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Bi-centenary of battle against the French PDF
Monday, 11 October 2010 00:00

Two centuries after it happened, Montejaque is to celebrate an event that made a huge mark on the village, as well as the whole of the Serranía de Ronda. On 20 October 1810, the inhabitants of Montejaque, Benaoján, Atajate, Cortes de la Frontera and Jimera de Líbar, following the orders of the guerrillero José de Aguilar, expelled the French army in a battle which took place on the bridge over the River Gaduares during the Peninsular War against Napoleon.

On Sunday 24 October, the villagers of Montejaque will be re-enacting the battle, in which around 200 locals won a famous victory against 700 French soldiers. Starting at 11.00 am blacksmiths, saddlers, chestnut sellers, millers, bakers, seamstresses and innkeepers will all play their part in the re-enactment of an event which defined the future of the village.


The Peninsular War was a contest between France and the allied powers of Spain, the United Kingdom and Portugal for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when French armies crossed Spain and invaded Portugal in 1807 and then in 1808 turned on its ally since 1796, Spain. The war lasted until the Sixth Coalition defeated Napoleon in 1814.

Spain's liberation struggle marked one of the first national wars and the emergence of large-scale guerrillas, from which the English language borrowed the word. While the French occupation destroyed the Spanish administration, which fragmented into quarrelling provincial juntas, Napoleon's failure to pacify the people of Spain allowed Spanish, British and Portuguese forces to secure Portugal and engage French forces on the frontiers while Spanish guerrilleros troubled the occupiers. Acting in concert, regular and irregular allied forces prevented Napoleon's marshals from subduing the rebellious Spanish provinces.

Years of fighting in Spain gradually wore down Napoleon's famous Grande Armée. While the French armies were often victorious in battle, their communications and supplies were severely tested and their units frequently cut off, harassed, or overwhelmed by partisans. The Spanish army, though beaten and driven to the peripheries, could not be stamped out and continued to hound the French relentlessly. In 1812, with France gravely weakened following Napoleon's invasion of Russia, a combined allied army under Arthur Wellesley, later the Duke of Wellington, pushed into Spain and liberated Madrid. Marshal Soult led the exhausted and demoralized French forces in a fighting withdrawal across the Pyrenees and into France over the winter of 1813, and the war officially ended in April 1814.

With thanks to Wikipedia 

Tags:  Montejaque, Benaoján, Atajate, Cortes de la Frontera and Jimera de Líbar, Serranía de Ronda, guerrillero, guerrilla, José de Aguilar, River Gaduares, Napoleon, Peninsular War, France, Spain, United Kingdom, Portugal, Iberian Peninsula, Napoleonic Wars, Grande Armée, Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington,




Paul Whitelock

Paul is a Joint Honours graduate in Spanish and German, a qualified teacher (PGCE) and has a Member of the Institute of Linguists (MIL) qualification.

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