

          [2] Political, social and military consequences were terrific this manifest violation must be stigmatized by any researcher and analytic scholar. Ineffectual as it was, the invasion of Spain was a mark of infamy on account of the bloodsheding sustained by the French troops and cruel aggravations which incurred to the local civil population (most especially defenceless senescents, women, and preadolescents).

          [3] For the long range military occupation (an appealing infringement tantamount to trepassing the National identity, the political institutions, and the right of self-determination of the people), this oppression would cause Napoleon to be considered under the imputation of military autocracy: in primis, toward the establishment of the French army, which was instrumental at mantaining the regime by coercive resources in the second place, usurping the legitime claims of political liberty and democracy of the Spanish people, which were openly devouted to the monarchic establisment and to the institutionalised power. The influence of the clergy was then of remarkable incidence, and religion proved a true spreading force of social unity all over the country regions.

          Since centuries, in Spanish society the lived experience of the Roman Catholic faith was a daily cohesive force, and it soon turned into a palpitating patriotic élan against the foreign oppressors.

          Worth mentioning, on May 23, 1808, are the promptitude and raising of arms which occurred in the province of Oviedo, due to the exhortative summons of Canon Lllan Ponte &ndash a provisional Junta was steadly organized, and a declaration of hostilities against the usurper was soon set.

          At Valencia (24 May, 1808), the town was taken under control, and on the night of 5 June an aggressive impetus was aimed at the French presence, with fatal casualties of many as 338 soldiers.


          MISC BRIT OVERSEAS

          A - Miscellaneous British OB's in Europe

          British Invasion of Hedic and Houat, 11 August 1795
          British Garrison of Miorca, 12 May 1800
          Proposed British Expedition to Hanover, 16 October 1805
          British Expeditionary Forces to Italy, Landed in Naples
          20 November 1805
          2nd British Division on the Weser, 1 January 1806
          Embarked Force of General Cathcart, 15 February 1806
          British Forces Under General Stuart In Italy (Maida)
          25 June – 6 July 1806
          British Reinforcements to Sicily, December 1806
          British forces under Fraser Mackenzie, Embarked 21 February 1807
          KGL Arriving at Rugen, 8 July 1807
          British Forces in the Fleet of Admiral Gambier, Destined for Denmark, 26 July 1807
          British Invasion Force of Denmark, 16 August 1807
          British Forces Embarked from Sicily, 1 December 1807
          British Expeditionary Force to the Scheldt, 28 July 1809
          British Forces Embarked in Milazzo, 11 June 1809
          Leading Wave at Landing, British Expeditionary Force to the Scheldt, 29 July 1809
          Second Wave at Landing, British Expeditionary Force to the Scheldt, 29 July 1809
          New Organization of British Army, Scheldt Expedition, 1 August 1809
          British Expeditionary Force to the Scheldt, 28 July 1809
          British Invasion Force of Zante and Cephallonia
          23 September 1809
          British Forces Departing Zante under General Oswald, 21 March 1809


          English intervention in Portugal

          On 1 August 1808 British troops landed in Portugal, about 12,000 men. The joint supreme command was initially held by the generals Sir Harry Burrard and Sir Hew Dalrymple, as they had earlier patents as Major General Arthur Wellesley. Wellesley (the later Duke of Wellington) was still underestimated in Europe, as he had previously fought only in India. The army consisted of British troops and a large contingent of the King’s German Legion. In addition, a number of British officers joined the Portuguese army. These reformed the army according to the British model. The Portuguese who were under the command of General Bernardim Freire soon became reliable allies.

          After Wellesley had occupied the mouth of the Mondego, French troops under Junot were reported, these were already advancing against the landing troops. Wellesley and his troops defeated the French vanguard under Delaborde in the Battle of Roliça on August 17, and later Junot’s main force in the Battle of Vimeiro on August 21 at Torres Vedras, west of the Lower Tagus. Generals Burrard and Dalrymple prevented Wellesley’s intention to cut off and destroy Junot’s troops in Lisbon. Although they were both experienced generals, they made a serious tactical error: In the Cintra Convention, the two British generals agreed that the French army, along with equipment, could be taken to Quiberon on British ships. The leading generals were ordered back to Great Britain and court-martialed. When the French handed over control to the British on 15 September and the Portuguese government was not yet formed, British General John Hope became the virtual administrator of Portugal. Hope returned to his troops to evacuate a French force stationed southeast of Elvas. Sir John Moore was sent with the rest of the troops to Almeida in the northeast and took over command of the British army in Spain for the time being. Wellesley was quickly rehabilitated. Moore marched to Madrid in November, but had to retreat to the Biscay after Napoleon’s advance through Asturias. His rearguard successfully engaged the pursuing French in rearguard action on 21 December at Sahagún and 29 December at Benavente.


          Time line of the Peninsula War

          The following table shows the sequence of events of the Peninsular War from the years (1807 to 1814). It also includes major battles, smaller actions, uprisings, sieges and other related events that took place during the peninsula war period.

          For ease of reference using modern maps, the provinces/regions given for Spain and Portugal are those that correspond to the 20th century, that is, resulting from the 1976 Constitution of Portugal and the processes of devolution of Spain’s transition to democracy (1979), which created 17 autonomous communities (regions) and 2 autonomous cities. This affects, in particular, the historical regions and provinces of León and Old Castile (Spanish: Castilla la Vieja), constituted in 1983 as Castile and León. Events in Portugal and France are specified.
          Overview

          The Peninsular War (a) was a military conflict for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars, waged between France and the allied powers of Spain, the United Kingdom and Portugal. It started when French and Spanish armies, then allied, occupied Portugal in 1807, and escalated in 1808 when France turned on Spain, its former ally. The war on the peninsula lasted until the Sixth Coalition defeated Napoleon in 1814, and is regarded as one of the first wars of national liberation, and significant for the emergence of large-scale guerrilla warfare. British and Portuguese forces eventually secured Portugal, using it as a safe position from which to launch campaigns against the French army, while both Spanish and Portuguese guerrillas weakened the occupying forces.

          The Peninsular War overlaps with what the Spanish-speaking world calls the Guerra de la Independencia Española (Spanish War of Independence), which began with the Dos de Mayo Uprising on 2nd of May 1808 and ended on 17th of April 1814. Although Spain had been in upheaval since at least the Mutiny of Aranjuez (March 1808), May 1808 marks the start of the Spanish War of Independence. The French occupation destroyed the Spanish administration, which fragmented into quarrelling provincial juntas. In 1810, a reconstituted national government, the Cádiz Cortes—effectively a government-in-exile—fortified itself in Cádiz but could not raise effective armies because it was besieged by up to 70,000 French troops. The combined efforts of regular and irregular forces throughout the peninsula prevented Napoleon’s marshals from subduing the rebellious Spanish provinces, and the war continued through years of stalemate.

          The final stages of the Peninsular War were fought on French soil, as the French army was pushed further back across the Pyrenees.

          2nd–18th October 1807
          French troops enter Spain en route to Portugal Irun, Basque Country
          Manoeuvre (French)
          Junot crosses into Spain with 28,000 troops. The Treaty of Fontainebleau, to be signed later that month, stipulates that three columns of Spanish troops numbering 25,500 men will support the Invasion of Portugal. Junot enters Portugal 19th November.

          27th October 1807
          Treaty of Fontainebleau signed by Charles IV of Spain and Napoleon I of France
          Fontainebleau
          Treaty
          The accord proposed the division of the Kingdom of Portugal and all Portuguese dominions between the signatories.
          19th–30th November 1807
          Portugal (Invasion of) Portugal.

          29th November 1807
          Transfer of the Portuguese Court to Brazil
          The Royal Court of Portugal, headed by the Prince Regent, Prince John and his mother, Maria I of Portugal, set sail for Brazil, escorted by the British Royal Navy, led by Sir Sidney Smith and Sir Graham Moore (younger brother of Sir John Moore).

          17th−19th March 1808
          Aranjuez (Mutiny of) Aranjuez, Madrid
          9th March 1808
          Abdication: Charles IV of Spain abdicates in favour of his son, Ferdinand VII
          Aranjuez, Madrid

          23rd March 1808
          Murat enters Madrid
          Madrid Manoeuvre (French)
          In his letter to his brother Louis, dated 27th March 1808, offering him the throne of Spain, Napoleon stated that he had 100,000 troops in Spain, and that 40,000 of them had entered Madrid with Murat on 23rd March 1808.

          24th March 1808
          Ferdinand VII enters Madrid
          Madrid Manoeuvre (French).

          2nd May 1808
          Dos de Mayo Uprising
          Madrid Uprising: French victory
          Following the fighting at the Royal Palace, rebellion spread to other parts of the city, with street fighting in different areas including heavy fighting around the Puerta del Sol, the Puerta de Toledo and at the barracks of Monteleón. Martial law was imposed on the city. Hundreds of people died in the fighting, including around 150 French soldiers. The uprising was depicted by the Spanish artist Goya in The Second of May 1808 (The Charge of the Mamelukes) and The Third of May 1808.

          24th May 1808
          Dupont marches from Toledo
          Toledo – Córdoba
          Manoeuvre (French)
          After having originally received orders from Murat to head for Cádiz, and countermanded by Napoleon, thinking that his troops might be needed in Madrid, Dupont finally leaves Toledo with 18,000 second-line troops, originally raised as provisional or reserve formations, intended either for internal police services or garrison duty.

          5th June 1808
          Despeñaperros Jaén, Andalusia
          Spanish victory (guerrillas)
          Two squadrons of French dragoons were attacked by insurgents at the northern entrance to the pass of Despenaperros, a steep gorge (defile) in the Sierra Morena, that separates Castile-La Mancha (including Madrid) and Andalusia, and forced to retreat to the nearby town of Almuradiel.

          5th June 1808
          Santa Cruz de Mudela (Uprising of)
          Ciudad Real, Castile-La Mancha Uprising: Spanish victory
          The 700 French troops stationed in the village of Santa Cruz de Mudela are attacked by the population. 109 French soldiers are killed and 113 taken prisoner, while the rest flee back in the direction of Madrid, to Valdepeñas.
          6th June 1808
          Porto (Uprising of)
          Porto (Portugal)
          Uprising: Spanish victory
          On hearing of the rebellion in Spain, Spanish General Belesta, having participated in the Invasion of Portugal, and stationed in Porto with 6,000 Spanish troops, captures the French General of Division Quesnel, and marches to Coruña to join the fight against the French troops, sparking off a series of uprisings throughout the north of Portugal.

          6th June 1808
          Valdepeñas (Uprising of)
          Ciudad Real, Castile-La Mancha Uprising: Spanish victory

          Following the previous day’s uprising in Santa Cruz de Mudela, Ligier-Belair and Roize, at the head of some 800 troops, together with some 300 soldiers that had escaped from the Santa Cruz uprising prepare to march through the town of Valdepeñas. The population attack the leading column and Ligier-Belair sends in the dragoons, who are also forced to retreat. The resulting truce stipulates that the French troops will not pass through the village in return for a day’s worth of food supplies. The guerrilla actions at Santa Cruz and Valdepeñas, together with more isolated actions in the Sierra Morena itself, effectively cut French military communications between Madrid and Andalusia for around a month.

          6th June 1808
          Coronation of Joseph I
          Madrid
          Napoleon’s elder brother, Joseph Bonaparte, proclaimed King of Spain. His reign lasted until 11th December 1813, when he abdicated and returned to France after the French defeat at the Battle of Vitoria in 1813.

          6th June 1808
          Bruch (First battle of)
          Barcelona, Catalonia
          Spanish victory
          See also Bruch (Second battle of). Often grouped together as one battle, there were in fact two separate battles, separated by more than a week, with different armies and commanders involved: of the 12th French regiments that participated, only one of them fought at both battles.

          7th June 1808
          Alcolea Bridge (Battle of)
          Córdoba, Andalusia
          French victory
          At Alcolea, 10 km from Córdoba, Dupont’s troops are engaged in their first battle in Andalusia against 3,000 regular troops under Pedro Agustín de Echávarri who try to protect the bridge over the Guadalquivir. The same day, Dupont captures Córdoba.

          7th June 1808
          Córdoba
          Córdoba, Andalusia
          French victory
          On their way to Seville, and ultimately to Cádiz, Dupont’s 18,000 troops capture Córdoba, ransacking the city over four days. However, damaging guerrilla actions force Dupont to withdraw towards Madrid to meet up with Gobert’s division, that had set out from Madrid on July 2nd to reinforce Dupont. Only one brigade of this division ultimately reached Dupont, the rest being needed to hold the road north (to Madrid) against the guerrillas.

          9th June 1808 – 14th June 1808
          Rosily Squadron (Capture of)
          Cádiz, Andalusia
          Spanish victory.

          19th June 1808
          Vedel marches from Toledo
          Toledo – La Carolina
          Manoeuvre (French)
          Vedel, with the 6,000 men, 700 horse, and 12 guns of the 2nd Division, sets out south from Toledo to force a passage over the Sierra Morena, hold the mountains from the guerrillas, and link up with Dupont, pacifying Castile-La Mancha along the way. Vedel is joined during the march by small detachments under Roize and Ligier-Belair.

          26th June 1808
          Puerta del Rey (mountain pass)
          Jaén, Andalusia
          French victory
          Vedel’s column face Lieutenant-Colonel Valdecaños’ detachment of Spanish regulars and guerrillas with six guns blocking the mountain pass. The following day, Vedel meets up with Dupont at La Carolina, reestablishing military communications with Madrid after a month of disruption. With the reinforcements from Vedel and Gobert, Dupont now has 20,000 men, albeit short of supplies.

          12th June 1808
          Cabezón (Battle of)
          Valladolid, Castile and León
          French victory.

          14th June 1808
          Bruch (Second battle of)
          Barcelona, Catalonia
          Spanish victory
          See also Bruch (First battle of).

          15th June 1808 — 14th August 1808
          Zaragoza (First siege of)
          Zaragoza, Aragón
          Spanish victory.

          20th and 21st June 1808
          Gerona (Battle of)
          Girona, Catalonia
          Spanish victory.

          24th June – 26th June 1808
          Valencia (Battle of)
          Valencia, Valencia
          Spanish victory.

          27th June 1808
          Gijón: Arrival of British officers
          Asturias
          Delegation
          In response to the Junta General of Asturias’ request to London, the Portland administration sent three British Army officers, led by a lieutenant colonel, to Gijón to assess the state of affairs. Following the Spanish victory at Bailén the following month, the Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, Viscount Castlereagh sent a second delegation, led by General Sir James Leith, who arrived in Gijón on 30th August 1808 charged with seeing how the north of Spain could be reinforced to prevent Napoleon sending in more troops through Irun, and isolating him in Madrid or Burgos. Leith would join Baird’s forces in November 1808.

          14th July 1808
          Medina de Rioseco (Battle of)
          Valladolid, Castile and León
          French victory
          Also known as the Battle of Moclín, from the name of a nearby hill held by Spanish infantry.

          16th July 1808 – 19th July 1808
          Bailén (Battle of)
          Jaén, Andalusia
          Spanish victory (decisive)
          Having lost some 2,000 men on the battlefield, together with some 800 Swiss troops that had gone over to Reding’s Swiss regiment, Dupont called for a truce, formally surrendered his remaining 17,600 men on 23rd July. Under the terms of surrender, Dupont, Vedel and their troops were to be repatriated to France. However, with the exception of the most senior officers, most of the French rank and file were confined on hulks in Cádiz, before being transported to the uninhabited island of Cabrera, where half of the 7,000 men starved to death.

          24th July 1808 – 16th August 1808
          Gerona (Second siege of)
          Girona, Catalonia
          Spanish victory.

          29th July 1808
          Évora (Battle of)
          Alentejo (Portugal)
          French victory
          The following day, the French General Loison massacred the men, women, and children, of Évora, marking the future of the relationships between the different nations.

          7th August 1808 – 11th October 1808
          Evacuation of the La Romana Divisio
          Denmark–Spain by sea
          Manoeuvre (Spanish)
          Some 9,000 men stationed in Denmark, belonging to the 15,000-strong Division of the North, comprising Spanish troops commanded by Pedro Caro, 3rd Marquis of la Romana, defected from the armies of the First French Empire under the leadership of Marshal Bernadotte. Transported aboard British navy ships, on reaching Santander, they reinforced Blake’s Army of Galicia. Entering into battle at Valmaseda, on 5th November 1808, they defeated Victor’s army, only to be defeated by the same forces a few days later at the Battle of Espinosa.

          17th August 1808
          Roliça (Battle of)
          Leiria (Portugal)
          Anglo-Portuguese victory, tactical French retreat
          The first battle fought by the British army during the Peninsular War.

          21st August 1808
          Vimeiro (Battle of)
          Lisbon (Portugal)
          Anglo-Portuguese victory
          Led to the signing of the Convention of Sintra on 30th August 1808, putting an end to Napoleon’s invasion of Portugal.

          30th August 1808
          Sintra (Convention of)
          Lisbon (Portugal)
          Following his victory at the Battle of Vimeiro (21st August) Sir Arthur Wellesley, against his wishes, was ordered by his immediate superiors, Sir Harry Burrard and Sir Hew Dalrymple, to sign the preliminary Armistice. The subsequent convention, agreed between Dalrymple and Kellerman, and despite the protests of the Portuguese commander, Freire, allowed the evacuation of Junot’s 20,900 troops from Portugal to France with all their equipment and ‘personal property’ (mostly loot) aboard Royal Navy ships. The public outcry in Britain led to an inquiry, held 14th November to 27th December 1808, which cleared all three British officers. Shortly after, George Woodward would caricature Wellesley in The Convention of Cintra, a Portuguese Gambol for the amusement of Iohn Bull, London, 1809.

          31st October 1808
          Pancorbo (Battle of)
          Biscay, Basque Country
          Indecisive
          Although a tactical victory for the French, it was considered a strategic blunder.

          5th November 1808
          Valmaseda (Battle of)
          Biscay, Basque Country
          Spanish victory.

          7th November – 5th December 1808
          Roses (Siege of)
          Girona, Catalonia
          French victory.

          10th and 11th November 1808
          Espinosa (Battle of)
          Burgos, Castile and León
          French victory.

          23rd November 1808
          Tudela (Battle of)
          Tudela, Navarre
          French-Polish victory.

          30th November 1808
          Somosierra (Battle of)
          Mountain pass 60 miles north of Madrid separating the provinces of Madrid and Segovia
          French victory
          Famous for the Polish light cavalry uphill charge, in columns of four, against Spanish artillery positions. The heavily outnumbered Spanish detachment of conscripts and artillery were unable to stop the Grande Armée’s advance on Madrid, and Napoleon entered the capital of Spain on 4th December, a month after entering the country.

          4th December 1808
          Napoleon enters Madrid with 80,000 troops.
          Madrid
          French victory
          Napoleon turns his troops against Moore’s British forces, who are forced to retreat back towards Galicia three weeks later and, after a last stand at the Battle of Corunna in January 1809, withdraw from Spain.

          16th December 1808
          Cardadeul (Battle of)
          Barceona, Catalonia
          French victory.

          20th December 1808 – 20th February 1809
          Zaragoza (Second siege of)
          Zarago
          Aragón
          French victory.

          21st December 1808
          Molins de Rey (Battle of)

          21st December 1808
          Sahagún (Battle of)
          León, Castile and León
          British victory.

          25th December 1808
          Retreat to Corunna
          British retreat
          John Moore starts a 250-mile (400 km) retreat and reaches La Coruña on 14th January.

          1st January 1809
          Castellón (Battle of)
          Girona, Catalonia
          Spanish victory
          This Castellón refers to Castelló d’Empúries, in Catalonia, not the town or province in Valencia.

          3rd January 1809
          Cacabelo (Battle of)
          León, Castile and León
          British victory.

          13th January 1809
          Uclés (Battle of)
          Cuenca, Castile-La Mancha
          French victory.

          14th January 1809
          Treaty between Great Britain and Spain
          London
          Treaty
          “Treaty of peace, friendship, and alliance” by which Britain recognises Fernando as King of Spain.

          16th January 1809
          Corunna (Battle of)
          A Coruña, Galicia
          Different analyses:
          British tactical victory
          French strategic victory
          The British troops were able complete their embarkation, but left the port cities of Corunna and Ferrol, as well as the whole of northern Spain, to be captured and occupied by the French. During the battle, Sir John Moore, the British commander, was mortally wounded.

          18th January 1809
          Corunna (Surrender of)
          A Coruña, Galicia
          French victory
          Alcedo, whose garrison of two Spanish regiments had protected Sir John Moore’s troops during the embarkation, surrendered to Marshal Soult, who was able to refit with the ample military stores available. A week later Soult’s forces also captured Ferrol, a major Spanish naval base with an even greater arsenal than that of Corunna, and taking eight ships of the line.

          25th February 1809
          Valls (Battle of)
          Tarragona, Catalonia
          French victory.

          7th March 1809
          British General William Beresford appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Portuguese Army.

          10th to 12th March 1809
          Chaves (First siege of)
          Norte (Portugal)
          French victory
          Francisco da Silveira would later recapture the town at the Second Siege of Chaves, from 21st to 25th March 1809.

          17th March 1809
          Villafranca (Battle of)
          León, Castile and León
          Spanish victory.

          20th March 1809
          Braga (Battle of)
          Braga (Portugal)
          French victory
          Also known as the Battle of Póvoa de Lanhoso or Battle of Carvalho d’Este.

          21st to 25th March 1809
          Chaves (Second siege of)
          Norte (Portugal)
          Portuguese victory.

          24th March 1809
          Yevenes (Battle of)
          Toledo, Castile-La Mancha
          Spanish victory.

          27st March 1809
          Ciudad Real (Battle of)
          Ciudad Real, Castile-La Mancha
          French-Polish victory.

          28 March 1809
          Porto (First battle of)
          Port (Portugal) (Portugal)

          22th April 1809
          Creation of Anglo-Portuguese Army
          Wellesley, Commander-in-Chief of the British Army, was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Portuguese Army and integrated the two armies into mixed British-Portuguese divisions, normally on a basis of two British and one Portuguese brigades.

          6th May – 12 th December 1809
          Gerona (Third siege of)
          Girona, Catalonia
          French victory
          Depicted in The Great Day of Girona, by Ramon Martí Alsina.

          10th May 1809 – 11th May 1809
          Grijó (Battle of)
          Porto (Portugal)
          Anglo-Portuguese victory.

          12th May 1809
          Porto (Second battle of)
          Porto (Portugal)
          Anglo-Portuguese victory (decisive)
          Also known as the Battle of the Douro.

          14th May 1809
          Alcantara (Battle of)
          Cáceres, Extremadura
          French victory

          23rd May 1809
          Alcañiz (Battle of)
          Teruel, Aragón
          Spanish victory.

          15th June 1809
          María(Battle of)
          Zaragoza, Aragón
          French victory.

          7 thJune 1809 – 9th June 1809
          Puente Sanpayo (Battle of)
          Pontevedra, Galicia
          Spanish victory.

          18th June 1809
          Belchite (Battle of)
          Zaragoza, Aragón
          French victory.

          27th–28th July 1809
          Talavera (Battle of)
          Toledo, Castile-La Mancha
          Pyrrhic Anglo-Spanish victory
          Strategic French victory.

          8th August 1809
          Arzobispo (Battle of)
          Toledo, Castile-La Mancha
          French victory.

          11th August 1809
          Almonacid (Battle of)
          Toledo, Castile–La Mancha
          French victory.

          12th August 1809
          Puerto de Baños (Battle of)
          Cáceres, Extremadura
          Anglo-Allied victory
          Mountain pass.

          9th October 1809
          Astorga (Combat of)
          León, Castile and León
          Spanish victory
          Apparently unaware that the town had recently been heavily garrisoned, Kellerman sent Carrié with 1,200 infantry and two regiments of dragoons to attack the town.

          18th October 1809
          Tamames (Battle of)
          Salamanca, Castile and León
          Spanish victory.

          20th October 1809
          Torres Vedras (Wellington orders construction of the Lines of)
          Lisbon, Portugal
          Fortification (Anglo-Portuguese)
          Wellington orders construction of the Lines. Under the direction of Sir Richard Fletcher, the first line was finished one year later, around the time of the Battle of Sobral.

          11th November 1809
          Ocaña (Combat of)
          Toledo, Castile-La Mancha
          French victory
          Ocaña is a small town 65 km from Madrid, defended by five regiments of Milhaud’s dragoons and Sebastiani’s division (six battalions) of Polish infantry. Aréizaga sent his cavalry force, 5,700 strong, which outnumbered the French cavalry by three-to-one, and forced them to retreat behind the Polish infantry. After attempting to attack the squares, Areizaga realised that they would have to wait for Zayas’ infantry to arrive and attack the following day. The French, however, retreated overnight to Aranjuez. Aréizaga entered the town the following day.

          19th November 1809
          Ocaña (Battle of)
          Toledo, Castile-La Mancha
          French victory
          65 km from Madrid.

          23rd November 1809
          Carpio (Battle of)
          Valladolid, Castile and León
          Spanish victory
          El Carpio, some 20 km southwest of the town of Medina del Campo, is about 4 km from Fresno el Viejo. Both villages border the province of Salamanca at the southwestern tip of the province of Valladolid. The village, including its strategic 10th century fortress was completely destroyed by the French troops on 25th November.

          26th November 1809
          Alba de Tormes (Battle of)
          Salamanca, Castile and León
          French victory.

          21st January 1810
          Mollet Barcelona, Catalonia
          Spanish victory.

          5th February 1810 – 24th August 1812
          Cádiz (Siege of) Cádiz, Andalusia
          Spanish victory
          The reconstituted national government of Spain, known as the Cádiz Cortes—effectively a government-in-exile—fortified itself in Cádiz, besieged by 70,000 French troops.

          20th February 1810
          Vich (Battle of)
          Barcelona, Catalonia
          French victory.

          21st March 1810 — 22nd April 1810
          Astorga (First siege of)
          León, Castile and León
          French victory.

          15 April 1810
          Lérida: arrival of Suchet’s troops
          Lérida, Catalonia
          Manoeuvre (French)
          Suchet’s army of 13,000 French troops arrive in front of Lérida. The siege proper starts on 29th April.

          23rd April 1810
          Margalef (Battle of)
          Tarragona, Catalonia
          French victory

          On 22nd April, a Spanish force of 8,000 infantry and 600 cavalry, incorporated into two divisions led by Ibarrola and Pirez, under O’Donnell, descended the Monblanc defile of the Prades Mountains to relieve Lerida. They were surprised by Musnier’s seven infantry battalions and 500 cuirassieres which, together with Harispe’s three infantry battalions and two squadrons of hussars that had been stationed at Alcoletge, a bridgehead three miles from Lerida, forced them to retreat to the ruined village of Margalef, some 10 miles from Lérida.

          26th April 1810 – 9th July 1810
          Ciudad Rodrigo (First siege of)
          Salamanca, Castile and León
          French victory.

          29th April – 13th May 1810
          Lérida (Siege of)
          Lérida, Catalonia
          French victory.

          11th July 1810
          Barquilla (Combat of)
          Salamanca, Castile and León
          French victory.

          24th July 1810
          River Côa (Battle of the)
          Guarda, (Portugal)
          French victory
          After having blown up the Real Fuerte de la Concepción on 20th July, Craufurd, positioned his Light Brigade, comprising five battalions of infantry, two light cavalry regiments, and one horse artillery battery (about 4200 infantry, 800 cavalry, and 6 guns) east of the Côa River (disobeying Wellington’s orders), near Castelo de Almeida and near the only bridge of an otherwise unfordable river. On the morning of the battle, they were surprised by Marshal Ney’s 20,000 troops, on their way to besiege Almeida. Craufurd was able to defend the bridge against several attacks, but finally retreated at midnight.
          The Real Fuerte de la Concepción, in the province of Salamanca, was one of a series of star forts on the Spanish side of the border between Spain and Portugal. The Praça-forte de Almeida, 10 km away, in the Guarda District, was one of a series of Portuguese star forts.

          25thJuly to 27th August 1810
          Almeida (First siege of)
          Guarda, (Portugal)
          French victory.

          14th September 1810
          La Bisbal (Battle of)
          Girona, Catalonia
          Anglo-Spanish victory.

          24th September 1810
          Cádiz Cortes – opening session
          Cádiz, Andalusia
          The opening session of the Cortes was held eight months into the two-and-a-half-year Siege of Cádiz.

          27th September 1810
          Bussaco (Battle of)
          Aveiro District (Portugal)
          Anglo-Portuguese victory
          Serra do Bussaco mountain range.

          13th–14th October 1810
          Sobral (Battle of)
          Lisbon (Portugal)
          Anglo-Portuguese victory.

          15th October 1810
          Fuengirola (Battle of)
          Málaga, Andalusia
          Polish-French victory.

          19th January – 22nd January 1811
          Olivenza (Siege of)
          Province of Badajoz, Extremadura
          French victory.

          15th January 1811
          Pla (Battle of)
          Tarragona, Catalonia
          Spanish victory.

          26 thJanuary 1811 – 11th March 1811
          Badajoz (First siege of)
          Badajoz, Extremadura
          French victory
          The Spanish fortress fell to the French forces under Marshal Soult.

          19th February 1811
          Gebora (Battle of)
          Badajoz, Extremadura
          French victory.

          11th March 1811
          Pombal (Battle of)
          Leiria (Portugal)
          French victory.

          12th March 1811
          Redinha (Battle of)
          Coimbra (Portugal)
          French victory.

          14th March 1811
          Casal Novo (Battle of)
          French victory
          Coimbra (Portugal)
          15th March 1811 – 21st March 1811
          Campo Maior Castle (Siege of)
          Alentejo (Portugal)
          French victory
          800 Portuguese militia and 50 old cannon held out against 4,500 troops belonging to the V Corps under Marshal Mortier.

          25th March 1811
          Campo Maior (Battle of)
          Alentejo (Portugal)
          Anglo-Portuguese victory.

          3rd April 1811
          Sabugal (Battle of)
          Guarda (Portugal)
          Anglo-Portuguese Victory.

          14th April – 10th May 1811
          Almeida (Second siege of)
          Guarda, (Portugal)
          Anglo-Allied victory
          Also known as the Blockade of Almeida, since the Anglo-Portuguese Army had no heavy guns to breach the walls, they were forced to starve the garrison out. Because of this, it was technically a blockade rather than a siege. French troops abandoned the fort under cover of darkness and escaped. See Battle of Fuentes de Oñoro.

          22nd April – 12th May/18th May – 10th June 1811
          Badajoz (Second siege of)
          Badajoz, Extremadura
          French victory
          The siege was briefly lifted while the Battle of Albuera was fought on 16th May.

          3rd–6th May 1811
          Fuentes de Oñoro (Battle of)
          Salamanca, Castile and León
          Tactically indecisive
          Strategic Anglo – Portuguese victory
          Spanish village on the border with Portugal. French failure to relieve Almeida. See Blockade of Almeida.

          5th May 1811 – 29th June 1811
          Tarragona (First siege of)
          Tarragona, Catalonia
          French victory.

          16th May 1811
          Albuera (Battle of)
          Badajoz, Extremadura
          Allied victory
          Allied forces engaged the French Armée du Midi (Army of the South) some 20 kilometres (12 mi) south of Badajoz.

          25th May 1811
          Arlabán (Battle of)
          Mountain pass between Gipuzkoa and Álava
          Spanish victory
          Guerrilla ambush led by Francisco Espoz y Mina. Also referred to as the First Surprise of Arlabán to distinguish it from the Second Surprise of Arlabán (April 1812).

          25th May 1811
          Usagre (Battle of)
          Badajoz, Extremadura
          Allied victory.

          29th July 1811
          Montserrat (Battle of)
          Barcelona, Catalonia
          French victory.

          9th August 1811
          Zujar (Battle of)
          Granada, Andalusia
          French victory.

          25th September 1811
          El Bodón (Battle of)
          Salamanca, Castile and León
          French victory,

          4th to 14th October 1811
          Cervera (Battle of)
          Lleida, Catalonia
          Spanish victory.

          25 October 1811
          Saguntum (Battle of)
          Valencia, Valencia
          French victory.

          28th October 1811
          Arroyo dos Molinos (Battle of)
          Cáceres, Extremadura
          Allie7th January 1812 – 20th January

          3rd November 1811 – 9th January 1812
          Valencia (Siege of)
          Valencia, Valencia
          French victory.

          5th November 1811
          Bornos (First battle of)
          Cádiz, Andalusia
          Spanish victory.

          7th January 1812 – 20th January 1812
          Ciudad Rodrigo (Second siege of)
          Salamanca, Castile and León
          Allied victory.

          24th January 1812
          Altafulla (Battle of)
          Tarragona, Catalonia
          French victory.

          9th April 1812
          Arlabán (Battle of)
          Mountain pass between Gipuzkoa and Álava
          Spanish victory
          Also referred to as the Second Surprise of Arlabán to distinguish it from the First Surprise of Arlabán (May 1811).

          31st May 1812
          Bornos (Second battle of)
          Cádiz, Andalusia
          French victory.

          29th June – 19th August 1812
          Astorga, Second siege of
          León, Castile-León
          Spanish victory Spanish troops liberate Astorga, in French hands since the first Siege of Astorga in 1810.

          21st July 1812
          Castalla (First battle of)
          Alicante, Valencia
          French victory.

          22nd July 1812
          Salamanca (Battle of)
          Salamanca, Castile and León
          Decisive Allied victory
          Also known as the Battle of Arapiles, for the name of the nearby village, Arapiles, which in turn takes its name from the two low, flat-topped hills, Arapil Chico (Lesser Arapile) and Arapil Grande (Greater Arapile), over and around which part of the battle took place.

          23rd July 1812
          Garcia Hernandez (Battle of)
          Salamanca, Castile and León
          Anglo-German victory.

          19th September to 21st October 1812
          Burgos (Siege of)
          Burgos, Castile and León
          French victory.

          23rd October 1812
          Venta del Pozo (Battle of)
          Palencia, Castile and León
          Indecisive French tactical victory
          Also known as the Battle of Villodrigo.

          25th–29th October 1812
          (Battle of)
          Valladolid, Castile and León
          French victory
          Also known as the Battle of Villamuriel or Battle of Palencia.

          13th April 1813
          Castalla (Second battle of)
          Alicante, Valencia
          Anglo-Spanish victory.

          3rd-11th June 1813
          Tarragona (Second siege of)
          Tarragona, Catalonia
          French victory.

          18th June 1813
          San Millan-Osma (Battle of)
          San Millan, Burgos, Castile and León / Osma, Álava, Basque Country
          Anglo-Allied victory
          Mountain pass northwest of Miranda del Ebro, just off the Burgos–Bilbao road.

          21st June 1813
          Vitoria (Battle of)
          Álava, Basque Country
          Allied victory (decisive)
          Led to the abdication of Napoleon’s brother, Joseph Bonaparte, King of Spain, 11th December 1813. Beethoven’s Op. 91, “Wellingtons Sieg oder die Schlacht bei Vittoria”, completed in the first week of October 1813, commemorates the victory. Originally composed for the panharmonicon, it was first performed with Beethoven himself conducting, together with the premiere of his Symphony No. 7

          7th–25th July 1813
          San Sebastián (First siege of)
          Province of Gipuzkoa, Basque Country
          French victory
          Although referred to as one siege, there were in fact two separate sieges. See Second siege of San Sebastián below.

          25th July 1813
          Pyrenees (Battle of the)
          Allied victory
          The Battle of the Pyrenees was large-scale offensive, involving several battles, launched by Marshal Soult to relieve the French garrisons under siege at Pamplona and San Sebastián.

          25th July 1813
          Roncesvalles (Battle of)
          Roncevaux Pass, Spain
          French victory
          Mountain pass at 1,057 m (3,468 ft) on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees near the border with France. A battle included in the Battle of the Pyrenees.

          25th July 1813
          Maya (Battle of)
          Navarre
          French victory
          Mountain pass on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees near the border with France.

          28th July – 1st August 1813
          Sorauren (Battle of)
          Navarre
          Allied victory
          A battle included in the Battle of the Pyrenees.

          8th August – 8th September 1813
          San Sebastián (Second siege of)
          Province of Gipuzkoa, Basque Country
          Anglo-Portuguese victory
          Although referred to as one siege, there were in fact two separate sieges. See First siege of San Sebastián above.

          7th October 1813
          Bidassoa (Battle of the)
          Allied victory (tactical)
          Also known as the Battle of Larrun.

          10th November 1813
          Nivelle (Battle of)
          Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France
          Allied victory.

          11th December 1813
          Abdication of Joseph Bonaparte, King of Spain.
          9th – 13th December 1813
          Nive (Battle of the)
          Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France
          Allied victory.

          15th February 1814
          Garris (Battle of)
          Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France
          Allied victory.

          27th February 1814
          Orhthez (Battle of)
          Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France
          Anglo-Portuguese victory.


          The context

          The Peninsular War began with the French and Spanish invasion of Portugal in 1807. The following year, Napoleon turned on his Spanish ally, placing his brother Joseph on the Spanish throne.

          An expeditionary force commanded by Lieutenant-General Arthur Wellesley, Viscount Wellington, was despatched to Portugal and enjoyed initial success, defeating the French at Vimeiro in August 1808. By 1812, Wellington had secured Lisbon behind the Lines of Torres Vedras and then driven French troops from Portugal.

          The beginning of 1812 saw Wellington take the offensive into Spain. The town of Ciudad Rodrigo was taken on 8 January and, following a costly assault, the formidable fortress of Badajoz fell to the allied force of Britain, Spain and Portugal on 6 April.

          There were 230,000 French troops in Spain at this time, but they were divided between five armies, and Napoleon’s imminent campaign against Russia meant that reinforcements were not available.

          View this object

          Congress abolishes the African slave trade

          The U.S. Congress passes an act to “prohibit the importation of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States𠉯rom any foreign kingdom, place, or country.”

          The first shipload of African captives to the British colonies in North America arrived at Jamestown, Virginia, in August 1619, but for most of the 17th century, European indentured servants were far more numerous in the North American British colonies than were enslaved Africans. However, after 1680, the flow of indentured servants sharply declined, leading to an explosion in the African slave trade. By the middle of the 18th century, slavery could be found in all 13 colonies and was at the core of the Southern colonies’ agricultural economy. By the time of the American Revolution, the English importers alone had brought some three million captive Africans to the Americas.

          After the war, as enslaved labor was not a crucial element of the Northern economy, most Northern states passed legislation to abolish slavery. However, in the South, the invention of the cotton gin in 1793 made cotton a major industry and sharply increased the need for enslaved labor. Tension arose between the North and the South as the slave or free status of new states was debated. In January 1807, with a self-sustaining population of over four million enslaved people in the South, some Southern congressmen joined with the North in voting to abolish the African slave trade, an act that became effective January 1, 1808. The widespread trade of enslaved people within the South was not prohibited, however, and children of enslaved people automatically became enslaved themselves, thus ensuring a self-sustaining population in the South.


          French defeated in Spain, ending the Peninsular War

          At Vitoria, Spain, a massive allied British, Portuguese, and Spanish force under British General Arthur Wellesley routs the French, effectively ending the Peninsular War.

          On February 16, 1808, under the pretext of sending reinforcements to the French army occupying Portugal, French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Spain. Thus began the Peninsular War, an important phase of the Napoleonic Wars that was fought between France and much of Europe between 1792 and 1815. During the first few weeks after their 1808 invasion of Spain, French forces captured Pamplona and Barcelona and on March 19 forced King Charles IV of Spain to abdicate. Four days later, the French entered Madrid under Joachim Murat. In early May, Madrid revolted, and on June 15 Napoleon’s brother, Joseph, was proclaimed the new king of Spain, leading to a general anti-French revolt across the Iberian Peninsula.

          In August, a British expeditionary force under Arthur Wellesley, later the Duke of Wellington, landed on the Portuguese coast to expel the French from the Iberian Peninsula. By mid-1809, the French were driven from Portugal, but Spain proved more elusive. Thus began a long series of seesaw campaigns between the French and British in Spain, where the British were aided by small bands of Spanish irregulars known as guerrillas.

          Finally, on June 21, 1813, 80,000 allied troops under Wellesley routed the 66,000-man army of Joseph Bonaparte and Marshal Jourdan at Vitoria, 175 miles northeast of Madrid. By October, the Iberian Peninsula was liberated, and Wellesley launched an invasion of France. The allies had penetrated France as far as Toulouse when news of Napoleon’s abdication reached them in April 1814, ending the Peninsular War.


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