Tercio Viejo de Cataluña de Infanteria Napolitana

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Armies >> Spanish Army (Bourbon) >> Tercio Viejo de Cataluña de Infanteria Napolitana

Origin and History

The tercio was raised in Sicily on 10 September 1678 by the Maestre de campo Don Marino Carrafa. On 14 September of the same year, it embarked aboard the galley squadron of the Prince de Monte Sarcho, sailing from Melazzo for Catalonia. It disembarked at Barcelona. However, a treaty had just been signed at Nijmegen on 19 September 1678 and the tercio was quartered in Catalonia.

On 3 July 1689, during the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the tercio was sent to reinforce Gerona, joining the army of the Duke of Villahermosa under the walls of this place. On 13 August, the tercio was transferred to the camp of Santa Pau. It was later allocated to the column of General Don José Agulló to take part in the siege of Camprodon. Soon Villahermosa's entire army arrived at Camprodon and offered battle, the French preferred to evacuate the place and the neighbouring entrenchments and to retire to Roussillon. In 1695, the tercio took part in the campaign. In 1697, it entered into Barcelona to defend the place. On 15 June, the Maréchal de Vendôme laid siege to the city. On 15 July, when the French took possession of Barcelona, the tercio left the place with the honours of war and took up its quarters in Catalonia.

In 1698, after the Treaty of Ryswick, the tercio returned to Barcelona to form part of its garrison. At that time the tercio was under the command of Don Domingo Recco and was designated as the “Tercio Viejo de Cataluña de Infanteria Napolitana”.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment was under the command of:

  • from 1695: Don Domingo Recco
  • from June 1702: Don Luis Caetano de Aragon
  • from 1706: Colonel Duke of Castel-Ayrola
  • from 1706: Colonel Don Francisco de Evoli

Service during the War

On 26 March 1701, Recco, the Maestre de Campo of the tercio, and four captains went to Naples to recruit. In mid-April, King Philip V arrived at Naples. On 22 June, the King promoted Recco to general. The latter was succeeded at the head of the tercio by Don Luis Caetano de Aragon, former captain in a cuirassier regiment. The said tercio was still garrisoning Barcelona.

In May 1704, an Allied fleet disembarked the corps of the Prince of Hessen-Darmstadt at Barcelona in an attempt to capture the city by surprise. However, the garrison (including the present tercio) forced the attackers to re-embark on 2 June.

In 1705, the viceroy sent the Maestre de campo with six companies of the tercio to defend Rosas. The rest of the tercio remained in Barcelona. On 13 September, an Allied army under the command of General Stanhope laid Barcelona which surrendered on 30 October, According to the terms of capitulation, the six companies stationed in Barcelona were transported to Almeria. These companies were later incorporated in the Napolitan regiment Basilicata. Meanwhile, the six companies defending Rosas were constantly surrounded by insurgents.

In March 1706, a French auxiliary army under the command of the Maréchal de Noailles finally relieved Rosas. At that time, the garrison of Rosas consisted of six companies of the present tercio, of the Italian tercio of the Duke de Castel-Ayrola, of five companies of the tercio of Don Pedro Vicco and of two companies of the tercio of the Count de Rivera and of Don Pedro Garofalo. These troops were sent to Perpigan. The king then ordered to rebuild the “Tercio Viejo de Infanteria Napolitana” using its six surviving companies as its kernel and completing it with six companies formed from the remnants of the Italian tercios of Ayrola, Rivera and Garofalo. The Duke of Castel-Ayrola was named colonel of the unit. However, the duke asked for the king's permission to retire and command was given to Colonel Don Francisco de Evoli. The unit remained in Roussillon until 1709.

In 1709, the regiment returned to Spain where it garrisoned various places.

In October 1710, the regiment took part in a campaign.

In 1711, the regiment joined the Army of Catalonia.

In 1712, the regiment was quartered in Graus. At about that time, a quarrel arose with the Regimiento de Sicilia about the seniority of each unit.

On 27 September 1713, the regiment arrived at the camp in front of Barcelona to take part in the blockade of the city. It remained there during the entire blockade and during the siege until the capture of Barcelona in 1714.


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Uniforms of officers differed from those of privates and NCOs by the finer material used. Their waistcoat, saddle cloth and housings were edged with a wide golden braid.

In the infantry, officers wore a silver or gold gorget and a spontoon.

The regulation of 30 December 1704 specified the distinctive of each military rank:

  • colonel: a baton with a gold knob
  • lieutenant-colonel: a baton with a silver knob
  • sargento mayor: a baton with a silver topped knob
  • captain: baton as worn under the reign of the Habsburg
  • lieutenant: baton as worn under the reign of the Habsburg
  • sub-lieutenant: baton with a horn band and a silver ring


The regulation of 30 December 1704 specified the distinctive of each military rank:

  • sergeant : baton without knob and halberd
  • mariscal de logis (quartermaster): small white woolen epaulette
  • brigadier: swagger stick
  • corporal of squadron: swagger stick
  • second corporal of squadron (rank suppressed in 1706): swagger stick


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This article is mostly made of abridged and adapted excerpts from the following books which are now in the public domain:

  • Clonard, Conde de, Historia Orgánica de las Armas de Infantería y Caballería, vol. XI, Madrid, 1851-62, pp. 320-323