Battle of Almansa
Batalla de Almansa
Almansa, Albacete (Castilla-La Mancha aut. community)
the armies of Spanish Habsburg and House of Bourbons with the support of France and England meet in the Almansa plateau to fight for the fate of Europe and choose the heir of the Spanish Crown and its huge empire on the very battlefield where 300 years ago took place the battle that shaped Europe…
Geographical, cultural and historical context
Almansa is a town located on the southern Meseta, a high arid tableland rich in cultivated fields of crops, cereals and saffron, olive groves and vineyards, between the high central plateau (La Mancha) and the Mediterranean Sea, about 282km from Madrid, 395km from Barcelona and 91km from Valencia, in south-eastern Spain. Almansa, originated from the Moorish town of Al-Manxa, has long been a frontier town between the Moors and the Christians territories, and is today famous for producing high quality shoes, guitars and wines. First traces of settlement in the surroundings of the town date to the 2nd Millennium BC, while during the Roman domination a village called Ad-Aras was located near the Via Augusta, the 1500km long ancient road crossing all the Hispania Province from Cadiz to the Pyrenees. The picturesque old town lies around the imposing medieval castle built in the 14th century on a step limestone crag. The rich artistic heritage includes the Assumption Church, the Palace of Los Condes de Cirat, the Church of the Agustinas Convent, the Convent of San Francisco, the Clock Tower, and the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Belen about 12km from the town.
The major event of the local history is undoubtedly the "Battle of Almansa", one of the most decisive engagements that took place during the War of Spanish Succession (1701-1714), the international conflict which opposed two would-be kings, both foreigners, claiming the Spanish Crown: Philippe de France (1683-1746, Duke of Anjou and grandson of King Louis XIV) of the House of Bourbons, and the Archduke Charles of Austria (1685-1740, father of the famous empress Maria Theresa) of the House of Hapsburg. King Charles II died in year 1700 with no immediate heir to the throne. In his last will and testament, he nominated as his successor to the Spanish throne Philippe de France who became King Philip V of Spain. But Archduke Charles of Austria complained about being rejected his succession rights to the Spanish throne. The consequences in terms of loss of balance in Europe of a possible union of France and Spain under one monarch made other European powers to act forming the so-called Grand Alliance, which included the Spanish territories loyal to Archduke Charles, the Hapsburg Empire, England, the Dutch United Provinces, Portugal and the Duchy of Savoy. The Two Crowns of Spain and France together with Bavaria sided with Philip V. A full-scale war erupted lasting from 1701 to 1714 and involving almost all or Europe.
From 1701 until 1704 the great battles took place in Europe, while in 1705 Archduke Charles took Barcelona, and almost the whole Crown of Aragon (Catalonia, Valencia, Aragon and Balearic Islands) joined the Grand Alliance, making the Spanish Succession War to turn also into a real civil war. Philip V managed to gather his armies consisting of French, Spanish, Italian, Belgian, and Irish soldiers, for a final stand trying to cut the Allies way between Madrid and Valencia near the town of Almansa. There, on April 25, AD 1707, the Franco-Spanish army led by the Duke of Berwick (James FitzJames, 1670-1734, a military leader and illegitimate son of King James II of England and his mistress Arabella Churchill), smashed the allied forces under the command of the Earl of Galway (Henri de Massue, 1648-1720, a French Huguenot soldier and diplomat), stopping the Allied offensive throughout Europe and opening for Philip the way to the final victory.
The Battle of Almansa Museum located at the foot of the Castle hosts a permanent exhibition in three interactive rooms where it is possible to discover all the details of the epic day that changed the history of Spain thanks to several artworks and objects from the historic scene as well as materials given by the Spanish Army Museum in Toledo. During the visit the guests can enjoy several information points and interactive screens, including a spectacular video. The museum organises exclusive guided tours along the battlefield.
Event description and programme
Every year, on the closest weekend to the 25th of April, Almansa hosts a great historical event to commemorate the famous battle thanks to several hundreds of historical reenactors coming from all over Europe. The festival programme includes historical markets and dinners, exhibitions, conferences and lectures, military parades, theatralized guided tours at the historical camps, the museum and the battlefield, and yet living history displays, crafts workshops and demonstrations, Baroque music, dance and theatre shows, commemorative ceremonies and religious services, and many other cultural and leisure initiatives for adults and children aimed to illustrate the daily life, chores and pastimes of the 17th and 18th centuries. Headline of the event is the great battle reenactment featuring several hundreds of Reenactors from all over Europe.
Please contact the Organizers for confirmation and further details.
Info & Contact
Event official page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/batalladealmansa/
La Asociación Cultural 1707 Almansa Histórica
Address: Cl Aragón, 19 (Casa de cultura), 02640 Almansa (Albacete), Spain
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ Asociación-1707-Almansa-Historica-1475161526031499/
Battle of Almansa Museum / Parque Cultural Almansa 1707
Address: c./0 La Estrella, 2, 02640 Almansa (Albacete), Spain
Tel.: +34 967313180
Almansa Town Council / Ayuntamiento de Almansa
Address: Pl. Santa María 2, 02640 Almansa (Albacete), Spain
Tel.: +34 967311550 | Fax: +34 967311332
Turismo Castilla-La Mancha
Address: Avda/ Irlanda, 14, Toledo, Spain
Image: © Juan M. Ruano via Battle of Almansa Museum
Text: Turismo Castilla-La Mancha, Wikipedia, Battle of Almansa Museum, Almansa Town Council,
Almansa on Google Maps:
Video reportages from the event:
Exploring the Museum of the Battle of Almansa and the castle: