Napoleon and Iberia: The Twin Sieges of Ciudad Rodrigo and Almeida, 1810

Napoleon and Iberia: The Twin Sieges of Ciudad Rodrigo and Almeida, 1810

Napoleon and Iberia: The Twin Sieges of Ciudad Rodrigo and Almeida, 1810

Napoleon and Iberia: The Twin Sieges of Ciudad Rodrigo and Almeida, 1810

Excerpt

In the summer of 1984, the 174th anniversary of the sieges of Almeida and Ciudad Rodrigo, an international congress was convened on the Guerra de la Independencia or Guerra Peninsular to commemorate the twin sieges and the men who served in them. The various sessions of the meeting were held in the castle, the town hall, and the other public buildings of Ciudad Rodrigo, the great hall and cloister of the monastery of La Caridad, and the military museum in the demilune beside the bastion of São Pedro at Almeida -- all of significance during the siege. Although the general theme of the conference was devoted to the Peninsular War, special emphasis was concentrated on the sieges, the battle of the Côa, and other operations that took place during the summer of 1810. Consequently, the completion and publication of this study were timed to coincide with the meeting and to present, for the first time, a comprehensive yet detailed account of the men who fought and died there.

Although the sieges of Almeida and Ciudad Rodrigo were only two in a long series of events that led to the collapse of Napoleonic Spain, they were symptomatic of the struggle that spread across Iberia. The results of the siege lulled Masséna and his army into a false sense of security that was shattered on the rocks of Bussaco and wrecked on the Lines of Torres Vedras. The twin sieges became a watershed of resistance and a vital element in Wellington's strategy for the defense of Portugal and the independence of Iberia. In Wellington's own words, "As long as we shall remain in a state of activity in Portugal, the contest must continue in Spain." Ultimately, the war . . .

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