Guerra Fantastica

The Portuguese Army in the Seven Years War

António Barrento

This book deals with the Guerra Fantástica, or 'Fantastical War', a series of military operations that occurred in Portugal during the Seven Years' War.
Date Published :
June 2020
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Contributor(s) :
Charles Esdaile
Series :
From Reason To Revolution
Illustration :
26 b/w ills., 6 b/w maps, 8pp color plates
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781911628118
Pages : 98
Dimensions : 9.75 X 7 inches
Stock Status : Available


This book deals with a series of military operations that occurred in Portugal in 1762 and 1763, during the Seven Years’ War, and which have been largely dismissed by the historiography. They are collectively called the Guerra Fantástica, 'Fantastical War', given the fact that the military units of the countries involved carried out multiple movements while not engaging in any battle.

This work begins with an introduction to the phenomenon of war as a whole, to the environment in Europe at the time, and to the military framework of the conflict. It then describes the events that led to the participation of Portugal in the Seven Years’ War and the way in which the conflict in Portugal began.

It continues with a presentation of the various forces involved. For this purpose, it analyses in detail the weakness of the Portuguese army, the military reinforcements that were obtained from England, and the arrival in Portugal of the Count of Lippe, whom the King of England had recommended to the King of Portugal to be the commander of the forces, given his recognized ability for the task.

It proceeds with an account of the events of the war, starting with an analysis of the invasion of the North of Portugal by the Spanish army and its later withdrawal to Spain. It continues with a description of how the Spanish army, once strengthened by French units, again invaded Portuguese territory, and the events that occurred until its second withdrawal. Despite the numerical superiority of the Bourbon army, the difficulties of the terrain, the efficient command of the Count of Lippe, and the maneuvers of the Anglo-Portuguese army prevented it from reaching victory and forced its return to Spain.

The book is an important piece of research, based on archival material. It explores contemporary correspondence between the Court of Spain and the commanders of the force that invaded Portugal, which is available at the Archive of Simancas. It makes use, moreover, of the correspondence between the Secretary of State of Portugal, the Count of Oeiras, and the Count of Lippe, and between the latter and his subordinate commanders, which is extant at the Military Historical Archive of Lisbon. At the same time, this work is reader-friendly, integrating several notes and original documents that help clarify certain of its major points, as well as a list of the units that participated in the military operations.

About The Author

António Barrento (born in 1938) graduated in Military Sciences from the Portuguese Military Academy and completed the Staff Courses of the Portuguese Institute of High Military Studies (IAEM) and of the École Militaire in Paris. He was lecturer at the IAEM, where he taught various subjects, including Military History, Tactics and Strategy, and was visiting Professor at the School of Social and Political Studies (ISCSP), where he taught Strategy.

As a military officer, he spent eight years in Angola, Mozambique and Timor. Following his promotion to general, he worked for NATO at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe (S.H.A.P.E.) in Mons, Belgium, and was Portugal’s Army Chief of Staff from 1998 to 2001.

He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Portuguese Commission of Military History. He is a member of the Lisbon Geographic Society (of which he was Vice-President) and honourable academician of the Portuguese Academy of History. He is the author of around 100 articles published in journals and books and has published seven books on military history, on strategy, and on the decolonization of East Timor.

Professor Charles Esdaile is one of the leading historians of the Napoleonic era and holds a personal chair at the University of Liverpool. His wide-ranging history of Napoleon's attempt to conquer Spain and Portugal, The Peninsular War: A New History, and his international history of the Napoleonic period, Napoleon’s Wars, are classic works on the subject. Among his many other books are The French Wars 1792-1815, The Duke of Wellington and the Command of the Spanish Army 1812-14, Fighting Napoleon: Guerrillas, Bandits and Adventurers in Spain 1808-1814 and Peninsular Eyewitnesses: The Experience of War in Spain and Portugal 1808-1814.

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