BATTLE OF ALMANSA The Battle of Almansa, fought on 25 April 1707, was one of themost decisive engagements of the War of the Spanish Succession. AtAlmansa, the Franco–Spanish army under Berwick soundly defeatedthe allied forces of Portugal, England, and the United Provinces ledby the Earl of Galway, reclaiming most of eastern Spain for theBourbons.
The Bourbon army of about 25,000 was composed of Spanish and Frenchtroops in equal proportion, as well as an Irish regiment. Opposing them wasa mainly Anglo-Portuguese force with strong Dutch, German, and FrenchHuguenot elements. The Battle began with an artillery exchange. When Galway committed hisreserves to an attack on the Bourbon centre, Berwick unleashed a strongforce of Franco-Spanish cavalry against the weakened Anglo-Portugueselines, sweeping away the Portuguese cavalry. A general rout followed, onlythe Portuguese infantry held, attacked by the three sides, and tried to retirefighting. They surrendered by nightfall. Galway lost 5,000 men killed and12,000 taken prisoner; of his army of 22,000 only 5,000 escaped to Tortosa.
The victory was a major step in the consolidation of Spain underthe Bourbons. With the main allied army destroyed, Philip V of Spainregained the initiative and gained Valencia. The city of Xàtiva was burned, and its name changed to San Felipein order to punish it. (In memory of these events, nowadays theportrait of the monarch still hangs upside down in the local museumof LAlmodí). Before long, the only remaining allies of the Habsburgpretender, Archduke Charles, were his supporters in Catalonia andBalearic Islands.