The Peninsular War



By the 19th century, the country of France dominated most of Europe, which includes Austria. However, Britain was able to take on France’s forces by establishing security during an invasion. Ruled by Napoleon Bonaparte, France developed an enemy relationship with Spain due the push by Napoleon for his brother, Joseph, to take over the Spanish throne. Due to the Spanish revolt against Napoleon’s advances, Britain sent their forces to Iberian Peninsula to go into battle against the French. The Peninsular war sparked a huge movement that eventually lend to the fall of Napoleon’s reign. 

In 1808, Napoleon sent thousands of troops through Spain in order to invade Portugal. During this invasion, Napoleon overthrown the Spanish monarch in order to allow his brother, Joseph Bonaparte, to take over. The Spanish people were enraged and cut the ally relationship with Spain. Britain saw this as an opportunity to set against France and created an ally with Spain. The people of Madrid was very much against this invader on the thrown, which led to beginning of the war for Spanish Independence. 

A rebellion in Madrid emerged and was completely shut down by the French forces. However, it sparked a great capacity in the Spaniards’ interest in guerrilla warfare. By August of 1808, the Spaniards were able to regain control of the capital and managed to expelled Joseph Bonaparte.

Unfortunately, the victory was short-lived when French forces were able to regain control of Madrid in December of 1808. By 1810, French General, Nicolas de Dieu Soult, started a conquest to take back Andalusia and caused the fall of Sevilla, otherwise known as Seville. For two years, the battles between the French and Spain and their allies continued on and had no concrete results. However, the two years of battle worn down the French resources, and eventually led to the withdrawal of over 30,000 men. 

General Wellington, who had a base in Portugal, started to make his way into Spain. During his trek, he found himself against  General Jean-Baptiste Jourdan, a new French commander. However, he managed to defeat Jourdan’s army at the Battle of Vittoria, which resulted in the final decision over the peninsula. Eventually Joseph Bonaparte withdrew from Spain while Wellington made his way into France. After five years, during the battle in Leipzig, Napoleon realized that he can no longer regain control of France. Napoleon then released the previous Spanish monarch, Ferdinand VII , who then returned to Spain in 1814 and took back the throne.