Napoleon, the duke of Wellington, “El Empecinado” and “El Charro”, main characters of NAPOCTEP touristic trails

NAPOCTEP is a European project within the cross-border cooperation programme Interreg Poctep. Its aim is creating a touristic and cultural product based on the rich heritage of the Napoleonic era in Spain and Portugal.

This initiative was planned by Comunidade Intermunicipal da Região de Coimbra (Municipality of the region of Coimbra), also in collaboration with other Spanish and Portuguese entities, such as the Fundación Santa María la Real (Foundation Santa María la Real). The latter has undertaken a deep historic analysis of the Napoleonic era to propose seven different thematic routes regarding this historic moment.

The creation of this touristic and cultural product based on the rich heritage of the Napoleonic era in the Spanish region of Castilla y León and the centre of Portugal is the main objective of NAPOCTEP. To be able to achieve it, Fundación Santa María la Real (Foundation Santa María la Real) has done some historic research about the Napoleonic era, focusing, among others, on its background, the strategic interests of the French or the movement of troops during the different stages of war and its consequences, specially on politics.

Using all this sources and the great amount of documentation involved during last months, Fundación Santa María la Real, together with the entity project coordinator, Maximiliano Barrios, has presented a proposal to create seven trails or cultural itineraries. These would be related to the times when Portugal and Spain had Napoleonic troops on their land during the Peninsular War between 1808 and 1814.

A cross-border conflict

Barrios claims that: “the Peninsular War was a cross-border conflict that left behind traces that survived until present times. It is possible to follow the way of Napoleonic troops and the allied forces thanks to the great amount of documentation that we have, allowing us to design with precision the itineraries followed by the troops, the activities of the main characters during war and the fingerprints that this conflict left in towns, villages and the rural areas.”

The result of this research has turned into seven different trails: three in Portugal, other three in Spain and a cross-border one. The first three are part of the three attempts the French troops made to invade Portugal, having army general Junot and marshals Soult and Massena in the French side and characters such as Francisco da Silveira in the Portuguese side, among others.

In Spain, the trails are based on what we know by “guerrillas”, highlighting characters such as Julián Sánchez ‘El Charro’ and Juan Martín ‘El Empecinado’, that “ended up as being real national heroes because of their fight against the French side”. Also, historic events like sieges and important battles and having Napoleon himself in Spanish lands, as well as the so called “Carrera del Inglés”.

The seventh and last trail is combined, and it follows the path of the territories along the two sides of ‘A Raia’ and has its focus on the path Arthur Wellesley followed. He would be duke of Wellington time after and he was the one who finally defeated Napoleon in the very famous battle of Waterloo in 1815. This trail begins in Quinta do Freixo, Portugal and four stages after it finishes in the city of Valladolid.

200th anniversary of Napoleon’s death

NAPOCTEP is part of the cross-border cooperation programme Interreg Poctep, that is two years long, ending in mid-2021, the date of 200th anniversary of Napoleon’s death. Apart from Fundación

Santa María la Real, other Spanish entities, like Fundación Siglo para el Turismo y las Artes de Castilla y León, Segittur and Fundación Finnova. On the other hand, the Portuguese ones are Comunidade Intermunicipal da Região de Coimbra, Comunidade Intermunicipal das Beiras e Serra da Estrela, Entidad Regional de Turismo Centro de Portugal and Rota Histórica das Linhas de Torres.

La Fundación Santa María la Real del Patrimonio Histórico is a private non-profit organisation, and its mission is to boost initiatives for sustainable development, based on studies, research, restoration, conservation and spreading the natural, social and cultural heritage.

Carmen Molinos / Jaime García Prado

Departamento de Comunicación

Fundación Santa María la Real del Patrimonio Histórico

Tel: 979 125000 / 91 522 12 62 (Extensión 204) / 628 361405

comunicación@santamarialareal.org

www.santamarialareal.org