2 May

The people of Madrid rise up in rebellion against French occupation. Francisco de Goya later memorialises this event in his painting The Second of May 1808.

The Peninsular War overlaps with what the Spanish-speaking world calls the Guerra de la Independencia Española (Spanish War of Independence), which began with the Dos de Mayo Uprising on 2 May 1808 and ended on 17 April 1814. The French occupation destroyed the Spanish administration, which fragmented into quarrelling provincial juntas. In 1810, a reconstituted national government, the Cádiz Cortes—effectively a government-in-exile—fortified itself in Cádiz but could not raise effective armies because it was besieged by 70,000 French troops. British and Portuguese forces eventually secured Portugal, using it as a safe position from which to launch campaigns against the French army and to provide whatever supplies they could get to the Spanish, while the Spanish armies and guerrillas tied down vast numbers of Napoleon’s troops. These combined regular and irregular allied forces prevented Napoleon’s marshals from subduing the rebellious Spanish provinces by restricting French control of territory, and the war continued through years of stalemate.