19th Century´s militar history in the Basque Country

Battles and acttions

ARLABAN. 1836-V-24

"Acción de Arlaban"   (The action at Arlaban) (Detail)The first Battle of Arlabán was fought in January 1836. The Liberal General Córdoba left Vitoria-Gasteiz to try and take Alto de Arlabán from the Carlists. Its right flank, the British Legion led by Lacy Evans, headed for the Castle of Guevara; its central section, Bernell's French Legion headed for Alto de Arlabán, and its left flank was led by Espartero with the mission of taking Legutiano. Egia was at the command of the Carlist troops, aided by Brigadier Bruno de Villarreal.

The tough combat lasted two days (the 16th and 17th). At the end of the conflict, the situation remained the same because although the Liberals managed to take Legutiano and the Alto de Arlabán, they were forced to return to Vitoria-Gasteiz on the 18th. There were 300 casualties in Carlist lines and 600 on the Liberal side.

In May, Córdoba again tried to take Alto de Arlabán. This time, the combat lasted for four days. The Liberals burnt the Carlist arms factory in Araia. Troops marched forward and fell back, and Salinas de Léniz constantly changed hands between Carlists and Liberals. This time, Espartero was also the most prominent Liberal leader, while Villarreal was significant for the Carlists. On the 26th of May, the Liberals retreated to Vitoria-Gasteiz burning houses as they did so, particularly in Legutiano.

Narvaez wounded at Arlabán. (Detail)Each side lost around 600 soldiers. Both sides considered themselves the victors of the battle, though it could be said that the Carlists gained more since, after losing their positions in Arlabán, these finally fell back into their hands. Colonel Narváez, who would later be the political rival of Espartero, was wounded in this battle.

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