Geography of the First Carlist War

Much of the war took place in the Basque provinces in the north of Spain, and I thought it worth describing it a bit. One of the British soldiers who fought there was rather taken by the local scenery:

“the diversity of hill and valley – river, and green woody mountain – villages – cottages – vines – orchards – fields of maize – luxuriant wheat, and beans odoriferous in leaf and bloom … The white walled cottage, lies in its orchar, winking from a more dazzling sun than ours – the mountain, and the valley wear one greenness, and the river and rivulet heave the maidens of the country at all times washing in the clear running water” (Somerville, 1995, p.79)

“Stretched down below us were fields of wheat, yellow and mixed with the green of orchards; and beans where no Legion had been. There were heights and hollows, we afterwards found; but at the distance we looked down, all seemed a beautifully spangled plain …Cottages lay peeping out of the the vines, and other fruit-trees that shaded them from the sun” (Sommerville, 1995, p. 114)


Somerville, A. (1995, Aug). History of the British Legion and War in Spain. Tonbridge, UK: Pallas Armata. Reprinted from the edition published by James Pattie, 1839.

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