Tercio viejo de la Armada real del mar océano

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Armies >> Spanish Army (Bourbon) >> Tercio viejo de la Armada real del mar océano

Origin and History

The regiment originated from an old Spanish tercio. Throughout its history, it was designated under various names:

  • 1566: Tercio de la Armada del mar océano
  • 1571: Tercio de la Liga Católica
  • 1580: Tercio Viejo de la Armada
  • 1586: Tercio de la Tercera
  • 1603: Tercio viejo de la Armada real del mar océano
  • 1664: Tercio provincial de Córdoba
  • 1672: Tercio viejo de la Armada real del mar océano
  • 1707: Regimiento de Bajeles
  • 1717: Regimiento de Córdoba

On 25 November 1566, the original tercio was raised in Córdoba and in the southern provinces of Spain. It then embarked for Italy at Cartagena and disembarked at Naples in the first days of 1567. In 1571, 12 companies of the regiment took part to the naval battle of Lepanto (October 7). By November 8 1573, the tercio counted 40 companies for a total of 6,647 men serving aboard the fleet, in Italy, in Tunis and in Malta. In 1580, Figueroa, the commander of the tercio, went to Spain to raise additional companies while most of its original companies were detached from his tercio to form new independent units. The new companies raised in Spain were reviewed on April 30 1580. They were send to garrison the recently conquered city of Lisbon. It then served in the defence of Portugal from 1581 to 1583 when it returned to Cadiz (September 15) before sailing for Italy. In 1585, the tercio marched through Germany to reach the Netherlands where their camp was flooded when the Dutch opened the dykes. In 1586, the tercio returned to Italy. By February 28 1588, the tercio counted 28 companies for a total of 1,593 arquebusiers, 537 musketeers and 778 pikemen. It joined the Invicible Armada in its failed invasion of England.

In 1603, the tercio was transferred to Portugal to escort convoys destined to India and America and to fight the Turk pirates infesting the coast. In 1614, it operated near Larache on the coast of Morocco with the fleet before returning to Lisbon where it remained until 1619. In 1620, the tercio went to Cadiz where it embarked aboard the fleet. While serving with the fleet, it took part to the naval battles of Ceuta (August 1 1621) and Malaga (October 6 1622). In 1624, it returned to Cadiz and part of the tercio was briefly sent to Mexico to quench an insurrection. In 1630, the tercio took part to an expedition against Barlovento in the Canary islands. In 1631, it was cantoned in Cartagena before sailing to Havana where it assumed garrison duty. In 1632, it returned to Cadiz. In 1634, the tercio was sent to Brazil to reconquer the places of Pernambuco and Paraiba from the Dutch. However, it was forced to retire. In 1635, it briefly returned to Cadiz before re-embarking for Brazil where it disembarked in the bay of Todos os Santos. It entrenched in the suburb of San Antonio where it was besieged by a Dutch force under the command of Maurice de Nassau, forcing Nassau to re-embark his troops.

In 1639, half the tercio joined the army of Catalonia to fight the French while the other half sailed for Brazil. In 1640, the first half of the tercio took part to the siege of Salses. In 1642, the entire tercio served aboard the fleet, taking part to 2 naval battles against the French. From 1643 to 1645, the tercio served in Catalonia against the French. In 1646, it served with the fleet, operating in the region of Agrigento and taking part to the relief of Orbitello where it suffered heavy losses. It then returned to Catalonia and then to Cadiz. In 1647 and 1650, it served in Italy, mainly in the region of Naples but also in Sicily. In 1650, it returned to Catalonia where it served until 1652 when it was sent against Naples once more. From 1653 to 1656, it served against the French in Spain. In 1657, after a brief sojourn in Cadiz, the tercio joined the army of Estremadura besieging Olivenza on the Portuguese border. This army finally seized Olivenza and Arronches. From 1658 to 1668, the tercio took part to the campaigns on the Portuguese border. When the Spanish army was reorganised in 1664, the tercio was renamed Tercio provincial de Córdoba on August 29.

In 1672, the tercio returned to Córdoba. In 1674, it took part to the expedition against Messina. In 1675, it took part to a naval battle against a superior French fleet near Messina. In 1676, it was on board the combined Dutch and Spanish fleet which finally gained a victory against the French fleet off the Calabrian coast. Soon afterwards, a few companies of the tercio entered into Messina. The tercio was then assigned to the protection of Palermo with 4 galleys. In June, the tercio suffered heavy casualties when the French fleet attacked Spanish ships in front of Palermo. In 1678, the tercio was assigned to garrison duty in Messina. In 1681, the tercio recruited new troops in Spain.

In 1689, the tercio joined the army of the duke of Villahermosa who vanquished the French army of Noailles near Llinas on August 21. By the end of the year, the tercio embarked aboard a Spanish fleet sent to relieve Larache besieged by the Moroccans who repulsed the attempted landing, forcing the fleet to retire to Gibraltar. By June 11 1691, the tercio was at Gerona in Catalonia where it boarded the fleet destined to the relief of Alicante, blockaded by a French fleet, forcing the enemy to retire. In 1693, the tercio took part to another naval battle off Naples before returning to Catalonia. In 1694, it took part to a raid against Hostalrich. In 1695, it was sent to Morocco to relieve Ceuta besieged by a Moroccan army, successfully introducing 200 men in the place on May 6, breaking a general assault (July 31) and entering the place. On January 26 1696, a sally of the tercio against the besiegers was repulsed. In 1699, the tercio took part to the assault on Ciervo on July 24. In 1700, it took part to a naval battle against the French.

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

  • from August 1695 to 24 April 1703: Don Antonio Alejandro Barrientos
  • from 7 May 1703 to 18 May 1704: Don Diego Andres Pacheco (died at Pontevedra on 18 May 1704)
  • from 29 June 1704: Don Jeronimo de Solis y Gante (promoted to brigadier on 24 November 1708 but retained command of the unit until his promotion to the rank of Maréchal de camp in 1720.

Service during the War

In 1701, the tercio took garrison at Ayamonte before being transferred to Cádiz.

In 1702, 4 companies were sent from Cádiz to relieve Peñon encircled by an Arab force. They relieved the place and spent a few months there, before returning to Cádiz on August 10. During the Allied expedition against Cádiz, the tercio defended the Castle of Santa Catalina (probably Santa Caterina) against an Anglo-Dutch force but was forced to evacuate the place in front of superior forces. It then retreated to Jerez where it was surprised by a Dutch force, losing many men. The tercio then moved to the camp of Buenavista and took part to the victorious counter-offensive of General Villadarias in September, re-entering in Cadiz. On 9 November, the unit was transferred to Badajoz.

In 1703, the tercio was assigned to the protection of the coastal batteries near Vigo.

On 28 September 1704, while serving in Vigo, the tercio was transferred from the navy to the army and reorganised as a regiment.

At the beginning of 1705, the regiment garrisoned Ciudad-Rodrigo. It was later transferred to the army of Castile under the command of the Duke of Berwick.

On 25 April 1707, the regiment distinguished itself at the Battle of Almansa where it was deployed on the right of the second line in the Córdoba's Brigade under Don Diego Dávila. On 29 June, it was renamed “Regimiento de Bajeles”. From 26 December, it took part in the siege of Alcoy.

In 1708, the regiment took part in the capture of Alcoy and, on 10 July, of Tortosa before retiring to the district of Valencia. In November, it took part to the siege and storming of Denia. In December, it marched against Alicante which capitulated.

In 1709, the regiment was transferred to theatre of operation of the Extremadura where, on 7 May, it took part in the Battle of Gudiña.

In 1710, the regiment secured the Pass of Noguera in Aragon. On 27 July, it took part in the Battle of Almenar near Lérida. On 20 August, it fought in the Battle of Saragossa where it suffered heavy losses, retreating to Old Castile. After reorganising its ranks the regiment was sent to the banks of the Tagus to observe the enemy positions. On 8 December, it was at the Combat of Brihuega. After this action, it constantly harassed the Allied rearguard.

In 1711, the regiment campaigned in the mountains of Spain.

In 1713, the regiment took part to the blockade and siege of Barcelona.

In 1714, the regiment continued to besiege Barcelona and, on September 11, its first battalion stormed the breeched walls of Barcelona while the second protected the batteries of Bellegarde.

At the end of the war, the regiment was transferred to the district of Extremadura.


On 30 December 1706, an Ordenanza de Infantería was published. It stipulated that all regular line infantry uniforms would now be white with the colour of the former uniform becoming the distinctive colour used for cuffs and waistcoat. On 28 February 1707, a royal decree reinforced this ordenanza. The new uniform were made in France, so it is very likely that some regiments had not received their new uniforms for the campaign of 1707. In fact, it seems that the officers and musicians of some regiment were still wearing the old uniform in 1707 at the Battle of Almansa, while the rank and file wore the new uniforms.


Uniform circa 1703 - Copyright Kronoskaf
Uniform Details as per
Joseph O’Neil
Musketeer black felt cocked hat laced white with a red cockade or broad brimmed hat turned up on one side or another
Grenadier no information found
Neckstock white
Coat blue with red 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 red, each with 3 tin buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat red with tin buttons
Breeches red
Stockings blue fastened under the knee with a natural leather strap
Gaiters no information found
Leather Equipment
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

According to the Ordenanza de Infantería, from around 1707, the uniform of the regiment would be quite different with a white coat with blue lining, blue cuffs and blue stockings.

Other interpretations

Picouet gives a red uniform with blue distinctive circa 1700.


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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no information found yet


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. 238-302


Joseph O’Neill for the information on the new uniforms issued in 1707.