Jean-Andoche Junot

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Junot's major command came on 29 July 1807, when Napoleon appointed him commander-in-chief of the "Gironde Observation Corps  [ fr ]" (Corps d'observation de la Gironde ), [lower-alpha 1] which was destined for an invasion of Portugal. [5] The army assembled in Bayonne over the next two months, and was later reinforced with a Spanish contingent under the terms of the Treaty of Fontainebleau (27 October 1807). [5] Departing on 17 October at the head of about 26,500 soldiers, Junot led his troops on an arduous march through Spain, finally crossing into Portugal at Segura on 19 November. [5]

Facing little to no resistance, Junot's army advanced towards Lisbon, seizing Castelo Branco on 20 November and Abrantes two days later. On 24 November, he was informed that the country's regent, Prince João (the future King João VI) was preparing to flee to Brazil along with his mother, Queen Maria I, and the court. [5] Junot entered Lisbon without a fight on 30 November, three days after the royal family's departure. [5]

Junot protecting the city of Lisbon, allegory by Domingos Sequeira (1808) Sequeira junot1.jpg
Junot protecting the city of Lisbon, allegory by Domingos Sequeira (1808)

French and Spanish troops soon occupied the rest of Portugal. [5] For his success, Junot was granted the victory title of Duke of Abrantes (Duc d'Abrantès) by Napoleon, though he was not made a Marshal of the Empire as he expected. [5] He set up his headquarters at the Quintela Palace in Lisbon, as the head of the military administration in Portugal. [5] From late December 1807 to March 1808, Junot enacted far-reaching measures, such as the disbandment of the Portuguese Army (with around 9,000 soldiers joining the Grande Armée's Portuguese Legion) and local militias, the proclamation of the dethronement of the House of Braganza, and the confiscation of royal assets. [5]

In January 1808, initial incidents of Portuguese resistance to the occupation occurred. [5] Additionally, after the Dos de Mayo Uprising in Madrid, all Spanish troops withdrew from Portugal, and by June, popular revolts had spread throughout the country. [5] On 1 August 1808, a British expeditionary force landed at the mouth of the Mondego river. [5] After a French defeat at Roliça, Junot himself was beaten at the Battle of Vimeiro on 21 August 1808, and he was cut off from France. [5] Only the signing of the advantageous Convention of Sintra with the British allowed him to avoid capture, taking with him "the weapons and baggages" and the loot the army had managed to gather—an expression that later became famous in Portuguese usage. He went back to France in October.

Later career

Upon his return, Junot was appointed commander of the III Corps and sent to Spain, where he fought at the Second Siege of Zaragoza. [1] In 1809, he served in the Grande Armée during the War of the Fifth Coalition, but held no major command. [1] He was defeated at Gefrees in this war. Junot returned to the Iberian peninsula in 1810 in command of the VIII Corps, under Marshal André Masséna, and was seriously wounded in the face. [1]

In the 1812 Russian campaign Junot's record was erratic. He was blamed for allowing the Russian army to retreat following the Battle of Smolensk (17 August), but at the Battle of Borodino (7 September 1812) he commanded the VIII Corps competently. Junot's performance at Smolensk led to his removal from command, [1] and infuriated Napoleon to the point that he vowed never to grant Junot a marshal’s baton. It has been suggested Napoleon's judgement was clouded in the long retention of Junot, despite his performance in Portugal, due to their long standing friendship. [6]

In 1813, Junot was made Governor of the Illyrian Provinces. Andrew Roberts writes, "Junot's judgement might have been affected by the syphilis that was to drive him insane. At a ball at Ragusa the following year, he arrived stark naked except for his epaulettes, gloves, dancing shoes, orders and decorations." [7] His growing mental instability, caused by his fall from favor, led to him being returned to his estates, to be placed under the surveillance of his father. Junot defenestrated himself, and died of his injuries days later on 23 July 1813, in Montbard. [1] [8]

Family and relations

Junot and his wife Laure, by Marguerite Gerard Marguerite Gerard - La Duchesse Abrantes et le General Junot.jpg
Junot and his wife Laure, by Marguerite Gérard

He had two daughters and three sons:

During the peninsular war, he had a relationship with Juliana de Almeida e Oyenhausen, daughter of Leonor de Almeida Portugal, 4th Marquise of Alorna.[ citation needed ]


  1. Renamed the "Army of Portugal" (Armée de Portugal) on 23 December 1807. [4]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Garnier, Jacques (1987). "JUNOT, Andoche, duc d'Abrantès (1771-1813), général". Dictionnaire Napoléon. Éditions Fayard.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Dubief, Sylvian. "Le général Junot en Egypte". (in French). Foundation Napoleon. Retrieved 17 April 2022.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Six, Georges (1934). "JUNOT, duc d'ABRANTÈS (Jean-Andoche)". Dictionnaire biographique des généraux et amiraux français de la Révolution et de l'Empire : 1792-1814 (in French). Vol. 1. Paris: Librairie Historique et Nobilaire. pp. 611–612.
  4. Pigeard, Alain (2002). Dictionnaire de la Grande Armée. Tallandier. ISBN   2-84734-009-2.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Pires Lousada, Abílio (November 2008). "A Invasão de Junot e o Levantamento em Armas dos Camponeses de Portugal. A Especificidade Transmontana". Revista Militar . 2482.
  6. Roberts, Andrew. Napoleon: A Life. Penguin. p. 598. ISBN   978-0-14-312785-7.
  7. Roberts, Andrew (2014). Napoleon: A Life. Penguin. p. 598. ISBN   978-0-14-312785-7.
  8. Roberts, Andrew. Napoleon: A Life. Penguin. p. 598. ISBN   978-0-14-312785-7.
  9. Zamoyski, Adam (2018). Napoleon: the man behind the myth. London: William Collins. p. 192. ISBN   978-0-00-811609-5.
  10. Louis Andoche Junot D'abrantÈs

Further reading

Jean-Andoche Junot
Junot, par Appiani.png
Portrait by Andrea Appiani, c. 1797
Military Governor of Paris
In office
1803 – 1804
Military offices
Preceded by Military governor of Paris
Succeeded by