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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Castrioti

April 26th, 1503 - The Battle of Cerignola

Conflict: Italian Wars (1494-1559)

Combatants: French/Swiss vs. Spanish

Location: Italy

Outcome: Spanish victory

After retreating from Naples in the face of 10,000 French and Swiss troops in 1502, Spanish commander Gonzalo de Cordoba, reinforced to 6,000 troops, marched into Naples and fortified a position near Cerignola. On April 26th of 1503, the Duke of Nemours led French cavalry and Swiss pikeman in an attack supported by artillery. But Cordoba had augmented his troops with arquebuses. Spanish fire from the palisades wreaked havoc on the Franco-Swiss soldiers. A Spanish counterattack then drove the French and Swiss into retreat.

El gran capitan tras batalla de ceriñola by Federico de Madrazo y Kuntz

Points of Interest:

  • France abandoned Naples to the Spanish three weeks after Cerignola.

  • Cordoba's effective use of arquebusiers may have resulted in the first battle in history to be won with small arms.

Gaston de Foix Duke of Nemours by Philippe de Champaigne
Gonzaolo de Cordoba by an unknown artist



Dupuy, R. Ernest & Dupuy, Trevor N. (1993). The Harper's Encyclopedia of Military History. New York: HarperCollins.

Eggenberger, David (1985). An Encyclopedia of Battles: Accounts of Over 1,560 Battles from 1479 B.C. to the Present. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.

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