Tercio de Lisboa

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Armies >> Spanish Army (Bourbon) >> Tercio de Lisboa

Origin and History

A tercio of 12 companies was raised in 1580 by don Gabriel Niño de Zuñiga in the heart of Castile. In July of the same year, it took part to the invasion of Portugal and then became the Tercio departamental de Portugal. Soon it was increased by 5 additional companies and now counted some 1,940 men.

In 1587, a large part of the tercio was sent to the Netherlands. In 1588, it took part to the ill fate expedition of the Armada against England and returned to the Netherlands after suffering heavy losses. By 1593, it had been renamed Tercio de Lisboa.

In 1606, the tercio served at Oran.

In 1625, when the English tried to detach Portugal from Spain, 2 companies of the tercio were sent out to Ceuta. In 1626, the tercio defended Lisboa to prevent an attack by a Dutch fleet of 95 sails.

In 1640, when the Portuguese rebelled against the Spanish occupation, the tercio defended the castle of San Juan but finally had to capitulate in face of superior forces. The tercio was then transferred to Catalonia to fight the French. It seized the pass of Balaguer on December 9 and took part to the capture of Montroig and Cambrils; and to the recapture of Tarragona. Along with the Spanish army, it then marched on Barcelona. In 1641, the tercio fought at the lost battle of Monjuich (January 16) and retired on Tarragona which was soon besieged by a French army. Even though plague broke out in the city, the tercio resisted during 4 months until a Spanish relief fleet arrived in the harbour on August 20, forcing the French to lift the siege and to retire to Villafranca. The tercio had suffered terrible losses during this siege, being reduced to only 800 men. Nevertheless, it joined the Spanish army under the command of the marquis de la Hinojosa and took part to the recapture of Palou (November 12). In 1642, as part of Hinojosa's force, it triumphed at Vendrell (January 5) and Crexell (January 8). It also distinguished itself at the capture of the hermitage of Vilallonga and of the castle of Vallmoll before returning to Tarragona. In 1643, the French failed to seize Rosas relieved just in time by the tercio of Lisboa. In 1645, renewed their attempt against Rosas which finally surrendered on April 30. The tercio left the place with the honours of war. In 1646, the tercio took part to the victorious offensive against the French army under the command of Harcourt at Lerida. In 1647, the tercio served in the army of don Francisco Melo. In 1648, the Spanish army now under the command of don Juan Garcia adcanced on Barcelona. However, the offensive was abandoned and the tercio garrisoned Tarragona. In 1650, the tercio took part to the capture of Juniera (August 28), Flix (September 5) and the castle of Miravet (October 8). During the night of November 9, the tercio suffered heavy losses in a failed attempt to storm Tortosa which finally surrendered on November 27. On December 15, the tercio garrisoned the conquered town. In 1651 and 1652, it took part to the siege of Barcelona and successfully stormed San Feliu de Quixols on June 17 1652 before returning to the entrenchments around Barcelona (June 20) who fell on September 4. The tercio then took part to the siege and capture of Mataro (end of September). In 1653, it was part of the Spanish force which relieved and defended Girona until the French were forced to lift the siege. In 1654, the tercio was aboard the Spanish squadron blockading Rosas when the Spanish army was routed, forcing the squadron to retire. In 1655, the tercio rejoined the army and distinguished itself at the recapture of Berga on September 20. In 1656, it served aboard the Spanish fleet and stormed Esponolla.

In 1662, the tercio was sent back to Portugal where, in May and June, it took part to the capture of Borba, Jurumena, Malpica, Beira and Monforte. On June 28, it stormed Ocrato. It then joined back the Spanish army and took part to the storming of Onghela on July 7. After the campaign, the tercio retired to Badajoz and later to Cadiz. In May 1663, it returned to Portugla where it took part to the siege of Evora and to the lost battle of Estremoz (June 7) where it suffered very heavy losses. It then retired to Cadiz once more. In 1666, the tercio embarked aboard a Spanish fleet and landed in front of Lisboa. On June 28, it launched an attack on the castle of San Juan which quickly surrendered.

From 1667 to 1672, the tercio was assigned to serve aboard the fleet. From 1672 to 1674, it served in Sicily against the French. On February 1676, part of the regiment took part to the naval battle off Palermo. By May 21 1687, the tercio counted 25 companies for a total of 1,961 men.

In 1689, the tercio was transferred from the naval service to the Spanish army operating in Italy in the province of Milan. In 1690, it took part to the lost battle of Stafarda (August 18) and retreated to Lombardia. In 1691, the tercio operated in Piedmont where it vainly defended Carmagnola which surrendered. In 1692, it took part to the recapture of Carmagnola and Embrun. In 1693, the tercio took part to the capture of Pignerolo (August 13) and to the lost battle of Marsalla (October 4). In 1696, it took part to the recapture of Cassal.

In 1698, the tercio garrisoned Novara.

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

  • from 1693 to 1701: Diego de la Concha
  • in ????: Don Martin Moreno
  • in ????: Marquis de Valdefuentes
  • in ????: Don Diego de Cantos

Service during the War

In 1701, the tercio joined the Franco-Spanish army who occupied the lines of the Adige near Cassano. On 1 September, as part of this army, it took part in the Battle of Chiari and later garrisoned Finale.

In 1702, the tercio successively occupied Cremona, Cassal-Maggiore and Viadana before joining the Army of Lombardia on the Po.

At the beginning of 1703, the tercio left Finale to take part in the blockade of Mirandola.

In 1704, the tercio took part in the storming of the Castle of Ceva, in the siege of Ivrea and Verrua.

In 1706, the tercio was transferred to the lines on the Adda to defend a bridge of boats. It was at the action of Castiglione and garrisoned the Castle of Milan.

In 1707, the tercio was renamed "Regimiento de Lisboa". The Imperialists laid siege to Milan defended by a garrison including this regiment. On 20 March, the Spanish capitulated and retired to Novara. The regiment was then sent back to Spain.

In 1708, the tercio joined the French division who initially operated in Catalonia before marching towards the Province of Valencia where, on 9 January, it captured Alcoy. The regiment then sailed to Porto-Longone on the Island of Elba.

From 1709 to 1713, the regiment did not take part in any major action, garrisoning Ajaccio in 1710 and Porto-Longone in 1711.

In 1713, the regiment left Porto-Longone and sailed to Alicante where it disembarked before marching towards Barcelona to take part in the siege of this city.

In 1714, after the capture of Barcelona, the regiment garrisoned the town.



Uniform circa 1700 - Copyright Kronoskaf
Uniform Details as per
Musketeer black felt tricorne laced white with a red cockade
Grenadier no information found
Neckstock white
Coat red with yellow lining and with tin buttons on the right side and 1 tin button on each side in the small of the back
Collar none
Shoulder Straps none
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 tin buttons
Cuffs yellow, each with 3 tin buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat yellow with tin buttons
Breeches yellow
Stockings red fastened under the knee with a natural leather strap
Gaiters no information found
Leather Equipement
Crossbelt natural leather
Waistbelt natural leather
Cartridge Box natural leather
Bayonet Scabbard n/a
Scabbard black
Footwear black shoes with a brass buckle

Rank and file were armed with a sword, a bayonet and a musket


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. VIII, Madrid, 1851-62, pp. 181-215