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The Battle of Bailén

This year, Spain celebrates the 200th anniversary of the Spanish War of Independence (also known as the Peninsular War). That was the war between the intruding army of Napoleon I from France and the Spanish troops under Rey Fernando VII. French armies had occupied Portugal in 1807 and Spain in 1808 in an attempt to install Napoleon’s brother as King of Spain and Portugal.

One decisive battle was allegedly fought on July 19th, 1808, and won by the Spanish at Bailén, near Jaen in Andalucia. The battle is put on display in a miniature set at an historic exhibition that can be seen now in Palma de Mallorca, at the former Convento de Santa Margarita. Admission is free.

As a result of Napoleon’s troops eventually being defeated in 1814, some 9,000 French soldiers were imprisoned on the island of Cabrera, just south of Mallorca. Sadly, it is said that barely 2,000 of the prisoners ever made it home, back to their families. No reason to be cheerful, I suppose.

You might want to read more about the events leading up to this treacherous war on Spain: The Blog.

By the way, 64 years ago today was D-Day, when the Allies’ troupes landed in Normandy (France) thus marking the beginning of the end of World War II and with it, Hitler’s totalitarian Third Reich. Hurrah.

The photo was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: May 29th, 2008. The time was 13:05:51.

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