Tercio viejo de Extremadura

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

Origin and History

The “Tercio viejo de Extremadura” was created on 16 August 1643. Its kernel was formed from 300 men of the four companies of “Fijas de Plasencia”.

On 12 May 1684, the tercio, attached to the Army of Catalonia, took part in a combat against the French on the Ter. It later relieved Gerona and participated in its defence.

In 1689, during the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the tercio took part in the defence of Camprodon in Catalonia before retiring to Barcelona. In 1691, it campaigned in Catalonia once more. In 1693, it took part in the unsuccessful attempt to relieve Rosas. In 1694, the tercio was subdivided into three detachments who took part in the defence of Gerona, Hostalrich and Castellfollit who surrendered to the French one after the other. In 1695, it took part in the unsuccessful siege of Palamós. In 1697, it reinforced the garrison of Barcelona which surrendered on 10 August. The tercio then marched to Extremadura but was immediately ordered to reinforce Ceuta, threatened by the Moors.

In 1700, the tercio was replaced by other units at Ceuta and returned to Spain, taking up its cantonments in Extremadura.

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

  • from at least 1700: Don Marcelo de Robles
  • from 170?: Don Diego de Mejia
  • from 170?: Don José de Riera
  • from 1707: Don Pedro Rubio
  • from 17??: Don José Lucio Mejia
  • from 17??: Don Juan Ornedal y Maza

In 1707, the tercio became the “Regimiento de Badajoz”.

In 1715, the second battalion (raised in 1709) was disbanded in Barcelona.

In 1732, the regiment was disbanded and its troops amalgamated into the “Regimiento de Galicia”.

Service during the War

In 1702, the tercio marched rapidly towards Andalusia when news arrived of the planned Allied expedition against Cádiz. On 24 August, the Anglo-Dutch fleet appeared in front of Cádiz. On 26 August, Allied troops landed in the cove of Cañuelos between Rota and the Castle of Santa Catalina. On 1 September, the tercio defended the entrance of the harbour of Santa Maria but it was forced to retire to Jerez de la Frontera. On 27 September, reinforced with other troops, the tercio advanced again on Santa Maria and drove the Allies out of the town. On 1 October, the Allies re-embarked. The tercio then returned to its cantonments in Extramadura.

In 1703, the tercio remained in its cantonments in Extremadura.

In 1704, the tercio rejoined the Army of Extremadura assembling under the command of Lieutenant-General Marquis de Bay. This army proceeded to the invasion of Portugal. On 8 May, it captured the place of Salvatierra; on 13 June, Idanha-a-Nova; on 17 June, Marvão; on 23 May, Castelo Branco; and on 26 June, Castelo de Vide. On 27 June, it fought in an engagement near Sarcedas on the Alvito River where a combined force of Dutch and Portuguese troops under the Count de Donha was routed. In July, the tercio took part in the defence of the passage of the Agueda River to prevent an invasion of Castile.

In 1705, the tercio was subdivided into two detachments who were assigned to the defence of Valencia de Alcántara and Alburquerque who were in poor condition. On 9 May, Valencia de Alcántara capitulated. On 22 July, Alburquerque capitulated and the troops retired with the honours of war. The tercio was reunited and rejoined the Army of Extremadura. On 2 October, the Allies invested the capital of Extremadura where the tercio had been thrown to form part of the garrison. On 14 October, they were forced to raise the siege and to retreat to Portugal.

In 1706, the tercio was attached to the Army of Extremadura where it formed part of the column of Brigadier Don Baltasar de Moscoso. This column advanced on Albuquerque where a regiment of Portuguese cavalry had taken post in the suburbs. On 17 ???? at dawn, the column surprised the Portuguese. The grenadiers of the tercio distinguished themselves, capturing two companies of cavalry. In June, the tercio was at the bombardment of Yelves. Troops were then called to New Castile where they encamped at Atienza. From there, they pursued the retiring Allied army. On 17 October, during the pursuit, they occupied Orihuela in the Province of Valencia; and on 18 October, Elche. When in Elche, the tercio received orders to return to Extremadura. On 15 December, it surprised and captured Alcántara.

In April 1707, the tercio set off from Extremadura and joined the Army of New Castile who effected a junction with the Duc de Berwick. On 25 April, it fought in the Battle of Almansa, pursuing the Allies up to the Province of Valencia and entering into Valencia on 8 May. The tercio then joined the division of the Count de Mahony and marched on Játiva. On 25 May, the division attacked Játiva and forced it to surrender at the beginning of June. On 9 June, as part of the corps of the Count d'Asfeld, it laid siege to Denia. On 22 June, d'Asfeld abandoned the siege. The tercio then took up cantonments in Cullera from where it harassed the insurgents and protected the convoys. In December, the grenadiers of the tercio were at the siege of Alcoy. The same year, the tercio became the “Regimiento de Badajoz”.

On 10 January 1708, Alcoy surrendered to the Spanish forces besieging it and the grenadiers rejoined the regiment who had taken part in the siege of Bocairente since 1 January and forced the garrison to surrender on 10 January. The reunited regiment then marched to Aragon where it occupied the Castle of Ager which was demolished. Afterwards, it rejoined the army assembling in the Province of Valencia for the siege of Alicante which was invested on 30 November.

In 1709, a second battalion was raised in Extremadura. It took part in all operations of that campaign, fighting in the Battle of La Gudiña on 7 May. Meanwhile, the first battalion was still besieging Alicante until it surrendered on 15 April. The first battalion then returned to Aragon. In September, the first battalion entered into Catalonia and encamped on the banks of the Noguera, between Alguayra and the point of Alfárras. It supplied six companies for the defence of Balaguer. When attacked by an Allied corps, these companies capitulated with the honours of war. In December, the entire first battalion returned to Ager in Aragon where it garrisoned the Castle of Monzon. The second battalion was still posted in Extremadura.

In 1710, the two battalions of the regiment joined the Army of Aragon. The regiment blockaded the Castle of Monzon which capitulated on 10 June. It then entered into the castle as garrison. The same day, the second battalion marched towards Mequinenza. It was blockade in Mequinenza. On 20 August, the first battalion fought in the disastrous Battle of Saragossa and retired by Soria to Salamanca. In November, the reconstituted regiment joined the army at the camp of Casatejada. On 9 December, it took part in the Combat of Brihuega. On 10 December, it distinguished itself in the Combat of Villaviciosa and then advanced into Aragon where it relieved its second battalion blockaded in Mequinenza by the Catalan insurgents. The first battalion then took position at Ager to protect communications.

In 1711, the first battalion was transferred from Ager to Monzon while, on 28 May, the second battalion left Mequinenza and marched to Lérida where it formed part of the garrison. The company of grenadiers, led by Captain Don Juan Fernandez de Estrada, was incorporated into the column of the General Marquis de Villadarias. The company was detached to protect the passage of the Ebro by boat near Mora. Estrada navigated on the Ebro and captured five boats. He was wounded during this operation. The grenadiers then went to Mequinenza where they placed themselves under the command of the governor. The first battalion then left Monzon for the Province of Extremadura where it formed part of the army who blockaded and bombarded Yelves in Portugal. In June, the battalion was sent to garrison Ayamonte and the County of Niebla.

At the beginning of 1712, the first battalion was operating in the County of Niebla; and the second, at Rivagorza and Urgel. The second was then transferred to Rosas after relieving Gerona. On the night of 11 to 12 September, the Austrian General Wetzel at the head of a column of 4,500 men advanced unnoticed to attack Rosas by surprise, exploding two bombs against one of the gates. However, the watchful garrison (II./Badajoz and the Flemish Charleroi Regiment) defended the bastions of Santa Maria and San Felipe and drove the attackers back. During the same period, from 4 October, the first battalion took part in the blockade and bombardment of Campo Maior in Portugal. On 17 October, it took part to an unsuccessful assault after which the Spanish army retreated.

In 1713, when hostilities came to an end with Portugal, the first battalion was sent to garrison Badajoz. For its part, the second battalion set off from Rosas and joined the column who advanced into Northern Catalonia, recapturing the Castle of Ariza. In October, this battalion occupied Cerdaña and Castell-Ciutat. A detachment remained at Cerdaña and defended it against the Catalan insurgents until 24 November when it was able to rejoin the battalion.

In 1714, the second battalion defended the place of Seo de Urgel against the ceaseless attacks of the Catalan migueletes. On 11 September, Barcelona was stormed and the second battalion formed part of the garrison.


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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. IX, Madrid, 1851-62, pp. 231-254