One of the most important historical moments in the city was the final attack of the Bourbon troops during the siege of Barcelona, on September 11, 1714. This day, today commemorated as the National Day of Catalonia, left many heroic episodes, and often not very well known. One of them is the one that took place in the Baluard de Migdia.
Barcelona, a fortified city
The Migdia bastion was part of the fortifications that were built in the city during the sixteenth century to protect Barcelona from sea attacks. Until then, dangers had always come by land. However, the advances of the pirates of North Africa forced to protect Barcelona in the port.
So two centuries after its construction, on the morning of September 11, 1714, the Bourbon troops began what would be the definitive attack on the eastern wall.
After two hours of resistance, Coronel units defending Barcelona were massacred at the mills gap and the line of defense was broken.
Attacks and counterattacks
The Bourbons penetrated the city massively, catching the defenders of the bastions of Llevant, Santa Clara and Portal Nou by the rear.
A Bourbon flank headed towards the area of the Junqueres convent where the resistance ones, led by Rafael de Casanova, stopped the attack and made them recoil until almost expelling them from the city.
Following the line of the coastal wall, another Bourbon detachment managed to reach the Pla de Palau and attack the Baluart del Migdia, defended by 100 rifles and artillerymen of the Guild of Hemp and Lambs Guards led by Colonel Paperoles. They managed to stop the attack, take refuge inside the barracks, and open fire on the assailants.
This led to many casualties among the Bourbons who retired from the noon bastion and retreated to the eastern bastion. Shortly afterwards, the Duke of Berwick ordered the third wave of attacks, and again the attackers reached the Baluard del Migdia. In the last attack Colonel Paperoles was killed and many of the defenders were injured. However, the bastion resisted until Rafael de Casanoves, at 3 p.m., capitulated.
Reclaiming the walls
When in 2008, construction company Sacyr Vallehermoso started building a new real estate development, the remains of the bastion were discovered. Mayor Jordi Hereu intended for an archeological walk, but Sacyr’s work was swift to finish and was so stuck in the ruins that it was visible only from the basement parking of the buildings.
We had to wait for 2016, so that the space was equipped and a small park was built, where you can now see the remains of this bastion. Another place to go when your confinement is over.
Meanwhile, if you like to read and if you want to know more, you can read Victus. It is a novel inspired by the War of Succession and the site of Barcelona in 1714.