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Francisco Javier Castaños, 1st Duke of Bailén

Francisco Javier Castaños
Castaños (c. 1830) wearing the uniform of the Africa Regiment[1] with the Order of the Golden Fleece and the Grand Cross and band of the Order of Charles III and the Laureate Cross of Saint Ferdinand and band.[note 1]
President of the Regency Council
The Duke of Bailén
In office
1 February 1810 – 29 May 1810
MonarchFernando VII
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byPedro de Quevedo y Quintano
1st Speaker of the House of Peers
In office
10 April 1834 – 12 July 1835
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byThe Duke of Ahumada
Personal details
Francisco Javier Castaños Aragorri

22 April 1758
Madrid, Spain
Died22 April 1852(1852-04-22) (aged 93)
Madrid, Spain
Resting placePantheon of Illustrious Men (1852–1963)
Parish Church of the Incarnation, Bailén (1963–present)
ProfessionArmy general and politician
AwardsKnight of the Order of the Golden Fleece
Grand Cross of the Order of Charles III
Military service
Allegiance Spain
Branch/serviceSpanish Army
Years of service1774–1852
RankCaptain general
Battles/warsWar of the Pyrenees
Anglo-Spanish War (1796–1808)
Napoleonic Wars
Peninsular War
The Surrender of Bailén, by José Casado del Alisal, Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain. Castaños is in the white uniform.

Francisco Javier Castaños Aragorri, 1st Duke of Bailén (1758–1852) was a Spanish military commander during the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. He presided over the Regency Council of Spain and the Indies (de facto head of state), in 1810. From July to September 1834, he served as the first president of the Senate of Spain, at that time called the House of Peers.

Castaños is remembered for his victory over the French under Dupont, whom he surrounded and compelled to surrender at the decisive Battle of Bailen in 1808, where the Napoleonic army was defeated in the open field for the first time and which led to King Joseph having to abandon Madrid at the end of that same month.[2] Just months later he led his army to a decisive defeat at the Battle of Tudela. After this he served under Wellington in several engagements, and was commander of the Spanish army, if required, to invade France in 1815.

In 1833, Ferdinand VII of Spain granted him the title of Duke of Bailén, to honour his actions during the Peninsular War and, especially, at the Battle of Bailén.[2]


Early career

He was promoted, in October 1802, to lieutenant general in the same promotion as other future notable Spanish military commanders of the Spanish armies during the Peninsular War, including the Duke of the Infantado, Manuel Lapeña, Juan Carrafa, Juan Pignatelli, Francisco Taranco, Francisco Eguía, and Arturo O'Neill, among others.[3]

Peninsular War

His victory over Dupont French troops at Bailen (19 July 1808), in the early stages of the war, was the first time the Napoleonic army had ever been defeated in the open field and led to King Joseph having to abandon Madrid at the end of that month.[2]

On returning to Seville, Castaños was appointed captain general and preparations were made for the Spanish army to enter Madrid mid-August.[2]

Having been given command of the Army of the Centre, which he joined at Tudela in mid-October, his troops were heavily defeated there at the following month the Battle of Tudela (23 November 1808).[2] Castaños withdrew towards Somosierra, north of Madrid, to cut off Napoleon's advance on Madrid, but he was relieved of his command and made to go to Seville, where the Supreme Junta was now based, and from there, on to Algeciras to await the court martial for his defeat.[2]

Post-war career

Following Napoleon's flight from Elba, and the start of the Hundred Days, Castaños was given command of the Army of Observation of the Right and crossed into Roussillon. With Napoleon defeated at Waterloo, Castaños was appointed captain general of Catalonia.[2]

In 1837 he was appointed senator for the province of Barcelona, seat he held until 1845, apart from the period 1841–1844. In 1845 he was appointed senator for life.[4]

Castaños died in Madrid in 1852.[2] Isabella II attended the funeral service and her husband, the king consort Francisco de Asís, Duke of Cádiz accompanied the coffin from San Isidro el Real to Nuestra Señora de Atocha, where the Duke was entombed.[2]


  1. ^ This portrait, by José María Galván y Candela, is a copy (c. 1880) of an original by José de Madrazo y Agudo (c. 1830). (Museo del Prado.)



  • Esdaile, Charles J. (2003). The Peninsular War: A New History. MacMillan. ISBN 978-1-4039-6231-7.

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Francisco Javier Castaños, 1st Duke of Bailén
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