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Battle of Tetuan
Part of the Spanish-Moroccan War (1859-1860)
MARIANO FORTUNY - La Batalla de Tetuán (Museo Nacional de Arte de Cataluña, 1862-64. Óleo sobre lienzo, 300 x 972 cm).jpg
The battle as painted by Marià Fortuny, an immense canvas (300 x 972 cm) on exhibit at the National Art Museum of Catalonia in Barcelona (date: 1863-1865)[1]
LocationNear Tetouan, Morocco
Result Spanish victory
Belligerents
Morocco Moroccan Army Spain Spanish Army of Africa
Commanders and leaders
Morocco Mohammed IV of Morocco Spain Leopoldo O'Donnell, 1st Duke of Tetuan
Strength
36,000 men, 65 pieces of artillery, and 41 ships


The Battle of Tetuan was fought near Tetuan, Morocco between a Spanish army sent to North Africa and the tribal levies comprising the Moroccan Army in 1860. The battle was part of the Spanish-Moroccan War of 1859-1860.

Background and battle[edit | edit source]

The expeditionary Spanish force, which departed from Algeciras, was composed of 36,000 men, 65 pieces of artillery, and 41 ships, which included steamships, sailboats, and smaller vessels. Leopoldo O'Donnell, 1st Duke of Tetuan, Prime Minister of Spain, personally took charge of the expedition and divided these forces into three corps. These were commanded by Generals Juan Zavala de la Puente, Antonio Ros de Olano and Ramón de Echagüe. Reserves were placed under the command of Juan Prim. Admiral Segundo Díaz Herrero commanded the fleet.

The objective of the Spanish forces was to take Tetuan.

Hostilities between Moroccan and Spanish troops began on 17 December 1859 when the column commanded by Zavala de la Puente occupied the Sierra de Bullones. On 19 December, Echagüe captured the Palacio del Serrallo. O'Donnell commanded a force that landed at Ceuta on 21 December. By Christmas Day, the three columns had consolidated their positions and awaited orders to advance towards Tetouan.

On 1 January 1860, Prim advanced towards the port of Guad al Gelu. Zavala’s forces and the Spanish Navy guarded his flank. Clashes continued until 31 January 1861, when a major Moroccan offensive was stopped. O’Donnell began a march towards the objective of Tétouan, and was supported by forces composed of Catalan volunteers. Covering fire was provided by units commanded by Generals Ros de Olano and Prim. Spanish artillery decimated the Moroccan ranks; the Moroccan forces that remained took refuge in Tétouan. The city fell on 6 February 1860. A week of further fighting followed before hostilities ceased.

Outcome[edit | edit source]

The capture of Tétouan prevented further attacks on Ceuta and Melilla by Moroccan forces.O'Donnell returned with his forces to Spain; they camped at a spot north of Madrid while a triumphal entry into the capital was arranged. The camp, which acquired permanent structures as well as shops over time, became the Madrid neighborhood known as Tetuán de las Victorias. O’Donnell acquired the title of nobility "First Duke of Tetuán."

Cultual references[edit | edit source]

Salvador Dalí painted a version of Fortuny’s painting of the battle.[2][3]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "The Battle of Tetouan" at the MNAC website. Retrieved on 25 July 2013
  2. La batalla de Tetuán
  3. Las Batalla de Tetuán
  4. Francesc Sans i Cabot in the Gran Enciclopèdia Catalana. Retrieved on 25 July 2013

External links[edit | edit source]

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