Iberian Campaigns 1807–14


Map Code: Ax01187

The Peninsular War began after Portugal refused to cease trading with Britain, going against Napoleon’s planned economic starvation of Britain. Initially Spain was allied with France, participating in the swift invasion of Portugal in November 1807, however Napoleon soon seized the Spanish crown and awarded it to his brother Joseph. Initial Spanish unrest was brutally crushed, leading to widespread revolt across the country. The British landed in Portugal in August 1808 and managed to attain a stronghold in the region. Meanwhile, Napoleon arrived in Spain with reinforcements after the Spanish had removed Joseph Bonaparte from Madrid. In January 1809 the English won a decisive victory at Corunna under their commander, Lieutenant-General Moore, who was killed in battle, and the ruling Spanish Junta were pushed down to Cádiz by January 1810. In the end Wellington’s dogged defence of the Portuguese border, and fierce Spanish resistance, convinced Napoleon that his Spanish endeavours were too costly and the French were pushed back into France by 1813.

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