Route of the Battle of Prats de Rei
This route includes the main historical areas of the battle of Els Prats de Rei , which occurred in 1711 during the War of the Succession.
The route can be done on foot, by bicycle, on horseback or by quad.
- Distance: 17.3km
- Elevation: 275m
- Difficulty: NORML
- Walking time: 5 hours
The route has been created from the episode of Els Prats de Rei lived in the last allied offensive in Catalan territory once Aragon had already been lost with the defeats of Villaviciosa and Brihuega. The confrontation in Prats de Rei took place at a key moment in the War of Succession, since in 1711 the English were holding peace talks with France to end a conflict that was already dragging on for too long.
In September 1711, when the two armies took possessions in Prats de Rei, King Carlos III went to Vienna to take possession of the Empire. We have recorded in the Starhemberg war diary that in October, when the news of the emperor's coronation arrived, the Allied batteries installed in Prats de Rei made salutes to honor the Archduke.
At the beginning of 1711, the situation in Catalonia was rather tense: the European news caused a bottomless abyss that could only be avoided with extreme defense, as the historian Santiago Albertí explains. As for the front, the allied forces commanded by Starhemberg continued a withdrawal that took them from Aragon to Balaguer, but the pressure exerted by the Bourbon Vendôme, who settled in Cervera, forced them to leave the city on February 24.
The pressure on Catalonia was harsh: from the south fell Morella and Miravet; to the north, the loss of Girona brought down the strongholds of Empordà and the Austrian stronghold of Osona. Faced with this situation, Cardona Castle remained the most notable Austrian fortress outside of Barcelona. Its governor, Manuel Desvalls de Vergós, organized the resistance to central Catalonia with the help of his brother Antoni Desvalls, Marquis of Poal, who with a column of miquelets and professionals lashed out at the Bourbon parties further into the Principality. Thus, the castle of Cardona became a strong Austrian threat that did not ignore the Bourbons. Faced with this situation, the surroundings of Calaf and Els Prats de Rei became the ideal setting to prepare and ensure the fall of the Desvalls fortress.
1. Tower of the Manresana
This became the strategic observatory of the Catalan allied command. Count Starhemberg, head of the army, settled with his staff very close, specifically in the Cal Roca farmhouse, currently demolished.
2. Masía Albareda
Austrian space from which two French battalions that had attacked the allied line were repulsed.
3. Hermitage of San Ermengol
During the battle of Els Prats de Rei, this hermitage, along with the nearby hills and plans, formed part of the Bourbon rearguard that in that space were out of reach of the allied artillery.
4. Farmhouse Cal Codina de la Cuadra
To the west of Prats de Rei is one more sector of the Franco-Spanish rear, where they had several infantry, cavalry and artillery batteries.
5. Municipality of Solanelles
In original plans of the time it is called Colonelles. This population center occupies the highest point of the Sierra. From its limits, to the east, it is called the Anoia River depression, the northern sector of the battlefield.
6. Ca l'Estrada
A farmhouse to the east of the city of Els Prats de Rei. It was a Bourbon position. In the plane of the battle it is called "Calsine, where the enemy had 300 Grenadiers" (Calsina, where the enemy had 300 grenadiers).
7. Els Prats de Rei
The city of Prats de Rei is referenced on numerous occasions in the battle diary "Diary of what happened in the bell of Pras de Rey from September 16, 1711 to December 23, 1711".