Bicentenary of Reconquest of Vigo

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A great deal of exploding gunpowder and a hectic pageant involving actors and ordinary citizens jostling the narrow streets in period costume, will today sound the climax to a series of celebrations marking the 200th anniversary of the Reconquest of Vigo, a little-known but significant local episode in the Peninsular War. This unlikely popular uprising of March 28th, 1809, in the coastal town in northwest Spain was the first successful attempt to see off French rule in the region of Galicia, following Napoleon’s occupation of the country in 1807. That year 100,000 French troops had marched onto Spanish territory ostensibly to tackle the British threat in Portugal. But by April 1808 the Franco-Spanish alliance was severed as Napoleon forced the Spanish monarchy to abdicate, transferring the crown from Fernando VII to his own elder brother Joseph Bonaparte.

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