Battle of Glen Shiel
On the basis that my enemy’s enemy is my friend the Jacobites and Spanish formed an alliance in 1718. It suited Spain to take their post-Treaty of Utrecht conflict with Britain to these islands, the plan for spring 1719 being for an army under the Duke of Ormonde to invade Wales or the Southwest of England, while a token force would land in the Highlands and provoke a rising of the clans.
In the event bad weather defeated Ormonde, and it was left to about 200 Spanish marines and some Jacobite exiles to stir the Highlands into revolt. They failed, but from their bridgehead on the Isle of Lewis they landed on the mainland at Lochalsh , and after rather aimless manoeuvring made for Inverness.
With just 1200 or so recruits to the cause, by June 1719 the Jacobites numbered perhaps 1800 fighting men, with no artillery and only the Spanish regiment disciplined and trained. The British commander Major-General Wightman, with 850 infantry, more than 100 dragoons and good artillery support, caught up with them at Glen Shiel near Inverness, and gave battle at about 5pm on June 10.
The Spaniards occupied the Jacobite centre, chose their ground carefully, and fought well. The Highlanders including Rob Roy were rolled back on each flank, and elected to disappear in the evening fog rather stand and fight, in all likelihood to face capture and execution. The government force lost 21 men; the rebels probably about 100. A rather sad little rebellion ended with the Spanish captured, repatriated in the autumn, and the senior Jacobite officers fleeing back into exile.
More famous dates here
3826 views since 5th May 2011
On this day: