Battle of Vitoria

The Battle of Vitoria was a battle fought between the French Army, under Marshal Jean-Baptist Jourdan, and the Coalition forces, composed of British, Spanish and Portuguese troops, led by the Duke of Wellington, on June 21, 1813, in Vitoria, Northern Spain, during the Peninsular War. Commanding an army of 80,000 infantry and cavalry troops, Wellington obtained a decisive victory over the French, with fierce fighting taking place along the Zadorra River. With the first attack occurring around 09:00 hours, headed by Spanish General Morillo, the battle ended at 17:00 hours. Most of the French retreated in a disorderly manner, leaving behind all their weapons and military supplies.

The Spanish King Charles IV and his son and successor Ferdinand VII had been captured and were being kept in captivity in France by Napoleon Bonaparte, who put his brother Joseph Bonaparte on the throne of Spain as the new sovereign, as the French army invaded Spanish territory. This triggered the Peninsular War, the uprising of the Spanish people against the French. Meanwhile, the British, commanded by Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, landed on the Iberian Peninsula to fight against the French. It was in this context that the Battle of Vitoria took place.

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