Battle of Bitonto

The Battle of Bitonto (25 May 1734) was a Spanish victory over Austrian forces near Bitonto in the Kingdom of Naples (in southern Italy) in the War of Polish Succession. The battle ended organized Austrian resistance outside a small number of fortresses in the kingdom.

Battle of Bitonto
Part of the War of the Polish Succession
Battle of Bitonto by Giovanni Luigi Rocco

The Battle of Bitonto by Giovanni Luigi Rocco
Date25 May 1734
near Bitonto, Kingdom of Naples (present-day southern Italy)

Coordinates: 41°07′N 16°41′E / 41.117°N 16.683°E
Result Decisive Spanish victory
 Spain Austria
Commanders and leaders
SpainDuke of Montemar Giuseppe Antonio, Prince of Belmonte
14,000 infantry and cavalry 8,000 infantry
2,500 cavalry
Casualties and losses
99 dead
196 wounded
1,000 dead
1,000 wounded
2,500 captured


King Philip V of Spain had always aimed to reconquer Naples and Sicily, which Spain lost to the Habsburgs as a consequence of the War of the Spanish Succession. In 1714 he married Elisabeth Farnese, who had dynastic interests in Italy. Under her influence he had attempted without success to recover the Italian holdings in the War of the Quadruple Alliance. When the War of the Polish Succession broke out in 1733, he saw an opportunity to act against the Habsburgs, who had no military support among western European powers (Great Britain and the Dutch Republic opting to remain neutral), with active opposition by France and Charles Emmanuel III of Sardinia. In the fall of 1733 Spain and France signed the Treaty of the Escorial, the first of several Bourbon Family Compacts. The treaty pledged mutual protection and aid, and provided for the allies to work together for the conquest of Habsburg territories on the Italian peninsula.

The Spanish fleet under Luis de Córdova y Córdova landed a Spanish army in Genoa, which joined forces with the troops of Charles of Parma, ruler of Parma in northern Italy and the eldest son of Philip and Elisabeth. From there, 21,000 men marched unopposed through the Papal States towards Naples, where Charles entered the city virtually uncontested, and proclaimed himself king of the Two Sicilies on May 7, 1734. Austrian garrisons in the fortresses at Gaeta and Capua were blockaded by 6,000 men, and Montemar led 12,000 Spanish troops after the retreating Austrian viceroy.

The Habsburg Viceroy, Guido Visconti, first fled to Bari in Apulia before the advancing Spanish, and then fled by ship on May 21 with one of his generals, leaving Giuseppe Antonio, Prince of Belmonte in command of the Austrian forces. The retreating Austrians were reinforced by troops that arrived from the island of Sicily, and a shipload of recruits that arrived at Taranto. Belmonte, aware that the Spanish were likely to get reinforcements from their fleet, moved to Bitonto on May 24 to force an action with Montemar before that army grew even larger. Placing inexperienced troops in the town itself, he adapted low walls and two monasteries as a defensive line and awaited the Spanish. Montemar was, according to reports Belmonte received later, reinforced by 3,000 men, raising his troop count to about 14,000 experienced and well-equipped troops.


When the Spanish arrived on the scene at daybreak on May 25, Montemar lined his troops up to face the Austrians, infantry facing infantry, cavalry facing cavalry; as the Spanish cavalry significantly outnumbered the Austrian, some of them were held in reserve on the right flank. After a few feints in which the Spanish attempted to draw the Austrians out of their defenses, the attack commenced. Around 10 am the Austrian cavalry finally gave way, with most of it beginning a disorganized retreat toward Bari, followed shortly after by Belmonte. The rest of the Austrian collapsed, with some companies following the cavalry and others trying to escape to the north and into Bitonto. Defenders in the two monasteries held their ground, and those defenses were taken by storm. The garrison in the city surrendered the next day, owing to a shortage of ammunition and provisions.


Commemorative obelisk erected on the battlefield

Belmonte attempted to reorganize the remaining forces at Bari, but opposition from the local population, which was mobilizing in favor of the Spanish, made this virtually impossible. He ended up surrendering 3,800 men to the local authorities. Several hundred troops that escaped the battle to the north managed to reach Pescara, which had not yet been taken by the Spanish.

Other cities in the kingdom recognized Spanish rule, with only two Austrian-held fortresses continuing resistance until autumn. Gaeta, blockaded early in the conflict, was placed under siege and held out until August. Traun defended Capua until November 30; when he finally surrendered, his garrison marched out with full honours of war.

The return of the Two Sicilies to Spain was confirmed by the Treaty of Vienna in 1738, which ended the war. Charles named Montemar Duke of Bitonto and commissioned Giovanni Antonio Medrano to erect an obelisk on the battlefield to commemorate the battle.


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Bitonto ([biˈtonto]; Bitontino: Vetònde or Vutònde) is a city and comune in the Metropolitan City of Bari (Apulia region), Italy. It lies to the west of Bari. It is nicknamed the "City of Olives," due to the numerous olive groves surrounding the city.

Domenico Pignatelli di Belmonte

Domenico Pignatelli di Belmonte (19 November 1730 – 5 February 1803) was an Italian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.

Giovanni Antonio Medrano

Giovanni Antonio Medrano (1703–1760) was an Italian architect.Born in Sciacca, Sicily, he became a brigadier in the army of Charles of Bourbon, while he was king of the Two Sicilies. Following the Battle of Bitonto in 1734, Charles had Medrano construct a commemorative obelisk in Bitonto.In 1737, Charles commissioned Medrano to design the new San Carlo opera house in Naples. Medrano then went on to design the Museo di Capodimonte, Charles's new palace and museum in Naples. Medrano started work on this, with others, in 1738, but the building was not finally completed until 1840.In 1741 he was accused, along with an associate Angelo Carasale, with fraud on taxes in the conduct of business at Capodimonte. After eighteen months in prison, he was dismissed and exiled. He was pardoned by the corresponding reduction of sentence and returned to Italy in 1746, but his professional work was severely criticized by the Neapolitan engineers of the time. Marginalized from public office, he obtained few private commissions. In probability he died in 1760.

History of Italy

The history of Italy covers the Ancient Period, the Middle Ages and the modern era. In antiquity, Italy was the homeland of the Romans and the metropole of the Roman Empire. Rome was founded as a Kingdom in 753 BC and became a Republic in 509 BC, when the monarchy was overthrown in favor of a government of the Senate and the People. The Roman Republic then unified Italy at the expense of the Etruscans, Celts, and Greeks of the peninsula. Rome led the federation of the Italic peoples to the domination of Western Europe, Northern Africa, and the Near East by conquering Epirus, Gaul, Britain, Hispania, Lusitania, the Balkans, Dacia, Macedonia, parts of Germania, Egypt, Carthage, Mauretania, Numidia, Libya, Anatolia, Syria, Mesopotamia, Armenia, Judea and parts of Arabia.

Caesar Augustus became the first Roman Emperor in 27 BC and ended the civil wars between the Populares and the Optimates, initiating the Pax Romana: Italy was the core of global Technology (mining, sanitation and construction of monumental roads, bridges and aqueducts), Economy (mare nostrum and trade with China, India, and Sub-Saharan Africa), Art (Pantheon, Ara Pacis, marble sculptures, Pompeian Styles), and Literature (Aeneid, Metamorphoses, De Rerum Natura, Naturalis Historia, Ab Urbe Condita). Various Emperors were successful in foreign policy and domestic issues (Claudius, Vespasian, Trajan, Marcus Aurelius) while others acted as paranoid despots (Caligula, Nero, Domitian, Caracalla). The military anarchy of the third century led to the separation of the Eastern Roman Empire from the Western Roman Empire. Both parts ended the persecutions of Christians with the Edict of Milan and granted religious primacy to Bishop of Rome with the Edict of Thessalonica.

The Roman Empire ended in 476 when the West fell to Odoacer and the East became the Byzantine Empire.

During the Early Middle Ages, the Italian Peninsula suffered a series of wars of conquest by the Goths, the Byzantines and the Lombards. The day of Christmas of the year 800, Pope Leo III crowned the Germanic ruler Charlemagne with the title of Holy Roman Emperor and as such also sovereign of northern Italy, with the exclusion of the Papal States. The Roman Pontiff and the Germanic Emperor became the universal powers of Italy and Europe, but then entered in conflict for the investiture controversy and the clash between their factions: the Guelphs and Ghibellines. The struggle between the Papacy and the Empire led to the collapse of the Imperial-feudal system in Italy between the Humiliation of Canossa of Emperor Henry IV at the feet of Pope Gregory VII and Matilda of Tuscany (1077) and the Treaty of Venice signed by Friedrich Barbarossa and Pope Alexander III after the Battle of Legnano (1177). Papal claims to temporal authority were put forward with the Dictatus Papae and the Third Lateran Council. By the 12th century Italy was organized in Republican city-states called comuni, except for the Kingdom of Sicily formed by the Normans and inclusive of the entire Mezzogiorno.

In 1095, Pope Urban II called for the First Crusade and opened Mediterranean trade to the maritime republics. The result was an Italian commercial revolution, that shifted European economy from agriculture to trade, and caused the birth of banking and universities in Italy. Between 1198 and 1215, Pope Innocent III approved the Franciscan and Dominican Orders and allowed Venice to sack Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade. Innocent III turned several states of Europe into papal fiefs and replaced the Germanic Emperor Otto IV with the Sicilian King Frederick II "the wonder of the world". Frederick II abolished the trial by ordeal and made Italy the cultural and strategic centre of a large reign that included the Holy Roman Empire and, following the Sixth Crusade, the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Frederick II refused to submit his dominions to the Mongol Empire and planned an expedition against the Golden Horde, but died in 1250 exhausted by civil wars against German princes and Italian republicans. Medieval culture peaked around 1300 with the paintings or Giotto, the writings of Dante, and the travels of Marco Polo. The Black Death and the Western Schism marked the crisis of the Late Middle Ages.

The Renaissance began in Florence (ruled by the Medici family) and transformed art, science, exploration and philosophy, marking the transition from the Middle Ages to Modernity. At the Council of Florence (1439) Cosimo de Medici formed a League between the Pope and maritime states in order to defend the Byzantine Empire from the Ottoman Turks. After the Fall of Constantinople (1453) Cosimo de Medici favoured the peace between Venice and Milan and created the Italic League with all the major Italian states. Under Lorenzo the Magnificent, the Ottoman invasion of Italy was prevented and polymaths such as Leonardo and Michelangelo began their careers. Italian navigators such as Columbus in service for Castille, Amerigo Vespucci for Portugal, Cabot for England, and Verrazzano for France, became colonizers of the Americas for European monarchs in order to by-pass the Ottoman Empire and find a trade route to Asia via the Atlantic Ocean. The Italic League collapsed with the outbreak of Franco-Aragonese wars in the peninsula.

The High Renaissance saw initial successful attempts to "free Italy from the barbarians" (in the words of Machiavelli) by the Venetians, Pope Julius II, and the Marquis of Pescara, but in 1527 Rome suffered a sack by Protestant militias and at the Congress of Bologna (1530) much of Italy returned under the protection of the Catholic Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor: his abdication divided Italy between indirect domination of the Austrian Habsburgs in the north and direct domination of the Spanish Habsburgs in the south. The Papacy remained independent and launched the Catholic Revival, resulting in: the Christianization of large parts of the world; the spread of Baroque culture; the council of Trent and the counter-reformation; the success of Galileo's scientific academia; the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar; and the formation of Holy Leagues to prevent Ottoman expansion in the West. However, the Peace of Westphalia (paradoxically set up by the Italian Cardinal Mazarin as PM for France) diminished Roman Catholic influence in Europe and led to the consolidation of large states, while Italy was fragmented and divided

Following a series of wars of succession in Europe, the Habsburg Austrians consolidated direct control over the north, and the south passed to the Spanish Bourbons. Inspired by Neoclassicism and Napoleonic enlightenment, the Risorgimento movement emerged to contest the Congress of Vienna and unite Italy by liberating it from foreign control. After the unsuccessful attempt of 1848, the Italian Wars of Independence against Austria in the North, the Expedition of the Thousand against the Spanish Bourbons in the South, and the capture of Rome in 1870, resulted in the formation of the nation-state. Giuseppe Mazzini, Giuseppe Garibaldi, King Victor Emmanuel II and Prime Minister Camillo Cavour became known as the four fathers of the fatherland. The new Kingdom of Italy obtained Great Power status, acquired a colonial Empire and rapidly industrialised, although mainly in the north, while the south remained largely impoverished, fuelling a large and influential diaspora.

In World War I, Italy joined the Entente with France and Britain, despite having been a member of the Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary, and gave a fundamental contribution to the victory of the conflict as one of the principal allied powers. Italy completed the unification by acquiring Trento and Trieste, and gained a permanent seat in the League of Nations's executive council. Nevertheless, Italian nationalists considered World War I a mutilated victory and that sentiment led to the rise of the fascist dictatorship of Benito Mussolini in 1922. The subsequent participation in World War II on the side of Germany and Japan ended in military defeat and an Italian Civil War. Following the liberation of Italy, the country abolished the monarchy with a referendum, reinstated democracy, enjoyed an economic miracle, and founded the European Union, NATO and the Group of Six (later G8 and G20).

History of Italy (1559–1814)

Following the Italian Renaissance Wars (1494–1559), the Mezzogiorno and the Duchy of Milan were under control of Habsburg Spain, while the Republic of Venice, the Duchy of Florence, the Papal States and the Republic of Genoa remained independent.

Piedmont gained independence from France at the Peace of Cateau Cambrésis due to the role played by the duke Emmanuel Philibert of Savoy in the battle of St Quentin during the Italian War of 1551–1559. The House of Savoy was "Italianized" at the end of the Italian wars, as Emmanuel Philibert made Turin the capital of the savoyard state and Italian the official language. The House of Medici kept ruling Florence, thanks to an agreement signed between the Pope and Charles V in 1530, and was later recognized as the ruling family of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany by Pope Pius V. The same Pope arranged the Holy League, a coalition of Venice and other maritime states that defeated the invading Ottoman forces at the naval battle of Lepanto (1571).

The Papal States launched the Counter-Reformation, which lasted from the Council of Trent (1545–1563) to the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. This period coincides with the European wars of religion and saw numerous Italians active in other catholic nations, including de facto rulers of France (such as Catherine de Medici, Mary de Medici, Concino Concini and Jules Mazarin) and military generals serving under the auspices of the Holy Roman Empire or Spain (such as Torquato Conti, Raimondo Montecuccoli, Ottavio Piccolomini, Ambrogio Spinola and Alexander Farnese).

Despite the victory at Lepanto, the Venetian Empire gradually lost its Eastern Mediterranean possessions (including Cyprus and Crete) to the Ottomans. Venice captured the Peloponnese during the Great Turkish war (1683–1699), but the land was ceded back after the last of the Venetian-Ottoman Wars. When the Seven Years' War broke out, Venice was left out of the concert of great powers: the same, however, was true for the Venetian mediterranean rivals such as the ottoman Empire (sick man of europe after centuries of warfare) and the Genoese Empire who had lost its possessions in the Aegean Sea, in Tunisia, and, later, Corsica. The crisis of Genoa led to the crisis of Spain, as the Republic of Genoa was a key ally of the Spanish Empire since the 16th century, providing credit and economic support for the Habsburgs in what has been described as the age of the Genoese.The War of the Spanish succession (1702–1715) and the War of the Quadruple Alliance (1718–1720) established Habsburg Austria as the dominant power in Northern and Southern Italy (though the War of the Polish Succession resulted in the re-installment of the Spanish in the south, as the House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies). In this context Victor Amadeus II of Savoy, along with Eugene of Savoy, defeated the Franco-Spanish forces during the Siege of Turin (1706) and later formed the kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia, predecessor state of Italy. The House of Habsburg-Lorraine succeeded the Medici of Florence in 1737 and Venice also became part of Austria with the treaty of Campo Formio in 1797.

The Napoleonic era is the link between the foreign domination and the Risorgimento. Napoleon's first military successes took place in Italy, at the head of the Armée d'Italie, and he later styled himself as President of Italy and King of Italy. Italy became part of the French sphere of influence but Napoleon, given his Italian ethnicity, was appreciated by most Italian intellectuals, among them the writer Alessandro Manzoni. The Restoration that followed the French defeat wasn't able to erase the political and legislative innovations brought to Italy by Napoleon. French historian Hippolyte Taine stated:

Napoleon, far more Italian than French, Italian by race, by instinct, imagination, and souvenir, considers in his plan the future of Italy, and, on casting up the final accounts of his reign, we find that the net profit is for Italy and the net loss is for France. Since Theodoric and the Lombard kings, the Pope, in preserving his temporal sovereignty and spiritual omnipotence, has maintained the sub-divisions of Italy. Let this obstacle be removed and Italy will once more become a nation. Napoleon prepares the way.

House of Bourbon

The House of Bourbon (English: , also UK: ; French: [buʁbɔ̃]; Spanish: Borbón) is a European royal house of French origin, a branch of the Capetian dynasty. Bourbon kings first ruled France and Navarre in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Spanish Bourbon dynasty held thrones in Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Parma. Spain and Luxembourg currently have monarchs of the House of Bourbon.

The royal Bourbons originated in 1272, when the youngest son of King Louis IX married the heiress of the lordship of Bourbon. The house continued for three centuries as a cadet branch, serving as nobles under the Direct Capetian and Valois kings.

The senior line of the House of Bourbon became extinct in the male line in 1527 with the death of Charles III, Duke of Bourbon. This made the junior Bourbon-Vendome branch the genealogically senior branch of the House of Bourbon. In 1589, at the death of Henry III of France, the House of Valois became extinct in the male line. Under the Salic law, the Head of the House of Bourbon, as the senior representative of the senior-surviving branch of the Capetian dynasty, became King of France as Henry IV. Bourbon monarchs then united to France the small kingdom of Navarre, which Henry's father had acquired by marriage in 1555, ruling both until the 1792 overthrow of the monarchy during the French Revolution. Restored briefly in 1814 and definitively in 1815 after the fall of the First French Empire, the senior line of the Bourbons was finally overthrown in the July Revolution of 1830. A cadet Bourbon branch, the House of Orléans, then ruled for 18 years (1830–1848), until it too was overthrown.

The Princes de Condé were a cadet branch of the Bourbons descended from an uncle of Henry IV, and the Princes de Conti were a cadet line of the Condé branch. Both houses were prominent French noble families well known for their participation in French affairs, even during exile in the French Revolution, until their respective extinctions in 1830 and 1814.

In 1700, at the death of Charles II of Spain, the Spanish Habsburgs became extinct in the male line. Under the will of the childless Charles II, the second grandson of Louis XIV of France was named as his successor, to preclude the union of the thrones of France and Spain. The prince, then Duke of Anjou, became Philip V of Spain. Permanent separation of the French and Spanish thrones was secured when France and Spain ratified Philip's renunciation, for himself and his descendants, of the French throne in the Treaty of Utrecht in 1714, and similar arrangements later kept the Spanish throne separate from those of the Two Sicilies and Parma. The Spanish House of Bourbon (rendered in Spanish as Borbón [boɾˈβon]) has been overthrown and restored several times, reigning 1700–1808, 1813–1868, 1875–1931, and since 1975. Bourbons ruled in Naples from 1734 to 1806 and in Sicily from 1734 to 1816, and in a unified Kingdom of the Two Sicilies from 1816 to 1860. They also ruled in Parma from 1731 to 1735, 1748–1802 and 1847–1859.

Charlotte, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg married a cadet of the Parmese line and thus her successors, who have ruled Luxembourg since her abdication in 1964, have also been members of the House of Bourbon. Isabel, Princess Imperial of Brazil, regent for her father, Pedro II of the Empire of Brazil, married a cadet of the Orléans line and thus their descendants, known as the Orléans-Braganza, were in the line of succession to the Brazilian throne and expected to ascend its throne had the monarchy not been abolished by a coup in 1889.

All legitimate, living members of the House of Bourbon, including its cadet branches, are direct agnatic descendants of Henry IV through his son Louis XIII of France.

House of Carrillo

The House of Carrillo is a Spanish noble house that traces its origins from the ancient Kingdom of Castile. There are several branches that exist such as Carrillo de Albornoz, Carrillo de Mendoza, Carrillo de Figueroa, Carrillo de Toledo and Carrillo Tablas among others. There are also several variations in spelling of the surname Carrillo such as "Carillo". Records prove that both surnames are one and the same.

Jorge Juan y Santacilia

Jorge Juan y Santacilia (Novelda, Alacant, 5 January 1713 – Madrid, 21 June 1773) was a Spanish mathematician, scientist, naval officer, and mariner.

José Carrillo de Albornoz, 1st Duke of Montemar

José Carrillo de Albornoz y Montiel, 1st Duke of Montemar, 3rd Count of Montemar, GE, KOGF, KOS (8 October 1671 – 26 June 1747) was a Spanish nobleman and military leader, who conquered the Two Sicilies, Oran and Mazalquivir. He was a member of the Carrillo family, a Spanish noble house, and was Viceroy of Sicily from 1734 to 1737.

List of battles (alphabetical)

Alphabetical list of historical battles (see also Military history, Lists of battles):

NOTE: Where a year has been used to disambiguate battles it is the year when the battle started. In some cases these may still have gone on for several years.

List of wars involving Spain

This is a list of wars fought by the Kingdom of Spain or on Spanish territory.

Luis de Córdova y Córdova

Admiral Luis de Córdova y Córdova, OCIII, KOC (8 February 1706 – 29 July 1796) was a Spanish admiral. He is best known for his command of the Spanish fleet during the Anglo-Spanish War. His best remembered actions were the capture of two British convoys totalling 79 ships between 1780 and 1782, including the capture of 55 ships from a convoy composed of Indiamen, and other cargo ships 60 leagues off Cape St. Vincent. In 1782 he battled the Royal Navy to a stalemate at the Battle of Cape Spartel, but failed to prevent the British relieving the Great Siege of Gibraltar.

Manuel de Amat y Junyent

Manuel de Amat y Junyent, OSJ, OM (Catalan: Manuel d'Amat i de Junyent) (March 1707 – February 14, 1782) was a Spanish military officer and colonial administrator. He was the Royal Governor of the Captaincy General of Chile from December 28, 1755 to September 9, 1761, and Viceroy of Peru from October 12, 1761 to July 17, 1776.

Paul von Werner

Johann Paul von Werner (11 December 1707 in Raab – 25 January 1785 at Gut Bilschin in the district of Toszek) was chief of the Prussian Hussar Regiment No. 6 (Brown Hussars); he also received the Prussian Order Pour le Mérite. Initially in Austrian service, he fought against Spain, France, the Ottoman Empire and against Prussia. One of Frederick the Great's trusted diplomats, Hans Karl von Winterfeldt, recruited him into Prussian service in 1750; subsequently, he fought for Prussia against the Austrians in the Seven Years' War and the War of Bavarian Succession. He was wounded once, and taken prisoner several times. The Prussian playwright Gotthold Lessing modeled the character of the sergeant in his Minna von Barnhelm on Werner.

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