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Natural Viewpoint of the Spanish War of Independence

Diputación de Málaga
Panel interpretativo

Natural Viewpoint of the Spanish War of Independence

This viewpoint offrece us excellent views towards the village of Gaucin and his castle.

In 1808, making use of the power vacuum motivated by the disputes between the King Carlos IV and his son Fernando VII, Napoleon Bonaparte convinced the fi rst in order to ally with him against Portugal. Once his objective was reached, the Napoleonic troops invaded Spain and the Emperor Napoleon proclaimed José Bonaparte the new King. It was the beginning of a war that lasted six years.

After two years and despite the help rendered by England, the Spanish troops had to withdraw into the South and the Serranía de Ronda became thus a strategic point when the French attempted a coup to seize the Regency Council (Consejo de Regencia) entrenched in San Fernando (Cádiz).

The 10th February 1810, a French military detachment of 6,000 soldiers occupied the city of Ronda. Shortly after José Bonaparte would settle in this city at the Moctezuma Palace in order to drive the battle. In the meanwhile, the region was in the hands of José Serrano Valdenebro, named Head of the Troops and the Guerrilla forces of the Serranía de Ronda; he had his headquarters in Gaucín.

At the end of February, French started to make their way to Gibraltar, but the guerrilla from the Serranía attacked the French troops a few kilometres from Ronda, nearby the Fuente de la Piedra – within Alpandeire territories. As they were not prepared for this type of battle, they had to withdraw and take refuge in Ronda again.

French overcame some diffi culties and managed to get into Gaucín on 22nd February; they forced the guerrilla to leave the castle. This situation unleashed an ardent reaction and 700 members of the different guerrillas of the Serranía came to Gaucín.

The night of the 28th, Gaucín Square was again in hands of the guerrilla. Within 27 months, French entered into Gaucín up to six occasions, being especially violent that of the 8th July 1810.

They killed every neighbour in their passing, burnt 165 houses and the town archives, and threw the image of Santo Niño (Saint Child) to the Castle cliffs.

In 1812, Lord Wellington is appointed as the Major General to lead the English-Spanish troops against the French. He won great victories as in Arapiles-Salamanca (July, 1812), then in Madrid (August, 1812), and Vitoria (June, 1813). Finally, he forced José Bonaparte to leave the country. On 6th February 1814, Napoleón abdicated in favour of the Spanish Crown at Fontainebleau, giving back all its territories.

Napoleonic troops said that the Serranía had “embittered them and that it was the French cemetery” due to the hard harassing the guerrilla had subjected them for almost three years.

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