Timeline of the War of Spanish Succession in the Peninsular

The War of Spanish Succession was mostly fought in northern Europe, but as my particular interest is Spain and Portugal, I’ve restrict my history to the campaigns in the Iberian peninsula.

20 Aug 1700 Battle of Zaragoza


Feb 1701

Philip, Duke of Anjou, enters Madrid and becomes Philip V of Spain (Grant, 1986).

Jun 1701

Portugal allies with France (Grant, 1986).

12 Oct 1702

Sir George Rooke forces the boom of Vigo harbour with 30 British and 20 Dutch ships (Bickley, 1992). He burns 11 French and Spanish men-of-war and captures another 10, plus a further 10 Spanish treasure galleons.

May 1703

Portugal joins the Grand Alliance against France (Grant, 1986).

8 Mar 1704

An Anglo-Dutch fleet brings the Habsburg pretender – Charles III of Spain – to Lisbon (Condray, 1992). The Anglo-Portuguese prepare to invade Castile. The combined army is nominally under Pedro II of Portugal, Lord Henry Galway leads the British and Freiherr von Fagel the Dutch contingent.

Apr 1704

Spain declares war on Portugal (Grant, 1986).

May 1704

The Franco-Spanish (Marshall Berwick) invade the Portuguese province of Beira and capture the fortress of Castel-Branco on the direct route to Lisbon (Condray, 1992). Berwick manages to cross the Tagus at Vila-Velha to capture Marvao and Portalegre.

A secondary Franco-Spanish force invades Portuguese Alentejo (Condray, 1992).

Grant (1986) mentions that a Franco-Spanish army defeats Fagel and the Dutch, but I’m not sure where this fits into the history.

Jun 1704

Frustrated by bad terrain and bad climate the Franco-Spanish retire from Portugal (Condray, 1992; Grant, 1986).

Condray (1992) also mentions the Portuguese (General Antonio de Soursa Second Marques das Minas) defeat of the Spanish at Monsanto, as a cause of the Franco-Spanish withdrawal, although it isn’t clear when this occurred.

24 Jul 1704

Rooke’s Anglo-Dutch fleet takes Gibraltar from the Spanish under the Marquis de Salinas in a mere 2 days (Bickley, 1992; Condray, 1992). Although primarily English, there are some Portuguese troops in the army. The British lost two officers and 276 men killed or wounded.

24 Aug 1704 Battle of Malaga


Aug 1704 – Mar 1705

Spanish siege of Gibraltar is (Condray, 1992; Grant, 1986).

10 Mar 1705 Battle of Marbella


May 1705

Portuguese take Valencia, d’Alcantara and Albuquerque (Grant, 1986).

Jun 1705

Portuguese (Das Minas) fail to take Badajoz (Condray, 1992; Grant, 1986).

20 June 1705

Earl of Peterborough arrives in Lisbon with 5,000 men (Bickley, 1992). Peterborough swaps two regiments of newly raised foot for some of Galway’s Dragoons, then sails on to Barcelona.

Early Aug 1705

Peterborough takes fortress of Denia (Bickley, 1992).

26 Aug – 9 Oct 1705 Siege of Barcelona

Peterborough anchors at Barcelona (16 Aug) and after procastination by the Archduke Charles of Austria commences a siege (14 Sep) (Bickley, 1992). Peterborough personally leads an assault by 1,800 men on the fortress of Monjuick one mile inland, and forces the garrison back into the city. The British construct saps and breach the city walls, where upon the Governor surrenders the city (9 Oct). Archduke Charles orders the army into winter quarters.

Early Spring 1706

The Marquis de las Torres besieges San Mateo with 4,000 foot and 3,000 horse (Bickley, 1992). Peterborough sets out to succor the 500 man garrison. With only 1,200 men at his disposal Peterborough resorts to deception: use of a false message and good positioning of the men persuades the Spanish they are facing a much larger force, so they raise the siege. Peterborough pursues the Spanish with only 200 horse, however, the Spanish are still convinced they are facing a large force and break in rout.

Meanwhile the Duke of Arcos besieges Valencia (Bickley, 1992). Having saved San Mateo Peterborough leads his small force to the rescue of Valencia. The British entrench near the besieging Spanish and Peterborough tricks the Duke of Arcos that his chief engineer, Mahony, is a traitor. Arcos arrests Mahony and his force dissolves is disarray, where upon Arcos raises the siege.

The Marquis de las Torres heads for Valencia to reopen the siege (Bickley, 1992). He has 4,000 men with him, and a heavy artillery train embarking at Alicante. Peterborough hears of both forces, and manages to have both intercepted before they reach Valencia.

2 Apr – May 1706 Siege of Barcelona

A large French force besieges Barcelona by land and sea (2 Apr) (Bickley, 1992; although Grant, 1992, says the siege lasts from Nov 1705 until Apr 1706). Peterborough takes 2,000 men to raise the siege. Whilst Peterborough watches from the hills the French reduce the fortress of Monjuick and breach the city walls. As the French prepare for a final assault, Peterborough orders the British fleet to sea. The draws the French squadron out of Barcelona harbour, and Peterborough ferries his men into the city in fishing boats. Upon seeing their supporting squadron depart, and seeing reinforcements enter the city, the French raise their siege.

25 May 1706 Battle of Majorca


Jun 1706

Das Minas leads the Portuguese army into Spain, and Peterborough leads the British from the east coast allowing the Anglo-Portuguese to take Madrid (26 Jun) (Bickley, 1992; Condray, 1992; Grant, 1986). Charles is proclaimed King of Spain.

Aug 1706

In the face of a reformed Franco-Spanish force the Anglo-Portuguese abandon Madrid (Condray, 1992; Grant, 1986). Das Minas and Galway retire into Portugal, whilst Peterborough and Charles III retreat to Valencia.

Subsequently differences between Peterborough and Charles III mean Peterborough is replaced in command by the Earl of Galway (Bickley, 1992).

Oct 1706

French under Duke of Berwick retake Madrid (Grant, 1986).

25 Apr 1707 Battle of Almanza

In the largest action in the Peninsular a Franco-Spanish army of 25,400 (Marshal Berwick) defeats an Anglo-Portuguese army of 15,500 (Earl of Galway; Das Minas) army at Almanza (Condray, 1992; Bickley, 1992; Grant, 1986). The Portuguese horse are swept away, but the allied infantry fight stubbornly

Subsequently Valencia, and most of Spain, falls to the Franco-Spanish (Condray, 1992; Grant, 1986).


This year is generally a stalemate (Grant, 1986). Berwick is recalled to the Flanders in the wake of the Battle of Oudenarde, and the Duke of Orleans is left in charge (Condray, 1992).

Apr 1708

Imperial reinforcements arrive in Spain (Grant, 1986).

Jan 1709

Pope recognises Charles as King of Spain (Grant, 1986).

Apr 1709

Franco-Spanish defeat Anglo-Portuguese at Val Gudina in Portugal (Grant, 1986).

May 1709

Franco-Spanish defeat Anglo-Portuguese at Gaia (Condray, 1992). In a now familiar pattern the Portuguese horse are swept away, but the allied infantry fight stubbornly.

27 Jul 1710 Battle of Almenara

James, Earl of Stanhope advances on Madrid with 24-26,000 men and defeats 22,000 Spanish under Villaderia (Condray, 1992; Bickley, 1992; Grant, 1986).

Jul or Aug 1710 Battle of Lerida

Stanhope defeats a Franco-Spanish force at Lerida (Condray, 1992; Grant, 1986).

At some point during Jul or Aug the Portuguese army advancing on Madrid is scared off by a French force and retires back to Portugal (Grant, 1986).

10 Aug 1710 Battle of Zaragoza

Stanhope defeats a Franco-Spanish force of 20,000 (De Bay) at Zaragoza taking 5,000 prisoners and 36 guns (Bickley, 1992; Condray, 1992; Grant, 1986, says 20 Aug).

10 Dec 1710 Battle of Brihuega

Vendome ambushes Stanhope’s rearguard at Brihuega on the road from Madrid to Barcelona (Bickley, 1992; Grant, 1986). Stanhope and the entire rearguard is killed or taken prisoner.

11 Dec 1710 Battle of Villa Viciosa

Vendome defeats Guido von Starhemberg and the British main body at Villa Viciosa, taking 2,000 prisoners and 22 guns (Grant, 1986; Bickley, 1992, incorrectly calls it Tillaviciosa). The battle is hard fought with heavy causalities on both sides (Condray, 1992). Starhemberg manages to keep his army together and continue the retreat.


Charles leaves Barcelona to become the Emperor Charles VI (Grant, 1986).

25 Oct 1712 Battle of Tortosa

This battle appears on Bickley’s (1992) map, but he doesn’t mention any details.

Oct 1712

Suspension of arms in Catalonia (Grant, 1986).

Nov 1712

Suspension of arms in Portugal (3 Nov) (Grant, 1986). The British (Duke of Argyle) withdraw from Catalonia.


Portugal signs a peach treaty with France (Condray, 1992).

Early 1713

Duke of Berwick takes Gerona (Grant, 1986). Starhemberg fails to recapture it.

Jul 1713

Barcelona declares war on Philip (Grant, 1986).

7 Sep 1714

Duke of Berwick takes Barcelona (Condray, 1992; Grant, 1986).

6 Feb 1715

Spain and Portugal conclude Treaty of Madrid (Grant, 1986).


Bickley, D. (1992). Charles, Third Earl of Peterborough’s Campaigns in Spain 1705-1706. Wargames Illustrated, 59, 22-23.

Condray, P. (1992). The Portuguese Army During the War of Spanish Succession (1704-1715). Editions Brokaw.

Grant, C. S. (1986). From Pike to Shot: Armies and Battles of Western Europe 1685 to 1720. Wargames Research Group.

Green, D. (1974). Blenheim. London: Collins.

Sapherson, C. A. (1994). Armies of Spain 1701 – 1715. Leeds, UK: Raider Books.

Stanford, I. (2001) Marlborough Goes to War: The Campaign and Battle of Blenheim, 1704. The Pike and Shot Society.

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