The 7 places of epic battles in Andalusia

If our region is characterized by its history and the numerous cultures that have passed and remained, no less important and great were the war episodes and epic battles that took place in different parts of our region during the moments in which the different civilizations they passed.

The strategic situation of Andalusia, between two seas, between two continents and a river valley between two mountain ranges, turned it into places of skirmishes and battles that became epic in some cases.

These battles were in many cases in corners of great natural beauty and its strategic position was given in favor of one of the sides that got control of the objectives they wanted to show.

Of the first civilizations involved in these battles or war episodes, the first civilizations, already showed their fury and the blood was shed based on a conquest that got some, which rewrote history and became owners of it. These battles supposed changes of regime and geopolitical changes and that we will describe.

The first of the battles to be shown, occurred in the year 206 a. cy was between the Roman Republic and the Carthaginian empire, which sought control of the Mediterranean Sea and curiously chose a place in the Iberian Peninsula, located a few kilometers from the town of Alcalá del Rio (Seville) as the scene of their war, in which the troops of Publius Scipio the African, defeated the troops of Hasdrubal, in what was one of the episodes of the Second Punic War, and which followed the Battle of Baecula, two years earlier in Baecula, located in the Cerro de las Albahacas in Jaén. It is the so-called Battle of Ilipa Magna

In this battle in which thousands of forces formed by horsemen, infants and in the case of the Carthaginians, elephants, ended with the victory of the Romans and the beginning of the conquest of the peninsula and creation of the embryo of the Roman Empire. From this battle, the town of Itálica was created as a field hospital, which became a residential city and the birthplace of emperors, and which we can still enjoy today.

Without forgetting the Romans, we continue with the epic battles (today difficult to imagine in our time), in the war between Pompey and Cesar that occurred in 45 BC, where they faced about ten legions for each side and more than 50,000 effective. The Battle was somewhere in the Betica and that resulted in the Victory of Cesar against Pompey. The location of the exact place is unknown but it is thought that it could be somewhere in the south of the province of Córdoba.

The third battle, takes us to the final era of the Visigoth kingdom, a kingdom that for just over three centuries, lived precariously between the struggles of their nobles, the Byzantine conquests and the rebellion of the Betic area, however the More epic battle, was at the time of its end.

In the year 711, in the reign of Rodrigo, the sons of the former King Witiza, who had been deposed, allied with the Muslims who had recently come from North Africa to overthrow the king they considered usurping, however, these Muslims ordered of the caudillo Tarik and that at the same time received orders of the governor of Ifriquiya, Muza, did not have in his plans to allow another godo in the government of Hispania although if I use the children of Witiza in their plans.

In the summer of 712, forces formed by Tarik (around 12,000) and King Rodrigo’s troops (around 30,000) fought in a battle somewhere in the course of the Guadalete River a few kilometers from the town of Arcos de la Frontera (Cádiz). That Battle was known as the Battle of the Guadalete and was the disastrous end of the Visigoth Kingdom and the beginning of Muslim rule that would extend over seven centuries. There is no trace of this battle, but the towns such as Medina Sidonia or Arcos, were among the first to have a typically Muslim distribution.

The fourth battle, takes us concretely to 1212, in a town called Santa Elena, where the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa took place. This battle faced the Almohad empire against the kingdoms of Navarre, Aragon, Castile, Leon and French volunteers and Occitan who had joined the crusade call before the North African empire, which constituted a totalitarian and ultra fundamentalist state that threatened peace in Europe . The battle initially in unequal numbers as Muslims tripled their contenders and the beginning was uncertain however a series of book errors and flaws in strategy moved the balance in favor of Christians crushing the Almohad empire, meaning its end and the beginning of the definitive conquest of the Iberian Peninsula by the Christian kingdoms.

After the medieval battles and conquest, Spain expanded throughout the world and its battles moved to other parts of the globe. The following and therefore fifth battle, occurred precisely at the time of decline of the Hispanic empire, and it was precisely for another emerging empire.

The fifth battle would take place, in the year 1805, in front of Cape Trafalgar in Cádiz, specifically in the area known as the Caños de Meca. The battle was between the British Royal Navy with about 30 ships and a Franco-Spanish coalition, with some more ships. The English expedition was commanded by Admiral Nelson and the Franco-Spanish by Gravina and Villeneuve. The battle was won by the British with an overwhelming defeat that supposed practically the end of the maritime hegemony of the Spanish empire

The sixth battle, would take place in the year 1808, was given in Bailen (Jaén) the battle of Bailen, being another episode of the Wars of Independence against Napoleon, where forces of more than 20,000 troops on both sides (General Castaños for Spain and General Dupont, by the French). In this battle, they won the Hispanic troops and supposed the exit of Jose I and the direct intervention of Napoleón, a hard and decisive blow for the French, although it would suppose equally the aim of the Spanish empire.

The last of the battles, would occur in the twentieth century and naturally occur in the course of the Civil War, between 1936-1939. Actually the Spanish Civil War had a point of interest and conquest in Andalusia, especially by the proximity to the Strait of Gibraltar, and the protectorate of Morocco. Seville, Malaga, Pozoblanco and the battle in the Pedroches, takes us to places of infamous memory that we will describe in future posts.