Anglo-Spanish War (1796–1808)

The Anglo-Spanish War was a conflict fought between 1796 and 1802, and again from 1804 to 1808, as part of the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. The war ended when an alliance was signed between the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Spain, which was now under French invasion.

Turner, The Battle of Trafalgar (1822)
The Battle of Trafalgar by J. M. W. Turner (oil on canvas, 1822–1824).


In the War of the First Coalition, Spain declared war on the newly formed French Republic, joined the Coalition in attempting to restore the Bourbon Monarchy. The main Spanish general was Antonio Ricardos, who failed to secure a decisive victory, despite initial successes. French forces elsewhere quickly overran the Austrian Netherlands after the Battle of Fleurus, and the Dutch Republic collapsed under huge pressure. The Spanish were having similarly bad times. The Spanish navy did little, with the exception of combining with the British and participating in the Siege of Toulon.

Following the Battle of the Black Mountain, the French Republic gained a huge advantage, and by 1795, the Peace of Basel was signed, forcing the Kingdom of Spain and the Kingdom of Prussia to exit the Coalition. In 1796, encouraged by massive French gains in the Rhine Campaign and the Italian Campaign, Spanish prime minister Manuel Godoy signed the Second Treaty of San Ildefonso, establishing a Franco-Spanish alliance and common war against Great Britain. The hope was that victorious France would also win over land and money for Spain.



The war was damaging for Spain and for the Spanish Crown's revenues, with the British blockade greatly reducing the amount of wealth arriving from the colonies. A main Spanish fleet, under Jose de Cordoba y Ramos, had 27 ships of the line, however, and planned to link with the French and protect coveys of valuable goods. The British Mediterranean fleet had 15 ships of the line - heavily outnumbered by Franco-Spanish threats, forcing a retreat from Corsica and Elba by 1797.


The Treaty of Amiens in 1802 provided for a temporary truce in hostilities, only to be broken in 1804 when, by surprise and without declaration of war, British ships attacked a Spanish squadron of frigates that was carrying gold and silver bullion to Cádiz. Spanish frigate Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes blew up and the others were captured by the British.

The French planned an invasion of Britain in the coming year; the Spanish fleet was to be an integral part in assisting this invasion. At the Battle of Trafalgar, in 1805, a combined Franco-Spanish fleet, attempting to join forces with the French fleets in the north for the invasion, were attacked by a British fleet and lost in a decisive engagement. The British victory ended the immediate threat of an invasion of Britain by Napoleon. It also seriously shook the resolve of the unpopular Godoy led Spanish government, which began to doubt the utility of its uncertain alliance with Napoleon. Meanwhile, a British campaign (1806–1807) to conquer the strategically important Rio de la Plata region in Spanish South America met with failure.

Godoy withdrew from the Continental System that Napoleon had devised to combat Britain, only to join it again in 1807, after Napoleon had defeated the Prussians. Napoleon, however, had lost his faith in Godoy and Spanish King Charles IV. There was also growing support in Spain for the king's son, Ferdinand, who opposed the widely despised Godoy. Ferdinand, however, favoured an alliance with Britain, and Napoleon had always doubted the trustworthiness of any Bourbon royalty.


In 1807, France and Spain invaded Portugal, and, on 1 December, Lisbon was captured with no military opposition. In the beginning of 1808, the French presence in Spain was so predominant that it led to revolt. Napoleon then removed King Charles and his son Ferdinand to Bayonne and forced them both to abdicate on 5 May, giving the throne to his brother Joseph. This led to the Peninsular War and the de facto end of the Anglo-Spanish War, as George Canning, foreign secretary of His Majesty's Government, declared:

"No longer remember that war has existed between Spain and Great Britain. Every nation which resists the exorbitant power of France becomes immediately, and whatever may have been its previous relations with us, the natural ally of Great Britain." [2]


  1. ^ "British Royal Navy : Nelson : Napoleonic Wars : French & Spanish : Trafalgar".
  2. ^ Foy, p. 213


1797 in Great Britain

Events from the year 1797 in Great Britain.

1798 in Great Britain

Events from the year 1798 in Great Britain. (See also 1798 in Ireland, then a separate kingdom although under the same monarch.)

1799 in Great Britain

Events from the year 1799 in Great Britain.

1800 in Great Britain

Events from the year 1800 in Great Britain.

1801 in the United Kingdom

Events from the year 1801 in the United Kingdom. The Acts of Union 1800 came into force this year.

1802 in the United Kingdom

Events from the year 1802 in the United Kingdom.

1803 in the United Kingdom

Events from the year 1803 in the United Kingdom.

1804 in the United Kingdom

Events from the year 1804 in the United Kingdom.

1805 in the United Kingdom

Events from the year 1805 in the United Kingdom. This is the year of the Battle of Trafalgar.

1806 in the United Kingdom

Events from the year 1806 in the United Kingdom.

1807 in the United Kingdom

Events from the year 1807 in the United Kingdom.

Anglo-Spanish War

Anglo-Spanish War may refer to:

The Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604)

The Anglo-Spanish War (1625–30) was part of the Thirty Years' War

The Anglo-Spanish War (1654–60)

The Portuguese Restoration War (1662–68) English military support for Portuguese Independence

The War of the Spanish Succession (1701–13)

The War of the Quadruple Alliance (1718–20)

The Anglo-Spanish War (1727–29)

The War of Jenkins' Ear, which later merged into the War of the Austrian Succession

The Anglo-Spanish War (1762–63) was part of the Seven Years' War

The Anglo-Spanish War (1779–83)

The Anglo-Spanish War (1796–1808) was part of the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars

The Spanish American wars of independence (1815–32) British covert military support to Hispanic independentists

The First Carlist War (1833-40), when Britain actively supported Queen Isabella II against royal pretender Infante Carlos, Count of Molina

Banda Oriental

Banda Oriental, or more fully Banda Oriental del Uruguay (Eastern Bank), was the name of the South American territories east of the Uruguay River and north of Río de la Plata that comprise the modern nation of Uruguay; the modern state of Brazil Rio Grande do Sul; and some of Santa Catarina, Brazil. It was the easternmost territory of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata.

After decades of disputes over the territories, the 1777 First Treaty of San Ildefonso settled the division between the Spanish Empire and the Portuguese Empire: the southern part was to be held by the Spanish Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata and the northern territories by the Portuguese Capitania de São Pedro do Rio Grande do Sul (English: Captaincy of Saint Peter of the Southern Río Grande).

The Banda Oriental was not a separate administrative unit until the de facto creation of the Provincia Oriental (English: Eastern Province) by José Gervasio Artigas in 1813 and the subsequent decree of the Supreme Director of the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata of 7 March 1814, which formally established the Gobernación Intendencia Oriental del Río de la Plata (English: Governorship-Intendency East of the Río de la Plata), making it a constituent part of the United Provinces of South America.

Battle of Cape St Vincent (1797)

The Battle of Cape St Vincent (14 February 1797) was one of the opening battles of the Anglo-Spanish War (1796–1808), as part of the French Revolutionary Wars, where a British fleet under Admiral Sir John Jervis defeated a larger Spanish fleet under Admiral Don José de Córdoba y Ramos near Cape St. Vincent, Portugal.

Battle of the Retiro

Battle of the Retiro (Spanish: Combate del Retiro) was a battle produced during the second British Invasion of the Río de la Plata, between the Spanish troops, led by Santiago de Liniers, and the British forces under John Whitelocke.

List of French naval battles

The following is an incomplete list of famous French naval battles from the Middle Ages to modern France.

List of clasps to the Naval General Service Medal (1847)

The Naval General Service Medal (NGSM) was a campaign medal approved in 1847, for issue to officers and men of the Royal Navy.

The Admiralty retroactively awarded the Naval General Service Medal for various naval actions that occurred during the period 1793–1840, a period that included the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars, and the Anglo–American War of 1812. When the Admiralty issued a medal, it bore one or more clasps on the ribbon, representing the specific battles or actions in which the recipient served. In all, the Admiralty authorised 231 clasps, though in ten cases all potential claimants had died prior to the authorisation of the medal, with the result that those clasps were never issued. The clasps covered a variety of actions, from boat service to single-ship actions, to larger naval engagements, including major fleet actions such as the Battle of Trafalgar.

In all, 20,933 medals were awarded, 15,577 with a single clasp.Some discrepancies between the dates of the medals and actual actions are due to the Royal Navy's practice of dating, in which the day officially began at noon. Until 11 October 1805 (when the Admiralty ordered that "the calendar or civil day is to be made use of, beginning at midnight") ships' logs were kept in nautical time and written up at midday, so that a day's entry consisted of the proceedings for the afternoon of the day before and morning of that day. So, for example, an action that took place on the morning of 10 April, would be logged as occurring on 9 April.

The following is a list of all 231 clasps for this medal.

Luis Daoíz y Torres

This name uses Spanish naming customs; the first or paternal family name is Daoíz and the second or maternal family name is Torres.

Luis Daoíz y Torres (Seville, 10 February 1767 – Madrid, 2 May 1808) was a Spanish artillery officer and one of the leaders of the Dos de Mayo Uprising that signalled the start of the Spanish War of Independence. Daoíz's surname is derived from the town of Aoiz in Navarre and he was descended from a long line of Spanish gentry with soldiering associations dating to the Reconquista. Daoíz's great grandfather married the daughter of the Count of Miraflores de los Angeles and Daoíz spent much of his early life in palaces owned by the family. He was born in Seville and, after receiving a Catholic education, trained at the Royal School of Artillery in Segovia. Daoíz saw action against the Moors in Spanish North Africa, where he was commended for his bravery and promoted to lieutenant. He also served against the French in the short-lived War of the Roussillon where he was captured. After refusing to serve in the French army, he was imprisoned.

After his release he served on secondment to the Spanish Navy during the Anglo-Spanish War, participating in the Defence of Cadiz and on convoy duty to the Americas, for which he was rewarded with promotion to captain. He tired of the sea and rejoined his artillery regiment. His subsequent duties included assisting in the manufacture of new guns for the horse artillery, attending the signing of the Treaty of Fontainebleau with France and participating in the 1807 invasion of Portugal. He returned to Madrid in 1808 and was a leader of the Dos de Mayo Uprising in which he assisted civilians resisting French efforts to remove the royal family from Spain. His defence of the barracks at Monteleón was the only action that day in which the Spanish army fought the French and, although ultimately unsuccessful, it inspired the Spanish War of Independence. He died in the fighting and has been commemorated as a national hero.

Thomas Plunket

Thomas Plunket (1785–1839) was an Irish soldier in the British Army's 95th Rifles regiment. He served throughout the Peninsular War and later in the Waterloo Campaign of 1815. He is remembered for killing a French general during the Peninsular War with an extremely long range rifle shot, then killing the general's aide-de-camp, who had gone to his side to render aid, with another.

Anglo-Spanish War
Anglo-Spanish wars

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.