Plunder on the Peninsular: British Soldiers and Local Civilians during the Peninsular War, 1808–1813

TitlePlunder on the Peninsular: British Soldiers and Local Civilians during the Peninsular War, 1808–1813
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsDaly, Gavin, Erica Charters, Eve Rosenhaft, and Hannah Smith
Book TitleCivilians and War in Europe, 1618–1815
Pagination209-240
PublisherLiverpool University Press
CityLiverpool
Abstract

This chapter examines the nature of plunder by the British army in the Peninsular War, and shows that new forms of plunder developed as a result of both cultural perceptions and the specific experience of the Peninsular War. Aside from the British, the French, Spanish, and Portuguese armies also plundered the local inhabitants. They confiscated public merchandise and estates, requisitioned harvests, seized church property and valuables, and levied crippling war contributions on the provinces. French troops committed atrocities against civilians and looted towns and villages, churches and monasteries after razing them to the ground. British soldiers carried out plunder due to necessity, opportunism, and collecting. Yet British plunder was also restrained and facilitated by military, legal, customary, cultural, and environmental factors that converged during the Peninsular War to transform some British soldiers into banditti in red coats. (Publisher)

 

 

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