Antonio Ricardos

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Antonio Ricardos Carrillo de Albornoz
Portrait of General Antonio Ricardos by Goya.jpg
Antonio Ricardos by Francisco Goya
Born 1727 (1727)
Barbastro, Spain
Died13 March 1794 (1794-03-14) (aged 66)
Madrid, Spain
Allegiance Flag of Spain (1785-1873, 1875-1931).svg Spain
Service/branch Cavalry
Rank Captain General

War of the Austrian Succession

Spanish-Portuguese War
French Revolutionary Wars

Awards Knight-commander of the Order of Santiago (1768)
Order of Charles III, Grand Cross (1794)

Antonio Ricardos Carrillo de Albornoz (1727 in Barbastro – 13 March 1794) was a Spanish general. He joined the army of the Kingdom of Spain and fought against Habsburg Austria, the Portugal, and the First French Republic during a long military career. By embracing the Spanish Enlightenment, he earned the displeasure of conservative elements of society. He played an active role in reforming the Spanish military. Upon the outbreak of the War of the Pyrenees in 1793, the king sent him to command in Catalonia. He invaded Rousillon where he won several victories over the French. After his death in early 1794, the war went badly for Spain.

Barbastro Municipality in Aragon, Spain

Barbastro is a city in the Somontano county, province of Huesca, Spain. The city is at the junction of the rivers Cinca and Vero.

Kingdom of Portugal kingdom in Southwestern Europe between 1139 and 1910

The Kingdom of Portugal was a monarchy on the Iberian Peninsula and the predecessor of modern Portugal. It was in existence from 1139 until 1910. After 1415, it was also known as the Kingdom of Portugal and the Algarves, and between 1815 and 1822, it was known as the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves. The name is also often applied to the Portuguese Empire, the realm's extensive overseas colonies.

War of the Pyrenees conflict

The War of the Pyrenees, also known as War of Roussillon or War of the Convention, was the Pyrenean front of the First Coalition's war against the First French Republic. It pitted Revolutionary France against the kingdoms of Spain and Portugal from March 1793 to July 1795 during the French Revolutionary Wars.


Early career

In 1727, Ricardos was born in the same house as the dramatist and poet Lupercio Leonardo de Argensola in the city of Barbastro, part of Aragon. He joined his father's regiment, the Cavalry of Malta, while still in his teens. Being of noble blood, he served as a captain, and at the age of 16 briefly commanded the regiment in place of his father. In the War of the Austrian Succession, he fought in the Battle of Piacenza on 16 June 1746 and in another action on the Tidone River on 10 August of that year. [1]

Lupercio Leonardo de Argensola Spanish writer

Lupercio Leonardo de Argensola was a Spanish dramatist and poet.

Aragon Autonomous community of Spain

Aragon is an autonomous community in Spain, coextensive with the medieval Kingdom of Aragon. Located in northeastern Spain, the Aragonese autonomous community comprises three provinces : Huesca, Zaragoza, and Teruel. Its capital is Zaragoza. The current Statute of Autonomy declares Aragon a historic nationality of Spain.

War of the Austrian Succession Dynastic war in Austro-Hungary

The War of the Austrian Succession involved most of the powers of Europe over the issue of Archduchess Maria Theresa's succession to the Habsburg Monarchy. The war included peripheral events such as King George's War in British America, the War of Jenkins' Ear, the First Carnatic War in India, the Jacobite rising of 1745 in Scotland, and the First and Second Silesian Wars.

Enlightened reformer

Nearly twenty years later, Ricardos fought in the Spanish–Portuguese conflict known as the Fantastic War (1761–1763), which was part of the Seven Years' War. Afterward he seriously studied the military organization of the Kingdom of Prussia. King Charles III of Spain then sent him on a mission to reorganize the military system of New Spain. In 1768 he was a member of the commission to establish the border between Spain and France and, for this meritorious service, he received a "Encomienda" in the Orden de Santiago. Ricardos accepted the Age of Enlightenment and its reforms. He co-founded the Royal Economic Society of Madrid. Promoted to Lieutenant General (LG) and appointed Inspector of Cavalry, he established the Ocaña Military College where he taught the techniques of modern warfare. [1]

The Spanish–Portuguese War between 1762 and 1763 was fought as part of the Seven Years' War. Because no major battles were fought, even though there were numerous movements of troops and heavy losses among the invaders—decisively defeated in the end—the war is known in the Portuguese historiography as the Fantastic War.

Seven Years War Global conflict between 1756 and 1763

The Seven Years' War was a global conflict fought between 1756 and 1763. It involved every European great power of the time and spanned five continents, affecting Europe, the Americas, West Africa, India, and the Philippines. The conflict split Europe into two coalitions, led by the Kingdom of Great Britain on one side and the Kingdom of France, the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Spain, and the Swedish Empire on the other. Meanwhile, in India, some regional polities within the increasingly fragmented Mughal Empire, with the support of the French, tried to crush a British attempt to conquer Bengal. The war's extent has led some historians to describe it as "World War Zero", similar in scale to other world wars.

Kingdom of Prussia Former German state (1701–1918)

The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom that constituted the state of Prussia between 1701 and 1918. It was the driving force behind the unification of Germany in 1871 and was the leading state of the German Empire until its dissolution in 1918. Although it took its name from the region called Prussia, it was based in the Margraviate of Brandenburg, where its capital was Berlin.

As an enlightened reformer, Ricardos was opposed by the conservative forces of society, epitomised by the Spanish Inquisition, which remained in existence until 1834. Thanks to the Encomienda de Santiago, he was able to escape the worst attentions of the Inquisition and its political allies. However, his enemies forced him to leave Ocaña and take up a lesser position in Guipuzcoa in the north. [1]

Spanish Inquisition organization

The Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition, commonly known as the Spanish Inquisition, was established in 1478 by Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile. It was intended to maintain Catholic orthodoxy in their kingdoms and to replace the Medieval Inquisition, which was under Papal control. It became the most substantive of the three different manifestations of the wider Catholic Inquisition along with the Roman Inquisition and Portuguese Inquisition. The "Spanish Inquisition" may be defined broadly, operating in Spain and in all Spanish colonies and territories, which included the Canary Islands, the Spanish Netherlands, the Kingdom of Naples, and all Spanish possessions in North, Central, and South America. According to modern estimates, around 150,000 were prosecuted for various offenses during the three centuries of duration of the Spanish Inquisition, out of which between 3,000 and 5,000 were executed.

War with France

When King Louis XVI of France and Queen Marie Antoinette were executed in the French Revolution, Spain prepared to join the First Coalition. King Charles IV of Spain promoted Ricardos to Captain General (CG) and sent him take command of the army in Catalonia. [1] When the War of the Pyrenees broke out, Ricardos invaded France on 17 April 1793 with 4,500 soldiers, capturing Saint-Laurent-de-Cerdans. He then routed 1,800 Frenchmen at Céret on the 20th, [2] thus isolating the imposing Fort de Bellegarde at the Pass of Le Perthus. After beating Louis-Charles de Flers and the French Army of the Eastern Pyrenees at the Battle of Mas Deu on 19 May, he turned back to invest Bellegarde. [3] The Siege of Bellegarde ended on 24 June when the French garrison surrendered. [4] Ricardos faced de Flers again in the Battle of Perpignan on 17 July. On his occasion, Ricardos was defeated, but only after inflicting 800 killed and wounded on his enemies. [5]

Louis XVI of France King of France and Navarre

Louis XVI, born Louis-Auguste, was the last King of France before the fall of the monarchy during the French Revolution. He was referred to as Citizen Louis Capet during the four months before he was guillotined. In 1765, at the death of his father, Louis, son and heir apparent of Louis XV, Louis-Auguste became the new Dauphin of France. Upon his grandfather's death on 10 May 1774, he assumed the title "King of France and Navarre", which he used until 4 September 1791, when he received the title of "King of the French" until the monarchy was abolished on 21 September 1792.

Marie Antoinette Last Queen of France prior to the French Revolution

Marie Antoinette was the last Queen of France before the French Revolution. She was born an Archduchess of Austria and was the penultimate child and youngest daughter of Empress Maria Theresa and Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor. She became Dauphine of France in May 1770 at age 14 upon her marriage to Louis-Auguste, heir apparent to the French throne. On 10 May 1774, her husband ascended the throne as Louis XVI and she assumed the title Queen of France and Navarre, which she held until September 1791, when she became Queen of the French as the French Revolution proceeded, a title that she held until 21 September 1792.

French Revolution social and political revolution in France and its colonies occurring from 1789 to 1798

The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.

On 28 August, French General Luc Siméon Auguste Dagobert defeated Manuel la Peña, at Puigcerdà in the central Pyrenees. [6] In early September, Ricardos tried to isolate and capture Perpignan by swinging two divisions around its western side while bombarding it in front. However, his subordinates lacked his tactical skill. On 17 September, French Eustache Charles d'Aoust repulsed Juan de Courten and Jerónimo Girón-Moctezuma, Marquis de las Amarillas at the Battle of Peyrestortes. This costly setback marked the high tide of the Spanish invasion. Ricardos quickly rallied his army and confronted the victorious French. He inflicted a sharp defeat on Dagobert at the Battle of Truillas on 22 September. In this major action, the Spanish suffered 2,000 casualties out of 17,000 engaged, while French losses numbered 4,500 out of a total of 22,000. After his victory, Ricardos fell back to defend the Tech River valley. He repulsed d'Aoust in an action at Le Boulou on 3 October, where the 1,200 French casualties were four times greater than Spanish losses. [7] He won another victory over Louis Marie Turreau at the Battle of the Tech (Pla del Rey) in mid-October. [8]

Luc Siméon Auguste Dagobert French general

Luc Siméon Auguste Dagobert de Fontenille was a French general of the French Revolutionary Wars.

Puigcerdà Municipality in Catalonia, Spain

Puigcerdà is the capital of the Catalan comarca of Cerdanya, in the province of Girona, Catalonia, northern Spain, near the Segre River and on the border with France.

Perpignan Prefecture and commune in Occitanie, France

Perpignan is the prefecture of the Pyrénées-Orientales department in Southwest France. Perpignan was the capital of the former province and County of Roussillon and continental capital of the Kingdom of Majorca in the 13th and 14th centuries.

While leading a mixed force of 3,000 Spanish and 5,000 Portuguese, Ricardos defeated d'Aoust again on 7 December at Villelongue-dels-Monts in the Pyrenees foothills. [9] This was his last victory. Two weeks later his subordinate Gregorio García de la Cuesta routed the French defenders of Collioure, capturing that port. [10] Ricardos returned to Madrid to plead for reinforcements and died there of pneumonia on 13 March 1794. [11] His successor, Alejandro O'Reilly died on 23 March 1794, leaving Luis Firmín de Carvajal, Conde de la Unión in command of the Spanish army. De la Unión proved unable to stop the French from recovering Bellegarde and Collioure in 1794, and died at the Battle of the Black Mountain on Spanish soil in November. [12] In early 1795, the Siege of Roses ended in a French victory. [13] The Peace of Basel ended the war in July 1795. Ricardos' widow became the Countess of Truillas in honor of his victories.


  1. 1 2 3 4 Spanish Wikipedia Antonio Ricardos
  2. Smith, p 45
  3. Smith, p 46
  4. Smith, p 48
  5. Smith, p 49
  6. Smith, p 53
  7. Smith, p 57
  8. Prats, Turreau
  9. Smith, p 63
  10. Smith, p 64
  11. Prats, Mort Ricardos
  12. Ostermann-Chandler, p 408
  13. Ostermann-Chandler, p 409-414


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