Maitland Plan


Maitland Plan

Maitland Plan (Spanish, Plan de Maitland), refers to a plan created by Scottish Major General Thomas Maitland in 1800. The plan was titled Plan to capture Buenos Aires and Chile, and then emancipate Peru and Quito. Britain was by then at war with Spain and France in the Napoleonic Wars, and was seeking to expand its influence in South America since the loss of the 13 colonies of North America, which emancipated some time before.

The plan consisted in:

  • Seize control of Buenos Aires.
  • Take position in Mendoza.
  • Coordinate actions with an independentist Chilean army.
  • Cross the Andes.
  • Defeat the Spanish and take control of Chile.
  • Continue through sea and liberate Peru.

The plan was never employed by the British. They twice attempted to seize Buenos Aires and Montevideo during the British invasions of the Río de la Plata, but were defeated. British military actions against Spanish South America ceased during the Peninsular War, when France turned against Spain and Britain allied itself with the Spanish resistance.

According to Argentine historian Felipe Pigna, José de San Martín was introduced to the plan by members of the lodge founded by Francisco de Miranda and Scottish Lord MacDuff (James Duff, 4th Earl Fife). However, he did not employ it in British benefit, but in benefit of the patriot struggle against the royalists in the south american wars of independence.

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