19th Century´s militar history in the Basque Country

Battles and acttions


Royal Expedition This expedition was organised for political, rather than military reasons. The Queen Regent Maria Christina had begun negotiations with Don Carlos due to her fear of the radicals who had forced her to sign the Constitution of Cadiz after their uprising. She proposed a dynastic reconciliation to her brother-in-law through the Kingdom of Naples, in which her daughter Isabel would marry the first-born son of Don Carlos. For the reconciliation, the pretender would need to come to the capital and meet the Regent.

"Vista de Castellón de la Plana en el acto de ser atacada por Don Carlos en la espedición Real" (View of Castellón de la Plana being attacked by Don Carlos during the royal expedition) (Detail)On the 20th of May 1837, close to 11,000 foot soldiers and 1,200 cavalry crossed the river Ebro under the orders of Don Carlos himself, with the Infante Don Sebastián leading the army. A few days later, they met and defeated the Liberal troops at Huesca and Barbastro. The expedition passed through Catalonia in June and Valencia in July, fighting a series of battles on the way - none of which were decisive - and crossed the Maestrazgo region to finally reach Madrid on the 12th of September. However, the political situation in the capital had changed and Maria Christina failed to keep her promise. Don Carlos did not attempt to take the city in case Espartero's troops arrived.

The expedition travelled through Castile to join another Carlist expedition in Aranda de Duero that was led by General Zaratiegui. As they were pursued relentlessly by Espartero’s troops, Don Carlos divided the expedition into two groups, one under the command of the Infante Don Sebastián and the other led by himself.

Don Carlos' retaliation against those he considered responsible for the failure of the expedition marked the beginning of the internal divisions that would eventually lead to the demise of the Carlist project.

The Infante Don Sebastián was relieved of his command of the army, while Zaratiegui, Simon de la Torre, Villarreal, Elío and Eguía were either exiled or imprisoned.

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