Battle of Corunna. 16th January 1809


Presented here is a map showing the battlefield positions of British and French troops at the Battle of Corunna (La Coruña in Spanish), in Galicia, northwest Spain, during the Peninsular War of 1808‒14, a conflict that is referred to in Spain as the Guerra de la Independencia (War of Independence). The war pitted the armies of Britain, Spain, and Portugal against the Napoleonic armies of the First French Empire in a fight for control of the Iberian Peninsula. This map appeared in the Atlas to Alison’s History of Europe, the result of a collaboration between historian Archibald Alison (1792‒1867) and the Scottish geographer and cartographer Alexander Keith Johnston (1804‒71). Scale is marked in military steps (1 military step = 0.76 meter) and in miles (1 mile = 1.61 kilometers), and north is oriented to the left. The British initially did not fare well in the campaign, and in December 1808 they retreated at speed toward La Coruña to be evacuated by the fleet. There the exhausted British troops commanded by Major General Sir John Moore, who died on the field of battle, faced numerically superior French forces under Marshal Soult. The French attack was driven off sufficiently for the British to be able to embark on the transports for home that night and the next day. The British army returned to the Iberian Peninsula in May 1809 under the command of Sir Arthur Wellesley, later first Duke of Wellington.

Last updated: June 2, 2017