On March 28, 1809, a popular uprising allowed Vigo to be recovered from the occupation of Napoleonic troops. More than 1,400 imperial soldiers were taken prisoner. And, from Vigo, know as the Villa Olívica or village of olives,, an offensive was later organised throughout Galicia that led to the definitive withdrawal of Napoleon's army.
This historical event, which the people of Vigo commemorate as A Reconquista (The Reconquest), was of great transcendence as it allowed Vigo to obtain the title of "city", which was granted by the Regency.
Vigo began to celebrate the Reconquista the year following its victory over the Napoleonic invaders. The festival, as it is lived today, arose from the initiative of the Asociación de Veciños da Zona vella (the Zona vella neighbours' association), which breathed new life into the celebration, after its initiative to put on a performance of the battle.
The Old Town is transported back in time to recreate the expulsion of the invaders, when both locals and visitors come dressed in period costume to soak up the historical spirit of the 19th century.
This celebration, which has found an essential place in the Galician calendar, includes a craft market, demonstrations of crafts and popular trades, food stalls, a French military camp and also children's entertainment areas and live music by groups of traditional music. There are also theatrical performances, antique fencing, the appearence of the traditional gigantes and cabezudos among other performances.
Without a doubt, the theatrical performance of the Reconquest is the central point of the event. Every year, about five hundred people participate, representing 50 French soldiers, between 60 and 70 of the popular militias and about 400 civilians. After the confrontation, the Napoleonic troops flee the city by boat.
Highlight: The flight of the French troops by boat.