Napoleonic Forces in Oporto

Some photos about the memories of the city of Porto 

from the French Invasion of 1809 - Peninsular  War



(High Resolution Photo - Click to Enlarge)

In this engraving, from 1909 (centenary of the 1809 invasions), we see the representation of the episode in which many hundreds (many historical sources claim 4000) civilians were forced into the ancient "Bridge of Boats" that collapsed, what caused the people (mainly women and childreen) to drown in the Douro river.

Truth must be said, though, that eyewitness of the time say that even the French soldiers tried to rescue the people from the water... it was a dreadful cenario that the city of Porto (Oporto) doesn't forget.




In this old painting we can see the hole scene: the French troops are firing on the left, and cavalry is seizing people on the margins. A few Portuguese soldiers are still trying to retain the French, while civilians are being pushed on the bridge that just collapsed under the weight.


(High Resolution Photo - Click to Enlarge)

There all almost always candles at the bottom of the engraving depicted in the image above. People don't forget the tragedy, even 200 years later.


Here is a monument, in a central place of the modern city of Porto, that represents the victory of the Portuguese people, and the people of Porto in particular over the French Invaders. The monument was made in 1909, to mark the centenary of the French Invasion. The city of Porto is preparing to build new monuments to mark the 200 years of this bloody episode of the history of Porto and Portugal (and Europe for that matter, although the ideals of the French Revolution were refreshing and may have had a major impact in the modernization of many nations).

This drowning woman, embracing her child, are depicted on the base of the monument shown above, along with other figures of the time (Portuguese soldiers and heroic people that are helping them defending their city and their country).

(High Resolution Photo - Click to Enlarge)

This gravure, contemporany of the massacre (note the allegoric nature and the pietic taste of the scene), depicts the hole episode.



To end, by now, on the brighter side (or almost, you'll see...). This beautiful building was already there when the Tragedy of the Bridge of Boats occurred. Today it is a 4-star hotel right in the middle of one of the most picturesque places of Porto (the Ribeira). You can see this building witnessing History 200 years ago: on the second painting shown in this site, it is right behind the smoke of the guns of the French soldiers.


This is a visit-card... come to see my city in person. You are welcome.




(I intend to put more pictures and elaborate the text a bit more in future editions. Please come to this site latter. I hope you have enjoyed).



Useful and informative links:

The Napoleon Podcast (TPN Network)

The Military History Podcast