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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

Guerilla bands maintained themselves in the mountains


French, who had to waste 20,000

men to take that post. On the other hand Wellington's victories would have been impossible but for the indirect aid of the Spanish soldiery. Speaking of the situation at the close of the year 1810 Oman says: "Enormous as was the force--over 300,000 men--which the Emperor had thrown into Spain, it was still not strong enough to hold down the conquered provinces and at the same time to attack Portugal [where the British army was stationed]. For this fact the Spaniards must receive due credit; it was their indomitable spirit of resistance which enabled Wellington, with his small Anglo-Portuguese army, to keep the field against such largely superior numbers. No sooner had the French concentrated, and abandoned a district, than there sprang up in it a local Junta and a ragged apology for an army. Even where the invaders lay thickest, along the route from Bayonne to Madrid, guerilla bands maintained themselves in the mountains, cut off couriers and escorts, and often isolated one French army from another for weeks at a time. The great partisan chiefs, such as Mina in Navarre, Julian Sanchez in Leon, and Porlier in the Cantabrian hills, kept whole brigades of the French in constant employment. Often beaten, they were never destroyed, and always reappeared to strike some daring blow at the point where they were least expected. Half the French army was always employed in the fruitless task of guerilla-hunting. This was the secret which explains the fact that, with 300,000 men under arms,
the invaders could never concentrate more than 70,000 to deal with Wellington." This is a fair statement of the general situation throughout the war. It would seem that the Spaniards accounted for rather more than half of the French troops, even when practically every province of the kingdom was theoretically occupied by the enemy. In so doing they rendered a service not only to themselves but also to Europe, for they detached enough troops from the main body of Napoleon's armies to enable the allies to swing the balance against the emperor in his northern European campaigns. Incidentally it was quite evident that Spain could give scant attention to her American colonies while fighting for her very existence as an independent nation; indeed, it was not until 1815 that Spain turned to a consideration of the American wars.

[Sidenote: Spanish government in the early years of the war and the calling of the Cortes.]

Meanwhile, events of a political nature had been going on in Spain which were to determine the whole course of Spanish history in the nineteenth century. It was several months after the original outbreak before the various local _juntas_ were able to agree upon a supreme authority during the enforced absence of Ferdinand VII, who was regarded as the legitimate king. Late in September the somewhat unwieldy _Junta Central_ of at first twenty-four, afterward thirty-five, members was created,


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