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The Peninsular War[a] (1807–1814) was a military conflict between France and the allied powers of Spain, theUnited Kingdom and Portugal for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war started when French and Spanish armies occupied Portugal in 1807, and escalated in 1808 when France turned on Spain, its ally until then. HP Pavilion G61-336NR CPU Fan 

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, significant for the emergence of large-scale guerrilla warfare.

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 2 May 1808 and ended on 17 April 1814. HP Pavilion dv7-6184ca CPU Fan

The French occupation destroyed the Spanish administration, which fragmented into quarrelling provincialjuntas. 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 70,000 French troops. British and Portuguese forces eventually secured Portugal, HP Pavilion dv7-3125eo CPU Fan

using it as a safe position from which to launch campaigns against the French army and to provide whatever supplies they could get to the Spanish, while Spanish armies and guerrillas tied down vast numbers of Napoleon's troops. These combined regular and irregular allied forces prevented Napoleon's marshals from subduing the rebellious Spanish provinces by restricting French control of territory and the war continued through years of stalemate.[3] HP Pavilion dv7-2185dx CPU Fan

The years of fighting in Spain was a heavy burden on France's Grande Armée. While the French were victorious in battle, their communications and supplies were severely tested and their units were frequently isolated, harassed, or overwhelmed by partisans. The Spanish armies were repeatedly beaten and driven to the peripheries but time and again they would regroup and hound the French. IBM MCF-C10AM05 CPU Fan

This drain on French resources led Napoleon, who had unwittingly provoked total war, to call the conflict the Spanish Ulcer.[4][5]

The British force under Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington guarded Portugal and campaigned against the French in Spain alongside the reformed Portuguese army. Allied to the British, the demoralised Portuguese army was reorganised and refitted under the command of General William Carr Beresford,[6] SONY Vaio VGN-SZ2XP/C CPU Fan

who had been appointed commander-in-chief of the Portuguese forces by the exiled Portuguese royal family, and fought as part of a combined Anglo-Portuguese army under Wellesley. In 1812, as Napoleon embarked upon his disastrous invasion of Russia, a combined allied army under Wellesley pushed into Spain and took Madrid. Marshal Jean-de-Dieu Soult led the exhausted and demoralized French forces in a fighting withdrawal across the Pyrenees and into France during the winter of 1813-1814. DELL Latitude E4300 CPU Fan

War and revolution against Napoleon's occupation led to the Spanish Constitution of 1812, later a cornerstone of European liberalism.[7] The burden of war destroyed the social and economic fabric of Portugal and Spain, and ushered in an era of social turbulence, political instability and economic stagnation. Devastating civil wars between liberal and absolutist factions led by officers trained in the Peninsular War persisted in Iberia until 1850. HP Pavilion dv7-2025es CPU Fan

The cumulative crises and disruptions of invasion, revolution, and restoration led to the independence of most of Spain's American colonies and the independence of Brazil from Portugal.

Subdued by its defeat in the Pyrenees War, Spain allied with France. In 1806, while in Berlin, Napoleon Bonaparte declared the Continental System, a blockade forbidding British imports into continental Europe.[8] FUJITSU LifeBook A6030 CPU Fan

Neutral Portugal tried in vain to avoid Napoleon's ultimatum—since 1373 it had had a treaty of alliance with England, which became an alliance with theUnited Kingdom. After the Treaty of Tilsit in 1807, which cemented French dominance over central and eastern Europe, Napoleon decided to capture the Iberian ports.[9][10] The decision went against Napoleon's own advice from earlier in his career; SONY Vaio VGN-FS115Z CPU Fan

he had once remarked that the conquest of Spain would be "too hard a nut to crack".[11] On 27 October 1807, Spain's prime minister Manuel de Godoy signed the Treaty of Fontainebleau with France, agreeing that after Spain and France had defeated Portugal, it would be split into three kingdoms; the new Kingdom of Northern Lusitania, the Algarve (expanded to include Alentejo), and a rump Kingdom of Portugal.[12][13] HP 532617-001 CPU Fan

In November 1807, after the refusal of the Prince Regent, John VI of Portugal, to join the Continental System, Napoleon sent an army into Spain under General Jean-Andoche Junot with the task of invading Portugal.

Godoy initially requested Portugal's alliance against the invading French armies, but later secretly agreed with France that in return for Spain's cooperation, it would receive Portugal's territories. Spain's main ambition was the seizure of the Portuguese fleet, and sent two divisions to help French troops occupy Portugal. ACER Aspire 5730Z CPU Fan

Junot initiated the Invasion of Portugal on 19 November 1807. The Portuguese army was positioned to defend the ports and the coast against a French attack, and Lisbon was captured with no military opposition on 1 December. On 29 November, the escape of Maria I of Portugal and Prince Regent John, together with the administration and the Court—around 10,000 people and 9,000 sailors aboard 23 Portuguese warships and 31 merchant ships—was a setback HP G56-126NR CPU Fan

for Napoleon which enabled the Prince Regent to continue to rule over his overseas possessions, including Brazil. The Portuguese royal family would remain in Rio de Janeirofor the next 13 years.

In 1807, Spain was experiencing political corruption; Charles IV was considered to be incompetent to run the country. Napoleon, now Emperor of the French, decided to take advantage of the dissensions in the Spanish court. HP Pavilion dv7-6166nr CPU Fan

Feigning sympathy with their situation, he listened to Charles and his son Ferdinand, inviting them to Paris. Ferdinand responded favourably to Napoleon's advice and asked for the hand of a Bonaparte princess. Napoleon played the part of an ally and coaxed the two Spaniards into believing he had friendly and peaceful intentions. In the absence of Charles and Ferdinand, Napoleon took the opportunity to invade Spain.[14] FUJITSU Lifebook A3210 CPU Fan

All over Spain, townsfolk and peasants, who had been forced to bury family members in new municipal cemeteries, stole their bodies back at night and tried to restore them to the protection of the old resting-places. In Madrid, the growing Francophilia of the court was met by the majos—shopkeepers, artisans, taverners and labourers who dressed in traditional style and took pleasure in picking fights with petimetres (fops).[15] DELL Precision M6400 CPU Fan

Under the pretext of reinforcing the Franco-Spanish army occupying Portugal, French imperial troops entered Spain, where they were greeted with enthusiasm by the populace despite growing diplomatic unease. In February 1808, Napoleon turned on his ally and ordered French commanders to seize key Spanish fortresses.[16] Barcelona was taken on 29 February 1808 when a French column disguised as a convoy of wounded soldiers persuaded the authorities to open the city's gates.[1Compaq Presario CQ60-615DX CPU Fan

] Many commanders were not particularly concerned about the fate of the ruling regime, nor were they in any position to fight.

The Spanish Royal Army of 100,000 men found itself paralysed; it was under-equipped; for instance its 26 cavalry regiments of 15,000 men possessed only 9,000 horses.[18] It was frequently leaderless, confused by the turmoil in Madrid, and was scattered from Portugal to the Balearic Islands. HP Pavilion dv2660se CPU Fan

15,000 of its finest troops—Pedro Caro, 3rd Marquis of la Romana's Division of the North—had been lent to Napoleon in 1807 and remained stationed in Denmark under French command. Only the peripheries contained armies of any strength; Joaquín Blake's Army of Galicia, and that of Andalusia, under Francisco Javier Castaños. The French were thus able to seize much of northeastern Spain by coups de main and any hope of turning back the invasion ended. Toshiba Satellite L500-1XC CPU Fan

In March 1808, riots and a popular revolt at the winter palace in Aranjuez forced King Charles IV to abdicate in favour of his son Ferdinand VII on March 19.[19] The rebellion seemed popular; inspired from outside the military, it was in effect a coup d'état by the Royal Guard. Challenged by this call to arms, Godoy and his royal patrons found they had few defenders. DELL GM0503PEB1-8 (L2.M) CPU Fan

The officer corps was disgruntled by the failure of the favourite's reforms to make any difference to its situation and his orders to resist the French were already being disobeyed. Much of the upper nobility and the Catholic Church were hostile. Reformist circles had lost faith in Godoy's political credentials and the common people were in open revolt. HP Pavilion dv7-1098eo CPU Fan

Spain's political leaders had lost faith in Godoy, and Ferdinand was hailed as a saviour when he entered Madrid on 24 March. Alcalá Galiano wrote, "The cheers were loud, repeated and delivered with ... eyes full of tears of pleasure, kerchiefs were waved ... from balconies with hands trembling with pleasure ... and not for a moment did the passion... or the thunderous noise of the joyful crowd diminish." Toshiba Satellite A205-S5804 CPU Fan

Ever since the Mutiny of Aranjuez, Spain had been astir. Attacks on godoyistas were frequent while the failure of the French to recognise Ferdinand caused much discontent and gave rise to the suspicion that they intended to bring back Godoy.[21] By the beginning of May 1808, rumours were spreading that the Junta de Gobierno—the council of regency left behind by Ferdinand—was being pressurised into sending the last members of the royal family to Bayonne.[22] HP Pavilion dv7-1240us CPU Fan

On 2 May, the citizens of Madrid rebelled against the French occupation, killing 150 French soldiers before the uprising was put down by Joachim Murat's elite Imperial Guard and Mamluk cavalry, which crashed into the city and trampled the rioters.[23] The next day, as immortalized by Francisco Goya in his painting The Third of May 1808, the French army shot hundreds of Madrid's citizens in retaliation.  DELL yy529 CPU Fan

Similar reprisals occurred in other cities and continued for days, strengthening the resistance. Bloody, spontaneous fighting known as guerrilla (literally "little war") erupted in much of Spain. Locally organised rebel groups were unaware of the resistance being prepared elsewhere in Spain. According to Esdaile, the partisans were as committed to driving the ancien regime out of Spain as they were to fighting foreign armies; Toshiba Qosmio G40-10E CPU Fan

the Patriots had no scruples about killing officials sceptical of their revolutionary program.[24]

When Ferdinand departed for Bayonne he had left a structure of government headed by the Junta de Gobierno. Presided over by Ferdinand's uncle, the infante Don Antonio, it comprised the ministers appointed by Ferdinand to head the ministries of Foreign Affairs, War, Finance, SONY Vaio VGN-CR407E CPU Fan

Navy, and Grace and Justice; which since the reign of Carlos III had constituted the heart of the Spanish administration. Coexistent with the departments were the Councils of Castile, the Indies, War, the Admiralty, the Treasury, the Military Orders, and the Inquisition. Spain was divided into 32 provinces—each headed by a Treasury official known as an intendente, and 14 military regions—each headed by a viceroy, captain general or commandant general.[25] HP Pavilion dv6-1101au CPU Fan

New heads were found for all the ministries; the Duque de Infantado, an old enemy of Godoy, was appointed president of the Council of Castile and Gregorio García de la Cuesta was made Captain General of Old Castile. Despite a few officials having been driven from their posts by popular fury, the overall system was unchanged.[26] HP Pavilion dv7-3190ev CPU Fan

Although the Spanish government, including the Council of Castile, had accepted Napoleon's decision to grant the Spanish crown to his brother Joseph, the Spanish population rejected Napoleon's plans and expressed their opposition through the local municipal and provincial governments. Following traditional Spanish political theories, which held that the monarchy was a contract between the monarch and the people, local governments responded to the crisis by transforming themselves into ad hoc governmental juntas. HP Pavilion dv7-1157cl CPU Fan

The first wave of uprisings that took place without any knowledge of revolt elsewhere were in Cartagena and Valencia on 23 May, Zaragoza and Murcia on 24 May, and the province of Asturias, which cast out its French governor on 25 May, and "declared war on Napoleon at the height of his greatness."[27] Within weeks, all the Spanish provinces followed suit.[28] HP COMPAQ NX9420 CPU Fan

In Cartagena, red cockades—the traditional badge of the Bourbon monarchy—were handed out to the people, and the garrison supported the rising, whereupon the captain general and the military governor were arrested. A provincial junta was established under a prominent admiral. In Zaragoza, where José Palafox, abrigadier of the elite Royal Guards, had been hiding outside the city, HP Mini 110-1110ET CPU Fan

the conspirators' agents steered the crowds into calling for him to lead them. The captain general was imprisoned and Palafox was installed as de facto governor of Zaragoza and captain general of Aragon.[29] He wasted no time in declaring war on Napoleon and, with his elder brother, commanded a series of attacks against the French, and which led to the First Siege of Zaragoza (15 June—14 August 1808). HP Pavilion dv7-1157cl CPU Fan

Most major towns now had emergency administrations—two exceptions were Cádiz, where the town council held sway, and Zaragoza, which was in the sole charge of Palafox—but the resultant juntas refused the bourgeois revolution of Marxist legend.[30]

The deteriorating strategic situation forced France to increase its military commitments; in February 1808, Napoleon had boasted that 12,000 men could conquer Spain;[31HP Pavilion dv6-3163eo CPU Fan

] by 1 June, over 65,000 troops were rushing into the country to control the crisis.[32] The main French army of 80,000 held a narrow strip of central Spain from Pamplona and San Sebastián in the north to Madrid and Toledo in the south. The French in Madrid sheltered behind an additional 30,000 troops under Marshal Bon Adrien Jeannot de Moncey. HP Pavilion dv9740us CPU Fan

Jean-Andoche Junot's corps were stranded in Portugal, cut off by 300 miles (480 km) of hostile territory, but within days of the outbreak of revolt, French columns in Old Castile, New Castile, Aragón and Catalonia were searching for the insurgent forces.

Napoleon had expected popular risings, but believed that the Spanish army would either remain neutral or put itself under his command.[33] ACER Aspire 4743 CPU Fan

From Murat's optimistic reports, Napoleon believed the uprisings would die down and Spain would become peaceful if his brother retained the throne while French flying columns seized and pacified Spain's cities. He also had no respect for the "insolent" Spanish militias which opposed him.[34] The first Army of Spain out-numbered and had inferior troops.[35] To this end, HP Pavilion dv6-2170us CPU Fan

Pierre-Antoine, comte Dupont de l'Étang led 24,430 men south toward Seville and Cádiz; Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bessières moved into Aragón and Old Castile with 25,000 men, aiming to capture Santander and Zaragoza. Moncey marched toward Valencia with 29,350 men and Guillaume Philibert Duhesme marshalled 12,710 troops in Catalonia and moved against Girona.[36] Toshiba Satellite L675-S7018 CPU Fan

However, at the two successive Battles of the Bruch, in the mountains some 50 kilometres (31 mi) outside Barcelona,Schwarz's 4,000 troops, marching from the city towards Zaragoza, were forced back following the heavy casualties inflicted on them by local Catalan militia, the Miquelets (also known as somatenes). ASUS F80Q CPU Fan

Duhesmes Franco-Italian division of almost 6,000 troops failed to storm the city at the Gerona, and leaving Chabran's brigade to hold Mataro, was forced to return to Barcelona.[37] In Aragon, Charles, comte Lefebvre-Desnouettes—the commander of the 6,000-strong French force bearing down onZaragoza—decided to rush the city.[38] French calls for an honourable capitulation met with the reply, "War to the knife."[39] ACER TravelMate 4200 CPU Fan

Resorting to urban warfare, Palafox defied the French for three months. Moncey's push toward the coast ended in defeat outside the walls of Valencia, where 1,000 French recruits died trying to storm the city. Managing to defeat Spanish counterattacks, Moncey began a long, harried retreat.[34]

In the north, the French found a measure of success. When Bessières's march on Santander was checked by partisan attacks in July, the French turned back and encountered Blake and Cuesta with their combined army. HP 434678-001 CPU Fan

In the Battle of Medina del Rio Seco, the Spanish generals, at Cuesta's insistence, hurried toward the vulnerable French supply lines at Valladolid. The two armies deployed on 14 July, but Cuesta had left a gap between his troops and Blake's which the French used to their advantage and with Cuesta defeated, Old Castile returned to French control. Blake escaped, but the Spaniards lost at least 1,000 dead or wounded, twelve hundred prisoners and thirteen guns. French losses had been minimal—perhaps 400 men.[40] HP G70-120EA CPU Fan

Bessières's victory salvaged the French army's strategic position in northern Spain. The road to Madrid lay open to Joseph, and the defeats at Gerona, Valencia, and Zaragoza were forgotten. All that remained was to reinforce Dupont and allow him to force his way south through Andalusia. With the Spanish threat scattered, Joseph entered Madrid on 20 July;[40] and on 25 July he was crowned King of Spain.[41] Toshiba Satellite A300-034 CPU Fan

A delighted Napoleon said, "If Marshal Bessiéres has been able to beat the Army of Galicia with few casualties and small effort, less than 8,000 troops being engaged, there can be no doubt that with 20,000 men General Dupont will be able to overthrow everybody he meets."[42] However, on 10 June, every French ship of the lineanchored at Cádiz was seized in the Capture of the Rosily Squadron.[43] HP 606609-001 CPU Fan

Much alarmed, Dupont was disturbed enough to curtail his march at Cordoba, and then on 16 June to fall back to Andujar.[44] Dupont, cowed by the mass hostility of the Andalusians, broke off his offensive and was defeated at the Battle of Bailén and surrendered his entire Army Corps toCastaños.

The catastrophe was total. With the loss of 24,000 troops, Napoleon's military machine in Spain collapsed. Compaq Presario CQ60-301sl CPU Fan

Stunned by the defeat, on 1 August Joseph—who had no more than 23,000 troops in Madrid and believed that thousands of vengeful Spaniards were about to attack him—evacuated the capital for Old Castile, whilst ordering Verdier to abandon the siege of Zaragoza and Bessieres to retire from Leon; the entire French army sheltered behind the Ebro.[45] By this time, Gerona had resisted asecond siege. TOSHIBA Satellite L300 CPU Fan

Europe welcomed this first check to the hitherto unbeatable Imperial armies—a Bonaparte had been chased from his throne; tales of Spanish heroism inspired Austria and showed the force of national resistance. Bailén set in motion the rise of the Fifth Coalition against Napoleon. According to Chandler, "This was an historic occasion; news of it spread like wildfire throughout Spain and then all Europe. ASUS Eee PC 701 CPU Fan

It was the first time since 1801 that a sizable French force had laid down its arms, and the legend of French invincibility underwent a severe shaking. Everywhere anti-French elements drew fresh inspiration from the tidings. The Pope published an open denunciation of Napoleon; Prussian patriots were heartened; and, most of all, the Austrian war party began to secure the support of the Emperor Francis for a renewed challenge to the French Empire." Compaq Presario CQ60-305sa CPU Fan

The beginning of the United Kingdom's involvement in the Peninsular War marked a considerable shift of fortune in its struggle against Napoleon. From it would stem the UK's engagement in a prolonged campaign in Europe, after which the country could no longer be accused, in Sheridan's words, of doing no more than 'filching sugar islands'. To the UK, HP 637607-001 CPU Fan

which wanted to become a military power as well as a naval one, it seemed that the Spanish people had rejected Napoleon and all his works and the UK found itself on the side of freedom.[47] Despite opposition, the UK and Napoleon’s opponents had acquired a new moral legitimacy.[48]

Five days after having declared war on Napoleon, the Junta General of Asturias sent a delegation to London to request help, as did others from Galicia and Seville. HP Pavilion dv7-3067nr CPU Fan

While they did not specifically ask for troops, the dispatch of a British army was soon under consideration by the Portland administration. Three British Army officers, led by a lieutenant colonel, reachedGijón on 27 June 1808 to assess the state of affairs from a military viewpoint. Following the Spanish victory at Bailén, theSecretary of State for War and the Colonies, HP Pavilion dv5-1210ez CPU Fan

Viscount Castlereagh sent a second delegation, this time led by General Sir James Leith, who arrived in Gijón on 30 August 1808 with a view to seeing how the north of Spain could best be reinforced to prevent Napoleon sending in more troops through Irun, and isolating him in Madrid or Burgos. Leith would later join Baird's forces in November 1808.[49] Compaq Presario CQ50-211nr CPU Fan

There were fewer constraints than normal. The authorisation of embodied members of the militia to volunteer for service in the line offered a steady supply of fresh men; the need to provide against French invasion had been much reduced. Brent Spencer's division had been assembled at Cork, and brigades that had been about to raid the invasion port of Boulogne were available for immediate action.[50] HP G56-114SA CPU Fan

In August 1808, the British army—including the King's German Legion—landed in Portugal under the command of Lieutenant-General Sir Arthur Wellesley, who drove back Henri François Delaborde's forces at the Battle of Roliça on 17 August, as the Portuguese Observation Army of Bernardim Freire de Andrade shadowed Louis Henri Loison's division. SONY Vaio VGN-CR21Z/N CPU Fan

On 21 August, Wellesley—who had turned to the mouth of the Maceira river to protect landing reinforcements—was attacked at Vimeiro Hill by Jean-Andoche Junot. The Battle of Vimeiro was the first occasion on which Napoleonic offensive tactics combining skirmishers, columns and supporting artillery fire failed against the British infantry line and Wellesley's defensive skills. HP Pavilion dv7-4060eo CPU Fan

Considered too junior an officer to command the reinforced expedition to Portugal, Wellesley was replaced first by Sir Harry Burrard and then Sir Hew Dalrymple. Dalrymple granted Junot favourable armistice terms which allowed for his unmolested evacuation from Portugal by the Royal Navy in the controversial Convention of Sintra in August. Toshiba Satellite M70-252 CPU Fan

In early October 1808, following the scandal in Britain over the Convention of Sintra and the recall of the generals Dalrymple, Burrard, and Wellesley, Sir John Moore took command of the 30,000 man British force in Portugal.[51] In addition, Sir David Baird, in command of an expedition of reinforcements out of Falmouth consisting of 150 transports carrying between 12,000 and 13,000 men, convoyed by HMS LouieToshiba Satellite A100-455 CPU Fan

 HMS Amelia and HMS Champion, entered Corunna Harbour on the 13 October.[52]

Meanwhile, the British had made a substantial contribution to the Spanish cause by helping to evacuate some 9,000 men of La Romana's Division of the North. The division, stationed in Denmark, had been sent to northern Europe in 1807 to assist the Grande Armée while Spain and France were still allies.[53] HP Pavilion dv5-2112br CPU Fan

However, on learning that Napoleon had placed his brother Joseph Bonaparte on the Spanish throne, La Romana and his officers, who included Joseph O'Donnell, secretly negotiated for the British Baltic fleet to help transport the Spanish division back to Spain. In August 1808, after seizing Danish ports and ships to make their way to a rendezvous with Admiral Richard Goodwin Keats' British squadron on Langeland island, DELL BFB0505HA CPU Fan

all but three regiments which had been unable to escape, were transferred to Gothenburg, Sweden, before setting sail for Santander, where they arrived in October 1808.

Because of the crippling social and political tensions caused by the rebellion, the Spanish social fabric decayed, the patriots were divided on every question and their war effort suffered. HP Pavilion dv6-3299en CPU Fan

With the fall of the monarchy, constitutional power devolved to local juntas, which interfered with the army and the business of war, undermined the tentative central government forming in Madrid, and proved almost as dangerous to each other as to the French. According to Chandler, "the particular interests of the provincial delegates made the pretense of centralised government a travesty."[55][56SONY Vaio VGN-NW11Z/T CPU Fan

] The British army in Portugal, itself immobilized by logistical problems and mired in administrative disputes, did not move.[57] Months of inaction passed at the front, the revolution having "crippled Patriot Spain at the very moment when decisive action could have changed the whole course of the war."[58] The French, all but masters of Spain in June, stood with their backs to the Pyrenees clutching at Navarre and Catalonia. Toshiba Satellite L550-20W CPU Fan

By October 1808, French strength in Spain—including garrisons—was about 75,000 soldiers. They were facing 86,000 Spanish troops[51] with 35,000 British troops en route.[59]

No attack was forthcoming. The Supreme Central Junta grew out of the political confusion that followed the abdication of the House of Bourbon, leading to more confusion since there was no central government and most juntas did not recognise the presumptuous claim to represent the monarchy. HP Pavilion dv7-4183sf CPU Fan

The Junta of Seville claimed authority over the overseas empire because of the province's historical role as the exclusive entrepôt of the empire. Realizing that unity was needed to coordinate efforts against the French and to deal with British aid, several Supreme Juntas—Murcia, Valencia, Seville, and Castile and León—called for the formation of a central junta. HP Pavilion dv7-3190ev CPU Fan

After negotiations between the juntas and the discredited Council of Castile—which supported Joseph I—a "Supreme Central and Governmental Junta of Spain and the Indies" met in Aranjuez on 25 September 1808, with the Conde de Floridablanca as its president.[60] Serving as surrogate for the absent king and royal government, it called on representatives from the Iberian provinces and the overseas possessions to meet in an "Extraordinary and GeneralCortes of the Spanish Nation";HP KSB06105HA CPU Fan

so called because it would be the single legislative body for the whole empire and the body which would write a constitution for it. As agreed to in the negotiations, the Supreme Central Junta was composed of two representatives chosen by the juntas of the capitals of the peninsular kingdoms of the Spanish Monarchy. Early on, the Junta rejected the idea of establishing a regency, HP G62-244CA CPU Fan

which would have meant the concentration of executive power in a small number of persons, and assumed that role itself claiming the style of "Majesty".

After the surrender of a French army corps at Bailén[61] and the loss of Portugal, Napoleon was convinced of the peril he faced in Spain. Disturbed by news of Sintra, he said, "I see that everybody has lost their head since the infamous capitulation of Bailén. HP Pavilion dv7-3190ei CPU Fan

I realise that I must go there myself to get the machine working again." [62] While the allies advanced slowly, conscription and arms from the far reaches of the French Empire brought 100,000 veterans of the Grande Armée into Spain, led in person by Napoleon and his marshals.[63] With his Armée d'Espagne of 278,670 men drawn up on the Ebro, facing 80,000 raw, disorganized Spanish troops, the Emperor announced to the Spanish deputies, HP G62-244CA CPU Fan

"I am here with the soldiers who conquered at Austerlitz, at Jena, at Eylau. Who can withstand them? Not your wretched Spanish troops who do not know how to fight. I shall conquer Spain in two months and acquire the rights of a conqueror."[64] Napoleon led the French on a brilliant offensive involving a massive double envelopment of the Spanish lines.[65] The attack began in November 1808 and has been described as "an avalanche of fire and steel".[66] ASUS A6000R CPU Fan

In the west, a Spanish wing escaped when Lefebvre failed to encircle the Army of Galicia after a premature and indecisive attack at the Battle of Pancorbo; Blake withdrew his artillery to safety and the bloodied Spanish infantry followed. Lefebvre and Marshal Claude Victor-Perrin offered a careless chase that ended in humiliation at the Battle of Valmaseda, where their scattered troops were handled by La Romana's repatriated Spanish veterans and escaped to safety. HP Pavilion dv7-6011sg CPU Fan

The campaign in the south, where Napoleon's main army overran the unprotected Spanish centre in a devastating attack near Burgos, ended quickly. The Spanish militias—untrained and unable to form infantry squares—scattered in the face of massed French cavalry, while the Spanish Royal Guard and Walloon Guards stood their ground in vain and were overcome by Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle and his sabreursToshiba Satellite L300D-01P CPU Fan

Marshal Jean Lannes with a powerful force smashed through the Spanish right wing at theBattle of Tudela on 23 November, routing Castaños and prompting a new inscription on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Blake's isolated army reversed direction on 17 November and dug in at the Battle of Espinosa. His lines repelled French attacks over a day and night of vicious fighting, before giving up the next day. Compaq Presario CQ60-409CA CPU Fan

Blake again outmarched Marshal Nicolas Jean-de-Dieu Soult and escaped with a rump army to Santander, but the Spanish front had been fragmented and the Imperial armies raced forward over undefended provinces. Napoleon sent 45,000 men south into the Sierra de Guadarrama, which shielded Madrid.

The mountains slowed Napoleon: at the Battle of Somosierra on 30 November 1808 his Polish and Guard cavalry squadrons charged up a narrow gorge through raking fire to overrun Benito de San Juan's artillery. HP Mini 110-3010sf CPU Fan

San Juan's militias gave way before the relentless French infantry, while the Spanish royal artillerymen held their positions and fought to the last. French patrols reached Madrid on 1 December and entered the city in triumph on 4 December. Joseph Bonaparte was restored to his throne. San Juan retreated west to Talavera, where his mutinous conscripts shot him before dispersing. Toshiba Satellite L645D-S4056 CPU Fan

The Junta was forced to abandon Madrid in November 1808, and resided in the Alcázar of Seville from 16 December 1808 until 23 January 1810; hence the appellation of "Junta of Seville"—not to be confused with the earlier provincial junta.[67]

In Catalonia, Napoleon's faltering army was reinforced in October 1808, ordering Laurent Gouvion Saint-Cyr with 17,000 men to the relief of Duhesme in Barcelona. Toshiba Satellite M70-142 CPU Fan

The presence of the Royal Navy along the coasts of France and Spain slowed the French entry into eastern and southern Spain and drained their military resources in the area. Frigates commanded the strategic Gulf of Roses north of Barcelona close to the French border, and were involved in the Siege of Roses. Lord Thomas Cochrane held a cliff-top fortress against the French for a month, destroying it when the main citadel capitulated to a superior French force.[68] DELL Inspiron E1505 CPU Fan

The successful Siege of Roses opened the path south for Saint-Cyr, who bypassed Gerona and fell upon and destroyed part of Juan Miguel de Vives y Feliu's Spanish army at the Battle of Cardadeu near Barcelona on 16 December. Five days later, Saint-Cyr defeated the Spaniards under Conde de Caldagues andTheodor von Reding, capturing 1,200 men at the Battle of Molins de Rey.HP 532613-001 CPU Fan

By November 1808, the British army led by Moore was advancing into Spain with orders to assist the Spanish armies' fight against Napoleon's forces.[69] Moore received desperate appeals from the British ambassador John Hookham Frere and the Junta Central to help the Patriot cause. However, Moore's forces were dispersed and his capacity to act remained limited. HP Envy 14-1080eo CPU Fan

While the main army under Moore had advanced to Salamanca, by 28 November none of Baird's troops had passed Astorga to the north, while Sir John Hope was still 70 miles (110 km) to the east[70][71] with all Moore's cavalry and artillery.[72] The main army was joined by Hope's detachment on 3 December, when Moore received news that the Spanish forces had suffered several defeats. He considered that to avoid disaster he must give up and retreat back to Portugal.[73] ACER TravelMate 5230 CPU Fan

Letters from both Moore and Berthier on 10 December 1808 indicate that both sides were aware that the allies were defeated and that the British were prepared to retreat. Moore wrote, "I had no time to lose to secure my retreat", while Berthier was quoted as writing, "...everything inclines us to think that they (the British) are in full retreat...".[74] Lenovo 3000 G430 CPU Fan

Before retreating, Moore received intelligence[75] of Soult's 16,000-man corps' scattered and isolated position atCarrión[76] and that the French were unaware of the British army's position. On 15 December, he began to advance on the French near Madrid hoping to defeat Soult and divert Napoleon’s forces.[77] On 20 December, Moore joined forces with Baird, who was advancing from Corunna, and his strength grew to 23,500 infantry, 2,400 cavalry[78] ASUS EEE PC 1215N CPU Fan

and 60 guns[79] and he opened his attack with a successful raid by Lieutenant-General Paget's cavalry on the French picquets at Sahagún on 21 December.[80]Moore failed to follow-up against a surprised Soult, halting for two days and allowing Soult to concentrate his corps.[81] As soon as the orders for the advance had been dispatched, dramatic news arrived from the south that masses of French troops were debouching from the Sierra de Guadarrama into the plains of Old Castile. Dell Vostro 3750 CPU Fan

Napoleon had discovered the British army's presence and was heading north to wipe it out. Fresh orders were sent out and the British forces turned around, heading for the coast.[82] Moore's intelligence regarding the enemy's positions and intentions, was mainly due to the guerrillas' capture of large numbers of French couriers.[83]

Even if the weather had been favourable, Moore was so far north that a French force coming from Madrid would not have been able to cut him off. Toshiba Satellite L500-018 CPU Fan

Napoleon's only chance was to catch his opponent unawares, but Moore was aware of this danger and retreated westwards as soon as he heard that Napoleon was advancing. Moore had requested that his sea transports should be sent from Lisbon to meet him at La Coruna. Vigorous action from Soult might have slowed Moore down enough to allow Napoleon's forces to get behind him, but Soult waited for reinforcements from Burgos and was slowed down by torrential rain.[84] COMPAQ Presario CQ42-116TU CPU Fan

Although La Romana tried to cover Moore's retreat, he was defeated by Soult at the Battle of Mansilla. Moore's retreat was marked by a breakdown of discipline in many regiments and punctuated by stubborn rearguard actions, with Paget capturing Lefebvre-Desnouettes at Benavente, with Napoleon watching from a distance.[85] Another minor victory was the brief respite gained at the Battle of Cacabelos, HP Pavilion dv6-2115eg CPU Fan

a minor battle at which the cavalry brigadier general Auguste-Marie-Francois Colbert was killed at long range.[86]

The British troops escaped to the sea after fending off a strong French attack at the Battle of Corunna, at which Moore was killed. Some 26,000 troops reached Britain, with 7,000 men lost over the course of the expedition.[87] With Moore dead, over a fifth of his army missing and several thousand more sick or wounded, the British intervention had ended in humiliation and disaster.Toshiba Satellite L645D-S4056 CPU Fan

The retreat looked like a rout; although the army had saved all its guns it had lost much of its baggage and had been forced to destroy almost all the horses that had reached La Coruna. Hundreds more men were lost in winter storms in the Bay of Biscay and the English Channel. Immense quantities of material, including 4,000 barrels of powder blown up on 13 January, HP 646578-001 CPU Fan

had been lost and the French had occupied the most populated region in Spain, including the important towns of Lugo and La Coruna.[88] Worse than the physical losses suffered by the Allies, immense damage had been done to Anglo-Spanish relations. Misled by journalists who had claimed that Moore's army was actually much larger than it was and had represented Sahagun as a victory, the Spanish were shocked by the British retreat. SONY VAIO PCG-6L2L CPU Fan

This was worsened by the angry accounts of the Marques de la Romana and other observers, who accused Moore of betrayal and bad faith.[89]

Meanwhile, Zaragoza, already scarred from Lefebvre's bombardments that summer, was under a second siege that had commenced on 20 December. Despite Lannes and Moncey having committed two army corps of 45,000 men and considerable material, the Spanish citizen-soldiers were able to hold out for two months. Toshiba Satellite X205-S9349 CPU Fan

Palafox's second defence brought the city enduring national and international fame.[90] Gates wrote that the siege "was a demonstration the French army was never to forget and ... it was to inspire Spaniards to maintain replica struggles that have few parallels in the history of war."[91] The Spaniards fought with determination, endured disease and starvation, entrenching themselves in convents and burning their own homes.  DELL yy529 CPU Fan

The garrison of 44,000 left 8,000 survivors—1,500 of them ill—[87] but the Grande Armée did not advance beyond the Ebro's shore. On 20 February 1809, the French left behind burnt-out ruins filled with 64,000 corpses, of which 10,000 were French.[90][92] After just over two months in Spain, Napoleon returned to France, giving back the command to his marshals. HP Pavilion dv7-3020es CPU Fan

After the Battle of Corunna and the British evacuation of Spain, Soult turned his attention to the invasion of Portugal. In the grand strategy Napoleon drafted in late 1808, he envisaged a three-pronged offensive into Portugal, consisting of Soult's corps from the north, Lapisse's 9,000 men from the east and Claude Victor's forces from the south.[93] With peace restored to the northern half of the peninsula, Andalucia and the Levante would be invaded and the conflict ended. HP G62-369TX CPU Fan

Napoleon thought there was no reason why the war should continue past the summer, and such was the disarray in the Patriot camp in Spain and Portugal that it is hard to question his confidence altogether.[94] The Junta took over direction of the Spanish war effort and established war taxes, organized an Army of La Mancha, and signed a treaty of alliance with the UK on 14 January 1809. HP 13.V1.BJ195.F.GN CPU Fan

The Junta agreed that the overseas kingdoms would send one representative. As it became apparent that the war would last longer than thought, the Junta again took up the issue of convening a Cortes in April 1809, issuing a royal decree to the effect on 22 May. A committee presided over by Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos organised the legal and logistical efforts to carry this out.[67] Toshiba Satellite L675D-S7016 CPU Fan

Officially, Soult had 40,000 men at his disposal, but after the rigorous campaign in Galicia thousands of his troops were sick and he could muster 20,000 men. He experienced difficulties in equipping all of these, and a chronic shortage of horses and transport vehicles compounded his problems, but Soult persevered. He captured the Spanish naval base at Ferrol on 26 January 1809, capturing eight ships of the lines, HP Pavilion dv7-1451nr CPU Fan

three frigates and several thousand prisoners. Of more immediate value were enormous equipment stockpiles, including 20,000 Brown Bess muskets, which enabled Soult to repair his army's material deficiencies and to proceed with the projected invasion of Portugal.[95]

In March 1809, Soult initiated the second invasion of Portugal through the northern corridor. Soult's forces faced 12,000 men represented by the line regiments, militia and ordenança of the province of Tras-os-Montes. HP G62-a57SG CPU Fan

Commanded by Francisco da Silveira, these forces quickly retreated amid riot and disorder, and within two days of crossing the border Soult had taken the fortress of Chaves.[96] Swinging west, the French were confronted by 25,000 unprepared and undisciplined Portuguese. While waiting for Soult's army to arrive, the Portuguese militia lynched their own commander, Bernardim Freire de Andrade, who wanted to retreat. SONY Vaio VGN-NR31S/S CPU Fan

On 20 March, 16,000 of Soult's professional troops of the II Corps advanced and killed 4,000 Portuguese troops in the Battle of Braga. A similar mismatch occurred when the French reached Porto. In the First Battle of Porto on 29 March, the Portuguese defenders panicked and thousands drowned trying to flee across the DouroRiver. It was a French victory; IBM 91P9252 CPU Fan

with fewer than 500 casualties Soult had secured Portugal's second city with its valuable dockyards and arsenals intact. The Portuguese sustained appalling losses, losing 200 guns and between 6,000 and 20,000 men dead, wounded or captured.[97] The French booty included immense stocks of food and munitions, and 30 shiploads of wine.[98] Soult occupied northern Portugal but halted at Porto to refit his army before advancing on Lisbon.[99] Toshiba Satellite M70-122 CPU Fan

By May 1809, the French armies were victorious almost everywhere in Spain. Victor advanced on Badajoz, defeating Cuesta at Medellín.[99] The whole Spanish army fled south across the plain in disorder and the French cavalry pursued them, inflicting appalling casualties. Lasalle claimed that the 'disgusting Spaniards' lost 14,000 men at Medellín. SONY UDQFWPH22FQU CPU Fan

By the time a thunderstorm ended to the carnage, at least 8,000 Spanish were dead and another 2,000 taken prisoner. Victor's soldiers carried off nine standards and twenty guns. Estimates of the French losses range between 300 and 2,000 men.[100]

On 27 March, Spanish forces defeated the French at Vigo, and the French troops at Marín and Pontevedra were forced to retreat to Santiago de Compostela for fear of being outflanked. HP Pavilion dv6-2150ei CPU Fan

The Spanish force that besieged Vigo was based around a division of new troops called the División del Miño. Hall wrote:"On reaching the camp ... we found the patriot army exercising by divisions ... When we approached a general halt was ordered, and those who had muskets presented them as well they might, while those who had none went through the motions well with their pikes or staves formed out of scythes and reaping hooks ... HP G42-367TU CPU Fan

Under our auspices the peasantry continued to flock in from the adjacent country ... we could supply a twentieth part of these patriots with arms ... And that small fraction not being supplied with officers, or disciplined, or organised in any way, it was like children playing at soldiers."[101]

Spanish forces took the initiative and most of the cities in the province of Pontevedra were recaptured. In February 1809,Toshiba Satellite P100-238 CPU Fan

Reding led a reconstituted army against the French right wing and, after vigorous marching and counter-marching, took a stand at the Battle of Valls and was ridden down and wounded by French cavalry.

Wellesley returned to Portugal in April 1809 to command the Anglo-Portuguese forces. He strengthened the British army with Portuguese regiments trained byGeneral Beresford and helped them adapt to the British campaign style. ACER Aspire 5739 CPU Fan

These new forces turned Soult out of Portugal at the Battle of Grijó (10–11 May) and theSecond Battle of Porto (12 May), and the other northern cities were recaptured by General Silveira. With Portugal in revolt, Soult seemed doomed, but he escaped without his heavy equipment by marching through the mountains to Orense.[99] On 7 June, IBM ThinkPad T40 2678 CPU Fan

the French army of Marshal Michel Ney was defeated at the Battle of Puente Sanpayo by Spanish forces under the command of Colonel Pablo Morillo, and Ney and his forces retreated to Lugo on 9 June while being harassed by Spanish guerrillas. In Lugo, Ney's troops joined up with those of Soult and these forces withdrew from Galicia in July 1809. This marked the final evacuation of Galicia by the French army and the creation of a new front. IBM Thinkpad T43 CPU Fan

With Portugal secured, Wellesley advanced into Spain to unite with General Cuesta's forces. The combined allied force prepared for an assault on Victor's I Corps at Talavera on 23 July. Cuesta was reluctant to agree, but was persuaded to advance on the following day.[102] This delay gave the French time to withdraw. Cuesta sent his army after Victor, and was faced by the entire French army in New Castile, IBM ThinkPad T43 2668 CPU Fan

Victor having been reinforced by the Toledo and Madrid garrisons. The Spanish retreated, while two British divisions advanced to cover their retreat.[103]

On 27 July at the Battle of Talavera, the French advanced in three columns and were repulsed several times, but at a heavy cost to the British force. Wellesley, ignoring Cuesta's urgings to proceed to a general attack, decided on a gradual retreat, leaving Talavera on 4 August. IBM ThinkPad T43 1871 CPU Fan

Wellesley was concerned about the imminent arrival of Soult with his army and was afraid of being cut off from his base in Portugal. He sent the Light Brigade to hold the bridge over the Tagus River at Almaraz and, on 8 August, Soult's army faced the Spanish army at Puente del Arzobispo. With communications and supply from Lisbon secured, Wellesley considered rejoining Cuesta, .com/acer-travelmate-8104wlmi-cpu-fan.html">ACER Travelmate 8104WLMI CPU Fan

but considerable friction had developed between the British and the Spanish; after Talevera, the Spanish had abandoned the British wounded to the French. Also, actions taken by the Spanish forces resulted in Wellesley's strategic position being compromised. The Spanish had promised to provide supplies for the British if they advanced into Spain, but this was not done.DELL Latitude E4300 CPU Fan

The ensuing lack of supplies and the threat of French reinforcement in the spring led to the British decision to retreat into Portugal. By making this choice Wellesley was supported by the government perception about Talavera. About himself, London was all gratitude, and rewarded him with the peerage of Viscount Wellington. But considerations pointed to a careful course of action. ASUS F80S CPU Fan

The peace party accused the general of being outgeneraled, while insinuations were being made that Talavera was fought for no objective beyond getting an aristocratic title.[104] A string of embarrassments appeared about the excess of patronage where the principal exponents were the Duke of York and Lord Castlereagh. There was also much dissatisfaction with Wellington, as he was now known: HP Pavilion dv5-1058eo CPU Fan

considered an authoritarian, he also made himself more distrusted by writing about the conduct of theCabinet and what he perceived as not enough support from them.[105]

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