Siege of Barcelona (1706)

Coordinates: 41°24′07″N 2°10′00″E / 41.4019°N 2.1667°E / 41.4019; 2.1667
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Siege of Barcelona
Part of War of the Spanish Succession

Siege of Barcelona (1706)
Date3–27 April 1706
Result Grand Alliance victory.
 Dutch Republic
Spain Pro-Habsburg Spain
Spain Pro-Bourbon Spain
Commanders and leaders
Kingdom of England Lord Peterborough
Kingdom of England James Stanhope
Spain Philip V
Kingdom of France René de Froulay de Tessé

The siege of Barcelona took place between 3 and 27 April 1706 during the War of the Spanish Succession when a Franco-Spanish army laid siege to Barcelona in an attempt to recapture the city following its fall to an English-led Allied army the previous year.[1]

After the Earl of Peterborough entered Valencia in triumph in January 1706, Barcelona was left vulnerable. This led the French to change the plans of attacking Valencia and try to besiege Barcelona instead, while the city was blocked from the sea-side by the Count of Toulouse. The Spanish forces were led by Philip V, while René de Froulay, Comte de Tessé was placed in charge of the French land forces during the siege.[2]

Despite insufficient artillery and the constant harassment from Peterborough, who marched north with 3000 men and attacked the besiegers from the mountains, the Franco-Spanish forces finally managed to shoot three breaches in the walls.[3] But before the decision to storm the city could be made, the siege was abandoned, following the appearance of a large English fleet under the command of John Leake carrying reinforcements.[4]

The Franco-Spanish army abandoned its supplies and artillery in its hasty retreat. Phillip was cut off from returning to Madrid, and so he crossed into France. Barcelona and the entire region of Catalonia remained in Allied hands until 1714.[2]

The documentary sources explain that the escape of Philip V caused great perplexity in all the chancelleries of Europe, but especially in that of Versailles, governed by his grandfather and patron Louis XIV of France.[5]

After the Grand Alliance victory at Barcelona, the solar eclipse of May 12, 1706 was widely interpreted as the “eclipse of Sun King”,[6][7] i.e., the dimming of Louis XIV, king of France, while the French court officially regarded the eclipse only as a scientific phenomenon.[8]


  1. ^ Alcoberro i Pericay, Agustí (2010). "The War of the Spanish Succession in the Catalan-speaking Lands". Catalan Historical Review. 3 (3): 69–86. doi:10.2436/20.1000.01.40. ISSN 2013-4088.
  2. ^ a b "The Spanish Succession 1706". Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  3. ^ Freind, John (1707). An account of the Earl of Peterborough's conduct in Spain: chiefly since the raising the siege of Barcelona, 1706 : to which is added the campagne of Valencia, with original papers. London: W. Wise.
  4. ^ "The Relief of Barcelona, 30 April 1706 - National Maritime Museum". Royal Museum Greenwich. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  5. ^ Marc Pons (12 May 2019). "Felip V fuig precipitadament de Barcelona". El Nacional (in Catalan). Retrieved 13 September 2023.
  6. ^ "The Sun in an Eclipse" (1707) − from the University of Western Ontario site, with historical notes.
  7. ^ Liberation of Barcelona 1706
  8. ^ Hendrik Ziegler "Image Battles under Louis XIV: Some Reflections" pp. 32–35 , from Claydon, Tony ; Levillain, Charles-Édouard (Eds.): "Louis XIV outside in: images of the Sun King beyond France", 1661–1715, Farnham 2015.

41°24′07″N 2°10′00″E / 41.4019°N 2.1667°E / 41.4019; 2.1667