1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Miquelets

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[ 566 ]

MIQUELETS (Miqueletes or Migueletes) were irregular local troops in Catalonia who derived their name, it is said, from Miguel or Miquelot de Prats, a Catalan mercenary captain in the service of Cesare Borgia. They enjoyed a certain prominence in the minor wars of Spain during the 17th and 18th centuries, and in peace seem to have plundered travellers. In the War of the Spanish Succession (q.v.) the Miquelets continued the struggle against the French claimant until long after the peace. During the Peninsular War they were exceedingly successful in harassing the French invaders in the mountains of Catalonia. Sometimes they even attempted operations in large bodies, as in the operations round Gerona in 1808 and 1809. They were maintained by the several parishes, not by the central or the provincial governments, and as they had to turn out for duty on sound of the village alarm-bell (somaten) they are frequently called somatenes.