- Argentine War of Independence
Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Argentine independence War
caption=General San Martín and his army crossing The
South American Wars of Independence
date=1810 - 1818
Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguayand Bolivia
result=Argentine victory and emancipation from Spanish colonial rule, slavery abolished
combatant2=flagicon|Spain|1785 Spanish Monarchy
Manuel BelgranoFlagicon|Argentina José de San MartínFlagicon|Chile Bernardo O'HigginsFlagicon|Ireland William Brown
Antonio Parejaflagicon|Spain|1785 Gabino Gaínzaflagicon|Spain|1785 Mariano Osorio
Joaquín de la Pezuela
The Argentine War of Independence was fought from 1810 to 1818 by Argentine forces under
Manuel Belgranoand José de San Martínagainst royalist forces loyal to the Spanish crown. On July 9, 1816, an assembly met in San Miguel de Tucumán, declared full independence with provisions for a national constitution.
The territory known today as Argentina was part of the Spanish
Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plataand its capital city was Buenos Aires. It was ruled by a viceroyappointed by the Spanish Crown and guarded by the Spanish royal army. Part of the conflict between the settlers and the crown can be traced to the traditional, full prohibition of trading with all countries except for Spain. English, French, and Portuguese ships were banned from the port of Buenos Aires. Despite this long-standing legislation, the citizens of Buenos Aires were well renowned as "traficantes" (contraband dealers), since they would often trade illegally with many foreign merchants who were eager to tap the viceroyalty's market. In addition, the successful resistance against the 1806 and 1807 British invasions of the Río de la Plata, which organized mostly by "criollos" (persons who were locally born), helped reinforce a sense of regional identity. During the first invasion, Viceroy Rafael de Sobremonteand his staff retreated from the capital to hide himself along with the state treasury in Córdoba to the north. The residents of Buenos Aires would later accuse him of cowardice.
May 13, 1810, a British frigatearrived in Montevideobringing the latest news about the Peninsular War. The residents of Montevideo learned that Napoleon Bonaparte's forces had conquered Andalusiaand laid siege to Cádiz, the last redoubt against the French on Spanish soil. Moreover, the Supreme Central Junta, which had governed the Empire for the past two years, had abolished itself in favor of a Regency. Word quickly spread throughout the viceroyalty. In Buenos Aires the news that Cádiz was all that was left of a free Spain unleashed a series of events, known as the May Revolution, in which citizens gathered in the " Cabildo" (City Hall), decided to suspend Viceroy Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisnerosfrom office and created the Primera Junta(First Junta), a provisional government to rule the viceroyalty in the absence of the king and an independent Spain.
First Junta and Big Junta
With the power of the Crown transferred to a small Regency Council in Cádiz and the city besieged by French troops, a power vacuum existed, and on
May 25, 1810, the First Junta was created in Buenos Aires, removing Viceroy Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisnerosfrom authority the same day. The junta, presided by Cornelio Saavedra(1760-1828), included Mariano Moreno(1778-1811) and Manuel Belgrano(1780-1820) and was later expanded to include deputies from the other provinces and became the "Junta Grande," or Big Junta.The revolutionary leaders remained nominally loyal to the Spanish King, while claiming the right to elect their own authorities (), instead of having a viceroy appointed from Spain. Officially, the Junta aimed to preserve in Río de la Plata the sovereignty of the imprisoned King against the advances of the French, but acted in a manner which suggested the exact opposite. They also attempted to gain support for the Buenos Aires juntas from the territories of Upper Peru (today mostly Bolivia) located on the northern border region with the Viceroyalty of Peru.
Two campaigns were ordered by the Junta Grande in order to gain support for the revolutionary ideas of Buenos Aires.
* Alto Perú campaign (1810-1811): The improvised militia was commanded by
Antonio González de Balcarceand tried to penetrate the intendencies of the Upper Peru (today Bolivia). The militia first engaged in combat with the Spanish army in the Battle of Suipacha and it was a victory for the patriots ( November 7 1810). But the campaign would end unsuccessfully next June after the Battle of Huaqui. There, the militia was outnumbered by royalist forces from Peruand suffered heavy losses.
* Paraguay campaign (1810-1811): Another militia, commanded by
Manuel Belgrano, made its way up to the Intendency of Paraguay. The first battle was fought in Campichuelo and the Argentines claimed victory. However, they were completely overwhelmed in the subsequent battles of Paraguaríand Tacuarí. This campaign also ended in failure from the military point of view; but some months later, Paraguay broke its links with the Spanish crown and became an independent nation.
Violent internal disagreements and the undesired outcomes of the campaigns, led to the replacement of the Junta by a triumvirate in September 1811; see
First Triumvirate (Argentina). The new government decided to promote another campaign to the Upper Peru with the reorganized Northern Army.
* Second Alto Perú campaign (1812-1813): Facing the overwhelming invasion of a loyalist army led by General Pío Tristán, Manuel Belgrano, then commander of the Northern Army, turned to scorched-earth tactics. He ordered the evacuation of the people and the burning of anything else left behind, to prevent enemy forces from getting supplies or taking prisoners in the city of
San Salvador de Jujuy. This is known as the Jujuy Exodus. General Belgrano led the Northern Army to victory in the Battles of Tucumanand Saltain the northwest of present-day Argentina, forcing the bulk of the royalist army to surrender their weapons. Tristán (a former Belgrano's coed at Salamanca University) and his men were granted amnesty and released. These cities have remained under the Argentine government ever since. But again, the patriot army was defeated in Upper Perú in the battles of Vilcapugio and Ayohuma.
During the campaign, the Triumvirate established recently arrived from Spain
José de San Martínas Lieutenant Colonel and ordered him to create the professional and disciplined cavalry unit called "Granaderos". The same division helped the revolution that collapsed the government and elected a Second Triumvirate (Argentina)by late 1812.
January 31, 1813, a Spanish army company coming from Montevideolanded near the town of San Lorenzo, in the Santa Fe province. The Second Triumvirate urged San Martín to stop further raids on the west bank of the Parana river. The "Granaderos" division met the Spanish on a field near the town's convent and made an easy victory on February 3in the Battle of San Lorenzo. After this battle, the Second Triumvirate awarded San Martín the rank of General.
Fearing a major Spanish attack, a general assembly (the "
Asamblea del Año XIII") was called in Buenos Aireson February 27, to discuss future military campaigns. It was finally decided to dissolve the Triumvirate status and to create a new regime of a one-person government. The same assembly elected the first Supreme Director in January 31, 1814: Gervasio Antonio de Posadas. Posadas decided to create a naval fleet with the help of Juan Larreaand appointed William Brown as Lieutenant Colonel and Chief Commander on March 1, 1814. This tiny fleet engaged in combat with the Spanish ships on the coasts of Montevideoin the Action of 14 May 1814and defeated them three days later. This action secured the coast of Buenos Aires and William Brown was awarded the rank of Admiral.
Supreme Director Posadas was replaced by
Carlos María de Alvearthe next year, on January 11, 1815, and was quickly followed by Ignacio Álvarez Thomason April 21. Álvarez Thomas appointed Alvear as the new General of the Northern Army to replace José Rondeau, but officials would not recognize this act and remained loyal to Rondeau.
* Third Alto Perú campaign (1815): The Northern Army, unofficially commanded by
José Rondeau, started another campaign, but this time without the authorization of Supreme Director Álvarez Thomas. With the lack of official support, the army faced anarchy and later would lose the aid of the Provincial Army of Salta, commanded by Martín Miguel de Güemes. After being defeated in the battles of Venta y Media (October 21) and Sipe-Sipe (November 28), the northern territories were lost. They were reannexed by the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru, and later became present-day Bolivia. This unsuccessful outcome to the campaign would spread rumors in Europe that the May Revolution was over.
Despite this final defeat in the north, the Spanish Army was eventually stopped and could not advance further. With King Ferdinand back in power, an urgent decision was needed regarding independence. On
July 9, 1816, an assembly of representatives from all of the provinces (except Santa Fe, Entre Ríosand Corrientes, which along with the Banda Oriental, present-day Uruguay, had formed a " Liga Federal") met in the Congress of Tucumándeclaring the full independence of Argentinafrom the Spanish Crown and provisions for a national constitution. Santa Fe, Entre Ríos and Corrientes later joined.
The following year, San Martín took command of the Northern Army preparing a new invasion of Upper Perú (now
Bolivia), but quickly resigned, foreseeing another defeat. Instead, he became governor of the province of Cuyo (now the provinces of Mendoza, San Juan, and San Luis). He developed a new strategy to attack the Viceroyalty of Perúthrough the Captaincy of Chile. San Martín largely based this plan on the writings of Sir Thomas Maitlandwho was quoted to say that the only way to defeat the Spanish at Quitoand Limawas by attacking Chile first. At this point, the Argentine War of Independence gets mixed with the Chilean independenceWar as both armies joined forces.
* Chile campaign (1817): Installed in the city of Mendoza, San Martín reorganized the "Granderos" cavalry unit along with the Army of Cuyo and crossed the
AndesMountains to attack the Royalists in Chileat the beginning of 1817 in the Battle of Chacabuco. With the aid of Chilean patriot Bernardo O'Higginshe made a triumphant entry in the liberated city of Santiago de Chile. Argentine and Chilean armies merged in the "unofficial" South American Patriot Army and continued the campaign together against the Spanish division commanded by Osorio. However, their forces were surprised and very badly beaten at the Battle of Cancha Rayada on March 18, 1818. In the confusion, a false rumor spread that O'Higgins had died, and a panic seized the patriot troops, many of whom agitated for a full retreat back across the Andes to Mendoza. Crippled after his defeat at Cancha Rayada, O'Higgins delegated the command of the troops entirely to San Martín in a meeting on the plains of Maipú. Then, on April 5, 1818, San Martín inflicted a decisive defeat on Osorio in the Battle of Maipú, after which the depleted royalists retreated to Concepcion, never again to launch a major offensive against Santiago.
This is considered to be the conclusion of the Argentine War of Independence, but battles continued by land and sea in
Perúuntil 1824 when the last Spanish garrison surrendered in the Battle of Ayacuchoand Peru proclaimed its independence. These events were part of San Martín's own campaigning with O'Higgins and Simon Bolivarand Buenos Aires no longer recognized his authority.
The meeting of Guayaquil
26 July, 1822, San Martín met with Simón Bolívarat Guayaquilto plan the future of Latin America. Most of the details of this meeting are secret, and this has made the event a matter of much debate among historians. Some believe that Bolívar's refusal to share command of the combined forces made San Martín withdraw from Perú and resettle as a farmer in Mendoza, Argentina. Another theory claims that San Martín yielded to Bolívar's charisma and avoided a confrontation. It is widely believed that both men were members of Masonicsocieties, and the outcome of the meeting might have been arranged by hidden players, however this has been denied by the Great Masonic Lodges [ [http://www.crucedelosandes.com.ar/no_fue.asp · ·.Cruce de los Andes.com.· · ] ] . See Lautaro Lodge.
Today, the "Día de la Revolución de Mayo" (
May RevolutionDay) on May 25is an annual holiday in Argentina to commemorate thesesignificant events in the history of Argentina. These and other events of the week leading to this day are referred to as the "Semana de Mayo" (May Week). Argentine Independence Day is celebrated on July 9, to commemorate the Argentine Declaration of Independencedeclared in 1816.
Hispanic American wars of independence
History of Argentina
Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata
United Provinces of South America
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