About Vimeiro Monument
The Vimeiro Monument is an obelisk in the town of Vimeiro in Portugal which commemorates the Battle of Vimeiro, fought between British-Portuguese forces under the (future) Duke of Wellington and French forces.
Vimeiro Monument history
This battle took place on 21 August 1808, just days after the Battle of Roliça in which the French were defeated. It formed part of the Peninsular War.
The battle of Vimeiro was the second battle of the Peninsular War. The Peninsular War was part of the Napoleonic Wars fought in the Iberian Peninsula, where the French were opposed by British, Spanish, and Portuguese forces. Napoleon’s peninsula struggle contributed considerably to his eventual downfall; but until 1813 the conflict in Spain and Portugal, though costly, exercised only an indirect effect upon the progress of French affairs in central and eastern Europe.
British troops under Arthur Wellesley (Wellington) landed in Portugal at Mondego Bay on 1 August 1808 to assist the Portuguese by marching on Lisbon 30 miles to the south. The French, under Junot, numbered 14,000 and attacked on 21 August but were repulsed by Wellesley with 17,000 men.
The Battle of Vimeiro marked another victory for the British and culminated in the controversial Sintra Convention, whereby the French were allowed to leave Portugal.
Vimeiro Monument today
In the memorial park overlooking the battlefield near the town cemetery is a monument to the battle and a very nice ceramic tile depiction of the action.
A visit to Vimeiro can be accomplished in a short day-trip by car from Lisbon.
Getting to Vimeiro Monument
Vimeiro lies a short distance north of Torres Vedras and is a 60km drive from Lisbon, most of which is by motorway.
Entering Vimeiro on the Torres Vedras road, turn immediately right following the signpost to the monument. After a few hundred metres, turn right again (signposted) and climb Vimeiro Hill to find the monument to the battle at the crest.
A map of the battlefield, drawn on ceramic tile, stands close-by. Although the ground over which the French columns advanced is still largely clear, housing developments are beginning to encroach onto the slopes where the fighting took place.
The remainder of the battlefield can be explored by taking the road below the Ventosa ridge through Toledo. Take the left turn to Pregança just ahead of the major road junction, then left and left again following directions to Ventosa. The mini-roundabout at the entrance to Ventosa is close to the head of the ravine which forced Brennier and Solignac to march further north than planned. A good view of the ravine can be obtained just south of the mini-roundabout. Return to Vimeiro by turning left in the centre of Ventosa.