World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Joaquín Blake

Article Id: WHEBN0003008177
Reproduction Date:

Title: Joaquín Blake  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Peninsular War, Battle of Albuera, Literary Battalion, Battle of Espinosa de los Monteros, Battle of Tudela
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Joaquín Blake

Captain-General Joaquín Blake y Joyes.

Joaquín Blake y Joyes (Vélez-Málaga, 19 August 1759 – 27 April 1827) was a Spanish military officer who served with distinction in the French Revolutionary and Peninsular wars.


  • Early military career 1
  • Peninsular War 2
    • Battle of Albuera 2.1
  • Later life 3
  • See also 4
  • External links 5
  • Further reading 6

Early military career

Partially of Irish descent -his mother was from Galicia and his father an Irishman-, Blake was born at Málaga to an aristocratic family. In his youth, he saw action as a lieutenant of the grenadiers in the American Revolutionary War, taking part in the abortive siege of Gibraltar and the 1783 reconquest of Minorca from the British.

At the outbreak of war with France in 1793, Blake, a captain, took part in the invasion of Roussillon under General Ricardos. He was wounded at San-Lorenzo-de-la-Muga in 1794.

Peninsular War

Exploits in the field led to further promotions, and by the start of the Peninsular War in 1808, Blake held the rank of Lieutenant General. He was appointed head of the Supreme Junta's Army of Galicia (a paper force of 43,001 holding the Spanish left wing along the Cantabrian mountains) during the French invasions and fought well against Napoleon's Grande Armée despite the heavy odds against him.

Blake and Cuesta were defeated on 14 July at Medina del Rio Seco. Following the general French retreat prompted by the disaster at Bailén, Blake took up positions opposite the enemy on the banks of the Ebro. On 31 October Marshal Lefebvre's IV Corps fell upon Blake's 19,000 men at Pancorbo, turning back the hesitant Spanish advance. To his credit, Blake retreated swiftly and in good order, preventing Napoleon's planned envelopment and annihilation of the Spanish flank.

Furious, the Emperor dispatched Lefebvre and Victor in pursuit, the latter ordered to outmaneuver Blake and sweep across his line of retreat. The French were careless and allowed their forces to disperse during the pursuit. On 5 November Blake surprised his enemies again when, at Valmaseda, he suddenly turned about and attacked the French vanguard with seasoned troops, inflicting a stinging defeat on General Vilatte's leading division. However, another French corps then joined the chase, and Blake raced west once more to evade encirclement.

Blake chose to make another stand at Espinosa on 10 November. Victor, intent on avenging himself for his earlier humiliations at the hands of Blake, spent the day recklessly flinging his divisions against the Spaniards without success. The next day, however, a well-coordinated French attack shattered Blake's center and drove his army from the field in rout.

Although Blake lost only 3,001 men on the battlefield, many thousands more were dispersed in the hopeless confusion of retreat as the Spanish front disintegrated. Knowing the Army of Galicia to be irreparably shattered, Blake embarked on a grueling march west into the hills, outdistancing his pursuers under Soult. He reached Léon on 23 November with only 10,000 men. Command of what remained of the Army of Galicia then passed to General Pedro Caro y Sureda, 3rd marqués de La Romana.

Battle of Albuera

In 1810, Blake participated in the creation of a Spanish General Staff, which in the final years of the war began to restore coherence to the country's military enterprises. Poor battlefield performance had in large part been caused by the lethargy, mismanagement, and incoordination of Spain's fragmented military administration.

On 16 May 1811 Blake fought the French at Battle of Albuera alongside William Beresford's AngloPortuguese army. The Spaniards under Blake's command successfully held the allied flank against a strong French infantry, earning him a promotion to Captain General.

Blake was then transferred to eastern Spain to combat Marshal Suchet's advance on Valencia. Blake, after several defeats, ended up trapped in the city with his army, eventually surrendering on 8 January 1812 with his 16,000 troops, which marked the high point of French successes in eastern Spain.

Later life

In 1815 Blake was made Chief Engineer of the Spanish Royal Army. Blake died in 1827.

See also

External links

  • A biography of General Joaquín Blake y Joyes By Rodolfo B.González

Further reading

  • Alexander, Don W. Rod of Iron: French Counterinsurgency Policy in Aragon During the Peninsular War (SR Books 1985) ISBN 0-8420-2218-X.
  • Esdaile, Charles J. The Spanish Army in the Peninsular War (Manchester University Press 1988) ISBN 0-7190-2538-9.
  • Fletcher, Ian Bloody Albuera: The 1811 Campaign in the Peninsular War (Crowood 2001) ISBN 1-86126-372-4.
  • Gates, David The Spanish Ulcer: A History of the Peninsular War (W W Norton 1986) ISBN 0-393-02281-1.
  • Oliver, Michael The Battle of Albuera 1811: Glorious Field of Grief (Pen and Sword 2007) ISBN 1-84415-461-0.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.