15.5.08

Almansa 1707-2007

Quan el mal ve d'Almansa, a tots alcança.

The Battle of Almansa, fought on April 25, 1707, was one of the most decisive engagements of the War of the Spanish Succession. At Almansa, the Franco–Spanish army under Berwick soundly defeated the allied forces of Portugal, Britain, and the United Provinces led by the Earl of Galway, reclaiming most of eastern Spain for the Bourbons.

It has been described as "probably the only battle in history in which the British forces were commanded by a Frenchman, the French by a Briton".
The Bourbon army of about 25,000 was composed of French and Spanish troops in equal proportion, as well as an Irish regiment. Opposing them was a mainly Anglo-Portuguese force with strong Dutch, German, and French Huguenot elements.

The battle began with an artillery exchange. When Galway committed his reserves to an attack on the Bourbon centre, Berwick unleashed a strong force of Franco-Spanish cavalry against the weakened Anglo-Portuguese lines, sweeping away the Portuguese horse. A general rout followed. Galway lost 5,000 men killed and 12,000 taken prisoner; of his army of 22,000 only 5,000 escaped to Tortosa.

The victory was a major step in the consolidation of Spain under the Bourbons. With the main pro-army in Spain destroyed, the pretender duc d'Anjou regained the initiative and gained Valencia.

The city of Xàtiva was burned, and its name changed to San Felipe in order to punish it. (In memory of these facts, nowadays the portrait of the monarch still hangs upside down in the local museum of L'Almodí)

Before long, the only remaining allies of the Habsburg pretender, Archduke Charles, were his supporters in Catalonia and Balearic Islands.

Vive le Roy.
de Brantigny

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