Badajoz–#AtoZChallenge “B”

Welcome to “B” in the A to Z Challenge 2017. The Duke of Wellington is my theme for this year’s Challenge.

Badajoz is a the name of a city and province in the autonomous community of Extremadura in southeastern Spain.

During the Napoleonic or Peninsular Wars, the Earl of Wellington (as Arthur Wellesley was known in 1812) led a successful third siege of Badajoz with his British and Portuguese forces against the French in his attempt recapture Spain from Napoleon and France.

This battle was supposedly one of the highest casualties for Wellington’s army in the wars. Five thousand of 15,000 troops were lost.

After the battle and due to the number of allied losses, the troops went on a 3-day rampage of the city, fueled by the liquor they confiscated after winning the battle. Approximately 4,000 of the Spanish citizens died in this after-battle rampage. The soldiers raped and pillaged the citizens and town.

The Devil’s Own, The 88th (Connaught Rangers) Regiment at the Siege of Badajoz, 5 April 1812, R. Caton Woodville, watercolor en grisaille, 1908.

Unfortunately, another travesty that happened to the citizens of Badajoz occurred during the Spanish Civil War. After the Nationalists took the city, they gathered many of the citizens in the Plaza de Toros and slaughtered them indiscriminately with machine gun fire. Approximately 4,000 people were killed at that time, just like in 1812. 

To learn more about the siege of Badajoz in 1812 involving Wellington, I recommend In Hell Before Daylight and Badajoz 1812: Wellington’s Bloodiest Siege (Campaign Series, 65), both books by British military historian Ian Fletcher. Fletcher’s Amazon page can be accessed by clicking HERE.

British author Bernard Cornwell wrote Sharpe’s Company, published in 1982, about his character Richard Sharpe and the siege of Badajoz. Following is what Mr. Cornwell has to say about his book:

This is one of my favourite books and it tells the story of the horrifying assault on Badajoz in 1812. The British were in a foul mood, they had been given a hard time by the garrison and suspected that the city’s Spanish inhabitants were French sympathisers, so when they got inside they went berserk. Not a pretty story, but a compelling one, and made better by the baleful reappearance of Sergeant Obadiah Hakeswill. This is also, to my mind, the best of the TV programmes.

Enjoy this short clip on the battle and present day Badajoz:

Previous A to Z Challenge 2017 posts:

Apsley House


  14 comments for “Badajoz–#AtoZChallenge “B”

  1. April 3, 2017 at 8:22 AM

    Interesting post. Thanks for letting me learn something new today.
    I’m impressed that you narrowed for theme to one person (or perhaps a line of people since titles are inherited). Donna from Girl Who Reads

    • April 3, 2017 at 9:02 AM

      Thanks, Donna. I have to say that I am really only interested in the first Duke! I might have something to say about some of the others later–not sure yet. Good observation. Cheers, Denise

  2. April 3, 2017 at 10:03 AM

    Great history about Wellington and thanks for the links to historians.
    Enjoy the A to Z challenge.
    Get some rhythm for your day with the Acholi “Bat Beat.”
    A Piece of Uganda

  3. April 3, 2017 at 10:11 AM

    Glad you like the history! I just read a book where an explorer walks through Uganda following the Nile. He presented some good history on Uganda. Walking the Nile by Levison Wood.

  4. hilarymb
    April 3, 2017 at 11:42 AM

    Hi Denise – so interesting (and sad) to read … I know so little about the details of Wellesley’s life, some yes – but not a lot of the detail. This post is wonderful – as too having the Badajoz information … I would like to visit sometime … not to remember the ghosts, but to see this area of Spain. Fascinating – thank you … cheers Hilary

    • April 3, 2017 at 1:27 PM

      I hope to add a few interesting bits about the Duke in the next few weeks, Hilary. I have only been to Malaga, which is not that close to Badajoz (about 420 km away). I hope to visit southern Spain again as well as Portugal in the next couple of years. Your post today on British breeds is very interesting (I especially love the picture of the lamb). Others can find it here: Cheers, D

  5. April 3, 2017 at 12:12 PM

    Thank you for this fascinating post, Denise. Love learning from you.

    • April 3, 2017 at 1:28 PM

      Thanks, Silvia. Missing your inspiring posts this April!!

  6. Joy
    April 3, 2017 at 2:35 PM

    thanks for the educative post! Love the watercolor by Woodville.
    Joy @ The Joyous Living

    • April 3, 2017 at 3:48 PM

      Thanks for your comment and for reading, Joy. I really like the Woodville depiction, too. Cheers, Denise

  7. April 3, 2017 at 8:17 PM

    What an interesting post! And it shows that the horrors of war haven’t really changed.
    Jessica @ Simply Infatuated

    • April 3, 2017 at 10:00 PM

      Thanks, Jessica. Yes, I was sad to learn about the Spanish Civil War episode. Cheers, Denise

  8. April 3, 2017 at 10:14 PM

    Great Post Denise! So much history to learn. To think the British were quite busy in 1812 with not only this war, but the war with America. Sad to think about so much war; in some ways not so different than today.

    • April 3, 2017 at 10:31 PM

      Sadly not, ZD45. Yes, it was tough being an empire where the sun never set back in the day ;-).

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