The French Invasions – the Portuguese designation – the Peninsular War – the designation with a more widespread use, especially in the English-speaking countries, but also in our country – and the War of Independence – the designation used in Spain. Three names for the same process. The war extended geographically across the Iberian Peninsula, to France – including its allies and vassals – and England. In Spain, it undeniably took on the form of a fight for independence. The conflict may thus be studied according to a European and Atlantic perspective, as part of the so-called Napoleonic Wars, a reflection of France’s drive for foreign expansion born of the Revolution and pursued by the Napoleonic project. It can equally be seen as a contest between France and Britain for control over the Old Continent.
But the Peninsular War generates other points of interest. In war games for instance, or in the study of battlefields and of how they have evolved in the last two hundred years, based on the study of maps, schemes, accounts and reports dating from the time of the fightings and comparing them to what is possible to recognise today in a landscape transformed by Nature and, even more so, by human activity. This sort of comparison can be found in many books and among them one by Donald Featherston, Campaigning with the Duke of Wellington & Featherstone (Emperor’s Press, Chicago, 1993).