Battle of Tétouan

The Battle of Tétouan (Spanish Tetuán) was fought in 1860, near Tétouan, Morocco, between a Spanish army sent to North Africa and the tribal levies which at the time made up the Moroccan Army. The battle was part of the Spanish-Moroccan War of 1859-1860.

Battle of Tétouan
Part of the Spanish-Moroccan War (1859-1860)
MARIANO FORTUNY - La Batalla de Tetuán (Museo Nacional de Arte de Cataluña, 1862-64. Óleo sobre lienzo, 300 x 972 cm)

The battle as painted by Marià Fortuny.
Result Spanish victory
Spain Spain Flag of Morocco 1666 1915.svg Morocco
Commanders and leaders
Spain Duke of Tetuán
Spain Marquess of Guad-el-Jelú
Flag of Morocco 1666 1915.svg Mohammed IV
36,000 men, 65 pieces of artillery, and 41 ships Unknown

Background and battle

The Spanish expeditionary force, which departed from Algeciras, was composed of 36,000 men, 65 pieces of artillery, and 41 ships, which included steamships, sailboats, and smaller vessels. General Leopoldo O'Donnell, 1st Conde de Lucena (later created Duque de Tetuán), a future Prime Minister of Spain, personally took charge of the expedition and divided these forces into three corps. These were commanded by General The 5th Marqués de Torreblanca, General Antonio Ros de Olano and General Ramón de Echagüe. Reserves were placed under the command of General The 1st Conde de Reus. Admiral Segundo Díaz Herrero commanded the fleet.

The objective of the Spanish forces was to take Tetuán, which had served as a base for raids on Ceuta and Melilla .

Hostilities between Moroccan and Spanish troops began on 17 December 1859 when the column commanded by The Marqués de Torreblanca occupied the Sierra de Bullones. On 19 December, Echagüe captured the Palacio del Serrallo. The Conde de Lucena commanded a force that landed at Ceuta on 21 December. By Christmas Day, the three columns had consolidated their positions and awaited orders to advance towards Tetouan.

On 1 January 1860, the Conde de Reus advanced towards the port of Guad al Gelu. The Marqués de Torreblanca’s column and the Royal Spanish Navy guarded his flank. Clashes continued until 31 January 1860, when a major Moroccan offensive was stopped. The Conde de Lucena began a march towards the objective of Tétouan, and was supported by forces composed of Catalan volunteers. Covering fire was provided by units commanded by General The Conde de Reus and General Ros de Olano. Spanish artillery inflicted heavy losses on the Moroccan ranks; the Moroccan forces that remained took refuge in Tétouan. The city fell on 6 February 1860. A week of further fighting followed before hostilities ceased.


The capture of Tétouan prevented further attacks on Ceuta and Melilla by Moroccan forces. The Conde de Lucena returned with his troops to Spain; they camped at a spot north of Madrid while a triumphal entry into the capital was arranged. The camp, which acquired permanent structures as well as shops over time, became the Madrid neighbourhood known as Tetuán de las Victorias. In the aftermath of the battle, General Leopoldo O'Donnell, 1st Conde de Lucena, was elevated in the Spanish peerage to being The 1st Duque de Tetuán. He later served as President of the Council of Ministers (also known as the Prime Minister).

Cultual references

San Joaquin Church
Rendition of the battle scene carved and painted on the pediment of the façade of San Joaquín Church, Iloilo, Philippines.

Salvador Dalí painted a version of Fortuny’s painting of the battle.[1][2]

The Spanish victory was carved and painted on the pediment of the Church of San Joaquín, Iloilo, considered a militarist-themed church in the Philippines. It was declared a national historical site in 1974. It was built in 1859 and completed in 1869 by the Spanish friar Tomas Santaren of the Augustinian Order.[3]


La batalla de Tetuán (1894)

The Battle of Tétouan, by Dionisio Fierros (1894, private collection).

El general Prim en la batalla de Tetuán, por Francisco Sans Cabot

General The 1st Count of Reus at the Battle of Tétouan. The title of the painting is "General Prim in the War of Africa" (in Catalan: El General Prim a la guerra d'Àfrica), by Francisco Sans Cabot (1865, formerly at the Barcelona Military Museum, now closed)[4]


  1. ^ La batalla de Tetuán Archived February 5, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Las Batalla de Tetuán Archived January 14, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Iloílo, San Joaquin Church Iloilo, San Joaquin Church
  4. ^ Francesc Sans i Cabot in the Gran Enciclopèdia Catalana. Retrieved on 25 July 2013

External links


1860 (MDCCCLX)

was a leap year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar and a leap year starting on Friday of the Julian calendar, the 1860th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 860th year of the 2nd millennium, the 60th year of the 19th century, and the 1st year of the 1860s decade. As of the start of 1860, the Gregorian calendar was

12 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.

Battle of Annual

The Battle of Annual was fought on July 22, 1921, at Annual in Spanish Morocco, between the Spanish Army of Africa and Berber combatants of the Rif region during the Rif War. The Spanish suffered a major military defeat, almost always referred to by the Spanish as the Disaster of Annual, which led to major political crises and a redefinition of Spanish colonial policy toward the Rif.

Green March

The Green March was a strategic mass demonstration in November 1975, coordinated by the Moroccan government, to force Spain to hand over the disputed, autonomous semi-metropolitan province of Spanish Sahara to Morocco. The demonstration of some 350,000 Moroccans advanced several kilometres into the Western Sahara territory, escorted by nearly 20,000 Moroccan troops, and meeting very little response by the Sahrawi Polisario Front. Nevertheless, the events quickly escalated into a fully waged war between Morocco and the militias of the Polisario, the Western Sahara War, which would last for 16 years. Morocco later gained control over most of the former Spanish Sahara, which it continues to hold.

Hispano-Moroccan War (1859–60)

The Hispano-Moroccan War, also known as the Spanish–Moroccan War, the First Moroccan War, the Tetuán War, or, in Spain, as the African War (Spanish: Guerra de África), was fought from Spain's declaration of war on Morocco on 22 October 1859 until the Treaty of Wad-Ras on 26 April 1860. It began with a conflict over the borders of the Spanish city of Ceuta and was fought in northern Morocco. Morocco sued for peace after the Spanish victory at the Battle of Tetuán.

Ifni War

The Ifni War, sometimes called the Forgotten War in Spain (la Guerra Olvidada), was a series of armed incursions into Spanish West Africa by Moroccan insurgents that began in October 1957 and culminated with the abortive siege of Sidi Ifni.

The war, which may be seen as part of the general movement of decolonization that swept Africa throughout the later half of the 20th century, was conducted primarily by elements of the Moroccan Army of Liberation which, no longer tied down in conflicts with the French, committed a significant portion of its resources and manpower to the capture of Spanish possessions.

José Riquelme y López Bago

José Riquelme y López-Bago (Tarragona, August 31, 1880 - Paris, 28 January 1972) was a Spanish soldier noted for his involvement in the Second Moroccan War and the Spanish Civil War. He opposed the dictatorship of General Primo de Rivera. In 1987 he was honoured posthumously by King Juan Carlos who restored to him the rank of Lieutenant general.

List of Spanish colonial wars in Morocco

There have been several Spanish colonial wars in Morocco or Hispano-Moroccan wars:

Conquest of La Mamora (1681)

Hispano-Moroccan War (1859–1860)

First Melillan campaign (1893–1894)

Second Melillan campaign (1909–1910)

Third Melillan campaign (1911–1912)

Rif War (1921–1926)

Ifni War (1957–1958)

Muhammad IV of Morocco

Moulay Muhammad ibn Abd al-Rahman, also known as Muhammad IV (1830 in Fez – 16 September 1873 in Fez) (Arabic: محمد الرابع‎) was the Sultan of Morocco from 1859 to 1873. He was a member of the Alaouite dynasty.

Perejil Island

Perejil Island (Spanish: Isla de Perejil, Berber: Tura or Toṛa, Arabic: تورة‎, romanized: Toora) is a small, uninhabited rocky islet located off the coast of Morocco, just 200 metres from the mainland coast. Its sovereignty is disputed between Spain and Morocco. It was the subject of an armed incident between the two countries in 2002.

Perejil Island crisis

The Perejil Island crisis was a bloodless armed conflict between Spain and Morocco that took place on 11–20 July 2002. The incident took place over the small, uninhabited Perejil Island, when a squad of the Royal Moroccan Navy occupied it. After an exchange of declarations between both countries, the Spanish troops finally evicted the Moroccan infantry who had relieved their Navy comrades.

San Joaquin Church (Iloilo)

The San Joaquin Parish Church (Spanish: Iglesia Parroquial de San Joaquin), commonly known as San Joaquin Church, is a Roman Catholic Church in the municipality of San Joaquin, Iloilo, Philippines within the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Jaro. It is largely known for its pediment featuring a military scene, the Spanish victory over the Moors in the Battle of Tétouan. The church was declared a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines.

Second Melillan campaign

The Second Melillan campaign (Spanish: Guerra de Melilla ) was a conflict in 1909 in Morocco around Melilla. The fighting involved local Riffians and the Spanish Army.

Siege of Larache (1689)

The Siege of Larache, in 1689, was undertaken by the huge army of Morocco under Moulay Ismail against the Spaniards, who had ruled the city for nearly 80 years. After three months of siege, the defenders were forced to capitulate. Several centuries later, in 1911 the city was again controlled by the Spanish during the Protectorate.

Siege of Melilla (1774)

The Siege of Melilla was an attempt by the British-backed Sultanate of Morocco to capture the Spanish fortress of Melilla on the Moroccan Mediterranean coast. Mohammed ben Abdallah, then Sultan of Morocco, invested Melilla in December 1774 with a large army of Royal Moroccan soldiers and Algerian mercenaries. The city was defended by a small garrison under Irish-born Governor Don Juan Sherlocke until the siege was lifted by a relief fleet in March 1775.

Sieges of Ceuta (1694–1727)

The Sieges of Ceuta (also known as the Thirty-year Siege) were a series of blockades by Moroccan forces of the Spanish-held city of Ceuta on the North African coast. The first siege began on 23 October 1694 and finished in 1720 when reinforcements arrived. During the 26 years of the siege, the city underwent changes leading to the loss of its Portuguese character. While most of the military operations took place around the city walls (Muralles Reales), there were also small-scale penetrations by Spanish forces at various points on the Moroccan coast, and seizure of shipping in the Strait of Gibraltar. The city was placed under a second siege in 1721 until 22 April 1727.

Spanish ironclad Tetuán

The Spanish ironclad Tetuán was an armored frigate built in the royal dockyard at Ferrol during the 1860s for the Spanish Navy. She was captured by rebels during the Cantonal Revolution in 1873 and participated in the Battle off Cartagena. While under repair after the battle, the ship was destroyed by fire and broken up in 1874.

Tetuán (Madrid)

Tetuán is a district of Madrid, Spain. The district takes its name from Tetouan, Morocco, which was the capital of the former Spanish protectorate in northern Morocco.

Treaty of Aranjuez (1780)

The Treaty of Aranjuez was signed on December 25, 1780, between Spain and Morocco. Based on the terms of the treaty, Morocco gained territories ceded by Spain. In return, however, Morocco recognized Spanish rule over Melilla. The treaty defused tensions, lessening the chance that Morocco would agree to British requests to declare war on the Spanish, as in 1774.

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