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The 1762 Spanish Invasion Of Portugal

"spain invades portugal"It was the time of the Seven Year’s War and Portugal had remained neutral in the struggle which officially began in 1756, however a change in monarch led to a change in the dynamic between Spain and Portugal.

Spain had a good relationship with Britain under Ferdinand VI and did not join with France as an ally against them but this all changed when Charles III came to the throne leading to a pro french policy in the Spanish government and subsequently to war.

It is written that the Spanish originally planned to sail down and to attack Lisbon and the Alentejo but this plan was changed by the Marquis of Sarria who suggested an attack on the northern city of Porto to begin with.   The Spanish thought this would hit the British harder as they had many interests in Porto while it was also thought that the Portuguese may give in easily if they did not attack the capital at first.

The invasion began in the May with Spanish troops crossing into Portugal from Galicia and quickly taking the towns of Chaves and Bragança and then Miranda do Douro and Torre de Moncorvo.

The attack on Porto was not so simplt though because the terrain of the land made it difficult for the troops to progress while many of the soldiers were also stuck trying to cross the River Esla which could not be passed until a bridge was built.

Delays to the attack on Porto allowed the British to bring in five regiments led by John Campbell to help the Portuguese to defend their territory.

When in mid August the Spanish crossed the Câo river they managed to take the border fortress of Almeida leading to the Portuguese organising a counter attack to relieve the pressure at home.

The Portuguese soldiers crossed the Tagus river and took the Spanish city of Valencia de Alcántara and the surprise attack was a great success leading to a massive boost in Portuguese morale as well as a large amount of goods being brought back over from Spain.

various battles were fought through the rest of the year with gains and losses on both sides when finally an armistice agreement was signed on November 24.

The entire war has been largely overlooked in history mainly because there were no large scale battles and most of the soldiers that died, did so through illness rather than battle.

The British and Portuguese, although hugely outnumbered, managed to work strategically to continue to protect Portugal, putting their men in the best possible positions to ensure no full attack could be launched by the Spanish.