Manuel Lapeña

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Portrait of Manuel Lapena, Marquis of Bondad Real (1799), by Goya. At the Hispanic Society of America Museum, New York Manuel Lapena, Marquis of Bondad Real by Goya.jpg
Portrait of Manuel Lapeña, Marquis of Bondad Real (1799), by Goya. At the Hispanic Society of America Museum, New York

Manuel Lapeña Rodríguez y Ruiz de Sotillo (fl. 1808–1811), sometimes referred to as Lapeña, was a Spanish military officer who served during the Peninsular War (Guerra de la Independencia Española – the Spanish War of Independence). [1] He rose through the Spanish army's ranks to become Captain General of Andalusia. He is primarily known for commanding an Anglo–Spanish expedition from Cádiz, with the intention of raising the siege on that city, which led to the Battle of Barrosa.

Floruit, abbreviated fl., Latin for "he/she flourished", denotes a date or period during which a person was known to have been alive or active. In English, the word may also be used as a noun indicating the time when someone flourished.

Spain Kingdom in Southwest Europe

Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a country mostly located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.

Officer (armed forces) member of an armed force or uniformed service who holds a position of authority

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Military career

As a result of having a reputation for incompetence—he had the nickname Doña Manuela (Lady Manuela) [2] —la Peña was an ambitious man with a talent for diplomacy. [3] Therefore, by 1808, la Peña commanded a large part of the Spanish Army of the Centre, stationed at Cascante.

Nickname informal name of a person, place, or thing, for affection or ridicule

A nickname is a substitute for the proper name of a familiar person, place, or thing - commonly used for affection.

Cascante is a town and municipality located in the province and autonomous community of Navarre, northern Spain.

Battle of Tudela

On 23 November 1808, the Spanish Army of the Centre, under the command of General Castaños, came under attack from the French III  Corps commanded by Marshal Lannes at Tudela. [4] In what became known as the Battle of Tudela, the attacking French forces sought to take advantage of a gap between the Spanish army's wings. Seeking to close the gap, Castaños sent orders to la Peña at Cascante to move to fill the void. La Peña, however, simply ignored his commander's directive. At the time la Peña, along with General Grimarest, could field some 20,000 men against the 9,000 French troops in that area of the field of battle. Rather than march to support the rest of the Spanish army, however, la Peña limited his activities to small-scale skirmishes with the few French troops close by. Having lost 200 men in these skirmishes, and witnessing the defeat of the rest of the Army of the Centre, la Peña finally retreated towards Borja, bringing the battle to a close. [5]

Francisco Javier Castaños, 1st Duke of Bailén Spanish general during the Peninsular War

Francisco Javier Castaños Aragorri Urioste y Olavide, 1st Duke of Bailén, was a Spanish general during the Peninsular War.

Corps military unit size

Corps is a term used for several different kinds of organisation.

Jean Lannes Marshal of France

Jean Lannes, 1st Duc de Montebello, Prince de Siewierz, was a Marshal of the Empire. He was one of Napoleon's most daring and talented generals. Napoleon once commented on Lannes: "I found him a pygmy and left him a giant". A personal friend of the emperor, he was allowed to address him with the familiar "tu", as opposed to the formal "vous".

Army of the Centre

After Tudela, Castaños was ordered to Aranjuez to take up the presidency of the Junta Central's military advisory committee. As a result, la Peña assumed overall command of the Spanish Army of the Centre which had reformed at Guadalajara. [6] With this command, la Peña attempted to intervene against Napoleon's assault on Madrid; this attempt was, however, intercepted by Marshal Ney's I Corps and la Peña was forced to retire to Cuenca. [7] Once there, la Peña was replaced by the Duque de Infantado as the commander of the Army of the Centre. [6]

Aranjuez Municipality in Community of Madrid, Spain

Aranjuez, also called the Royal Estate of Aranjuez, is a city and municipality, capital of the Las Vegas district, in the southern part of the Community of Madrid, Spain. It is located at the confluence of the Tagus and Jarama rivers, 42 kilometres (26 mi) south of Madrid, and 44 kilometres (27 mi) from Toledo. As of 2009, it had a population of 54,055. It is the 17th-largest city in the Community of Madrid and the autonomous community's largest and most populous urban center outside Greater Madrid Area.

In the Napoleonic era, junta was the name chosen by several local administrations formed in Spain during the Peninsular War as a patriotic alternative to the official administration toppled by the French invaders. The juntas were usually formed by adding prominent members of society, such as prelates, to the already-existing ayuntamientos. The juntas of the capitals of the traditional peninsular kingdoms of Spain styled themselves "Supreme Juntas", to differentiate themselves from, and claim authority over, provincial juntas. Juntas were also formed in Spanish America during this period in reaction to the developments in Spain.

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In December 1810, la Peña succeeded Blake as the Captain General of Andalusia. [8] He had been, however, a supporter of the Cortes; therefore, the new Regency removed him from this position and ordered him to Cádiz, along with his troops. [9] La Peña was then the senior Spanish officer in Cádiz, and took command of the Spanish forces on the Isla de Léon. [3]

Andalusia Autonomous community of Spain

Andalusia is an autonomous community in southern Spain. It is the most populous, and the second largest autonomous community in the country. The Andalusian autonomous community is officially recognised as a "historical nationality". The territory is divided into eight provinces: Almería, Cádiz, Córdoba, Granada, Huelva, Jaén, Málaga and Seville. Its capital is the city of Seville.

Cádiz Municipality in Andalusia, Spain

Cádiz is a city and port in southwestern Spain. It is the capital of the Province of Cádiz, one of eight which make up the autonomous community of Andalusia.

Battle of Barrosa

In January 1811, a reduction of the French forces besieging Cádiz caused the British and Spanish allies garrisoning the city to launch an expedition in an attempt to raise the siege. Despite having authority, from the British government, to refuse to take part in a joint expedition of which he was not given command, Sir Thomas Graham—the British commander—agreed to cede command of the force to la Peña. [10]

Siege of Cádiz 1810s siege in Spain by the French

The Siege of Cádiz was a siege of the large Spanish naval base of Cádiz by a French army from 5 February 1810 to 24 August 1812 during the Peninsular War. Following the occupation of Seville, Cádiz became the Spanish seat of power, and was targeted by 70,000 French troops under the command of the Marshals Claude Victor and Nicolas Jean-de-Dieu Soult for one of the most important sieges of the war. Defending the city were 2,000 Spanish troops who, as the siege progressed, received aid from 10,000 Spanish reinforcements as well as British and Portuguese troops.

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Sailing from Cádiz between 21–24 February 1811, the Anglo-Spanish expedition regrouped at Tarifa on 27 February 1811 and marched towards the besieging French force's rear at Chiclana. A series of night marches, instigated by la Peña, however, resulted in a change of plan and the allied army ended up marching back towards Cádiz. The French commander, Marshal Victor, marched to meet the allied force with 10,000 men from his besieging army. On 5 March, la Peña's vanguard division met a French division straddling the main road to Cádiz and drove them off the road. [11]

Graham's rearguard division, meanwhile, was attacked by two of Victor's divisions. Graham split his force into two brigades; one to face each of the approaching French divisions. In the ensuing battle, Graham's forces beat off the French attacks despite la Peña entrenching his larger force on the isthmus to Cádiz and refusing to aid his British allies. [11] La Peña further refused to pursue the retreating French troops, allowing them to resume the siege on Cádiz. The siege was not lifted until 24 August 1812.

La Peña's actions in this engagement led to his court-martial where he was acquitted but relieved of command. [12]

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  1. Fortescue (1917 , p. 40) is an example of the use of Lapeña.
  2. Fortescue 1917 , p. 62.
  3. 1 2 Oman 1911 , p. 95.
  4. Gates 1986 , p. 101.
  5. Gates 1986 , p. 103.
  6. 1 2 Esdaile 2002 , p. 137.
  7. Gates 1986 , p. 105.
  8. Napier 1842 , p. 271.
  9. Napier 1840 , p. 419.
  10. Oman 1911 , pp. 95–96.
  11. 1 2 Gates 1986 , pp. 249–252.
  12. Paget 1990 , pp. 124–125.